- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hollywood A-word

Christopher C. Horner, policy counsel for the European Enterprise Institute in Brussels, has just flown back to Washington aboard United Airlines, its cabin treated to the popular movie “Sideways.”

“A pleasant surprise given the Mrs. and I have only been turned away due to crowding at the theater,” notes Mr. Horner. “As part of its process of editing out offensive expletives, United was kind enough to show a version of the film in which a character, not once but twice, is heard to refer to an antagonist as an ‘Ashcroft’ — the former Attorney General John Ashcroft and bane of the left — serving as the substitution of choice for the anatomical slur sharing the same first letter.”

Rude review

Overheard on a European Parliament escalator after President Bush’s speech in Brussels about “mending fences” with Europe:

“Did you hear, he quoted Albert Camus.”

“Well, there is no way he would possibly understand it.”

“I know, I mean he is hardly literate, you know.”

World of mime

“No news here, merely a mime’s impression of wordless events for the benefit of photographers and poolers at NATO HQ, Brussels.”

— Official White House pool report on President Bush’s trip to Europe, in this case observing a photo opportunity at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Noah’s helper

“Rain finally broke today. Was starting to round up two of everything” — or so quips a soggy California-based Chris Barnett, whose popular column “Barnett on Business Travel” appears in the Travel section of The Washington Times.

Vague attempts

First it was Iowa and Connecticut. Then, we wrote recently, Texas.

Now, an Assembly bill has been introduced in New York to make hunting a punishable act of animal cruelty. Do we sense a pattern across this country, similar to what has beguiled Britain?

Anti-hunting lawmakers, confirms the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, are introducing “vague or poorly worded” animal-cruelty legislation in an effort to outlaw hunting. The latest New York bill, introduced by Democratic Assembly member Alexander Grannis, seeks to revise the state’s definition of animal cruelty to include “killing or injuring … wild game and wild birds.”

“The bill creates a contradiction in the law as the state code allows regulated hunting,” says Tony Celebrezze, an alliance director. “But the definition of animal cruelty in the bill makes hunting illegal. If [it] becomes law, anti-hunters will have a field day ensuring that sportsmen are prosecuted on animal cruelty charges.”

The New York bill mirrors legislation introduced recently in Texas. Similar bills in Iowa and Connecticut were defeated.

Criminal misuse

While we’re on the subject of hunting — albeit in this case hunting humans — Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, has joined as a co-sponsor of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

Introduced by Sens. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, and Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican, the legislation would prevent unwarranted lawsuits against manufacturers or sellers of firearms and ammunition for damages resulting from the unlawful use of their products.

As Mrs. Snowe sees it, “Manufacturers and sellers acting within the law should not be held responsible for the actions of criminals who misuse their products.”

Weekend scientists

When it comes to reporting on pressing scientific issues such as global warming, stem-cell research, prescription drugs and biotechnology, do reporters know what they’re writing about?

“Never before have so many daunting and complicated questions … dominated the news — and never before has clear, accurate and insightful writing about the same been more important to public policy and personal decision making. But are we getting the science journalism we need?”

That’s the question the Institute for Humane Studies wants answered Saturday at a Washington panel discussion on the state of “science journalism.”

Sally Satel, author of “PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine” and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, is among the panelists.

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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