John McCaslin

There were mostly amused expressions on the faces of D.C. shoppers at the checkout counter of one major grocery chain Monday as they read the latest headline in the Globe: “Suicidal Bush's midnight calls to Condi - 'I need you!' he pleads.”

Hopefully, former President George W.Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, are chuckling, too.

$30 MILLION AWARD

”Wait,” asks our Environmental Protection Agency source, “they're promiscuously dispensing elementary school-style certificates to grown men?”

The source was referring to a memorandum from EPA senior official Craig E. Hooks to headquarters employees, the subject: “Call for EPA hero nominations.”

“In honor of Earth Day 2009,” the memo reads, “EPA headquarters will recognize exceptional employees ... engaging in activities that help ... reduce the overall impact on the environment - including carbon footprint. All employees who regularly engage in at least six of the following eight practices at home or in the office are eligible for nomination as an EPA Earth Day Hero.”

Among the eight: using reusable coffee mugs, water containers and bags; turning off lights, powering down computers and shutting off appliances when not in use; recycling paper, plastics and other materials; and composting kitchen products. Nominations must be submitted by Thursday, and not to worry: “Self-nominations for this recognition program are welcome.”

Earth Day heroes will receive a certificate and be recognized during Earth Day activities at Federal Triangle and on the EPA's Web site.

Otherwise, Inside the Beltway can't help but notice that nomination forms are being sent to a private contractor, ERG, a consulting firm hired by the EPA. In fact, we've discovered that ERG recently won a $30 million, five-year contract with the EPA's Climate Change Division.

“The contract is ERG's third similar EPA climate change award in 10 years,” ERG boasts on its Web site. “Under the multiple-award contract, ERG will provide technical and outreach support services to EPA for domestic and global climate change initiatives.”

REAGAN APPROACH

Every few years, the same old complaints are sounded - usually after a fresh batch of congressmen representing Western states have served on Capitol Hill long enough to grow tired of being inconvenienced.

This time, this group of congressmen has introduced the Reagan National Airport Fairness Act of 2009, which if passed would allow more nonstop access to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for passengers from the West.


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 .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.