- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mexicans for peace

President Bush’s long-awaited crackdown on illegal aliens isn’t the reason 10 or so protesters on the Mexican side of the border held up a large banner yesterday as Mr. Bush’s motorcade sped to a meeting on immigration issues in El Paso, Texas.

Instead, the group of protesters, all assumed to be Mexican, voiced their opposition to the Iraqi war.

‘Shame on you’

It’s been 10 days since Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean pledged that his party would stand strongly behind Rep. John P. Murtha in the wake of the Pennsylvania Democrat’s emotional outburst over progress with the Iraqi war.

Now, Tom McMahon, the DNC’s executive director, says, “From this day forward, the Democratic Party will commit to putting up a ‘Shame on You’ billboard in the home district of any Republican who attacks a veteran’s service in order to score political points.”

He says the first billboard will go up near Rep. Jean Schmidts district office in Portsmouth, Ohio. The congresswoman, in the wake of Mr. Murtha’s remarks, went onto the floor of the House and implied that her colleague was a coward, even though he served 37 years in the Marine Corps, received the Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

The billboard message: “Shame on You, Jean Schmidt: Stop Attacking Veterans. Keep Your Eye on the Ball — We Need a Real Plan for Iraq.”

Greek dish

That was newly credentialed Greek Ambassador Alexandros P. Mallias and TV talkmeister John McLaughlin discussing early Greek thinkers — Thales to Socrates — during a private dinner Monday night at restaurant Teatro Goldoni in Washington.

Mr. McLaughlin told the ambassador that he’d taken several years of classical Greek while in the seminary studying to become a Jesuit priest, and pointed out how beneficial both its language and linguistics remain for him today when it comes to English expression.

But it was six years of Latin studies, replied Mr. Mallias, that he most benefited from, particularly as a foundation for speaking French and Italian.

The 56-year-old ambassador, accompanied at dinner by his Swiss-born wife, Francoise-Anne Mallias, told Inside the Beltway that he’s just returned from Chicago and the 30th anniversary celebrations of the United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC). Joining him in the Windy City was Ambassador John D. Negroponte, U.S. director of national intelligence and the son of a Greek shipping magnate.

Mr. Mallias, whose family roots are in the high mountains of Arcadia (he and his wife spoke fondly of their country house on the island of Euboea), has an extensive diplomatic career, including as head of the European Community Monitor Mission in Sofia, Bulgaria, in charge of Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia — FYROM. He visited Skopje, Macedonia, several times, maintaining discreet contacts with FYROM’s leadership. He is also a former ambassador to Albania.

Quote of the week

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.”

Charles Schultz, creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip, forwarded by B.J. Peiser

Graying of America

The string of hurricanes that struck several states, coupled with higher gasoline and natural-gas prices as winter arrives, are “giving a double punch to seniors, one of the country’s most vulnerable groups,” says Jerry Barton, chairman of the National Association for Senior Concerns.

The group was started this year as “the center-right alternative to the American Association for Retired Persons,” Mr. Barton says. He says a significant response is to convene a national “Seniors’ Summit” in cooperation with other seniors groups, the private sector and the Bush administration to “forge constructive strategies to ease hardships on the nation’s seniors.”

Participants in such a summit could ask Congress to defer big-ticket budget items in order to shift money to senior-related concerns, Mr. Barton says. He cited tackling Medicare reform; specifically, “reforming a system that is being systematically defrauded on a huge scale.”

Mr. Barton challenged the AARP and other seniors groups to join in promoting the summit.

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

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