- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2000

So long, Elian

The heartless deed is done,

Castro has finally won.

Elian flew,

With Cuba in view,

To revel in all kinds of fun.

World-renowned poet Auburn J. "Bud" Lamb, co-chairman of the International Academy of Poets, penning exclusively for Inside the Beltway.

So long, Pete

Standing tall with other Democrats on the steps of the U.S. Capitol moments after his side walked off the House floor in protest of a Republican Medicare prescription drug bill, Rep. Pete Stark, California Democrat, vowed that Democrats would continue to stand on the steps "morning, noon and night."

Wouldn't you know, no sooner did he deliver the pledge and it started to rain cats and dogs.

Some 35 Democrats were last seen running under the Capitol Dome for cover.

Kremlin Hill

"I mean, this is Kremlinesque," Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle cried yesterday after Republicans pushed toward passage of a Medicare prescription drug bill, causing "gagged" Democrats to storm off the floor in protest.

"I can recall being in Russia about 20 years ago, 15 years ago, and a couple of the Russian parliamentarians said, 'Someday, we want to be like you.' Well, I think now we are becoming more like them. We are becoming more totalitarian in approach, and I think it is just an extraordinary, remarkable development."

Question of taste

"He has basically been using our good name to promote animal cruelty," charges Lisa Lange, spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), in an interview with Inside the Beltway yesterday.

She's referring to Michael Doughney, a retired Washington-area Internet entrepreneur who registered the Web address www.peta.org as the home page of "People Eating Tasty Animals."

As in cows and chickens.

Which, of course, infuriated PETA. Which took Mr. Doughney to court.

Now, a federal judge has ordered Mr. Doughney to relinquish his Web address to PETA, saying he's obviously been "confusing" people.

Unfortunately for PETA, Mr. Doughney plans to appeal the judge's ruling.

"He's threatening to appeal," Ms. Lange confirms.

Which means neither PETA, or Mr. Doughney for that matter, can use the disputed Web address until after the appeal is decided.

And appeals, of course, can last for years.

Who's hip now?

Kendra Okonski, a 20-something, hip-looking libertarian, looks like she belongs in the Sierra Club.

Except it was Miss Okonski, brainchild behind the anti-Gore Web site www.earthinthebalance.org, who organized this week's protest against the Sierra Club at the U.S. Forest Service's public hearing on the Clinton administration's proposed Roadless Area Conservation rule.

"Some people mistook us for Sierra Club people," she tells Inside the Beltway of the 20 fellow libertarians who carried handmade placards with messages like "Save a tree abolish the USFS," "Only you can prevent the USFS from starting forest fires," and "Sierra Club + Forest Service = Shady Politics."

The Sierra Club brought in people of all ages to march in favor of the roadless plan, which the libertarian bunch opposes.

"At times, we actually outnumbered the Sierra Club's sidewalk protesters," says Miss Okonski, who estimates her protesters spent a total of $20 on poster materials and fliers.

"The Sierra Club way outspent us," she says, guessing in the thousands of dollars. "They had T-shirts, hats, posters, printed signs, printed postcards, and stickers. They had an advertisement truck driving around the block as well we cynically held up a poster that said 'How much gas are you wasting?' every time it drove by.

"I think that they were really confused by us, because we weren't corporate shills. We were hip, cool young people with a vision and a mission that was different than their own."

Congressional cry

It's that time of year again when congressmen in the Longworth Building start shedding tears. A sure sign that Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican, has received his annual shipment of world famous Vidalia onions.

"Vidalia onions are grown exclusively in southeast Georgia, and I'm pleased to share with you some that were grown in my congressional district," Mr. Kingston tells his favorite Washington columnist, handing us a big box.

In the late spring of 1931, Mose Coleman discovered the onions he'd planted on his farm in Vidalia, Ga., had an unusually sweet flavor.

"They were so sweet you could eat them raw," Mr. Kingston boasts.

Scientists figure it's Vidalia's mild climate and unique soil that produces what is now Georgia's official state vegetable.

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