Double-duty 'DNA'

John McCaslin
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Posted: Jun 15, 2006 5:05 PM

D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey had to laugh when telling The Beltway Beat that he's been around law enforcement long enough - three decades and counting - that "when I used to write the letters DNA all over my police reports, it stood for Does Not Apply."

Chief Ramsey says he still relies on DNA in his police work, albeit today it stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, or the genetic material in humans.


GRANDMA'S BOUNDARIES

Speaking of veteran police chiefs - or, in this case, a former U.S. Park Police chief who was fired by the Interior Department for going public with departmental budget concerns in this age of terrorism - you'd never know that Teresa Chambers was embroiled in a lawsuit against Uncle Sam over her dismissal.

"People say to me that you must regret (accepting the police chief's job), and I answer, 'Regret? No! It is the greatest place I've ever been. I have the best memories.'"

Or so Chambers, a 30-year police veteran and former police chief in Durham, N.C., told the Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration during its annual awards dinner Tuesday (where, if we might digress, The Beltway Beat column was honored with the 2006 Hodding Carter Outstanding Journalism Award).

In remarks centering on ethics in the workplace, the whistle-blowing former chief, who accused the Bush administration of silencing dissenting viewpoints such as her own, praised President Bush's father, former President George Bush, for observing that a true leader uses his or her power "to help people . . . to serve people."

"A leader leads by good common sense," she recalled. "A leader leads by taking risks."

She cited the popular leadership checklist used by retired Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, particularly his Rule 14: "Do what is right."

However, she pointed out, one need only think of his or her grandmother when confronting an ethical quandary: "Ask yourself, 'What will grandmother say?' Stay within those boundaries, and you'll be OK."


RIGHT RESTORED

The National Rifle Association this week delivered once again on its role of upholding the Second Amendment, as Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco signed into law the NRA-backed Emergency Powers Protection Act.

The law prevents governments in her state from confiscating firearms during a state of emergency, as took place in New Orleans last year.

"The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina became the proving ground for what American gun owners have always feared: the day that government bureaucrats throw the Bill of Rights in the trash and declare freedom to be whatever they say it is," says NRA chief Wayne LaPierre.


INCONSISTENT AL

Al Gore worries the world's getting hot,
And all over the globe he will trot,
Warmly warning the masses
About grave greenhouse gases
Caused by people who travel a lot.
  - F.R. Duplantier


HILLARY AND BARNEY

She's not president - yet - but one might gather as much given the language used to tout one speech the other day to the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

"Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver a major policy address on privacy," the society states, adding that "featured remarks" will then be delivered by Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat.

Oh, well, Frank already made his waves Tuesday when blasting John R. Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, for his "disastrous tenure" leading to a "diminution of American influence."

"Anyone who doubts the wisdom of the constitutional requirement that important officials be confirmed by the Senate before taking up their jobs should ponder the disastrous example of John Bolton, whom the Senate declined to confirm as ambassador to the U.N., and who received a recess appointment from President Bush," Frank stated.


BOSTON IN COMMON

What occasion brought Rep. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns and TV talkmeister John McLaughlin together the other night?

A reception for alumni and friends of Boston College - at the Jordanian Embassy, no less - with guest of honor the Rev. William P. Leahy, the college president.

Jordanian Ambassador Karim Kawar, who grew up in Amman, graduated from the Jesuit university in 1987. By the time he was 20, he had established his first company. He later led an umbrella group of 10 computer software companies and information systems.


CATHOLIC CHAOS

We turn to the spring issue of Boston College Magazine, which tells of an intriguing campus discussion on Catholicism by a panel of well-known Washington Catholics: NBC "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert, Democratic strategist James Carville, former Republican National Committee head Ed Gillespie, former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. The highlights:

Noonan wasn't shy to say that liberals claim to speak for "the little guy," but that "there's no guy who is littler than someone who might be aborted tomorrow."

Gillespie, meanwhile, argued that "marriage is the union between one man and one woman." But Dionne observed that his homosexual cousin in Massachusetts has now married his partner of 31 years, adding: "I did not think that was a moral evil." As for the ever-entertaining Carville, he maintained that "the Church's position on birth control in marriage is ridiculous" and termed himself "the ultimate cafeteria Catholic."

Perhaps this mixed-up panel was best explained by Noonan: "I'm not sure it's easy to be a Catholic and a Democrat or a Catholic and a Republican, just because it's hard in general to be a Catholic. But I think it's worth the struggle."


'BYRD DROPPINGS'

Does anybody find it rude that on the day that Sen. Robert C. Byrd became the longest-serving senator in U.S. history he was named "Porker of the Month" by Citizens Against Government Waste?

We didn't think so.

The West Virginia Democrat has sat on the Appropriations Committee since 1959, his first year in the Senate. He has been chairman and now is ranking member. In 1991, CAGW began tracking federal pork, and in those 15 years, West Virginia has received $2.95 billion in pork - ranked in the top four per capita for five years running.

Not surprisingly, 33 projects in West Virginia bear Byrd's name, including the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the Robert C. Byrd Highway and the Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center.

"West Virginia has always had four friends: God Almighty, Sears Roebuck, Carter's liver pills and Robert C. Byrd," or so the senator once boasted.


MEESE AND MEN

Those were lieutenants from Ronald Reagan's unsuccessful 1976 presidential primary campaign against Gerald R. Ford who gathered for a 30-year anniversary at the former Reagan Ranch outside Santa Barbara, Calif.

Fond memories were recalled by former Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III, seconded by authors of numerous Reagan books in the crowd, including Martin Anderson, Peter Hannaford and Craig Shirley, who says he has been appointed to the board of the Young America's Foundation, which now owns the ranch.