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Bare the Guards

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Britain's Prince Charles is getting purrs from the U.S.-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) after banning foie gras from royal menus and instructing chefs at his official residences to stop serving the delicacy.


"Good for you, Charlie!" PETA writes. "Now what about the bearskins on your mother's guards' hats?"


Stimulants are the preferred items of choice purchased by American troops deployed in Iraq, according to information supplied by the U.S. Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

So-called "energy drinks" Monster and Red Bull were the top-selling items purchased in June at Iraqi base exchanges (BX) and post exchanges (PX), with troops knocking back 284,482 and 78,753 caffeine-laden cans, respectively.

Newport Kings and Marlboro Lights, meanwhile, were the sixth- and eighth-biggest sellers the most popular of the non-liquid items — with nearly 105,000 packs smoked last month.


How does Dennis Moore, chairman of District of Columbia Independents for Citizen Control, explain "Obamacans," the catchy name likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama branded early in his campaign?

"Obamacans are simply disaffected and disillusioned Republicans who have been embarrassed and bamboozled," he begins in part. "These true GOP believers are more progressive and pragmatic, rather than conservative and ideological. They generally believe in governance and fiscal policies that emanate from the center, not the right or left. Their demographic crosses ethnic groups, socioeconomic levels, religious beliefs and core ages from 30 to 60-plus. Moreover, they're tired of being called Republicans, as if it were a curse word."


He suggests, however, that Obamacans are not flocking to the Democratic side, as Mr. Obama assumes, but rather are joining the independent movement.


Bypassing traditional political routes, two Facebook groups are pushing their preferred vice presidential nominees for the Republican ticket.

"There have been many articles about how the left is beating the right on the Web," says a Facebook group backing "pro-life, pro-family, pro-market, pro-military, dynamic, young Republican conservative Eric Cantor," referring to the Virginia congressman and chief deputy whip.

"In a year when the Democrats are about to elect a recently unknown senator who captured the imagination of liberal Democrats, we are dedicated to providing a platform for conservatives to promote one of their own."

A second Facebook group supports former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, the black chairman of GOPAC:

"While we all don't agree on who should be the presidential choice, it just makes sense to pick Steele. He's a former lieutenant governor of a blue state. He's an effective communicator and a likeable guy … and has more substance than [Barack] Obama."


"The Virginia Department of Corrections has neither censored or inspected this item and assumes no responsibility for its content."

So reads red lettering stamped across an envelope mailed to Inside the Beltway by Jeff Lisanick, prisoner No. 176124.

The last time Lisanick sat down in his cell and wrote us a letter was in February 2006, after Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a Republican campaign contributor while on a quail hunt in South Texas:


"Your column item on the differences between 'buck shot' and 'bird shot,' headlined 'Bird Brains,' got me to thinking: Although Vice President Dick Cheney has said he won't run for president, if he ever changed his mind, he'd have a great slogan: 'The Buck Shot Stops Here.'"

The political landscape, obviously, has changed dramatically since Lisanick last wrote. Mr. Cheney, of course, is not seeking the presidency, even though he is five years younger than presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain.

"Now that Barack Obama has sewn up the Democratic nomination, let's see if liberals are true to their principles," Lisanick writes in long-hand, curious in his captivity whether sufficient numbers of supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will show up at the polls to elect Mr. Obama president.

"After all, aren't they the grand purveyors of identity-politics, with Hillary Clinton getting the woman vote and Obama getting the black vote?" he asks.


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