Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Peace funding

That was Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, turning to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada during the opening prayer of the Senate this week and saying, “Wow.”

Her reaction came just after the Senate chaplain, Barry C. Black, called on God to “use the members of this body to bring us to the time when wealth devoted to war can be channeled into paths of peace.”

The future, stupid

Happy birthday to Ronald Reagan, who would be turning 97 today. So where have all the Gipper’s young Republicans gone?

Washington PR mogul and author Craig Shirley has a new book coming out this summer about Mr. Reagan’s 1980 campaign, titled “Rendezvous With Destiny.” Here’s a passage:

“When Ronald Reagan was re-elected in 1984, he received 59 percent of the popular vote, but among voters under 30 years of age, he got 66 percent of their vote,” Mr. Shirley says. “When he left office in January of 1989, he had an approval rating of 73 percent, but among voters under the age of 30, the Gipper had an approval rating of 85 percent.

“Clearly, the GOP has lost its vision for the future, which is why young voters are turning away from the Republican Party.”

Change to change

Regarding all the ballyhooed “change” the various presidential candidates are promising, don’t hold your breath.

So says former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who argues that neither Democrats nor Republicans can deliver real change because the current structure of government and politics are both “broken.”

He will expand at a 4 p.m. book forum tomorrow at the American Enterprise Institute on his belief that there is little hope for a successful presidency if the winning candidate accepts the status quo and looks for solutions within the existing framework.

He says he wants his new best-seller, “Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works,” to lead to citizen-led demands on politicians and the press to achieve real change.

Stay smart

Given it’s the one week of the year — post-Super Bowl — when Americans rate and actually celebrate TV commercials, why not call attention to one company’s clever ad campaign over the years: Holiday Inn Express.

Now the hotel brand that encourages travelers to spend less money on lodging is tallying the 2008 presidential candidates’ cumulative overnight expenses — as reported to the Federal Election Commission — and posting them on the company’s Web site.

That way, it explains, voters can see what the candidates potentially could have saved by choosing a Holiday Inn Express — where, by the way, the breakfast bar is always free.

Public servants

Hardly a day goes by that a U.S. senator or representative isn’t presented with an award for being an advocate of this or that cause. But what about paying due respect to the U.S. government employees who actually make this nation tick?

“The men and women who do our nation’s business are too often overlooked and underappreciated,” agrees Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, who announces that the nomination deadline for the 2008 Service to America Medals — the most prestigious awards honoring the nation’s public servants — has been extended through March 10.

He says the awards “send a powerful message to the American people about the importance of our federal workers and the vast impact they have on all our lives.”

Readers are encouraged to submit nominations to www.servicetoamerica

Less roadkill

The Capitol Hill-based National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, having observed a downward trend of hunting in Virginia, is applauding this week’s 98-0 vote by the Virginia General Assembly to create an apprentice hunting license.

A similar measure unanimously passed the Virginia State Senate last month. Once a final bill is signed by Gov. Tim Kaine, the law would allow the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to offer apprentice licenses to state residents for $10 without requiring them to complete a hunter education class, as long as they are accompanied by a licensed hunter at least 18 years of age.

In the past, it was necessary for anybody as young as 12 to complete a 10-hour hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license.

c John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3286 or

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