John McCaslin

Mauro E. Mujica, chairman of U.S. English, is blasting an unprecedented school board vote in Dallas County, Texas, that requires school administrators to learn Spanish or else lose their jobs.

"This is part of a frightening trend, where English-speaking Americans are being asked to learn a foreign language, while nothing is expected out of non-English-speaking immigrants to America," says Mujica, an immigrant from Chile whose office is one block from the White House.

"Instead of forcing their administrators to learn the language of immigrants, the district should open its facilities to programs that teach immigrant parents English."

Mujica notes that Dallas County ranks 138th in the nation in the percentage of residents who speak Spanish at home, but is ninth in the concentration of Vietnamese speakers, eighth in the concentration of Urdu speakers and 14th in the concentration of Korean speakers. Yet the school board's language "outreach" program makes no attempt to reach other immigrant families.


Dorothy Helms, wife of retired North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms, says liberals are ready to "torpedo" the official release of her husband's memoir, "Here's Where I Stand."

Then again, controversial books sell like pancakes, so Mr. Helms in his retirement will certainly welcome the publicity - good or bad.

Mrs. Helms says it's taken her husband two years to write the memoir. Coinciding with its release, North Carolina Republican Sens. Elizabeth Dole and Richard M. Burr in the coming weeks will co-host a Washington salute to Mr. Helms at the Marriott Crystal Gateway.

Meanwhile, despite being in declining health, Mr. Helms has kept busy issuing a statement or two in advance of publication. One such statement, provided to this column by his office in North Carolina, concerns the former senator orchestrating strong opposition to centrist Republican and former Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld's nomination to be President Clinton's ambassador to Mexico.

"My objection to William Weld wasn't based on the way he conducted himself as governor or even how he would conduct himself as an ambassador in a place other than Mexico. India was where I wanted to send him," Mr. Helms now states.

And as for Weld announcing in recent days that he is gearing up for a run for governor of New York, Mr. Helms says: "One of the things that makes America so great is that anyone can run for public office, and it's up to the voters to decide who will best serve them. I wish Mr. Weld well."


Who better to back you up on the presidential campaign trail than Hank Williams Jr.?

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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