One of Vice President Gore's campaign themes is "livability," a fuzzy concept that deals with things that make life miserable--pollution, traffic, long voice-mail messages--or pleasant--clean air, cheap cable TV, a winning sports team.
But sometimes it's hard to link Gore with these things in ways that may promote what might be called government initiatives. So we got this message the other day that had been sent by Ronald M. Greenberg, acting assistant director of the National Park Service's Office of Cultural Resource Stewardship and Partnerships, to Park Service employees.
Subject: Livability Request--URGENT-DEADLINE TODAY Author: Ron Greenberg at NP-WASO-HPS Date: 7/20/99 1:46 PM The Dept. [of the Interior] received a call today from the Vice President's office. They are looking for 'Livability' events for the VP to do over the next 30 days, and they need to know today. If you know of any events--or if you can check with others in the field or elsewhere--that might be appropriate for the VP's participation, please send the ideas directly to Nat Wood with copy to Margaret Triebsch--or to save time, call Nat and send a note to Margaret that you have done so. Thanks. Ron
Sorry for the late notice, but we're hoping that Loop Fans may still be allowed to send their ideas to Wood, special assistant to Park Service Director Robert G. Stanton, or to Triebsch, a secretary in the office. Better hurry.
Chief White House speechwriter Michael Waldman, one of a handful of original Clintonites still in the White House, is calling it quits. Waldman, former director of the Ralph Nader-led Public Citizen's Congress Watch, worked on the '92 campaign and started as a policy adviser at the White House before becoming head of speech writing in 1995.
That adds up to four State of the Union addresses and two inaugural addresses that he worked on, plus editing or writing nearly 2,000 speech drafts since then.
Waldman's off in August to be a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School at Harvard to think and unwind until the end of the year, by which time he will have figured out what he wants to do next. No word on a successor.
Shrum for Special Delivery?
Also on the speechwriting front, there are persistent rumors that talented wordsmith and Democratic political consultant Bob Shrum, who used to write speeches for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and just worked on the successful campaign of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, may be signing up with the Gore campaign to help deal with that little stiffness-cadence-shouting problem. Should be quite a challenge.
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman had just begun his speech yesterday at a meeting of the President's Council on Invasive Species when security officials said he and Commerce Secretary William Daley and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt had to leave the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center immediately because of a bomb scare.
Seems bomb-sniffing dogs found something untoward on a rental truck parked in the garage for more than 24 hours--why a rental truck was allowed to park there overnight is another story--that had a transmitter and, according to one source, suspicious residue. The truck was parked directly under where the meeting was being held. However, the building wasn't evacuated and nothing threatening was found.
Babbitt, whose wife, Hattie, works in the building as acting director of the Agency for International Development, returned after a while to reconvene the meeting. Glickman and Daley came back 30 minutes later and Glickman began, "As I was just saying . . ."
The "invasive species"--things like zebra mussels, Chinese mitten crab, walking catfish, joint-head arthraxon, Dalmation toadflax and balsam wooly adelgid--were not implicated.
Still Searching for the Candidate
Speaking of invasive species, there's a political action committee for just about everything in this town, so why not for aliens? The Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee, better known as X-PPAC, is opening for business, says executive director Stephen Bassett.
"The primary mission of X-PPAC is to end the government embargo of facts confirming the presence of extraterrestrial life forms in our world," Bassett said in a press release, "and to form a partnership between the government and the American people to create policy dealing with this fact."
People will have a "long-needed vehicle to direct their concerns to government in unambiguous, unavoidable terms regarding the cover-up of UFO/ET evidence and policy," Bassett said. About time.
Barney and Eeyore Show
It's not often that dour Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan leaves them rolling in the aisles. But that's what happened yesterday--with a little help from Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)--during his typically elliptical testimony before the House banking committee.
"What is the potential output growth rate of the economy?" Frank asked. "At what rate can we grow without giving you agita?"
"I'll answer the question in a very unusual way," Greenspan said. "Like, directly?" Frank gibed.
"No," Greenspan said amid the laughter. "That would give you a heart attack."
"It would, it would," Frank said.