- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What goes around

As expected, the mailbox overfloweth after Inside the Beltway published a letter to the editor of a local Virginia newspaper from Jan Falk of Fairfax Station, who bragged about how she and her 11-year-old son verbally assaulted Susan Allen, wife of Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen.

“I have never been more proud of my son,” Mrs. Falk wrote the Centre View in Centreville, citing the eloquence in which her son greeted Mrs. Allen: “You suck.”

“We are teaching respect on a case-by-case basis, not on arbitrary parameters having to do with social position or age,” she wrote.

Of the many letters we received, we’ll allow David Hoyt to speak for the outraged crowd, among them many Democrats:

“I guess Mrs. Falk doesn’t realize the foolishness of teaching her children respect on a case-by-case basis. Suppose her children decide some day that she doesn’t deserve respect. Wouldn’t that be a delicious outcome? After all, when you make it a subjective decision as to who deserves respect, well you get what you deserve.”

Who’s sweating?

Two weeks and counting until the crucial midterm elections, and for one person, it’s already apparent who is optimistic about winning re-election and who is sweating bullets.

MSNBC Washington Vice President Tammy Haddad, executive producer of today’s daylong special, “Decision 2006: Battleground America — The Homestretch,” says she’s gotten an early, unexpected peek at the Nov. 7 elections simply by booking today’s guests.

There are those congressmen and senators who readily agreed to be interviewed on today’s show — in other words, she surmises, “they’re confident about where they are.” And then there are those, Mrs. Haddad says, “who are being very picky about their appearances, appearing worried about where they’ll be in two weeks.”

Today’s “Decision 2006” lineup (the election preview airs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) includes Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat; Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican; senatorial candidate Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., Tennessee Democrat; Connecticut Democratic Senate hopeful Ned Lamont; Democrat Tim Mahoney (seeking the Florida seat previously held by former Republican Rep. MarkFoley); Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat; Sen. Jim Talent, Missouri Republican; Texas independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman; Sen. Elizabeth Dole, North Carolina Republican; Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean; and Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

Richards’ analyses

That would be former Republican Rep. Dick Armey of Texas and former Democratic Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri headlining this morning’s 2006 Mid-Term Elections Analysis in the ballroom of the Willard InterContinental Hotel.

A pair of Democrats, now in the private sector, will host the discussion: DLA Piper’s global chairman and former Maine Sen. George J. Mitchell, and the law firm’s government-affairs chairman, former Michigan Gov. JamesBlanchard.

Breakfast and discussion commences at 8 a.m.

English-speakers

Once upon a time, American publications were also available in Spanish. Now, we read:

“This morning the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and Research America released the first comprehensive Spanish-language voters’ guide on health, science and medical research issues. The guide is also available in English.”

Pye in heaven

Godspeed to longtime UPI newsman Pye Chamberlayne, a former resident of Old Town Alexandria who died this past weekend at his country home west of Washington.

During his 50-plus-year career, he covered the White House and Congress. And when he retired in 1999, he still covered the occasional breaking story, albeit for the rural Clarke Times-Courier — like the dump truck that flipped upside down on a gravel road near his house.

Mr. Chamberlayne also kept a Web log, where he posted everything from a family scrapbook (his son is serving in Iraq) to his personal observations, often in verse. Like this post-September 11 take on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) confusing threat level:

Whenever I feel paranoid,

I really must confess,

My attitude gets greatly buoyed

By the Web site of DHS

There’s a little thingy there

I call the threat-o-mat

That lets the DHSers share

Where the threat level’s at.

If the threat-o-mat shows red

You’ll be alarmed to know

You’re just this side of getting dead

So to the shelter go.

But if the threat-o-thing is green

To hide I’m sure is no more use.

What worries me is what t’will mean

If that damn thing should display puce.

(With apologies to that poor underpaid devil, Tom Ridge.)

Chrs, Pye

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

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