- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Egg conundrum

Number of real eggs the American Egg Board says it provided for yesterday’s annual White House Easter Egg Roll: 7,200. Now, if only somebody at the AEB could tell us, what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Spreading sickness

Until radio host Don Imus opened his big mouth, the biggest news on the Rutgers University campus last week was when Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of PBS’ “Washington Week,” postponed her visiting lecture because of laryngitis.

Now, Mr. Imus is wishing he’d had laryngitis, too.

He spoke all too loud and clear, and as a result he now stands to lose his popular radio and TV show after uttering a racially derogatory remark about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.

NCAA President Myles Brand and Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick issued a joint statement saying it “is unconscionable that anyone would use the airways to utter such disregard for the dignity of human beings who have accomplished much and deserve great credit.”

Meanwhile, in a telephone interview yesterday, former CBS newsman and author Bernard Goldberg told Inside the Beltway he writes about Mr. Imus’ racial ignorance and pandering in his forthcoming book, due out next week, “Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right.”

Besides calling the radio host a “weenie,” Mr. Goldberg says, like many other white men Mr. Imus thinks that by saying “absurd” things about race he’s showing racial sensitivity and manners.

“Three quick observations,” Mr. Goldberg told us. “One, it was an immensely stupid comment about, of all things, my alma mater’s women’s basketball team. Two, his groveling today for hours and hours was way beyond pathetic — schoolgirls in the third grade have more courage than he does.

“Third, and most interesting, as dumb as his comment was, it’s not nearly as dumb as the comment he made in January 2006 while interviewing basketball legend Charles Barkley, when Imus said he didn’t think much has changed in America since the ‘Selma March’ in 1965.

“That is far dumber and far more harmful. It shows the typical liberal reaction and paternalism when it comes to race. Here everything has changed, and he said nothing has changed. We’re no longer siccing dogs on blacks; we’re not water-hosing them; blacks are being elected mayors and police chiefs throughout the South — in small towns and big cities everywhere. And he said nothing has changed?”

In a separate interview yesterday, Washington Democratic strategist Brent Budowsky, a former aide to the now-deceased Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, told Inside the Beltway of Mr. Imus’ remark: “It’s hard to find words how sick it was.”

In a column posted earlier on the HiIl’s “Pundit Blog,” Mr. Budowsky opined there’s “too much hatred, derision, disrespect, smearing, slander, polarization, division and bigotry that has infected American politics and American media … .”

“We can’t keep having these endless cycles of sickness in the major media, followed by the contrite apology, followed by business as usual, followed by the next example, which follows the same pattern.”

As for Miss Ifill, who is black and who moderated the 2004 vice presidential debate between Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, she has rescheduled her Rutgers lecture, her producer told us yesterday. Last week’s topic, now subject to change: “Politics, Policy and Reality: What’s Really Going on in Washington.”

Oh, and did we mention that Mr. Imus once referred to Miss Ifill as a “cleaning lady”?

Chilly rounds

It’s hardly golfing weather, with yesterday’s record-setting low temperatures that dipped below freezing in the nation’s capital, covering our area’s fairways with frost.

Nevertheless, with jackets and sweaters, Virginia Republican Rep. Thomas M. Davis III went ahead with the third annual Tom Davis for Congress Golf Classic at the International Country Club in Fairfax, with the chilly fundraising festivities for the one-time chairman of the Government Reform Committee commencing at 8:30 a.m.

Price to play: $4,000 per group of four, or $1,500 per golfer.

Middle ground

Inside the Beltway reader Jimmy Hoppers writes: “I’ve noticed, whenever you refer to Tennessee, you call the major divisions ‘Western, Central and Eastern.’ No respectable Tennessean would ever refer to the three Grand Divisions as anything but ‘West TN, Middle TN, and East TN.’

“Since [former Republican senator and potential presidential candidate] Fred Thompson will probably be featured heavily in your column over the next few months, he (and the rest of the Volunteer State) would hope you will get it right.”

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

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