- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2000

Blow on Kennedy

Rich Blow, executive editor of George magazine at the time of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s death last year, has sold his book proposal "on what it was like to put out a magazine with one of the most famous people in the world as its editor."

So one well-placed source confirmed in a telephone interview from New York Thursday.

"The book is more about George and John and what he was trying to accomplish at the magazine," says our source. "It will certainly provide a business history of the magazine and look at the tension experienced between [Mr. Blow] and John."

A few current and former staff members of George a magazine struggling to survive in a saturated market of political glossies have voiced opposition to anything written about Mr. Kennedy's role at George, contending it violates a confidentiality agreement staff members were required to sign.

But this column was told Thursday that Mr. Blow and his publisher Little, Brown believe the author isn't bound by that agreement. We were also told that Mr. Blow, who has since left the magazine, isn't aware of concerns expressed by Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg over the forthcoming book, as was rumored.

No manners

As he tried with his former Democratic presidential opponent Bill Bradley, Vice President Al Gore is extending his handshake to Texas Gov. George W. Bush, challenging his main Republican rival to drop all negative radio and TV ads in favor of issue-oriented debates.

"But Bush has yet to accept," Mr. Gore's campaign told this column Thursday (nor did Mr. Bradley, for that matter).

Internet inventor that he is, Mr. Gore has now released a new 60-second ad over his Web site algore2000.com titled "Turning." He says the ad "answers" Mr. Bush's latest "attack ad."

"Bush is now using the same negative tactics against Al Gore that he used against Sen. John McCain," the ad states, urging Mr. Bush to have a constructive dialogue instead, starting with education.

Bubba's back yard

When drawing attention to the "Clinton-Gore" administration's record on education as Vice President Al Gore wants the Texas Gov. George W. Bush to do what better venue for Mr. Bush than where it all began: Little Rock, Ark.

So Mr. Bush is traveling to Central High School Library in Little Rock Friday to hold an "education leadership forum" with parents, teachers and students.

Kicking butt

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, California Democrat, hosted a celebration in the Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday evening, allowing congresswomen and White House officials the opportunity to celebrate National Women's History Month and honor notable women in their lives.

Ann Lewis, counselor to President Clinton, was one woman who dropped by, joining Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat, and Sue W. Kelly, New York Republican.

Mrs. Woolsey drew attention to her mentor in the crowd, Helen Rudee, who in 1976 became the first woman elected to the Board of Supervisors in Sonoma County, Calif. Ms. Rudee since has worked to ensure that other women nationwide are elected to local offices.

The congresswoman credited Ms. Rudee for her rise to power, pointing out her mentor has been known to say, "I grew up with brothers and I know how to kick."

Mine adoption

You've heard of cleaning up the environment through the Adopt-A-Highway program. Well now, through a U.N.-sanctioned program, you can Adopt-A-Minefield.

"Sponsors don't get a [mine] sign, but they do get updates on the status of their minefield when it's to be cleared, and when it's finished," Poorni Bid, of the United Nations Association of the USA, says in a telephone interview from New York.

The Adopt-A-Minefield Campaign is one year old "and has been been incredibly successful," she says. "We've raised about $1.3 million … and have cleared approximately 50 minefields in five countries Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia and Mozambique."

All the campaign's demining operations are conducted through the United Nations, which has "mine action" centers located throughout the world, she adds.

"The numbers generally accepted are 60 million to 70 million active land mines in the ground in 70 different countries," says Miss Bid, who puts the cost of clearing a minefield at anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000, depending on its size.

Most donations to the campaign (801 2nd Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017-4706) come from community, church and school groups, she says, which, like the highway-beautification program, identify the individual mine site the group is raising money to clean up.

Save your breath

"Chance that an American without health insurance would be covered under Al Gore's proposed health care plan: 1 in 2."

Harper's Index, April 2000.

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