- The Washington Times - Monday, November 28, 2005

Chico and the girl

Biding time while she awaits the confirmation of her successor, retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is busy peddling her new book, “Chico.”

Chico? Unless you’re a student in grades 1 to 4, this storybook is probably over your heads.

Nevertheless, Justice O’Connor will be signing copies at the University Club’s annual Book Fair and Meet the Author night, which runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at 1135 16th St. NW. The justice’s busy court schedule allows her to appear only for the first hour, until 6:30 p.m.

As for the book’s title, Chico was the name Justice O’Connor gave her small horse when she was growing up on her family’s ranch in Arizona. Anybody who’s been to a Southwestern ranch knows you have to keep your eye out for rattlesnakes — more reason for Sandra’s mother to warn her daughter to stay close to home.

But Sandra, at age 6, couldn’t wait to see a new baby calf, so she climbed up on Chico and galloped off. Sure enough, as her mother feared, horse and young rider soon came face to face with a menacing rattlesnake, stopping them directly in their path. Chico and Sandra were terrified, the fear visible on their faces. The next thing you know, Sandra … Wait, it wouldn’t be right for us to give away the ending. You’ll have to buy the book and read what happens next.

Apart from Justice O’Connor, among the three dozen or so other authors who will be appearing at the University Club are Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott, “Herding Cats: A Life in Politics”; Washington Times editorial-page editor Tony Blankley, “The West’s Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations?”; Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, “Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution”; Haynes Johnson, “The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism”; Robert W. Merry, “Sands of Empire: Missionary Zeal, American Foreign Policy, and the Hazards of Global Ambition”; and the perfect holiday stocking stuffer from Bill Press, “How Republicans Stole Christmas.”

North of the border

President Bush in recent months has been sharply criticized — including by members of his own party — for not confronting the estimated 500,000 illegal aliens who every year enter the United States, joining upwards of 10 to 12 million already living here.

This week, for a few hours at least, Mr. Bush will hear firsthand about the nation’s staggering immigration problems — starting this afternoon, when he attends a briefing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. By this evening, Mr. Bush will have checked in to the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, to headline a fundraising dinner on behalf of Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican.

Then tomorrow morning, Mr. Bush jets off to El Paso, Texas, where he’ll meet with officials at U.S. Border Patrol headquarters. By lunchtime, however, he’ll already have flown to Denver to attend a fundraising luncheon for Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, Colorado Republican.

Oh, well, maybe Mrs. Musgrave, an outspoken proponent of limiting immigration, will take the opportunity to hand Mr. Bush a petition she sent only last week to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican.

She’s calling on her party’s leadership to tackle illegal immigration with legislation that: rejects any amnesty provisions for illegal aliens whatsoever (contrary to partial-amnesty proposed by Mr. Bush); builds more fences along the U.S.-Mexico border; hires additional border and immigration agents; increases federal detention space; withholds federal funding from cities that do not comply with immigration laws; stiffens penalties for employers that hire illegals; and alters “automatic birth citizenship” law by requiring at least one parent be a legal American citizen or resident.

Happy 20th

James C. Roberts has cause to celebrate this week, as his conservative Radio America network — carried on more than 400 affiliates around the country — celebrates 20 years of broadcasting from the nation’s capital with a gala at the Willard InterContinental Hotel.

Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican and a likely candidate for the White House in 2008, will help lead the Wednesday evening reception, featuring appearances by presidential son and broadcaster Michael Reagan and Adrian Cronauer of “Good Morning, Vietnam” fame.

Among Radio America’s most popular programs is “The G. Gordon Liddy Show.”

Yearn for youth

“Oh, to be 82 again.”

88-year-old Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, congratulating Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, on his recent birthday.

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

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