- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2005

Hard to Reid

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) seems to be having a fun, if not challenging time, charting the mood swings of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

It seems like an eternity ago, albeit it was only last December when the Democratic leader told President Bush that a new Congress “presents an opportunity to renew comity and respect between our parties.”

That was the “nice Harry,” notes the NRSC. Since then, the “mean Harry” has reared his head, threatening to take contentious debate over judicial nominations, for instance, “behind the pool hall and see who wins.”

If those weren’t fighting words enough, Mr. Reid this month opined of Mr. Bush, “The man’s father is a wonderful human being,” yet adding of our current president: “I think this guy is a loser.”

By the next day, the minority leader had called the White House “and apologized for what I said.”

Seat wars

Among the legions of fans who turned up for the premiere midnight showing of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” last week were Washington resident Scott Rush and a certain Washington Metropolitan Police officer.

Now, because of what reportedly transpired inside the Regal theater on 7th Street NW, near the MCI Center, Mr. Rush has filed a formal complaint of harassment and abuse of power by the officer with D.C. police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and Mayor Anthony A. Williams.

“I arrived at the theater around 7 p.m. to stand in line to get seats for myself and three friends. We were allowed to enter the auditorium at approximately 10:45 p.m.,” Mr. Rush writes in his complaint. “I promptly went straight to the back row of seats, dead center beneath the projector and placed bags in three seats and took my own.”

They were the best seats in the house, the “Star Wars” fan admits.

“Shortly after 11, a gentleman approached and asked if the seats were taken,” he continues. “I replied that they were, and he asked if my friends were in the building yet. When I told him no, he told me that the seats weren’t taken then and that I must remove the bags.

“When I refused, he told me that it was against the law to save seats in the theater unless they were for someone already in the theater and that I would need to move the bags. I told him that I had been there since 7 p.m. and I was not moving the bags.

“I then asked him if he worked for the theater and he said, ‘No, I’m a police officer and I know the law. You’re not allowed to save seats just like you’re not allowed to save parking spaces for someone by standing in them.’

“I then told him that if that was the case then he needed to go tell everyone else in the theater that was saving a seat that they weren’t allowed. He told me that he wasn’t going to do that because he didn’t want their seats, he wanted mine.

“He then told me that he would eject me from the theater if I didn’t give up the seats,” Mr. Rush states. “Then he asked me if the seats were really worth getting ejected from the theater over.”

At that point, the Star Wars-goer fan wrote down the officer’s name and badge number (he has supplied both to the police chief and mayor), then “removed a bag from one of the seats and told him he could have that one. He then told me to move another one as his friend was right behind him and he was a police officer also.”

As he suspected all along, Mr. Rush learned later that the theater has no such policy that prohibits saving seats, particularly if a movie is not scheduled to start for another hour and other seats are available.

“I would also be curious to know,” Mr. Rush’s complaint concludes, if the police officer in question “was at work today or called off sick, as the movie did not let out until 3 a.m.”

No trespassing

We’d written last week about the hot-button issue of “illegal immigration,” observing that it really is not “immigration” if it’s illegal, but that we would further than argument on another day.

Well, now is the day, given the amount of mail received from readers. We’ll allow Ron Olliff to speak for the others.

“It occurred to me while reading the blurb about the illegal workers,” he begins, “that ‘illegal immigration’ is an oxymoron. If it’s immigration, it is not illegal, and if they are here illegally they are not immigrants, are they?

“Maybe it’s time that a more accurate term be coined to describe these people. I’ll start the process — how about ‘foreign trespassers?’”

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

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