- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2005

Scratch two

The following letter, from the Family Research Council [FRC] to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, speaks for itself and deals with the California Democrat’s claim last week that she represented 145 million women on issues such as abortion.

“Could you clarify how you arrived at this number?” wrote Connie Mackey, vice president for government affairs, and Pia de Solenni, director for women’s issues.

“According to the 2003 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 144,513,361 women and girls in the United States and, given our democratic environment and diverse society, we are confident in suggesting that the views of these women are not all represented by you.

“California, the state you represent, has about 17.5 million women and girls,” the women note. “If you are suggesting that you represent 145 million women because of your stance on Roe v. Wade, polls show that women are consistently becoming more pro-life. … We look forward to the explanation of your statement.”



‘Hopeful’

Approving a new constitution in war-torn Iraq has been difficult for all sides, even for the White House and members of the press.

Take White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy, who while aboard Air Force One last week en route to Salt Lake City was asked by a reporter whether President Bush that day would address stalled negotiations on the Iraqi constitution.

“Yes,” Mr. Duffy replied. “He’ll talk about how we’re hopeful that the Iraqis will continue to make progress on their constitution.”

“Why are you hopeful?” was the follow-up question.

“Well, we’re hopeful,” Mr. Duffy replied. “We’re hopeful, and they’re still at the table.”

One can’t be more “hopeful” than that, certainly.

Except when a White House pool report of the question-and-answer session was released to reporters, it quoted Mr. Duffy expressing “confidence” instead of hope.

Thus, a subsequent pool report corrected: “Trent Duffy disputed use of the word ‘confidence’ on the Iraqi constitution. He said he specifically said ‘hopeful.’ He said he chose his words ‘carefully.’”

Culinary opera

As the pair accomplished with Pampano in New York, legendary opera director Placido Domingo and Mexican-born chef Richard Sandoval have collaborated to open a new restaurant — Zengo — on Seventh Street Northwest near Chinatown.

The Latin-Asian restaurant, which will open in early October, will be a “home away from home” for Mr. Domingo when the Washington National Opera general director is performing in the nation’s capital.

It is noted that since he was a child, Mr. Domingo, whose grandmother owned a restaurant, dreamed of following in her footsteps. And if Zengo is anything like Pampano, Washingtonians will be flocking to the 195-seat establishment. Pampano, after all, was named best new restaurant in America by Esquire magazine in 2003.

Mr. Sandoval says he will merge Latin foods of his heritage with Shanghai-born chef Alan Yu’s Asian ingredients and techniques.

And get this: Mr. Yu will be having his own homecoming of sorts, having worked as a young man at his parents’ restaurant in Chinatown. He was later executive sous chef under Michel Richard at Citronelle in Georgetown, and more recently was executive chef for Jean George Vongerichten’s 66 restaurant in New York.

Political gas

Democrats in need of a campaign slogan for 2006 might consider, “It’s the gasoline, stupid.”

Even Republicans aren’t happy about Americans’ paying upwards of $3 per gallon of gas, or so we read in a letter North Carolina Rep. Walter B. Jones has sent to fellow Republican Rep. Joe L. Barton of Texas, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Concerned about the dramatic “spike” in gasoline prices — up 44 percent this year — and its impact on the economy, Mr. Jones is calling on the chairman to schedule “urgent” hearings as soon as the House reconvenes from its late-summer vacation.

He warns that the “skyrocketing price of gasoline is threatening to derail our economic expansion.”

God and guns

Catholic World News (CWN) has published an intriguing story about Washington gun lobbyist John Michael Snyder criticizing the Vatican’s representative at the United Nations for endorsing an “international gun-control scheme.”

Archbishop Celestino Migliore cooperated in “a direct attack on the God-given right of law-abiding citizens to self-defense,” CWN quotes Mr. Snyder, who takes issue with the archbishop’s statements in support of a proposed U.N. program to eradicate illicit trade in small arms.

Mr. Snyder fears such approval would lead to worldwide gun control under U.N. auspices and deny private citizens, including Americans, the right to own firearms without explicit approval.

“When push comes to shove,” says the Catholic Mr. Snyder, “the ability of an individual to defend life from terrorist and other violent criminal action depends on whether or not that individual can get and use guns.”

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

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