Manhattan Memory

John McCaslin
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Posted: Dec 04, 2007 10:26 AM
Manhattan Memory

A commemorative plaque will be dedicated tomorrow in the "Old War Department" wing of the State Department once occupied by Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves when he directed the Manhattan Project, an enormous endeavor that led to the production of the world's first atomic weapon during World War II.

A coinciding conference will feature historical accounts of the Manhattan Project, including discussion of the role of nuclear weapons in deterrence and U.S. security policy today, as well as peaceful applications of nuclear energy.

Several of the project's surviving team and their direct descendants, including Gen. Groves' son, retired Army Gen. Richard H. Groves will attend.

Full circle

Speaking of sports figures, former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue is back pounding the pavement of Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and U.S. Capitol.

The international law firm of Covington & Burling at 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, says the one-time Covington partner rejoined the firm this week as senior counsel. He'll hang his hat in both Washington and New York, while continuing as a business adviser to the NFL. He was football commissioner from 1989 until 2006.

Pitching McCain

That would be Boston Red Sox ace pitcher Curt Schilling, who ignored whatever Massachusetts allegiance there was for Sen. John Kerry in 2004 and threw his support behind President Bush, campaigning in New Hampshire tomorrow for 2008 Republican White House hopeful Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

There once was talk of the baseball great leaving the mound to run for Mr. Kerry's Senate seat in 2008, but he's made it clear that come spring he intends to be back pitching for the world champion Red Sox.

Joe and Eileen

The politically astute and always entertaining Howard Mortman, who posts the popular blog "Extreme Mortman," is keeping with his annual tradition of compiling the Top Ten Funniest Quotes By Politicians in 2007.

We don't have room for all 10, but topping the list is Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat: "Biking through New York's boroughs in 2005, I thought about some old friends, Joe and Eileen Bailey. Though they are imaginary, I frequently talk to them."

Other favorites:

Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich: "I'd forgotten how big a tourist attraction I am."

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson: "I'm in the private sector, and for the first time in my life I'm earning money. You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition, and I do not find anything wrong with that."

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican: "Money doesn't make you happy. I now have $50 million, but I was just as happy when I had $48 million."

Done deal

As if it wasn't difficult enough losing re-election while holding the U.S. Senate's top post, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is now getting blamed by former Bush White House aide Karl Rove for helping push the country into the war in Iraq.

So yesterday the former South Dakota Democrat went on "The Bill Press Show" to address the accusation, which was that he forced the Senate to vote on a war resolution when the Bush administration opposed the measure.

"I thought somebody was trying to pull my leg," said Mr. Daschle on the talk-radio show. "I can't believe that anybody would make such an outrageous statement, and I was interested in that several of the former Bush high-level people have now disputed it as well. But, he's saying it, and I guess he's trying to sell some books."

Instead, the former Senate leader said he actively warned President Bush against rushing into war.

"I reminded the president that his father waited until after the election for the 1991 war. It was a wise thing to do and allowed him to build consensus around the world and depoliticize it here at home. I turned to him and said that he ought to do the same thing: 'I wish you'd consider that.' He looked at the vice president. They smirked a little bit, and then looked at me and said, 'Can't do that.' "

Sounding the alarm

Readers might have noticed a slight bump of late in the regularity of Inside the Beltway columns, which had to do with a nasty tumble taken by its author. I'm grateful to those who have forwarded best wishes for a speedy recovery, including the esteemed F.R. Duplantier, whose countless political limericks over the years are known by millions. His latest verse is titled "Intervention."

When a columnist known for his pluck
Inadvertently falls off a truck,
Breaking elbow and arm,
Friends must sound the alarm:
Is it whiskey, or merely bad luck?

Columnist's note: Rest assured, it was a mean streak of bad luck. But since rumors abound, you ought to see the other guy.