Thursday, May 20, 2004

Eddie rocks

NBC News anchor Brian Williams was invited back to the Catholic University of America in Washington, where he’d once bunked on the second floor of Alumni Hall, to deliver the 115th annual commencement address and reminisce about college life.

“It had the feel of a monastery,” he recalled of his dormitory — until such time “Eddie” cranked his record player.

“Down the hall, I heard the unmistakable sound of the B-52s — not the aircraft, mind you, the rock group. It was the song ‘Rock Lobster,’” Mr. Williams said. “I hunted down the stereo, and bounding from the room where the music was coming was a young man, ebullient, a great personality.

“He introduced himself as Eddie, a sophomore. You may know him today as Edward Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee. There’s more where that came from if he ever tries anything on me.”

Mr. Williams then confessed to the class of 2004 that the honorary degree they’d just seen presented to him “is the only degree I have received from Catholic University. Ah, yes, I dropped out of college.”

This just in

Exactly 657 Democrats and independents leaning left were asked by Frank Luntz‘s research firm: “If you could vote for the candidate to run against George W. Bush in the fall and your only two choices were John Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton, for whom would you vote?”

Mrs. Clinton: 47 percent

Mr. Kerry: 44 percent

Kennedy connection

As the June 8 primary nears, former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley is leading five other candidates in the Republican contest for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Ernest F. Hollings.

That doesn’t sit well with some South Carolinians, who blame Mr. Beasley for removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse dome in Columbia. After promising during his 1994 campaign to keep the flag on the dome, where it had waved since 1962, the Republican governor went on statewide television in November 1996 to propose moving the flag to the nearby Confederate Soldiers Monument. Mr. Beasley was defeated in his 1998 re-election bid, and the flag was moved in 2000 to the monument.

Not only that, say Confederate heritage groups, but Mr. Beasley has been fraternizing with Yankees, Democratic ones. Anti-Beasley forces are distributing photos of a smiling Mr. Beasley with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.

The photo was taken early last year, when Mr. Beasley accepted a Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library for “outstanding leadership” in taking down the flag.

‘Treasure trove’

The activist group Greenpeace might have dodged a bullet in Florida this week, but it has been “outed” closer to home.

While a judge in Miami was throwing out charges against the environmental bunch after its members boarded a cargo ship transporting mahogany lumber from the Amazon, in suburban Washington the lid was being lifted off of Greenpeace’s so-called secret warehouse.

Public Interest Watch says it has uncovered the exact location of the “action warehouse,” supposedly where Greenpeace coordinates its many protests.

“Hidden behind its doors is a treasure trove of information about Greenpeace’s operations and its future plans,” says Lewis Fein, executive director of PIW, a group that exposes abuses by charitable organizations.

“Greenpeace uses the warehouse to store props and train activists for its stunts,” says Mr. Fein, adding that the group “has attempted to raise money by offering tours of the warehouse to its biggest donors, but has gone to great lengths to keep its location secret.”

It’s no secret anymore. The warehouse is located at 3133 Pensky Drive in Hyattsville.

Wild boar in Iraq

We ducked into the Greek Embassy in Washington this week to hear the country’s new prime minister, Konstandinos Karamanlis, say he recently discussed with several Iraqi nationals how to go about replanting the marshland of northern Iraq with alfalfa.

During their conversation, the prime minister said, he asked the Iraqis about wild boars that once made life difficult throughout northern Iraq.

“How did you get rid of them?” Mr. Karamanlis inquired.

“The Americans got rid of the last wild boar,” one of the Iraqis replied. “It was Saddam Hussein.”

Money talks

“Because CNN pays me a lot of money to do it.”

Conservative columnist Robert Novak, on how he answers Republicans who ask how he stomachs sitting across the table from former Clinton strategist James Carville as co-hosts of CNN’s “Crossfire.”

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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