- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2000

Got lunch money?

"This is your first day of school. And so you have to go to bed early, get a good night's sleep, wear a nice dress. You know, first day of school."
President Clinton's advice to his wife, Hillary, on her first day of orientation classes in the Senate.

Reality check

It's Pearl Harbor Day the 59th anniversary of the Japanese attack that claimed 2,403 American lives.
Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican who served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 and is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, hopes America remembers despite the election turmoil down in Florida.
"Shortly after World War II Dwight D. Eisenhower was asked where and when the next war would be," Mr. Warner told The Washington Times yesterday. "He paused, then said it would come unexpectedly, and from an unknown direction. That's still true. We still have to remember Pearl Harbor, we still have to remain vigilant, we still must keep our military strong."
"The events of nearly six decades ago serve as a stark reminder that freedom is not free, and we owe those who serve in our nation's military more than we can ever hope to repay," Rep. Floyd D. Spence, South Carolina Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told The Times.

Paper chase

For 14,000 pieces of cardboard, the disputed presidential ballots have many suitors.
More than a dozen groups have filed requests to view, count or possibly just admire the dimples including the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, "Inside Edition," "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" and Judicial Watch.
Another 40 requests have been received from those who want a look at meeting minutes, phone records and other documents. There is so much paper involved that Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga is keeping a scrapbook of the 5,000 letters, cards and e-mail messages he has received since hearing just one of the suits.
But ashes to ashes, dust to dust: Miami-Dade County Election Supervisor David Leahy reminded one and all yesterday that the ballots will be incinerated after 22 months, in accordance with state law.

Taking a constitutional

Amid endless coverage of the election impasse, CNN legal analyst Roger Cossack has derived one sure thing, he said, from its complexities: He has renewed his romance with the Constitution.
"What a great document it is, how brilliant were its writers," he said enthusiastically yesterday. "And we still believe in it as a final authority, even after 225 years. This is not a constitutional crisis. It's a government crisis that the Constitution will settle. A decision will be reached, in an orderly process. It's a beautiful thing."

Ka-ching

Attention collectors the Washington Mint has gotten inventive.
The Minnesota-based company has issued commemorative silver inaugural coins for nine years but faced a most peculiar problem: Who goes on the 2001 coin?
Easy. They put George W. Bush on one side, Al Gore on the other. The coin is currently priced at $30, but will fetch $45 in January.
Company President Thomas Brokl suggests that the medallion could easily solve the voting problem. Just flip it, he said. Whoever's face appears, wins.

The higher road

One panacea to the woes of the Florida ballot dispute is civility, says Frank Wright of the Center for Christian Statesmanship.
"We need new governing goals. There is a high water mark of public service, and it's called statesmanship. But true statesmanship is a lost art, largely because we have forgotten the faith-based perspective that makes statesmanship possible," Mr. Wright said.
"George Washington in his Farewell Address called religion and morality 'indispensable supports' of political prosperity."

He added, "Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.' It's not enough for leaders to talk a good faith game. It's time to live it, and a great place to start is with civility."
He cited John F. Kennedy's inaugural address: "So let us begin anew remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

Santa cause

The Internet's favorite son has gotten considerable support from a new breed of donor: the cyber-philanthropist.
Infoseek founder and rich guy Steve Kirsch has wired $200,000 to Al Gore's supporters in Florida to help with the vice president's legal bills.
Mr. Kirsch is a registered Republican. He met and was impressed by Mr. Gore during a California fund-raiser featuring rocker Elton John.
"I think you can very easily show statistically that Gore won the election, and it is just not right that the actual count does not reflect that," Mr. Kirsch told Reuters yesterday. "Even under the most extreme assumptions, the people of Florida voted for Gore."
He had heard several lawyers were about to drop Mr. Gore's case for want of money. "So I'm paying their legal bills," he said.
Mr. Kirsch is a flexible guy.
"I tend to look at the candidates, I don't vote strictly on party lines by any stretch," he said. "I'm very bipartisan in the way I vote."

Ice cream, you scream

Two public servants are reveling in goodies today.
New Mexico Gov. Gary E. Johnson and state Rep. Joe Thompson have finally called off a healthy bet they made in 1997 to cut out junk food and sweet stuff.
The pair eventually had to ante up $7,200 as the months went by until Mr. Thompson broke.
"What was the point? We had proven we could do it, and I was missing out on the fun things in life," he said, then ate Skittles, peanut butter and ice cream.
Mr. Johnson who Reason magazine is currently calling "America's most dangerous politician" for his stance on legalizing marijuana and other issues celebrated with a jumbo frozen yogurt in a waffle cone.
"I knew this would happen when the bet went away," he said. "I'm trying now to regroup."

Maybe it's methane

There will be two Clinton books in the National Archives' official "National Millennium Time Capsule" when it is opened presumably in the next millennium.
Yesterday, Sen.-elect and first lady Hillary Clinton gave copies of President Clinton's "Between Hope and History" and her own new book, "An Invitation to the White House" to be included in the steel, copper and titanium capsule, to be sealed Jan. 21.
"The capsule is ventilated to allow for the release of gases emitted by the items over time," Mrs. Clinton's press office noted in a release.

The world's wags

The following "news release" is currently wending its way around the globe via e-mail:
"An increasingly desperate Al Gore called for a recount Tuesday of the U.S. Supreme Court's 9-0 decision in Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board.
" 'There is reason to suspect that these nine votes were not properly counted and that as many as five justices who sided with Mr. Bush did not intend to do so,' Mr. Gore said.
" 'It is therefore in the best interest of our democracy for the U.S. Supreme Court to suspend judgment in this case until we can be absolutely certain that this court did, in fact, intend to rule in Mr. Bush's favor.' "
Mr. Gore added that if his recount request is denied, he will file an appeal with the Interplanetary Supreme Court.

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