President Bush has sent a letter to the Scotsman newspaper, thanking the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, the Black Watch infantry regiment, the Royal Marines and other Scottish troops from Lossiemouth to Leuchars who are helping to liberate Iraq.
The president's tribute to Scottish troops, which came on Tartan Day, also recognized the role of Scottish immigrants in shaping the United States. He cited the influence the Declaration of Arbroath had on the U.S. Declaration of Independence, says the Scotsman.
Tartan Day falls on April 6, the day in 1320 the Declaration of Arbroath was signed by 38 Scots Lords. It urged the pope to ignore England's claim on Scotland, which he did.
PLACE OF HONOR
Prescott Bush was never president of the United States, yet the patriarch of the Bush clan accomplished a feat shared with nobody else: He's the only person to be father of a U.S. president, grandfather of a U.S. president and grandfather of a state governor.
"My father didn't have the national prominence of some of his colleagues, he didn't seek it. He didn't have a personal agenda, he wasn't a media darling," former President George Bush writes in his foreword for "Duty, Honor, Country: The Life and Legacy of Prescott Bush," by Houston Chronicle columnist Mickey Herskowitz (Rutledge Hill Press, $24.99).
"I always felt his career in the Senate was underrated," says the 41st president. "Yet his life was an inspiration to his sons and daughter, his grandchildren, and to those he served."
Among his grandchildren: the current President Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
The late U.S. senator from Connecticut "did not chase rainbows," Herskowitz agrees. "But he went far ... and was nearly always on the right side of the issues."
Among numerous news outlets intrigued to learn that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's long-awaited but still-untitled book reportedly is behind publication schedule is NewsMax.com.
And for good reason. NewsMax's Carl Limbacher's own book, "Hillary's Scheme: Inside the Next Clinton's Ruthless Agenda to Take the White House" (Prima Forum), is scheduled for publication the exact same time as Sen. Clinton's memoir.
Dueling Hillary's, in other words.
Sen. Clinton's book - for which Simon & Schuster is paying her an advance of $8 million - and Limbacher's book are both due for release in June.
We know little about the content of Sen. Clinton's book, but "Hillary's Scheme" promises to "pull no punches" in examining the former first lady's "ruthless attacks on Clinton enemies - including the recruitment of 'goon squads' to go after demonstrators," NewsMax.com reports.
If that's not enough bedside reading to trigger nightmares, Limbacher will explain how Sen. Clinton has "set herself up to jump into the 2004 presidential race at a moment's notice - and why the Democratic Party presidential nomination is hers for the asking."
The book also details how Sen. Clinton "elbowed" former Vice President Al Gore out of next year's presidential race.
But perhaps the biggest scoop of all in "Hillary's Scheme" - as Sen. Clinton reportedly revealed "point blank" to Limbacher - is former President Bill Clinton's "confession that he nixed a deal to bring Osama bin Laden to justice."
Not that this column is suggesting that one or more of the deadly terrorist acts committed against the United States of late could have been avoided. Or could they?
"We don't sue General Motors when a drunk driver kills someone with a car and we don't sue Ginsu when someone is stabbed to death with their knife," reasons House Deputy Majority Whip Rep. Mark Foley.
The Florida Republican is urging Congress to pass a ban on frivolous lawsuits against gun makers, saying manufacturers and dealers of legal products should not live under the threat of litigation simply because their product is misused.
DOG'S BEST FRIEND
Chalk up a victory for the hunters of this country, more than 500 of whom turned out at the California State Capitol building this week and successfully derailed a bill that would ban hunting with hounds. The bill was defeated by a 10-4 committee vote.
"In our 25 years of fighting for sportsmen's rights, I cannot recall a larger turnout by sportsmen on a legislative matter," said Rick Story, senior vice president for the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance.
Ask Rep. John Conyers Jr. what he's reading during these unsettling times and he'll produce a copy of Mother Jones.
The Michigan Democrat, in fact, finds one current article on U.S. moves to establish a permanent presence in the Middle East "so fascinating" that he carried it onto the House floor.
"This issue of oil - which fuels military power, national treasuries and international politics - is no longer a commodity to be bought and sold within the confines of traditional energy supply and demand balances," the congressman states. "Rather, it has been transformed into a determinant of well-being of national security and of international power."
Which is what author Robert Dreyfuss writes in Mother Jones: "In the geopolitical vision driving current U.S. policy toward Iraq, the key to national security is global hegemony - dominance over any and all potential rivals.
"To that end, the United States must not only be able to project its military forces anywhere, at any time. It must also control key resources, chief among them oil - and especially Gulf oil."
The article quotes Chas Freeman, an ambassador to Saudi Arabia in the first Bush White House, as saying that the new administration likewise "believes you have to control resources in order to have access to them."
Fast forward to this week, with the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, surrounded by U.S. military might. Is the Bush administration preparing to solidify a long-planned - as in decades-old - strategy?
"It's the 'Kissinger plan,'" says former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Akins, who served under Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "I thought it had been killed but it's back."
In the wake of the oil shocks of the 1970s, Akins says, a "screwy idea" was floated to American newspapers and magazines outlining a U.S. takeover of Arab oil fields.
"Then I made a fatal mistake," Akins tells the magazine. "I said on television that anyone who would propose that is either a madman, a criminal, or an agent of the Soviet Union."
A short time later, Akins was told that the "madman" was his own boss, Kissinger, who reportedly had introduced the proposal during a senior background briefing. Akins was fired a short time later.
To make sure members of Congress read about the "anti-religious trend" of the Democratic Party, editors of Touchstone are delivering this week the April issue of the magazine to every Capitol Hill office.
The monthly publication on religious and cultural issues used the edition this month to track the influence of religion on the two major national political parties in the second half of the last century, with startling results.
"We have concluded that there is no moral equivalence between the stated platforms and enacted policies of the two major parties," says Executive Editor James M. Kushiner. "The Democratic Party has, unfortunately, abandoned its roots and become the political home of unbelievers."
If that's not enough to infuriate Republicans and God-fearing Democrats alike, historian James Hitchcock, a senior editor at the magazine, contends: "The (Democratic)party has in fact systematically embraced almost every kind of deviation from traditional morality.
"The present ideology of the Democratic Party is ... that religion is a dangerous and divisive force in society and must be restrained. Liberalism has thus become a rival faith to traditional religion, because contemporary liberalism cannot tolerate any view of life more ultimate than its own, or any wisdom that might call into question the wisdom of the liberal state."