- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2000

Wisdom of the ages

As go the children, so goes the nation?
George W. Bush won one election in Florida for real. The Florida Department of State's "Mock Election" for thousands of students conducted Nov. 6 gave the presidency to Mr. Bush 83,159 votes to 72,611 votes for Al Gore.
While Mr. Gore won in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, Mr. Bush took Seminole, Broward, Brevard and Duval, among others.
More than 170,000 children from elementary to high school participated in the vote, which the Department of State calls "a valuable teaching tool."

Words to live by

"Happily expectant" Ari Fleischer, spokesman for the Bush-Cheney transition team, on the atmosphere in their McLean office late yesterday afternoon.

How come?

Some may be irked by the old liberal bias on the airwaves lately. Here's a little quiz:
How come, when the Florida Legislature has 58 Democrats among 160 members, it's always referred to as "Republican-dominated," but the Florida Supreme Court, which includes zero Republicans, is never called "Democrat-dominated?"
How come no one on TV can mention Secretary of State Katherine Harris without remarking on the fact that she worked in the Bush campaign, but outside a handful of newspapers, no one ever points out that Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth was chairman of the Gore campaign in the Sunshine State?
How come George W. Bush has an MBA from Harvard Biz and he's a moron and Al Gore "dropped out" of Vanderbilt Law School and he's a genius?
Boston Herald writer Howie Carr wants to know and calls the past few weeks a "campaign of disinformation." He predicts it will worsen before "hero Al gets the job he so richly deserves ambassador to Chad."

Food for thought

While legal wrangling continue in Florida, here is a moment of levity.
Please note that it is illegal in Miami "for men to be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown" and that "the molestations of trash cans" have been prohibited in Daytona Beach. It is illegal throughout the state of Florida "to have sex with a porcupine."

Raise it high

One former fighter jock wants to fight for Old Glory.
Missouri state lawmaker Sam Gaskill has submitted a bill before the state legislature that would permit the use of force to stop someone from desecrating the American flag.
Mr. Gaskill, a Republican and former fighter pilot who flew in Vietnam, said the nation's symbol "deserves more respect than the protest message of some liberal hippie."
What does he have in mind for those who would harm the Stars and Stripes?
"You should be able to take hold of the flag and take it off the ground and rescue it," Mr. Gaskill said. "If the guy doesn't want to let go of it or he swings back, then the person ought to fight back."
Mr. Gaskill's bill allows the use of force if someone thinks it would prevent "the defilement or dishonorable destruction" of the flag. There would be no theft or assault charges; the bill does not condone deadly force.
This does not sit well with the American Civil Liberties Union, which equates the bill with "violence and lawlessness."
"The flag is a symbol, a very powerful symbol, but one of its symbols is the First Amendment, free speech and free expression," said ACLU spokeswoman Marsha Richeson.

Fit to serve?

A petition submitted yesterday to Florida House Speaker Tom Feeney and to members of the Florida Supreme Court asks the seven jurists to step down for violating both the federal and state Constitution.
The request, from Balint Vazsonyi, founder and director of the Center for American Founding, stems from the panel's rulings last month that extended the state's deadline for certifying the Nov. 7 presidential election.
"We worked up a brief which challenges them with three counts of malfeasance," Mr. Vazsonyi said. "We would like the House of Florida to examine the fitness of these justices to serve."
He hopes the House will begin hearings to consider the action of the court. The judges had no comment, he said.
"I would like them to be active in this process, and I think that it is entirely possible to see that they made a mistake."

Nixon's the one

Tonight, more than 100 sentimental people will recall Richard Milhous Nixon, right in his old stomping grounds.
The "Nixon Staff Millennium Reunion" will take place in the Chinese Room of the Mayflower Hotel the former president's favorite spot for celebrations in the late 1950s.
Attendees will include David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, Pat and Shelley Buchanan and 100 staff members from Mr. Nixon's congressional years.
"The theme is 'One More Time, Just for Drill,' " said Evie Lazzarino of the Richard Nixon Foundation. "That's the phrase that Nixon advance people always used just to make sure they got everything right."
A gala honoring Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg, chairman of the American International Group, follows Wednesday at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Among guests and speakers: Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican; Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen; and James Schlesinger, former defense secretary.
"These are faces from Mr. Nixon's career," noted Ms. Lazzarino.

All-points bulletin

From Timothy M. Richardson, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police: "Vice President [Al] Gore has dedicated many years of his life to the cause of public service… . But now the time has come for the Vice President to make yet another sacrifice in the service of his country. It is time for Vice President Gore, in the best interests of the nation, to concede the election to Gov. George W. Bush."

GSA blues

The General Services Administration acted improperly in denying the Bush-Cheney team access to transition funds and offices under the 1963 Presidential Transition Act. So says the Brookings Institution.
"Transition funds and assistance can be released to the apparent successful candidate even in an exceedingly close election, whether measured by popular vote or electoral vote," senior adviser Paul C. Light told the House Government Reform's Government Management, Information, and Technology subcommittee yesterday.
Tracing the legislative history of the Presidential Transition Act, Mr. Light continued, "It is clear that Congress intended to provide transition support to the winning candidates well before absolute certainty is reached by the Electoral College on December 18."

Christmas past

There will be 44 decorated trees, 324 wreaths and 50,000 lights. But that ain't all.
First lady and Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the White House holiday theme yesterday: "Holiday Reflections," a combination of the past seven Christmas themes of the Clinton administration.
They are: "Angels," "The 12 Days of Christmas," "The Night Before Christmas," "The Nutcracker," "Santa's Workshop," "Winter Wonderland" and "Holiday Treasures."
A "large kissing ball" will hang in the Grand Foyer, a White House advisory notes. "Previous kissing balls can be seen onboard Santa's sleigh at the East Entrance of the White House."

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