John McCaslin

105 wishes

Teddy Roosevelt had just assumed the presidency of the United States when Georgetown University Jesuit priest the Rev. James A. Martin was born.

Last night, a gracious Father Martin welcomed a handful of his closest friends to the university campus for Mass and dinner in celebration of his extraordinary 105th birthday.

Father Martin, who this columnist first met when he was in residence at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Old Town Alexandria, attended St. Joseph's Prep School in Philadelphia. He began his novitiate studies in Yonkers, N.Y., followed by a Jesuit course of studies that would last more than 10 years.

He taught and coached sports at Jesuit schools stretching from the Philippines to Washington, where at Georgetown he was assistant dean of men and assistant athletic director. He credits his unfailing energy to being active and playing all types of sports, which he loves.

Father Martin said a few years ago that he never expected to live to see 100. Which makes it that much more special now to wish him a happy 105th, and many more.

Ranch vows

"Jenna has always liked Texas, more than her sister, Barbara," author Ronald Kessler explained to Inside the Beltway yesterday, after disclosing this week that presidential daughter Jenna Bush apparently won't be having the first White House wedding since President Nixon's daughter Tricia walked down the Rose Garden aisle.

"Jenna chose, for example, to go to the University of Texas, while Barbara went to Yale."

Miss Bush and Virginian Henry Hager recently announced their engagement, and according to Mr. Kessler, who posted his wedding announcement-of-sorts on, the couple is tentatively planning a May ceremony at President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch.

Coming apart?

We've learned that the liberal political action committee America Coming Together (ACT) was hit this week with the third-largest civil penalty in the Federal Election Commission's 33-year history, involving violations of federal campaign-finance laws during the 2004 presidential election.

ACT must now pay $775,000 to settle charges that it used funds raised outside federal limits and source prohibitions to pay for expenses that should have been paid with funds raised within the federal contribution limits and prohibitions, according to the FEC, which says ACT raised an estimated $137 million for the 2004 elections.

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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