- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Dateline Washington
Who: Two muscular U.S. Marines, bottle of Brasso, sponges and cloths.
What: Polishing brass base of flagpole bearing Marine insignia and emblems of other U.S. military branches.
When: Dusk (8 p.m.) Sunday, July 8, 2001.
Where: The Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Why: Because Marine insignia (like the others) is dingy, tarnished.
Wrap: U.S. Park Service ranger, sporting wire-rimmed glasses and goatee, informs Marines they're violating SOP (standard operating procedure), cease polishing immediately, use of Brasso could harm brass base of flagpole; it's not the way we do it.

Ollie's successor
Oliver North is writing a trilogy that he insists is fiction.
That's so even if, the retired Marine lieutenant colonel and National Security Council aide to President Reagan tells Inside the Beltway, it's "about a U.S. Marine assigned to the White House who is confronted by a mission that in his heart he knows is wrong, but he takes it anyway."
Hmmm.
Except this Marine was assigned to the White House after 1993, he says, when you-know-who was in charge.
"My goal is to finish the three books without mentioning the name 'Clinton,'" says Mr. North, who will have the first book, "Mission Compromised," ready for release next summer by Nashville publishing house Broadman & Holman.
So this Marine reported to President Clinton anonymity protected, of course.
"And he is ultimately faced with a very serious ethical challenge," says Mr. North, a Washington-based columnist and radio host. "It's stuff that is literally taken right out of the headlines, with a twist. It's fiction, but you'll certainly recognize a lot of the figures."

Finally, some values
Not long ago, the rallying cry of Democrats was "It's the economy, stupid."
Now, they're searching for values.
The Democratic Leadership Council, chaired by Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, is holding its 2001 National Conversation yes, conversation in Indianapolis starting Sunday, with some heavyweight Democrats on hand to do the conversing.
Read Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former DLC chairman and 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe.
The 2001 conversation, the fifth of its kind, is the premier meeting of Democratic elected officials, this one with a new theme: "New Ideas, Enduring Values."
The Democrats will hold panel discussions and strategic meetings on how to "better communicate values … and bridge the cultural divide Democrats face with the national electorate," says the DLC.

FBI crisis
One hour after President Bush nominated him last week to lead the FBI, longtime Justice Department lawyer Robert S. Mueller III picked up the phone and requested a meeting with one of the bureau's leading critics, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley.
That meeting came yesterday, the two men huddling for an hour on Capitol Hill.
"Senator Grassley wanted to hear that Mr. Mueller understood the magnitude of problems that the senator sees at the FBI, and the urgency of the next director getting in to overhaul the FBI," Mr. Grassley's spokeswoman, Jill Kozeny, tells this column.
She says Mr. Grassley, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee who has conducted extensive FBI oversight in recent years, also took the opportunity to discuss with Mr. Mueller various legislative measures he supports, including ensuring that the FBI fully protects its whistleblowers and empowering the Justice Department's inspector general to oversee the FBI, which is currently prohibited without the bureau's authorization.
Mr. Grassley also wants a permanent Senate Judiciary subcommittee empaneled that would be directly responsible for oversight of the FBI.
"We need to ride herd on the FBI and work closely with the new director to overhaul a law enforcement agency in crisis," says Mr. Grassley.

Be true to your roots
"To stop the widespread belief that blondes are dumb and incapable. To destroy blonde stereotypes and publicize blonde accomplishments throughout history, dispelling the myths and mistakes about blondes, both natural and chemically treated. To ultimately make sure hair color isn't a factor in any work or social environments."
Mission statement of the Blonde Legal Defense Fund, which celebrated National Blonde Day yesterday in Washington and elsewhere by giving "blonde transformations" for free at Vidal Sassoon salons.

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