Ill Treated

From a medical standpoint, the first Gulf war was a disaster. Of the 700,000 American men and women who returned from Operation Desert Storm, roughly 30 percent went on to file disability claims for a host of ailments, including skin lesions, rheumatism, reproductive problems, depression, chronic fatigue, and impaired cognitive function. These have since been grouped under the name Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). After 224 studies and more than $200 million in research, the causes remain uncertain. But experts generally agree that these symptoms arose from exposure to any of 33 toxic agents--includin


Hatchet Job

In the summer of 1999, Trent Lott cut what seemed like a fair good deal with his Democratic counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. For weeks, Democrats had been holding up the Senate's work on a number of appropriations bills--bills the GOP hoped would force Bill Clinton to make politically treacherous decisions about tax cuts and spending. So, in exchange for Daschle's promise to let the appropriations bills move forward, Lott allowed Democrats to bring up 20 amendments to a soon-to-be-debated HMO reform bill. Conservatives were apoplectic.


FOR A YEAR AND A HALF now, my husband and I have lived in a tall, tomato-red house near the southern end of Washington's Embassy Row. Built in 1898, the house had the exact combination of personality and sturdiness we had been looking for. Just as important, it came with an array of age-related quirks that scared away all other potential buyers. This allowed us to avoid the bloody bidding wars so common in D.C.



See no evil TO THE EDITORS: As a Jew who lives among conservative, Bible Belt Christians, I was astonished by Peter Beinart's argument that I should distrust their friendship with Israel ("Bad Move; May 20). I've discussed Israel with at least a hundred conservative Christian patients, colleagues, and neighbors in the last year. Religious beliefs color some of their political views, but few couch their support for Israel in religious terms. Most simply feel that Israel is a righteous democracy that is under attack by dictatorships.


Sex games

For those of us who think the affirmative action wars should be settled at the ballot box rather than in the courts, this is supposed to be the moment of truth. In little more than a month, the people of California will vote on a constitutional initiative that would bar the state from discriminating, or granting preferences, based on race or sex, in public employment, education or contracting.


The Southern Coup

When the new Republican Congress was sworn in last January, the South finally conquered Washington. The defeated Democratic leadership had been almost exclusively from the Northeast, the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest, with Speaker Tom Foley of Washington, Majority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri and Majority Whip David Bonior of Michigan in the House, and, on the Senate side, Majority Leader George Mitchell from Maine. The only Southerner in the Democratic congressional leadership was Senate Majority Whip Wendell Ford of Kentucky.


The fault is in the speakers, and in the hearers, too.


Boom Town

Why is housing so expensive here? Some special circumstances have held down supply, notably insufficient sewer capacity. But the important factors are on the demand side. Housing prices in Washington are astronomical for the same reason that Bloomingdale's has built two stores in the DC suburbs, its first ventures outride the New York area. It is the same reason Lord and Taylor has three stores hereabouts and Nieman Marcus will be moving in shortly from Texas. Why are there six Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the Washington area and only five in Chicago?


The Supreme Court during its present session has the opportunity to strike its mightiest blow against racial prejudice. The nine justices must decide whether segregation of Negro and white pupils in the public schools violates the equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment.