The newly appointed inspector general (IG) of the Commerce Department, Todd J. Zinser, has reinstated two whistleblowers demoted by his predecessor for cooperating with a congressional probe of misspent funds.
Deputy IG Edward Blansitt and chief counsel Allison Lerner were reassigned by Johnnie Frazier after they questioned their boss' travel expenses last year.
Rep. John D. Dingell, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Bart Stupak, a fellow Michigan Democrat who chairs the subcommittee on oversight and investigations, thanked Mr. Zinser in a letter Wednesday for reinstating the whistleblowers "who were subjected to wrongful retaliation."
The congressmen wrote that Mr. Frazier "was widely known to have abused the personnel system to favor select employees and punish those who disagreed with him."
Mr. Frazier retired as IG in June amid multiple investigations that he abused government travel and illegally demoted his employees who were witnesses in the inquiry.
Needless to say, first impressions stick with people. Take the woman requesting anonymity who shakes her head every time she reads headlines like this one in the New York Times: "Obama Calls for an End to Arrogance."
She recalls her first encounter with freshman Sen. Barack Obama when he strolled out of the Senate chamber, balled up a piece of paper and tossed it at a large trash can — missing.
At which point, she says, the senator from Illinois paused and, without saying a word, looked back at his two aides who were trailing him, then continued on his way. One of the aides walked over, retrieved the paper and threw it away.
Not a loyalist
He wasn't on hand for raucous debate in the British Parliament, but he might just as well have been.
We're talking about Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican, scolding his colleagues across the pond for returning to the Dark Ages.
"In the Dark Ages, King Henry VIII left the Catholic Church because it would not permit his multiple marriages. Well, Britain is heading back to the Dark Ages," Mr. Poe stood up on the House floor to declare this week. "The more wives a British male has, the more benefits he will receive under welfare. This new policy will really only benefit Muslim extremist men, who keep a harem of four wives."
The Archbishop of Canterbury, he pointed out, suggested that the British government appease Muslims in England so they "don't have to choose loyalty between Islam and Britain."
"Tell this to the British soldiers who are fighting Muslim extremists in Iraq, while their own government rewards Muslim extremists at home," says the U.S. politician. "It seems that the real extremists are Britain's own leaders, who have gone too far in the name of political correctness."
Mr. Poe guessed, "Winston Churchill is turning in his grave."
Dreams of Hillary
A favorite pastime of this columnist during the long and drawn-out 2008 presidential campaign has been reading bizarre dreams Americans are having about Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
One of the more revealing, detailed at www.idreamofhillary idreamofbarack.com, disrupted the sleep of a happily married woman of 30:
"I was strategizing with James Carville and Hillary in the Clintons' living room. Bill was frolicking — jumping around on the furniture, running to and from the window. He was mute in the dream; physically couldn't talk. Carville and Hillary and I were discussing something, then Hillary took me into the kitchen to have a girl talk, with her favorite dog in arms. The discussion descended into a mundane, uncomfortable conversation about whether or not she should attend the Cannes Film Festival this year.
"Then I was back in the living room with Carville and Bill. Bill disappeared behind a secret rotating panel in the fireplace, which spun around like a secret passageway, but when it turned around (allowing him and the fireplace to disappear behind the wall), the other side had a picture of him painted on it, except dressed up like Napoleon.
"Carville started hitting on me in the darkened living room (darkened because the fireplace had been the only light source). When I told him I was married he said that everything was negotiable and we should discuss it over dinner at his place. Then I said, 'But you're married too!' Then he said, 'That's just branding, sugar, now follow me.' He started to lead me down a hallway, then my alarm went off."