- The Washington Times - Friday, February 10, 2006

New dress code

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democratic whip, told lawmakers and reporters gathered for the Washington Press Club Foundation dinner Wednesday night that there are suddenly so many Republican politicians in legal hot water that, rather than “black tie optional,” next year’s invitation to the event will read “orange jumpsuits optional.”

Here she is

Newly crowned Miss America 2006 Jennifer Berry stole some of the spotlight away from embattled politicians when she made her first visit to the nation’s capital this week.

The 22-year-old Miss Berry, who hails from Oklahoma, will be seeing a lot of the country now that she’s won the Miss America crown, traveling about 20,000 miles per month during her upcoming year of service.

“I was a little disappointed that the pageant this year wasn’t held in Atlantic City, but perhaps this way more people will remember me. Maybe I’ll be on a trivia card as the first Miss America not crowned in Atlantic City, but in Las Vegas,” Miss Berry tells Inside the Beltway.

The beauty queen was more than indoctrinated into the Washington way of life this week, chatting it up with likely 2008 Republican presidential candidate Sen. George Allen of Virginia, and sitting through the speeches of at least two politicians, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Pair of pigs

Democratic strategist Paul Begala and former Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clarke were guests this week of Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “The Situation Room” plugging their new books, “Take It Back,” which Mr. Begala authored with James Carville, and “Lipstick on a Pig.”

“Nice book jacket,” Mr. Blitzer commented to Mrs. Clarke, who is shown on her cover standing next to a pig. At which point Mr. Begala, pictured on his book cover standing next to Mr. Carville, couldn’t resist pointing out: “We are both posing with pigs on the cover.”

Amateur night

That was Hollywood actor Joe Pantoliano, aka Joey Pants of “The Sopranos” fame, along with Republican Rep. Mary Bono and Democratic Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, both of California, hosting yesterday evening’s Washington premiere of “The Amateurs” at the Motion Picture Association of America screening room around the corner from the White House.

After the premiere of the movie — which also stars Jeff Bridges and Ted Danson — Lawrence O’Donnell Jr., MSNBC senior political analyst, “The McLaughlin Group” panelist and Emmy-winning producer and writer of NBC’s “The West Wing,” was scheduled to lead the Creative Coalition fireside chat with Mr. Pantoliano on the making of the movie, which will be released nationally in May.

“The Amateurs” is about a group of small-town friends who decide to make an adult film, albeit with innocent intentions.


Legendary reggae singer Bob Marley would have turned 61 this week “and it is appropriate that we pause to recognize the extraordinary impact of his life and work,” Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, said in remarks on the House floor.

“Not only did Marley define reggae music as we know it today, but he introduced it outside his native land of Jamaica … on a global scale,” the congressman says. “Marley never diluted his message, underpinning his music with the politics and theology of his Rastafarian beliefs and his personal struggles in Jamaica.”

Mr. Marley died at age 36 in 1981 after doctors discovered a cancerous growth on his foot. Three years earlier, he’d received a U.N. Peace Medal of the Third World for his role in calming warring factions of Jamaican politics.

The other NRA

Oops! That would be the National Restaurant Association — not the National Rifle Association as suggested in yesterday’s column — that Washington PR mogul Linda Roth Conte represents on occasion. That said, we can highly recommend her firm to the gun lobby.

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

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