- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Allen angles

Inside the Beltway has learned that former Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, will host a private dinner in Old Town Alexandria in the coming days to discuss whether to seek the Senate seat now held by senior Republican Sen. John W. Warner, if the five-term incumbent were to step down in 2008.

Mr. Allen lost his seat in November to Democrat James H. Webb Jr. Speculation of late also had Mr. Allen considering a run for Virginia governor in 2009, a post he also previously held.

Ouch

We’re intrigued by the presidential endorsement for one-time Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson from former Bluefield, W.Va., Mayor Craig Hammond, culled from the Bluefield News.

“He’s the tall timber we’ve been waiting for. He’s the total package. He can hold the red states and pick up a few blue ones along the way. He can also speak in complete sentences.”

Old Perfessor’

Speaking of actor Fred Thompson, the former Tennessee senator and possible 2008 presidential candidate is guest-hosting this week for broadcast legend Paul Harvey over the ABC Radio networks. (We listen to Mr. Harvey’s reports several times each day on WMAL-AM 630.)

In one report, Mr. Thompson held up a microscope to several of the more prominent agencies of the U.S. government, saying whether it’s the Hurricane Katrina response, problems at Walter Reed Medical Center, bungled border security, or the IRS and FBI, “it seems like we’ve lost our ability to take care of some of the most basic duties of government.”

“Wasn’t it Casey Stengel, the old baseball manager, who said one day after the third dropped fly ball in the outfield, ‘Can’t anybody here play this game?’ ”

Access to Sam

Newspaper Association of America President and CEO John Sturm is applauding the Open Government Act of 2007, which would effectively reform the Freedom of Information Act, used by reporters and the public alike to ensure the U.S. government remains open and accountable.

“This legislation will ensure members of the public remain aware of what their government is doing — and why,” says the newspaperman. Legislative sponsors are Sens. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, and Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat.

1776 ideas

Seventy percent of Americans, according to one poll, think today’s children are less patriotic than earlier generations, while 93 percent think it’s the parents’ responsibility to teach children to be patriotic citizens.

That said, Myrna Blyth, longtime editor in chief of Ladies’ Home Journal, and Chriss Winston, director of the White House Writers Group, have teamed up as “concerned moms” to co-author “How to Raise an American: 1776 Fun and Easy Tools, Tips and Activities to Help Your Child Love This Country.”

The book, due out next week, provides ideas that even the busiest parents can use to instill a sense of patriotism within their families, whether it’s at the dinner table, in the car or on a family vacation.

Black press

The 180th anniversary of the Black Press is being recognized by Congress, with Rep. Carolyn CheeksKilpatrick, Michigan Democrat, pointing out that black publications have been the main history recorder of black America.

They reported on “the violent and often painful history of blacks in their struggles for freedom and equality in America,” she says, when the black population was virtually ignored by the country’s major newspapers.

The first black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, began publishing in 1827. Later, Frederick Douglass published the North Star as a voice of blacks demanding freedom and justice.

History’s more-famous black publishers, singled out by Congress, include John H. Murphy Sr. (Afro-American newspaper), Robert S. Abbott (founded the Chicago Defender with an initial investment of 25 cents), John H. Johnson (founder, publisher and CEO of the Johnson Publishing Co., the largest black-owned publisher in the world, including of Ebony), John S. Sengstacke (founded the National Newspaper Association in 1940, serving as president for seven terms), Louis Martin (Michigan Chronicle, Chicago Daily Defender, Sengstacke Newspaper Chain), and Carlton Goodlett (San Francisco Sun-Reporter).

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

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