- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2007

Buy my book?

We’ve learned that former CIA officer Valerie Plame is a last-minute addition to speak at Saturday’s Book and Author Lunch at the annual BookExpo America (BEA) in New York, replacing Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, who had to cancel.

What’s interesting about her appearance is that Mrs. Plame’s much-anticipated memoir, “Fair Game,” won’t be published for another six months.

Nevertheless, BEA event director Lance Fensterman says Mrs. Plame’s story “is shrouded in mystery and intrigue, and I know that I am not alone in eagerly anticipating what she has to say.”

Wow

“But it was when he described Clinton as being a ‘supportive spouse’ that Clinton smiled and nodded his head emphatically several times.”

Or so a Middlebury College news release describes former President BillClinton’s reaction when he was being introduced as the 2007 commencement speaker by college President Ronald D. Liebowitz.

A lot less gas

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada are being asked to extend vegetarians the tax break currently given to hybrid-car owners for purchasing a vehicle with low carbon emissions.

The request comes from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals founder Ingrid E. Newkirk, who read a University of Chicago report arguing that switching to a vegetarian diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard American car to a Toyota Prius.

She also cited a U.N. scientific report concluding that the meat industry generates more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined, including cars, trucks, planes and ships.

History recall

Much like significant birthdays worthy of mention on television by the ever-ebullient weatherman Willard Scott, senators and congressman similarly rise to the occasion by recognizing the milestones of their constituents.

One such honoree is Betty Pia, whose 90th birthday this week was brought to our attention by Rep. Jim Costa, California Democrat.

Mrs. Pia was born in Georgia on May 29, 1917, and since 1965 has lived in California, where she still operates a guest house. And who would have known, were it not for Mr. Costa’s recognition this week, that before she moved west Mrs. Pia was none other than President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s nurse.

Red, White & Boone

Where in Washington didn’t Pat Boone appear during the Memorial Day holiday?

“Red, White & Boone,” declared the Fox News Channel, one of several networks to interview the renowned entertainer while he participated in the G.I. Film Festival, greeted the Rolling Thunder bikers to the National Mall and sang at the annual Memorial Day Parade along Constitution Avenue.

So what’s left to report?

Well, given all the interest in one television show of late, we’re here to report that Mr. Boone is the original American idol.

That’s right, when he was 20 years old, he won not one, but two national contests hardly different from today’s popular “American Idol” talent show on Fox: Ted Mack’s “The Original Amateur Hour” and “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts,” both of which placed Mr. Boone on the road to become among the top entertainers in American history.

Today, when he’s not performing on stage, Mr. Boone keeps busy as national spokesman for the Washington-based 60 Plus Association, a seniors advocacy group.

“We’re proud to have him now that he concedes that he is indeed a senior,” says association President Jim Martin, noting that he and others will be celebrating Mr. Boone’s 73rd birthday tomorrow.

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

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