John McCaslin

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.

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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