- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hair today

A former female congressional page, now in her early 20s, says Mark Foley, the disgraced former congressman, used to openly “tussle the male pages’ hair” when they would walk past him on the House floor.

She also says it was very “noticeable” that the Florida Republican paid little, if any, attention to the female pages. One of her jobs, at the time, was to sit near the front of the House floor to help record votes.

She says she observed “other slightly inappropriate behavior” between Mr. Foley and male pages during her time on Capitol Hill, but she did not expand.

The woman, who does not wish to be identified, spoke highly of former House Clerk Jeff Trandahl, who appeared in closed session yesterday before the House ethics committee to answer questions about how House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert’s office responded to complaints about Mr. Foley.

She says that in the eyes of the pages she worked with, Mr. Trandahl was like a “school principal; he really supported us.”

Cal and Calvin

Among the country’s most widely syndicated newspaper columnists, Cal Thomas, along with his wife, Ray, hosted a fundraising reception last evening for a Calvin Coolidge presidential library.

Why Coolidge?

“Coolidge is the last president not to have his own library, and we think it’s time he did, given the Republican principles in which he believed and practiced that today’s Republicans would do well to reconsider,” Mr. Thomas told Inside the Beltway yesterday. “Every president since — and even 1972 losing candidate George McGovern — has a library.”

Might there be another reason they’ve taken it upon themselves to help build Coolidge, who was elected president in 1924, a library?

“My grandfather and Grace Coolidge were first cousins,” Mr. Thomas revealed. “I was named after the Coolidges’ two sons: John, my first name, and Calvin, who died of an infection while his father was president. Many believe that was the main reason he didn’t run for re-election in 1928. So [Herbert] Hoover got blamed for the Great Depression.”

Not surprising, Mr. Thomas says he has a close relationship with the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation in Plymouth Notch, Vt. — where Coolidge “is buried alongside his father, who swore him in the night Warren Harding died.”

“I once met Grace when I was 14 at her home in Northampton, Massachusetts,” Mr. Thomas recalled. “Historians have given Coolidge a bum rap. Some of today’s Republicans could learn a lot from him. We hope a library will give future generations an accurate picture of Coolidge.”

And this columnist might point out further that Coolidge was the last major-party candidate to do very little campaigning for office. My, how politics has changed.

Pathetic state

“Percentage of Americans who cannot say in which year the September 11 attacks occurred: 30.”

Harper’s Index, November 2006

Troy’s best friend

Washington-based radio host Laura Ingraham’s quote of the day yesterday was compliments of Will Rogers: “If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”

Last month, we reported on the massive army of volunteers who searched the mean streets of the nation’s capital for Miss Ingraham’s yellow Labrador retriever, Troy, who had escaped his fence on Labor Day.

Troy was ultimately found, but Miss Ingraham wrote us yesterday that the celebrity dog, who turned 13 last week, died peacefully this week while “lying in the sunshine.”

Troy was her “best friend,” she says, and the animal never left her side during her cancer treatments last year.

“While others come and go in our lives, a dog’s love remains constant,” Miss Ingraham writes. “And yes, our pets’ deaths are time markers in our own lives — as we see our own twilight approaching. Troy was a good boy. His job is done. Godspeed.”

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

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