- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2006

270 candles

Former Rep. Lindy Boggs, who was U.S. ambassador to the Vatican from 1997 to 2001, is about to celebrate her 90th birthday in a grand Louisiana fashion.

We’re told the entire Washington Boggs clan, including journalist daughter Cokie Roberts and lobbyist son Tommy Boggs, will depart this weekend for New Orleans to toast their mother, who is the widow of former House Majority Leader Thomas Hale Boggs Sr.

The couple’s other daughter, Barbara Boggs Sigmund, a former mayor of Princeton, N.J., who got her start writing letters for President Kennedy, died of cancer in 1990.

A great-great-great-great-grandniece of Rep. Thomas Claiborne of Louisiana, who lived from 1749 to 1812, Mrs. Boggs, born March 13, 1916, entered a special election to fill her husband’s House seat after he vanished in a twin-engine plane accident in Alaska in 1972. She was re-elected to eight succeeding Congresses.

By the way, there won’t be one, not two, but three birthday parties for Mrs. Boggs (that’s a lot candles to blow out) in the coming days.

New link

Speaking of the Boggs family, Barbara Boggs, wife of lobbyist Tommy Boggs and founder of Washington Inc., has joined forces with the management company of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center to form a meeting and event planning firm, Washington Link.

Its first event is this evening’s opening of the Tribune Media Center in the old Woodward & Lothrop building. Mistress of ceremonies for the occasion is Cokie Roberts, sister-in-law of Mrs. Boggs.

The event also will honor seven news directors from the Gulf Coast who maintained their news operations throughout Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Sister Buckley

That would be Priscilla Buckley, for 43 years a senior editor with National Review — 27 of them as managing editor before she retired in 1999 — taking center stage tomorrow at noon at the Heritage Foundation.

She’ll no doubt be discussing her most recent book, “Living It Up With National Review,” which prominently features some intriguing talks with her brother William F. Buckley who, thanks to his sister’s editing skills, helped define American conservatism.

Before joining her sibling at the magazine, Miss Buckley, a resident of Sharon, Conn., worked as a reporter in Paris and New York, and had a stint on the sports desk of United Press. Even today she’s described as an avid golfer and hunter.

Taking on Rush

The Rev. Al Sharpton Jr., the political and civil rights activist who went from preaching his first sermon at age 4 to running for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2004, is now the host of his own daily national talk radio program. (Who doesn’t host a radio talk show these days?)

While in Washington recently, Mr. Sharpton told Inside the Beltway that he very much enjoys preaching politics and civil rights issues from behind a studio microphone. The show started airing Jan. 30 over Radio One Inc.

Worth pondering

We see that Jordanian Ambassador Karim Kawar is hosting a chancery reception Monday evening for New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman in celebration of his new best-selling book, “The World is Flat.”

The three-time Pulitzer winner, who we might point out sits on the Pulitzer Prize Board, caught our attention the other day with this intriguing observation: “Was Iraq the way Iraq was because Saddam [Hussein] was the way Saddam was, or was Saddam the way Saddam was because Iraq was the way Iraq was?”

Big premiere

Who said Washington is a sleepy town? Indeed, the nation’s capital has been chosen to host the pre-Broadway run of a new musical that dances to the beat of Earth, Wind & Fire.

“Hot Feet,” which will run at the National Theatre March 21 to April 9, is the creation of Tony-nominated Maurice Hines and Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White.

The dance musical features Earth, Wind & Fire hits such asAfter the Love Is Gone,”Boogie Wonderland,” Shining Star” andSeptember,” in addition to six new songs written by Mr. White solely for this production. The script was written by MTV scribe Heru Ptah.

All three men were in Washington last night, introduced at a Smithsonian Associates Event for the performing arts and humanities.

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

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