- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2000

Gore either way

Last year, six runners, including an American, were gored during the running of the bulls at Pamplona, Spain's San Fermin Fiesta. Christopher Horner, luckily, wasn't one of them.

With one close call under his belt, one would think the Washington counsel to the Cooler Heads Coalition of the Competitive Enterprise Institute seen regularly on Court TV, MSNBC and Fox News Channel would have had his fill of being chased by raging bulls.

"With the resolution of most weak-willed men, I avowed not to be so foolish to do it again," Mr. Horner acknowledges. "Got film, can't top it, getting old."

But then, the frequent critic of the Clinton administration's energy and environmental policies lost a bet. He either had to run with the bulls again or read Al Gore's breathtaking book, "Earth in the Balance," cover-to-cover not once, but twice.

He packed his suitcase.

Two years ago, a photograph published in one Pamplona newspaper captured the counsel's torso inches ahead of the lead bull's starboard horn.

"It's like running across Wisconsin, I was told," recalls Mr. Horner, "only I determined that I somehow missed the Dells, finding myself involuntarily leading the herd."

Which for the attorney, clad in a traditional red-and-white outfit, meant running for his life past "Hamburger Wall."

"The key lesson," he says, "if you fall, take someone with you, as that's when Toro nails you, and you want some armor."

That opening day of the week-long festival saw the "greatest carnage," says Mr. Horner. "Thirty-seven stretcher or ambulance extractions, including an horrific disembowelment captured all too well on film."

So why do it?

"After a decade of slogging through bull, it seemed a natural progression to try my hand out front for a turn," he says. "And it all depends on what the meaning of the word 'it' is."

The bulls will run momentarily. Stay tuned.

Tastes like pork

With so many watchdogs roaming Washington's streets, neither congressman nor columnist can get away with anything anymore. Even onions.

We wrote last week that Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican, had received a shipment of world-famous Vidalia onions, grown exclusively in his district. It has something to do with the region's mild climate and soil.

Anyway, the congressman was kind enough to give us a box of bulbs, shared with hungry reporters from Reuters (she ate her Vidalia raw) and USA Today. And we thought it would be nice to thank Mr. Kingston in writing.

Wouldn't you know, Inside the Beltway has now received the following letter:

"Citizens Against Government Waste read with great interest your piece about Vidalia onions and Rep. Kingston's appetite. In April of this year, CAGW talked about another commodity with which Rep. Kingston gorges himself pork, as in pork-barrel spending.

"CAGW bestowed Rep. Kingston with 'The Tracks of My Tears Award' for $100,000 for Vidalia onion research," read the letter. "Rep. Kingston neglected to mention the help his district's extremely profitable industry got from the taxpayers when he sent those onions around Capitol Hill."

The entry in CAGW's 2000 Congressional Pig Book Summary says past money for Vidalia onion research $284,000 since 1998 has gone for "pungency testing." The latest installment will go toward onion-disease research.

Raising hell

Jewish Americans are not the only group that should oppose the Vatican's plans to beatify Pope Pius IX. So should Irish Americans, says Father Sean McManus, president of the Irish National Caucus on Capitol Hill.

The Catholic priest says Jewish Americans are understandably upset because the pope "disgracefully abducted" 6-year-old Jewish lad Edgardo Mortara from his parents in Bologna, Italy, in 1858 and had him raised Catholic.

But Irish Americans, he says, have another reason to oppose the beatification: the 1870 excommunication of the Fenian Brotherhood.

Formed by John O'Mahoney in New York in 1858 for the purpose of freeing Ireland from English rule, the Fenians "were some of Ireland's finest men and women," says Father McManus.

"The Fenians had massive support among Irish-Americans those who in great measure built the Catholic Church in the U.S. Yet Pope Pius IX excommunicated them," says the priest. "Pope Pius IX instead of condemning the oppressor England condemned the Irish-Americans who were trying to liberate their homeland. And now we are expected to honor that pope, even pray to him as a saint?

"No way in hell," the priest tells us.

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