- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Christian ball

Scores of Christian ministers and lay people in town for this week’s inauguration say they will start the day with a one-hour thanksgiving prayer service across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court thanking God for the re-election of George W. Bush.

“No president is perfect,” said the Rev. Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action, “but George Bush has done more than any recent president to champion what is important to serious Christians of every tradition: the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of marriage and the public acknowledgment of God. We’re thankful that God heard our cries and gave us four more years of a Bush administration.”

The Christians will conclude their day with a black-tie soiree, where author David Aikman will autograph copies of his book “A Man of Faith,” a religious biography of Mr. Bush.

Peek at a gala

We see that entertainer Tony Orlando, whose song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree” has endured for three decades, is on tonight’s reservations list at restaurant Teatro Goldoni on K Street.

Mr. Orlando has traveled from his home in Branson, Mo., to perform at tomorrow evening’s Veterans Inaugural Gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where talk-show host Larry King will be master of ceremonies and Westwood One night owl Jim Bohannon will be among the honorees.

Mr. Orlando has spent a lifetime supporting U.S. troops. In 2000, he was presented with the Patriot Award by Colin L. Powell for “being instrumental in developing Branson into a year-round home for America’s veterans.”

We’re told that gala-goers also can expect to mingle with World War II veteran and former President George Bush, who has always taken pride in supporting U.S. troops, and perhaps hear political satirist Mark Russell on the piano — that is, as he puts it, if he can get past security.

The evening’s proceeds will benefit the Ark Foundation’s Hospice for veterans.

Four-year agenda

If the White House isn’t providing a time frame for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, the nonpartisan Cato Institute is in its soon-to-be-released 710-page Handbook on Policy, a firm timeline for Americans to withdraw while at the same time defeating al Qaeda.

Copies of the big book are bound for the White House and every office on Capitol Hill.

The handbook also argues for the replacement of federal income tax with a consumption-based law, provides a blueprint of ways to cut the federal government and keep it within the limits prescribed by the Constitution, and suggests how to reform Social Security with individual accounts.

Regarding the war on terrorism, the policy book argues for the repeal of the “Sneak and Peek” and money-laundering provisions of the USA Patriot Act, proposes that the military remain a last resort and not a first responder for addressing the threat of terrorist attacks on the home front, tells how to avoid an amorphous war on terrorism, and shows ways to strengthen the all-volunteer Army.

Letter of the week

“Please accept my apologies as, for the first time, I bought the enemy’s fish wrappers,” writes Howard E. Halvorsen of Ruther Glen, Va., referring to Washington’s other newspaper, where he scanned a special jobs section on homeland defense.

“My son Hunter, 8 years old, who normally reads your paper with me … then asked if he could read the comics. Thinking it harmless, I approved. In a minute he asked me who the silly man named ‘Milk’ was. I realized a comic I had never heard of called the ‘Boondocks,’ by Aaron McGruder, had disgraced Martin Luther King Jr.

“After explaining who Reverend King was and how the cartoon was awful … he tells me there is a patriotic cartoon. I had to see this for myself. My son, despite how bright he is, had misinterpreted the meaning of a cartoon called ‘Candorville’ by Darrin Bell.

“Mr. Bell was equating the Iraqi insurgents, the same persons involved in beheadings and terrorist bombings to thwart democracy in Iraq, to our Founding Fathers. I then had to explain that to him. To say the least, he was a little upset. To put it mildly, so was I. …

“The paper was quickly made whole again in File 13. Thus, my United States Air Force intelligence experience, and my recent bachelor’s degree in world history and international relations will have to find another way to serve our great country by another means, even if it means defending the very people who revile what is best about America.”

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

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