- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2007

Where’s spring?

Normal high temperature for March 21 in Washington: 57

Temperature at 2 p.m. yesterday when former Vice President Al Gore testified on Capitol Hill about global warming: 43 (wind chill 38).

‘Heal thyself!’

As expected, a great deal of readers responded after we wrote that former doctor-turned-governor-turned-Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is trying to equate the Bush administration’s firings of several U.S. attorneys to the Watergate scandal.

“Howard Dean’s exaggeration of the U.S. attorney firings by calling them [President] Bush’s Watergate typifies the overreaction displayed by Congress and the press,” writes Stan Welli of Aurora, Ill. “Has anyone ever heard of assistant U.S. attorneys?

“They’re the ones who try cases, and in some instances, coordinate difficult investigations. So far, I haven’t heard of any of them being fired, least of all, any who may be involved in sensitive cases. As for Howard Dean, an old expression seems appropriate: ‘Physician, heal thyself!’ ”

Happy Norooz

“I send greetings to those celebrating Norooz,” President Bush said.

“Norooz is a special time of thanksgiving and celebration when millions of people around the world who trace their heritage to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Central Asia welcome the new year,” Mr. Bush explained.

Spreading art

D.C. Arts and Humanities Commissioner Marsha Ralls, who represents a diverse group of local and international artists through the Ralls Collection in Georgetown, has returned to Washington after curating an international art exhibition in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, coinciding with the first Gulf Art Fair.

The purpose is “to encourage collectors and potential collectors to view, acquire and also learn about important works of art, many rarely seen” in the Middle East, she told Inside the Beltway yesterday.

The showing, at the Four Seasons Golf Club Dubai, featured works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, Tyeb Mehta, Joan Miro, Christo Javacheff, Rene Magritte, Caio Fonseca and M.F. Husain.

Guide and poet

It was one of the most difficult congressional announcements Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican, ever had to make.

“I rise today with great sadness in my heart,” he began on Dec. 5, 2006. “Sunday evening, Marine Corps Major Trane McCloud was killed in a helicopter accident in Iraq.”

Maj. McCloud, you see, a husband and father of three, had previously worked in the congressman’s Capitol Hill office as a military fellow. After completing his fellowship, he kept in close contact with the congressman, who himself is a 31-year military veteran and whose four sons today are active military, including one who recently returned home from Iraq.

We call this to your attention after observing that Mr. Wilson this week inserted into the Congressional Record a rather lengthy poem that was penned by a U.S. Capitol tour guide, Albert Carey Caswell. The poem is in tribute to another slain U.S. Marine, Jimmy Regan.

“In the game of life, there’s only what’s wrong or right,” the poem begins, continuing in part, “For it’s all about what we’ve so said and done, and what is really true as so to be won. For there are no second chances. In these our short minutes, upon this earth as our time here so advances. Our goal! All in what we’ve said and done, for whom we’ve so bled to take our valiant stances.”

Kimberly Olive, Mr. Wilson’s communications director, told Inside the Beltway yesterday that the congressman took Maj. McCloud’s death “very hard, as did several members of our staff.”

The congressman, she said, befriended Mr. Caswell, who has written several poems about military duty and sacrifice.

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

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