- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Hard labor

"The job I am assuming is married man."

Matthew Frankel, when asked what job he will assume in New York after departing his post today as press secretary to the Democratic Leadership Council in Washington.


Cowboy among us

One of the biggest criticisms one hears about House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Texas Republican, is that he doesn't realize his foot doesn't belong in his mouth.

Speaking to reporters yesterday in the U.S. Capitol, Mr. Armey pointed out that it's time for National Football League players to start reporting to training camp.

"The rumor out on the Redskins," added Mr. Armey of Washington's beloved football team, "is that some of their players are thinking about turning pro."


Exposing Buchanan

Is Uncle Sam neglecting the final resting ground of his former presidents?

Legislation has been introduced by Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, empowering the National Park Service to assist in the upkeep of those presidential grave sites not currently maintained by the federal government.

Which are more than you might think.

"Whether it be the grave of Lincoln or Buchanan, Washington or Grant, preserving the final resting places of our presidents is clearly in the nation's interest," says Mr. Pitts.

"Every American deserves to know that the graves of our past presidents will be treated with the same dignity as the office those presidents once held."

The grave of President James Buchanan, which has been "a struggle" to maintain in the congressman's home district of Lancaster, Pa., would be among those eligible for federal upkeep if the bill becomes law.

Mr. Pitts also has donated an American flag to be flown over the Buchanan grave and will continue to donate them as needed until his legislation is enacted "as a reminder that this is the grave of a president."

"These flags will be purchased using the money I am given each year to run my office. Because that money comes from the taxpayers, it should be recognized that this flag and those that follow are really gifts from the American people."


Temple guardians

Three years ago yesterday, a gunman stormed into the office of House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, shooting to death two U.S. Capitol police officers.

At 3:40 p.m., a moment of silence was observed in the Capitol — the exact time that Detective John Gibson, Mr. DeLay's personal bodyguard, and Officer Jacob J. Chestnut were gunned down.

"Three years have now passed since the hot, sad day that an act of senseless violence took our friends," Mr. DeLay remarked yesterday. "Officer Chestnut and Detective Gibson were the protectors of a great tradition: open and accessible democracy. Our fallen friends served their country and the cause of freedom in the United States Capitol, a building that stands as the world's foremost temple of liberty."

Mr. DeLay felt "personally responsible" for the deaths of the officers, particularly Mr. Gibson, who shot the gunman while defending the whip and his 25 aides. The congressman called the detective his "guardian angel."


Come on in

Today's art feature, distributed by Second Amendment supporters, speaks for itself: "Would you hang this sign in YOUR window? 'Proud supporter of gun control. This is a gun-free home.'"


Black and green

Special-interest groups come in every size, shape and color. Take the African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA), which is railing this week against House Republicans for threatening to kill a proposal requiring school districts to disclose to parents the use of pesticides on school grounds.

"It was designed to protect students, teachers and staff from excessive exposure to potentially dangerous pesticides," the AAEA says. "Pesticide manufacturers complained that it would discourage pest control and substantially add to their paperwork, costs and legal liability."

On the other hand, the group is siding with Republicans interested in nuclear power as an energy alternative, particularly given the concerns about global warming.

"We are considering the nuclear option," says the AAEA, founded in 1985 to increase black involvement on the environmental front. "The only downside we can identify is the possible theft of uranium or plutonium by terrorists to make weapons. Nuclear waste can be reprocessed, with the potential of breeding as much or more fuel than we use."

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