John McCaslin

Democrats no doubt agreed with the initial words of President Bush as they appeared in this transcript issued by the White House at 8:15 a.m. Monday: "Good morning. I just had breakfast with Judge Alito. I told him I think he conducted himself with such dignity and class in the weeks leading up to the confirmation process, which begins today. Sam Alito is imminently qualified to be a member of the bench."

Then came this follow-up transcript, issued at 8:25 a.m.: "Correction: Sam Alito is 'eminently' qualified."


We have graft and corruption again,
Just as they did way back when -
And somewhere the progenies
Of the ancient Diogenes
Are still striving to find honest men.

- F.R. Duplantier


That's former Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana piloting Virgin Nigeria Airways' bid to enter U.S. airspace.

He's among Livingston Group staffers, including former Rep. Toby Moffett, Connecticut Democrat, working to get U.S. landing rights for Nigeria's national flag carrier, which is 49 percent owned by Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic, according to Kevin McCauley, editor of O'Dwyer's Public Relations News (

"VN (Virgin Nigeria) suffered some bad PR this week as passengers in London and Johannesburg were stranded as Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered the airline to fly to Saudi Arabia so 13,000 Nigerian Muslims could make this year's hajj," writes McCauley, who adds one VN spokesman was quoted as saying that Nigeria must learn how to "separate business from politics."

Meanwhile, while several U.S. airlines are declaring bankruptcy, we read that Branson is trying to get U.S. approval for the launch of Virgin America.


You might recall this columnist several years ago telling the story of Pat Buchanan driving home late one night from a presidential campaign appearance, spotting a turtle in the middle of the road and ordering his top aide out of the car to "put him in the woods."

If nobody else, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was quick to praise Mr. Buchanan's act of kindness.

Now, in recognition of his "gutsy decision" to place animal-rights issues squarely on the cover of his Washington-based magazine American Conservative, the former White House speechwriter and right-leaning political commentator has won a national PETA award.

Buchanan takes top honors in the category of "Strongest Backbone" in PETA's third annual Proggy Awards (Proggy is for "progress"), and will receive a framed plaque and be featured on PETA's Web site,

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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