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Neither presidential running mate has a service record

Question: What was Sen. Joe Lieberman's service record? Did he serve in the military?

Answer: Lieberman avoided military service with two deferments, one as a student and another for being a father.

Here's the military history of the other major candidates, for those who don't already know: Dick Cheney, like Lieberman, avoided military service with deferments as a student and expectant father; Al Gore volunteered for enlistment in the Army, serving as a reporter and spending five months in Vietnam; and George W. Bush served in the Texas Air National Guard as an F-102 pilot, signing up for a program that rotated Guard pilots to Vietnam, but not being called overseas.

Tipper's name explained

Question: What is Tipper Gore's real first name?

Answer: The name given to her at birth: Mary Elizabeth Aitcheson. Her nickname was derived from a favorite song of her mother's, "Ti-Pi-Tin," a Spanish ditty popular a half-century ago and used as a lullaby in her childhood.

Dennis Franz was "Earl'

Question: Who plays the part of Earl in the Dixie Chicks' music video Goodbye Earl?

Answer: It's Dennis Franz of NYPD Blue. In the piece, the Chicks sing about Wanda, who is repeatedly beaten by her husband, Earl. Wanda and her pal, Marianne, take matters into their own hands and kill the wife-beater by feeding him poisoned black-eyed peas.

Tom DeLay still defensive

Question: What is happening with the lawsuit against Rep. Tom DeLay on charges of racketeering and corruption?

Answer: The latest development came in July when lawyers for DeLay (R-Texas) filed a motion asking Democrats to clarify their case that the congressman's campaign fundraising activities amounted to racketeering.

The 14-page motion denounced as "virtually devoid of precise factual allegations" the suit filed in May by the Democratic Congressional Committee against DeLay and three tax-exempt fundraising groups: US Family Network, Republican Majority Issues Committee and Americans for Economic Growth.

The groups are among the so-called "stealth" political action committees under increasing scrutiny for expensive issue-advocacy campaigns this election year. President Clinton recently signed into law a measure that will require these organizations to disclose sources of funding.

White House to limo driver

Question: What has become of Craig Livingstone, the former White House security director who resigned in the wake of the FBI background gathering incident? I haven't seen anything in the media about him in quite some time.

Answer: Livingstone is still in Washington, although he has indeed dropped out of the headlines. He's a limo driver these days.

Incidentally, it might be more correct to say he was fired as the White House security chief, or at least "resigned under pressure," in June 1996 after it was discovered he had improperly asked the FBI to turn over the secret background files on more than 400 Republican staffers.

Jeffrey Podalsky, an editor at George magazine who was Livingstone's passenger recently, recognized his driver's profile. As Podalsky tells it, Livingstone told him, "I'm Craig Livingstone. I'm a victim of Filegate."

General in Georgia

Question: In response to a question about Eli Whitney, Q&A mentioned Revolutionary War Gen. Nathanael Greene. I'm interested in Greene, because I lived in Greensboro, N.C., which is named for him. Where is he buried?

Answer: Greene, who died in 1786 at Mulberry Grove Plantation near Savannah, Ga., is buried in Savannah's Johnson Square.

"Time' rates colleges

Question: We understand that Clemson University has been named by Time magazine as its college of the year 2001. Can you confirm?

Answer: Clemson is among four colleges and universities named College of the Year by Time's annual college guide. The magazine focused on colleges that do an exceptional job of teaching writing and communication skills.

Time's three other schools named College of the Year were in different categories: Sarah Lawrence, Bronxville, N.Y., chosen for liberal arts; Longview Community College, Lee's Summit, Mo., two-year college; and Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., private college.

The publication, Time's 2001 The Best College for You, arrived on newsstands Aug. 21.

No dual citizenship

Question: I've seen reports on the Internet that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has stated that Sen. Joe Lieberman has dual citizenship (United States and Israel). Is this true?

Answer: Farrakhan questioned the national loyalty of Lieberman at a news conference Aug. 11 in Los Angeles.

Farrakhan was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying: "Mr. Lieberman, as an Orthodox Jew, is also a dual citizen of Israel. The state of Israel is not synonymous with the United States, and the test he would probably have to pass is: Would he be more faithful to the Constitution of the United States than to ties that any Jewish person would have to the state of Israel?"

A few days later, Farrakhan denounced the Times article, saying the newspaper "made a mischief of my words."

The assertion that Lieberman holds dual citizenship is incorrect, by the way.

Naval yard's lease blocked

Question: I recall some discussion about leasing Navy facilities in Long Beach, Calif., to Chinese interests. What's the status of that?

Answer: It never happened. The Long Beach Naval Station had closed in 1994, and the Naval Shipyard shut down in 1997. The defunct complex became part of the Port of Long Beach, and the city had planned to lease the terminal to China Ocean Shipping Co., a major shipping concern owned by the Chinese government.

But the proposed lease of the facilities was blocked in 1998 by members of Congress who feared it would pose a threat to national security. Two Republicans from Southern California, Reps. Duncan Hunter and Randy Cunningham, first raised the security issue.

The latest development came Aug. 10 when regulators from the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Navy agreed on a cleanup plan for the site.

SAT data on web

Question: An article reported on rankings of the 50 states and District of Columbia on SAT scores. Where on the Internet can I find information about all states and their SAT scores?

Answer: The College Board's results for all states can be found online at cbsenior/yr2000/states00.html. But the College Board doesn't rank states, nor does it have that information available, said spokesman Henry Faulkner. "There's a lot of conjecture when anyone says how any states rank."

You can get an idea, however, if you check press/senior00/html/000829.html and, in the box at the right of your screen, click on Tables and Related Items. Note the proviso at the top: "Comparing or ranking states on the basis of SAT scores alone is invalid and strongly discouraged by the College Board."

Dumped jet fuel vaporizes

Question: A KLM jet dumped 83 tons of fuel over the Pacific when it had to return to the Los Angeles airport recently after an engine part fell off. What happens to that fuel?

Answer: It normally vaporizes. Dumping is done to reduce the weight of the airplane and to slow the landing speed, as well as to reduce the risk of fire in an emergency.

Draft deciphered

Question: There was a 4-C draft classification in World War II. What was it for?

Answer: 4-C was for aliens or dual nationals. These are some of the other classifications used between 1948 and 1976, when they ended: 1-A, available immediately for military service; 1-0 and 1-A-0, conscientious objector; 2-A, job considered essential to the national interest; 3-A, hardship deferment; 4-D, minister of religion; 4-F, physically or mentally unable to serve; 5-A, over age of liability for service.

Information online:

Natural stump removal

Question: I'm a new first-time homeowner and am having a lot of difficulty removing tree stumps. My father claims to have seen a newspaper article with a recipe for dissolving them. What can you tell me?

Answer: Walter Reeves, a University of Georgia horticulture educator, says commercial products promise to decompose roots rapidly by chemical action. As an alternative, he suggests letting insects and fungi consume the tissue of the stump naturally, converting it to soil humus.

To accelerate the natural process of decomposition, use a drill to bore holes as deeply as possible into the stump. A circular saw or even a hatchet can be used to cut and rough up the exterior. Next, sprinkle a layer of "woods dirt" _ the top layer of soil on the ground beneath your trees _ over the stump, packing it into any holes in the wood. Then sprinkle a cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer over the stump and lightly mist everything with water.

To keep the stump warm, cover it with clear polyethylene plastic, anchored with rocks and limbs. The plastic will trap solar heat underneath and make the stump a cozy home for the organisms that will feed on it. If you wish, plant morning glory, purple hyacinth or English ivy to hide the stump and plastic.

Have a question about the news? Colin Bessonette will try to help. Call (404) 222-2002 or write him at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, P.O. Box 4689, Atlanta, GA 30302; e-mail: q&