- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2006

Call to arms

When it comes to combating our crime epidemic, the nation’s capital might learn something from the state of Florida, where it’s just been reported that the crime rate has dropped for the 14th straight year, to its lowest mark since 1971.

“This report shows that staying tough on crime works,” Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told the Associated Press. “Law-abiding citizens that have guns for protection actually probably are part of the reason we have a lower crime rate.”

Rudy run?

As for one politician whose popularity skyrocketed after he got tough on crime, we are told this week that former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani most likely will enter the 2008 Republican presidential sweepstakes.

“At this stage, it’s more likely that he will run than not,” a top adviser to Mr. Giuliani tells Inside the Beltway.

God turns 50

It made little news given all the week’s turmoil, but the Senate has just agreed to a resolution reaffirming the 50th anniversary of the formal adoption of the national motto of the United States — “In God We Trust.”

This week’s approval reaffirms, in writing, that “from the colonial beginnings of the United States, citizens of the nation have officially acknowledged their dependence on God.”

It was on July 30, 1956, that President Eisenhower signed a congressional resolution passed by the 84th Congress making “In God We Trust” the official motto of the United States.

‘Director of irony’

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Illinois Democrat, is questioning why President Bush has surrounded himself with two highly paid ethics advisers and a director of fact checking.

“We actually have a ‘director of lessons learned’ at the White House, who is paid over $100,000,” says the congressman, a former aide to President Clinton, who considers rephrasing the White House title.

“They must be the only people in Washington who get more vacation time than the president,” Mr. Emanuel mused recently on the House floor. “Maybe the White House can consolidate these positions into a ‘director of irony.’ ”

Two nations

Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan is calling attention to an escalating culture war in America where traditionalists are now “seceding from institutions, communities, even cities where counterculture is in power.”

“Falling attendance at movie theaters, home-schooling of kids, right-wing talk-radio and TV, Christian schools, the religious divide at the ballot box, all testify that, on issues of morality, we have become two peoples and two nations.

“We do not even talk to each other. We shout at each other,” Mr. Buchanan notes in his American Conservative magazine.

Fred who?

Fred Clark lived a full life, yet only in passing did he become famous.

His obituary, published in the July 9 Richmond Times-Dispatch, is being circulated across the country as one of the best — in subject matter, at least — ever written.

“Frederic Arthur ‘Fred’ Clark, who had tired of reading obituaries noting other’s courageous battles with this or that disease, wanted it known that he lost his battle as a result of an automobile accident on June 18, 2006,” it begins.

“Fred’s back straightened and chest puffed out when he heard the Star Spangled Banner and his eyes teared when he heard Amazing Grace,” it continues. “Always an interested observer of politics, particularly what the process does to its participants, he was … amazed at what the voters would tolerate. His final wishes were ‘throw the bums out and don’t elect lawyers’ (though it seems to make little difference).

“During his life he excelled at mediocrity (his sons said of Fred, ‘He was often wrong, but never in doubt’). … He had a life long love affair with bacon, butter, cigars and bourbon. He died at MCV Hospital and sadly was deprived of his final wish, which was to be run over by a beer truck on the way to the liquor store to buy booze for a double date to include his wife, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter to crash an ACLU cocktail party. …

“Fred’s ashes will be fired from his favorite cannon at a private party on the Great Wicomico River, where he had a home for 25 years.”

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

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