Quote of the week
"It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit."
— White House press secretary Tony Snow, writing of his brave battle against cancer in Christianity Today, saying that when faith flags, God throws reminders our way. Read the entire commentary at www.ctlibrary.com/47315.
"All A-OK," relays former Washington Post and Washingtonian columnist and investigative reporter Rudy Maxa, who when not taping travel segments for both public television and radio makes his home in St. Paul, Minn., site of Wednesday's deadly bridge collapse.
"Weird, weird catastrophe," is how Mr. Maxa describes it.
Saint and dean
Daniel Polsby, the dean of the George Mason University School of Law, has been awarded the St. Gabriel Possenti Society's Medallion of Honor for his commitment to society principles — which aren't what one might expect, liturgically speaking.
"His dedication to legal support for the right of law-abiding citizens to obtain and use handguns and other firearms for defense of human life places him squarely in the forefront of individuals eligible for this distinction," society chairman John Snyder says. "As dean, he has maintained and developed on faculty the most distinguished and high-powered group of Second Amendment legal scholars in the country."
Mr. Polsby recently joined with a number of other legal scholars in a Brandeis Brief calling for the dismissal of the District's gun-ban statute as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. In Parker v. District of Columbia, an appellate court agreed that the D.C. law prohibiting handgun possession is unconstitutional.
As for the holy saint, he was a 19th-century sharpshooting Catholic seminarian who resorted to a handgun to rescue Italian villagers from a gang of terrorizing renegade soldiers.
Speaking of guns, it's dubbed the Teddy Roosevelt Bring Back Our Public Lands Act, and if a Republican congressman gets his way, Uncle Sam will one day reclaim control of hunting privileges on federal lands.
Rep. Duncan Hunter of California recalls that it was nearly 100 years ago, in 1909, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the last piece of legislation that created more than 42 million acres of national forest, which became an "estate" for the average American.
"A carpenter in Indiana or Iowa could saddle up the old Chevy pickup and take his sons elk or deer hunting on a long weekend in Colorado," Mr. Hunter said. "Not anymore."
He blames state governments for "slamming the door on outdoor families the old-fashioned way: with outrageous fees for nonresident hunters, even when the hunting is done exclusively on federal land."
For example, he says, an out-of-state license fee in Wyoming is $281 for deer and $481 for elk; in Colorado, it is $301 for deer, $501 for elk; in Montana, it is $643 for both. And in New Mexico, if two sons decide to take their dad on a weekend getaway, they each face fees of $355 for deer and $766 for elk.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Kennedy and fellow writers Ken Burns, Joyce Carol Oates, Harry Turtledove and David Baldacci are among several dozen accomplished authors who will join former librarian turned first lady Laura Bush next month at the 2007 National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress.
"This will be the seventh year of this extraordinary celebration of the joy of reading and the creativity of America's writers and illustrators," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington says.
The event will take place on the National Mall, between Seventh and 14th streets Northwest, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 29.