- The Washington Times - Friday, October 25, 2002

Not your money

Following a difficult but careful selection process, here is what we consider to be the most appropriate design for the tails side of the forthcoming Washington, D.C., commemorative quarter.

Congratulations to Elliot Barber, of Bedford, Mass., one of hundreds of Inside the Beltway readers from coast to coast (and from as far away as Eastern Europe) to submit their choice of designs for the minting of the D.C. quarter, all of which can now be forwarded to Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill for consideration.

Suggests Mr. Barber: "Instead of a picture on the tails side, a simple inscription would do: 'If found, please return to the IRS.'"


Donkey express

"With all the stories concerning voter fraud around the country, I thought you would enjoy this one," writes a suburban Maryland reader, a U.S. Secret Service officer to boot.

"I helped my mom fill out her voter-registration form for Maryland on October 15th, the last day to register to vote in next month's elections," reveals the officer, whose mother recently moved to Maryland from Virginia. "Clearly printed on the form was the statement that all registration forms must be received no later than 9 p.m., October 15.

"As I'm sure you know, there is a check-off box for party affiliation on the form. As a long shot, mom registered as a Democrat thinking that Prince George's County being heavily Democrat may let her registration slide in, even though it was received late. I mailed mom's form at a post office in an adjoining county about 6:30 p.m., about 2½ hours before the voter rolls were supposed to close."

And?

"Mom received her voter-registration card early this week. Can't help but wonder if the outcome would have been the same if she had registered as a Republican."


That's amore

Anybody in Washington this weekend who's not Italian raise your hands.

Robert DeNiro and Sophia Loren tomorrow evening will become the newest inductees into the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Hall of Fame, while Thomas "Tommy" D. Mottola, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Inc., will receive a NIAF special-achievement award.

Earlier this year, actor Nicolas Cage became the first Italian American inducted into the hall of fame at the NIAF West Coast Gala in Beverly Hills, Calif. The Washington-based NIAF is dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans.

Also appearing at tomorrow's 27th anniversary NIAF Awards Gala at the Hilton Washington & Towers will be Deana Martin, daughter of famed crooner Dean Martin, to announce the Dean Martin Scholarship in Music.

Inside the Beltway is told that autograph seekers should also keep a pen out for Tony Bennett, Connie Francis, Bobby Rydell, Chuck Mangione, Michael Badalucco, Ruth Buzzi, Robert Loggia, Doris Roberts, Bruce Arena, Yogi Berra, Brian Boitano, Dick Grasso, Joe Gibbs, Tommy Lasorda, Phil Rizzuto, Bruno Sammartino, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia even Homeland Security Adviser Tom Ridge.


Violent animals?

More turmoil for the already-confused voters of Florida, which faces an election amendment to the state constitution that would make it illegal to confine a pregnant pig in a gestation crate.

"It is part of a national effort to push ballot issues that will deter large-scale pig farms from moving into certain states, grant human rights to animals, etc.," explains Mike Burita, communications director for the Center for Consumer Freedom in Washington.

Which is all fine and dandy for pig lovers.

Except that the Florida Elections Commission has just unanimously voted to charge Farm Sanctuary, a national animal-rights groups, with no fewer than 210 counts of breaking campaign-finance laws. The group, according to Mr. Burita, is being investigated for illegally accepting donations from Floridians on behalf of Florida's Amendment 10 campaign and promising donors that their contributions were tax deductible.

To date, Farm Sanctuary has contributed almost $466,000 to Floridians for Humane Farms, the official Amendment 10 committee.

"The 210 counts are just the tip of the iceberg as they are limited only to Florida," Mr. Burita says. "Farm Sanctuary has been soliciting donations nationwide for this campaign for well over a year now."

"It's despicable, but not surprising," adds David Martosko, director of research at the consumer-watchdog center, "that these zealots would think the law doesn't apply to them. After all, Farm Sanctuary has a long history of supporting unlawful activity."

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