John McCaslin

Regarding likely Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts calling President Bush and his crew "a crooked bunch of liars," Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) reasons: "Politics in general, in a republic like ours, is a substitute for civil war. It is a very important process."


"Other than to glorify an unnecessary death, we see absolutely no reason to celebrate such an occasion."

So writes the Hamilton National Genealogical Society regarding the upcoming 200th anniversary of the 1804 duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.

"This was an infamous occasion, and is not really celebrated by any of the Hamiltons," the society informs fellow Hamiltons. "However, The Aaron Burr Association (ABA) is planning a reunion in July 2004 and wishes to invite the Alexander Hamilton descendants ... (but) our society will not endorse, nor will we participate in, an event such as this."

The Burr association, or so we're told, will re-enact the fateful duel during its annual meeting this summer. Burr, who was vice president of the United States, and Hamilton, a former secretary of the Treasury, were bitter political opponents.


A portion of author Tom Clancy's best-selling book "Debt of Honor" has been reprinted as the nightmare scenario of a new Cato Institute policy analysis study on the continuity of the U.S. government in event of a cataclysmic attack on Capitol Hill.

The terrorists who hijacked United Flight 93, which crashed into a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001, apparently had as their target the dome of the U.S. Capitol - when many senators and congressmen filled both chambers.

Here's how such a deadly impact is described by Clancy:

"Nearly 300 tons of aircraft and fuel struck the east face of the building at a top speed of 300 knots. The aircraft disintegrated on impact. No less fragile than a bird, its speed and mass had already fragmented the columns outside the walls. Next came the building itself. As soon as the wings broke up, the engines ... shot forward, one of them actually smashing beyond the House Chamber ... the real damage took a second or two more, barely time for the roof to start falling down on the 900 people in the chamber ... and an immense fireball engulfed everything inside and outside the building."


Anybody for plopping onto a camel and taking a six-day trek through the Libyan desert?

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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