Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Four stars

The place to be Monday night was the crowded Kennedy Center Concert Hall, where D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities presented the 22nd annual Mayor’s Arts Awards, including a special-recognition honor to longtime TV theater and film critic Arch Campbell.

Upon accepting the award, Mr. Campbell thanked WJLA-TV (Channel 7) for “giving me a home” after his contract was not renewed recently by WRC-TV (Channel 4), where he had appeared for three decades. Then, Mr. Campbell told the audience how it came to be that he received the evening’s special recognition from Mr. Fenty.

The mayor, or so Mr. Campbell explained, was walking through Channel 7’s newsroom after an interview, “and I yelled out, ‘Hey, Adrian, you look like a rock star!’

“And the mayor’s office called me the next day to say I was getting an award.”

Ciao, Adrian

If you didn’t know, the mother of D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is Italian-American. All the more reason that Mr. Fenty will be guest of honor at a private party hosted by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), to be held next week at the N Street Northwest home of Dr. James D’Orta.

In fact, Jeanette Bianchi Perno Fenty is herself an NIAF member. According to the foundation, Mrs. Fenty’s family hails from Monte San Giovanni Campano, a small town near Rome in the region of Lazio. Her family emigrated to the United States in 1920.

Mrs. Fenty and her husband, Phil Fenty — a native of Buffalo, N.Y., his black roots are traced to Barbados and Panama — moved to Washington in 1967, where the city’s future mayor was born three years later.

Among those already RSVP’ing to honor the mayor are Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Jack Valenti, former president of the Motion Picture Association of America, along with other prominent Italian-American business and community leaders.

Reason to exist

Who wasn’t laughing yesterday when former “Love Boat” actor-turned-congressman Fred Grandy, now co-host of “The Grandy and Andy Morning Show” on WMAL-630 AM in Washington, told the incredible-yet-true tale of Florida Judge Lawrence Korda? Judge Korda, who recently ruled in the Anna Nicole Smith custody saga, was busted Sunday for purportedly smoking marijuana while seated beneath a tree in a public park.

At which point fellow co-host Andy Parks saw fit to ask Mr. Grandy what was his favorite park in Washington to visit whenever he got the urge to smoke marijuana?

“I don’t smoke weed in a park,” replied Mr. Grandy. “That’s what Mexico is for.”

No longer manly

“It’s laughable,” reacts Tara Olivia Setmayer, communications director for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican.

“I couldn’t resist making this blunder on the part of the Department of Justice (DOJ) public. Today, our office received a response addressed ‘Dear Congresswoman Rohrabacher.’ Here is another example of how incompetent and disconnected the DOJ really is,” she says.

“Congressman Rohrabacher has been on the front lines of this [illegal alien] case, appearing on every major cable news program for months discussing it, and has even called for [Attorney General Alberto R.] Gonzales‘ resignation as recently as Friday.

“It’s borderline comical the level of ineptitude and disconnect coming out of the DOJ, where they do not even have enough respect for our congressional inquiries to properly address a member of Congress in official correspondences.”

For the record, it’s Mr. Rohrabacher.

Tricky Dubya?

In the opinion of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the 2004 presidential candidate-turned-chairman of the Democratic National Committee: “This could be George Bush‘s Watergate.”

You mean it’s that big?

“Eight U.S. attorneys, fired because they wouldn’t follow orders by the Bush administration,” Mr. Dean says. “Fired because they refused to go on witch hunts against Democrats, or ignored the Republicans’ blatant disregard for the law.”

Mr. Dean says that when former Dick Cheney aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr. was convicted two weeks ago, “I said that this administration reminded me of Richard Nixon‘s administration.”

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

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