- The Washington Times - Monday, May 19, 2008

Firing back

Inside the Beltway has learned that the Barack Obama campaign will show its solidarity with Israel on the National Mall in Washington on June 1, after President Bush last week appeared before the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, to denounce those who would negotiate with “terrorists and radicals” — a remark many believed was aimed at the top Democratic presidential candidate.

“Wear your Obama gear to this huge festival-style event on the National Mall honoring Israel’s 60th anniversary. Pass out bumper stickers, Hebrew ‘Barack Obama ‘08’ lapel stickers, and distribute Israel fact sheet flyers upon request,” encourages associated groups including Israelis for Obama, Jews for Obama, and Jewish/Zionist Americans for Obama.

U.S. labor force

Calling attention to a “growing phenomenon” of illegal immigrants entering the United States to give birth to a child — in order to take advantage of U.S. “birthright citizenship” — Rep. Tom Tancredo says it’s time “we yank back the illegal-alien welcome mat.”

The Colorado Republican notes that an estimated 300,000 children of illegal aliens are born in the United States every year and immediately become U.S. citizens, thanks to a “peculiar” U.S. policy that all persons born in the U.S. are citizens.

The congressman recalled a recent interview by CBS News with Joe Riley, CEO of the McAllen Texas Medical Center near the Texas-Mexico border, who said he’s seen “mothers about to give birth that walk up to the hospital still wet from swimming across the river in actual labor, dirty, wet, cold, here to have a child in the United States.”

Another option

Fans of the long-running “The Carol Burnett Show” will remember co-star Vicki Lawrence, who morphed into the sharp-tongued matriarch Thelma Harper, the main character on “Mama’s Family.”

Now, in plenty of time before the November elections, Miss Lawrence has a new book out: “Mama for President: Good Lord, Why Not?” In the book, she poses questions you won’t hear the candidates ask, like “why aren’t our borders run like Disneyland?”

As for annoying airport security: “As long as we have to take our shoes off, I will install a shoe-buffing brush inside the X-ray machine so your shoes will get a little shine as they go through.”

Heat stones

Myron Ebell, director of energy and global-warming policy at Washington’s Competitive Enterprise Institute, thought he’d read everything surrounding the causes and effects of climate change — that is, until he picked up Saturday’s edition of the Times of India:

“Latest research indicates that global warming could have another unwanted spin-off — it may spur the formation of kidney stones. Dehydration, particularly in warmer climes and higher temperatures, will only exacerbate this effect.”

The findings were presented at the 103rd annual meeting of the American Urological Association.

All eyes on Mars

NASA is gearing up for next Sunday’s arrival to Mars of the Phoenix Mars Lander — an entry, descent and landing scheduled to begin at 7:46 p.m.

The spacecraft must perform a series of challenging transformations during the seven minutes after it enters the Martian atmosphere, not the least being slowing down from an incredible 12,000 mph to 5 mph and a soft touchdown.

More than half of previous international attempts to land on Mars have been unsuccessful, according to NASA.

Choo-Choo Charlie

Amtrak ought to take the words of one well-known congressman and turn them into a billboard advertisement.

Rising on the House floor last week in support of a resolution creating “National Train Day,” Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, remarked of his Amtrak Acela commute between New York and Washington: “I find my commute by train a convenient, efficient and relaxing way to travel that enables me to read and work in comfort and arrive refreshed, usually on time, and downtown, closer to my destination.”

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washington times.com.