John McCaslin

Lord, we ask of you a boon:
To bless our guests this noon.
We're so grateful they
Could come today -
And have to leave real soon!
- F.R. Duplantier


Thanksgiving and Christmas go hand-in-hand at the White House this holiday season, as President and Mrs. Bush unveil the 2004 White House Christmas card, its inscription: "Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song."

Tomorrow, the first family will send out more than 2 million of the cards to family, friends, members of the Fourth Estate, and foreign dignitaries, each card - this year featuring the White House Red Room - bearing a Crawford, Texas postmark.


Rule one of a CIA agent is to be covert, but not after you retire.

So says Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, who complains about a recent front page story in the Washington Post quoting four unidentified former CIA officials.

"CIA Director Porter Goss is the latest Bush administration official to encounter the media bias Americans know well: the use of anonymous sources to level partisan charges," says Smith, who calls the frequent use of anonymous sources "part of the media's institutional problem."

The congressman says when anonymous sources are quoted "it is too easy for disgruntled former employees or others to settle scores."


Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy that awards the Grammys, recently hosted the academy's signature event in the U.S. Capitol, "Grammys on the Hill."

And this year's winners are?

"All of us at the academy consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to recognize our distinguished honorees: Sen. Hillary Clinton, Rep. Mary Bono, and the legendary Natalie Cole," Portnow announced.

He said through hands-on action in Congress, the academy helps legislators understand the importance of sound cultural and intellectual property policies.

Bono, a California Republican, helped launch the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus, a congressional body designed to advance artists' rights. Clinton, a New York Democrat, co-sponsored legislation to fight the violation of copyright laws.


U.S. sportsmen are rallying around British brethren after the anti-hunting movement spurred Britain's Parliament to issue a hunting prohibition that the Americans say "flies in the face of the citizens whose way of life is vested in the traditions of the countryside."

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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