- The Washington Times - Monday, May 24, 2004

Wag the puppy

“I’m partial to politicians with iambic names that rhyme with a lot of disparaging words,” admits New Yorker staff writer Calvin Trillin, since 1990 the Nation magazine’s “deadline poet” — contributing a piece of verse on the news every week.

And while the name George W. Bush is everything but iambic these days, Mr. Trillin has compiled 112 pages of presidential verse for his new book, “Obviously On He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme.”

The author’s poems, which go on sale next week, also feature Mr. Bush’s “supporting cast,” led by “Supreme Commander Karl Rove.”

For anybody still wondering why the president invaded Iraq, consider Mr. Trillin’s modern-day version of the Bill Clinton-era movie, “Wag the Dog”:

Osama’s split and Wall Street’s sagging.

It’s time to get that puppy wagging.

Choice media

Not shy about lending their names in support of pro-choice women for political office are several Washington journalist-types: Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report, Time senior writer Margaret Carlson, Eleanor Clift of Newsweek, Mark Plotkin of WTOP radio, Washingtonian contributing editor Alicia Mundy and syndicated columnists Helen Thomas and Bonnie Erbe.

All of the above are special guests at nine dinners to be hosted in the homes of prominent Washingtonians by the Women’s Campaign Fund, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Among those serving supper in their dining rooms on June 8 are Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, lobbyist Tony Podesta and D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz, at-large Republican.

Backing Bush

A section of Mount Vernon settled by former slaves of George Washington and George Mason will be the setting of a community “meet and greet” sponsored by blacks in Northern Virginia for Bush/Cheney ‘04 and the Frederick Douglass Republican Forum.

The June 28 event, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Gum Springs Community Center, will feature an address by Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore.

Big Labor Ted

Congress is getting an earful about union agents who bully rank-and-file workers in a “captive audience” setting — including on-the-job harassment and intimidating “home visits” — then pressure them into signing “card checks” that are counted as “votes” in favor of unionization.

Eleven workers from various industries and regions of the country have come to Capitol Hill to describe such abuse and intimidation, including Donna Stinson of Bristol, Va., who after one “card check” organization drive filed federal charges against the United Auto Workers.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee, explains: “Since workers are increasingly rejecting union membership when given the choice through secret-ballot elections, union officials are leveraging companies to help impose forced unionism from the top down.”

Faith Jetter, an employee with the Renaissance Hotel in Pittsburgh, tells of coercive tactics used by the Hotel Employees Union. She, like the others, voiced support for a congressional proposal that would replace card checks with secret ballots — “so that me and my fellow employees could vote our consciences in private, without being pressured by the union representatives.”

For Mrs. Jetter and other employees to be able to vote in private means going up against Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.

Mr. Mix recently sent a letter to every member of Congress voicing opposition to Mr. Kennedy’s misnamed “Employee Free Choice Act,” which seeks to help unions attract millions of additional members by banning secret-ballot elections and replacing them with the card-check scheme.

Voter’s guide?

Maryland Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, a Princeton graduate, was put in an uncomfortable position when, following his address to the American Law Institute at the Mayflower Hotel, a lawyer (no doubt a Republican) asked him who he’d be rooting for in the NCAA lacrosse tournament — the University of Maryland or his alma mater?

Mr. Sarbanes, a native of Salisbury, Md., chose Princeton, which beat Maryland 9-8 in the quarterfinals.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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