- The Washington Times - Monday, January 6, 2003

Savior and sinner
Nearly 900 adult Americans were asked by political pollster Frank Luntz to name the "Greatest American of All Time." The top 10 vote-getters were Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.
Mr. Luntz says he isn't pulling our leg in revealing that Jesus Christ and Bill Clinton tied for 13th place, with 1 percent of the vote each.
Who's retiring?
By our estimation, House Majority Leader Dick Armey's retirement will last about five minutes when he steps down today after 18 years on Capitol Hill.
Yes, Mr. Armey will spend time fishing with his wife, Susan. Yes, he'll continue working on a compilation of his most famous quotations, titled "Armey's Axioms," scheduled for publication later this year.
But also effective today, Mr. Armey, the outspoken Texas Republican and chairman of the Select Committee on Homeland Security, will join the law firm Piper Rudnick as senior policy adviser, splitting time between the firm's Washington and Dallas offices.
Besides fishing, Mr. Armey is known for brokering peace between his party and Democrats. He'll work with the firm's federal-affairs and legislative group alongside another famous peacemaker, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine.
"I appreciate the balance of Democrats and Republicans" in the firm, Mr. Armey notes, "and I'm really looking forward to working with Senator Mitchell."
Mr. Mitchell's thoughts on working next to Mr. Armey?
"Dick Armey is a superb politician," he says. "Every major piece of legislation that Congress has debated in the last 15 years has borne his imprint in one way or another, and he has brought a tough-minded sense of fairness and bipartisanship to the table when the importance of doing the right thing for the nation transcended the desire to score a partisan point."
Terrorist gathering?
"It sounds like maybe the FBI should show up and take a few of these people into custody," Rep. Richard W. Pombo, California Republican, tells Inside the Beltway. "If we are serious about stopping terrorism, we need to look at homegrown terrorists the same way we look at imported terrorists."
He's referring to word from the Center for Consumer Freedom that California State University at Fresno will host a "Revolutionary Environmentalism" conference Feb. 13-14.
The list of speakers reads like a "Who's Who" of environmental and animal-rights "criminal culture," charges the center, although one conference agenda says the event is a "dialogue between activists and academics."
"On the contrary, the entire escapade looks like a one-sided, anti-intellectual exercise completely bereft of opposing viewpoints," says the center, pointing to speaker Paul Watson, among a dozen or so others.
The center calls Mr. Watson "an animal rights terrorist on the high seas who is considered a fugitive from justice in at least two countries, [who] has sunk at least 10 ships, and told the 'Animal Rights 2002' conference, 'There's nothing wrong with being a terrorist, as long as you win.'"
Also participating is Michigan State University sociology professor Rik Scarce, who "has spent time behind bars for refusing to tell a grand jury what he knows about the Earth Liberation Front and who argues in his book 'Eco-Warriors' that human extermination would be 'an environmental cure-all.'"
Over the weekend, radical ELF members claimed responsibility for an arson attack at a Girard, Pa., auto dealership. The group's Web site said it specifically targeted sport utility vehicles in a fight "to remove the profit motive from the killing of the natural environment."
The ELF members used jugs of gasoline to set ablaze several vehicles, FBI Special Agent Bob Rudge said.
Barr tap
At the close of his congressional term today, Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, will wear the cap of distinguished fellow for the Freedom Alliance, specializing in the delicate balance between homeland security and personal privacy.
Mr. Barr is a former CIA officer who served as U.S. attorney under Presidents Reagan and Bush, and served on the Judiciary and Government Reform committees during his eight years in Congress.
Retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North founded the Freedom Alliance, serving as honorary chairman today alongside President Tom Kilgannon.
Fish tale
Three years ago, House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas took his two sons on a fishing trip. They sat on a boat on a lake in northern Minnesota for 13 hours. A cold rain was falling and the three were miserably damp and chilled, fishing in waters infested with leeches.
At that time Mr. Armey turned to his son David and said, "Women don't understand how much fun we're having."

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