- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Time to think

Inside the Beltway is always intrigued by correspondence we receive from the men and women incarcerated in various federal and state prisons — including a recent letter from Jeff Lisanick, prisoner #176124, Virginia Department of Corrections, Victoria, Va.

“Your column item on the differences between ‘buck shot’ and ‘bird shot’ on Feb. 16th, headlined ‘Bird Brains,’ got me to thinking: Although Vice President Dick Cheney has said he won’t run for president, if he ever changed his mind, he’d have a great slogan: ‘The Buck Shot Stops Here.’”

Class of ‘71

“You’ve been so good at promoting the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, we’ve made it the venue of a Young Republican reunion,” writes Terry T. Campo of Farrell & Campo law offices in Georgetown, referring to the upcoming SRLC conference in Memphis, Tenn., and now the added “Not So Young Reunion of Former Young Republicans.”

“As you probably know,” Mr. Campo reminds Inside the Beltway, “Tennessee produced more than its share of National YR [Young Republican] chairmen, and while I was not a Tennessean, I was part of that faction that began with Don Sundquist’s defeat of Frank Fahrenkopf in 1971 — at a Phoenix convention chaired by Jon Kyl!”

As life — and politics — had it, Mr. Sundquist was elected the 47th governor of Tennessee, serving from 1995 to 2003, Mr. Fahrenkopf was chairman of the Republican Party during six of President Reagan’s eight years in the Oval Office, and Mr. Kyl is wrapping up his second term as a U.S. senator from Arizona.

The reunion venue for this aging bunch of Young Republicans: 9 to 11:30 p.m. March 10 at the Isaac Hayes Nightclub.

Mort nomination

Morton Kondracke — or we should say actor Bruce Greenwood, who portrays the Washington journalist and TV pundit in the CBS television movie “Saving Milly” — has been nominated by MovieGuide for a Grace Award for Most Inspiring Performance.

“This is a courageous love story,” says Ted Baehr, publisher of MovieGuide. “The marriage of Mort and Milly Kondracke is an example for all couples facing adversity.”

The movie depicts the lives Mr. and Mrs. Kondracke from the moment they meet and fall in love, through their struggles with her diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease.

The awards will be presented tomorrow evening at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Golden coffins

Looking for job security? Run for Congress.

It so happens that incumbents in the House have won more than 98 percent of their races since 1998, while odds of incumbency for senators is similarly keeping familiar faces on Capitol Hill. What’s a challenger to do?

Concerned about “the dearth of competition,” the Brookings Institution and Cato Institute are banding together to sponsor a conference March 9 addressing why incumbents are virtually assured re-election, what can be done to increase electoral competition and whether the lack of formidable challengers is harming American democracy.

Billed twice

Co-sponsors are being sought for bipartisan legislation to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from expanding its mission and “intruding more deeply into the lives of our constituents.” (Columnist’s note to the IRS: This is the opinion of Congress, not yours truly.)

Since 1998, the IRS has “repeatedly attempted to take over the tax-filing activity of the American people,” mainly making tax preparation and computer software an extended function of the federal revenue collectors, according to the bill’s co-sponsors, which range from Rep. John T. Doolittle, California Republican, to Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, California Democrat.

The IRS, they say, has gone so far as to propose a “return-free tax-filing system,” where it would automatically prepare a person’s tax return “and send them a bill.”

Homeland security

At the airport they search you and me,

But what harm can there possibly be

In having our ports

Controlled by the sports

Who reside in the U.A.E.?

F.R. Duplantier

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

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