- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2007

Kissing Geronimo?

What’s the very first question a political columnist in Washington should ask newly crowned Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson during the 63rd annual Congressional Dinner on Tuesday night?

What she knows about Prescott Bush, grandfather of PresidentBush, stealing the skull of Geronimo, the great Indian spiritual and military leader, that’s what.

Miss Nelson, you see, hails from Lawton, Okla., home of Fort Sill. Word has it that in 1918, nine years after Geronimo’s remains were laid to rest at the military installation, his skull and certain bones were snatched during a grave robbery purportedly masterminded by the elder Bush.

Prescott Bush and two other members of Yale University’s ultrasecret society, Skull and Bones, were Army volunteers at Fort Sill during World War I. The story is told that men stole the remains and smuggled them onto the campus of Yale, where they could be used for spooky Skull and Bones rituals. Some think Geronimo’s remains remain there today.

A document about the purported heist, published not long ago by the Yale Herald, states:

“An axe pried open the iron door of the tomb, and Pat[riarch] Bush entered and started to dig. … Pat[riarch] James dug deep and pried out the trophy itself. … I showered and hit the hay … a happy man.”

Then came shocking news in May, when the Associated Press reported that a Yale historian had uncovered a 1918 letter “that seems to lend validity to the lore” of Geronimo’s remains being at Yale.

According to the AP report: “The letter, written by one member of Skull and Bones to another, purports that the skull and some of the Indian leader’s remains were spirited from his burial plot in Fort Sill, Okla., to a stone tomb in New Haven that serves as the club’s headquarters.”

The letter, written by Winter Mead, reads: “The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill by your club … is now safe inside the (tomb) together with his well worn femurs, bit and saddle horn.”

When he learned of the letter last year, Harlyn Geronimo, great-grandson of Geronimo, set out to sue the U.S. Army, which operates Fort Sill.

“It’s keeping it alive, and now it makes me really want to confront the issue with my attorneys,” Mr. Geronimo, of Mescalero, N.M., was quoted as saying. “If we get the remains back … and find that, for instance, that bones are missing, you know who to blame.”

Alumni of the Skull and Bones society include the Bushes, Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, former President William Howard Taft and numerous other politicians who have served in Washington. All members swear to an oath of secrecy with regard to the club’s rituals, which include kissing a skull.

Back to Miss America, she couldn’t add anything new to the mysterious legend, albeit “I must say that I am intrigued,” she said.

Where’s Gore?

“The biggest environmental problem in the world today is not global warming. Not even close.”

So writes Thomas Rooney, president of Insituform Technologies in Chesterfield, Mo., the world’s largest sewer, oil and water-pipe repair company. He’d read our item this week on Christopher C. Horner’s new book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism.”

“The biggest environmental problem … in America makes 3.5 million people sick every year. Researchers at [University of California at Los Angeles] and Stanford say the number is even bigger,” Mr. Rooney writes. “That problem is, of course, broken sewer pipes polluting waterways, swimming areas and drinking water all over the world.”

The Environmental Protection Agency reported 73,000 sewer spills in the United States last year, he says, adding that the reason for the “epidemic” is simple: Most sewer pipes were built 60 or more years ago — but meant to last 50 years.

“Cities are neglecting them. And people are getting sick,” he says. “We’ve seen more bad pipes than anyone. But no one is connecting the dots. It’s the largest — and most ignored — environmental problem in America.”

Talking food

Tom Fitzmorris, the renowned New Orleans restaurant critic (he was born on Mardi Gras in New Orleans) will broadcast his long-running (32 years) radio show, “The Food Show,” this week from Acadiana, the popular Southern Louisiana-style restaurant on New York Avenue NW.

We read in the food critic’s bio that his “passion for eating began with his mother’s classic Creole cooking and grows in intensity every day.”

Mr. Fitzmorris’ first restaurant review was published in 1972. Since then, he has achieved the distinction of Certified Culinary Professional from the International Association of Culinary Professionals — one of only two CCPs, as they’re called, in Louisiana.

He also is past editor of the weekly newspaper Figaro and the monthly New Orleans Magazine.

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

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