Thursday, July 26, 2007

Novak fundraiser

Syndicated columnist Bob Novak will read from his new book at a Republican Party fundraising event this evening, co-hosted by Republican (and Rudolph W. Giuliani) pollster Ed Goeas and Republican media mogul Alex Castellanos.

“The Republican Party of Virginia and the 8th Congressional District Committee’s Chairman’s Reading Series, Featuring: Bob Novak, Author of ‘The Prince of Darkness,’ ” is how the book reading in Alexandria is touted.

Proceeds ($250 host committee, $50 attendees) will go to the state’s Republican war chest.

In attendance, we’re told, will be John Hager, who was elected last weekend as chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Serious summer

Drawing attention to the “gut feeling” expressed by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff earlier this month about an increased risk of a summertime terrorist attack in the United States, the Federal Protective Service (FPS), a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has issued an internal document detailing high-risk threats to federal buildings and employees.

Headlined “Increased Risk of Terrorist Attack This Summer,” the document goes so far as to tell FPS officers to begin “monitoring employee conduct” within the 8,000-plus federal facilities it guards across the country.

The document, obtained by Inside the Beltway, also advises FPS officers to pay “particular attention” to drivers and passengers of commercial vehicles, and to determine whether uniforms are “consistent with the vehicle being driven.”

“Is the driver’s demeanor consistent with the company or agency they are reportedly representing?” it points out. “Is any company/agency equipment actually located inside the vehicle? Is the location where the vehicle was observed or stopped consistent with the business the company or agency might conduct in the given area?”

It also asks whether “the driver/passenger exhibit unexplained nervous behavior? For example, profuse sweating, increased heart rate observed through the carotid artery visible in the neck, fidgeting, a blank stare or constantly looking around.”

The FPS has fewer than 1,000 uniformed officers, backed up by 15,000 private security guards who patrol federal buildings in more than 120 cities.

Careful examination, the document advises, should also be made of “vehicles parked around the perimeter” of federal buildings, where “buffer zones” should be established and “surveillance detection plans” implemented.

Even “street vendors” peddling hot dogs and bottled water should come under heightened scrutiny, the document states.


We’re always anxious to open Congressional Quarterly’s updated political bible, the newest titled: “CQ’s Politics in America 2008: The 110th Congress.”

Political junkies will find that the new volume consists of 1,212 pages featuring in-depth profiles of members of Congress, election results, congressional district snapshots and key votes. Then there’s an intriguing compilation of trivia.

Did you know, for instance, that New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, Wisconsin Republican Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. and California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy are all lottery winners?

Mr. Gregg donated a portion of his $853,492 in winnings to a charity. Mr. Sensenbrenner put his $250,000 toward charities and investments. And Mr. McCarthy invested the $5,000 proceeds from his scratch-off ticket to open “Kevin O’s Deli.”

Average Joe to Rudy

Given positive reviews from the first-ever CNN/YouTube debate in South Carolina this week, the Republican Party of Florida says it’s delighted to be partner for a similar upcoming debate between Republican presidential candidates.

The two-hour debate, featuring questions from ordinary Americans via the YouTube Internet video site, will take place on Sept. 17 in St. Petersburg, Fla. CNN’s Anderson Cooper will once again moderate.

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen says the new format “is an incredibly tangible and personal medium for political discussion.”

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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