- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Ike's back

We've been asked to review the 2002 edition of the Old Farmer's Almanac, the oldest continuously published periodical in North America.

Glancing beyond the gestation and mating table, best fishing days, zodiac secrets, holidays, eclipses and (you read it here first) balmy winter forecast for the entire East Coast, we satisfy our passion for Washington fashion by learning what's "in" and what's "out" now that President George W. Bush is doing the trend setting.

For ladies, traditional tweeds with metallic threads woven into them are trendy. Suede, leather, fur and cashmere are also in vogue, though pared down. Mini shifts are back, expect more black and brown (and camel) in the palette, while belts are big again.

As for the gents, preppy, country club coordinates will carry the day: simple tailored tweed riding jackets (with an infusion of color in the tweed), fitted pants, white cotton shirts, and far fewer accessories.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North will be delighted to know that military-inspired clothing is acceptable for men and women. Look for trench coats, Eisenhower jackets, E.T.O. (European theater of operations) jackets made for American forces in World War II, even leather lace-up boots to appear in the power corridors of Washington.

Frozen chairs

Fresh caviar, eggplant dumplings and pate de foie gras in tomato sauce please palates at even the simplest of congressional receptions.

But not next Tuesday evening.

Reps. Cal Dooley, California Democrat, and C.L. "Butch" Otter, Idaho Republican, happen to be the congressional (we're not making this title up) "Frozen Food Caucus Co-Chairs." In that capacity, the lawmakers are hosting the First Annual Frozen Food Filibuster Reception in the Cannon House Office Building Caucus Room.

Frozen food favorites will be dished (microwaved) up by, among others, Heinz Frozen Food Products, ConAgra Frozen Foods and Kraft Foods Inc.


Actually, the congressmen remind us that frozen food sales in the U.S. topped $67 billion in 2000, while 44 percent of meals served at home were prepared in 30 minutes or less.

Union agents

You'd better grab a needle and thread, as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled employees must be forced to wear union logos on their uniforms as a condition of employment.

As a result of the order, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation yesterday labeled the Bush White House "asleep at the switch" for leaving the Clinton administration's NLRB fully intact.

"No worker should be forced to be a walking billboard for a union he or she doesn't support," Stefan Gleason, vice president of the National Right to Work Foundation, tells Inside the Beltway. "This case proves once and for all that the NLRB itself wears the union label."

The NLRB ruled in a case brought by BellSouth Communications technicians Gary Lee and Jim Auburn of Charlotte, N.C., against the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The employees brought the charges after they were told that they must wear a union logo patch in order to keep their jobs.

"After eight months, the Bush Administration has yet to rein in the NLRB," Mr. Gleason says. "It looks like the White House is asleep at the switch."

Intelligence briefing

Retired CIA officer and intelligence lecturer Hayden B. Peake took interest in our pair of items this week on Adrian Havill's upcoming book about Robert Hanssen, "The Spy Who Stayed Out in the Cold" (St. Martin's Press).

"Calling Hanssen a double agent is no more correct than calling you a stringer," Mr. Peake writes of Mr. Havill's reference to the spy. "Hanssen was an intelligence officer with the FBI, a special agent in bureau terminology. When he served the GRU, KGB, and SVR, he was in turn their agent.

"As with Ames, no intelligence officer can be a double agent, though unfortunately, they can become agents of a foreign service. If a civilian had been recruited by the SVR and the FBI had found out about it and 'requested' that he serve the FBI without telling the SVR, that would make him or her a double agent.

"I understand the common use of the term by the press and book authors is hard to ignore, but that does not make it correct usage," he says. "Mr. Havill's adoption of the term marks him as one who doesn't understand, or care to use, the basic terminology of profession about which he writes."

Letter of the week

Washington Times subscriber Norman Horn of Oakton wonders:

"I couldn't help but get a chuckle at the front page headline 'Couple Charged as Spies for Cuba,' which was right next to a picture of Jesse Jackson and Fidel Castro. Was this just a coincidence?"

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