- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Bubba’s anniversary

Each September 11th ask why

The best President money could buy

— When Osama bin Laden

Might well have been gotten —

Did not even bother to try.

F.R. Duplantier

Avid reader

He’s made a name for himself as speaker of the House, as CEO of the communications firm the Gingrich Group, as senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Hoover Institution, and as a political pundit on virtually every major television network.

Now, Newt Gingrich has been voted a “Top Reviewer” by Amazon.com readers.

“Speaker Gingrich is an avid reader,” says the giant bookseller, which counts 120 recent reviews by Mr. Gingrich. “He does not review all of the books he reads. You will not find any bad reviews here, just the books he thinks you might enjoy.”

Among the reviews: “The Cutout” by Francine Matthews (“I highly recommend this novel”), “The Protector” by David Morrell (“You won’t put it down”), and “City of Bones” by Michael Connely (“Excellent writing for a haunting novel”).

We might point out that Mr. Gingrich will be signing his own latest best seller, “Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War,” this evening from 7 to 9 at Books-A-Million in McLean. Without giving away the plot, imagine a Confederate victory at Gettysburg.

Card from Cancun

The setting: The World Trade Organization’s biennial ministerial conference, where the forces of the reactionary left hope to roll back the future with cunning assistance from the increasingly uncompetitive European Union.

The goal of many: Steal other peoples’ patents and protect markets by ensuring every wacky “enviro” treaty is granted supremacy over the pro-wealth, pro-people trade regime the WTO administers.

Or at least that’s what Christopher C. Horner, counsel to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Cooler Heads Coalition in Washington, writes in a postcard from Cancun, Mexico, site of the heavily fortified WTO conference, previous opponents of which left laid-back Seattle a glass-shattered mess.

“The day dawns and I admire the rolling azure lapping at the appalling squalor of the Cancun Ritz,” writes Mr. Horner. “Lo, but the horizon yields what I understand to be Greenpeace soldiers, sailing as to war … or else for the ‘Rolling Rock Special’ at Senor Frog’s.”

Washington’s wharf

The nation’s capital boasting a fisherman’s wharf that rivals San Francisco?

It might not be too far in the making.

“My goal is to make the waterfront like a San Diego, where I live, or a San Francisco wharf and waterfront,” says Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, “where people can go down with their families and enjoy the waterfront and water that is clean instead of polluted like it even still is today.”

The California Republican is vice chairman of the Subcommittee on the District of Columbia, which last week announced the federal city’s 2004 $7.9 billion appropriations bill. While the total is $43 million (8.4 percent) below last year’s allocation, $107 million is earmarked for projects and programs that directly benefit the city, waterfront improvements included.

Mr. Cunningham says he can recall when serving on the District subcommittee “used to be a drudgery. If you asked somebody to serve on the D.C. committee, you had to pull them out from under the bed to get them to come to work,” he said.

Now, given the accomplishments of D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, “it has gotten to be one of the better committees,” he says.

Josi jazz

We’ve been keeping an eye on the revival of former American Conservative Union Executive Director Christian Josi’s career as a jazz singer.

In 1993, prior to his political baptism that included stints with former Vice President Dan Quayle and ex-Congressman J.C. Watts Jr. of Oklahoma, Mr. Josi had released an album on MasterMix music.

Now, having left the political arena, the Washingtonian is set to release his first album in a decade titled “NYC Sessions 1993-2003.”

It’s a compilation of Mr. Josi’s unreleased studio recordings with an all-star lineup that includes musicians from the Lionel Hampton, Harry Connick Jr. and Benny Goodman orchestras, as well as musicians who’ve played with Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Johnny Hartman and Tony Bennett.

• John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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