- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lawmaker’s license

A newcomer to Capitol Hill, a Republican freshman congressman from Texas, is concerned that his congressional colleagues are not as well-versed on the U.S. Constitution as they ought to be as representatives of the American people.

So Rep. K. Michael Conaway has introduced a resolution that, if approved when voted on in September, would require every member of Congress and each person on their staff to read the Constitution at least once per year.

The Constitution is a relatively short document — about 2,500 words — not an “onerous task” by any means to consume, the congressman points out.

Republicans, in comparison, couldn’t wait to digest the 75,000-or-so words of “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry,” and Democrats the 80,000 words of Michael Moore’s “Dude, Where’s My Country?”

Before Mr. Conaway was elected to Congress in 2004, he was a certified public accountant. He still maintains his license, which for renewal requires him to participate in 40 hours of continuing professional education each year.

He feels the standards should be no different for congressmen.

Take a lesson

That was golf legend Jack Nicklaus on Capitol Hill yesterday telling congressmen that positive behaviors are like the game of golf and are based upon these nine values: honesty, responsibility, respect, judgment, courtesy, perseverance, integrity, confidence and sportsmanship.

He testified about the importance of character education at a hearing of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

Exit, stage left

Talk about an intriguing compilation of polls on the subject of patriotism, compiled by American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Karlyn Bowman just in time for Independence Day.

The good news from Gallup is that 83 percent of a group it surveyed said they are either extremely or very proud of being an American.

The bad news (unless you’re a Republican) is that a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll reports that 24 percent of Democrats said they would leave the United States permanently and live in another country if given the opportunity.

Hang him

A word of advice for politicians and celebrities: Don’t get caught cheering for the cowboy at a rodeo.

Tom Selleck, who hails from the conservative one-tenth of 1 percent of Hollywood, is coming under attack by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals “for attending rodeos, where horses, bulls, sheep and calves are trucked from city to city to be wrestled to the ground, gouged with spurs, and yanked around their necks with ropes.”

Any animals left?

It so happens that Rep. Christopher Shays, Connecticut Republican and co-chairman of the Friends of Animals Caucus, will hold a hearing this afternoon on humane treatment of farm animals — assuming that they all haven’t boarded Noah’s ark after this week’s deluge of flooding rains.

Matthew Scully, a former White House special assistant and deputy director of speechwriting for President Bush, is among those who will enter written testimony. He authored the recent best-seller “Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy,” which the Library Journal called one of the best books written about animal welfare.

Others testifying in person today include Gene Bauston, president of the Farm Sanctuary; Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society; Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute; and David Andrews, executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference and consultant to the U.S. Catholic Conference on Bishops.

Needs a ribbon

“Miss Beazley knows courage when he sees it — she sees it.”

— President Bush, correcting his “gender confusion,” as one observer described it, while commenting this week on the Bush family’s Scottish Terrier

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

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