- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 24, 2006

Fox and hens

An unusual press release, for no better name, has been issued by Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, North Carolina Republican, inspired by the film “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” — with an added dose of reality.

The Good: “As our first order of business, we intend to restore honesty and openness to Congress. With laws that will sever the link between legislation and lobbyist, we will demand the highest ethics from our public servants, and deliver for all the American people.” (Press release by incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Nov. 13)

The Bad: “Stephanie Tubbs Jones, an Ohio Democrat who sits on the House ethics committee, took a 2001 trip to Puerto Rico that was paid for by a registered lobbyist firm — an apparent violation of the chamber’s ethics rules — according to documents that she filed with the House clerk.” (The Washington Times, April 20, 2005)

The Ugly: “Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (Ohio) will take over as chairwoman of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.” (Roll Call, Dec. 19, referring to the ethics panel by its formal name)

The Reality: “Pelosi’s ethics committee chair selection is tantamount to putting foxes in charge of the henhouse. I don’t know whether to laugh at the irony or be appalled by the hypocrisy.” (Mr. McHenry, Dec. 9)

Dickens Christmas

In reminding his fellow Republicans that the 110th Congress will commence Jan. 4, Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican and chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, posted this gentle reminder from Charles Dickens: “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”

I hereby resolve

“Do you expect to poll your readers for 2007 New Year’s resolutions?” writes Lester Berry of Voorhees, N.J.

By all means, Mr. Berry. ‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions, when we invite readers to tell politicians — indeed, members of the incoming 110th Congress, now controlled by Democrats — what they’d like them to accomplish in the coming year.

For example, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California might resolve to keep her distance from Rep. John P. Murtha, particularly now that U.S. troop strength in Iraq likely will be bolstered, as opposed to the massive troop reduction the outspoken Pennsylvania Democrat has proposed.

Or perhaps President Bush might resolve to draw up a timetable for the U.S. to complete its mission of training Iraqi soldiers, so that they can protect their own homeland.

Whatever the resolutions, please send them to jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com or John McCaslin, c/o The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C., 20002. And please include your name and address.

Commander’s wishes

“To the men and women of the United States armed forces,” begins the letter from President Bush.

“As courageous soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, you have set aside comfort and convenience to protect the rest of us, earning the respect of a grateful nation and a proud commander in chief. Many of you are confronting our adversaries abroad and observing the holidays in places far from home, but you are close to our hearts.

“You are serving at a time when our nation needs you, and your fellow citizens appreciate the many sacrifices that you and your families are making every day. Over the holidays and throughout the New Year, we will continue to ask the Almighty to bestow His care on you and your loved ones.”

Commander’s chow

Here’s what President and Mrs. Bush have ordered for today’s Christmas lunch at Camp David: turkey with giblet gravy, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, rolls, pumpkin and pecan pies and ambrosia.

(Regarding the last menu item, we assume the White House chefs have prepared a fruit dessert of bananas, oranges and shredded coconut, rather than the mythological food and drink of the gods, which when eaten renders mortals immortal.)

Meri Kurisumasu’

“If you find ‘Frohliche Weihnachten’ odd,

“ ’Buon Natale’ and ‘Feliz Navidad,’

“Even ‘Joyeux Noel’

“Unfamiliar as well,

“ ’Merry Christmas’ should then get the nod.”

F.R. Duplantier

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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