- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Crimes and crooks
Here comes another summer book party, this one to be held this evening at Georgetown’s Cafe Milano in celebration of the world’s foremost chronicler of the rich and famous, Dominick Dunne, and his new book: “Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments” (Crown Publishers, $24).
Read about the fiery demise of multibillionaire Edmund Safra in 1999, the gruesome death of Alfred Bloomingdale mistress Vicki Morgan, Claus von Bulow’s romp through two trials and the infamous trial of the Menendez brothers, to name a few.
As for a Washington angle, our political “crimes” pale in comparison to Mr. Dunne’s essays. That said, we still can’t help but recall the author’s reaction to President Clinton’s 11th-hour pardon this year of fugitive financier Marc Rich.
“I’m a big Clintonite,” said Mr. Dunne, who’s covered some of the country’s most compelling crime trials of the past 20 years. “But I have to tell you that I am disappointed beyond disappointed. Giving a pardon to a crook who gave up his citizenship the whole thing stinks and smells.”

Green people
Step aside, Democrats. Move over, Republicans. Make way for the Greens.
A national meeting of the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) will convene later this month, when Green delegates are expected to vote in favor of filing papers with the Federal Election Commission for national committee status to establish a new national party: the Green Party of the United States.
“The Nader campaign brought us lots of national attention,” says Green organizer Dean Myerson. “Greens generally tend to focus their efforts on local and state races and on local-issue activism, building the party from the ground up. A strong grass-roots foundation will prevent the top-heavy hierarchies and resulting power struggles and schisms that have destroyed other third parties.”
At the Green Party’s 2000 convention in Denver, Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke were nominated as candidates for president and vice president. And while they didn’t win, a record 35 Greens were victorious last year, and another 14 this year, bringing the total to 89 Greens who now hold office in 21 states.
In California alone, 35 Greens hold municipal office, including 5 mayors and 19 city council members.

Equal space
We’d noted that NASA public-affairs specialist Doug Peterson was on annual leave and unavailable for comment at the time we wrote recently about his outspoken opinions on President Bush.
In a memo, Mr. Peterson encouraged attendance at a recent “NASA Budget Town Hall Meeting” near the Johnson Space Center in Houston, particularly “Democratic troops who would like to pin Dubya with another failure to follow through on [his] campaign pledges and to support a Texas industry space! Dubya is in the process of cutting NASA to enable spending $10 billion more for star wars. Thanks, Demos! Doug Peterson.”
Now, Mr. Peterson writes Inside the Beltway to explain both the memo and its contents, which we’re told ruffled a few feathers at NASA headquarters.
“The columns suggest that I wrote a memo to NASA employees to encourage them to attend the town-hall meeting and criticize President Bush,” says Mr. Peterson. “I did send an e-mail about the event from home to local Democratic leaders; perhaps one of them sent it to others [at NASA].”
He continues: “My support of the town-hall meeting was strictly separate from my position as a working-level, career public-affairs specialist at NASA, where my duties are not related to policy/budget discussions. In my official capacity, I have never written a memo to NASA colleagues about any activity that comes close to partisan politics.
“Away from the job, I do support the Democratic Party, but I am extremely careful to limit my activities to off-duty, off-hours, and always in a private capacity. I am well aware of the Hatch Act reform, and what it allows and does not allow,” he says.
“NASA’s budget hasn’t been as strong as many would like for a number of years, but [President] Clinton proposed budgets with a divided government, facing a Republican Congress united in its opposition.”

Brain opening
Actress Anjelica Huston (Morticia of “Addams Family Values” ) will be in Washington tomorrow to open the new Smithsonian exhibition, “Brain: The World Inside Your Head.”
Miss Huston’s family has struggled with dyslexia and other brain-related illnesses. In fact, 38 percent of U.S. adults say they have a family member with a brain-related disorder.
After closing at the Smithsonian, “Brain” will travel to 15 museums around the country during the next five years.

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