- The Washington Times - Friday, November 9, 2001

War zone
President Bush has taken great pains to reassure jittery Americans that it is safe to resume their everyday lives.
Still, life in Washington is anything but normal since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Security is strict and streets remain closed on Capitol Hill, where just a block from the anthrax-contaminated Senate Hart Office Building large military tents fill an entire city block that not too long ago was a parking lot and child day care facility.
Even the Coast Guard has landed on Capitol Hill, pitching a giant white tent and rooftop message: "U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team."
New best seller
Stacked at the checkout counter of a Books-A-Million bookstore a few miles from Capitol Hill are beige-colored, U.S. Army-issue "Survival" handbooks distributed to U.S. military troops in October 1970, and now being sold to the terrified public at a not-so-bargain price of $15.

Chinese checkers
When considering legislation to secure America's borders in the wake of the September and October terrorist attacks in this country, perhaps Uncle Sam should take a hint from the Chinese.
Several years ago, reveals Rep. Mark Souder, Indiana Republican, when Congress was looking into whether U.S. secrets were stolen by the Chinese during the Clinton administration, "the son of the equivalent of the head of the CIA in China had come to the United States" on a student visa.
"The way we turned this up in the Committee on Government Reform is, we were investigating [former Democratic Party fund-raiser] Johnny Chung," says the congressman. "I'm not saying the son was a risk, but the plain fact of the matter is he was enrolled at a university in Los Angeles [and] did not show up. We lost him."
Now, Mr. Souder is asking his fellow congressmen, "when George Bush Sr. was head of the CIA, and George W. if he had visited in China to be a student do members think China would have lost George W. being a student there?
"I do not think so."

Brave hearts
Patriotism will fill the air at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial this Sunday, which is Veterans Day.
We're told that Grammy Award winner Lee Greenwood will perform his hit song "God Bless the U.S.A." and sing the national anthem for the memorial's annual Veterans Day observance.
The list of featured speakers for the 1 p.m. ceremony includes Vietnam veteran Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican; Vietnam veteran and Merrill Lynch senior executive Paul Critchlow; and motion picture director Randall Wallace of "Braveheart" and "Pearl Harbor" fame.
Mr. Wallace, most fittingly, is director, screenplay writer and producer of "When We Were Soldiers," a motion picture about the Vietnam War scheduled for release in the spring. Two of the upcoming movie's cast will attend Sunday's ceremony, Sam Elliot and Madeline Stowe.

Hoof and mouth
A rare 1790s portrait of George Washington, on loan from the private collection of Barbra Streisand, isn't nearly as intriguing as the full set of the first president's dentures that are now on display for the first time (at least since Washington displayed them) at Mount Vernon.
And no, the dentures aren't wooden.
"George Washington had many striking and memorable features," says the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, which cares for the Virginia estate. "He was tall nearly six foot three had auburn hair for most of his life, and a striking face with piercing blue eyes and an aristocratic nose."
"But his most famous characteristic, albeit not his most flattering, were his false teeth."
In fact, from children in schoolyards to scholars at debate, the composition of the Founding Father's teeth has been subject to myth and storytelling. Now, determined to set the record straight, Mount Vernon's curators are displaying for the first time ever the original full set of Washington's dentures.
"Contrary to popular belief, the dentures were not made of wood," say the Mount Vernon ladies. Rather, they were fitted with human teeth and fabricated teeth carved from cow teeth and elephant ivory.
"The dentures hardly look comfortable," the ladies point out. "Viewing the archaic contraption helps explain the somewhat grumpy look captured by artist Gilbert Stuart and preserved on the $1 bill."
In fact, Washington urged his dentist by letter to expedite the repair and return of his dentures, because his back-up set were "uneasy in my mouth and bulge my lips out in such a manner as to make them appear considerably swelled."


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