- The Washington Times - Friday, November 24, 2000

Classifying Moynihan

Outgoing Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, New York Democrat, won't retire from the U.S. Senate unrecognized.

No, the four-term senator will have a mysterious federal building named in his honor, thanks to the efforts of Sen. Bob Kerrey, Nebraska Democrat.

After all, both men served in the Navy: Mr. Moynihan's tour beginning at the end of World War II; Mr. Kerrey's, during the Vietnam War.

Still, it's their unpredictability and puckish sense of humor that make the two most alike.

And so it is that Mr. Moynihan has made it a personal mission to rip the veil of secrecy from much of the nation's classified material; and so it is that Mr. Kerrey had the building's name change added to the intelligence authorization bill.

Which building?

That's the catch, Mr. Kerrey tells this newspaper.

You see, the senator had the name change added to the "classified" section of the bill, so we can't tell you.

Heads or tails?

Jack Olender, outgoing president of the D.C. Bar Association, is one counsel who doesn't think lawyers and judges should be deciding elections.

"I think [Texas] Governor [George W.] Bush and Vice President [Al] Gore should agree to flip a coin," he told Inside the Beltway yesterday. "And the winner becomes president and the loser becomes vice president, and the beauty of that is neither one would be able to do as much harm as they would be capable of doing alone."

Sign of the times

Inside the Beltway reader Rhea Chenoweth of Annapolis did a double take when passing this sign at Kettering Baptist Church on Central Avenue near Upper Marlboro: "RECOUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!"

Money and politics

"I graduated with honors from the Naval Academy in 1984 and served as a captain in the United States Marine Corps," writes an Arnold, Md., resident. "I served as both a logistics officer and as a company commander for the Headquarters Company Command Element 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

"During the time our unit was deployed to the Persian Gulf (1987-1988) we were awarded the Navy Unit Citation and Meritorious Unit Citation and I received the Navy Achievement Medal.

"While deployed outside the United States, I sent back my taxes. I suspect that they arrived without a postmark, yet the U.S. government processed my taxes."

State of the nation

As an active-duty U.S. Marine stationed in Virginia but registered to vote in Florida Jim Diehl, upon return from an overseas assignment, went to the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles in Springfield to obtain a driver's license.

"I checked the block NO when asked if I wanted a voter-registration card for Virginia," he tells Inside the Beltway. "Curiously, I received not one, but two voter-registration cards. It makes you wonder how many you get if you check 'yes.' "

Electoral grads

Thanks to everybody who submitted entries to our contest to present Florida with a new state motto.

"If you want your daughter to marry a lawyer boost her odds, send her to Florida!" reads a suggestion from Orlando's own Pat McKechnie.

Stuart Miller, meanwhile, put on his thinking cap and came up with more than one motto:

• "My grandchild is an honor student at Florida's Electoral College."

• "Florida: If you can read this, you must be Republican."

• "Honk if you love Buchanan wait no I mean Gore."

• "Floriduh happens."

No fairy tale

Reading that Katherine Harris, Florida's law-abiding secretary of state, once played the character of Snow White during a stint at Disney World in the 1970s, political observer Gary Jarmin remarks:

"No doubt this means the seven Supreme Court justices in Florida will forever be known in GOP circles anyway as the seven dwarfs of this election."

Reagan progress

The 650-ton island house has been placed atop the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, to be christened at Virginia's Newport News Shipbuilding on March 4, 2001.

In the absence of her ailing husband, Nancy Reagan will serve as the ship's sponsor.

Fittingly, just before the island house, or control center, was lowered onto the deck, the prospective commanding officer of the ship, Capt. John W. "Bill" Goodwin, removed the gold aviator wings from his uniform and placed them forever beneath the towering structure.

Next to the wings, he placed a pure silver-and-gold medallion, minted after one of President Reagan's "Four Pillars of Freedom," and inscribed with the words "National Pride."

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