- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Stamp out Democrats?

"Another great moment in Maryland politics," opines one resident of the state, forwarding the Maryland Department of Transportation's new "Scenic Byways" map.

Prominently displayed on the map's back cover is a color photograph of Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy (eldest child of Robert and Ethel Kennedy) Townsend, both Democrats with a capital "D."

What makes our item newsworthy is that Maryland State Delegate Jean B. Cryor, a Montgomery County Republican, mailed the maps to each of her constituents.

"Compliments of Delegate Jean B. Cryor," read the white stickers, affixed directly over the apparently smiling faces of the state's two Democratic leaders.

No longer bipartisan

Because of Sen. James M. Jeffords of Vermont, who last year abandoned the Republican Party and became an independent, a new political term has surfaced in the halls of the Senate: "tripartisanship."

Our ears thought twice upon hearing this week that a "tripartisan" coalition of five senators, who serve on the Senate Committee on Finance, had developed legislation to modernize Medicare and provide a prescription-drug benefit for older Americans.

The senators include Republicans Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, Democrat John B. Breaux of Louisiana, and the body's lone independent, Mr. Jeffords.

Law and law

A U.S. congressman is blasting a Florida attorney who, on behalf of quadriplegic Edward Law, is suing two West Palm Beach strip clubs because their lap-dance rooms do not have wheelchair access.

The ADA Notification Act, introduced by Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley, would limit such frivolous lawsuits by allowing businesses 90 days to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"These lawyers are making a mockery of the law," says Mr. Foley, referring to lawyer Anthony Brady Jr. "The disabled community should be outraged over the hijacking of a law meant to protect their interests, not lawyers' assets."

Mr. Law, of Orlando, is suing the Landing Strip and the Wildside Adult Sports Cabaret. At the latter club, he says, the lap-dance room is accessible only by a short flight of stairs (Bret Rudowsky, the Wildside's general manager, is quoted as saying that Mr. Law could have received a lap dance elsewhere in the club, if only he'd asked.)

Furthermore, Mr. Law says the stage for the strippers is far too high, preventing him an unobstructed view.

Pizza and pork

Just days after Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Robert C. Byrd called White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels a "little Caesar" during a spending dispute, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott tried to soothe Mr. Daniels' hurt feelings.

The Mississippi Republican sent the OMB chief four pizzas from Little Caesar's, with bacon topping.

As for Mr. Byrd, known for securing federal projects in his home state of West Virginia, he happened to be named Porker of the Month yesterday by the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.

In the lobby

For some politicos-turned-lobbyists, life was a whole lot easier when working on just one side of the political aisle.

Just ask Clinton administration insider Carter Eskew, a former adviser to Al Gore who was recently hired by the U.S. Telecom Association. USTA Senior Vice President of Communications Tom Amontree, who also held a post in the Clinton administration, helped choose Mr. Eskew and his Glover Park Group over several other prominent Washington firms.

The selection was made, suggests our K Street insider, only after Mr. Eskew guaranteed access to prominent Democrats "hoping those Democrat members of Congress would shepherd USTA's congressional agenda."

"But when execs at USTA learned that Eskew's firm and their client, American Family Voices, had launched a vicious, negative-ad campaign against President Bush and his efforts to mandate corporate accountability, the deal was nearly undone," our source says.

Mr. Eskew has managed to weather this latest storm and now will take to the halls of Congress to advance USTA's agenda with Senate Democrats. Or so he hopes. After all, before upsetting the Republicans, he rankled Democrats by toiling for the tobacco lobby and generating a $40 million dollar PR campaign that helped derail the Clinton administration's anti-tobacco legislation.

It will be interesting to see, therefore, exactly who on Capitol Hill welcomes Mr. Eskew into their offices.

Preserving the legacy

Remember a few months ago when we reported on some "magic" that occurred at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington?

To recap, while visiting the Wall on May 10, St. Louis businessman Michael F. Shananan by chance met its founder, Jan Scruggs, who was overseeing a group of electricians refurbishing the memorial's 68 floodlights. Inquiring about the project, Mr. Shananan, an Army veteran, on the spot wrote Mr. Scruggs a check for $5,000 to defray the cost.

Now, Inside the Beltway has learned that Mr. Shananan, chairman and chief executive officer of Engineered Support Systems, has just presented the memorial with a subsequent charitable gift of $50,000.

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