Washington may be focused on the House Judiciary Committee these days, but other issues still stay on the front burner for many Americans. One of those issues, of course, is drug use, especially among teenagers.
And there's a handy, 66-page pamphlet to be had on this matter called "How Parents Can Help Children Live Marijuana Free." The primer was published last year by Gerald Smith, director of the criminology program at the University of Utah, and others.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), in a prefatory "Letter to Parents," says "a morally deprived society . . . has chosen to embrace, rather than attack, this plague" of marijuana abuse.
But "this book serves as a primary resource to help guide you" in giving kids a "marijuana-free life," he says, so "carefully study this book . . . and look for the many warning signs of any children who are using marijuana or drugs of any kind."
On page 28, there's a listing of the "Social Signs of Regular Users," including traditional ones like staying out all night and unexplained needs for money. Beware if your kid "avoids the family while at home," and watch carefully for any "interest in Ras Tafari religion (Marijuana use is part of that religion.)"
Then there is this most troubling sign indicating drug use: "Excessive preoccupation with social causes, race relations, environmental issues, etc."
So if your kid comes home talking about things like clean air, do you check for dilated pupils? Perks vs. Perps: High Noon in Denver
Speaking of crimes and such, Vice President Gore's deputy communications director, Christopher S. Lehane, was out West with Gore yesterday, chatting with reporters in a Denver hotel, when he spotted a man walking by who Lehane says relieved him of a few thousand dollars several years ago.
Seems the man, who was the boyfriend of Lehane's tenant in Portland, Maine, broke into Lehane's apartment when he was out of town and wrote a few checks on Lehane's account.
Lehane, experiencing the beauty of travel with lots of guys with big guns, convinced the Secret Service agents to get the Denver police and go with him to track the alleged perpetrator. The man turned out to be working in the hotel as a banquet captain.
They followed him through the back room of the kitchen where Lehane says he confronted him. "I said, You're the guy who robbed me in 1994,' and he said, Yeah.' They cuffed him right there," Lehane said. Apparently there were other warrants pending for the man's arrest.
"The Clinton-Gore administration has made a commitment to cracking down on crime," Lehane quipped, "and everyone has to do his part. Book'em, Dan-o." Wanted: Mouthpiece With Staying Power
Speaking of Gore, again, it might be best to dust off those resumes. The vice president is going to be looking soon for his fourth press secretary in the last 28 months -- from Peggy C. Wilhide to Ginny Terzano and then to Lawrence Haas.
Haas, a former National Journal reporter, has told the Gore folks that after four years as a communications director -- first at the president's Office of Management and Budget and then since February with Gore -- he is looking to spend some time with his family and plans to leave in the coming months.
Word was that Haas didn't want to make a commitment to stay through the presidential campaign. The hunt is on for someone who'll do that. First Lady's Losing Ground
There's change in and around Hillary Rodham Clinton's shop. For starters, some of her West Wing prime real estate has shrunk a bit. Seems Mrs. Clinton, believed to be the first first lady to have offices in the West Wing -- where the senior policy folks are -- doesn't use her office all that much.
So her domestic policy aides Jennifer L. Klein and Neera Tanden split her office so that new major player, Gregory Craig, a Washington lawyer formerly at Williams & Connolly who came over from the policy planning shop at the State Department to be assistant to the president in charge of Damage Control, can move in to their former office, conveniently located two doors from the White House counsel's operation.
Also, deputy chief of staff Roberta Greene, who's been point person for the first lady's Save America's Treasure program, is leaving to work at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, saving treasures full time.
Shirley Sagawa, who worked on domestic policy matters for Mrs. Clinton, focusing on starting up AmeriCorps, then later went to be executive director of the National Service Corp., is coming back to the White House to replace Greene as deputy chief. Who's Behind Podesta on the Ladder?
With White House Chief of Staff Erskine B. Bowles packing up to get out of town in the next fews days, and with deputy chief John M. Podesta seen by most folks as likely to move up to replace him, the speculation is turning to who might replace Podesta.
Some are hoping to induce Steve Ricchetti, former deputy in the legislative affairs office for Senate matters, to take the job. Ricchetti, who was out making ridiculous amounts of money in the private sector, has returned temporarily to work the Senate side on scandal containment.