Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cut out the tongue

“Regarding Vice President Dick Cheney and his mysterious foot — ahem, big toe — ailment, I’m convinced he’s got the gout,” says John K. Putney, assistant vice president of McGuire Woods Consulting in Richmond, who previously toiled as Republican Sen. George Allen‘s Northern Virginia aide.

“The White House’s rationale for not disclosing the condition? The liberal press will shriek, ‘Aha! The King’s Disease!’” Mr. Putney tells Inside the Beltway. “Of course, they will work overtime to further portray Cheney as an elitist: one-half of the ‘Bush-Cheney Monarchy.’”

Mr. Putney reveals that he, too, is “cursed with this condition.”

“It is a brutal, at times completely debilitating ailment. And there is a real stigma associated with it. But Cheney certainly fits the profile,” he said.

As its nickname suggests, gout was formerly associated with kings and nobles, their sedentary lives made richer by diet and drink — thus the King’s Disease. The cause is uric acid crystals deposited in the joints, especially the big toe. Leading culprits are foods high in uric acid, especially liver, kidney, tripe and tongue.

Kennedy’s vision

Congratulations to the 2005 “Tarnished Halo” recipients, America’s most notorious animal-rights zealots, celebrity busybodies, environmental scaremongers, self-appointed “public interest” advocates, trial lawyers and food activists who claim to know “what’s best for you.”

Among those taking top honors this year, says the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., assassination-endorsing physician Dr. Jerry Vlasak, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The “If an Old Dog Won’t Learn New Tricks, Inject It With Lethal Drugs Award” goes to the latter bunch for the combined 42 felony animal-cruelty charges brought against two PETA employees accused of killing dozens of dogs, puppies and kittens in the back of a PETA-owned van — less than an hour after promising to find them good homes — and then tossing them into a Dumpster.

The “First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Doctors Award” is presented to Dr. Vlasak, a California trauma surgeon who advocates the “political assassination” of medical researchers whose search for AIDS and cancer cures requires the use of lab rats.

And finally, the “Not in My Backyard Award” is given to Mr. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer whose fight for “green” energy stops as soon as the results might spoil his view. He penned an irate New York Times op-ed in December, condemning the proposed building of wind turbines around Nantucket Sound. (When not trying to keep Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. off the Supreme Court, his outspoken uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, is also trying to keep the turbines out of Nantucket.)

Says the judges, “While Kennedy crisscrosses the country in his jet-fuel-burning private plane stumping for alternative energy sources, he wants an exception for his own back yard. Greenpeace spokesman Chris Miller was not pleased, saying: ‘It’s about a vision for healthy oceans, not the view from the Kennedy compound.’”

Ordinary George

“The 10-vehicle motorcade (with a marked police car at the front and back) again stopped at several traffic lights in the city. Almost no one noticed The Most Powerful Man in the World as he obeyed the speed limit while winding his way back home.”

White House pool report of President Bush‘s motorcade through Washington yesterday.

More to Montel

There was added reason recently for talk-show host Montel Williams to be named chairman of the National Veterans Association — he is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, having worked as a special-duty Navy intelligence officer, specializing in cryptology.

Now we learn that Mr. Williams is the new spokesman for Partnership for Prescription Assistance, a clearinghouse matching needy Americans with more than 475 public and private patient-assistance programs, some offering free medicine.

Former Louisiana Republican Rep. Billy Tauzin, president and chief executive officer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, says Mr. Williams’ involvement will give the effort “an articulate, compassionate advocate … embrac[ing] our goal of reaching as many uninsured, underinsured and low-income Americans as possible in what is going to be a continuing, long-term effort to assist people who need a helping hand.”

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

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