- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2006

Double flush

“It’s more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction.”

Then-Rep. Mark Foley, Florida Republican, as quoted by the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times on Sept. 12, 1998, after explicit details of President Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky were made public.

Close to home

In case you’re wondering, that’s Hollywood director Antoine Fuqua overseeing the filming of the movie “Shooter” on F Street Northwest between 12th and 14th streets, just a few blocks from the White House.

The Internet Movie Database (imdb.com) provides this plot: “A marksman living in exile is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president. Ultimately double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to track the real killer and find out who exactly set him up, and why.”

Among those starring in the film, due out in 2007, are Mark Wahlberg and Danny Glover.

Sweeney clan

“This is funny — at least to us.”

Or so Patrick J. Cleary, senior vice president of communications for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), sums up a pair of stories in The Washington Post this week about the AFL-CIO.

Tuesday’s story, he notes, dealt with the AFL-CIO’s “grumpy reaction” to a Labor Department audit, while yesterday’s story was the union’s “grumpy reaction” to the National Labor Relations Board bringing workplace laws into the 21st century.

“In both, when they mention the incredible shrinking John Sweeney, they make his name a link. And so we clicked on it,” Mr. Cleary writes in the NAM blog site, ShopFloor.org. “When we did, it was a link to Rep. John Sweeney, New York Republican, who, last we checked, was not the head of the AFL-CIO.”

New(s) frontier

Who would have guessed even a decade ago that the Internet would become the online newsroom that it is today, providing breaking stories and editorial opinion in print, audio and video at the click of a mouse?

Even more reason that the Online News Association (ONA) was founded in 1999 by several working members of the online press. Its membership today includes journalists from around the world who produce news on the Internet and other digital forms.

That said, the Capital Hilton in Washington plays host starting today to the seventh annual ONA conference, its largest assembly ever. BBC News executive Adrian Van Klaveren will deliver the opening keynote, discussing the network’s “Creative Future” initiative.

Another keynote speaker is Mark Cuban, the National Basketball Association franchise owner who sold his computer consulting firm MicroSolutions to CompuServe and broadcast.com to Yahoo.

Today, Mr. Cuban owns HDNet and the Dallas Mavericks, among other interests. But as the ONA points out, he is renowned for his enthusiastic blogging about his team, technology and anything else, and quickly answers e-mails from his many admirers to everyday NBA fans.

“I sent an e-mail off to Mark, humbly asking if he’d be our speaker,” said Jody Brannon, ONA conference chairwoman, “and literally 10 minutes later, he replied with a yes. I have the time-stamped e-mails to prove it.”

Nobel profession

As Sarah Howe of the Partnership for Public Service puts it, “another fed” has won the Nobel Prize — referring this time to John C. Mather of NASA’s Greenbelt laboratory, who this week was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics.

She tells Inside the Beltway that nearly one-fourth of the approximately 270 Americans who have received the Nobel Prize “are, or were, federal employees,” adding that their contributions have resulted in the eradication of polio, the mapping of the human genome, the harnessing of atomic energy, the achievement of peace between nations, and advances in medicine that improve and prolong lives.

It’s also worth noting that one of the partnership’s 2006 Service to America Medal winners, Norden E. Huang, a retired chief scientist for oceanography at NASA’s Greenbelt lab, has his own Nobel Prize on his shelf.

Finally, there’s no better time to recall that President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 became the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in ending the Japan-Russia War of 1904-05. He was mediator of talks between the warring sides, hosting them in New Hampshire, where the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed.

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

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