In interview with Michael Lewis of New York Times Magazine, Harold Ickes is skeptical of campaign-finance reform: ``Money is like water. If there is a crack, water will find it. Same way with political money.'' . . . U.S. News & World Report says that Rick Kaplan, Friend of Bill and new president of CNN, has told staffers to limit their use of word ``scandal'' in reporting on campaign-finance scandal. . . . In one news story, former Gingrich press secretary Tony Blankley finds ``four not-for-attribution leaks by people close to Gore not defending Gore, . . . but pointing their finger at other staffers. We saw that kind of activity in the Dole campaign in late September. That's when senior staffers start being suspicious about whether their boss has got viability.'' . . . L.A. Councilman Michael Woo (who lost 1993 mayoral race to Richard Riordan) plays ethnic politics: ``Asian-Americans are facing the most profound crisis we have seen since the internment of Japanese-Americans over fifty years ago.''
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D., Tex.), while visiting Mars Pathfinder Mission Control Center, asked whether the Pathfinder had taken pictures of the American flag planted by Neil Armstrong in 1969. . . . Rep. Bill Paxon (R., N.Y.), in first major policy foray since resignation from House leadership, urges abolition of tax code by end of 2000. But in CBS anchor debut, Mrs. Paxon, former Rep. Susan Molinari (R., N.Y.), declares her support for women in combat. . . . Rep. John Boehner (R., Ohio) calls for returning any federal budget surplus to taxpayers. . . . Gov. Tommy Thompson (R., Wisc.): ``For the last year and a half, I haven't heard anyone from Washington Disneyland East talk about devolution of authority and giving power back to the states.'' . . . ABC's Peter Jennings lets Christopher Hitchens attack Mother Teresa during her funeral Mass.
Heresies: Urban League President Hugh Price at League's annual convention: ``If urban schools as we know them continue to fail in the face of all we know about how to improve them, then your customers will be obliged to shop elsewhere for quality education. We Urban Leaguers believe passionately in public education. But make no mistake. We love our children even more.'' . . . In Wall Street Journal, William Kristol dilates on ``national greatness conservatism'': ``Are we willing to say that the country is worse off because of FDR or JFK or LBJ? I'm not willing to say that.'' . . . Only 23 Senate Republicans support eliminating National Endowment for the Arts.
In National Press Club appearance, Charlton Heston, new veep of National Rifle Association, explains, ``My right to have a gun is more important than your right to rail about it in the press.'' He adds, ``For too long you've swallowed manufactured statistics and fabricated technical support from anti-gun organizations that wouldn't know a semiauto from a sharp stick.'' . . . Citizens for a Sound Economy distributes buttons saying, ``Read my e-mail: No new taxes.'' Rep. Chris Cox (R., Calif.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) have introduced Internet Tax Freedom Act. . . . Among 228 ``instances of anti-gay bigotry'' documented in People for the American Way report: MTV's airing of all-gay episode of Singled Out in a late-night slot instead of prime time. . . . NR's Rob Long (Cheers) rolls out latest TV effort, George & Leo, on CBS, Mondays at 9:30 P.M. And NR's Jack Fowler begins rise to power by winning GOP primary for alderman of Milford, Connecticut. . . . Hey, big spender: Urban Institute ranks the last hundred years' Presidents in terms of how much they increased domestic spending as a percentage of national income. Top five, in order: Richard Nixon, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, George Bush. The lowest spender? FDR. Ex-Gov. William Weld (R., Mass.) could still join diplomatic corps as Mexico's Ambassador to United States. Mexican elites and press swooned over Weld, calling him ``the enemy of our enemy, Mr. Helms.'' . . . General Charles Krulak, Marine Corps Commandant, apparently performed backbone transplants on other Chiefs to stiffen their opposition to deeply flawed land-mine treaty signed by 89 other countries. President Clinton pulled U.S. out, despite media calls to sign as a way to honor Princess Diana. . . . The UN, under watchful eye of Maurice Strong, is passing around six different proposals for reassessment of payments. None would significantly change U.S. responsibility for 25 per cent of general budget and 31.7 per cent of far-larger peacekeeping costs. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R., Md.) added up costs of U.S. support of UN activities and concludes that UN owes America $3.4 billion. . . . Colombia's Constitutional Court approves euthanasia, though only for terminally ill patients who have given their consent. Sufficient safeguard? In Netherlands, two physicians who killed patients in violation of euthanasia guidelines, Dr. Sippe Schat and Dr. A. Makdoembaks, were set free without penalty. . . . Forget daylight-savings time North Korea now has ``Juche calendar,'' which starts from 1912, year of Kim Il Sung's birth.
Jay Leno on Paula Jones's IRS audit: ``She thought Clinton harassed her. . . . Wait till the IRS gets done with her. She's gonna be running back to that hotel room, 'Okay, what do you want me to do? . . . I'll do it, I'll do it!''' . . . Joseph Doria, leader of Democrats in New Jersey Assembly, quoted in New Jersey Law Journal on bill repealing race and gender preferences: ``My colleagues and I are upset by this blatant attempt to replace diversity with fairness.'' He denies having said it.