- The Washington Times - Friday, February 24, 2006

Easter hen?

The White House hides and decorates about 15,000 eggs for its annual Easter Egg Roll, which attracts thousands of children to the South Lawn.

Now, the Humane Society of the United States has sent a letter to the White House asking that it consider a more humane option: cage-free eggs.

“Caged egg-laying hens are among the most abused animals in the world of factory farming today,” the society’s Paul Shapiro says. “Simply by using cage-free eggs, the White House can teach kindness and compassion to American children — and the nation as a whole.”

And here we thought it was the Easter Bunny who delivered the eggs.

But can they jump?

“You’ll be amused when you watch the movie and you see the lines that, ‘Blacks can’t play basketball.’ ”

First lady Laura Bush, in remarks before yesterday’s White House screening of the movie “Glory Road,” about the 1966 NCAA basketball champions from Texas Western College, the first basketball team with an all-black starting lineup.

Kona, sir?

We’ve written of late that the White House does not serve U.S.-grown coffee at official functions, including state dinners. Rather, the president’s servers pour anonymous blends of foreign coffee beans.

Not anymore. Inside the Beltway has learned that PresidentBush’s coffee buyers have ordered a fair quantity of American estate-grown Kona coffee, regular and decaf, while promising to be more cognizant of supporting U.S. farmers.

“It has definitely been brought to our attention,” one White House official says.

The White House, we’ve confirmed, will be serving Kona RainForest Farms coffee at the National Governors Association White House dinner this Sunday. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, whose state produces the coffee, no doubt will be pleased.

The initiative to serve lesser-known American coffee at the White House was spearheaded by freelance writer Joel Berliner, who, when researching a coffee story he is writing for this newspaper’s travel section, learned that Uncle Sam was not supporting his own farmers. So he had several pounds of various U.S. estate-grown coffees sent recently to first lady Laura Bush, senior adviser Karl Rove and White House usher Daniel Shanks.

“Kona is the Napa and Sonoma of coffee, and it’s good to know that the White House is now more mindful about serving and identifying this extraordinary American grown product in the same way as they do premium California wines,” Mr. Berliner tells Inside the Beltway.

Can’t say Jesus

On the heels of a federal district court judge ruling that religious ministers invited to deliver invocations before the Indiana legislature must not make any reference to “Jesus Christ” or Christianity as a whole, Rep. Mike Sodrel has introduced federal legislation to remove the review of content of speech in the legislature from the jurisdiction of federal courts.

“The courts are now going beyond interpreting laws and have begun inserting themselves in the legislative process,” says the Indiana Republican, adding that the decision goes beyond freedom of religion to threaten freedom of speech.

“If federal courts can regulate any speech of the members of a legislative body, then those courts can regulate all speech,” he warns.

Mailbag

“I am a female member of the National Press Club and enjoyed your piece about Phryne,” writes Karen L. Bune, adjunct professor at George Mason University, regarding the nude painting ordered removed from the historic club. “I don’t know what all the hoopla was about.

“She should have been allowed to continue to hang at the club. I am not one of the female members who was against her. Now that she is gone, perhaps the club should sell 8x10 reprints to members who want to have her as a remembrance of days gone by. I’m sure she would be in hot demand.”

Adds Ted Gettinger III of Elkridge, Md.: “Your story about the selling of Phryne had me wondering if the members of the press who thought that this picture was inappropriate for their club are the same people who excoriated [former Attorney General] John Ashcroft about the covering of the bare breasted ‘Justice?’ ”

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


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