- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 4, 2004

For the birds

A congressional committee is out to prove that window glass, not windmills, is the biggest killer of birds.

And if Congress loses the argument?

“Resources Chairman Richard W. Pombo, California Republican, will consider introducing legislation to ban the construction of most tall buildings, as they are most likely to have glass windows that murder birds,” vows a House Resources Committee spokesman.

Recent hysteria over clean, renewable wind power and its impact on birds has been “misdirected,” says the spokesman, referring to the Center for Biological Diversity’s threatened legal action to halt the use of wind turbines east of Oakland, Calif.

“These windmills have been an environmentally-friendly source of energy for California’s Bay Area for 20 years, but have come under attack of late as the killer of roughly 1,000 birds annually,” said the spokesman, who cited a new report that as many as 1 billion birds meet their demise against window glass every year.

“Rabid environmentalists and animal activists are sure to be outraged by the new finding, but whether or not they call for a national ban on windows is not yet known,” he said.

We might point out that the Washington Monument was found guilty of “murdering” 576 birds on one particularly foggy night.

Novel memorial

It is several years in the future, and New York City is once again threatened by terrorists. A devastating “dirty bomb” attack against lower Manhattan and New York ports and docks is imminent. Federal antiterrorism units work desperately to head off the second attack.

Will they succeed?

Let’s ask Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican. After all, “Vale of Tears” — intertwining the fiction of tomorrow with the fighting spirit of September 11 — is his book.

“It has an ending that is good, but when you get to the last page, it’s not as good as you think,” Mr. King told Inside the Beltway of his third novel.

“It certainly is the one that’s meant the most to me,” the congressman said when we recalled his other books. “It’s obviously very personal as far as September 11 goes — the events that I saw, the friends that I had.”

Mr. King, who was born and raised in Manhattan, paused.

“I give them a proper memorial here in the book,” he said.

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch said the book is Mr. King’s best novel yet. A book launching for the congressman will be held Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Double crisis

God forbid there be another attack on the United States equal to September 11. Still, amid three Senate office buildings shut down this week because of ricin contamination, Media Training Worldwide has updated its “crisis-communication tips” for official spokesmen and spokeswomen in Washington.

Among our favorites:

• “If you are the one official spokesperson during a crisis, then be ready to speak at all times.”

• “If you are not the official spokesperson during a crisis, then keep you mouth shut at all times.”

• “If you are wearing a wireless microphone, take it off immediately after your speech, especially if you are about to go to the bathroom. (Embarrassing accidents have happened, and not just in Leslie Nielsen movies).”

So long, Joe

We’ve stumbled upon a Democratic straw poll of cocktails being poured at the plush Four Seasons Hotel in Washington.

“Our patriotic duty,” says the Four Seasons’ Tricia Messerschmitt.

The surviving cocktails, after Tuesday’s primaries: “Kerry Catch Up,” “Johnny E. Good,” “Dean’s Scream,” “Ku Ku Who,” “Irreverent Reverend,” and “Wild Wild Wes.”

The “Cup o’ Joe” (vanilla vodka, Bailey’s Irish cream, decaffeinated coffee) wasn’t very popular and has been pulled from the shelf.

Bali Bob

The Republic of Indonesia has hired former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole as a chief lobbyist in Washington.

The Jakarta Post says Mr. Dole has been assisting Indonesia with “certain” issues for some time. And in its latest edition on the same subject, the Far Eastern Economic Review quoted a senior U.S. official as saying Mr. Dole, husband of North Carolina Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole, not only exercises considerable clout on Capitol Hill, he has the ear of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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