- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2003

A thousand farewells

Sen. Herb Kohl, Wisconsin Democrat, caught our ear while recognizing Elmo Johnson, a World War II veteran originally from Black River Falls, Wis.

Mr. Johnson joined the Army in 1945 and was stationed at Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands. A trumpet player since the age of 11, he began playing his instrument for troops as part of the 285th Army Ground Forces band unit.

Later in his career, while stationed at Iwo Jima, Japan, Mr. Johnson was handed the privilege of playing taps for fallen members of his unit. He has never stopped.

"Ever since returning from World War II, Mr. Johnson has volunteered to play taps at funerals for other Wisconsin veterans," Mr. Kohl reveals. "Mr. Johnson has played taps over 950 times, and I praise his goal of 1,000 farewells."

Before you get too teary-eyed, Mr. Johnson's band, Elmo Johnson and the Johnny Brass Band, performs less-somber tunes at nightclubs throughout western Wisconsin.

Canning spam

A Senate committee approved a "can spam" bill last year, but time ran out and the legislation never passed in the 107th Congress.

Now, Sen. Conrad Burns, Montana Republican and chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation communications subcommittee, says stopping spam unwanted Internet e-mail "is the first agenda item on my priority list."

"Whenever one clicks on their e-mail, they see a lot of unwanted messages that are selling everything from shoelaces to whatever," notes Mr. Burns. "This unwanted mail continues not only to plague our system and clog it, but in rural areas where some Internet users actually have to pay long-distance fees to their server, it becomes quite expensive.

"In fact, American business is reporting that the cost of spam right now is going out of sight."

Early in 2002, it was estimated 8 percent of e-mail was spam. By December, that figure grew to 40 percent.

"Another figure that sort of astounds all of us, it was estimated the average user of the Internet receives 2,300 pieces of unwanted mail in their mailbox" each year, says Mr. Burns, adding that junk mail is expected to outpace other e-mail by summer's end.

Linguistically isolated

Mauro E. Mujica, chairman of U.S. English in Washington, says our item yesterday on a new study by the Center for Immigration Studies demonstrates what he has said for years: "There is no such thing as a Hispanic voting bloc."

Now if President Bush would only listen.

"Rather than focusing on the real problem our country faces due to the explosion of immigrants to our shores, especially by Hispanics, our political leaders have been acting like the Keystone Cops," says Mr. Mujica, an immigrant from Chile, "knocking themselves out with token actions to placate the Latino community by increasing bilingual government services, speaking in Spanish on the campaign trail, and offering amnesty proposals for illegals amongst other things."

"Have they even noticed that 21.3 million of the foreign-born living here today can't speak English, our common language, very well? Of these, nearly 14 million are Hispanics, the group they have so desperately courted. The language problem has become so widespread the U.S. Census Bureau has categorized these immigrants as 'linguistically isolated.'

"When will the lunacy end and the literacy begin?" he asks.

Goalpost of life

There's more to football than winning the Super Bowl, says the son of one of the greatest football coaches ever.

"Martin Luther King Day gives tonight an even more special significance because of the historical role football and sports have played in bringing people in our nation together," Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican and son of the late Redskins coach George Allen, says in remarks to the historic Pigskin Club.

"During the past two months, I can honestly say, as a member of the Senate, it has been a time of introspection, understanding, decisions and resolve about where we stand as Americans because we were reminded of the history of harmful and hateful racial divisions in our country," says Mr. Allen.

He refers to the racially insensitive remark by Republican Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, who was Senate minority leader.

"I felt it was my responsibility as a leader to express what America should stand for," says Mr. Allen, one of the first Republicans to publicly criticize Mr. Lott. "I believe that racial discrimination must be condemned."

Mr. Allen says he "grew up in a football family."

"As a kid, I learned from my father, the coach and from my immigrant mother that in football and in life, a person's worth should never be judged by the color of their skin, their ethnicity or where they were born but by their dedication, hard work, skill and the ability to contribute to the team or cause."

As for the game, we're told the coach's son is rooting for the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

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