Go figure

Posted: Apr 20, 2006 9:05 PM

"Scott seemed somewhat choked with emotion as he delivered the news," observed Finlay Lewis of Copley News Service in Wednesday's White House pool report, referring to the resignation announcement by White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "It must have been the thought of saying farewell to our sunny personalities."


On Good Friday, Bill Press, the former CNN "Crossfire" and MSNBC "Buchanan & Press" political commentator who now hosts the "Bill Press Show" on Sirius Satellite Radio, happened to be standing on the emergency room steps of George Washington University Hospital when he suddenly felt ill.

"I felt like I was going to pass out," Press told The Beltway Beat on Wednesday. "It happened once, then twice, and I said to myself, 'Do I get back on the Metro, or do I do the smart thing and walk into the hospital?'

"When I had a third very serious episode - I had a very irregular and rapid heartbeat - I did the smart thing and walked into the hospital."

Before he knew it, the one-time chairman of the California Democratic Party was admitted. And instead of an ordinary room, wouldn't you know that the nurses rolled him into what the hospital commonly refers to as the "Dick Cheney Suite."

Indeed, it was revealed last week, the vice president in 2005 donated a considerable sum of money to the Cardiothoracic Institute at GW hospital, where he's been treated for his heart ailment.

"I had the Cheney Suite for five days," said the left-leaning Press, who had a pacemaker installed on Tuesday. "I suspected it was the Cheney Suite when I walked in and all TV sets were turned to Fox News. I knew it was the Cheney Suite when I found the shotgun in the closet."

Doctors have prescribed several more days' rest for Press - at home - before he gets back behind the microphone.

As he puts it: "It's a good thing Mr. Cheney didn't walk in while I was sleeping in his bed, or he would have really had a heart attack."


For much of the mainstream press, April is traditionally "climate alarmism month." This year is no exception, with one broadcast network distributing a climate model for personal computer use.

How reliable is this model, created by Oxford University's climate prediction center and distributed by the British Broadcasting Corp.?

"Unfortunately, people running the model, which starts in 1920, noticed that the world was heating up much faster than it did in real life, and for some it crashed in 2013," says British-born climate specialist Iain Murray, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, who previously toiled for the British Department of Transport.

"This is because the programmers forgot to include sulfate pollution, which it is believed has played a role in cooling the Earth," he explains. "An earlier version of the model suggested a 20-degree temperature rise this century, way beyond what other models predict."

Needless to say, Murray gives a thumbs-down to the Oxford model, going so far as to label his alma mater, from which he holds both bachelor's and master's degrees, "the home of lost causes."

After Oxford, Murray earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of London and the Diploma of Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine.


Every spring they start their swarming
And fantastical alarming,
Fearing and oh-dearing
That the end is nearing,
'Cause it's April and it's warming.
- F.R. Duplantier


We often make reference to the Fourth Estate, a term coined by British politician Edmund Burke during the 18th century after observing the three estates in the parliament, albeit "in the reporters gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate important far than they all."

Now, or so one can gather from Investor's Business Daily, the once-mighty Washington press corps has been evicted by the lawyers.

"In 1970, there were only a few law firms with offices in Washington that had as many as 150 lawyers, whereas today there are dozens in the 500- to 1,000-lawyer range," write IBD contributors Ernest Christian and Gary Robbins of the Center for Strategic Tax Reform.

"Journalists claim that they are the Fourth Estate, and perhaps they once were. But today that position is occupied by the 200,000 or so lobbyists, lawyers, accountants and economists who are engaged in what is euphemistically called 'legislative and policy work.'"


Ever wonder how long it would take to read the Bible continuously from front to back?

Starting April 30 - for 90 straight hours - the Bible will be read aloud from start to finish on the West Lawn of the U. S. Capitol. This is the 17th year of the U.S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon.


Tommy Chong, the comedian and actor of Cheech and Chong fame, will be the keynote speaker for the Washington-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws' 2006 national conference, which begins this week in San Francisco.

"I guess you could say it's Chong sans bong," says NORML media guru Nicholas Thimmesch II, one-time communications director to former Rep. Steve Largent, Oklahoma Republican, and son of the late Los Angeles Times Syndicate columnist Nick Thimmesch.

This columnist once asked Thimmesch, who began his career in the Reagan White House - and later served on the 1992 Bush-Quayle campaign, ditto on the 1996 Dole-Kemp campaign, and huddled with former drug czar and conservative moralist Bill Bennett at Empower America - what would Ronald Reagan say if he knew he was peddling marijuana decriminalization?

He replied: "I think the Gipper was always for people following their hearts and voting with their feet, and by coming to NORML, I'm adhering to the Reagan dictum of voting with my feet.

"More than anything, I hope to open dialogue between traditional conservatives and the drug-reform movement in this country," Thimmesch explained, adding he could "no longer idly sit on the sidelines" while the 30-plus-year "so-called 'War on Drugs' continued to devastate American freedoms and constitutionally guaranteed rights."

Back to Chong, who was busted by federal authorities in 2003 as part of a nationwide drug-paraphernalia sting and served nine months in prison. He and other members of his family were among 55 persons indicted by Uncle Sam - a sting operation known as Operation Pipe Dreams - for selling glass pipes over the Internet.

Thimmesch suggests Chong was singled out by the federal government - he was the only one who served prison time -- because of his high profile as a cultural icon. His address will be on the need to reform America's laws on the use and possession of marijuana.


It appears lawyers can't spell, or can they?

Our good friend Terry T. Campo, of Farrell & Campo at Georgetown Place, has organized a Young Republican Alumni Network, its kickoff event this Friday at the rooftop offices of former Ronald Reagan aide Wayne Valis.

Valis didn't stray far from the White House. He is founder and president of the public policy consulting firm Valis Associates, which overlooks the White House from 1700 Pennsylvania Ave. Before the firm's founding in 1983, he served three presidents - Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford and Mr. Reagan.

In attendance for the Class of 1971 reunion of Republicans, says Campo, will be former Sen. and Labor Secretary Bill Brock, former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist and former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf.

In sending us the details, Campo described the event as a "Champaign Reception."

Then, in a corrected follow-up correspondence: "I do know how to spell Champagne, but I'm from Illinois; the French have it wrong."


Hats off to lawyers at the Washington office of Skadden, Arps for being selected by the American Bar Association's Business Law Pro Bono Committee to receive the 2006 National Public Service Award, which recognizes significant pro bono legal services to the poor.

"We've always believed that pro bono work is part of the basic role of lawyers as members of our profession and as officers of the court," says Robert C. Sheehan, executive partner of the firm where Bill Clinton attorney Bob Bennett hangs his shingle.


When writing about the immigration debate, we knew our remark about the U.S. stealing Texas from Mexico - stuck beneath the headline "Remember the Alamo" - would leave readers in the Lone Star State up in arms.

Texan Lawrence Pate, however, grabbed more than his sword.

"Your column was OK, but when you wrote that line about us stealing Texas," he writes, "you need a bucket of fresh cow manure dumped on your head. Or maybe a tanker load of liquid manure pumped into your house.

"Another columnist," he advises, "suggested the solution to this problem was 'Fix Mexico.' You might think along those lines."