- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2004

Mean elves

The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act, which recognizes animal and eco-terrorism as forms of domestic terrorism, has been drafted by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.

The draft bill, which is currently being circulated to state legislators across the country, would increase penalties for persons participating in politically motivated actions and it creates specific penalties for those who aid in such acts of terrorism.

“Animal and ecological terrorists endanger lives, set back life-saving medical research and strike fear into the hearts of countless researchers, business people, farmers, sportsmen and more,” the alliance states.

The group cites one “ecological terror organization” — the Earth Liberation Front, or ELF — that is known by the FBI to be a leading domestic terror group.

ELF, the alliance notes, has gone so far as to publish “Underground Direct Action Totals for 2003,” charting the eco-terrorist front’s targeting of automobile dealerships, animal research facilities, military offices, construction sites, meat, seafood and fur industries.

A handful of groups like ELF, including the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), took responsibility for 75 terror acts in 2003, which caused an estimated $60 million in damages.

Editors’ choice

The buzz going into today’s New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary isn’t all about Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry’s lead over Howard Dean. It includes talk of Sen. Joe Lieberman gaining steam from the endorsements of New Hampshire’s first- and second-largest newspapers.

In fact, Mr. Lieberman of Connecticut is deemed most fit to occupy the White House by the Manchester Union Leader, Lawrence Eagle Tribune, Foster’s Daily Democrat and Laconia Citizen. The endorsements have definitely helped the Connecticut senator in the Granite State.

Two new polls show that support for Mr. Lieberman has jumped an average of 4 points in recent days — he is now virtually in a tie with North Carolina Sen. John Edwards — while Wesley Clark’s support has dropped an average of 3 points.

Two-foot Gipper

Viewers of the Fox News Channel did a double take when Tom Adkins, publisher of CommonConservative.com, revealed a spectacular 24-inch-long ankle tattoo of Ronald Reagan, superimposed on an American Flag.

Shocked, Gary B. Smith, with whom Mr. Adkins was engaged in vigorous political debate, stated: “I like Ronald Reagan too, but I’m not sure I’d get his tattoo on my body.”

Mr. Adkins replied: “Hey, do I look like the kind of guy who would get a butterfly tattooed on my butt?”

It wasn’t a butterfly, but former Secretary of State George P. Shultz’s rather unique tattoo was the subject of much gossip when he was the chief globetrotting statesman under President Reagan.

His spokeswoman at the time, Phyllis Oakley, declined comment on her boss’ body art, purportedly a Princeton University tiger tattooed upon which Mr. Shultz sits. However, when asked one day whether there was such an animal, Mrs. Oakley is credited with one of the most memorable lines ever uttered by a government flack:

“I am not in a position to know,” she replied, her comment making front-page news from Washington to Wenzhou.

Kangaroo legend

Inside the Beltway reader Lee Allen of Provo, Utah, writes: “It seems that lost in all the obituaries on Bob Keeshan, also known as ‘Captain Kangaroo,’ is his war record. I recall reading … that Keeshan was awarded the Navy Cross for valor on Iwo Jima. Lee Marvin, who was also a recipient, said that Keeshan was the bravest man he ever knew.”

Intriguing, Mr. Allen, but the story you read is “almost complete fabrication,” says fact-finders at TruthOrFiction.com.

The story is told that “Marvin appeared on the ‘Tonight Show’ in the ‘70s when host Johnny Carson brought up Marvin’s record in the Marines. Carson said people may not have known that Marvin fought in Iwo Jima, one of the best-known battles of World War II, and was awarded the Navy Cross.

“Marvin then tells a story of heroism in battle about the bravest man he ever knew who was also awarded the Navy Cross — Bob Keeshan, who later became best-known as Captain Kangaroo.”

Mr. Marvin and Mr. Keeshan did both serve in the Marines. However, Mr. Keeshan — who joined up at age 17 — said two years ago that he never served at Iwo Jima, was not awarded the Navy Cross, and never saw combat.

Mr. Marvin, in fact, was wounded in the Pacific and awarded the Purple Heart, but he never fought at Iwo Jima. He is buried with a simple grave marker in Arlington National Cemetery.

A look at the left

Former comedian and soon-to-be-launched liberal talk show host Al Franken, author of “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right,” reportedly broke his own eyeglasses when tossing a Howard Dean heckler to the ground at a political event in Manchester, N.H., yesterday.

A witness tells Inside the Beltway that the heckler, a supporter of Lyndon LaRouche, “would neither shut up or leave” the Palace Theater.

So Mr. Franken, who admits in his book that he needs to lose “40 pounds” from his buttocks, morphed into a bouncer and “knocked the guy to the ground, breaking his glasses.”

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

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