Not any sweeterTHE MINUTE-LONG ovation given Pete Rose...

NOTES AND COMMENTS

October 27, 1999

Not any sweeter

THE MINUTE-LONG ovation given Pete Rose before the second game of the World Series suggests that a sympathetic public might be ready for the controversial ballplayer to take his place in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mr. Rose's impertinent comments that evening suggest he's the one who's not ready.

Mr. Rose was banned from baseball after he was accused of gambling on games -- including some involving his Cincinnati Reds. That means no Hall of Fame induction.

Mr. Rose had a great opportunity Sunday night to show some contrition and persuade the current commissioner, Bud Selig, to reconsider the ban. He was one of 30 players chosen for an "All-Century Team," along with Orioles Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson.

But Mr. Rose missed a fat pitch by a mile. Instead of apologizing, he defiantly told an interviewer that the betting slips and other evidence against him were inconclusive.

Baseball fans still revere Rose the player. But Rose the individual refuses to help his own cause.

Overkill

YOU might think Congress would take the defense budget seriously to maintain national security while avoiding waste.

Not so.

The $268 billion defense appropriation that President Clinton signed is $4.5 billion more than he sought, while shaving some of what the Pentagon said it needs.

There is $375 million to start building a helicopter carrier in Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott's Mississippi district five years before the Navy wanted.

And $275 million to build five excess Boeing F-15 fighters in House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt's St. Louis.

There is $630 million for earmarked medical research projects that are not military but end runs around the National Institutes of Health.

There is $289 million more for spare parts, $222 million for equipment overhauls, $223 million for routine base operations and $362 million for facilities maintenance than requested.

Oh yes, and $2 million to compel the Army to use the wrong air base when flying troops to Fort Irwin and $250,000 to conserve a historic military cemetery in Nebraska and $10 million to study the aurora borealis. Each because someone in Congress knew better than the brass.

Zealous for national defense? Sober about budget balancing? Honest about paring waste?

"Tell that to the marines," Sir Walter Scott once wrote, "the sailors won't believe it."

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