- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Dees and Finch

What do Morris Dees and Atticus Finch have in common?
Lawyers in Washington found out during a lull between snowstorms this week, as the Bar Association of the District of Columbia honored Mr. Dees, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, for having "taken the Klan to the cleaners."
As in the Ku Klux Klan, said bar President Jack Olender.
The Heroes in Law recognition at the University of the District of Columbia's David A. Clarke School of Law applauded Mr. Dees' multimillion-dollar lawsuits, their attempt to bankrupt hate groups and their leaders.
Mr. Dees surprised the audience when he revealed that his hero and inspiration is actually a character in fiction, Atticus Finch from Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird."
From the podium, Mr. Dees described a scene from a movie based on the novel in which Finch, played by Gregory Peck, exited the courtroom after having lost a jury verdict against an unjustly accused black man.
As he passed, the blacks segregated in the balcony rose from their seats as a gesture of their respect for Finch. As Mr. Dees recalled the scene, his voice cracked with emotion until he paused to regain his composure.
"I have been in many courtrooms," he resumed, "and I have seen many balconies filled with blacks. I really understood."

Meaningful legislation

An unprecedented meeting will be held Friday in Washington concerning the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), with the objective to make legislation improve government service to the taxpayer.
The day begins with a keynote address by Rep. Steve Horn, California Republican, who will discuss current and future performance measures in government appropriations and agency accountability.
His address will be followed by a panel discussion on the current state of GPRA with three unique perspectives Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, and government agencies.
Robert Shea, who works with Sen. Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican, on the Governmental Affairs Committee, will discuss current and future efforts to assess agency performance.
Other participants of the meeting, much of which will be closed to the media, include Walter Groscyk of the Office of Management and Budget; Alan Balutis, deputy chief information officer of the Department of Commerce; and OMB acting Director for Management Deidre Lee.

Buying votes

Now that political wannabe Hillary Rodham Clinton is opening herself up to questions, Thomas Oathout has written to ask her advice on a CD rollover.
"I have CD [certificate of deposit] in an [individual retirement account] coming due in two weeks and I have to decide what to do with it," he tells Mrs. Clinton, who you'll remember cashed in $100,000 from a $1,000 investment almost overnight.
"Hillary, you apparently proved you had great skill and acumen with your $1,000 investment, why did you quit? I mean do the math. After taxes you had $50,000, which reinvested with the same skill and acumen would have been $5 million, which after taxes would have been $25 million which, reinvested with the same skill and acumen, would have been $250 million …"
Before running out of paper, Mr. Oathout calculated that Hillary, skillful at investing as she was, could have pulled in $625 billion from her initial $1,000 investment.
"Help me with that kind of return on my investment and my loyalty is yours," he writes. "And talk about buying my vote."

Bandits and Yankees

Interestingly, far more Americans residing outside the Beltway mailed in definitions of "Inside the Beltway," as readers from both planets were invited to do last week.
Tony Matta, of Austin, Texas, observes:
"Having once lived in Washington, D.C., and having seen our federal government in action (or should I say inaction?), I really cannot imagine Beltway standing for anything other than:
B Bloated
E Elitist
L Lawmakers
T Thoughtlessly
W Wasting
A All
Y Your dollars
While Bob Caro, closer to the coast in Corpus Christi, Texas, says: "Those of us in Texas have always known what Beltway stands for:
B Buncha
E Evil
L Lawyers
T Thieves
W Weasels
A And
Y Yankees.

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