Monday, May 30, 2005

Not again

That was New Republic senior editor Andrew Sullivan ruining an otherwise delightful Sunday by warning us yesterday to prepare for “Abu Ghraib II.”

“The ACLU just won a suit to get the photographs we have not yet seen. June 30th, they get released — horrifying beyond belief,” he informed viewers of “The Chris Matthews Show.”

“More dog collars, more piling up?” Chris Matthews pressed.

“No. Rapes,” Mr. Sullivan said.

“On camera?” asked the host.

“On camera,” the editor said.

Worth pondering

“Too often in America we have attempted to do justice without regard for righteousness, or we have regarded righteousness as an end in itself, without enough regard for those who suffer injustice as a result.”

Such was the commencement counsel of Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, earlier this month, explaining to graduates of Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., that “those on the receiving end of injustice often become deeply cynical, wounded and … eventually lash out in anger at a system they have come to regard as cruelly set against them.”

“Their despair and alienation from society, and the social unrest that results, is our punishment.”


We’d written last week that six congressmen — five Democrats and one independent — have organized the Future of American Media Caucus.

Rep. Bernard Sanders, Vermont independent and a co-chairman of the group, complains that Americans have “fewer programming choices and a rapidly dwindling supply of independent news and information sources,” and the caucus “is an important step in the fight to maintain local perspectives and diversity of opinion in the media.”

Among the dozens of Inside the Beltway readers to react to this latest congressional caucus is Dennis Campbell.

“I literally gasped,” he writes. “Do these people have anything actually working inside their heads? We have more choices and news sources now than in any time in history.

“I guess the fact that conservatives now have a way to get their message out is just too much for these nincompoops to bear.”

Where’s my whites?

“Setting what has to be some kind of endurance record, the president spent two hours standing beneath a full sun in a black suit, shaking hands with more than 900 Naval Academy graduates as they crossed the stage to receive their diplomas.”

Official White House pool report of this past weekend. (The Annapolis graduation ceremony, which President Bush headlined, wrapped up nearly 3 hours after it began with the traditional “Hip hip hooray!” and ceremonial hat toss.

Rock collector

Hundreds of Washingtonians and tourists alike lined up for hours to shake hands with famed astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and renowned illustrator Wendell Minor as they signed copies of their new children’s book, “Reaching for the Moon,” at the National Air and Space Museum over the weekend.

The colorful book chronicles Mr. Aldrin’s childhood, from the time when he was an avid rock collector, through his historic Apollo 11 flight, when he became the second person — literally on the heels of Neil Armstrong — to set foot on the moon, where he got busy again, you guessed it, collecting rocks.

“Life’s experiences begin early, and you really never know where your career will take you,” Mr. Aldrin tells this column. “For a fortunate few of us, the journey never ends. I hope this book and the beautiful art will inspire many to reach for whatever their moon will be.”

Nonpartisan path

Four Washington political veterans — Tucker Eskew, Matthew Dowd, Blaine Bull and James S. Taylor — have put aside past differences to form a global government and corporate consulting firm, ViaNovo.

“Our name comes from the Latin root for new way, or new path,” says Mr. Dowd, chief campaign strategist for Bush-Cheney 2004 (after the surprising election finish, he rightly won “political strategist of the year” honors from the American Association of Political Consultants).

Mr. Eskew, who PR Week observed played a key role “in some of the U.S.’s fiercest political tempests,” was similarly a spokesman and strategist for Bush-Cheney 2004, previously promoting U.S. foreign policy, here and abroad, as deputy assistant to President Bush.

Joining the pair of Republicans are Mr. Bull, former legislative director to then-Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Texas Democrat, who directed his successful 1988 senatorial re-election campaign, and Mr. Taylor, a former special assistant to Mr. Bentsen.

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

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