- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005

Catfight

A conservative catfight, if you will.

On one side, you have the Independent Women’s Forum, which supports President Bush’s nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to fill the seat vacated by retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Miss Miers “has had a long and distinguished career as one of the foremost lawyers in the country,” says IWF Senior Vice President Michelle Bernard, who adds that her group “rejects the feminist argument that the seat to which she was nominated is a ‘woman’s seat.’”

By originally nominating John G. Roberts Jr. to replace Justice O’Connor, she explains, Mr. Bush laid to rest the notion that any one sex or ethnic group owns a particular seat on the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, although the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute thinks Miss Miers is a smart woman and “able lawyer,” the group of right-leaning women is concerned about the nomination “on a number of levels.”

Particularly “having been told to expect a nominee in the mold of Justices Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia,” the institute notes.

“It is sure to be frustrating to accomplished conservative judges who have worked hard to distinguish themselves on the bench,” the group says. “It will be frustrating to those accomplished lawyers who have labored in the trenches, practicing constitutional law and helping to establish clear legal precedents …

“What does the president’s selection of Miers say to them? ‘Thanks for your efforts to preserve and uphold the Constitution, but we do not have the political will to defend you or your views.’”

Zengo zest

That was Washington National Opera director Placido Domingo giving a surprise performance at Tuesday evening’s private opening of Zengo, a new Latin-Asian restaurant he and chef Richard Sandoval have just opened at Gallery Place.

Among the 450 guests strolling up Zengo’s red carpet were business leaders such as Herb Miller of Western Development Corp., politicos such as D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz, top chefs such as Kaz Okochi of Kaz Sushi Bistro and fashionistas, including Patti Cumming of Neiman Marcus. Greeted by the sounds of drums and a dancing Chinese lion (intended to bring the restaurant good luck), the guests sipped on mojitos and sampled sushi and other delicacies.

Better yet, there was a performance by the maestro himself — Mr. Domingo surprising his son, Alvaro, who turned 38, with a birthday cake and the world’s most amazing version of “Happy Birthday” (accompanied by performers from the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists Program.)

Mr. Domingo and Mr. Sandoval also are partners of the restaurant Pampano in New York City.

Long fence

Through a series of TV spots showing footage of the September 11 terrorist attacks, an organization called “We Need a Fence” has started a campaign to build a high-tech fence along the Mexico-U.S. border.

“If we don’t fix the illegal-immigration problem at the border, the problem will grow in far more dangerous ways. Because illegal immigration from Mexico provides easy cover for terrorists,” the ad states.

This year, more than 100,000 “Other Than Mexican” illegals have crossed the border, including nearly 500 from federally designated “special-interest countries,” the group says.

“They’re not coming over to taste McDonald’s on its home turf. We have to secure our border, and the most effective way is a high-tech fence from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico,” says Colin Hanna, president of We Need a Fence.

Mr. Hanna says he has been gaining bipartisan support in Congress to build such a great wall.

Uh-oh

So, you’re worried about a bird-flu pandemic?

Wait until you read a more dire warning from a Russian scientific conference dedicated to asteroid and comet security: Life on Earth could be wiped out in 2035.

Russian news agencies say the warning was delivered at a conference that was just held at the Practical Astronomy Institute in St. Petersburg.

Viktor Shor of the Practical Astronomy Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences said that at present many experts see a real threat of earth’s collision with the 2004 MN4 asteroid,” MosNews reports. It says the collision was initially predicted for 2028, but new calculations show the asteroid only passing close to Earth that year. (Given the latest calculations of 2035, earthlings have 30 years to get their things in order.)

“The scientists say that a similar disaster took place millions of years ago and resulted in the extinction of 90 percent of all living species,” the news agency notes.

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

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