- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 16, 2000

Women and policy

More women will march into Washington tomorrow, and while their numbers are far fewer than the 500,000 "moms" who marched here Sunday demanding tighter gun control, the 50 state legislators represent tens of thousands of constituents demanding women's equality in health care.

And if you get the sense that women's voices, when it comes to national policy, have risen to unprecedented levels of late, Democrat and Republican pollsters Celinda Lake and Linda DiVall both predict that candidates this November will be judged on their positions on women's issues, whether it be guns or health care.

The women lawmakers tomorrow will announce a nationwide bipartisan campaign to end what they call disparity in health care between men and women. While men may not realize it, the legislators say the current system provides less treatment for women with heart and other diseases, refuses to pay for diagnostic tests that could help save lives, and under-represents women in clinical trials.

Men and romance

"As a regular reader of Inside the Beltway I am dismayed to see you label President Clinton's sessions with Monica Lewinsky as 'romantic interludes.' Mr. Clinton's eagerness to engage in adulterous behavior in his office with an impressionable young female subordinate, and then repeatedly lie about it, can and has reasonably been characterized in many different ways, but 'romantic' is not one of them by anybody's definition.

"Sincerely, Mrs. Thomas E. Carnell, Fairfax, Va."

Playing with Bill

Here he goes again.

"Playing with the president was weird," Bryce Molder, the spring season's fourth-ranked NCAA golfer, tells the inaugural issue of Maximum Golf, which hits newsstands today.

The 21-year-old junior from Georgia Tech, who honed his game at Chenal Country Club in Little Rock, Ark., recalled a day not terribly long ago when he was paired with another Arkansas phenom, Bill Clinton.

"He shot about 90," reveals Mr. Molder of the presidential play at Chenal.

But ask Mr. Clinton?

"I think his score card said 84," Mr. Molder says.

Then again, who can blame Mr. Clinton for ignoring a few strokes. After all, he watched the Arkansas kid shoot 10 birdies and an eagle for a career-low 60.

Dixie party

The Southern Party, founded in 1999, is preparing for its first-ever political convention in Charleston, S.C., over the Fourth of July weekend.

We're told the party's platform is dedicated to limited government, low taxes, maximum individual liberty "and self-determination for Dixie."

Conservative and free-market ideas, the platform continues, "combined with a strong defense of the Confederate flag and Southern heritage."

Many residents of the South are up in arms after South Carolina lawmakers voted last week to remove the Confederate battle flag from atop the Capitol dome, hoisting it instead above a Confederate soldier monument on Statehouse grounds.

Across the Mekong

Thousands of Hmong veterans from Laos who fought alongside the United States during the Vietnam War have just gathered in Washington, and Charles O. Davis, a recently retired captain for US Airways and TWA, was here to honor them.

"I salute your bravery, courage and sacrifices," said Mr. Davis, who lives just across the Potomac River in Alexandria, Va. "You were guides on rescue missions to pick up downed American airmen, some very dangerous, deep into enemy territory. You never hesitated in sharing our danger. We were a team … and a good one."

A native Tennessean and graduate of the University of Tennessee, Mr. Davis began his career as a Marine Corps aviator. But after his arrival in Thailand in 1965, a time when the United States was deeply entrenched in the war against communism in Southeast Asia, he was piloting Sikorsky H-34 helicopters for a little-known airline Air America.

An independent airline under contract to the U.S. government to support of Cold War activities in Laos, one of Air America's biggest customers was the CIA. And when not ferrying personnel and supplies, Mr. Davis flew, often under enemy fire, risky rescue missions to recover downed U.S. military and Air America pilots.

The adventuresome pilot has written one of the few vivid accounts of this little-known chapter of U.S. history and foreign policy, titled "Across the Mekong" (Hildesigns Press, $24.95).

"Flying at 2,000 feet, the first bullet hit the chopper," Mr. Davis writes in the personal story. "It was a muffled sound, like an icicle breaking in two, and it was accompanied by a small, but distinct shudder of the entire chopper. Two more shots followed in rapid order. Someone had found our range …"

Signed copies of "Across the Mekong" are available by writing to the author, P.O. Box 19031, Alexandria, Va. 22320-0032.

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