- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 24, 2001

Nobles: Virginia State Senator Warren E. Barry, for his insistence that students learn the virtue of citizenship through a daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

A former Marine, Mr. Barry was deeply disturbed when he discovered that Virginia students were allowed to ignore the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance for little or no reason.

Mr. Barry decided to act, proposing a law which dictated that, in the absence of religious or philosophical grounds for such objection, students be compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or face subsequent suspension from school.

For his insistence that Virginia's children be reminded of the duties of citizenship in taxpayer-funded schools, Mr. Barry has faced intense opposition. Most recently, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a gutted version of his bill, which allows students to object to the recitation of the pledge "for any reason" and allows any penalty to be prescribed for their failure to do so. Others have threatened to gut Mr. Barry himself. He has been compared to Hitler and called a "totalitarian," and a "fascist." He has also received three death threats.

Despite the bloody battle, Mr. Barry remains unbowed. He wants the final version of his bill to "have some teeth in it." In an interview, he said, "I think it is incumbent on each generation to pass on to the next generation the virtues and values of our culture one of those is patriotism."

Mr. Barry, the faithful patriot, well deserves to be Noble of the week.

Knaves: The relatives of Bill Clinton.

Since Bill Clinton left the White House, he has become an inadvertent ringmaster in the biggest circus of political family corruption since the Kennedys sat in the big tent of Camelot.

The flap opened with a parade of pardons given to a cast of characters who could have come straight from "America's Most Wanted." That was followed by a continuing stream of clownish denials, obfuscations and outright lies from Mr. Clinton.

Now Mr. Clinton's half-brother has joined the show. Roger Clinton was arraigned this week on charges of drunken driving and disturbing the peace. He seems unlikely to receive a presidential pardon for that offense, although he did receive one for those stemming from his 1985 conviction on cocaine charges. According to a report in Newsweek, the pardon may also have had something to do with an FBI investigation into allegations that Roger Clinton was involved with influence peddling, including attempting to procure payments for the administration's approval of a new airport, and "for help in arranging pardons."

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton began breathing fire earlier this week when it was revealed that her brother, Hugh Rodham, received a $400,000 reward for using the key of presidential clemency to release cocaine trafficker Carlos Vignali and Almon Braswell.

Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter had it right this week when he called the Rich affair "disgraceful." That is certainly true, but until it ends, we will keep enjoying the many acts of this circus of knaves.

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