- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 4, 2003

What a dollCould Ann and Sean be the next Barbie and Ken?”The Right Wing Barbie,” in the likeness of the blond pundit and author Ann Coulter, is the newest creation of a California dollmaker, Inside the Beltway has learned.The Ann Coulter doll, a perfect educational addition to any child’s collection — boy or girl — will be ready for shipping by July, Talking Presidents.com co-founder John Warnock tells us (still no word on the identity of “the Right Wing Ken,” if there will even be such an item, but several possibilities come to mind — TV and radio host Sean Hannity being one of them).The Irvine dollmaker has been highly successful with its unique line of talking presidential action figures, the first being President Bush, which at the touch of a button recites 17 different phrases in his own voice — some political, some patriotic, others reflecting his comedic use (and misuse) of the English language.Can’t make this upAmong the more intriguing workshops scheduled during next week’s four-day, peace-movement strategies conference at the University of Maryland — sponsored by the National Network to End the War Against Iraq — is “Resisting Military Recruiting in High Schools.”Local high school students are invited to attend the conference free of charge (others, except University of Maryland students, have to pay). Before learning about how to avoid serving one’s country and defending freedom, a campus barbecue will be held sponsored by Students and Workers United (SAWU), which is to be immediately followed by a “labor solidarity march.”Labor solidarity?”Are you a vegetarian or vegan?” asks one of the three questions on the conference registration form. “Please type either ‘vegetarian,’ ‘vegan’ or ‘neither.’ ”(Question: Where were these people when under President Clinton NATO forces accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and the U.S. military attacked the aspirin factory in Sudan?)Iraqi restorationContrary to left-leaning concerns that the United States will “occupy” Iraq, the U.S. Agency for International Development expects its involvement in rebuilding the nation to last only one to two years, compared with an expected 10 to 20 years in Afghanistan.The simple reason is that Iraq was once a developed country with a large middle class, observes USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios.A USAID information sheet explains that Uncle Sam’s first priority in Iraq is to distinguish between the “competent technocrats” — doctors, lawyers and engineers — and Iraqi professionals who committed atrocities. The former will be counted upon to help rebuild the country and establish democracy.Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations tomorrow evening in Washington will host a forum, “The War on Iraq and its Impact on U.S.-Muslim Relations.” The discussion will feature Edward Peck, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, and Al-Jazeera satellite television network Washington Bureau Chief Hafiz Mirazi.Church drops state“The recent actions involving Daschle are totally in agreement with the teachings of the Catholic Church and make crystal clear … you cannot be Catholic and pro-abortion.”— Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, reacting to word that Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle has received a letter from the bishop of his home diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D., informing him that he can no longer publicly identify himself as a member of the Catholic Church.Green thumbAnybody who has visited George Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon has strolled along the 200-year-old serpentine walk, shaded by 13 large trees that were actually planted by the nation’s first president.This morning, a 6-foot sapling clone of a white ash that was planted by Washington in 1785 will be replanted on the U.S. Capitol grounds. The tree is an Arbor Day gift to the nation from the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association and the Champion Tree Project International, founded in 1996 to preserve the nation’s oldest trees.The white ash sapling clone is the first successful recreation in a project that will spawn exact genetic duplicates of each of Washington’s surviving trees, according to the Mount Vernon ladies, who have owned and maintained the estate since 1858.Although folklore likes to recall a young George Washington chopping down a tree, in reality he planted hundreds of trees at Mount Vernon.Of the 13 that survive today, there are seven American hollies, two tulip poplars, two white ash, a white mulberry and a hemlock.

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