- The Washington Times - Monday, April 15, 2002

Gold standard
In recognition of their outstanding service to the nation, President Reagan and former first lady Nancy Reagan will receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
Mrs. Reagan will accept the honor May 16 before a distinguished Washington audience of Republicans and Democrats alike who will assemble fittingly enough for a dinner salute at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
"It is quite a tribute," says Frederick J. Ryan Jr., chairman of the board of trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation. "We are seeing a tremendous outpouring of affection and respect for President and Mrs. Reagan from the Washington community."
Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. The first recipient was George Washington on March 25, 1776. Past recipients include Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman, Robert F. Kennedy and Mother Teresa.
Congress is bestowing the highest honor on the Reagans for having dedicated their lives to promoting national pride and bettering the quality of life throughout the world. Specifically, Congress cited Mr. Reagan's leadership in bringing about an end to the Cold War. Mrs. Reagan's work in preventing alcohol and drug abuse was also recognized.
We're told cellist Mstislav Rostropovich has rescheduled his international concert tour in order to provide the evening's entertainment. Hugh Sidey, who began penning his Time magazine column "The Presidency" in 1966 and covered the Reagan White House in-depth, will be the gala's emcee.

Bon voyage
We had to laugh when Florida State Republican Party Chairman Al Cardenas on Saturday offered a one-way Greyhound bus ticket from New York City to Montreal for actor and Democratic activist Alec Baldwin. The ticket is actually in Mr. Baldwin's name and was purchased by the state GOP for $70.
Mr. Baldwin, who had promised to leave the country if George W. Bush was elected president in 2000, was the keynote speaker of the Florida Democratic Party convention on Saturday night.

Hometown whodunit
Robert Andrews former Army Green Beret, CIA officer, congressional aide and corporate executive is bolstering his status as one of the country's top mystery novelist.
Putnam last month published his second whodunit, "A Murder of Promise," which follows his successful "A Murder of Honor."
Both thrillers take place on the mean streets of Washington and feature decidedly politically incorrect detectives Frank Kearney and Jose Phelps. Mr. Andrews again shows his knowledge of Washington's landmarks, restaurants, bars, alleys and politically infused society.
In fact, in "A Murder of Promise," the two detectives are chasing a serial killer who has murdered a legendary reporter.
To find out who the reporter is, and who did him or her in, you're going to have to buy the book.

Not misfits
"As someone who was drafted shortly after graduating from college," writes H. James Mowrey, of South Windsor, Conn., "I must take exception to the views expressed by Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute: 'Draftees have little incentive to train, accept greater responsibility, or re-enlist ill-suited they are to military service.'
"After (reluctantly) entering the Army in September of 1967, I completed basic and advanced training, then went to Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga. Over 90 percent of my fellow officer candidates were in the same situation college graduation then a draft notice.
"Upon completion of that rigorous program, I was commissioned a second lieutenant. A number of my contemporaries elected to stay in the Army and served successfully for 20 or more years. Without the draft, they would probably never have chosen to enlist. A number of draftees that served under me as privates also elected to stay in the Army, rose through the ranks, and retired as senior noncommissioned officers.
"While I would not have entered the military if it hadn't been for the draft, it was probably the best thing that I could have done after college," says the retired officer. "I experienced life in a foreign country and learned just how lucky I was to have been born in the USA.
"My guess is Doug never served in the military and is merely mouthing the same gospel according to so many others in Washington of my generation who found a way to avoid serving in the military like Bill Clinton. While I certainly encountered 'misfits' serving during my time in the service, the vast majority of conscripts served honorably and gave this country excellent service during their time on active duty. This country, in my opinion, would be a lot better off if national conscription was reintroduced."

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