- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2009

NO PROBLEM

“Not a shred of truth to it.”

Or so a senior White House official tells this columnist, referring to reports that President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s relationship is “strained” because of the latter’s indiscipline and frequent gaffes.

The official took particular issue with media reports surrounding Newsweek journalist Richard Wolffe’s new book, “Renegade: The Making of a President,” including that Mr. Obama has become “distracted” by Mr. Biden’s frequent gaffes to the extent that he has rebuked him.

The official insisted that at the end of the day Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden are “arm in arm, laughing with each other.”

PAY TO READ?

It’s not the best of times for the nation’s newspapers, especially the once-profitable New York Times, its parent company posting a $335,000 loss in the first quarter of 2009.

All the more reason for the Atlantic to rush forward with news of an unpublicized meeting in Chicago on Thursday of the Newspaper Association of America, attended by Michael Golden, vice chairman of the New York Times Co.

Mr. Golden now assures Editor & Publisher that there was nothing secretive about the meeting, pointing out: “If it were secret, there wouldn’t have been a sign on the door saying ‘NAA meeting.’ ”

Asked about the specifics of the gathering, which had been planned for several weeks and reportedly included the pros and cons of charging for Web content, Mr. Golden would only say “there were a lot of people there facing a lot of similar issues to the ones we are facing.”

ENDLESS GROWTH

Letter sent by Richard C. Thiel, chairman of the Wolf Den Architectural Control Committee in Vienna, Va.:

“To whom it may concern: a U.S. congressman, Alan Grayson, owns property in Wolf Den, a part of Wolf Trap Woods Homes Association … The height of his lawn currently ranges from 18 inches to 36 inches. The home also receives little to no exterior maintenance. A complaint form regarding the height of the lawn has already been forwarded to Fairfax County officials. Anything you can do to encourage this newly elected congressman from the 8th congressional district (Florida) to maintain his property to even minimum standards would be greatly appreciated by his discouraged neighbors.”

Attempts to reach Mr. Grayson over the weekend were unsuccessful. However, Inside the Beltway touched base Sunday with Mr. Thiel, who said one of the congressman’s fellow neighbors stepped in late Saturday afternoon to cut the lawmaker’s lawn.

“The neighbor saw the sticker left by the Fairfax County zoning enforcement,” Mr. Thiel said. “He went over and took the sticker off and communicated with the owner somehow.”

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