- The Washington Times - Friday, January 12, 2007

No budget cut

We are pleased to see that one Democratic lawmaker is already following the example of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who pledged a new era of ethical correctness on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, a West Virginia Democrat recently named chairman of an Appropriations subcommittee, has just recused himself from dealing with the Justice Department’s budget.

Good move on Mr. Mollohan’s part, considering the congressman is currently under Justice Department investigation for steering more than $200 million to five nonprofit groups in his West Virginia district.

Speaker Bill

“This is pretty cool,” says Peter, a student at Middlebury College in Vermont.

“I agree. This has totally made my day. I just wonder how they’ll top it for my graduation,” says Sarah, each posting their comments on a college Web site.

What’s all the fuss about?

Former President Bill Clinton, that’s what. Ben Salkowe, writing in the Student Weekly of Middlebury College, reports that Mr. Clinton will deliver Middlebury’s 2007 commencement address on May 27, marking the first address by a modern president to the historic college, founded in 1800.

Mr. Clinton also will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters degree from the college.

Honor and bury

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat from Harlem, introduced a resolution this week expressing the opinion of Congress that James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” shall be recognized for his contributions to American music as “one of the greatest and most influential entertainers of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s as an American cultural icon.”

Now, if Mr. Rangel only had the influence to see that Mr. Brown gets a proper burial.

The singer’s body remains in a sealed casket at his home in South Carolina, dropped offby a funeral home on Dec. 30 while family members continue to debate where he should be buried.

Free food

Give credit to Brad Woodhouse, spokesman for Americans United For Change, for knowing what really attracts the Washington press corps to a briefing — including one at the National Press Club yesterday announcing a multimillion-dollar campaign to oppose President Bush’s plan to send 21,500 additional U.S. troops to Iraq.

“Free Lunch and a Press Conference” — or so Mr. Woodhouse always writes in the subject line of his periodic press reminders.

You don’t say?

The new CQ Press Congressional Staff Directory for the 110th Congress contains some intriguing trivia to ponder while riding the congressional subway or waiting for your Capitol Hill meeting to start. Did you know, for instance:

• Rep. John Hall, New York Democrat, is a professional singer and songwriter best known for his stint with the popular rock band Orleans. He recorded several major hits, including “Still the One,” “Dance With Me” and “Let There Be Music.”

• Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, is the only member of Congress to fly an airplane around the world. In the summer of 1991 he re-created WileyPost’s 1933 solo flight around the globe.

• Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican, holds 20 patents for his invention of respiratory support and safety devices used by pilots, astronauts and rescue workers.

• Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat, has co-authored with Marylouise Oates two political novels/murder mysteries, “Capitol Offense” and “Capitol Venture.”

• Rep. Paul Hodes, New Hampshire Democrat, and wife Peggo were musicians — Peggo and Paul — who recorded several children’s albums, including “Summer Nights: Lullabies and Soothing Songs.”

• Sen. Jim Bunning, Kentucky Republican, is the only member of Congress to have been enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame after a 15-year career as a professional pitcher.

• Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat, was runner-up for the 1993 Heisman Trophy while playing for the University of Tennessee, and went on to be an NFL quarterback with the Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders.

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

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