- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Fearing Muhammad

“Islamophobia” — or such is the title of a unique three-day conference to be held later this spring in Washington, sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Egg or apology

One of our favorite past column items surrounds one of the oldest White House traditions, dating to 1878: the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

“Dear President Clinton and Family: Today we went to the Easter Egg Roll. We got there around 9:50 a.m. and got into a very long line. After we got onto the White House lawn, it was after 2:00 p.m. and then found out you had run out of eggs. The Turnhams’ cousin, Miranda Todd, came all the way from Tennessee for Easter and your Easter Egg Roll. She didn’t get an egg. We are really angry.”

So read a letter to the Clintons penned by six hopping mad kids from Silver Spring. A copy was forwarded to Inside the Beltway.

“P.S. - We think we should get an egg or an apology. Our parents voted for you, and we are disappointed.”

We’re happy to report — to children and supporters of President Bush alike — that there will be no shortage of eggs for this year’s Easter Egg Roll, which takes places on Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House.

Prefers Texas eggs

“I’m looking forward to spending Easter in Texas. It’s a joy to get out of the nation’s capital.”

President Bush, who makes no secret of his distaste for Washington, D.C., addressing an audience in New Mexico yesterday.

Guitar governor

It wasn’t your typical political spiel, or so the Republican National Committee discovered, when it sat down to interview Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee during a recent visit to Washington.

“We’ve opened for Willie Nelson,” the governor boasted,“Grand Funk Railroad, .38 Special,Dionne Warwick, Charlie Daniels Band.”

Mr. Huckabee has been playing bass guitar since he was 11. Today, he says, music helps him escape everything political.

The governor’s band is called “Capitol Offense,” and they play a variety of classic rock, Southern rock, blues, soul and a bit of country. The band has performed in numerous venues and outdoor festivals.

Protect them all

Politicians and federal judges often don’t see eye to eye, as we were reminded yesterday in a court ruling concerning Terri Schiavo.

And although Rep. Ernest Istook, Oklahoma Republican, continues to monitor his party’s fight to reattach the feeding tube for the brain-damaged Florida woman, expressions of faith also are weighing on his mind.

We were told by Mr. Istook’s office yesterday that the congressman is preparing to introduce a single amendment to the Constitution that, by itself, would protect the Pledge of Allegiance, school prayer, the public display of the Ten Commandments and any other expressions of religious heritage and private beliefs that have come under attack of late in the court system.

“The issue will not go away, nor will the constant attacks,” says Mr. Istook, who is a lawyer. “They must be addressed together in a way that avoids official religion while protecting our religious expressions and freedom.”

The proposed article reads: “To secure the people’s right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: ‘The people retain the right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage and traditions on public property, including schools.’

“‘The United States and the states shall not establish any official religion nor require any person to join in prayer or religious activity.’”

Consider this, Osama

A towering 210-foot-tall mast, inspired by the famous Iwo Jima flag raising of World War II and as tall as the uppermost point of the U.S. Capitol, will be erected today at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va.

Once set in stone, the mast will stand at a 60-degree angle through a 160-foot-tall skylight-covered glass atrium, which will be the museum’s focal point when it opens in 2006. The steel and concrete mast weighs more than 50 tons — or the equivalent of four combat-ready light armored vehicles.

Calling it a “monumental day” in Marine Corps history, Lt. Gen. Ron Christmas, president of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, says the museum “pays homage to the veterans of Iwo Jima and to every Marine who has fought for our nation’s freedoms.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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