- The Washington Times - Friday, March 22, 2002

Longing for hippies

If U.S. troops are waging war, it's only a matter of time before protesters march on Washington. But talk about a new breed of protesters … .

The National Youth and Student Peace Coalition has scheduled an April 20 protest "to present a vision of a world truly free of terrorism one in which peace and the needs of people and the planet are given top priority."

Participants include the Communist Party USA, International Socialist Organization, Young Communist League, Young Democratic Socialists, Young People's Socialist League, Atheists for Justice and Peace in Palestine, and last, but not least, Queers for Racial & Economic Justice.

War debate

Another salvo has been launched in the ongoing letter-writing battle between the Republican assistant majority whip and the Democrat at-large whip.

Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia got things rolling by asking colleagues to put politics aside and support President Bush in the U.S. war on terrorism. Rep. Tom Allen of Maine countered that Mr. Barr never fully supported President Clinton's military skirmishes. Mr. Barr fired back that Mr. Clinton's last demonstration of "force" coincided with his impeachment.

Mr. Allen's response?

"I resent the implication that … the deployment of U.S. troops is somehow divisive and partisan. Public support for the war on terrorism will be enhanced and extended … [only with] a full airing and discussion of the commander-in-chief's views on the goals, conduct, progress, and exit strategy of the war. Stifling debate will undermine our common goal."

God, Gorby and lawyers

Fifteen years after honoring Mikhail Gorbachev with the Olender Foundation's Peacemaker Award, Washington malpractice lawyer Jack Olender paid tribute to the former Soviet president at the Hay Adams Hotel on Wednesday night, presenting him with a replica of a plaque accepted in 1987 by Yuri Dubinin, then-Soviet ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Gorbachev was too busy then implementing a nuclear-arms agreement with President Reagan to accept the award personally. Mr. Reagan was co-recipient of the award.

Through an interpreter, Mr. Gorbachev said he initially thought Mr. Reagan a "dinosaur," and knew Mr. Reagan privately referred to him as a "die-hard Communist." But then they became "partners."

"My respect for President Reagan is great," Mr. Gorbachev told the audience, which included members of the International Association of Trial Lawyers, which will induct Mr. Gorbachev as a fellow this summer.

"President Gorbachev said that someone had once questioned whether he should consider himself a lawyer because he practiced law for only seven days," Mr. Olender notes. "He replied he was eminently qualified because God had created the world in seven days."

Good ol' days

This column's belated tribute to the late Mike Mansfield evoked many personal and professional memories of the Senate majority leader's honesty and integrity.

Don Larrabee, a retired newspaperman living in Bethesda, recalls when Mr. Mansfield "saved my life and the integrity of my news bureau through a generous act of courtesy."

Mr. Larrabee was Capitol Hill bureau chief for various regional newspapers, most of them in New England, "and spent every day in the Senate Press Gallery, where you got to know the principal characters fairly well."

"Those were the days," he says, "when the postmastership was the most important federal job in town. The president made the appointment, the Senate had to confirm, and the story was front-page news back in Worcester or New Bedford, Mass., or Bangor, Maine."

Near the close of one congressional session, a long list of local postmasters awaited Senate action, and when the superintendent's logbook recorded the nominees as "confirmed," Mr. Larrabee dashed to his typewriter and wrote separate "headline" stories for no less than a dozen newspapers.

"The Western Union office had finished dispatching the pieces," he recalls, "when the superintendent announced over the loudspeaker that a mistake had been made. The floor leader, Senator Mansfield, had withdrawn the motion almost as soon as he had made it. I was in the embarrassing position of having reported [inaccurate stories] to my evening papers."

Mr. Larrabee ran downstairs and sent word for Mr. Mansfield via a doorkeeper.

"The senator was surprisingly prompt, and I told him my dilemma," he says. "He explained that the chairman of the Senate Post Office Committee, Olin Johnston of South Carolina, as a courtesy, needed to be notified when the postmaster list was being called up for action. Mansfield said he … was still trying to locate the chairman, to no avail. I understood his problem and I hoped he understood mine.

"I made my way back to the Senate Press Gallery and took a seat in the front row with my eyes glued on the Senate floor. Senator Mansfield was slow to return from the cloakroom, but when he did, he glanced toward the press gallery, caught my eye and gave me an 'OK' sign with his fingers. My reputation had been saved."

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