Mud man?

John McCaslin
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Posted: Sep 02, 2004 12:00 AM

James Carville will be delighted to know that The Beltway Beat was inundated with reader response after our glowing review this week of his first-ever children's book, "Lu and the Swamp Ghost."

We'd written that Carville's book was inspired by an episode in the Louisiana childhood of his mother, Lucille (known as "Miz Nippy"). And to make sure children hear the story with the correct inflections, the book comes packaged with a CD read by Carville in his distinctive voice.

To tell a bit of the ghostly tale, we wrote that Miz Nippy grew up in southern Louisiana during the Great Depression. One day she was out checking her papa's turkey traps in the cypress woods and comes across someone - or something - covered head to toe in mud. She heard about the swamp ghost who gobbles up nosy little girls, but this was the first time she came face-to-face with one of the creatures.

That's as much of the tale as we told - which unbeknownst to us, would leave column readers crying for more. Like John Tutini of Argyle, Texas:

"Without giving away the ending, did at any time she say if the muddy creature was bald and spoke with a Cajun twang when cleaned up?"

UNINTENDED THEME

Sen. John Kerry was hoping his Democratic National Convention opening sound bite "reporting for duty" would resonate with voters and become the theme of his presidential campaign going into November.

No such luck.

"'Swift Boats' swamp all other Kerry messages," according to the latest Global Language Monitor's (www.LanguageMonitor.com) PQ (Political-sensitivity Quotient) Tracking Index.

"In fact, (Swift Boat) is up over 850 percent in the last several weeks as tracked in the media and on the Internet, according to PQ Index," says Paul Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor.

MANLY MEAL

"The food's terrible on Air Force One."

Or so Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, explained as he grabbed a "smokie" (smoked sausage) off the grill and lathered it in mustard and onions during a campaign stop with President Bush in Pennsylvania this week.

THANKS, JACK

It took more than three decades, but Congress honors Jack Yanosov.

Who?

He began his career on the RCA assembly line. Years later, he rose to become lead engineer of the Apollo spacecraft communications project. And it was on a transmitter built by Mr. Yanosov - put into use 35 years ago this summer - that humans heard the first words ever spoken on a planetary body other than Earth.

Thanks to Yanosov, the famous and inspiring words uttered on the moon and into our living rooms in 1969 by Neil Armstrong came through loud and clear: "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

FOUR-DAY HOLIDAY

Figuring the homosexual population in this country spends an average of $1.4 billion each day, the group Boycott for Equality has organized a one-day nationwide employment "walkout" on October 8.

"We want to remind those in our nation who don't always see the impact of our community in terms of dollars and cents that we do have real market power," says group co-founder Dale Duncan. "We were inspired by Don't Amend founder Robin Tyler's famous quip, 'If being gay is a disease, let's all call in sick to work.'"

Why October 8?

It falls on a Friday, he says, and the following Monday is "National Coming Out Day."

ANYBODY ELSE?

On Wednesday morning, first lady Laura Bush gave in to numerous requests for interviews in advance of her appearance at the Republican National Convention, or so we gather from this amazing spate of transcripts released by the White House Press Office titled:

"Interview of the first lady by E.D. Hill of Fox News"

"Interview of the first lady by Harry Smith of CBS News"

"Interview of the first lady by Matt Lauer of NBC News"

"Interview of the first lady by Bill Hemmer of CNN"

"Interview of the first lady by Diane Sawyer of ABC News"

I-RAQ-O-RIBS

Several years ago, a glamorous group of Texas ladies published a colorful, if not revealing, pin-up calendar.

Now, these "Babes for Bush" have been busy baking, their effort to raise awareness that millions of women want to see President Bush re-elected to a second term. Yesterday, the ladies released the "Babes for Bush Cookbook, Second Term Selections" (order yours at www.babesforbush.com).

"This book is a compilation of recipes sent in from Bush supporters around the country, including photos and quotes on why they support the president," babe Karen Henry tells Inside the Beltway.

Some of the more intriguing recipes for victory: ANWAR Reserve Crab-Onion Dip, Border Control Poblano Pepper Soup, and our favorite, I-raq-o-ribs.

CENTRAL PARK TALE

No protesting allowed in New York's Central Park, Democrats on hand for the Republican National Convention have been told by the city's fathers. And don't ask why.

Which causes Wendel Allen, U.S. Secret Service (retired), to recall the story of a famous prankster from 50 years ago who regularly entertained crowds in Central Park.

"I had a friend who knew him personally," he says. "This man used all of the old classics for his stunts. He sold a refrigerator to an Eskimo, he found a needle in a haystack, he changed horses in midstream - ad infinitum.

"He got the idea if he built a large enough kite, and could find a small enough midget, he could devise a harness to attach the midget and could fly him. Well, he advertised for a small midget and built the kite. He took them down to Central Park and prepared for the first test flight.

"Of course, the word was out as to what he was going to do, and the city government sent a policeman down to stop him. The police arrived and told the prankster that he could not fly the kite.

"The prankster looked the policeman straight in the eye and said, 'But officer, what law am I violating? '

"The policeman shuffled on his feet for a minute and then said, 'Well, we don't allow no midgets on no kites in no Central Park! ' "

EXPLAIN THYSELF

If one congressman gets his way, "activist judges" will be brought before Congress to explain the constitutional basis for their rulings.

Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, has held discussions with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, about bringing judges before the committee to explain their rulings in light of the Constitution.

"On issues like the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, judges who overturn the will of the people and their elected representatives must be held accountable for their decisions," Mr. King says. "It is time to ground these out-of-touch judges in the Constitution."

A member of the House Judiciary Committee and the subcommittee on the Constitution, King notes that both the House and Senate passed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which was signed into law by President Bush.

Legal challenges immediately were filed by abortion advocates in New York, San Francisco and Lincoln, Neb.

"The conclusions reached as a result of congressional hearings are the highest standard of fact-finding," King says, noting that expert medical testimony was presented to lawmakers during exhaustive hearings. "For judges to brush aside such evidence is the height of arrogance."