- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Pristine patch
Congressional Democrats can thank themselves and one of their own presidents Jimmy Carter for setting aside a desolate strip of the North Slope of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for potential oil and gas development.
Just over 20 years ago, Democrats labeled the lifeless patch of coastal plain 2,000 acres of a 19-million-acre ANWR reserve the "1002 Area." In other words, it was given a number.
Now, as push comes to shove, the barren strip of Arctic land is being referred to as "pristine" wilderness, a grazing ground for caribou and other newly discovered animals that would be threatened by man's encroachment.
"It shows what special interest groups have spent millions to cover up," Interior Department spokesman Mark Pfeifle says. "The far North Slope was set aside in 1980 by Jimmy Carter and a Democratically controlled Congress for potential oil and gas development."
The Democrat in charge of such matters today, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, has for the time being blocked a Senate vote on a House-passed Energy bill that would open up ANWR for oil exploration.

"Beam me up"
Phones have been ringing off the hook in the Capitol Hill office of Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., the nine-term Democrat (by title, at least) from Ohio who was convicted last week of racketeering and tax evasion.
"There have been calls from all over the country," says Charlie Straub, Mr. Traficant's spokesman, explaining that the congressman over the years has become a favorite in American living rooms for his entertaining if not informative one-minute speeches on the House floor.
"And some members of Congress have called to wish him well also," says Mr. Straub.
Republicans, no doubt.
As for members of his own party, they reportedly have threatened this week to expel Mr. Traficant should he show his face on the House floor. Figuring he's had enough visibility for one week, the Democrat decided to stay put in Ohio.
"The congressman has contacted all of his offices, and he's keeping an eye on the bills and other activity up here," says Mr. Straub. "With each day, we're getting further back to normal. We certainly have the staff in place."
Mr. Traficant will need them. He plans to appeal his conviction (he faces 63 years in jail, but under federal guidelines the amount would likely be reduced) before a scheduled sentencing court date on June 27.
"We're certainly hoping for some relief from the verdict," says Mr. Straub, although he is the first to admit it's only one of several hurdles.
"Right now, we're preparing for the House ethics committee," he says, referring to the congressional investigative arm conducting its own probe of the embattled lawmaker.
And after the dust settles?
"The congressman plans to run this fall as an independent," Mr. Straub says. "There's a lot of fight left in Jim Traficant."

Carving up support
Suffice it to say, when it comes to personalities in the U.S. Capitol, nobody can ever fill the shoes of James A. Traficant Jr.
Our all-time favorite "Traficant story," as we've come to call them, appeared in this column in 1993, after a now well-known Northern Virginia wife Lorena Bobbitt chopped off part of her husband with a carving knife.
We had noticed that on the bottom of a "Dear Colleague" letter inviting fellow lawmakers to co-sponsor legislation to establish a toll-free phone number for information on products made in America, Mr. Traficant scribbled a note: "I don't want to be forced to send that woman from Manassas to your offices!!"
Wouldn't you know, before the day was through, more than 180 obviously concerned co-sponsors the majority of them men put their support behind Mr. Traficant's bill.

It ain't easy
We've just finished reading what's being dubbed "the first book" on the secretary of defense "The Rumsfeld Way," by Jeffrey A. Krames (McGraw-Hill Trade, $18.95), scheduled for release May 1.
The publisher notes that Donald H. Rumsfeld's celebrated Pentagon press briefings, clear thinking, no-nonsense demeanor and take-no-prisoners style (except for those sunning themselves at Guantanamo Bay) have elevated him to "almost pop culture status, yet it is the substance of his leadership, honed in a myriad of positions, that has captured the public's imagination."
We'll allow one of the Pentagon boss' quotes, culled from "The Rumsfeld Way," to speak for itself:
"I guess I'm kind of old-fashioned. I'm inclined to think that if you're going to cock it, you throw it, and you don't talk about it a lot. So my instinct is that what you do, you should go about your business and do what you think you have to do. I think anyone who thinks it's easy is wrong."

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