John McCaslin

Knight and Lady

The titles alone of those on hand for Washington author Alessandra Gelmi's recent book party at the Philip Berry House in Georgetown were unusual and wordy enough that we simply copied them verbatim from the RSVP list:

"Carlos Villarreal, Knight of the Military Order of Malta."

"Rose Marie Caponio, Dame of the Order of Saint Lazarus."

"Count Elio Bondi and his wife, Mary Jane."

"June Gelmi Villarreal, Lady Commander of the Holy Sepulchre."

"Sister Rose Wangui, Georgetown Visitation Convent."

"Seems like a conclave of Roman Catholics," laughs Miss Gelmi, a playwright and former creative writing coach at Boston University. A writer for myriad publications, she's now author of a three-part story cycle, "Who's Afraid of Red?" It examines the Rwandan genocide through the trials and tribulations of a romantic courtship.


Worse than '79

Democrats had better hope the mood of the nation changes before Election Day 2008.

On the heels of this week's astounding Gallup Poll finding Congress' approval rating at its lowest since Gallup first began tracking public opinion of Congress, the Gallup News Service opines that the "honeymoon" period for the new, much-ballyhooed Democrat-controlled Congress was certainly "brief."

How brief?

The poll ending Aug. 16 finds just 18 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, which matches the previous low recorded in March 1992 during the House bank scandal, in which members overdrew their accounts without penalty. Even in the midst of the 1979 energy crisis, when American motorists waited for hours in gasoline lines, Congress had a more respectable approval rate of 19 percent.


Caucus first

As far as one high-level group of Democrats and Republicans is concerned, if there's going to be a "national primary" on Feb. 5 — during which time two presidential candidates could suddenly emerge as finalists, based on the front-loading of state primaries — there ought to be a "national caucus" first.

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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