- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 20, 2009

SICK WICK

Holy smokes. That clandestine tryst between politico and paramour may never be the same again. Candlelight dinners - the flickering flame, that delicate glow - are an unrecognized source of indoor air pollution. Really. The American Chemical Society announced Wednesday that “emission products of petroleum-based candles in nonventilated enclosed areas” produce evocative ambience - and known human carcinogens.

Somebody notify Al Gore, and maybe Ralph Nader.

“Lighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an un-ventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems,” says Ruhullah Massoudi, a chemistry professor at South Carolina State University who analyzed all those nasty airborne things and suggests chichi beeswax or soy candles as a healthier alternative.

Oh joy. The eco-minded now have a new source of guilt. The green police have a new target. And now that candles are officially scary, surely those romantic suppers - or the journalist intent on wooing a source at some dim table - have been compromised.

Or not.

“I counter that science with more science. Candles also produce negative ions, and negative ions are associated with a sense of well-being and happiness. Negative ions, positive vibes - what’s not to like?” asks Philip Gates, general manager of Charlie Palmer Steak, a handsome eatery within a block of the U.S. Capitol.

The candles at Charlie Palmer lie low on the table, snug in their spring-loaded stainless steel holders with steel mesh tops. And the candles are staying.

“They’re not going anywhere. And you can’t really see the actual candles anyway,” Mr. Gates says.

COMIC RELIEF

Well, why not? Larry Klayman, the veritable gadfly of the Clinton administration, has become a gladfly instead. Mr. Klayman - attorney and founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch, master of the strategic FOIA request and tenacious lawsuit - is now a stand-up comedian. He is appearing at the Funky Buddha Lounge in Boca Raton, Fla.

Wait. Funky? Larry and funky? This is a man who stood outside the U.S. District Court on many occasions in the mid-1990s, waving official documents, tattling on Bill Clinton and then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The lounge in question features 120 different beers and hookahs - the “shisha” variety, and said tobacco comes in 40 flavors.

Mr. Klayman would rather be funny in Florida than fuming in Washington.

“It’s political humor mostly. I have not given up as ‘freedom fighter,’ but with the Obama/Clinton crowd in power it’s better to laugh than cry. Besides, the Clintons always tried to portray my lawsuits as a joke. I am not through with them - the Filegate case, for example,” Mr. Klayman tells Inside the Beltway. “But now the Clintons and Obama can have both. Freedom fighter, comedian. A two-fer.”

If things go swimmingly, Mr. Klayman says, “I’ll take my schtick” to clubs in Los Angeles and New York.

FEELING LOUSY

Some physicians may not accept Obamacare if it comes to pass. Seven-out-of-10 specialty doctors oppose current congressional and White House health care reform and two-thirds think that a government-run health insurance plan would restrict doctors’ ability to give the best advice and care to their patients, says the American Society of Medical Doctors.

The group released a survey of those doctors on Wednesday - which includes news that 60 percent say they would not accept new patients with “government insurance” - including 27 percent who would not accept any patients on the new government plan.

“As a physician, the results of this poll are not surprising to me. Any doctor who has ever dealt with Medicare knows that government coverage severely limits our abilities to deliver care that best fits the needs of the patient and the patient’s family. We know that government coverage does not allow for flexibility, creativity, or, sometimes, even compassion,” says Dr. Alfred O. Bonati, chairman of the Washington-based activist group, which emphasizes the importance of free-market enterprise in the medical realm.

MESSAGE OF NOTE

From our reader-called-to-say department: “Hurricane Bill, Hurricane Bill, Hurricane Bill. I’ve heard about Hurricane Bill all week long. But I thought that President Clinton was in full force last week.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 24 percent of Americans say President Obama and Republican leaders are “working together.”

• 63 percent say they are not working together.

• 29 percent blame Republican leaders.

• 17 percent blame Mr. Obama.

• 9 percent blame both; 8 percent blame neither side.

• 13 percent don’t know who’s to blame.

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey of 2,010 adults conducted Aug. 11-17.

Squawks, squeals and talking points to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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