John McCaslin

Lest there be any confusion, this columnist is a red-blooded American male.

I say so because of the initial response I received from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week when I asked her about the bumpy start for President Obama and his administration, from his tax-dodging Cabinet choices to a pork-laden economic bailout package she herself had a hand in crafting.

"Thank you, ma'am," she replied to my question.

Huh?

"Thank you, ma'am," Mrs. Pelosi repeated.

She then leaned her body into mine, as if to snuggle. I kid you not.

Not to worry.

The speaker explained that she is currently reading a book about previous hurdles Americans have had to leap and "Thank you, ma'am" was an expression Franklin D. Roosevelt had once used when referring to the numerous bumps in the road to recovery from the Great Depression.

Once upon a time, she educated, men who rode in horse-drawn carriages and early automobiles would say "Thank you, ma'am" to their lady fellow passengers whenever a rough patch of road caused them to be thrown together for a fleeting, if not thrilling moment.

BUDDING AUTHOR

Outgoing CIA Director Michael V. Hayden says he plans to keep busy in the coming months and years, giving speeches on national security and perhaps writing a book or two.

Widely credited for restoring morale at the CIA and stepping up the agency's counterterrorism measures, Mr. Hayden took time Thursday morning to present he Director's Award to several dozen senior agency officers at the Langley headquarters.

Remarked the retired Air Force general, who has endured several challenging assignments in his lengthy military and intelligence career: "I have never left a job feeling as good as I do now, given all that we have accomplished together in the last two and a half years."

'UNCERTAIN FUTURE'

Firearm sales across the country increased again in January, continuing an upswing that began after the November election of President Obama.

What gives?

"Since the election, sales of firearms — in particular handguns and semiautomatic hunting and target rifles — are fast outpacing inventory," says Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, suggesting "Americans are clearly concerned about their ability to be able to purchase these products in an uncertain future."


John McCaslin

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

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