20 years ago . . .
- A playful President. George Bush, it turns out, is a practical joker. He has taken to surprising friends by suddenly turning on his "pocket terminator"—a gadget that imitates the rattle of a machine gun or the whine of a falling bomb. Friends say the President will leave the device home when he packs for the next summit with Mikhail Gorbachev . (Feb. 6, 1989)
- Junk the junkets? If Congress votes to forbid members to accept honorariums from special-interest groups, the next step in Washington's current ethical frenzy may be a campaign to control one of the lobbyists' venerable traditions: The junket. Reformers are upset that the honorarium ban will not affect the custom of all-too-eager lobbyists offering lawmakers all-expenses-paid travel. The reformers cite, for example, two items on the junket calendar: This month's turkey shoot for as many as 30 lawmakers in Western Maryland, sponsored by the Associated Builders and Contractors, and next month's Congressional Charity Tennis Tournament at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, hosted by the Grocery Manufacturers of America. (Feb. 13, 1989)
- Barbara's china policy. Barbara Bush is breaking with still another recent White House tradition. Rather than spending a fortune on a new set of official china—or encouraging a donor to do so—the new First Lady is thinking of adding nothing to the stock, or perhaps a minimal set for 24. After Inauguration Day in 1981, Nancy Reagan accepted a controversial gift of 220 place settings worth $209, 508. (Feb. 20, 1989)
- Commander Photo Dog. So far, George Bush has good relations with the White House press corps, but he has established an especially easy rapport with the still photographers and TV crews, whom he calls "photo dogs." Several times since his inauguration, the President has made unscheduled visits to the section of the press area where the camera operators congregate. And while reporters are busy writing in another room, he exchanges off-the-record banter with the "dogs," who respect his confidence and don't ask tough questions. One morning last week, Bush brought Millie, his English springer spaniel, to meet the other "dogs," who responded by donning "Photo Dogs" caps and awarding Bush a "Commander Photo Dog" cap, complete with military-style gold braid. (Feb. 27, 1989)
- No federal case. The New York Times recently outraged feminists when, in a column by Tom Wicker on the op-ed page, it identified male members of the Supreme Court by the title "Justice" but repeatedly referred to Justice Sandra Day O ' Connor , the High Court's lone female member, as "Mrs. O'Connor." The Times says it did not intend to demean Justice O'Connor and hopes women readers don't make a federal case out of "an editing mistake." (Feb. 27, 1989)
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