- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005

Minority missives

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, is downright disgusted with Rep. Tom DeLay, what with the pair of indictments handed down against the Texas Republican.

So she sat down and wrote about her displeasure, mailing her opinions to a fellow House minority leader in the Connecticut General Assembly. (Mrs. Pelosi, obviously, has come to think that Democrats sit in the minority of every elected body in the country.)

Polite Republican that he is, state House Minority Leader Robert M. Ward took the time to write back.

“Thank you for … alerting me to alleged Republican ‘abuse of power’ and ‘arrogance and corruption’ in Congress,” began Mr. Ward, observing that legislative impropriety and abuse of power have long been of concern to him in his minority position.

“Unfortunately, there is a rich history in Connecticut of ‘arrogance and corruption’ by the majority party’s legislators,” he said.

Mrs. Pelosi then read about the Democratic lawmaker from Norwalk who was convicted of accepting a cash bribe for helping somebody obtain a pistol permit; about the Democrat from Hartford who resigned when slapped with 85 criminal counts of bribery, fraud and witness tampering; and the Democrat from Pomfret who resigned after pleading guilty to charges of sexual abuse.

“Just last month, state Sen. Ernest Newton of Bridgeport resigned his seat and pled guilty to accepting bribes in exchange for securing state contracts, and abusing campaign funds,” Mr. Ward said. “It should be noted that all the legislators I mention have one important thing in common with you, congresswoman: They are all Democrats.

“P.S. It is my fondest hope that your assumption that the Democrats are the minority in the Connecticut House proves to be prophetic,” Mr. Ward said.

Been reached?

What a week it’s been in the life of Harriet Miers.

It’s even hard for the White House to keep tabs on who supports and who opposes President Bush’s choice to sit on the Supreme Court. So, the president’s lieutenants have kept busy all week “outreaching” (we think that’s what it’s called) to the various factions.

This process is best explained by White House spokesman Scott McClellan:

Reporter: “Scott, the president has said that religion was part of Harriet Miers’ life, and the White House’s outreaching has mentioned the fact that she does go to this conservative Christian church —”

Mr. McClellan: “Outreaching — reaching out.”

Reporter: “Reaching out, outreaching. No such efforts were made, not to this extent, anyway, in terms of Chief Justice John Roberts. No one in the White House even mentioned his religion, as best we can tell. Why is this the case?”

Mr. McClellan: “In terms of outreach? … I think when you’re talking about our outreach, or reaching out, we do reach out to a lot of people. … But what we emphasize in the outreach to people we talk to is that she has the qualifications and experience and judicial philosophy that is needed on our nation’s highest court.”

End of retirees

Our item yesterday on the scientific prediction of a life-ending collision between the Earth and an asteroid in 2035 assures Inside the Beltway fan Doug Hecox of Washington that it only “sounds like bad news. However, it is surely being seen as good news by the Social Security reform movement.”

Sunset prayer

Some 100 congressional staffers joined Muslim community leaders and diplomats from Islamic-majority nations for the third annual Ramadan “Iftar” — fast-breaking dinner — on Capitol Hill this week.

The Iftar was held in the Rayburn House Office Building and was co-sponsored by 11 House members. It featured the breaking of the fast and the Islamic sunset prayer, or “Maghrib.”

Pleasure Inn

From Arlington, the executive director of ProEnglish, a national organization that advocates for making English the official language, is blasting the Ohio Civil Rights Commission for filing “an absurd and dangerous complaint” against a restaurant owner for posting a sign reading “For Service Speak English.”

K.C. McAlpin calls the complaint against Tom Ullum of the Pleasure Inn in Mason, Ohio, “a blatant violation of the owner’s First Amendment right of free speech and a total misreading of a state law banning refusal of service based on national origin.”

ProEnglish is offering legal assistance to Mr. Ullum.

Insists Mr. Ullum: “The sign means exactly what it says — none of the employees speak any language other than English and, therefore, would be unable to communicate with any patrons who are not well-versed in the English language.”

Conspiracy anyone?

The official White House pool report of President Bush’s motorcade this week from the White House to DAR Constitution Hall, a distance of maybe two blocks, observes:

“It took us 45 seconds to get there, but it was a minute-long ride on the way back. Hmmmm, a very mysterious 15-second deficit, no?”

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

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