Newt to the Future

John McCaslin
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Posted: Aug 09, 2007 9:27 AM
Newt to the Future

Newt's future

Perhaps Newt Gingrich ought to toss his hat into the 2008 presidential ring after all.

"I am the futurist who gave a speech at the governors conference in Arkansas when Bill Clinton was governor, and cited Newt as 'up-and-coming.' (This was during the period he was delivering speeches to an empty House chamber on C-SPAN at 2 a.m.)," Roger Selbert, who as principal of the Growth Strategies Group is one of the most widely known and respected economic, social and demographic trend specialists in the United States, writes to Inside the Beltway after reading our item about the former Republican House speaker from Georgia.

"The chair of the conference was appalled I would mention 'Gingrich' and 'leadership' in the same sentence," he recalls. "He later led the Republicans to majority and became speaker, of course. Will he become president? I wouldn't bet against it, and I'd be glad to vote for him. (He's a bit of a futurist himself, you know.)"

Tommy of Tysons

Where has Palm Restaurant icon Tommy Jacomo spent his summer vacation now that the landmark 19th Street Northwest steakhouse is undergoing renovation?

Suffice it to say, not at Bethany Beach, Del.

The restaurateur who helped open the Palm in 1972 has been filling in at the sister Palm in Tysons Corner, where, frankly, more than one patron — and for that matter, Mr. Jacomo himself — have been a bit confused.

"Hello, Washington Palm in your nation's capital, Tommy speaking," we're told Mr. Jacomo has said on more than one occasion, his trademark, decades-old greeting met with "stunned silence," "a bevy of expletives" and "a good deal of the callers actually thought they had accidentally dialed the D.C. restaurant."

Meanwhile, as the Palm in Washington continues its much-publicized face-lift, several of the city's movers and shakers have been overheard worrying about what will become of their smiling caricatures that for years have decorated the restaurant's walls.

They've been "temporarily displaced," we're assured, until the restaurant reopens Sept. 16 with a "refreshed interior, featuring a glass-enclosed veranda, an expanded dining room and a larger bar with 'power' booths."

In fact, Mr. Jacomo and general manager Ted Swigert have let it be known that they are holding some new faces to be added to the Palm's wall of fame.

My pal, Al

Contrary to popular thinking, Al Gore isn't founder of the environmental movement. Those honors go to Rachel Carson.

"Born on May 27, 1907, Carson is considered the founder of the contemporary environmental movement through her landmark book, Silent Spring," according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which recently selected the winners of its annual Rachel Carson essay, photography and poetry contest.

The winning essay: "My Pal, the Blue Fir Tree."

Walter in water

This lead sentence of a press release issued by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington certainly caught our attention: "Norway's glacier museum launched its new climate change center by putting former Vice President Walter M. Mondale in a water pool and unplugging it."

Say that again?

"The symbolic opening of the new building at the museum took place in a pool, representing the possible consequences of rapidly melting ice," the embassy explains.

Norway has put climate change and global warming at the top of its agenda, and was picked to host the World Environmental Day in 2007.

Too many hits

At least Sen. John McCain's softball team is moving up in the standings.

On a dreadfully hot Tuesday night in Washington, "the No Talent AZ Clowns," a congressional league team made up of current and former staffers for the Arizona Republican, smoked "the One Hitters," a most intriguing group of ballplayers sponsored by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and related advocacy groups.

The One Hitters, lest we forget, were featured in Sunday's Style section of The Washington Post for their 13-3 record and No. 1 ranking in the congressional league. Apparently, the press attention was a bit premature.

"The story only motivated our team even more," said AZ Clowns co-captain Rebecca Jensen, Mr. McCain's legislative assistant.

Then there is Mark Bruegger, the senator's former research assistant and a recent graduate of Catholic University's Columbus School of Law (he's joining the Army JAG corps this fall), who attributes his team's success to being "drug-free."