- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 18, 2002

Prison prom?
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is seeking a "dance instructor" to teach a variety of beginning and advanced dance classes to the inmate population, starting in Texas.
Advertisements for the instructor will be posted on or about April 29 by the General Services Administration.

Congressional paces
Once was the time when Capitol Hill lawmakers settled disputes by mounting their horses and galloping up Bladensburg Road past the Maryland state line for a good old-fashioned duel.
This fine tradition was prohibited by Congress in 1839, but not before Rep. William Graves, Kentucky Whig, blasted the last breath from Rep. Jonathan Cilley, Maine Democrat. It took three shots at a distance of 100 paces "to kill that damned Yankee," remarked a fellow congressman who witnessed the duel.
In fact, the now-historic "dark and bloody" dueling grounds, not too far a distance from The Washington Times newsroom, saw 25 such duels. Lawmakers were not always the targets. The most notorious showdown was in 1820, when at a mere eight paces Commodore Stephen A. Decatur, hero of the War of 1812, was mortally wounded by James Barron.
Now, fast-forward to this week, where tempers on Capitol Hill are rising like the thermometer. Much of the rage surrounds proposed oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), a bitterly cold and barren place or so Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, has been trying to explain to hard-of-hearing Democrats.
"The difficulty is that people say it's wilderness," Mr. Stevens reiterated on the Senate floor. "This area the ANWR coastal plain is not wilderness. You read the Wilderness Society publications, you would think we were invading the most pristine place on Earth. It is hell in the wintertime 60 below. I took the postmaster general through it once and the digital thermometer said minus 99 because of the wind-chill factor."
The Democrats who oppose exploration refused to listen. Suddenly, the ghost of the Kentucky Whig himself consumed Mr. Stevens.
"It is not wilderness," the Alaska senator shouted. "Anyone that comes to this floor and says this is drilling in wilderness is a liar, a liar. Anyone that tries to pretend that somehow we're violating the law is a liar. I challenge them if it was back in the days, I would challenge them to a duel."

Capitol complex
A Washington newspaper columnist was surprised yesterday when Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat, rather than waiting for an elevator reserved at all times for senators, climbed aboard the press elevator that lifts scribes to the third-floor Senate Press Gallery.
Not until the elevator opened onto the third floor one stop above the Senate floor, where Mr. Graham was scheduled to cast a vote did the senator realize his desired floor button never got pushed.
"Sorry about that," the columnist apologized to the senator. "I obviously knew you weren't a reporter."
"Why?" asked Mr. Graham. "Because of my incoherent speech and stuttering?"

Top Bill-ing
The Democratic activist who registers the most new voters during the next week will be presented by Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe with two free tickets to a star-studded concert Wednesday at the Apollo Theater in New York.
Not just any concert, Mr. McAuliffe tells us, but a "once-in-a-lifetime" show, featuring Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett, K.D. Lang and last, but never least, the smokin' saxophone-playing Bill Clinton.
Mr. Clinton, if you've forgotten, is an accomplished musician who sat first chair on tenor saxophone in his Arkansas school band and went on to win all-state band honors. One of his favorite songs to play these days: "I Feel Good" by James Brown.
The Apollo concert kicks off the Democrats' "Every Vote Counts" campaign, a nationwide voter registration, education and mobilization effort aimed at attracting a record number of Democratic voters this November and again in 2004, when a yet-to-be-determined Democrat will try to unseat President Bush.

Day late, year short
Carrie L. Fernandez, Take Our Daughters To Work Day publicist with the Ms. Foundation for Women in New York, writes:
"You stated the Take Our Daughters To Work Day will be held on April 26 the correct date is Thursday, April 25, 2002. In addition, in 2003 the program will be called 'Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day' not 'Take Our Children to Work Day' as was stated in your article. We request that both errors be corrected."

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