- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 8, 2001

Hear me out

Who says you can't be Republican and funny at the same time?

GOP Rep. Anne M. Northup of Kentucky has just been selected "The Funniest Woman on the Hill," part of the Marshall's Women In Comedy Festival. Renowned comedian Paula Poundstone helped select Mrs. Northup's political joke as the wittiest of all entries from the nation's female lawmakers.

A mother of six, Mrs. Northup's winning joke goes like this: Two politicians are holding a debate when one suddenly shouts, "You're lying."

To which the other responds, "I know, but hear me out."

Thirteen second-place jokes were submitted by Sens. Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Maria Cantwell, Olympia J. Snowe and Blanche Lincoln; and by Reps. Louise M. Slaughter, Lois Capps, Carrie P. Meek, Deborah Pryce, Barbara Lee, Barbara Cubin, Ellen Tauscher and Constance A. Morella.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who knows the best political joke of them all, didn't enter.

Collect $200

It's deeply troubling that the Bush White House is pressuring GOP leaders in Congress to back down in their investigations and hearings into President Clinton's pardons, says the Citizens' Investigative Commission (CIC), a branch of the Council of Volunteer Americans.

"Especially when more evidence surfaces every day that there was a 'quid pro quo' with [fugitive financier] Marc Rich and dozens of other felons," points out CIC Executive Officer Scott Lauf.

Who is busy this week distributing bright yellow, Monopolylike "Get Out of Jail Free" cards to virtually every congressional office on Capitol Hill, "to serve as a symbolic reminder of Bill Clinton's mocking of the rule of law and his blatant abuse of his presidential pardon power."

As one can see by today's art feature, rather than Monopoly's Community Chest cards, these yellow fabrications say: "Clinton Chest: Get Out of Jail Pardon This card valid only if felon pays $$ to Bill & Hillary Clinton."

Florida wake

A federal review of reported voting irregularities in connection with the Nov. 7 presidential election is the main agenda item of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights when it meets at its Washington headquarters tomorrow.

In response to widespread accusations of "voter intimidation," the "refusal" of poll workers to provide assistance to voters, and "bungled handling" of voter registration applications and voter lists in Florida, the commission held three days of hearings in Tallahassee and Miami.

In addition to taking sworn testimony from over 100 witnesses, including state and county officials and registered voters, the commission subpoenaed voluminous documents from Florida officials.

Commission Chairman Mary Frances Berry is expected to issue a statement tomorrow on the commission's initial findings gleaned from the Tallahassee and Miami hearings.

We're told the commission will release an interim report on the Florida voting probe early next month, with a final report due this summer.

Nick and Mary Jane

The last time we wrote about Nicholas Thimmesch II, the then-communications director to Rep. Steve Largent, Oklahoma Republican, was voicing bewilderment that a candlelight vigil was scheduled on the U.S. Capitol Lower Terrace, with the explicit instructions: "Note: NO candles."

"What's a candlelight vigil with no candles?" he wondered.

Now we're pleased (we think) to report that Mr. Thimmesch, son of the late Los Angeles Times Syndicate columnist Nick Thimmesch, has become communications director for NORML, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Particularly intriguing, given he began his career in the Reagan White House, served on the 1992 Bush-Quayle campaign, ditto on the 1996 Dole-Kemp campaign, and huddled with conservative moralist Bill Bennett at Empower America, among other duties in 15-plus years.

And what would Ronald Reagan say if he knew Mr. Thimmesch was peddling marijuana decriminalization?

"I think the Gipper was always for people following their hearts and voting with their feet, and by coming to NORML I'm adhering to the Reagan dictum of voting with my feet," says Mr. Thimmesch, who says he's delighted with the election victory of George W. Bush.

"More than anything, I hope to open dialogue between traditional conservatives and the drug reform movement in this country," Mr. Thimmesch says, adding he could "no longer idly sit on the sidelines while the nearly 30-year so-called 'war on drugs' continues to devastate American freedoms and constitutionally guaranteed rights.

"For too long it's been libertarian Republicans who've gone to bat on this issue. I think the more traditional conservatives and Republicans look at the cost effectiveness of the drug war, the damage to our civil rights, the essence of freedom that this is all about, the more they will be convinced they should change their policies."


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