- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Exhibits A and B

Exhibit A — Text of a phone message left by Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, on the Inside the Beltway telephone line this week:

“This is Congressman Rangel … The quote you assigned to me in a recent Inside the Beltway column [Monday, Aug. 22] is probably the dumbest thing I’ve heard of. I don’t know where the hell you got the Willie Lynch story, but it would be helpful if you checked it out and find some way to say you made a mistake.”

Exhibit B — Text of a speech, as it appears in the Congressional Record, attributed to “Hon. Charles B. Rangel of New York in the House of Representatives, Monday, July 25, 2005”:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to alert my colleagues of a dangerous condition that threatens the health of our society — the destruction of the black family. The black family has yet to recover from the destructive effects of slavery.

“In 1712, British slave owner Willie Lynch was invited to the colony of Virginia to teach his methods of keeping slaves under control to American slave owners. Almost three hundred years later, the techniques that he prescribed seem to have not only been successful in controlling slaves, but lasting as a means of weakening and destroying the black family.”

As Mr. Rangel read in our column earlier this week, the “Willie Lynch” he cited is an urban legend based on a document widely circulated via the Internet in recent years.

Mr. Rangel has not returned phone calls since leaving the message.

Right vs. left

There will be a “Women for Roberts” show of support today at the National Press Club.

Participants include Mary Ellen Bork (who doesn’t wish Judge John G. Roberts Jr. the outcome that befell her husband, Judge Robert H. Bork), radio host Linda Chavez (she withdrew her nomination as labor secretary in 2001), Republican legal counsel Cleta Mitchell, Kathryn Lopez of National Review Online, Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network, Brigida Benitez of the National Republican Lawyers Association, Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business Survival Committee and Connie Mackey of the Family Research Council — needless to say, conservative-leaning ladies.

Said one organizer: “We want to have an antidote to the left-wing women’s mantra.”

Seeds of change

Back when President Clinton was in power, this columnist received a small package in the mail from Dr. Sidney Markowitz — K Street’s “Hollywood Smile” dentist.

Rather than a new toothbrush, the package contained a packet of seeds: “Arkansas Traveler Tomato — Seeds of Change.”

I recall carrying the seeds home to my dad, a retired FBI agent whose very first assignment from J. Edgar Hoover during World War II was to the FBI field office in Little Rock, Ark. Soon, he was producing a bountiful crop of Arkansas Travelers.

Yesterday, Washington publicist Janet Donovan had her checkup with Dr. Markowitz. Wouldn’t you know, instead of a toothbrush, the dentist handed her a bag of “Texas Beef Tomatoes,” juicy fruit from President Bush’s home state. The dentist is giving them to all his patients these days.

“The tomatoes were gorgeous, all neatly packed in red, white and blue patriotic plastic flag bags,” Miss Donovan notes. “At least someone in Washington is nonpartisan these days.”

(Given the dentist’s propensity for politics and produce, we’ll be the first to warn you in 2008 if he begins peddling New York tomatoes.)

Iraqi tomatoes

It’s not often we write two items on the same day about tomatoes. But it so happens that an “Iraq Reconstruction Update” arrived in our mailbox yesterday from the U.S. Agency for International Development dealing with just that.

Tomato farmers in Iraq, it turns out, “are harvesting higher yields thanks to improved technologies learned under the Open Field Tomato Demonstration initiative of USAID’s Agriculture Reconstruction and Development for Iraq (ARDI) program.”

ARDI established tomato plots in Baghdad, Diyala and Babylon and introduced “drip irrigation, black plastic mulch, and fertilization,” yielding plentiful vines.

Proof enough

Regarding yesterday’s item on the upcoming National UFO Conference — and accusations that government officials have hidden evidence of UFOs ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration — Inside the Beltway reader Loretta Werres of Ocean View, Del., reasons:

“I find it easier to believe in UFOs than to believe that Congress could keep this information a secret (or keep any secret, for that matter) since the 1940s.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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