We had to laugh at Wednesday's official White House pool report on President Bush's Oval Office meeting with the visiting Indonesian president, whose name, the writer noted, is a mouthful:
"President Bush and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (for those doing radio, you're in trouble)."
"I've butted heads with a few people - anyone who tells me I have to spruce up my hair and buy a new wardrobe - I haven't worn makeup since I was 21. You have to be authentic and genuine in serving the populace."
- Former FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley, who had urged the bureau to investigate terrorism suspect Zacarias Moussaoui weeks before Sept. 11, 2001, offended by suggestions that she would require a "makeover" before she could run for Congress in Minnesota as a Democrat.
Washington-based Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus is humored, more than anything else, by veteran Hollywood actor Warren Beatty's latest tongue-lashing of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"I think Warren Beatty's comments . . . will have about the same political impact as Britney Spears' support of President Bush last year . . . or perhaps Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean in the primaries," she tells this column.
"I'm an opponent of (Schwarzenegger's) muscle-bound conservatism with longer experience in politics than he has," the 68-year-old Beatty told graduates of the University of California at Berkeley this past Saturday. "And although I don't want to run for governor, I would do (a much) better job than he's done."
In his commencement address, Beatty said it was no secret that Schwarzenegger, a former bodybuilder and actor, has his eyes focused on the White House - "running around raising money from Wall Street, K Street and rich Republicans all over the country."
"We are not the governor's dumbbells," Beatty said.
Although he's never held public office, Beatty's name has been floated as a Democratic challenger to Schwarzenegger in the November 2006 gubernatorial election.
Before Schwarzenegger could run for president, Congress would have to approve a constitutional amendment allowing foreign-born Americans to seek the nation's highest office.
He's already the most widely syndicated columnist in America, and now comes word that Washington-based writer Cal Thomas has just surpassed 600 newspapers via his Tribune Media Services column.
"Not sure who was the last op-ed columnist to do that -- 'Dear Abby' doesn't count! -- but I'm pretty happy about it," Cal tells Inside the Beltway.
The Washington Times was the first newspaper to publish his column.
WAVE A FLAG
It's being dubbed the first-ever National Memorial Day Parade in the nation's capital, and its patriotic participants will march down Independence Avenue paying tribute Monday morning to veterans from the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi Freedom. And get this: One of the nation's oldest living veterans, 104-year-old World War I Navy veteran Lloyd Brown of Charlotte Hall, Md., will be an honorary grand marshal of the parade, sharing the spotlight with D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who is the grand marshal.
While officially listed with the government as being 105 years old, Mr. Brown, like many of his generation, was so eager to fight for his country that he lied about his age to get into the military.
The parade starts at 9 a.m. at Madison Drive and Third Street NW and travels south to Independence Avenue, before turning west and ending at 12th Street NW.
SIGN OF TIMES
Thanks to W. O'Rourke for sending us this bumper sticker from Washington, D.C.:
"Nations Cower ... Millions Flee Before It ... I Fly a Cessna 150, the Mighty Airplane that Brings Cities to Their Knees! Fear Me ... 2 Seats, 26 Gallons of Gas, 100 HP and 90 Knots of Screaming Terror!"
NO TIGER DRAFT
The Iraq war, we observed recently, hasn't been any kinder to animals.
Since the war began in April 2003, hundreds of animals at the Baghdad Zoo, once the largest in the Middle East, have been injured, killed, stolen, eaten or let loose. Many escaped after mortar blasts damaged their cages, including a bear that reportedly mauled and partly ate three people, and four lions fatally shot by U.S. troops.
On April 5, we reported that a Colorado veterinarian, previously posted at the zoo by the U.S. military, had applied for a permit to send a replacement tiger from the United States to Baghdad - an idea People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) labeled "madness."
"This tiger isn't a volunteer, and sending him to a decrepit zoo in the middle of a war zone is thoughtless, cruel and dangerous," said PETA captive exotic-animal specialist Lisa Wathne.
The tiger, or so it was proposed, would replace a rare Bengal tiger that was fatally shot by a U.S. soldier at the zoo in September 2003. Zoo manager Adil Salman Mousa said the tiger had injured another soldier who was trying to feed it through an inner set of cage bars.
"The tiger bit his finger off and clawed his arm. So his colleague took a gun and shot the tiger," Mousa told Reuters, adding that the group of soldiers was having a beer party at the zoo after it had closed.
Now, The Beltway Beat has learned that the Pentagon, specifically the U.S. Army, took notice of the veterinarian's application to ship the replacement tiger to Baghdad.
In a letter sent to Wathne in recent days, Army spokeswoman Maureen Ramsey writes that after the military's consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she is "pleased to report the permit submitted by Dr. Leon S. Barringer to export a male captive-bred generic tiger to the Baghdad zoo in Iraq has been denied."
During his gubernatorial campaign, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger promised voters that every time he traveled to Washington he would fight for reimbursement for his state's costs of incarcerating "criminal aliens."
After all, he reasoned, such aliens are Uncle Sam's responsibility because he "failed" to prevent their entry into the country in the first place.
This week, Schwarzenegger was back on Capitol Hill, and, as promised, he was discussing with House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert the outrageous cost of incarcerating aliens.
"Each year, we are asked to bear the increasing cost of incarcerating undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes here in California," the Republican governor said. "It is the federal government's responsibility to secure our nation's borders and the federal government's responsibility to reimburse our state when they fail that duty."
California spends more than $700 million per year locking up illegals.
A "true statesmen," remarked Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, at this week's unveiling of a portrait of former Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell in the old Senate chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
Mitchell's decision to remain active in public life after his retirement from the Senate in 1994, she opined, led to "perhaps his most difficult assignment: the negotiated peace mission he chaired in Northern Ireland . . . bringing together parties that had been violently at odds for decades."
We hadn't realized the historic bond between the Jewish population and the state of South Carolina until the House this week passed a resolution introduced by a Southern congressman honoring the 57th anniversary of Israel's independence.
Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican, relates these little-known facts: South Carolina was home to the largest Jewish population in North America at the time of the American Revolution; its provincial constitution was the first to recognize Judaism as being equal to Christianity; the first election of a Jew to public office in North America was in South Carolina; and the first Jewish fatality of the American Revolution was a patriot from South Carolina.