John McCaslin

"Wonder if he'll be able to write with any objectivity about Gruyere cheese?" quips one-time Washington and Dallas journalist Timothy A. O'Leary, who writes these days from his office in Switzerland.

He refers to this week's selection of Swiss-American Marcus W. Brauchli as executive editor of The Washington Post, replacing Leonard Downie Jr., an appointment that garnered attention in the European Alpine country.

Mr. O'Leary forwards an earlier story from the Swiss Review, in which Mr. Brauchli discusses the difficult challenges newspapers face in an age when news is more conveniently delivered online as opposed to dropped on a doorstep:

"'I don't share the newspaper industry's general mood of doom and gloom,' says Swiss-American dual citizen Marcus Brauchli, the editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal. However, only papers 'that rely on their own stories, comments and analyses' will survive."

Indeed, when Mr. Brauchli was introduced to his new reporting staff this week by Post Publisher Katharine Weymouth, he called attention to the "challenging times" when the newspaper industry is "being turned upside down by the Internet."

As for Gruyere cheese, if you've not followed the controversy over the years, there's been an emotional back-and-forth between the Swiss and French as to whether cheeses from France can carry the Gruyere label named, after all, for the village of Gruyeres in Switzerland.


Americans observe holidays for Christopher Columbus, George Washington and Martin Luther King, and salute the country on Flag Day, Memorial Day and Independence Day. We celebrate Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and even Groundhog's Day. Suckers even get their due on April Fool's Day.

Yet there is no holiday in honor of American Indians, the original inhabitants of the United States.

Osage tribal member Paul Allen, president of the Council For American Indian Recognition, says the consensus of the various Indian tribes is that there should be a "national holiday" recognizing native Americans, and they are offering financial support towards that end while spearheading a campaign to win congressional support.

According to Mr. Allen, every American would benefit from such a holiday. He points to Americans who still believe Indians live in teepees and dress as they did centuries ago.

A holiday would help Indians "feel that they are, at last, accepted by society."

"It will give them a reason to feel proud of their heritage, and it will help to give them the hope and self-esteem that they need to function in society and work toward a better life for themselves and their families," he says.


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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