The Late Congressman's Return to the Capitol

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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Monday, July 21, 2008

Lionel Van Deerlin spent 18 of his nearly 94 years of life in the House of Representatives, where he represented California's 42nd District. So after he died this past spring, his children decided to scatter some of his ashes at the U.S. Capitol.

A lovely gesture -- surely many other public servants choose the same resting place? We asked the U.S. Capitol Police; they didn't know of anyone who had ever asked for a permit to scatter cremains on the Hill. Do you need a permit? A retired journalist friend of Van Deerlin's who scattered his ashes last week -- in flower gardens in front of the House side of the Capitol and the Longworth Building -- declined to be identified because "I'm sure this action was probably illegal."

But is it? Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a department spokeswoman, admitted to being stumped; this issue, it seems, never comes up. "If anybody's ever tried to do it surreptitiously, we wouldn't know," she said, "though I'd think someone trying to sprinkle powder around here would arouse suspicions."

"We put a little bit of Daddy all over the place," Vicky Van Deerlin told us. The California native, who died at home in San Diego May 17, spent most of his career as a journalist. A liberal Democrat in a largely conservative community, he was elected to Congress in 1962; as chairman of the House communications subcommittee, he was involved in the legislation that broke up AT&T. In 1980 he lost to Republican Duncan Hunter, who still holds the seat.

Did he remember those years fondly? "He looked upon everything fondly," said his daughter. "He lived right in the moment -- you know the New Age thinking of being in the here and now? Well, he always was."

From the Clinton Files, One More Hair Piece

The week in Hillary Clinton's hair.

Tuesday, July 15 : Sen. Clinton appears on the Senate floor with a new hairstyle -- shorter, the part moved from left to right.

Wednesday, July 16: The Reliable Source takes note of the change in a three-sentence item. The N.Y. Daily News follows with deeper research into Clinton's parting past (a historical preference for the left side except for her collegiate center-part days); also cites experts on the benefits of changing one's part. Photographers reportedly stalk the senator to document the new do. MSNBC asks congressional correspondent Mike Viqueira to weigh in ("It has come to this," he says, unhappily), revisits topic in later segment. Media critics assail MSNBC for focusing on such trivialities. (Uh, hello, what about us?) ABC's Jake Tapper reviews Jimmy Carter 's historic 1979 part shift (right to left).

Thursday, July 17: Sen. Clinton appears at City Hall with N.Y.C. Mayor Mike Bloomberg -- her hair back to normal, parted on the left.

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH . . . ?

In which we catch you up on the murky status of the celebrity couples you keep seeing on the magazine covers.

Jessica Simpson, 28, and Tony Romo, also 28: Seem to be working it out, despite news reports of a split in May. Recently he attended her birthday party, took her to a Journey concert, said she's on his iPod.

Jennifer Garner, 36, and Ben Affleck, 35: Internet reports of a split "100 percent completely fabricated," her rep said; now Us Weekly claims they're expecting second child, citing confirmation from the guy who played her dad on "Alias."

Sienna Miller, 26, and Balthazar Getty, 33: Paparazzi stalk the naked Italy vacation of the Brit starlet and "Brothers and Sisters" actor, not yet unmarried from the mom of his four kids. Did you know he's the son of the Getty oil heir whose ear was cut off in a 1973 kidnapping?

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

ยท Vernon Davis, partying on a downtown rooftop Saturday night with, among throngs of others, "Flavor of Love" finalist Seezinz, the most impressively named reality starlet of 2008. Just one of many stops for the San Francisco 49er (and Dunbar grad) during his Vernon Davis Celebrity Weekend, a charity fundraiser that drew several more famous names -- Allen Iverson and Busta Rhymes at a Too Short concert at Love; Riddick Bowe at Lucky Strike; Caron Butler and Steve Francis at new club Layla; D.C. Council members Vincent Gray and Carol Schwartz at a Sunday brunch at the Park.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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