New House Speaker Gets Mixed Reviews

7 January 1999 6:30 pm

It was a chain of events only slightly less complicated than nuclear decay that made Representative Dennis Hastert (R-IL) Speaker of the House yesterday. And physicists hoping to embark on new neutrino studies at Fermilab (which sits in Hastert's district) applaud the appointment. Maury Goodman, a physicist at neighboring Argonne National Laboratory, reconstructed things this way in the "Long-Baseline Neutrino News" update:

"MONICA GOOD FOR NEUTRINOS: Try to follow this. Monica did her thing, and Ken Starr went after Clinton, so Larry Flynt decided to go after Republicans. His first victim was Speaker-designate [Robert] Livingston (R-LA), who resigned leaving open the position for Dennis Hastert, the congressman who represents Fermilab. The same day Clinton was impeached, the headline said Hastert's speakership will be good for Fermilab."

Some statisticians, however, aren't so sanguine about the new Republican leader. In 1997 Hastert chaired the House committee that oversees the 2000 census, and he doggedly opposed the use of statistical sampling to estimate the population. So far, however, sampling proponents aren't blaming Lewinsky.

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