Peace day

John McCaslin
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Posted: Sep 10, 2003 12:00 AM

What a difference two years make.

This Thursday, on the second anniversary of Sept. 11, Washington Mayor Anthony A. Williams will issue a proclamation declaring the day "Children's Peace Day."

While it hasn't received near the publicity of Britney Spears concert on the National Mall leading up to the Washington Redskins NFL season opener, the world's premier international children's celebration will take place on the Mall Tuesday through Thursday. The International ChildArt Festival is held every four years.

DIDN'T WORK

Estimated number of soccer balls the U.S. government sent to Iraq this summer to help "bring life back to normal": 60,000. - Harper's Index, September 2003

RUSSIAN LADIES

George Washington's hometown of Alexandria, Va., is currently hosting a delegation of eight Russian female leaders, introducing them to American female leaders and sharing ideas about how various cultures deal with public policy.

The program is also focusing on the American system of federalism from the perspectives of those in government roles, as well as those of citizens participating through nongovernmental organizations.

The Russian women will meet with Virginia state Sen. Patsy Ticer and Delegate Marian Van Landingham, Alexandria Deputy Mayor Redella Pepper, City Council member Joyce Woodson and Tamera Luzzatto, chief of staff to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)

The visit is a part of the Open World program of the Center for Russian Leadership at the Library of Congress.

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS

We were debriefing Ray Wannall, former top intelligence chief of the FBI, when his conversation turned to last week's debate of Democratic presidential hopefuls: "I was reminded of that old saw on advice to new lawyers as they start their practice: If the law is on your side, stress the law; if the facts are on your side, stress the facts; if neither is on your side, pound the table and shout."

CLONED BUT CLOTHED

"Ever since that first meeting with Howard Dean some five years ago, I've been trying to think of what politician he most resembles," Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, said in the latest Weekly Standard.

"The former governor of a small state, he is charismatic, good looking, wonkish, craving of the spotlight, and capable of telling a room full of people precisely what they want to hear. The obvious answer recently hit me: Dean is Bill Clinton, but without the skirt-chasing."

SUBNATIONS

We'd known the nation's immigrant population grew by 11.3 million during the 1990s - faster than at any other time in U.S. history. Now, the latest report from the Center for Immigration Studies finds that one country, Mexico, and one region, Spanish-speaking Latin America, have come to dominate U.S. immigration.

In 1990, immigrants from Mexico accounted for 22 percent of the total foreign-born in this country. But between 1990 and 2000, Mexico alone accounted for 43 percent of the growth in the immigrant population.

Absorbing most of the Mexicans are the states of Arizona - Mexicans grew from 55 percent to 67 percent of the state's total foreign-born population - and Texas, where Mexicans now represent 65 percent of foreign arrivals.

One downside, says Steven A. Camarota, the center's research director and co-author of the report: "Allowing in so many people from one country and region of the world may significantly slow the assimilation process by creating the critical mass necessary for linguistic, cultural and residential isolation."

BUSTING QUAYLE

The long-awaited portrait bust of former Vice President Dan Quayle will be unveiled today (Wednesday, Sept. 10) in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

"In 1886, the Joint Committee on the Library began commissioning busts to be sculpted of the vice presidents to occupy the niches that surround the Senate chamber," Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) explained. "Once these spaces were filled, new additions were placed throughout the Senate wing of the Capitol."

The bust collection acknowledges patriotic service performed by each vice president, who were also president of the Senate. The upper-chamber currently maintains more than 80 sculptures of such historical figures, not the least being Quayle, who began his public service career in 1971 as an investigator with Indiana's Consumer Protection Division.

At age 29, Quayle was elected to Congress and at age 33 became the youngest person ever elected to the Senate from Indiana. Eight years later, in 1988, he was tapped by George H.W. Bush to be his vice presidential running mate, and a year later was sworn in as the 44th vice president of the United States.

Today, believe it or not, Quayle is widely regarded as one of the most active vice presidents in U.S. history. He made official visits to 47 countries, was chairman of both the President's Council on Competitiveness and the National Space Council, and served as former President Bush's point man on Capitol Hill.

Indiana Rep. Mark Souder, a Republican, who represents Quayle's old constituency, calls the former vice president "a precocious politician" whose election to the Senate coincided with President Reagan's conservative revolution.

"While he may at times have been the unfair subject of liberal derision, Americans always knew that Dan would stand firm against the radicalism of Hollywood's ersatz politicians," Souder notes.

Even Candice Bergen, aka "Murphy Brown," recently admitted that Quayle wasn't off base more than 10 years ago when he criticized her character for having a child out of wedlock with no father in the family portrait.

Finally, this columnist feels it time to revisit the silly controversy surrounding Quayle's inability to spell "potato." I'll have you know the former vice president wasn't wrong after all, calling attention to his unique spelling of "potatoe."

Just check out the Oxford English Dictionary, v.VII, p. 1,184, line 4 of the entry, which lists "potatoe" as a form.

PASS THE STRAWS

There was much reaction to our recent item on Mother Jones magazine's "Top 10 Activist Campuses," which this year includes two Washington-area schools and the University of Chicago.

"I finished my master's program at U. Chicago in May of 2002 and just plain fail to see how anyone can classify that school as activist," writes G.S. "The most vocal activity on campus is $1 milkshake Tuesdays, and while there was a pro-Palestinian demonstration one day that lasted all of 60 minutes before students went back to class. We must be in a pretty tame period of social unrest for U. Chicago to break the top-ten."

BRUMIDI'S DUE

We recently recommended you cover your children's eyes next time you find them gazing upon the beautifully painted canopy of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Legend has it that renowned artist Constantino Brumidi's masterpiece fresco features 13 Washington prostitutes flanking George Washington.

The 13 women, representing the 13 original states, were said to be friends of "the Michelangelo of the Capitol," who spent more than 25 years painting the corridors, committee rooms and the Rotunda of the Capitol, the latter titled "The Apotheosis of Washington."

"My one ambition and my daily prayer," Brumidi once said, "is that I may live long enough to make beautiful the Capitol of the one country in which there is liberty."

The same words appear on Brumidi's grave marker, which wasn't erected until 1952 on the 72nd anniversary of his death. Myrtle Cheney Murdock, wife of Rep. John Robert Murdock (D-Ariz.) rescued Brumidi from obscurity when she had difficulty finding the unmarked grave. When his monument was unveiled by Congress at Washington's Glenwood Cemetery, House Speaker Sam Rayburn gave the keynote address.

This summer, Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi and Rep. John L. Mica of Florida, both Republicans, introduced identical resolutions honoring Brumidi, who painted in Rome and the Vatican before immigrating to the United States in 1850.

When not decorating the Capitol, Brumidi painted churches in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City.