- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Peddling history

The Democratic National Committee continues to blast Republicans for breaking the "bipartisan spirit" by selling a photograph of President Bush taken on September 11.

"Partisan exploitation," charges the DNC, which now perhaps knows how Rep. Jim Ramstad, Minnesota Republican, felt four years ago. That's when another historic photograph was being peddled by the DNC.

It pictured a youthful Bill Clinton shaking hands with President Kennedy in the Rose Garden during the 1963 American Legion Boys' National Leadership Convention. No sooner was it revealed that the DNC was offering the photo in return for a contribution of "$400 or more" that we were contacted by Mr. Ramstad.

"Although 17-year-old Bill Clinton was successful in elbowing his way to the front of our group to shake hands first with President Kennedy, that's future Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad pictured between Clinton and President Kennedy and behind the American Legion counselor wearing his hat," the congressman told Inside the Beltway.

"Perhaps I should demand my cut of the '$400 or more' the DNC is getting for this historic photo."

The two budding politicians, three months apart in age, were high school students that summer of '63. Mr. Ramstad says he can remember Mr. Clinton remarking that he planned to run for president one day.

As for an addendum to our story, after the DNC began peddling the Rose Garden photo for profit, it was put on notice by the MAI Photo/News Agency. The DNC, or so we're told, had not entered an agreement to distribute the licensed photo, and was forced to settle out of court at considerable cost.

New hat

James S. Gilmore III is never at a loss for words or hats.

At the same time he was Virginia's governor through 2001, he was chairman of the Republican National Committee, and headed congressional advisory panels on terrorism and electronic commerce.

Now we learn that Mr. Gilmore, 52, has been named a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank. The former governor, also a lawyer, will focus on developing policies to improve homeland security and shaping the growing debate over Internet taxation.

Makeover for Congress

Congress should appear a bit more presentable after the Professional Beauty Federation gets finished with it tomorrow.

More than 100 of the federation's 270,000 beauty professionals and caregivers will take to Capitol Hill to provide haircuts, manicures and spa services to members or their staffs. After the treatments, the federation hopes Congress will pay more attention to the $56 billion "recession-proof" salon industry.

Where's Sacajawea?

Congress wants to know what happened to Sacajawea.

The Sacajawea "Golden Dollar" was introduced in 2000 with great fanfare and a $62 million promotional campaign. Despite the minting of 1.4 billion of the coins, one senator says he has never received one in change, has never seen one in circulation and knows few people who have.

"It's a mystery to me," says Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat. "The decision to bring back a dollar coin was a good one and honoring Sacajawea by placing her likeness on it was an inspired choice. Yet despite the big launch, the coin seems to have disappeared."

Sacajawea was a 15-year-old who, traveling with her infant, guided and translated for much of Lewis and Clark's expedition. Her coin was supposed to have had a circulating life of 30 years, compared with a paper dollar that lasts on average 22 months.

Educating China

"I had to chuckle at the report by Project USA (Inside the Beltway, 5/16) about Chinese graduate students in the 'hard sciences.' In my 25 years in higher education, I have never seen a single case of the Chinese government paying the tuition (or a stipend) for their citizens," writes Bob Poreda, an earth and environmental sciences professor at the University of Rochester.

"In fact, the Immigration and Naturalization Service will not allow a Chinese student to begin his studies unless there is sufficient financial support (tuition plus stipend). Do you know who picks up the tab for these students? It is the U.S. government through Department of Energy and National Science Foundation grants given to university professors.

"So it was probably bad enough to think that we were welcoming People's Republic of China students to our universities," Mr. Poreda concludes, "but now you know that it is one more example of your hard-earned tax dollars at work."

(Professor Poreda must know of what he speaks. In confirming his tenure with the university, we learned the topic of his most recent lecture: "Extra-Terrestrial Bucky Balls at the Permo-Triassic Boundary: Impacts, Mass Extinctions and the Origin of the Atmosphere.")

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