Hit parade

John McCaslin
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Posted: Apr 27, 2004 12:00 AM

Earlier we wrote about Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's unique vernacular being turned into a book of poetry.

Now, as the Pentagon boss alluded to recently while lecturing the nation's newspaper editors, he's become music to a composer's ears. Actually, a half-dozen composers from around the United States.

"Rummy Music," spun coast-to-coast by countless radio stations and from New York last week by CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos:

Rumsfeld: "There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know."

Female singer: "We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know ... "

Rumsfeld: "But there are also unknown unknowns."

Male singer: "... unknown unknowns."

There is no truth to the rumor that Rumsfeld is in the market for a talent agent, at least not yet.

GOT MILK?

Hurry, open up your refrigerator and hide your carton of 2 percent milk behind the orange juice. Word is the food police are about to add low-fat milk to its list of "poor nutritional quality" beverages, even recommending it be removed from America's schools.

A draft report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, rumored to be released later this month, bears the name of CSPI's activist coalition, the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity.

So we're poisoning our children by pouring milk on their Fruit Loops?

"Anyone who would suggest that milk is unhealthy for kids is out to lunch," says Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom. "CSPI once boasted that it was 'proud about finding something wrong with practically everything.' Now it's proven it."

HEY, DUDE

A congressman carries with him considerable clout.

Recently, after the opening congressional prayer, Pledge of Allegiance and brief remarks by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on the responsibility of leaders in the post-Sept. 11 world, Rep. Danny K. Davis stepped up to the House podium.

"Mr. Speaker," the Illinois Democrat began, "today marks the 100th birthday of my uncle who lives in St. Louis, Mo. And I guess on May 1 hundreds of my relatives are going to converge on that city to pay tribute to him.

"So I simply rise to wish a happy birthday to 'Uncle Dude,' as we finally called him. His name is Willie Vaughn. But he has lived a long and productive life. His mind is great. He is still active. Happy birthday to Uncle Dude."

PASS THE SYRUP

Regarding the depth of his foreign-policy experience after two decades on Capitol Hill, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry remarked on NBC's "Meet the Press": "You can go to New York City and you can be in a restaurant and you can meet a foreign leader. There are plenty of places to meet people without traveling abroad."

To which Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), whose Aunt Mirta, we might recall, married Fidel Castro in 1948, only to divorce him after he sent their son off to schooling in the Soviet Union, now responds:

"I just want to make sure Sen. Kerry understands that just because you go into an International House of Pancakes does not mean you are meeting with foreign leaders - unless, of course, you are referring to their Belgian waffles, stuffed French toast or German pancakes."

CHICKEN HAWKS?

Former Sen. Max Cleland, the Georgia Democrat who lost an arm and both legs in Vietnam, is rushing to the aid of prospective Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry. He labeled six Republican lawmaker-veterans critical of the candidate "a bunch of chicken hawks who never went to war, never felt a wound, but are so quick to criticize a man who went to war and got wounded doing it."

"Ultimate hypocrites," Cleland told the State newspaper in Colombia, S.C., after the six congressmen, each a military veteran, demanded during separate appearances on the House floor last Thursday (April 22) that Kerry apologize for his "misleading" testimony 33 years ago before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Thirty-three years ago today, John Kerry appeared before the Senate to talk about Vietnam," said South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson, who served in the Army Reserves but never fought in Vietnam. "Many veterans, including myself as a veteran, view John Kerry's testimony that day as one of the worst public slanders ever against the valor and character of the American military."

Kerry, as a 27-year-old leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, testified about U.S. war crimes that ranged from rape and decapitation to the random shooting of civilians and razing of villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.

Kerry has since said he regretted his choice of words.

The five additional Republican "chicken hawk" congressman fingered by Cleland were Reps. Sam Johnson of Texas, John Kline of Minnesota, Jim Gibbons of Nevada, and Duncan Hunter and Randy "Duke" Cunningham, both of California.

Apparently, Cleland has forgotten that Cunningham was America's first pilot ace of the Vietnam war. He downed his first MiG-21 in a treetop-level dogfight in 1972, and later came under attack by no fewer than 22 enemy fighters, three of which he shot down.

The Navy pilot was forced to eject over the Gulf of Tonkin after his Phantom was hit by a missile. He was rescued by helicopter. Among his awards is the Navy Cross for heroism.

WAR AND PEACE

It is estimated there are 750,000 school-aged children of active-duty members of the U.S. military tasked with concentrating on their studies while faced with the reality that their moms and dads may be serving in danger zones.

So a resolution has been introduced by Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) honoring teachers, administrators and staff of "military-impacted schools" for their added mission: keeping each school day as normal as possible for students who have far more on their minds than learning.

STINKY IDEA

We've been holding our nose while reading the exchanges after CNSNews.com senior staff writer Marc Morano wrote on the 34th annual Earth Day that some in the green movement are advocating "diaper-free" babies to help save the planet.

"Citing concerns about plastic disposable diapers clogging landfills and the amount of washing and detergents that cloth diapers require, many environmentalists are taking a page from tribal cultures and seeking to eliminate the use of the baby diapers altogether," Morano observed.

"There is a way to have a baby and NOT use diapers," says one Web site advocating diaperless babies. Parents are urged to get in tune with their infant's body signals and hold babies over toilets, buckets and shrubbery or any other convenient receptacle when nature calls.

ANOTHER COG

Reader Donald K. Steiner, of Accokeek, Md., admonishes:

"I am getting sick and tired of seeing the title 'czar' tacked on every little government lackey when you run out of imagination. Mr. (Richard A.) Clarke most certainly is not or ever was a (counterterrorism) czar in or out of federal government. He, like so many you hang this title on, are links in the chain of government, just another cog in the wheel.

"I do not know who started this fad back during the Carter administration, but unfortunately, none has ever measured up to that class to be considered a czar of anything. Come on now, let's use a little imagination for once and write your stories like normal reporters should."