Imminent either way

John McCaslin
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Posted: Jan 10, 2006 9:05 AM

Democrats no doubt agreed with the initial words of President Bush as they appeared in this transcript issued by the White House at 8:15 a.m. Monday: "Good morning. I just had breakfast with Judge Alito. I told him I think he conducted himself with such dignity and class in the weeks leading up to the confirmation process, which begins today. Sam Alito is imminently qualified to be a member of the bench."

Then came this follow-up transcript, issued at 8:25 a.m.: "Correction: Sam Alito is 'eminently' qualified."

DC/BC

We have graft and corruption again,
Just as they did way back when -
And somewhere the progenies
Of the ancient Diogenes
Are still striving to find honest men.

- F.R. Duplantier

POLITICIAN TO PILOT

That's former Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana piloting Virgin Nigeria Airways' bid to enter U.S. airspace.

He's among Livingston Group staffers, including former Rep. Toby Moffett, Connecticut Democrat, working to get U.S. landing rights for Nigeria's national flag carrier, which is 49 percent owned by Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic, according to Kevin McCauley, editor of O'Dwyer's Public Relations News (odwyerpr.com).

"VN (Virgin Nigeria) suffered some bad PR this week as passengers in London and Johannesburg were stranded as Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered the airline to fly to Saudi Arabia so 13,000 Nigerian Muslims could make this year's hajj," writes McCauley, who adds one VN spokesman was quoted as saying that Nigeria must learn how to "separate business from politics."

Meanwhile, while several U.S. airlines are declaring bankruptcy, we read that Branson is trying to get U.S. approval for the launch of Virgin America.

PAT'S PETS

You might recall this columnist several years ago telling the story of Pat Buchanan driving home late one night from a presidential campaign appearance, spotting a turtle in the middle of the road and ordering his top aide out of the car to "put him in the woods."

If nobody else, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was quick to praise Mr. Buchanan's act of kindness.

Now, in recognition of his "gutsy decision" to place animal-rights issues squarely on the cover of his Washington-based magazine American Conservative, the former White House speechwriter and right-leaning political commentator has won a national PETA award.

Buchanan takes top honors in the category of "Strongest Backbone" in PETA's third annual Proggy Awards (Proggy is for "progress"), and will receive a framed plaque and be featured on PETA's Web site, PETA.org.

PETA notes that American Conservative cover stories have twice focused on a book and an essay written by George W. Bush's former speechwriter Matthew Scully, who strongly believes that "compassionate conservatism" must be extended to animals that are raised and killed for food.

"Pat Buchanan is one of the most respected voices in political journalism, so when he presents the case for compassion for animals killed for the table, people of all political persuasions listen," says PETA official Bruce Friedrich. "By focusing on the hideous abuse of factory-farmed animals in his influential magazine, he is exposing many people to this pressing issue for the first time in their lives."

HAUTE CUISINE

Yum!

Get a load of the National Rifle Association's "Recipe of the Month," posted on its Web site, for "Squirrel and Dumplings."

The mouth-watering feast calls for five or six squirrels, 4 cups of water, 1 large sliced onion, 1 cup of chopped celery with leaves, 1 medium sliced carrot, 2 tablespoons of salt, a quarter-teaspoon of pepper and 6 tablespoons of flour.

Combine these ingredients in a "large kettle with tight cover," boil until the squirrels are "tender" and season to taste. The recipe was sent in by Jean Ledford of Atlanta.

After that item appeared in the Washington Times version of my column, I heard from readers.

"Got a laugh about the squirrel," writes Bill McMurray, communications manager and immediate past president of the National Emergency Number Association - as in dialing 911. "When my father-in-law visited our home in Marin (County, Calif.) for the first time - originally hailing from northeast Texas - he spotted a squirrel scampering up a tree. In his slow-talking manner, he said, 'Heyah, wish ah had mah shotgun.' As a poor Baptist preacher, he had a fondness for good food."

Meanwhile, wonders E.S. Hansen, of Mineral Wells, Texas: "Was any mention made as to whether the squirrels should be skinned and cleaned before being placing into the pot?

"Here in Texas we have tried it both ways and found the dish is much more satisfactory when the squirrels are dressed before they are cooked. You might want to clear that up for your East Coast and Northern readers. I am sure the readers in California are not into such haute cuisine, so no clarification would be needed for them."