- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lozenge anyone?

Ever wonder how long it would take to read the Bible continuously from front to back?

Starting April 30 — for 90 straight hours — the Bible will be read aloud from start to finish on the West Lawn of the U. S. Capitol. This is the 17th year of the U.S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon.

Dust off the bong

Tommy Chong, the comedian and actor of Cheech and Chong fame, will be the keynote speaker for the Washington-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ 2006 national conference, which begins tomorrow in San Francisco.

“I guess you could say it’s Chong sans bong,” says NORML media guru Nicholas Thimmesch II, one-time communications director to former Rep. Steve Largent, Oklahoma Republican, and son of the late Los Angeles Times Syndicate columnist Nick Thimmesch.

This columnist once asked Mr. Thimmesch, who began his career in the Reagan White House — and later served on the 1992 Bush-Quayle campaign, ditto on the 1996 Dole-Kemp campaign, and huddled with former drug czar and conservative moralist Bill Bennett at Empower America — what would Ronald Reagan say if he knew he was peddling marijuana decriminalization?

He replied: “I think the Gipper was always for people following their hearts and voting with their feet, and by coming to NORML, I’m adhering to the Reagan dictum of voting with my feet.

“More than anything, I hope to open dialogue between traditional conservatives and the drug-reform movement in this country,” Mr. Thimmesch explained, adding he could “no longer idly sit on the sidelines” while the 30-plus-year “so-called ‘war on drugs’ continued to devastate American freedoms and constitutionally guaranteed rights.”

Back to Mr. Chong, who was busted by federal authorities in 2003 as part of a nationwide drug-paraphernalia sting and served nine months in prison. He and other members of his family were among 55 persons indicted by Uncle Sam — a sting operation known as Operation Pipe Dreams — for selling glass pipes over the Internet.

Mr. Thimmesch suggests Mr. Chong was singled out by the federal government — he was the only one who served prison time — because of his high profile as a cultural icon. His address will be on the need to reform America’s laws on the use and possession of marijuana.

Always the French

It appears lawyers can’t spell, or can they?

Our good friend Terry T. Campo, of Farrell & Campo at Georgetown Place, has organized a Young Republican Alumni Network, its kickoff event this Friday at the rooftop offices of former Ronald Reagan aide Wayne Valis.

Mr. Valis didn’t stray far from the White House. He is founder and president of the public policy consulting firm Valis Associates, which overlooks the White House from 1700 Pennsylvania Ave. Before the firm’s founding in 1983, he served three presidents — Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford and Mr. Reagan.

In attendance for the Class of 1971 reunion of Republicans, says Mr. Campo, will be former senator and Labor Secretary Bill Brock, former Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist and former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf.

In sending us the details, Mr. Campo described the event as a “Champaign Reception.”

Then, in a corrected follow-up correspondence: “I do know how to spell Champagne, but I’m from Illinois; the French have it wrong.”

Rich or poor

Hats off to lawyers at the Washington office of Skadden, Arps for being selected by the American Bar Association’s Business Law Pro Bono Committee to receive the 2006 National Public Service Award, which recognizes significant pro bono legal services to the poor.

“We’ve always believed that pro bono work is part of the basic role of lawyers as members of our profession and as officers of the court,” says Robert C. Sheehan, executive partner of the firm where Bill Clinton attorney Bob Bennett hangs his shingle.

Fix Mexico, fast

When writing about the immigration debate, we knew our remark about the U.S. stealing Texas from Mexico — stuck beneath the headline “Remember the Alamo” — would leave readers in the Lone Star State up in arms.

Texan Lawrence Pate, however, grabbed more than his sword.

“Your column was OK, but when you wrote that line about us stealing Texas,” he writes, “you need a bucket of fresh cow manure dumped on your head. Or maybe a tanker load of liquid manure pumped into your house.

“Another columnist,” he advises, “suggested the solution to this problem was ‘Fix Mexico.’ You might think along those lines.”

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

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