- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Consider it done
"Isnt it somewhat of a misnomer to call Senator [Tom] Daschle the Senate 'majority leader?" writes political observer Michael Lazarus.
"A majority is defined as more than half, while Daschle is the leader of the 50 Democrats, which make up exactly half of the Senate. It seems to me that it would be more appropriate to call him 'Senate Plurality Leader Daschle."

Cranking power

We have to laugh at the Russian-made, non-battery, hand-cranked flashlights that the Competitive Enterprise Institute distributed at its annual Warren Brookes Dinner, which featured an appearance by Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.
The labels on the flashlights — the brainchild of CEI general counsel Sam Kazman — read: "The CEI Envir-o-lite, also known as the California Streetlight. Perfect for government-induced blackouts."

Harvard upheaval

More native unrest surrounding former Clinton Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers: The Harvard Crimson reports some three dozen American Indian undergraduate and graduate students will dress in full native regalia and turn their backs in protest as Mr. Rubin (Harvard Class of 60) — who preceded university President-elect Summers at Treasurys helm — delivers this years commencement address.
The protest will call attention to a lawsuit that claims both the Departments of Treasury and Interior failed to pay billions of dollars owed to American Indians, then destroyed evidence of the mismanagement, writes Crimson staff writer Daniela J. Lamas.
"A handful of Harvard students or their families are plaintiffs in the lawsuit," she reveals. "The plaintiffs are predominantly members of the Sioux and Blackfeet tribes."
"Its been such a mean lawsuit," says third-year law student Heather D. Thompson. "An absolutely ridiculous amount of document destruction has gone on, and neither Summers nor Rubin have ever stood up and decided to do the right thing. They are the two worst offenders."
What Mr. Rubin and Mr. Summers are tangled up in is Cobell v. Norton, a lawsuit accusing Treasury of mismanaging $90 billion in individual Indian trust accounts.
U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth in 1999 found Mr. Rubin and his Cabinet colleague, then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, in contempt of court after they repeatedly violated a court order to stop destroying Indian trust documents. Mr. Summers was deputy Treasury secretary at the time.
Yet during the contempt trial, Treasury workers destroyed another 160 boxes of trust records, a fact that six Treasury officials hid from Judge Lamberth for four months.

Waking the world

Mandla Mandela, grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, is in Washington, bringing back memories for author Connie Lawn, who met the senior Mandela at a Washington press conference some years ago.
It was then that Mr. Mandela recognized her voice in the crowd and pointed out that during his many years in prison, he listened to her broadcasts faithfully. "You gave my people hope," he said.
He was not alone.
"You Wake Me Each Morning" is what Mrs. Lawn — one of the longest-serving independent White House correspondents, broadcasting over Voice of America and the USA Radio Network News — says listeners all around the world have been telling her for years.
Now its the title of her new autobiography, to be spotlighted at Christopher Marks restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue NW tomorrow evening.
And Mrs. Lawn has plenty to write about, not the least being the struggles of a one-woman news bureau, as well as racial unrest in Washington in 1968, the killing of Robert F. Kennedy (she had one of the last interviews with him), the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where she remained for six months, a brief kidnapping in Lebanon in l982, and her coverage of presidents from Lyndon B. Johnson to George W. Bush.

Other defectors

"Interestingly enough in this partisan climate of late, the National Council for a Republican Congress (NCRC) says Democrats should be thanked for final passage of the $1.35 trillion dollar tax cut supported by President Bush.
"While the lions share of the credit for this monumental accomplishment belongs to President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress, those moderate Democrats who put the interests of the country ahead of the divisive class warfare tactics of [House Minority Leader] Dick Gephardt and [Senate leader] Tom Daschle are also to be applauded," says NCRC First Vice Chairman Marc Levin.

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