- The Washington Times - Friday, July 6, 2001

Suits and zippers
We've just finished reading "The Wit & Wisdom of Cal Thomas," forewarned by the author's publisher, Promise Press, that no subject in the new book "is off-limits, no American icon safe."
From major newspapers to Bill Clinton.
"People ask me what they should read in order to keep up with everything going on in Washington. I tell them I read the New York Times and my Bible every day so that I know what each side is doing," says Mr. Thomas, the nation's most widely syndicated columnist.
Including the prior president?
"President Clinton has prospered politically because he is like a parent who allows a child to eat his dessert instead of his vegetables to keep the child happy," Mr. Thomas writes. "Seeking such short-term approval leads to nutritional deficiency."
But wasn't Mr. Clinton largely forgiven, his escapades forgotten?
"Those who still defend this man for political reasons now call on the public to forgive him, though he has not made the request himself. But forgiveness without repentance is cheap grace. It says that what he did to himself, his family, and the nation is as acceptable as the behavior of those who remain faithful to their spouses and a good example to their children."
In other words, Bill Clinton is no Ronald Reagan.
"It was said of Ronald Reagan that he had so much respect for the presidency he never removed his suit coat while in the Oval Office. Clinton respects it so little he has trouble keeping his pants on there."

'Another failure'
Was last Friday's "NASA Budget Town Hall Meeting" near the Johnson Space Center in Houston really an anti-Bush rally?
One NASA official apparently thought so.
Inside the Beltway has obtained a memo, purportedly written by NASA public-affairs official Doug Peterson, that is sharply critical of President Bush and his policy toward the space agency.
In his memo, Mr. Peterson encouraged his NASA colleagues to attend the town hall meeting, particularly "Democratic troops who would like to pin Dubya with another failure to follow through on this [sic] campaign pledges and to support a Texas industry — space! Dubya is in the process of cutting NASA to enable spending $10 billion more for star wars. Thanks, Demos! Doug Peterson."
Mr. Peterson was on annual leave this week and unavailable for comment. No official reaction yet from NASA, either, on the agency spokesman's memo.
The NASA town hall meeting, held directly across from the Johnson Space Center, was sponsored by the Bay Area New Democrats. Participants included Texas Reps. Nick Lampson and Ken Bentsen, both Democrats, Houston Mayor Lee Brown and other local officials and residents concerned with "NASA's shrinking budgets."
"After a series of successful missions to assemble the International Space Station, NASA's budgets are being cut," said a media advisory on the meeting.
"The Bush administration has determined that to save money, a half-finished space station will be defined as a 'complete' station," the advisory said. "Many space workers are disappointed that the NASA budget is being cut so soon after they voted George W. Bush into office."

Brussels, senor?
President Bush and Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo discussed the pressing issue of U.S. immigration overload during a White House meeting yesterday.
Rather than flocking as Guatemalans have to the United States, Mr. Portillo ought to go home and tell his countrymen to give Europe a try instead. A new U.N. study predicts that through the year 2025, Europe will need 125 million immigrants to compensate for its aging and decreasing population.
Says the Belgian Embassy in Washington: "Belgium alone would need an influx of 40,000 immigrants per year. Today, our country lacks 3,000 professional drivers and 12,000 construction workers."

Liberal mailbag
Canadian Bob McBurney of Richmond, British Columbia, writes: "Although [the late U.S. senator and congressman] James G. Blaine once claimed 'The United States is the only country with a known birthday,' allow me to point out, quietly and politely, that my country, Canada, was born on July 1, 1867. Thank you."
As for our observation that liberal TV producer Norman Lear certainly is "all over the map" these days first contributing to Republican candidate John McCain's bid for the White House, then huddling with Barbra Streisand, Warren Beatty and House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt a reader points out: "All these people are liberals!"

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