- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 6, 2003


While passing the book stand at Sam’s in Waldorf, Jim Dawson of Clinton, Md., couldn’t help but notice that somebody autographed the last two remaining copies of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book, “Living History.”

Ours being a family newspaper, we can’t say what the impersonator inscribed.

Terminating Gray

For several years now, conservative actor Arnold Schwarzenegger has considered following Ronald Reagan’s path from Hollywood to the California governor’s mansion (and we all know where that can lead).

Also interested in California’s top job, it turns out, is President Bush’s trusted national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice.

We don’t find any “Rice for Governor” in 2006 buttons while visiting with the Republican Party’s official vendor for both the 2000 Republican National Convention and the 2001 presidential inaugural, but just released are “Arnold for Governor” buttons, warning: “Hasta La Vista Gray Davis.”

The GOP Shoppe’s (gopshoppe.com) Button Factory is offering the yet-to-be-announced Schwarzenegger campaign buttons for $3 each — half of which goes to the actor’s Special Olympics charity.

If any Rice buttons appear, we’ll be the first to let you know.

Angel Gabriel

It was an emotional moment when Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, was asked on “After Hours with Cal Thomas” on the Fox News Channel Saturday night: “You wear an angel lapel pin every day on your suit. What is that about?”

“That’s when my son died,” said the senator. “One of the things I did was think to myself how I could keep him present … and I just thought it had to be something simple, just something that most people wouldn’t even notice, most people don’t notice.

“It’s just a little lapel pin, a little angel lapel pin, and it’s a constant reminder to me of the gift that God gave me and my son and his life and that I have a little soldier up in heaven who’s pulling for his dad.”

Mr. Santorum’s infant son was named Gabriel Michael.

Wise old man

Experts agree that Washington has just about the worst traffic congestion in the country, which comes as no surprise to anybody who drives to work, the grocery or soccer practice.

The Virginia Department of Transportation just began an improvements study for Jefferson Davis Highway, otherwise known as Route 1, a popular commuter route to Washington, the Pentagon, Crystal City, Alexandria and points south.

Among those there was Wendel Allen, who, like the rest of bottlenecked souls, listened to highway planners promise that if the number of traffic lanes is increased it will alleviate traffic problems.

Comments from the audience?

“Over 60 years ago I lived in the District and rode the bus to the Pentagon,” Mr. Allen began. “At that time the 14th Street bridge was only two lanes — one in each direction. But I could take heart, for there was another span under construction, which of course would take care of that bottleneck.”

Please continue, sir.

“We were all excited when Shirley Highway was being built,” he said, “for it would certainly take care of the north and southbound traffic. As I recall there was a fatal accident near the Pentagon the day that it opened, and it has been jammed up ever since.”

The planners were all ears.

“Well, relief was now in sight. The Beltway and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge were under construction. They will certainly take care of our problems. That means that all of the trucks and New York-to-Florida traffic will no longer go through the District, but will bypass it. Does anyone want to comment on this?”


“At last our dreams to eliminate traffic congestion were about to come true. We were going to get the Metro, and that meant people could ride it and take all of their cars off the road,” he said. “Not that it affects our [Washington] traffic, but my favorite one is the summertime Ocean City traffic. On weekends I used to sit by the hour to get on the Chesapeake Bay Ferry Boat. Then the bridge was built. I still sit by the hour to get on it.

“Well, now, a lot of wonderful improvements are going on. The Springfield Mixing Bowl, the new Woodrow Wilson with all of its fancy cloverleaves and approaches, the widening of Route 1, and not to mention I-270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, which have already stopped congestion.”

Mr. Allen made a standing offer — “to bet a nice new hundred dollar bill” — to anyone who believes that when all of these improvements are completed it will alleviate Washington’s traffic problems.

“I firmly believe if the Potomac River was completely cemented over, from Rosslyn to Tappahannock … it wouldn’t help traffic one bit,” he said, pointing out that the population continues to grow, and grow rapidly. “Something has to be done about urban sprawl,” the wise old gentleman concluded. “You can’t pour enough concrete to keep up with it.”

• John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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