• Comedy or tragedy? Washington Goes Shakespearean

    Top Line

    Washington, oh Washington, art thou a tragedy or a jest? That is the question that hung before Members of Congress and journalists who participated in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual “Will on the Hill” play that benefits arts programs for low-income students.

    Before donning a crown and taking part in the comical play himself, Top Line’s Rick Klein posed that very question to fellow “Will on the Hill” participant Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), who replied: “I don't joke about Washington.”

    “I'm frightened to death for my country,” Rangel said. “I've never seen the polarization that exists and a handful of people are committed to destroy or to stop the president and a party doesn't make sense.”

    Rangel went on to offer some tough words for the Republican Party, saying “that nice people go into Republican conference and they come out mean spirited and not satisfied with themselves.”

    “I predict the end of the Republican Party, maybe not in my lifetime, but soon,” Rangel said.

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  • Your tax dollars at work: Heating and cooling empty buildings Congress won’t sell

    The Fine Print

    Meet the Army’s chief real estate agent, Katherine Hammack.

    As the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, she is leading an effort to cut costs by getting rid of buildings the Army no longer uses. The challenge: Congress won’t sign off on the plan to finish the job.

    “The Army's got about a billion square feet of infrastructure, and current estimates are about 20 percent of it are excess to need,” Hammack tells The Fine Print.

    “We have a choice: The choice is to close that base...Our other choice is the expensive one, and that's to keep those buildings heated and cooled, maintained when no one’s inside. And that's the expensive choice that I don't think the taxpayer wants us to make,” she says.

    Hammack points to Camp Roberts, a California base that hasn’t been fully occupied for four decades, as an example of the Army’s unneeded infrastructure. Of the 800 buildings on the base, only 500 are used.

    “There are about 300 old Army barracks

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  • Can the Syrian War be solved on two wheels? Head of NATO talks “bicycling diplomacy”

    Power Players

    The Secretary General of NATO has a secret tool for effective diplomacy: the bicycle.

    Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Power Players that he’s been able to resolve conflicts with heads of state and international conflict negotiators during bike rides.

    “When you take a break and drink some water, you can have a confidential conversation without your collaborators around you, so you can solve a lot of problems that way,” Rasmussen said, following a meeting with President Obama at the White House.

    While Rasmussen would not reveal the names of all the heads of state he’s biked with, he did identify one former U.S. president by name.

    “It’s no secret that I have done a mountain bike ride twice with former President [George W.] Bush,” he said. “I have done bike rides in Europe with European prime ministers, and during those bike rides, we have also discussed political issues.”

    On the topic of Syria, Rasmussen opposes a military intervention and says Turkey’s

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