- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Separated at birth

Anybody who’s ever bumped into 60 Plus Association President Jim Martin, a longtime Republican activist and personal friend of George W. Bush, knows he bears a striking resemblance to CNN founder Ted Turner.

Even a reporter or two over the years mistakenly has written that the left-leaning Mr. Turner, for whatever odd reason this time, was spotted among a crowd of GOP bigwigs.

The other day, Mr. Martin showed up at the White House for a briefing with senior Bush aide Karl Rove. As sometimes happens, guards minding the gate didn’t get advance notice of Mr. Martin’s impending arrival. It was while he was standing off to the side awaiting access that an unidentified woman politely approached Mr. Martin and asked perchance if he was the real Ted Turner.

Without missing a beat, Mr. Martin replied: “Yeah, lady, why do you think I can’t get into this joint.”

Quote of the week

“The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I’m still very much alive.”

— Embattled former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, addressing a friendly crowd over the weekend in Washington.

Room for Iran

On second thought, says U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton, there is room in the world for Iran’s nuclear-weapons program — albeit it’s where Libya has agreed to store its secret nuclear materials: the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge is mainly off-limits, although President Bush once toured the storage facility to inspect its large stash of deadly material — including uranium surrendered by Libya two years ago.

Keene on Algeria

David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, will manage a $300,000 contract to improve the image of the North Africa Muslim state of Algeria.

A one-time adviser to Republican presidential campaigns, Mr. Keene is managing associate of the Carmen Group, which got the contract. He’s also a contributing writer to the Hill newspaper, which covers congressional proceedings.

The contract states that Mr. Keene will work with Congress to create an “Algerian Caucus,” asks him to be available for “regular telephone consultation” with Algeria’s ambassador to the U.S., and has him traveling to Algeria when requested — “business class,” of course, with hotel accommodations fitting for “high government officials and dignitaries.”

Boomer itch

Most first-time authors are excited for their moms and dads to read their just-completed books. Not Brooke Lea Foster, a staff writer for Washingtonian magazine.

“I put off giving the book to my parents,” she tells Inside the Beltway. “I finally mailed my mother a copy of the book a few weeks ago. Then I held my breath.”

And for good reason. Consider the title of the book now hitting bookstores: “The Way They Were: Dealing With Your Parents’ Divorce After A Lifetime of Marriage.”

“She e-mailed me and said she read the book three times and each time she cried for a different reason,” says Miss Foster, who provides readers intimate details of her parents’ divorce and its impact on her as an adult. “At first, she felt defensive. By the third time, she was crying for me and how much I went through.”

The divorce rate among aging baby boomers, if you didn’t notice, is soaring — although years beyond the traditional seven-year itch.

“[T]he twenty-five-year itch is a growing trend among baby boomers,” writes Miss Foster, who discovered 20 percent of today’s divorces occur among couples married more than 15 years. And get this: the percentage of Americans aged 65 or older who were divorced or separated jumped a whopping 34 percent from 1990 to 2000.

The author hopes this first-of-its-kind book on how a divorce affects grown children will give an often-overlooked group of grievers “a name.”

“We are the lost-nest generation: adult kids who age out of the house only to see our parents decide they’ve grown apart,” says Miss Foster, a 2005 finalist for the Livingston Award, the highest honor given to a journalist under the age of 35. “We go home to new places where we cannot find the silverware. Our nests are dismantled, blown apart by an unexpected gale.”

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

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