And now the most absorbing two minutes in television: the latest from Special Report's "Political Grapevine."
Creative spending no more
The inspector general of HUD, the Federal Housing Department, has concluded that the department wasted more than a million dollars -- $1.1 million, to be exact -- on something called the Creative Wellness Program, which we told you about before. It was intended to combat drug abuse. The money was used to hire a firm called the Community Center for Holistic Healing, which in turn dispensed advice to public housing tenants about which gemstones, mood rings, types of incense and clothing colors would help their self-esteem.
The inspector general found "no measurable benefits in curbing drug use." That contract has been canceled.
Strange noises south of the casa blanca
The quiet of a Washington summer evening was rent on Wednesday night by thunderous noises emanating from the ellipse, that vast grassy area south of the White House grounds. Emergency lines lit up with people reporting what they thought were gunshots. Others thought it was car backfires or explosions.
What it was, as you can see, was a late-night fireworks display for the president and his guests at the state dinner for Mexican President Fox. Some told The Washington Post they were indignant at being disturbed and even awakened. Other were upset that there was no notice so that people could have come and watched the display. On Capitol Hill, Democrats demanded an accounting of the cost. A spokesman for the first lady apologized for any inconvenience or the noise.
Now that's a "hot" line!
The Internal Revenue Service, which has been sharply criticized for giving out bad information over its taxpayer hot lines, has now been found to have given out phone lines that were just too hot. Federal auditors found that 286,000 taxpayers received IRS publications listing help line phone numbers that turned out to be sexually explicit chat lines.
The Arizona Republic quotes an IRS spokesman as saying the agency agrees with the finding, and noted that distribution of the erroneous numbers has now stopped.
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