- The Washington Times - Monday, October 9, 2000

Stunned candidates

Enough white lies were told during round one of the presidential debates that it might be simpler for this week's evaluation of candidates if Al Gore and George W. Bush were hooked up to polygraph machines.

The lie detectors could be wired to buzzers, or even stun guns, so as soon as a candidate opens his mouth to mislead the public, viewers could watch him get shocked back to reality.

The Gorper

With all the flak he took for his "appearance" at last week's kickoff debate, look for Al Gore this Wednesday night to apply far less rouge.

"If you'd stuck him in a push-up bra and a sequin dress and had him sing show tunes, he'd have carried San Francisco in a landslide," the San Francisco Examiner wrote in its review of last week's show.

But others insist that Mr. Gore, through his thick mascara and never-before-seen facial expressions, was trying to impersonate a certain past president in his first-ever presidential debate.

"I have an observation that I just can't shake," writes one of several readers, Gordon Hallock of Stafford, Va. "I pulled up a picture from the debate of Gore and one showing former President Ronald Reagan and there was some close resemblance in features.

"Mind you, I am a Bush supporter … so what I am saying is, was it done on purpose or have I been staying up too late at night?"

Go figure

If you don't believe what the pollsters have been posting on the presidential sweepstakes, you'll really question their findings when reading Excite.com's informal election survey.

Visitors are asked, if the election were held today, for whom would you most likely vote?

Of 32,815 votes tallied at the end of last week, 57 percent say George W. Bush and 32 percent Al Gore.

Don't shoot

Former Navy Secretary John Lehman was one of many witnesses on hand when a strange airplane landed at Washington's most popular museum.

The Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) only 14 feet long with a wingspan of 17 feet has found a new home in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, joining a collection of airplanes and spacecraft documenting the history of aviation.

Apart from Americans, those who really might like to see the aircraft up close is the group of Iraqi soldiers who during Operation Desert Storm incredibly waved white flags and surrendered to the sound of the UAV's engine high above them.

To the amazement of U.S. military officials many miles away, the surrender was caught on videotape through the aircraft's "eye in the sky" surveillance camera.

The unmanned plane, powered by a mere 26-horsepower rear-mounted engine, also flew successful missions over Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Literary capital

Laura Falacienski, business manager of the National Press Club's Eric Friedheim Library, tells us some of the nation's "brightest minds" are lined up for the 23rd Annual Book Fair and Authors Night next month.

More than 80 authors will join a crowd expected to exceed 1,500 on Nov. 9 to help raise money for the library, a primary resource for journalists in Washington and elsewhere around the country.

Among the participating out-of-town authors are George Plimpton, Marianne Williamson, James Bradley, Sandra Brown, Stephen Coonts, Rita Mae Brown, Bill Bryson, Candace Bushnell, Lawrence Block, Jeffery Deaver, Frank Deford and Jules Feiffer.

Washington authors and their featured tomes include Eleanor Clift and Tom Brazaitis, "Madame President"; Jim Lehrer, "The Special Prisoner"; Letitia Baldridge, "Legendary Brides"; Cokie and Steve Roberts, "From This Day Forward"; Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, "Speak Truth to Power"; and Helen Thomas, "Front Row at the White House."

Ladies and queens

Larry Solvey was one of many readers to respond to our "kinky first lady" item of Friday, which told about a "drag queen" who paid federal tax dollars to dress up as Helen Taft and lead tours at the National First Ladies Museum.

"The watchdog organization Citizens Against Public Waste has little credibility," the reader writes, "when they can't even get the right Ohio city that is home to the First Lady Museum.

"Canton, not Dayton, is the Ohio city that is proud to have this museum. In defense of my birthplace, Canton before it became famous as the home of the NFL Professional Football Hall of Fame was home and later the burial place of our 25th president, William McKinley, and his wife, Ida.

"I will let the man who was wrongly characterized as a 'drag queen' defend himself."

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