- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2008

Lefty publisher

Peter Osnos, who wrote Wednesday that he ‘worked very closely’ with Scott McClellan on McClellan’s new book published by PublicAffairs which Osnos founded, is a liberal whose publishing house is affiliated with the far-left magazine The Nation and the publisher of ‘The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder,’ ” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker reports at www.mrc.org.

“PublicAffairs has a roster of authors who are nearly all liberals and/or liberal-leaning mainstream media figures, including six books by far-left bank-roller George Soros. On Wednesday’s ‘CBS Evening News,’ Ari Fleischer related that ‘Scott told me that his editor did “tweak,” in Scott’s word, a lot of the writing, especially in the last few months.’ In an ‘Eat the Press’ blog entry Wednesday, Rachel Sklar asked Osnos: ‘Did you work directly on the book with McClellan? (Who was his editor?)’ Osnos replied: ‘The editor was Lisa Kaufman and yes, I worked very closely with them.’ Sklar’s post: www.huffingtonpost.com.”

Blame Congress

“Gasoline prices are through the roof and Americans are angry,” Mackubin Thomas Owens writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“Someone must be to blame and the obvious villain is ‘Big Oil’ with its alleged ability to gouge consumers and achieve unconscionable, ‘windfall’ profits. Congress is in a vile mood, and has dragged oil industry executives before its committees for show trials, issuing predictable threats of punishment, e.g. a ‘windfall profits tax.’

“But if there is a villain in all of this, it is Congress itself. That venerable body has made it impossible for U.S. producers of crude oil to tap significant domestic reserves of oil and gas, and it has foreclosed economically viable alternative sources of energy in favor of unfeasible alternatives such as wind and solar.

“In addition, Congress has slapped substantial taxes on gasoline. Indeed, as oil industry executives reiterated in their appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 21, 15 percent of the cost of gasoline at the pump goes for taxes, while only 4 percent represents oil company profits,” said Mr. Owens, a professor at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., and editor of Orbis, the journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

“To understand the depth of congressional complicity in the high price of gasoline, one must understand that crude oil prices explain 97 percent of the variation in the pretax price of gasoline. That price, which has risen to record levels, is set by the intersection of supply and demand. On the one hand, world-wide demand has accelerated mainly due to the rapid growth of China and India.

“On the other hand, supply has been curtailed by the cartel-like behavior of foreign national oil companies, which control nearly 80 percent of world petroleum reserves. Faced with little competition in the production of crude oil, the members of this cartel benefit from keeping the commodity in the ground, confident that increasing demand will make it more valuable in the future. Despite its pious denunciations of the behavior of U.S. investor-owned oil companies (IOCs), Congress by its actions over the years has ensured the economic viability of the national oil company cartel.”

Craig’s book

Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican, is writing a book.

In an interview with television station KTVB in Boise, Idaho, on Tuesday night, Mr. Craig, 62 said the subject of the book will be energy, but he also will talk about his time in Congress and the events of the past year.

“There will be a bit of what’s happened in the last year, and the way it evolved,” Mr. Craig said. “I think that’s important for Idaho and those outside Idaho who are interested to know.”

He hopes the book will be on store shelves in the next year.

Mr. Craig was arrested in a men’s room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport last summer, after police say he attempted to solicit sex from an undercover officer in a bathroom stall.

An Obama backer

Sens. John McCain and Chuck Hagel have long been friends. Fellow Republicans and Vietnam War veterans, their Senate offices are just across the hall from each other.

But at least during the presidential primary, Mr. Hagel’s wife, Lilibet, is helping Mr. McCain’s likely Democratic rival, Barack Obama.

According to Federal Election Commission records, Mrs. Hagel donated twice to Mr. Obama’s campaign in February for a total contribution of $500. The contributions were first reported by The Washington Post.

The contribution came a month before Mr. Hagel, a sharp Republican critic of the war in Iraq, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and declared that he and Mr. McCain have “pretty fundamental disagreements on the future of foreign policy,” the Associated Press reports.

But Mrs. Hagel is acting on her own, said Mike Buttry, Mr. Hagel’s chief of staff. In fact, Mrs. Hagel has contributed to a Democrat before. In August, she donated $250 to Niki Tsongas, a Democrat and widow of Sen. Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts who was running to fill a vacant House seat from the state.

“Mrs. Hagel is a private citizen who is entitled to decide who she supports and how she supports them,” Mr. Buttry said.

Singing her praises

Sen. Hillary Clinton may not be Livin’ La Vida Loca, but she has won Puerto Rico star Ricky Martin’s endorsement,” reporter Christina Bellantoni notes in her “On the Democrats” blog at www.washingtontimes.com.

Here’s what Mr. Martin, a five-time Grammy winner, had to say in a press release from the Clinton campaign:

“These elections will have historic repercussions both in the United States and the world. Senator Clinton has always been consistent in her commitment with the needs of the Latino community. Whether fighting for better education, universal health care and social well-being, as first lady and senator from New York - representing millions of Latinos - she has always fought for what is most important for our families.”

Ms. Bellantoni said Mr. Martin “joins other figures - including Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Longoria, Jack Nicholson, America Ferrera, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Michael Douglas, Robert Kennedy Jr., Quincy Jones and Magic Johnson, among others - in support of Hillary Clinton.”

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