- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Never too busy

One high-level Washingtonian who had the rare honor of receiving an award from Pope John Paul II is Jim Towey, assistant to President Bush and director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

As preparations for the pope’s funeral were taking place this week in Rome, Mr. Towey, for a dozen years legal counsel to Mother Teresa, told students of Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., not to live “schizophrenic lives,” as many in the world do today.

“In America, there has been a movement to keep separate one’s faith and how one acts on that faith in the public square,” he said. “It’s as if we are expected to be schizophrenic, being one person at work and another person when we are at home. That’s crazy. We need to bring our faith and morals into the culture and engage the culture.”

Regarding Mother Teresa, the White House official said: “What kind of world do we live in where someone like Mother Teresa needs a lawyer? But then again, Mother loved to sue lots of people,” Mr. Towey joked.

And whereas his boss, Mr. Bush, frequently prays in the Oval Office, he recalled: “Mother Teresa used to say that if you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy.”

Evening of honor

In retrospect, it was fitting that CNN last night reserved more than a dozen VIP seats at the 61st annual Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner for members of the U.S. military who were wounded in service to their country.

All of the soldiers and Marines currently are receiving rehabilitative treatment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center or the Bethesda Naval Hospital — military-care facilities that were showcased in another way last night.

The David Bloom Award, it so happened, went to ABC News’ “Nightline” and managing editor Ted Koppel for its report, “Burn Unit.” Judges said the segment — taking viewers inside the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, the Defense Department’s only burn unit — stood out for its “thorough and sensitive treatment of a difficult and underreported subject: the struggle of Iraq war veterans to overcome what may be the most painful and debilitating of injuries, their badly burned bodies.”

Of course, there was plenty of politics, too. The Joan Shorenstein Barone Award was presented to CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley for her series of reports on the 2004 presidential campaign, including the demise of the once-formidable Howard Dean, John Kerry and his Vietnam War past, the announcement of the Kerry-John Edwards ticket and Mr. Kerry’s emotional concession speech.

Among those on hand last night: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Jordanian Ambassador Karim Kawar, and Republican Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, John E. Sununu of New Hampshire and John W. Warner of Virginia, and Rep.John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat.

Major’ revolution

That was former congressman and “Republican revolution” leader Bill Paxon hosting Tuesday night’s book party at Charlie Palmer Steak House for Fox News Channel’s Major Garrett, author of “The Enduring Revolution: How the Contract With America Continues to Shape the Nation.”

A member of Congress from 1988 to 1998 — and husband of fellow former New York Rep. Susan Molinari — Mr. Paxon, as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was responsible for electing and re-electing the first House Republican majorities since the 1920s.

“The Republican revolution has never ended. It continues, and it’s gone global,” Mr. Paxon tells this column. “It is built on a foundation of ideals and principles, and it’s the singular party in the United States in that regard.”

In the crowd of well-wishers: media strategist and liberal pundit Peter Fenn, and Washington Fox News regulars Brit Humeand Jim Angle.

Alien nightmare

You could be in trouble if you have “nonnative” weeds, grass, trees or shrubs on your property. And who doesn’t?

The Land Rights Network, a division of the American Land Rights Association, is warning that under “invasive species” provisions listed in the Senate version of the transportation bill, private property could become the target of both “radical greens and federal bureaucrats.”

The Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act, or SAFETEA 2005, contains provisions to “minimize invasive species,” which the network says “is the foot in the door to federal control of all so-called ‘invasive species’ — something that the greens openly covet.”

If passed, it fears, Uncle Sam would “dictate” to the states what types of grasses and plants could and could not be planted on private property bordering roads.

“Imagine the Endangered Species Act on steroids. Now multiply its devastating effect on property rights one-hundredfold,” the network states. “This nightmare all began when Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13112 in 1999, creating an ‘Invasive Species Council’ to monitor and control ‘alien species’”

Alien species, according to the presidential order, include seeds, eggs, spores or other biological material that is not native to a particular ecosystem. Surprisingly, many houseplants and Kentucky bluegrass — used on lawns and golf courses — are among the dreaded aliens.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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