- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Clinton vs. Allen?

Who along Pennsylvania Avenue isn’t talking about a surprising National Journal survey of political insiders that gives Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Sen. George Allen the best chances of capturing their respective parties’ presidential nominations in 2008?

“The strong showing of Allen, a first-term senator from Virginia and former governor, is something of a surprise because he barely registers in public opinion polls that put former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Sen. John McCain at the front of the prospective GOP pack,” the Journal notes.

Eighty-five Republican insiders surveyed — members of Congress among them — think Mr. Allen, a former Virginia governor and son of the late Washington Redskins coach George Allen, has a better chance of appealing to GOP primary voters than either Mr. McCain of Arizona, Mr. Giuliani, or Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

As for Democrats, Mrs. Clinton was the “runaway” choice of the 90 Democratic insiders asked to predict their party’s nominee. Virginia Gov. Mark Warner also made an impressive showing, finishing third behind 2004 vice-presidential nominee John Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina.

Jordanian journey

With new archaeological surveys and excavations unearthing finds of biblical proportions practically daily in Jordan, it was only fitting that the Jordanian Embassy in Washington played host Monday evening to retired U.S. naval aviator and commanding officer Andrew C.A. Jampoler, author of the intriguing new book, “Sailors in the Holy Land: The 1848 American Expedition to the Dead Sea and the Search for Sodom and Gomorrah.”

As Mr. Jampoler told the audience, the dangerous and even deadly expedition, led by the devout naval Lt. William Lynch, was the U.S. Navy’s first — and last — to the storied salt lake of the Old Testament.

And for good reason. Before Lt. Lynch’s ship even reached the Mediterranean, he and several of his men were afflicted with full-blown smallpox. Only after a month’s quarantine in Spain’s Balearic Islands could the Americans finally enlist a team of camels — yes, camels — to haul their two specially made small boats across the desert to the Sea of Galilee, where they would run the rushing Jordan rapids, then plumb the depths of the Dead Sea.

How this previously little-known scientific and religious expedition got past murderous desert tribes is a story in and of itself, Mr. Jampoler said. The Americans would face further hardship and disease before completing the amazing expedition — their ship returning home to Hampton Roads, Va., filled with scientific measurements, evidence and, oddly enough, a pair of stocky red dairy cows Lt. Lynch purchased from the “royal breed of Damascus.”

“I’m not sure what became of these two cows,” said Mr. Jampoler, suggesting that today’s herd of dairy cows in Norfolk probably contains “Syrian genes.”

HHH award

Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle; Julian Bond, chairman of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and Ginny Thornburgh, founder of the Religion and Disability Program of the National Organization on Disability and wife of former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, will receive the 2005 Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Awards today.

Presented by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, each one of the honorees this year “in his or her own way has helped lead the fight to end discrimination and ensure equality for all,” says conference Executive DirectorWade Henderson. “It is particularly fitting that they receive the Humphrey award, which is the civil rights community’s highest honor.”

Mr. Daschle says that now that he’s a private citizen, having lost his bid for re-election in 2004, he plans to continue to advocate for issues he cares most about, mainly concerns of American Indians, health care and AIDS victims.

Similar breeds

“Show me a young NASCAR fan, and I’ll show you a future hunter and shooter.”

So says the National Shooting Sports Foundation, impressed that demographic surveys continue to reveal an “amazing crossover between these interests.”

The foundation says NASCAR racing fans are far more likely to hunt and shoot than average Americans, “and when they’re not hollering for their favorite drivers on race days, many spend their free time with guns and game.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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