Conquering America

Posted: Oct 29, 2007 10:06 AM
Conquering America

The Mexican government apparently has no problem with its citizens penetrating the U.S. border by the millions. In fact, it's been written that increasing the number of Mexicans working illegally in America is among Mexico's highest foreign-policy objectives.

Yet now comes congressional testimony from Jess T. Ford, the Government Accountability Office's director of international affairs and trade, that "Mexican sensitivity about its national sovereignty" has made it difficult for the two countries to coordinate counternarcotics activities.

Mexican sensitivity? About its national sovereignty? What about ours?

Buck Owens, et al.

Disgruntled and disenchanted. That's the mood of the American people when it comes to assessing this 110th Congress.

Given the captain is responsible for his — or her, in this case — ship, Republicans are putting the blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and her Democratic lieutenants for the "few meaningful accomplishments" of this Congress.

How few?

Naming post offices and courthouses, it turns out, account for nearly half of the 106 bills signed into law this year. As House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio describes matters, it's "no accident" that Congress has an embarrassingly low "11 percent approval rating," according to the latest Reuters/Zogby survey.

Mr. Boehner's office has broken down the year's 106 signed bills, and, amazingly, 46 of them deal solely with the naming of post offices, courthouses and roads. (Baltimore Orioles baseball great Cal Ripken, for example, got a stretch of interstate highway named in his honor.) Another 44 were "noncontroversial" measures, while 14 simply extended existing public laws.

So at least give this Congress credit for the Gerald R. Ford Jr. Post Office Building, the Rush Hudson Limbaugh Sr. United States Courthouse, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building, the Buck Owens Post Office Building and the Eleanor McGovern Post Office Building.

Then there's our favorite bill of all — authorizing a transfer of needed funds from the Senate gift shop to the Senate employee child care center.

Gibby and 'the Man'

We wrote in our previous column that the annual Lone Sailor Awards will be presented this evening by the U.S. Navy Memorial to several distinguished sea service veterans, including legendary baseball hall-of-famer and former St. Louis Cardinal Stan "the Man" Musial.

Like many athletes of his time, Mr. Musial, now 86, stepped up to the plate during World War II by spending the 1945 baseball season serving in the South Pacific as a U.S. Navy seaman first class.

No sooner did our item appear than the phone rang. On the other end was retired Montgomery County public schools English language arts teacher Jeffrey A. Robertshaw of Gaithersburg, whose now-deceased father, Gilbert "Gibby" Robertshaw, happened to have served with Mr. Musial in the Navy.

"I can think of nobody more deserving than Stan 'the Man' to receive the award," Mr. Robertshaw wanted to tell us. "I have a picture of my dad and Stan 'the Man' standing arm in arm, dressed in their fatigues. Dad passed in 1962 at the age of 50, but when I was 12 he surprised me by buying tickets to see the Braves, who were still in Boston in those days, playing the Cardinals."

More memorable, when the game ended and the war veteran and his son were leaving the stadium, "a limousine comes around the corner, and the window went down. 'Gibby, is that you?' And my father responded, 'Stan, yes it is!' Stan was riding in there with another future hall-of-famer, Albert "Red" Schoendienst, and Stan got out of the car. He'd hit three home runs that game, if I recall, and he took out a baseball and said to my dad, 'Who do I make it out to?' "

Mr. Musial, by the way, is unable to accept tonight's Lone Sailor Award in person, so fellow St. Louis Cardinals hall-of-famer Lou Brock will "pinch hit."