- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2000

Pity the peasants

A respectable gentleman who lives in the Westbridge condominiums on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, which shares building space with the powerful law firm Patton Boggs, couldn't believe his ears during the wee hours of one recent morning.
It wasn't the voice of superlobbyist Thomas Hale "Tommy" Boggs Jr., son of the late House Majority Leader Hale Boggs of Louisiana and brother of ABC News commentator "Cokie" Roberts, that he heard.
It wasn't Patton Boggs' lawyers, who number prominently among Vice President Al Gore's financial contributors, discussing the veep's chances against George W. Bush come November.
It wasn't 37 lawyers from Patton Boggs, who showed up for Hillary Rodham Clinton's Washington fund-raiser and forked over $24,000 to her senatorial campaign, digging into the files of New York native Rick A. Lazio.
It wasn't Mrs. Clinton's fund-raiser organizer, Lanny J. Davis, a lawyer at Patton Boggs and former White House special counsel who defended the Clinton administration in myriad scandals.
What awakened the gentleman between the hours of 1:30 and 3:30 a.m., when most of Washington slept peacefully?
"It sounded like a hammer hitting concrete," says the man, who waited until sunrise and marched into Patton Boggs to investigate.
"I told the office manager, a Robbi Criner, about the huge amount of noise, and she actually told me that they are doing some renovation work and have to have [the demolition] completed before 9 a.m. so that their $500-dollar-an-hour lawyers aren't disturbed.
"Can you believe that?" he asks. "They don't want to disturb the lawyers. This is beyond hypocrisy!"
We rang Ms. Criner, who confirmed what the gentleman heard in his sleep "jack-hammering to chip away a concrete floor" to make space for a conference room and cafeteria.
We reminded Ms. Criner of a certain noise ordinance in the nation's capital that prohibits activities like jack-hammering at the same hour bartenders are giving last call.
"We didn't think they could hear it," she explained. "We're trying to maintain good relations."

Defining transgender

Uncle Sam is obviously confused about how to deal with transgendered people, whatever they are.
On the same day that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner was encouraging her employees not to discriminate against their transgendered colleagues, suggesting they attend an EPA-sponsored "Transgender Panel Discussion" this Thursday, across the Potomac River the Immigration and Naturalization Service set out to criminally prosecute a transgendered pair Katharine (a former man) and Pat (a former woman) Spray on charges of marriage fraud.
(While the Clinton administration frequently refers to the word "transgender," it isn't in the dictionary we opened. The San Francisco Chronicle defines transgendered people as "straight or gay drag queens, transvestites, transsexuals, hermaphrodites and others whose gender identity does not correspond to their biology or expected social roles.")

Rice market

With President Clinton pushing harder than ever to lift the U.S. embargo against Cuba, who better than the Arkansas Farm Bureau to sponsor a fact-finding mission to Cuba.
Among those who tagged along on the just-concluded four-day trip was Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas Democrat (the first female senator ever to travel to Cuba), who after meeting with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro said she is now "more confident than ever" of the need to lift the embargo.
No wonder Mrs. Lincoln has co-sponsored various bills in the Senate to lift the embargo against Cuba, especially for food. Arkansas is one of the nation's top rice-producing states and the Cuban people consume more than 600,000 tons per year.

Boys party

United Airlines Chairman and CEO James E. Goodwin is among those who have RSVP'd for this evening's "Men's Event" at the Palm Restaurant.
The event is to benefit prostate cancer research at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center and the National Cancer Prevention Fund.

In closing

"No American should be forced to visit the IRS and the undertaker at the same time."
Rep. George Radanovich, California Republican, who voted Friday to repeal the estate tax, commonly known as the "death tax." The Death Elimination Act passed the House by a vote of 279-176.

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