- The Washington Times - Friday, November 15, 2002

Quote of the week
"If he chooses not to disarm, we will disarm him."
President George W. Bush, referring to you-know-who.

Clinton he ain't
One thing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein hasn't caused President Bush to do is lose his unique sense of humor.
During a high-level Cabinet meeting this week on Iraq and other pressing issues of concern to the country, the White House briefly opened the Cabinet Room door for reporters to ask some questions of the president. Among them was David Gregory of NBC News.
"Gregory?" said Mr. Bush, calling on the boyish-looking NBC White House correspondent.
"Sir, good morning," replied Mr. Gregory, who if not as conservative as Mr. Bush is equally courteous.
"Yes, sir. Good to see you," Mr. Bush said.
"Alan Greenspan " Mr. Gregory began his question, or at last tried to, only to be abruptly cut off by the president.
"You're looking beautiful today, by the way," Mr. Bush said.
"Well, thank you, sir," replied a somewhat befuddled Mr. Gregory (what else does a man say when the president of the United States pays him such a compliment?).
Mr. Gregory, is there something between you and the president the nation should know about?
"The first time it happened was in Poland," the White House correspondent tells Inside the Beltway. "The president told me I was looking 'amazingly sharp,' and he even turned to the Polish president and said, 'Don't you think?'
"He always ribs me a little bit," says Mr. Gregory. "It's the normal banter."

Everybody's problem
The U.S. Catholic Bishops' president, Bishop Wilton Gregory of Illinois, is presiding over an annual meeting that is addressing sexual abuse, a kidnapped bishop in Colombia, possible war in Iraq, and the general health of the largest religious body in the United States.
We caught up with him in the hallway of the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill and asked how he felt American reporters were handling what critics and commentators alike were calling "the worst scandal to ever face the American Catholic Church."
For starters, he responded, "the media has done a great service" by bringing the sexual-abuse problem "to public attention."
Still, he said, "it does seem to be treated not in a balanced way when compared to other arenas in society where this is happening." In other words, when sexual abuse arises in schools, workplaces and among families where child sexual abuse is most prevalent it's not made into nightly news headlines.
This year, 350 press credentials were requested for the bishops meeting, while the norm is anywhere from 80 to 100. Many reporters did not get in.
"The perception has been that, 'This is a Catholic problem,'" Bishop Gregory said. "We as pastors have the responsibility to say, 'This is a societal problem.'"
As painful as the last year of scandal has been, added Bishop Gregory the first black clergyman to be president of the U.S. bishops "that's a gift the church can give to larger society, by bringing this out and dealing with it."

Only dirt will do
A Department of Energy bureaucrat says it's quite common for investigators from the Office of Personnel Management, as well as from other federal agencies, to conduct background checks of government officials, particularly when as in his case they are up for job promotions.
What surprised this particular DOE official, however, was what one such OPM investigator told his neighbor. The investigator showed up at the neighbor's house and asked him to describe the DOE official. The neighbor responded that the two were not only good friends, they attended the same church, and their sons were even in the Boy Scouts together. At which point the background investigator told the neighbor he wasn't interested in hearing about their "relationships with the Boy Scouts or church."
We were assured yesterday that shunning the Scouts, or for that matter God, is in no way the policy of the OPM, written or otherwise. More likely, we were told, probably just a "politically correct" background investigator.


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