- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Melting mad cows

Have the cows gone mad? Are ice caps melting? Is a woman raped every nine seconds somewhere in America? Do little girls become women by age 8? Can Mozart raise your baby's IQ?

"If you answer yes to all of these questions, it means you've been listening to the media," say organizers of an upcoming National Press Club forum. "If you answer no to all of these questions, you've been listening to the experts."

Thus the topic of the forum: "Do the Media Have Foot in Mouth Disease?" hosted by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers and the Statistical Assessment Service.

And considering the many prophesied calamities we hear so much about in the news, the April 18 forum is past overdue. The panel, consisting of scientists and journalists alike, will examine why reporters tend to "add the numbers wrong" when writing about natural and social sciences, and what price society pays for media mistakes.

Standing up

Patience, courage, tenacity and above all, commitment, are virtues President Bush is following in his negotiations with China on the release of 24 American hostages.

That assessment is from the Center for Security Policy in Washington, which recalls Mr. Bush's own words a few weeks ago at the christening of the USS Ronald Reagan: to "stand by those nations moving toward freedom [and] stand up to those nations who deny freedom and threaten [their] neighbors or vital interests."

The center suggests Mr. Bush abandon the China course followed by President Clinton "a course characterized by an abject determination to enhance the legitimacy of the odious Communist regime in Beijing, irrespective of its brutality at home and its increasingly aggressive behavior abroad."

A "long-term" strategy toward negotiating with China is instead required, says the think tank, akin to one employed by Ronald Reagan when tearing down another Communist empire, the Soviet Union.

Year of the Tiger

The Chinese-American standoff isn't so critical that it warranted the first question at yesterday's White House briefing with spokesman Ari Fleischer. Instead the question was:

"Is Tiger coming to the White House any time soon?"

Golfer Tiger Woods, at age 25, became the first player in history to win four straight professional majors, capturing the Masters on Sunday.

Mack's back

President Clinton's kindergarten classmate and former White House chief of staff, Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty III, is among the foreign-policy experts participating in next Tuesday's Summit of the Americas press briefing, hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Now vice chairman of Kissinger, McLarty & Associates in Washington, Mr. McLarty will discuss any "common ground" the 24 nations gathering in Quebec on April 20 might discover.

Mr. McLarty was also Mr. Clinton's special envoy for the Americas, and later founded the Latin American strategic advisory practice of McLarty International. He joined forces with former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger 18 months ago.

Become an adviser

You, too, can advise the president.

Just like Crystal of Bridgeport, Conn., Yolanda of Augusta, Ga., and Jamey of Austin, Texas, all "presidential advisers" making their views known on Mark Weisberger's new Internet site,www.advisethepresident.com.

It "allows anyone the opportunity to contribute his or her comments to the site in real time," Mr. Weisberger tells this column.

Timely political questions of late include U.S. oil drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, the Federal Reserve and whether it has too much power over the U.S. economy, and the role of the U.S. military overseas.

After you offer your advice, you simply "Click Here to Advise the President."

White House roots

Frank Ruta and Anne Amernick met behind an oven in the White House.

"I was the executive sous chef and she was the assistant pastry chef," Mr. Ruta reveals from the kitchen of Palena, a new restaurant on Connecticut Avenue where the two are together again as partners.

Better yet, it's just been announced that Mr. Ruta is one of Food & Wine magazine's nationwide picks for the "Best New Chefs" awards.

"It's a very nice thing to be recognized for something like this," the chef tells Inside the Beltway. "The chefs that previously got the award are certainly some heavy names, and I'm excited to be a part of this group."

The chef hopes former President and Mrs. Bush, next time they are in town, stop by Palena (named for Mr. Ruta's familial village in Italy) "to reminisce."

The Bush children, of course, are welcome, too.

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