- The Washington Times - Monday, October 21, 2002

Minting the District
Not to slight Washington, D.C., and five deserving U.S. territories, a bill has passed the House of Representatives adding six quarters to the Quarter Dollar Program commemorating the 50 U.S. states.
The bill requires the secretary of Treasury to mint the six new quarters in the year 2009, recognizing the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Worth noting, the bill states that the secretary shall not select "any frivolous or inappropriate design" for any of the six quarters, stressing that no head of a person (sorry, Marion Barry) may appear on the commemorative side of the coin.
Also, the bill includes provisions in case the city of Washington or any of the territories becomes a state before the coin is minted. And further provisions are in place in case one of the territories between now and then cuts its allegiance to the United States and "becomes independent."
Washington is not included in the latter category, although some of our residents might feel otherwise.

God is everywhere
Before leaving Capitol Hill for the election recess, senators reaffirmed the reference to "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and in doing so cited numerous findings some dating way back related to the historical intersection of government and religious expression.
Take, for example, the Mayflower Compact in 1620, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitutional Convention and the Gettysburg Address each cited by Congress in addition to myriad Supreme Court rulings upholding religious expression in government activities.
And lest we forget, the motto of this country: "In God We Trust."

Now hear this
It took some time, but the U.S. Navy has its first flag officer.
Commodore John Barry organized George Washington's 1776 Christmas crossing of the Delaware River. Barry would later become the first Commodore of the U.S. Navy, serving under Presidents Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
A just-passed House resolution highlights 11 findings surrounding Barry's service to the nation, and resolves: "That Commodore John Barry is recognized (effective as of Feb. 22, 1797) and is hereby honored as the first flag officer of the United States Navy."

Nobel for Jimmy
For years his rare record has stood
And it looked like forever it would
But Bill Clinton's the man
Who said, "Yes, yes I can:
I can make Jimmy Carter look good!"

F.R. Duplantier

Sore losers
Colorful posters featuring former homosexual people have been installed in 10 Metro subway stations in the Washington area, although some people aren't appreciative.
"We had the ads made in response to the hate directed against ex-gays," says Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) Executive Director Regina Griggs. "With all this talk of 'diversity,' we thought it was time to alert people to tolerance for ex-gays and the possibility of overcoming homosexuality."
The large ads, bearing the headlines "I Chose To Change" and "It's My Choice To Change," ask people to accept those who have left homosexuality. However, ads in two of the stations, both in Washington, have been vandalized with anti-ex-homosexual graffiti.
Reacts Ms. Griggs: "'Tolerance' should mean just that. PFOX has received anonymous hate phone calls because our billboard ads call for tolerance for ex-gays. This tells us a lot about who really believes in tolerance."

Man's fly-by
Regarding our last column item that climate change perhaps could not be man's sinister work after all given word of global warming on Pluto Timothy P. Buell of TAC Engineering Resources says:
"I am sure that Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are already in the process of blaming NASA and corporate America for bringing greenhouse gasses to Pluto during the Voyager fly-by."
We reported Friday that Pluto's atmospheric pressure has tripled in the past 14 years, indicating a stark temperature rise. Not to worry: Scientists believe the change is a seasonal event on Pluto, much as the seasons on Earth change as the hemispheres alter their inclination to the sun during the planet's annual orbit.

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