- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2001

Ignoring Reagan

Three years ago, on Feb. 6, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-154 renaming National Airport "Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport."

Democrats, led by Rep. James P. Moran of Virginia, were outraged. In fact, Mr. Moran, whose congressional district encompasses the airport, said if Democrats ever regain control of Congress, he'll propose to drop "Ronald Reagan" from the name.

To this day, there are partisans in Washington even a few journalists who outright refuse to associate Mr. Reagan's name with the airport.

Now we've intercepted a letter that has been sent by Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, to Richard A. White, general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority, which operates the Metro system.

The congressman notes that Metro in recent weeks has opened five new rail stations, which cost $900 million to build, of which $563 million came from the federal government.

With the new stations, Metro took necessary steps to update all its maps located both in stations and within rail cars, including several name changes. For example: The Green Line's U Street Station is now the "U St./African-American Civil War Memorial/ Cardozo."

All this, Mr. Barr says, yet on every map Reagan Airport is still referred to as "National Airport."

"In the three years since this bill became law, Metro has refused to change their maps," the congressman reminds Mr. White.

So, as Metro begins construction on yet another $75 million station, and extends the rail line further into the Washington suburbs, and almost assuredly comes to Congress to seek funding for these additions, Mr. Barr will be waiting.

"If necessary, I will begin to work with the chairman of the District of Columbia Appropriations Committee to take steps to tie further and future funding to Metro to making sure that the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is reflected correctly on all Metro maps, signs and documents," he warns.

In the meantime, the congressman has given Mr. White until next Thursday to issue a reply.

General of kids

Marc Racicot declined close friend George W. Bush's offer to become attorney general, but yesterday the former Montana governor was unanimously elected chairman of America's Promise, replacing Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

America's Promise was founded in 1997 after the Presidents Summit for America's Future, at which Presidents Clinton, Bush, Carter and Ford, with Nancy Reagan representing President Reagan, challenged the country to make children and youth a national priority.

Mr. Racicot will continue as a partner in the Washington office of the law firm Bracewell & Patterson.

Also agreeing to serve on the America's Promise board of directors was basketball great Michael Jordan.

Lure of money

We've done a little historical research after reading that federal authorities are expanding a probe of missing currency at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, focusing on Thomas M. Janney, no less, chief of the Office of Currency Production.

Mr. Janney actually conceded his involvement in the disappearance of $30,000 in currency, resigned his position and now is banned from the building.

Because of the bureau's complex accounting and security controls, anybody stealing currency would need at least one accomplice, so authorities believe one or more persons have been taking currency for about two years.

And how much dough is on hand to take? Lots.

The bureau produces 37 million notes a day, with an astounding face value of $696 million. A far cry from 1862, which marked the modest beginning of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

In those days four honest women and two honest men (or so we assume) huddled in the basement of the main Treasury building next door to the White House, separating and sealing $1 and $2 United States Notes that had been printed by private bank note companies.

(The bureau's printing of currency notes began in 1863, and by 1877 all U.S. currency was printed there.)

Today, 45 percent of the notes printed are $1 bills, each with an average life span of only 18 months, which is why so much new money needs to be produced.

Viagra?

Two blocks from the White House is the St. Regis hotel, which opened in 1926 as the Carlton Hotel. To celebrate its 75th anniversary, the St. Regis is calling all couples for whom love bloomed so many years ago, searching for the twosome that holds the record for the earliest wedding at the hotel.

The lucky silver-haired couple will win glamour, notoriety and, best of all, another exhilarating night in the hotel's honeymoon suite.


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