- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Don’t know Jack?

While we await word on whether members of Congress, their spouses, their staffs or other lobbyists are indicted in the Jack Abramoff affair, C-SPAN — starting this evening — will air a two-night live call-in program surrounding the ex-lobbyist. The program will use extensive clips from the Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearings to help explain charges of wire fraud and how money flowed from his clients to his personal projects.

Show time tonight and tomorrow is 8 p.m.

George and Harry

That was R. Emmett TyrrellJr., editor in chief of the American Spectator, adding his two cents to the London Guardian’s guest lineup writing on the “legacy” of George W. Bush. (Who cares if he still has three years remaining in his contract?).

Clearly, Mr. Tyrrell was the lone conservative voice among the newspaper’s contributors, joining author Kitty Kelley, who brought us a not-so-glowing volume on the Bush family; Slate editor Jacob Weisberg, who labels Mr. Bush “dumb;” left-handed former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines, who stepped down amid the Jayson Blair scandal; and BillClinton’s former press secretary Dee Dee Myers.

Mr. Tyrrell compared Mr. Bush to Harry Truman. “Like Truman,” the magazine editor noted, “Bush will be adjudged a failure or a success on the outcome of his ‘support of free peoples.’ His foreign policy is his greatest gambit.”

(As for those who criticize the Bush White House as being “inefficient,” this columnist can’t forget Mr. Truman’s observation during his April 1959 lecture at Columbia University: “Whenever you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship.”)

Going to Disney

Where better than Walt Disney World to begin a political career?

“Learn effective fundraising techniques, maximize the effect of hard-earned campaign dollars … develop a persuasive campaign message and learn the delivery necessary to reach your target audience. Do this by attending our Campaign School.”

Campaign lessons are being sponsored by the District-based National Black Republican Association and the Florida Federation of Black Republicans, with free training provided by the Leadership Institute. Budding politicians pay for their own transportation and hotel accommodations.

Classes will be held Jan. 20 and 21 at the Dolphin Hotel on the Disney grounds in Orlando, Fla., and are held in conjunction with the quarterly meeting of the Republican Party of Florida — taking place next door at the Swan Hotel.

Crowning a hero

It’s doubtful Defenders of Wildlife had Rep. Richard W. Pombo in mind when they asked the public to submit nominations for the “wildlife hero” who has done the most to save endangered species.

Still, the Land Rights Network of the American Land Rights Association is encouraging its membership to nominate the California Republican for the high honor.

“In our opinion, that person is House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo for his perseverance and courage in passing the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act (TESRA),” says the network’s Tom Randall.

TESRA would require a “scientifically peer-reviewed recovery plan” when a species is listed as threatened or endangered, Mr. Randall says, and it would provide compensation and incentives for private landowners because many endangered species roost or roam on private land.

“This will do much to improve the miserable record of the current ESA [Endangered Species Act], that has seen only 10 of nearly 1,300 listed species recover over the act’s 31-year history,” Mr. Randall adds.

In its 2004 annual report, Defenders of Wildlife blasted President Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress for their “anti-conservation agenda.”

“Ours was not an easy task in the last year of President Bush’s first term,” wrote President Rodger Schlickeisen and board Chairman Caroline D. Gabel in the report. “His administration continued to undermine conservation policies and laws that have safeguarded our natural heritage for decades.”

But Mr. Randall says the Defenders of Wildlife have “ardently opposed any improvements that would really enable the Endangered Species Act to actually recover species.”

It’s fake

Speaking of animals, domestic queen MarthaStewart’s video on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is up and running.

“I used to wear real fur,” she states, but “I had a change of heart when I learned what actually happens to animals.”

PETA says Mrs. Stewart’s public turnaround on fur began when she responded from jail to a letter sent by PETA Vice President Dan Mathews, insisting the scarf she wore around her neck on the day of her criminal sentencing was faux fur.

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

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