- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2000

Lewinsky & Clark

Dozens of Washington-area alumni of Lewis & Clark College stuffed themselves into a tiny reception room Wednesday night at the U.S. Capitol to hear of expansion plans for the college's law school and to meet its president, Michael Mooney.
To one side of the room, on a display table, were albums proclaiming "A Small Sampling of Lewis & Clark College in the News." These contained dozens of articles on faculty, bequests, awards and visiting lecturers at the Oregon school.
However, not one news clip mentioned L&C;'s most famous alumni: Monica Lewinsky.
College alumni tell us that during the height of Monica Madness in 1998, the college included only one mention of the affair in its alumni newsletter, and that was a lone photo of the journalists who had descended on the campus looking for any old gossip on the former White House intern.
Miss Lewinsky did not attend Wednesday's gathering, by the way.

A for absentia

"Is it any wonder," observes Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, "why the approval ratings of the Congress go up every time we go into recess?"

Pay to play

Congress is definitely feeling the heat from constituents as gasoline prices continue to soar across the nation.
Feeling hotter under the collar than anybody is the chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Frank H. Murkowski, Alaska Republican, who acknowledges that the higher costs are particularly difficult on "America's soccer moms."
"With the idea of running the kids here and there, [they] have gone out and spent tens of millions of dollars on sport utility vehicles that barely get 15 miles a gallon," he notes. "With today's gas prices, they find when they fill up one of those SUVs that it can put a big hole in a $100 bill."
Or more precisely, he says, $70 to $80 a tankful.

Glass of gas

Legislation was introduced in the Senate late last week called the "MTBE Elimination Act of 2000."
MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, is a poisonous product added to approximately 30 percent of the nation's gasoline supplies to boost octane. Worse yet, it's been turning up with greater frequency in the nation's ground water and drinking water supplies.
Now, some in Congress want MTBE replaced with ethanol, a safer alternative already used in several states. In fact, Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald, Illinois Republican, educates that ethanol is nothing more than grain alcohol.
"Ethanol is not only good for your air," he says, "but if it did get into your water, your only big decision would be whether to add some ice and tonic before you drink it."

Incoming!

Clark County, Nev., which encompasses Las Vegas, is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country and needs a new airport. Before it can be built, the county has to buy several thousands acres of public land from Uncle Sam.
Which means Congress and environmentalists are both involved, especially amid concerns over the proposed airport's impact on the area's mountain sheep and desert tortoise.
Not to worry, says Rep. George Miller, California Democrat, who cites one study in which an F-16 fighter jet flew only 375 feet above some captive mountain sheep.
"The noise levels created did not alter behavior or increase heart rates to the detriment of the population," he assures.
As for the turtles, which were subjected to subsonic as well as supersonic aircraft noise in another 1999 study?
"The most extreme response to simulated subsonic aircraft noise was a typical reptilian defense response," he says, quoting the study.

Irish welcome

It used to be that protesters didn't want homosexuals to march in New York City's historic St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Now they don't want Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Come join 'Stop Hillary Now' Friday, March 17th … in a Hillary Banner Protest," says leaflets showing up not only in the streets of the Big Apple, but here in Washington, too.
"We will be handing out the banners starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue between 58th and 59th Street near the fountain," says the group, which is enlisting vendors to distribute bumper stickers and anti-Hillary buttons.
"We are not marching or protesting as a group. Our goal is to have a peaceful banner protest to get our message out," the group adds.
"Two people are needed for each sign to hold it over the police barricade when Mrs. Clinton comes walking down the parade route."

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