- The Washington Times - Monday, February 14, 2000

Still fighting

Tom Wheeler, president of the Cellular Telephone Industry Association (and honcho of a cable-TV lobby group prior to that), has written an insightful little book called "Leadership Lessons from the Civil War."
One source tells us that Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who fought in a U.S. uniform exactly one century after Gettysburg, not only read Mr. Wheeler's lessons on leadership, but in recent weeks seems to have applied a few of the book's maxims: "Dare to fail," and, "If you're not succeeding, change the rules."

Spanish hammer

Marine Corps Gen. Charles Wilhelm, commander in chief of the U.S. Southern Command, is marching into Washington tomorrow to testify before a House Government Reform subcommittee about Colombia.
If his name rings any bells, the general made headlines two months ago when telling a military association symposium:
"First of all, I need to clear up a misconception. Some people thought when United States Southern Command Headquarters moved from Panama to Miami, it was leaving Latin America. Nothing could be further from the truth. And if you don't believe me, you try to go to the Wal-Mart that's located four blocks from my office and, in English, buy a hammer."

Library is overdue

The Library of Congress is in financial straits, or so one could gather from the overdue notices the library is receiving from bill collectors.
"The problem is that a new system was installed, called Integrated Library System," one library official tells this column. Worse yet, he says, the system isn't working.
"It cost $70 million, with $10 million held in reserve," he says. The $10 million disappeared "almost instantly," even though library managers told Congress that the new computer system would save $8 million per year.
The new system, in time, was also supposed to replace 81 positions.
"Even the early trials showed acquisitions work increased by 40 percent," says the official. "We had a recent meeting in which we were told there would be no overtime to clean up the backlog as the Library of Congress was millions in the hole already."
The Anglo-American Section, Hispanic Section, and Northern European Section of the Library have all received notices from bill collectors for delinquent payments.

Polishing Washington

D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Inez Smith Reid, the sixth of nine legal legends to be honored as a Hero in Law by the D.C. Bar Association, began her speech at the National Press Club:
"I begin with a disclaimer. Never have I considered myself a hero or a heroine in anything."
Before an audience that included two chief judges, eight D.C. judges and scores of lawyers and law students, Judge Reid told a story that helped account for her remarkable success.
"In the home and school, I remember the message, 'Don't bother to do anything unless you are willing to do it with excellence.' "
It was a compelling message for Judge Reid, a black woman, as she first entered a white working world. She said as a college student seeking a summer job, she was turned down more than once because of her race. ("We don't hire Negroes here.")
"So I accepted a job in a crystal china shop on Connecticut Avenue. When I was ridiculed for my work ethic by other staff who held jobs as menial as my own, I remained content believing that I was the best crystal and china polisher in all of Washington.
"Nonetheless, I vowed that at least part of my experience would be spent fighting injustice in the employment sector."

Truer candidates

One can monitor the rapid expansion of technology by political conventions alone.
For instance, the last time the Republican Party gathered in Philadelphia in 1948 to nominate a president was the first time a national convention was ever broadcast on television.
In 1996, the GOP pioneered live convention broadcasting via the Internet, followed by the Democrats a few weeks later.
Now, back in Philadelphia in 2000, through the new medium of high-definition television with a far truer picture and crisper sound the Republicans get the first shot at setting new standards to attract the widest possible audience.
While most HDTV broadcasting is overseas, approximately 6 million Americans live abroad and many vote by absentee ballot.

Happy Valentine's Day

There were 11 persons hanging onto a rope, 10 men and one woman. They all decided that one person should get off because if one didn't, the rope would break and everybody would die.
Nobody could decide who should go, so finally the woman gave a really touching speech saying how she would give up her life to save the others, because women were used to giving up things for their husbands and children. All of the men started clapping.

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