- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2006

Esteemed fellows

The group consists of lawyers such as Gerald Moses Abdalla Jr. of Mississippi, Mazda K. Antia of Illinois and Alycia Michelle Guichard of New York.

There are physicians such as Dr. Kenneth Robert Carson of California, Dr. Melva Isadora Green of South Carolina, Dr. Steven James Hudson of Pennsylvania and Dr. Robert Leon Mabry of Oklahoma.

Several military officers make up the contingent, among them Air Force Lt. Col. Alee Rizwan Ali of New Jersey and Army Maj. Gabriella Marie Pasek of New York. The troops are joined by school administrators, such as Wayne Hadfield Turner of Massachusetts. There are even bankers, including Joanne Chrystal Stringer of Illinois.

In all, there are 106 outstanding men and women from across the country who have been selected as regional finalists for the next White House Fellows Program, established by President Johnson in 1964 and considered the nation’s most prestigious placement for leadership and public service.

Throughout this month, the regional finalists will participate in a rigorous interview process, after which 30 or so candidates will be named national finalists. Then, in June, the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships will interview those finalists and then recommend between 11 and 19 outstanding candidates to President Bush for one-year appointments as White House Fellows.

“It is a terrific nonpartisan program. We get wonderful people to apply, and this year’s class is no exception,” says White House Fellowships Chairwoman Myrna Blyth, a New York author and editorial consultant who was longtime editor of Ladies Home Journal.

“I would like to see more women apply,” Mrs. Blyth tells Inside the Beltway in a telephone interview. “And more people from the media, the law fields and the military. Colin Powell, you might recall, was a White House fellow.”

Indeed, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was appointed secretary of state by Mr. Bush, was a White House Fellow in 1973-74. The retired general has said that what he learned about government as a fellow was the “key to opportunities that came my way.”

Regional finalists over the next month will be treated to lectures by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala.

“The goal is not for the fellows to stay in Washington, but to go back to their communities with a commitment to public service and a better understanding of how the executive branch works,” Mrs. Blyth explains.

Envelope please

Speaking of dedication to Uncle Sam, hats off to the 2006 winners of the National Public Service Awards, the foremost recognition for excellence in public service at all levels of government.

Without further ado: Joan W. Bauerlein, director of aviation research and development for the Federal Aviation Administration; Annabelle T. Lockhart, director of the civil rights center for the Department of Labor; Jane G. Pisano, president and director of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; and Howard A. Young, principal investigator with the laboratory of experimental immunology at the National Cancer Institute.

Presented along with the National Public Service Awards is the Keeper of the Flame award, presented to an individual who has kept the fire of public service burning after retirement. That award goes to Thomas S. McFee, former assistant secretary for personnel at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Raw hides

Animal rights activists, who have been chewed up in the past few weeks, could get gnawed on again.

The activists of late have lost three key decisions: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus CEO Kenneth Feld prevailed over lawsuits filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; the Ohio Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Ohio State University cannot be forced to release its animal-testing records, dealing a blow to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; and a federal grand jury in New Jersey convicted six animal rights activists and their organization of inciting violence against Huntingdon Life Sciences, a company that conducts animal research in search of cures for deadly diseases.

Emboldened by their recent victories, animal research groups are now calling for congressional passage this year of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which would broaden protections for animal researchers and make it a crime to harass anyone connected to research facilities, including scientists and their families.

“Courageous individuals like Kenneth Feld and companies like Huntingdon are standing up to these radical animal activists,” says Kay Daly, president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary. “It’s time Congress did, too.”

Irish eyes

A pair of O’Leary cousins — one a professional photographer who works in Washington, the other a leading photographer in Ireland — are being feted tonight at a reception hosted by the Irish Embassy.

Recognized by his peers as the foremost architectural and interior photographer in Ireland, Gerry OLeary recently became president of the Master Photographers Association, the first Irishman to hold the post in its 54-year history.

His third cousin, WilliamBillOLearyJr., a third-generation Irish-American and latest in a distinguished family line of Washington journalists (including the late Jeremiah A. OLearyJr., of The Washington Times and the Evening Star), has been shooting award-winning photographs for The Washington Post since the 1980s.

The latter’s subject matter, as he explains it, consists of the highs and lows of Washington politics, and the daily lives of his fellow Washingtonians. Mr. O’Leary has been a frequent photojournalism award winner of the White House News Photographers Association.

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

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