John McCaslin

The newly appointed inspector general (IG) of the Commerce Department, Todd J. Zinser, has reinstated two whistleblowers demoted by his predecessor for cooperating with a congressional probe of misspent funds.

Deputy IG Edward Blansitt and chief counsel Allison Lerner were reassigned by Johnnie Frazier after they questioned their boss' travel expenses last year.

Rep. John D. Dingell, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Bart Stupak, a fellow Michigan Democrat who chairs the subcommittee on oversight and investigations, thanked Mr. Zinser in a letter Wednesday for reinstating the whistleblowers "who were subjected to wrongful retaliation."

The congressmen wrote that Mr. Frazier "was widely known to have abused the personnel system to favor select employees and punish those who disagreed with him."

Mr. Frazier retired as IG in June amid multiple investigations that he abused government travel and illegally demoted his employees who were witnesses in the inquiry.

The nerve

Needless to say, first impressions stick with people. Take the woman requesting anonymity who shakes her head every time she reads headlines like this one in the New York Times: "Obama Calls for an End to Arrogance."

She recalls her first encounter with freshman Sen. Barack Obama when he strolled out of the Senate chamber, balled up a piece of paper and tossed it at a large trash can — missing.

At which point, she says, the senator from Illinois paused and, without saying a word, looked back at his two aides who were trailing him, then continued on his way. One of the aides walked over, retrieved the paper and threw it away.

Not a loyalist

He wasn't on hand for raucous debate in the British Parliament, but he might just as well have been.

We're talking about Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican, scolding his colleagues across the pond for returning to the Dark Ages.

"In the Dark Ages, King Henry VIII left the Catholic Church because it would not permit his multiple marriages. Well, Britain is heading back to the Dark Ages," Mr. Poe stood up on the House floor to declare this week. "The more wives a British male has, the more benefits he will receive under welfare. This new policy will really only benefit Muslim extremist men, who keep a harem of four wives."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, he pointed out, suggested that the British government appease Muslims in England so they "don't have to choose loyalty between Islam and Britain."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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