John McCaslin

Thanks to the Inside the Beltway reader who sent in a photo of a septic-tank pump truck with the following message painted on its rear: "Caution: Vehicle may be Transporting Political Promises!"

Oh, say can you see

Congress yesterday saluted the progress of the National Anthem Project, after a Harris Poll showed two out of three American adults do not know the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Underground God

Every so often He gets the welcome mat pulled out from under Him, but rest assured "God" is present in the United States Congress.

Lawmakers now want to make sure God goes underground — literally.

As it stands, senators and congressmen open each day with a prayer, recite the Pledge of Allegiance "under God," and convene hearings beneath numerous references to the Creator that are chiseled into the U.S. Capitol.

The next step, they say, is to make certain God is given His rightful place in the new U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, a cavernous underground "extension" of the U.S. Capitol slated to open next year.

So this week the Loyalty to Our Legacy Act was introduced in the Senate, similar to one proposed in the House, that would ensure the national motto "In God We Trust" is prominently displayed underground, too.

"Any attempt to ban references to God in our nation's Capitol Visitor Center is censorship of America's proud heritage of faith, and our bill will put a stop to it," said Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican.

He and other sponsors cite "repeated attempts" to ban the inclusion of God in Congress, most recently last month when the Architect of the Capitol refused to reference God on any flag certificates because Flag Service Rules prohibited "any religious or political" expression.

The architect rescinded the rule after lawmakers protested under the Constitutional right to free speech.

Lay off Santa

Jolly old St. Nick's waistline should not be subject to the ever-changing winds of political correctness — or so the U.S. surgeon general is being scolded after his "ludicrous attack on Santa Claus."

During a presentation on obesity at the Boston Children's Museum, Surgeon General Steven K. Galson said Santa should "slim down," lest he get stuck in the chimney.

"It seems like the war on obesity has found a new enemy: Santa. This criticism is political correctness run amok," says J. Justin Wilson of the Center for Consumer Freedom, which supports a person's right to determine their ideal weight. "Santa's time-honored tubbiness shouldn't budge for a handful of nanny-state grinches who'd have us eating 'Tofurkey' and tasteless cookies for Christmas dinner."

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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