John McCaslin

War or 9/11

"Look, the president certainly understands that Americans don't like war. He doesn't like war, either, but he also does not like the alternative."

Or so replied White House press secretary Tony Snow , when it was suggested to him yesterday that President Bush's drop in the polls to 28 percent has to do with the continuing war in Iraq.

Living history

According to President Bush , the number of U.S. presidents Britain's Queen Elizabeth II , 81, has "dined" with in her lifetime: 10

'Life is wine'

Which American wine was fitting to serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip , Duke of Edinburgh, at yesterday's White House welcome luncheon hosted by President and Mrs. Bush?

To complement the wild asparagus veloute (French, isn't it?), seared baby sea bass, ripened Florida avocados, and raspberry meringue, the first lady uncorked a bottle of California DuMOL Chardonnay "Isobel" 2004.

We checked, and the going rate for an identical bottle of the 2004 DuMOL "Isobel" at Schneider's of Capitol Hill -- the liquor store's motto, "We feel that wine is life and life is wine" -- is $70.00.

U.S. airports face potential safety challenges with the arrival of the much-hyped, double-decker Airbus A380, nicknamed "Superjumbo" and touted as the largest passenger jet in the world.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says in a new report we obtained that most U.S. airports will need to modify their infrastructure or at least impose operating restrictions, including "required" increased separation between the A380 and other aircraft during landings and takeoffs because of the strong air turbulence created by the A380's wake.

"The A380 also poses challenges for fire and rescue officials due to its larger size, upper deck, fuel capacity and the number of passengers," says the GAO, which conducted site visits to 18 U.S. airports preparing to welcome the A380. (Officials at Washington Dulles International Airport say they will have to modify loading ramps at the gates to accommodate the big bird; otherwise, they see no major problems.)

With an economy-class layout, the jet can seat a whopping 853 passengers.

Foul call

A group of black activists is skeptical of the new study made public last week charging that referee racism against black players exists in professional basketball.

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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