- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Proud American

Wow, get a load of this pair of letters made public by Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican. The first is a response from the Mexican government to C.E. Cunningham of Eagle Pass, Texas, a rancher who complained to Mexican authorities after being victimized “by criminal invaders every day.”

The Mexicans wrote back: “As an owner or occupant of property susceptible of crossings and break-ins by Mexican migrant workers, the consulate of Mexico is deeply concerned about this issue and the security of lives of migrant workers.

“We strongly recommend you do not take any measures into your own hands. Please be aware that it may have legal implications for yourself and the owners of these properties, which may end up in expensive lawsuits and cumbersome court hearings.”

Mr. Cunningham, says the congressman, wrote back: “If your letter was intended to scare or intimidate us, it didn’t work. Until the illegal alien problem is solved, we will continue to patrol our ranch to protect our property, our family and our freedom.”

It was signed, “C.E. Cunningham, proud American.”

Pull his license?

Vice President Dick Cheney reveals something rather unusual: He’s not driven a car in seven years.

“It’s a bummer,” Mr. Cheney remarked before the start of the Pepsi 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at the Daytona International Speedway. “The morning the president — then governor — announced that I was going to be his running mate, the Secret Service showed up outside my door, and I haven’t driven since.”

It might be nice if President Bush allowed Mr. Cheney to drive his pickup truck across an empty field next time the vice president visits his Texas ranch.

Kansas or Krypton?

Correction in yesterday’s Washington Post: “In a June 28 Style review of ‘Superman Returns,’ Superman’s home state was incorrectly identified as Iowa. He is from Kansas.”

Pomp and politics

Recalls one congressman: “As Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention, which had been closed to the public, a citizen asked: ‘What kind of government have you given us, Mr. Franklin?’ Franklin replied, ‘A republic, madam, if you can keep it.’”

Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, says that’s become the question again as Congress “repeatedly has stood by and allowed [President] Bush to erode our constitutional powers, one bit at a time.”

Ooh and ahh

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, encourages all 299,062,710 Americans (not counting illegal aliens) to take off their shoes, spread a picnic blanket and watch a parade go by on this Independence Day.

“Even Thanksgiving, with its formality and fine china, does not capture the American spirit in the same manner as a barefoot feast like a Fourth of July picnic,” says the 88-year-old senator, who every year at this time feels patriotic “in a general and fuzzy sense.”

What fitting activities does Mr. Byrd recommend this Fourth of July, the 230th since the founding of our country?

Grilling up “good old hot dogs and hamburgers, steaks and shish kebabs, and barbecue of infinite regional variety,” he said in his annual address on the Senate floor. “Sweet, luscious corn on the cob may lay atop the grill, roasting in its own leafy wrapping. And creamy potato salad like they make in Tennessee, tart cole slaw, egg salad or macaroni salad.

“Cold slabs of watermelon,” he warns, “and fresh cherries will tempt some to initiate seed-spitting contests.”

The senator’s favorite pastime is a small-town parade of “fire engines and floats.”

“Small children ride on father’s shoulders to get a better view, and dogs — yes, like my little dog — circle below, tangling leashes around legs as they bark happily at the passing show. We wave at bands, and we wave at the beauty queens, too, and local politicians.”

Then in the evening, “the air now is filled with whizzing acceleration followed by an anticipatory pause, then the bursting pop of the exploding sparks. We ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ and clap.”

Gather on the steps

Town crier William Joseph says the National Archives remains closed because of flooding and electrical outages.

Nevertheless, he will be appearing today on the Archives’ steps for an old-fashioned outdoor July Fourth celebration, accompanied by George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Ned Hector (the black patriot famous for his role in the Battle of Brandywine in 1777), Gen. Bernardo de Galvez (the Spaniard who helped defeat the British during the Revolutionary War), ElizabethMumbet Freeman (one of the first slaves freed in America), George Mason and Susan B. Anthony.

Playing themselves will be Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein, the Continental Color Guard, and the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Festivities begin at 10 a.m.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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