- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 9, 2002

Notebooks and hoods
Congressional correspondents have unwittingly joined the ranks of war correspondents with the front lines of the war on terrorism virtually drawn across the hallowed ground of the U.S. Capitol.
"There will be 'escape hood' training sessions for members of the media on Friday, October 11, and on Wednesday, October 16, in the Senate Press Gallery," the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms informs reporters by memo. "All members of the Congressional Press Galleries are encouraged to attend."
One year after deadly anthrax spores were released in Washington, U.S. Capitol Police have deployed thousands of "escape hoods" protective headgear that allows breathing uncontaminated air in the congressional galleries to assist with the evacuation of elected members, their staffs, reporters and tourists in the event of future biological or chemical terrorist attacks.

Stroll through Rome
Historic and strategic battles fought long ago around the world are being recalled during congressional debate over a resolution to authorize U.S. military action against Iraq.
Take the dialogue between Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican, and Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat the former in favor of granting President Bush the option of deploying U.S. troops in Iraq, the latter opposed.
"I remember when you took me, hand in hand, to Rome and we went to the very site of the Roman Senate. Do you remember that day?" Mr. Warner asked a rather puzzled Mr. Byrd. "You stood there, amidst the falling rubble of that historic building what was the quote of a Frenchman who said: 'Oh, tell me in which direction the crowd is surging so I can run out and get in front and lead.' Do you remember that quote?"
Considered the Senate's student of history, Mr. Byrd replied: "No, but I remember Caesar, when he saw one of the Roman soldiers running away from the battle, he took that Roman soldier and turned him around. He said, 'You are running in the wrong direction.'"

Last laugh
"There is an old saying: 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.'"
Sen. Jim Bunning, Kentucky Republican, saying why Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will never fool him again.

There she is
Erika Harold, the new Miss America, says her career ambition is to become a lawyer and seek political office at the state or national level. She's apparently already on that career path, making her debut on the Washington social scene this week to rave reviews.
"I walked toward her with my 1-year-old son, David, and she immediately grabbed him and kissed him. Maybe after Harvard Law, she will become a politician," says Washington socialite Tammy Haddad. "We all giggled with her when she did it with all the right instincts."
Mrs. Haddad invited Washington VIPs into her Northwest home Monday night to greet the 22-year-old Miss Harold, who was the youth campaign coordinator during the current Illinois gubernatorial election.
"Actually, we interrupted the reception line greeting Erika in the great Washington tradition to watch the president's speech" on Iraq, Mrs. Haddad says, "and then she addressed the bipartisan crowd, which included Dee Dee Myers, Victoria Toensing, Kathryn Lehman and Barbara Comstock."
Miss America took the opportunity to discuss her campaign of "anti-harassment in schools" legislation, her winning platform for the beauty pageant. Guests then feasted on a specially prepared menu by David Hagedorn, best known for his restaurant Trumpets.

A brother's gift
There is one reason, more than any other, that Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, has been pushing an election-reform bill that, among other measures, mandates voting equipment to allow blind people to cast ballots privately and independently.
"I have a sister who has been blind since birth," Mr. Dodd revealed. "She is a teacher. I am very proud of her. She is a remarkable woman. I would like to know that my sister, as she reaches retirement age as a teacher, will, as a result of her brother's work on a bill, be able to cast a ballot without having to rely on someone telling her how to vote."
Except in Rhode Island, there are currently no ballots written in braille.


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