- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hill coyotes

We figured a political column that concentrates heavily on exposing congressional shenanigans might not be the best place to point out that coyotes — the actual four-legged kind — are suddenly roaming the streets of Washington.

“Are you kidding? Is this a metaphor — coyotes in Washington?” writes reader Cara Lyons Lege of Frisco, Texas. “They ‘establish their own areas,’ ‘build dens in exclusive Washington neighborhoods,’ and best of all ‘sometimes their carcasses get dragged off.’ This is too easy!”

Texas coyotes

Given the rare occurrence of coyotes making headlines in Washington, Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican, thought it a good time to warn about two-legged “coyotes” infiltrating his state.

“The Old West shootouts continue in Texas,” says Mr. Poe, responding to a massive hail of bullets last week in Houston, the fourth-largest city in America, where “a blazing gunbattle ensued between rival human smugglers — or ‘coyotes,’ as we call them — fighting over turf. The outlaws were fighting over the precious cargo of illegal aliens.”

When the shooting stopped, 21 persons were arrested.

The Houston Chronicle explains that illegal aliens are held by coyotes at drop houses “until relatives pay the ransom to set them loose in America.” A coyote can charge $1,500 to $70,000 to smuggle a foreigner into the United States.

ACRU vs. ACLU

The Supreme Court decision upholding a federal law allowing the government to withhold federal funding from universities that deny military recruiters the same access given to all other job recruiters is being applauded by Bob Carleson, chairman and chief executive officer of the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU).

The ACRU, we might point out, is new to Washington, but not the constitutional debate, having had its headquarters in San Diego until this month.

Mr. Carleson, who authored welfare-reform initiatives while serving under President Reagan, had filed an amicus brief siding with the government in the high-profile case, decided by a unanimous 8-0 vote.

“The complaining professors and academics who pushed the case, and the ACLU that had sued the government, need to understand that the decision is a victory for those who believe in freedom of expression and freedom of association,” he says.

The ACRU, which calls itself a nonpartisan educational civil rights organization dedicated to protecting fundamental rights and liberties, was started in 1998 to counter the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACRU’s policy board includes former Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III and former Judge Robert H. Bork.

In time for Easter

“We’ll have egg on our face come November,” warns Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, who draws his colleagues’ attention to a $1.35 million pork project he discovered in the 2006 Agriculture Department appropriations bill — for the pasteurization of shell eggs in Michigan.

Tender times

As one eloquent White House correspondent observed this week, when President Bush and his guest retired for lunch, “a few snowflakes began to fall on tender shoots pressing the emergence of spring in the Rose Garden.”

Not to worry.

First lady Laura Bush, despite the current blast of cold weather, assures us that the annual White House Spring Garden Tour is just around the corner — to be held this year on two dates: from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 1 and from noon to 4 p.m. April 2.

The tours have been a yearly tradition since first lady Pat Nixon opened the garden gates to the public in 1972. “Visitors are invited to view the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Children’s Garden and South Lawn of the White House while military bands perform from a White House balcony,” the White House says.

The gardens are open to everybody, but free tickets are required and will be distributed (one ticket per person on a first-come, first-served basis) by the National Park Service at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion, 15th and E streets, on both tour days starting at 8 a.m.

Not so cold

“Lovely, lovely spring. It takes a cold heart indeed not to love the springtime.”

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, welcoming springtime to the nation’s capital.

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

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