- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 28, 2006


“Sir, it’s been raining all day and you look completely dry. Do you work for FEMA?”

So inquired comedian and filmmaker Jeffrey Ross of a well-dressed gentleman seated in the front row for Monday night’s VIP screening in soggy Georgetown for Mr. Ross’ new film, “Patriot Act.”

The stand-up comedian told the audience that the documentary — what was originally intended to be a home movie of his USO tour of Iraq, shot with a $600 camcorder — would appeal to everyone, “whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Joe Lieberman.”

Murtha missionaries

Just in time for the 2006 midterm elections, we learn that supporters of the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Sen. John Kerry are starting “Murtha Lied” — with a Web site “and all the accouterments of a hotshot political campaign,” says the guiding force, retired Navy SEAL Capt. Larry W. Bailey of North Carolina.

Capt. Bailey informs fellow veterans in a memo we obtained that he’s just opened a bank account in the name of “Vets for Truth,” as “we’re going to need enough money to send our Operation Street Corner ‘missionaries’ into Rep. John Murtha’s home district in Pennsylvania.”

Mr. Murtha, a veteran of the Marine Corps who has served more than 35 years in the House, has been the most outspoken member in Congress against U.S. war policy in Iraq. Keep an eye out for the veteran group’s launch at www.murthalied.com.

With one exception?

“In all my years in public life, I have never seen leaders that act with the contempt for the truth as I have witnessed in George Bush’s administration.”

That’s what Al Gore is claiming, at least, in a Democratic Party fundraising letter dated Monday.

All about politics

We have in Rep. Jim McDermott an honest politician.

The Washington Democrat acknowledged during Monday’s late-night congressional debate over the war in Iraq: “The first thing you have to understand is that everything that is happening on this floor and in the other body has to do with the 7th of November, the election.”

Similar, eh?

That was the speaker of the Canadian Senate, Noel A. Kinsella, and Canadian Sens. Colin Kenny and Donald Oliver dropping in this week to observe the proceedings of the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Kinsella, a member of the Conservative Party of Canada, was appointed his country’s speaker on Feb. 8, holding a post similar to that of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican.

Tenants of the times

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson is being applauded on Capitol Hill for his intervention after managers of a Section 8 housing complex built with HUD funding told tenants that they no longer could hold Bible study on the premises.

The owners of the South Carolina apartment complex said they were afraid of being served with lawsuits for allowing religious activities under the Fair Housing Act.

Mr. Jackson’s office sent them a letter stating the concerns were unfounded, pointing out that the Fair Housing Act requires that voluntary religious events be treated like any other public event.

“Thank you for your leadership in protecting the religious freedom of Americans,” said a letter to Mr. Jackson signed by nearly three-dozen congressmen.

Raven’s return

Edgar Allan Poe is returning to his old haunt, the Willard Hotel near the White House, where the gifted writer lodged way back in 1843. (It was the City Hotel before it became the Willard in 1850.)

Actor David Keltz will assume the persona of Poe during a pair of special performances July 23 in the Nest bar of the hotel. He’ll perform Poe’s little-known romantic comedy, “The Spectacles,” retell his classic tales of horror and conclude with a recitation of “The Raven.”

Giving to Gates

With so much of the world in dire straits,

Even we with our meager estates

Should each do what we can

To relieve Fellow Man:

Let’s give all that we have to Bill Gates.

—F.R. Duplantier

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

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