Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Elevator ears

That was Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, overheard on a Georgetown Law School elevator this week saying he’d like to move forward on an immigration bill, but he wasn’t interested in wasting his time for six months only to have his efforts filibustered.

“So,” observes our Washington source, who obviously rode aboard the same elevator, “if Senate conservatives can hold 41 votes or muster enough noise to make Leahy think he would be unlikely to achieve cloture, he might pass on an immigration bill this year. Occasionally, extraordinary bark can make up for a lack of bite.”


Kenneth J. Wolfe, Northern Virginia chapter chairman of the Virginia Society for Human Life, sent a note to Virginia House of Delegates member David L. Englin urging the Alexandria Democrat to “please vote yes on H.B. 2797 so all Virginians may enjoy the right to life.”

Mr. Englin wrote back: “Thank you for your message urging me to oppose Delegate Bob Marshall‘s bizarre and misguided H.B. 2797, which seeks to guarantee constitutional rights to embryos beginning at the moment of fertilization.

“I voted against this bill when it came through the Privileges and Elections Committee, on which I serve, and you can count on my continued and unwavering opposition to this legislation. This is just one more backdoor attempt to end abortion in Virginia.”

For the record

He came to Capitol Hill during the Newt Gingrich-led Republican revolution; he returned to Georgia last week to battle his cancer and lung disease from the privacy of his home, and yesterday he succumbed to his illnesses.

Yet Rep. Charlie Norwood, we now see, continued to legislate right up until his death. Inside the Beltway has discovered tucked in the extended remarks of Monday’sCongressional Record this statement from Mr. Norwood, dated the same day, Feb. 12, only hours before he died.

“Madam Speaker, had I been present on roll-call vote No. 74, I would have voted ‘yea’; had I been present on roll-call vote No. 75, I would have voted ‘yea’; had I been present on roll-call vote No. 76, I would have voted ‘yea’; had I been present on roll-call vote No. 77, I would have voted ‘yea,’ ” the congressman stated.

He didn’t stop there, stating how he would have voted in roll-call vote No. 78 (“yea”), roll-call vote No. 79 (“yea”), all the way through to roll-call No. 92 (“yea”).

Let the record reflect that his lone”no” vote was roll-call vote No. 81. Mr. Norwoodleft Congress, fittingly, mainlyin agreement. A dentist by profession, who also served a combat tour in the Vietnam War, earning two Bronze Stars, he was 65.

Sam and Spot

There is good news out of the Virginia legislature, which reports passage of a bill introduced by Delegate Steven R. Landes, Waynesboro Republican, allowing the retrieval of strayed hunting dogs from another’s property, “so long as the hunter identifies himself if asked to by the landowner.”

We assume a lawful exchange would go something like this:

Farmer: “Who goes there?”

Hunter: “It’s me, Sam Baker. I’ve come after my dog, Spot.”

Farmer: “Oh, in that case, you’re within the law. Any luck today?”

Hunter: “Nah, a couple of squirrels is all, but they make good soup.”

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance says the bill passed only with an amendment attached. Objections were raised to the original language, which would have abolished hunters’ rights to go onto private property to retrieve strayed dogs without permission.

Schrock’s edit

We had our own blooper in yesterday’s column. The first of our readers to point it out, Marco Schrock, now becomes Inside the Beltway’s honorary editor of the day.

Certainly we intended to write that Sen. John McCain‘s memorable speech titled “A Disingenuous Filmmaker,” which was critical of “Fahrenheit 9/11” director and John Kerry backer Michael Moore, was delivered at the 2004 Republican National Convention, not 10 years earlier, when there wasn’t even a convention.

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

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