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Getting socked

Socks, which keep America on its feet, were the reason that Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez picked up the phone the other day and called a concerned Alabama Rep. Robert B. Aderholt, assuring the Republican lawmaker that the U.S. sock industry will be protected against foreign competition.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Mr. Aderholt said after taking the call.

U.S. census data finds American sock production dropped by 20 percent in 2006 and 14 percent in the first quarter of 2007. Commerce Department import data, meanwhile, shows the number of imported socks from Honduras increased almost 50 percent in the 12 months ending in April 2007.

Harry craze

An appreciative first ladyLaura Bush, on hand this week in Austin, Texas, for the dedication of the Laura Bush Community Library, observed that the average book on the library’s shelves is borrowed more than seven times per year — “and that average was actually calculated before Harry Potter was just released.”

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes. com.