The Hill reports: "Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) believes it is his right as a Muslim to be sworn into Congress with the Quran. But apparently, the freshman lawmaker doesn’t believe it’s Rep. Tom Tancredo’s (R-Colo.) right to smoke a cigar in his congressional office.
Ellison’s office called the Capitol Hill Police on Tancredo last Wednesday night as Tancredo was in his office smoking a cigar. The lawmakers have neighboring offices on the first floor of the Longworth House Office Building."
We had a couple days of heavy snow. I ended up at the local Starbucks again this morning, perhaps not as early as normal, since classes were cancelled; the whole town seemed shut down. I park, get my grande latte (no additional squirts of taste, whadda ya think I’m a wimp?), go back to my car, light up a stick and read. Lately, it’s been a Carlos Torano--Casa Torano, a fine morning cigar; its a soft, almost sweet, creamy smoke, with a nutty touch at the end. I was reading Mansfield’s "Manliness" (I am offering a seminar on it twice a week)--the book nicely balanced on the steering wheel--when a neighbor noticed me. I invited him in, as long as he didn’t mind me smoking. I didn’t think he would since the Torano smells good, even in a tight space. Mind you, the engine is running, roof slightly open--notepad and Yeats and Hemingway on the dashboard (I told you I’m teaching a class on manliness!)--and it’s all kind of cozy, almost like my study, which it is, but this is my car. Cowboys have their horse, smoking professors their car. The guest noticed the, let’s say, informal character of it all and asked me what the hell I was doing. Was I homeless? I told him I’m reading. The short of it is that this is the only place I can smoke now that the people of Ohio in their wisdom have spoken. They have chosen both a Democratic governor and a smoke free state. I shame the devil by speaking the truth, and he allows the foolishness of both choices. I confess to him quietly--in case the engine hum and the snow swirling aren’t enough to drown out my bitching--that he’s right, especially about the latter, a more signficant and lasting act, I assert. We talk a while, I read a few lines from Yeats about how things fall apart and Plato’s ghost and end up with Ann Gregory and why we should love her yellow hair. As he leaves, I turn back to consider why male atheletes spit and women don’t and--as I chew into the sweet end of the stogie--I think about the sea and the old man and what beat him and why sometimes the people nod.