- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Filling ‘the Slot’

Legendary former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee is packing his bags for the South Pacific, albeit under far friendlier circumstances than his last deployment.

“I was reading a piece in Tin Can Sailors,” the 84-year-old Mr. Bradlee told Inside the Beltway yesterday, referring to the newspaper of the National Association of Destroyer Veterans. “And I saw this ad for a cruise that leaves Papua New Guinea and goes to Guadalcanal and up the so-called ‘Slot.’”

The newspaperman last navigated the 600-mile waterway during the height of World War II, traveling past various islands “none of which have a great place in history, but they have great meaning to me,” he says.

“I was an officer on a destroyer, exclusive to destroyers for 3 years,” Mr. Bradlee recalls. “I was commissioned when I was 20 years old, and I was 21 when in Guadalcanal.”

For this modern-day journey aboard a comfortable cruise ship, leaving port late next week, Mr. Bradlee will be accompanied by his youngest son, Quinn, 23, who will no doubt get a rare first-hand account of this country’s long and bloody battle against the Japanese.

Beyond that important history lesson, “I thought it would be fun,” says the editor, who will write about the trip for the New Yorker.

Reliving the 80s

We were wondering if Larry Sabato, the outspoken director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia (UVa.), would be on the Charlottesville campus this evening to hear Kate Griffin, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia and a UVa. graduate, deliver what promises to be a controversial speech, “Running on Empty: Why Campus Liberals and Hypocritical Democrats Can’t Win.”

“I wish I could attend, as Kate is one of my favorite former students,” Mr. Sabato told Inside the Beltway yesterday. “Many years ago, I taught Kate, and her husband-to-be, Phil Griffin, in my Campaigns and Elections seminar at UVa. It may be where they met.

“But I have a guest in my classes tomorrow, former New Hampshire [Democratic] Governor Jeanne Shaheen, and she has a presentation at precisely the time Kate is scheduled. I’m sending quite a few students to see Kate, however.”

Mrs. Griffin’s address at 6 p.m. is hosted by the conservative Network of enlightened Women (NeW), founded in the fall of 2004 as a UVa. book club with a mission of fostering the education and leadership skills of college women, as well as expanding the intellectual diversity on college campuses.

“Our event with Kate Griffin is a way for NeW to accomplish our goal of adding intellectual diversity to our school in the way Women’s History Month is celebrated,” network founder Karin Agness said yesterday.

Such diversity is spreading beyond the hills of Charlottesville.

“Within two years since I founded NeW at UVA., NeW chapters have been started at colleges across the nation, such as the College of William & Mary, Drake University, Boise State University, Ohio State University and High Point University,” she said. “As more women hear about NeW, it continues to spread.

“I think NeW is appealing because it provides an opportunity for conservative women to explore ideas with like-minded women and build friendships at the same time.”

And yes, these right-wing ladies know how to have fun.

“For example, I hosted a State of the Union party, and NeW co-hosted a birthday party for President Reagan (we all dressed in 1980s clothes).”

Binoculars, sir?

We’ve written numerous times that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is an avid angler. Now he’s being asked to hang up his prized fishing pole and take up another hobby.

Such as?

“Hiking, bird-watching, kayaking or tennis,” Erin Edwards, of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, suggests to Inside the Beltway.

PETA has just sent a letter to Justice Scalia saying that “hundreds” of scientists have concluded that fish are smart animals that feel pain in the same way other animals do.

“Fish are intelligent, interesting individuals who lead complex lives,” says Miss Edwards, who quotes noted marine biologist Sylvia Earle as saying: “I wouldn’t deliberately eat a grouper any more than I’d eat a cocker spaniel.”

Speaking of which, says PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk, “If Justice Scalia treated cats or dogs the way he treats fish, he would end up in court, but on the other side of the bench.”

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

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