- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Third World capitals

"Check out the 'requirements' for this ride," says our State Department source in Washington, who forwarded an urgent written request for a 2002 special edition Jeep Grand Cherokee, to be exported to the Narcotics Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia.

"This vehicle is urgently required," reads the State Department's procurement sheet, which actually requests that a "10-disc CD changer with 6 Infinity speakers" be installed in the vehicle. The request was from the department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

"Pretty classy to be driving around the streets of Bogota," says our source, "which are slightly better than the streets of Washington, as far as potholes go."


Interns and beds

Jamie Weinstein is a summer intern in the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Mark Foley, Florida Republican. He was delighted to secure a seat in the audience for the Monday evening taping of CNN's "Crossfire," and even more impressed when he was invited to ask a question which he directed to Paul Begala, the show's co-host and a Democratic campaign strategist who helped Bill Clinton find his way from Arkansas to Washington.

And what a question it was from the intern.

"Paul, my name is Jamie from Palm Beach, Florida. I'm wondering if you ever get tired of being Clinton's lackey by putting a clean face on all his wrongdoings and scandals."

Mr. Begala?

"I'm wondering if you'd ever get tired of trashing the greatest president of my lifetime?" came the Democrat's response. "I will tell you what, I would much rather have a guy who was in bed with a young girl than a guy who's in bed with Enron, and that's what we've got now. So we've just got a difference of opinion, brother. Thank you very much for your question."


Building the Bulge

More than 1 million men fought in the largest land battle of World War II. In scope and number of participants, no American engagement in history was more costly or massive. At its conclusion, 19,000 U.S. servicemen were killed and 62,000 wounded.

In fact, Winston Churchill called it "the greatest American battle of the war." And for good reason.

The German failure at what became known as the Battle of the Bulge was a turning point for Hitler's forces, and on May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered.

Now, before marching out of Washington for its August recess, Congress has approved a bill authorizing the Army secretary to place within Arlington National Cemetery a worthy memorial that will honor the many U.S. servicemen who fought in the pivotal battle.

Currently, there is only a small decaying plaque at the cemetery that pays tribute to the soldiers.

Final Senate action is pending on the bill before it goes to the White House for President Bush's signature.


French American

President Bush has been handed the rare privilege of conferring honorary citizenship of the United States granted the president can pronounce all the names.

Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier, also known as the Marquis de Lafayette, will soon be granted the honors. Congress has just approved a resolution to confer citizenship on Gen. Lafayette, an honor bestowed on only four other occasions in this nation's 226 years of independence.

The honorary citizenship measure was sent to the White House last Friday and now awaits Mr. Bush's signature.

Lafayette, the resolution notes, voluntarily put forth his own money and risked his life for the freedom of Americans, and in so doing secured the help of France to aid in the colonists' fight against Britain.

Within a short time, through an act of Congress, Lafayette was voted to the rank of major general. During the Revolutionary War, he was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, "demonstrating bravery that forever endeared him to American soldiers," Congress notes.

He was conferred honorary citizenship in both Virginia and Maryland, and he became the first foreign dignitary to address Congress upon his return to the United States in 1824. Upon his death, both the House and Senate draped their chambers in black.

It's worth noting that an American flag has flown over Lafayette's grave in France since his death and has never been removed, even when France was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II.


House cleaning

Congressman Traficant looks

Like a footnote in history books;

So, they threw the bum out,

But does anyone doubt

That the Congress is still full of crooks?

F.R. Duplantier


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