- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

Les enemies

“You shouldn’t be surprised,” writes Inside the Beltway fan Robert Johns of Farmington, Conn., after this column observed that writing thrillers has gotten tougher since the Cold War ended and put the handy Soviet villains out of business.

We’d written earlier that Capt. David E. Meadows, an active-duty Navy officer and author of the acclaimed “Sixth Fleet” series of military novels, has identified a surprising new threat for fictional heroes — France.

“I’m currently reading the new Ted Bell novel,” Mr. Johns said, “in which the French join forces with China in an attempt to take control of Mideast oil production. I’d be willing to bet there are, or soon will be, quite a few novels with the same ‘France and/or China as villain’ theme.”

Annual question

You know the little box on your federal income-tax forms that asks whether you want to contribute $3 to help fund presidential campaigns and political party nominating conventions?

Well, enough people check “yes” that Rep. Randy Neugebauer, Texas Republican, has introduced legislation to stop the practice, which was begun in 1972. By not handing over our hard-earned money to politicians, the congressman predicts savings of as much as $550 million over the next 10 years.

Liberal ‘plantation’

Add documentary filmmaker to the resume of McLean resident Nina May among other titles of founder and chairman of the Renaissance Foundation, which brings together political and business leaders of different countries and cultural backgrounds.

“Our film — ‘Emancipation, Revelation, Revolution’ — has been selected to be in the 2005 Liberty Film Festival in Hollywood, California, from October 21 to 23,” she tells Inside the Beltway.

“It is a documentary that looks at the history of the civil rights movement in America, the roles both major political parties played in that history, why blacks today are trapped on the liberal plantation, and what happens to conservative blacks when they choose to leave.”

Among the other feature films selected for the festival: “Broken Promises: The United Nations at 60,” “Cochise County, USA: Cries From the Border,” “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” “Fellowship 9/11,” “Grace Before Meals,” and a selection of Kurdish/Iraqi shorts from the First Short Film Festival in Iraq.

Blog update

“Updated as we speak” is the new catchphrase for the American Spectator’s AmSpecBlog, a just-launched round-the-clock compendium “tackling both the trivial and epochal and shaking up the dynamic of insider politics in D.C.”

An addition to the Spectator’s well-connected Washington Prowler, the new AmSpecBlog has signed as contributors in-house fixtures R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Al Regnery, Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, George Neumayr, Amy Mitchell and David Holman and also promises some big-name “guest” bloggers.

Guilty before tried

“The indictment is another stark reminder that Republicans have a lucrative money-for-influence machine that will do anything — including breaking the law — to funnel corporate and special-interest money into their party in huge amounts.”

Tom McMahon, executive director of the Democratic National Committee, responding to last week’s indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas on conspiracy to violate campaign-finance laws.

Leno clone

Asked to what extent the rising tide of corruption charges against top Republicans, including the American Indian gaming scandal involving GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, will affect the Republican Party’s political fortunes, conservative Washington political consultant Craig Shirley replied, “We’ll have to wait for the other moccasin to drop.”

Autumn’s roses

Proof that autumn has indeed arrived is our invitation to the White House Fall Garden Tour, an annual tradition since 1972, when former first lady Pat Nixon first opened the gardens to the public.

Visitors are invited to view the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Children’s Garden and South Lawn of the White House, while military bands perform from a White House balcony.

Dates and times are Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 23, from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are required, distributed free of charge by the National Park Service at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion, 15th and E Streets NW, on both tour days beginning at 7:30 a.m.

If it rains — or snows — the garden tours will be canceled.

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

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