- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Graves’ omen?

Every month, the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans displays an artifact of the month. The “Artifact of the Month — August 2005,” strapped around a museum mannequin in the weeks before Hurricane Katrina poured its floodwaters into New Orleans, is a merchant marine life jacket.

“A friend of mine wondered about damage to the D-Day Museum in New Orleans, so she checked their Web site — https://www.ddaymuseum.org/exhibits/artifact.html — to see if they had any information on hurricane damage. There was none, but she found their selection of the ‘artifact of the month’ for August somewhat disconcerting,” writes Inside the Beltway reader Stan Welli of Aurora, Ill.

The vest had saved the life of Troy Norris Graves on May 18, 1942, when his merchant vessel, SS William J. Salman, sailing from New Orleans to Antigua, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine.

The life jacket was Mr. Graves’ only possession when he and others who survived were plucked from the water. It hung unceremoniously in his family’s barn for more than 60 years until it was donated to the National D-Day Museum in December upon his death.

City cleansing?

In one man’s opinion, it is no coincidence that a hurricane named Katrina slammed into New Orleans.

Michael Brown, creator of the widely read SpiritDaily.com Web site — often dubbed the Catholic Drudge Report — tells LifeSiteNews.com that Katrina, a name that means “pure,” is a purification of New Orleans. Mr. Brown penned an article in 2001 that warned of certain disaster for New Orleans.

“There are few cities with so many good as New Orleans and also few cities where there is such a stark coexistence with the bad. It is this city, the Big Easy, that is home to kind and generous and Christian people … and yet also this city that has allowed evil to flourish in a way that has become truly dangerous,” Mr. Brown wrote.

He then warned: “When you invoke dark spirits, you get a storm. The very word hurricane comes from the Indian hurukan for evil spirit.”

Hearing talk of Sodom and Gomorrah, New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas conceded in recent days, “Maybe God’s going to cleanse us.”

‘Pro’ legacy

Turning to this week’s other big story, the National Clergy Council — representing Catholic, evangelical, Orthodox and Protestant church leaders — placed flowers in front of the Supreme Court yesterday before walking up the marble steps and into the Great Hall to pay final respects to the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

Leading the clergy, it so happens, was the Rev. Rob Schenck, who was a defendant in the case Schenck v. Pro-choice. It was Chief Justice Rehnquist who wrote the majority opinion in the case, upholding the rights of pro-life activists to distribute literature in front of abortion businesses.

As Mr. Schenck puts it: “Chief Justice Rehnquist left a wonderful pro-life, pro-family and pro-religious liberty legacy at the high court.”

Eeenie, meenie

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice smiled broadly when President Bush, at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, was asked about choosing a woman for the remaining Supreme Court vacancy.

Then realizing that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales was sitting directly across, Mr. Bush was quick to add that his name remained worthy of consideration.

A for Allen

Given that his surname leads the alphabet, Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, often gets top billing among long lists of politicians, including those attending the BAMPAC (Black America’s Political Action Committee) 2005 Biennial Dinner, featuring as keynote speaker National Football League Hall of Famer Lynn Swann.

Alphabet aside, Mr. Allen, son of legendary NFL coach George Allen, remains on top of two major polls as his party’s likely presidential nominee in 2008.

The board chairman of BAMPAC, whose purpose is to elect “tomorrow’s leaders,” is former presidential candidate Alan Keyes. The dinner will take place at the J.W. Marriott Hotel on Sept. 21.

Bid on Fonda

Charity Folks, a leading online charity auction venue, is helping raise money for the National Press Club by placing several intriguing items on the auction block, not the least valuable being an autographed picture of political activist Jane Fonda. Current bid: $280.

“Golden Confusion,” meanwhile, described as a stunning painting of bold colors and texture, is a creation of part-time artist Dan Berger, former chief of staff and political adviser to Rep. Katherine Harris, Florida Republican.

A financial service lobbyist, Mr. Berger’s works are owned by members of Congress and White House staff. Current bid: $555.

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected].

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