Wednesday, April 12, 2000

Woman freed

“I thought you would find the April 4 press release from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funny,” writes a bureaucrat within the fish and game department, forwarding a week’s worth of releases summarized by the service onto one page.

They range from several fishermen being found guilty of illegal horseshoe crabbing to the Northern Idaho ground squirrel being added to the list of threatened species.

Then there’s the April 4 release: “Last Female California Taken into Captivity Returns to the Wild.”

To calm the concerns of all men, from California to Capitol Hill, the release should have read: “Female California Condor.”

Mute men

Washington might be all about politics, but we’re also fortunate to count among our residents world-renowned poet Auburn J. “Bud” Lamb, co-chairman of the International Academy of Poets.

Better yet, the award-winning wordmaster often grants Inside the Beltway first publishing rights to his rhythmical compositions, which every so often politics creeps into:

In Cuba all fathers are mute,

The law there’s absolute,

Castro’s the boss

He’ll not stand the loss

Of Elian, the matter is moot.

Power and pork

Once was the time former Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, was paving the hills and hollows of his impoverished state in greenbacks.

But not anymore. Make room for a new breed of pork-barrel spenders: Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, and Senate appropriator Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat.

In fiscal 2000, Alaska led the country with $394 million in pork ($636 per capita), more than the next two-largest per-capita porkers combined.

Runners-up, according to the new “pig” list compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste, are Hawaii with $313 million ($264 per capita), and Mississippi with $570 million ($205 per capita).

Lord Lott

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott stood a little taller when he wore a kilt in the U.S. Capitol last week, proving the old Scottish adage that a man in a kilt is a man and a half.

The Mississippi Republican wore the Buchanan tartan of yellow and green on the Senate floor for National Tartan Day. He was accompanied by Sen. Wayne Allard, Colorado Republican, who wore the tartan of Estes Park, where Colorado’s largest Scottish games are held every year.

Other senators sported tartan ties and tartan ribbons on their lapels, but it was Mr. Lott and Mr. Allard who made history in their kilts the first time Scottish Highland attire was ever worn in the chamber.

The ceremony was organized by the Senate chaplain, the Rev. Lloyd Ogilvie, who also happens to be president of the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington.

The majority leader introduced his favorite gospel singer, Wintley Phipps, who sang “Amazing Grace” and held the last note so long that the piper accompanying him almost ran out of breath.

Mr. Lott talked of his love of Scotland, his Scottish grandmother and the many American leaders and presidents of Scottish ancestry. He also noted that his wife, Patricia, was grateful he was speaking behind a podium so the breeze never lifted his kilt.

That would have been undignified for a member of the U.S. Senate.

Picking on Hillary

We did a double-take after spotting the front page of the Heartlander, a monthly newsletter of the Heartland Institute, whose board of directors include industry giants like Roy E. Marden of Philip Morris, Albert St. Clair of Proctor & Gamble, and Dave Thornbury of General Motors Corp.

“In a move that sent shock waves through the think tank world,” the story began, “The Chicago-based Heartland Institute announced it has acquired the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation.”


“The new organization, The Heartland and Heritage Alliance (HAHA), will be headquartered in Chicago,” read the story.


“The Heritage Foundation’s current building in Washington, D.C., will be torn down and the area covered with salt to prevent a left-wing organization from occupying the site.”

OK, so Heartland President and CEO Joseph L. Bast is joking, trying to scare Hillary Rodham Clinton and “other moderate socialists” into thinking that Heartland and Heritage were actually uniting to form a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

Just to be sure, we called Hugh C. Newton, chief flack for the Heritage Foundation, who said if it is true, “I think I’ll retire now.”

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