- The Washington Times - Friday, August 15, 2008

Jelly jam

Who’s not talking about the important role Virginia’s voters will play in the 2008 presidential election?

After decades of being firmly in the Republican camp, it now appears the Old Dominion is at least flirting with the Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama.

On top of that, it was announced this week that former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, now the heavily-favored Democratic nominee for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, will keynote the party’s national convention — handed a bigger prime-time speaking role than the Democratic presidential runner-up, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Virginia Gov. Tim. Kaine, at the same time, remains on Mr. Obama’s short list to become the vice president nominee, giving Democrats even bigger chances of winning the state in November.

So how is Jeffrey M. Frederick, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, handling so much competition?

He’s gone on the offensive, attacking Mr. Obama this week for “demonstrating once again he is void of a single original idea,” including hijacking the well-known campaign line from Ronald Reagan, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

Says Mr. Frederick: “It’s a shame he couldn’t ask Mr. Gorbachev to tear down that wall on his recent trip to Europe, though I guess he can still hand out jellybeans.”

Rare honors

The American Bar Association’s 555-member House of Delegates, which as a legislative body outnumbers the U.S. Congress, has awarded Judge Patricia Wald the ABA Medal for 2008, its highest honor.

Judge Wald, the first female judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, represented the United States on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The award is presented only during the years in which a single person has rendered exceptionally distinguished service to the cause of American jurisprudence, the ABA said.

Say cheese

Somebody needs to buy “Chef Spike” of the newly opened Capitol Hill burger joint Good Stuff Eatery one of those congressional photo guidebooks.

After all, he was under the assumption that he’d yet to serve a meal to any member of Congress, despite the restaurant’s close proximity to the U.S. Capitol.

“I’ve had a few people run in and order for a member, but no one personally has come in. I’ve got to get some, though, because I’ve heard the D.C. thing is to have your photos taken with a zillion members and put them up in your place,” the chef had recently told FamousDC, a political, media and sports blog.

But we have it on good authority that Chef Spike has unknowingly prepared an order for Rep. Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina (perhaps he didn’t recognize the Republican, who at 32 is the youngest member of Congress).

Enjoying burgers on the same day the congressman dropped in were reporters for The Washington Times and Politico, and two staffers for House Democrats.

Earns his keep

We checked in with Darren McKinney, director of communications for the American Tort Reform Association, after realizing he landed not one, not two, but count ‘em three letters-to-the editor in major daily newspapers in one week’s time — two of them in a single day, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

“Who besides Al Gore could pull that off?” he quipped.

Tinker away

NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale provided a little parental advice when unveiling the first-ever Nobel Prize exhibit at the space agency’s headquarters in Washington, compliments of John Mather, who in 2006 became the first NASA civil servant to receive the prestigious prize in physics.

“As a young schoolboy growing up in Sussex County, New Jersey, he entered science fairs and conducted experiments under his family’s kitchen table,” Ms. Dale observed. “He demonstrates to all of us that a child’s curiosity can lead to profound discoveries about the universe.

“So the next time your child is tinkering with your radio or cell phone or messing up your kitchen with inventions, remember that son or daughter could be a Nobel laureate in training.”

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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