- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Security opening
Anybody aboard an elevator in the U.S. Capitol has already passed through a security checkpoint and metal detector — members of the Fourth Estate included.
But that didn't stop a U.S. Capitol policeman from "man-handling" one credentialed congressional correspondent riding an elevator to the Senate Press Gallery yesterday afternoon — just as the nation's biggest VIP was happening by.
"The door opened on the first floor just as George W. Bush was walking by, and this policeman suddenly came rushing towards the elevator and physically pushed me back, shouting 'Close the elevator!'" says the correspondent, who asks to remain anonymous.
"We [in the elevator] had no way of knowing what was going on," he says. "We were innocent riders on an elevator. They should have just stopped the thing if they didn't want it to open and close when the president was going by."

Watergate to Whitewater
What a long strange trip it's been for Bob Weiner.
In 1971 and 1972, he was national youth-voter director at Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate. And we all know what happened on June 17, 1972.
In 1998, Mr. Weiner was called to testify before the Whitewater grand jury concerning Monica Lewinsky, to answer questions about private phone calls he and his wife made from their home expressing their opinions to friends. He made headlines when expressing outrage against the "violation" of his family's right to free speech.
In between, Mr. Weiner held top posts under Democratic Reps. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, Charles B. Rangel of New York, Claude Pepper of Florida, then-Rep. Ed Koch of New York, and helped run the presidential and Senate campaigns of Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.
For the past six years, he's been spokesman to the White House drug czar, departing this week to open a public affairs and issue strategies firm Robert Weiner Associates — less than a block from his White House digs on Pennsylvania Avenue.
"If I can impart one message," Mr. Weiner told well-wishers like ABC's Sam Donaldson at his going-away party, "it is to keep the American people informed and involved. That way, they are invested as partner in the efforts of their government."
Not surprisingly, Mr. Weiner is working on a book: "Watergate to Whitewater, Near the Center of the Storm — the Joy of Politics."

Judging judges
The Washington-based Federalist Society for Law and Public Studies enlisted Northwestern University Law Professor James Lindgren to conduct an analysis of American Bar Association ratings for appellate court judges appointed by former President Clinton and former President George Bush.
Professor Lindgren will publish a final report this fall in the Virginia Journal of Law & Politics, but his preliminary findings indicate the odds of getting an ABA "Well Qualified" rating (the ABA has been rating federal judges since the 1940s) are between seven and 10 times higher for Clinton appointees than for Bush appointees.
In one category, 67 percent of Mr. Clinton's appellate picks received a "Well Qualified" ABA rating, compared with just 17 percent of Mr. Bush's.
"If Clinton nominees were scrutinized under the same credentials-driven standards that professor Lindgren's statistical analysis found were applied by the ABA to evaluate Bush nominees, only 48 percent of Clinton's nominees would have been rated as unanimously well qualified, rather than the 67 percent that actually received the top rating from the ABA," says the society.
Using the same criteria, it concludes, "the Bush and Clinton nominees had on average identically strong qualifications, but received different ratings by the American Bar Association."

Federalized skies
Sen. Dianne Feinstein's proposal to limit airline passengers to two alcoholic drinks — by law, if she has to — isn't flying well with the airline industry, first-class passengers who expect certain perks for high-priced tickets, or the Libertarian Party.
The California Democrat says she'll wait to see if major airlines volunteer to restrict passenger to two drinks, but if they don't, she will introduce legislation requiring them to do so.
"Who else but a drunk-with-power politician could decide that she knows better than the airlines, flight attendants — and you, the airline passenger — about how many drinks are appropriate," asks Libertarian national director Steve Dasbach. "The fact is, this is not a decision that should be made by politicians."
The Association of Flight Attendants opposes the senator's move, arguing it could actually increase disturbances and leave passengers and crews less safe.
But Mrs. Feinstein believes "air rage" incidents, which number about 4,000 cases per year, would decline under her proposal.

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