Target: Truman in Athens.National Journal

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Greece Paint

ATHENS, Greece — Along a bustling street here, a few blocks away from where the first modern Olympic Games were held, stands a 12-foot bronze statue of President Truman. It's a touching dedication to the man who led an effort to aid the European nation after World War II. For visitors to Athens, the statue is a prominent sight on the drive into the central part of the ancient city that takes you past the Acropolis and Temple of Olympian Zeus. There's just one problem: It's covered in red and pink paint.

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association donated the statue to honor the Truman Doctrine, which awarded $2 billion in economic and military aid to the Greek government to fight off communist guerrillas during the country's civil war between 1946 and 1949. But since its erection in 1963, the statue has been the staging ground for demonstrations against the United States by Greeks demonstrating against a number of issues, including the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and U.S. support for a series of authoritarian military leaders. It's been attacked, toppled over, and now doused in paint. One of the more documented incidents happened in March 1987, when a leftist group protesting what it called American imperialism bombed the statue. And in July 2006, Greeks opposed to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East pulled it down. It's unclear what the statue's current paint job is protesting. Relations between the U.S. and Greece are strong: Prime Minister Antonis Samaras just came to Washington to meet with President Obama as the Greek economy continues to slowly improve.

Matt Vasilogambros 

 

Be Happy, Not Merry

War on Christmas? Not in the House, where members can now include holiday greetings in their constituent communications.

This is a reversal of previous policy, in which "any form of a holiday greeting was banned," House Administration Committee Chairman Candice Miller, R-Mich., said in a statement. Miller announced the change Wednesday. "I feel it is entirely appropriate for members of Congress to include a simple holiday salutation, whether it is Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and so on," she said. The ban had been in place since the 1970s, and it had been intended to prevent the use of taxpayer dollars to send holiday cards. House members still can't do that under the new rules — the change in policy allows for the incidental use of a holiday greeting in an otherwise official communication, but lawmakers still can't use official funds for the sole purpose of wishing someone a Merry Christmas or anything of the sort.

Elahe Izadi

 

Murmurs

Tallent Shows Rebecca Tallent, former chief of staff to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will be joining the House speaker's office from the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she has served as director of immigration policy. The move is an indication that Republicans in the lower chamber haven't given up on passing reform legislation next year. A decade ago, as a staffer for then-Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., Tallent helped draft a major immigration bill sponsored by Kolbe, McCain, and then-Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., now a senator and a member of the "Gang of Eight" that created the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in June. "The speaker remains hopeful that we can enact step-by-step, commonsense immigration reforms — the kind of reforms the American people understand and support," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for John Boehner. Boehner has rejected the Gang of Eight's bill, saying the House will chart its own path toward reform.

But Tallent is no stranger to rejection either. Flake and Kolbe were unable to get a Democratic cosponsor for their 2003 measure, despite months of courting then-Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas. After Kolbe retired, Tallent moved to the Senate with McCain and held the Republican line in negotiations on another comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2006. Her role was primarily to keep at bay unions that balked at increasing guest-worker visas and at pay scales for those workers.

Fawn Johnson and Elahe Izadi

Greece Paint

ATHENS, Greece — Along a bustling street here, a few blocks away from where the first modern Olympic Games were held, stands a 12-foot bronze statue of President Truman. It's a touching dedication to the man who led an effort to aid the European nation after World War II. For visitors to Athens, the statue is a prominent sight on the drive into the central part of the ancient city that takes you past the Acropolis and Temple of Olympian Zeus. There's just one problem: It's covered in red and pink paint.

The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association donated the statue to honor the Truman Doctrine, which awarded $2 billion in economic and military aid to the Greek government to fight off communist guerrillas during the country's civil war between 1946 and 1949. But since its erection in 1963, the statue has been the staging ground for demonstrations against the United States by Greeks demonstrating against a number of issues, including the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and U.S. support for a series of authoritarian military leaders. It's been attacked, toppled over, and now doused in paint. One of the more documented incidents happened in March 1987, when a leftist group protesting what it called American imperialism bombed the statue. And in July 2006, Greeks opposed to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East pulled it down. It's unclear what the statue's current paint job is protesting. Relations between the U.S. and Greece are strong: Prime Minister Antonis Samaras just came to Washington to meet with President Obama as the Greek economy continues to slowly improve.

Matt Vasilogambros 

 

Be Happy, Not Merry

War on Christmas? Not in the House, where members can now include holiday greetings in their constituent communications.

This is a reversal of previous policy, in which "any form of a holiday greeting was banned," House Administration Committee Chairman Candice Miller, R-Mich., said in a statement. Miller announced the change Wednesday. "I feel it is entirely appropriate for members of Congress to include a simple holiday salutation, whether it is Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and so on," she said. The ban had been in place since the 1970s, and it had been intended to prevent the use of taxpayer dollars to send holiday cards. House members still can't do that under the new rules — the change in policy allows for the incidental use of a holiday greeting in an otherwise official communication, but lawmakers still can't use official funds for the sole purpose of wishing someone a Merry Christmas or anything of the sort.

Elahe Izadi

 

Murmurs

Tallent Shows Rebecca Tallent, former chief of staff to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will be joining the House speaker's office from the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she has served as director of immigration policy. The move is an indication that Republicans in the lower chamber haven't given up on passing reform legislation next year. A decade ago, as a staffer for then-Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., Tallent helped draft a major immigration bill sponsored by Kolbe, McCain, and then-Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., now a senator and a member of the "Gang of Eight" that created the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in June. "The speaker remains hopeful that we can enact step-by-step, commonsense immigration reforms — the kind of reforms the American people understand and support," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for John Boehner. Boehner has rejected the Gang of Eight's bill, saying the House will chart its own path toward reform.

But Tallent is no stranger to rejection either. Flake and Kolbe were unable to get a Democratic cosponsor for their 2003 measure, despite months of courting then-Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas. After Kolbe retired, Tallent moved to the Senate with McCain and held the Republican line in negotiations on another comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2006. Her role was primarily to keep at bay unions that balked at increasing guest-worker visas and at pay scales for those workers.

Fawn Johnson and Elahe Izadi

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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