COWBOY AMONG US
One of the biggest criticisms one hears about House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) is that he doesn't realize his foot doesn't belong in his mouth.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday in the U.S. Capitol, Armey pointed out that it's time for National Football League players to start reporting to training camp.
"The rumor out on the Redskins," added Armey of Washington's beloved football team, "is that some of their players are thinking about turning pro."
Is Uncle Sam neglecting the final resting ground of his former presidents?
Legislation has been introduced by Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA) empowering the National Park Service to assist in the upkeep of those presidential gravesites not currently maintained by the federal government.
Which are more than you might think.
"Whether it be the grave of Lincoln or Buchanan, Washington or Grant, preserving the final resting places of our presidents is clearly in the nation's interest," says Pitts.
"Every American deserves to know that the graves of our past presidents will be treated with the same dignity as the office those presidents once held."
The grave of President James Buchanan, which has been "a struggle" to maintain in the congressman's home district of Lancaster, Pa., would be among those eligible for federal upkeep if the bill becomes law.
Pitts also has donated an American flag to be flown over the Buchanan grave and will continue to donate them as needed until his legislation is enacted "as a reminder that this is the grave of a president."
"These flags will be purchased using the money I am given each year to run my office. Because that money comes from the taxpayers, it should be recognized that this flag and those that follow are really gifts from the American people."
BLACK AND GREEN
Special-interest groups come in every size, shape and color. Take the African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA), which is railing this week against House Republicans for threatening to kill a proposal requiring school districts to disclose to parents the use of pesticides on school grounds.
"It was designed to protect students, teachers and staff from excessive exposure to potentially dangerous pesticides," the AAEA says. "Pesticide manufacturers complained that it would discourage pest control and substantially add to their paperwork, costs and legal liability."
On the other hand, the group is siding with Republicans interested in nuclear power as an energy alternative, particularly given the concerns about global warming.
"We are considering the nuclear option," says the AAEA, founded in 1985 to increase black involvement on the environmental front. "The only downside we can identify is the possible theft of uranium or plutonium by terrorists to make weapons. Nuclear waste can be reprocessed, with the potential of breeding as much or more fuel than we use."
FINALLY, A LEGACY
Black T-shirt, with bright yellow lettering, spotted in Washington this week: "Clinton/Condit 2004 -- End Intern Abuse."
One might not see former Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, but rest assured he's there in spirit.
"I'm sure you read last month about the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling that allows schoolchildren to hold meetings of their religious club on school property," says
President Ed Feulner. "Before the Supreme Court heard the case, Heritage's distinguished fellow Ed Meese organized a moot court to prepare the attorney who represented the students."
In fact, over the past few years, Meese has held moot courts for nine select Supreme Court cases -- six of which were won by the attorneys he helped prepare.
"I don't talk politics with my 7-year-old son, so I can only assume that he picked up a few things listening to my wife and me," writes Wayne Bush of Roaring Spring, Pa.
"Last night, I took him to get some fish for the aquarium. On the way home, he asked if he should love his new fish. I tried to tell him, in the simplest of terms, that love is usually a two-way street and since the fish couldn't love him back, he would not need to love the fish.
"He thought about that for a moment and then blurted out, 'Fish are Democrats.' Not knowing quite how to respond to that I asked him, 'What makes you say that?'
"He replied, rather matter-of-factly, 'Well, since we have to feed them and take care of them, they're Democrats.'"
Every so often, a satirical spoof crosses our desk that's too good to pass up, particularly given our political audience.
"Dear Abby," this one begins.
"My husband is a lying cheat. He tells me he loves me, but he has cheated our entire marriage. He is a good provider and has many friends and supporters. They know he is a lying cheat but they just avoid the issue. He is a hard worker but many of his co-workers are leery of him. Every time he gets caught, he denies it all. Then he admits that he was wrong and begs me to forgive him. This has been going on for so long, I don't know what to do. (Signed) Frustrated."
"Dear Frustrated: You should dump him. Now that you are a New York senator, you don't need him anymore."