- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blindfolds needed

An unidentified patron of Ceiba was so overcome by the festive atmosphere of the popular restaurant on 14th Street NW that on her way out she swiped a pinata from the Cinco de Mayo display.

Guilt obviously set in, according to Ceiba spokeswoman Simone Rathle, because the very next day, she repaid the restaurant 25 times over — dropping off 25 pinatas.

Destroy Hillary

Publishers of “the world’s first conservative comic book” have created a hilarious political satire called “Libarro World,” in which a Berkeley professor’s flawed duplication ray created imperfect pro-President Bush copies of Sen. John Kerry (a pro-military warrior), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (a sultry anti-feminist), Howard Dean (an unexcitable ultragenius) and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (a distinguished teetotaler).

In the series, the real four Democratic leaders set out to destroy each of their conservative clones.

Any takers?

Mike Reynolds of Tarrytown, N.Y., writes: “Regarding [yesterday’s] Inside the Beltway column — ‘24 percent of Democrats would permanently leave the country if given the opportunity’ — Where can I send a check? What will it take to get the other 76 percent to keep them company?”

Wives and wars

Veterans Day is observed annually on Nov. 11. A congresswoman now wants a national day of recognition for “Veterans Survivors” — wives, in other words.

Rep. Corrine Brown, Florida Democrat, points out that “servicemen’s spouses have followed their husbands from place to place within the United States as well as overseas. These women, who during their husbands’ active-duty career, unselfishly made great sacrifices to ensure the support and welfare of our armed forces on the local and national levels.”

Furthermore, she says, “these women … are the mental lifeline today’s soldiers need to stay grounded in an insane situation — war.”

Can’t fool us

Inside the Beltway received an e-mail yesterday from a high-ranking Pentagon official who wished to comment on our item about congressmen being required by law to read the U.S. Constitution at least once every year.

We’d like to tell you what he said about lawmakers and what they should be reading, but given the bold-faced warning at the bottom of the official’s letter — and the uproar this week by the Bush administration over the New York Times’ publishing a report on a classified national security program — we’d better not take any chances:

“This e-mail is from the Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, and may contain information that is ‘Law Enforcement Sensitive’ [LES] or ‘For Official Use Only’ [FOUO] or otherwise subject to the Privacy Act and/or legal and or other privileges that restrict release without appropriate legal authority.”

Still disorganized

“I was just a toddler when Will Rogers was killed in a plane crash in 1935, but I remember him coming through the small town in Oklahoma where I lived,” Robert Haught, longtime columnist for the Oklahoman, tells Inside the Beltway.

Now, all of these years later, Mr. Haught, who is somewhat retired while still penning columns for the newspaper, will see his “dream come true” when directing a Will Rogers Writers’ Workshop in Oklahoma City for 300 columnists, editorialists and humor writers who still might learn a thing or two from the cowboy, philosopher and humorist who “kept America laughing and thinking in the 1920s and ‘30s.”

“I developed a strong interest in him when I was working in the [United Press International] bureau in Oklahoma City and discovered a file of clippings about Will Rogers and Wiley Post,” Mr. Haught continues. “I began collecting information, visited the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma, and started a collection of his books. I now use those to read his articles to residents at a local nursing home twice a month.”

Articles that Mr. Haught discovered still ring true. Like the confused state of the Democratic Party today: “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat!” Mr. Rogers observed.

Hosted by the Oklahoman, the workshop next spring is being sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, in partnership with the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation is providing major funding.

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

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