- The Washington Times - Monday, December 22, 2003

Auld Lang Syne

Washington’s Bonnie Rideout, the three-time U.S.-Scottish fiddle champion who will be performing “A Scottish Christmas” Friday at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall — her performances have sold out for four consecutive seasons — has been arraigned.

Yes, arraigned, on charges of assault toward a flight attendant who refused to let the world-renowned musician carry her valuable violin on board an airplane bound for Wichita, Kan. Miss Rideout, as this column first reported, didn’t wish her violin to get damaged or even lost by baggage handlers.

“I removed my precious violin from its case and asked to hold it in my lap all the way from Washington, D.C., so that they could check ‘the bag.’ My violin is smaller than an infant and bothers no one,” she says. “My approach to solving this dilemma was apparently too confrontational.”

Her court date has been scheduled for Feb. 13.

Forget anybody?

Before he leaves Washington to celebrate Christmas and usher in Election Year 2004, the White House issued three successive statements from President Bush:

• Laura joins me in wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

• Laura joins me in sending our best wishes for a joyous Kwanzaa.

• Laura joins me in wishing you a blessed and Happy Hanukkah.

PC greetings

Thanks to our Inside the Beltway readers who risked sending us spiritual greetings this holiday season, particularly Robert Jason of Canada who, given “political correctness gone mad,” realized his simple Christmas greeting was fraught with potential complications.

“So here is my amended greeting to you,” Mr. Jason writes.

“Please accept with no obligation, explicit or implied, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, non-judgmental, tolerance embracing, inclusivity enhancing, equality seeking, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious/secular persuasion of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice any religious and/or secular traditions.”


There is now “Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa,” following ballot approval by residents and the legal filing of documents with the secretary of state.

The city, the first in the country to adopt a Vedic (Sanskrit for “knowledge”) administration, is named after Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation.

All buildings in Maharishi Vedic City, says Mayor Robert Wynne, will now conform to Vedic architectural design, while residents will be offered Vedic (prevention-oriented) health care, eat Vedic (organic) agriculture, receive Vedic (cosmic creative) education, and live under Vedic (perfect-order) government.

Cheated child

“The soul of the new machine,” is how Mother Jones describes Grover Norquist in an in-depth profile.

“As national ward boss for the right,” writes Michael Scherer, “Norquist has gone a long way toward demolishing the old Democratic agenda. And he isn’t done yet.”

For readers who don’t know the 47-year-old president of Americans for Tax Reform, his invitation-only Wednesday meetings, for which he is the blunt master of ceremonies, “have become a hot ticket for Washington’s conservative In Crowd, the place for GOP players to brain-storm, swap intelligence and see and be seen.”

Even Karl Rove, the president’s top political adviser, is known to drop by. As do senators and congressmen, from 259 of whom Mr. Norquist has secured written promises not to raise taxes. But his agenda doesn’t stop there. He’s launched Republican recruitment efforts to attract minorities, especially Muslims, aiming to turn them into ideal Americans.

“My ideal citizen is the self-employed, home-schooling, IRA-owning guy with a concealed-carry permit,” he says. “Because that person doesn’t need the [expletive] government for anything.”

“And rather than negotiate with the teachers unions and the trial lawyers and the various leftist interest groups, we intend to break them,” says Mr. Norquist, who at age 12 volunteered for Richard Nixon’s campaign.

What first turned the former leader of the College Republicans against unfair taxes?

“After church,” reveals Mr. Scherer, his father would buy him and his three younger siblings ice-cream cones and then steal bites, announcing with each chomp, “‘Oops, income tax. Oops, sales tax.’”

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

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