- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Beam him up

Washington energy- and climate-policy lawyer Christopher C. Horner, who has caused quite a stir with his new best-seller “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming,” says Hollywood actor John Travolta isn’t doing Al Gore any favors when it comes to saving the planet.

“Quite possibly this is what [CBS News anchor] Katie Couric had in mind when she sagely — and perkily — blogged that maybe Al Gore’s ‘going Hollywood’ would backfire with regular people,” Mr. Horner tells Inside the Beltway. “You have to think that even Gore is saying to himself that maybe this is help he can do without.”

As for Mr. Travolta, who is a passionate pilot who owns five personal jets (a customized Boeing 707, three Gulfstreams and a Learjet), he recently lectured others on the environment while defending his personal use of his private jets.

As the Evening Standard of London has noted in recent days, Mr. Travolta’s clocking “at least 30,000 flying miles in the past 12 months means he has produced an estimated 800 tons of carbon emissions — nearly 100 times the average Briton’s tally.”

That said, the actor suggests that it might be too late to save Mother Earth: “I’m wondering if we need to think about [settling] other planets and dome cities?”

One arm, two fists

A new war is brewing in the South, or so we gather from the following letter to the editor from author Clint Johnson, which appears in the April 9 issue of the Weekly Standard:

“I want to thank Charlotte Hays, bless her heart, for reviewing my new book, ‘The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South.’ Miss Hays wrote that I didn’t mention that Southerners grew up reading Sir Walter Scott. Some of us did not. I grew up on a pre-Disneyfied Florida farm where I was too busy orange-picking, cucumber-hauling and cow-catching to read Ivanhoe. But for her to call me a Yankee because I was born in Florida is just unacceptable! My great-great-grandfather in the 8th Florida regiment lost his arm at Fredericksburg when a bunch of selfish sons of Mississippi (where Miss Hays writes she plans to die) hogged all the good cover houses. Had her ancestors been more hospitable and considerate of my ancestors, Grandpap would have been able to pour two-fisted drinks in his Fort Meade, Fla., bar, which was well known for barring real Yankees. (He was a little irritated about losing his arm.)”

Beats karaoke

That was Salvatore Licitra, “the first tenor superstar of the 21st century,” flying in from his home country of Italy to give a bravura performance and delight the crowd of Washington luminaries at the residence of Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato.

Asked why he and his wife, Hanayo, hosted Mr. Licitra’s performance in their home, the ambassador said, “You might think it is in penance for Japan giving the world karaoke. But the truth is, as Mr. Licitra knows very well, I and a great many other Japanese are simply great fans of opera.”

Among those in attendance were Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Anthony M. Kennedy, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta and William H. Webster, former CIA and FBI director.

Pathetic opener

“You missed half the game,” remarked former WRC (Channel 4) sports anchor George Michael, after it took this columnist two-plus innings (44 minutes) of baseball to stand in line for a hot dog at the Washington Nationals’ home opener yesterday at RFK Stadium.

Wouldn’t you know, when I finally reached the front of the line, there were no more hot dog buns (it was only the 4th inning). I would have bought my frank in the first inning, but those “hot” dogs were still cold. To think there was six months to prepare for this game, but fans in line had to settle for peanuts and pretzels.

Here’s hoping that the new baseball stadium, slated to open next season, is as efficient as the Nats’ president, Stan Kasten, promises. Until then, perhaps a concessionaire field trip to Baltimore is in order, to see how the Orioles manage to serve up a hot dog in a bun.

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

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