John McCaslin

We won't reveal in what act and scene — or in what manner, shape or form — but embattled Sen. Larry E. Craig, Idaho Republican, has been written — tastefully, we assure you — into the script of "Monty Python's Spamalot," which opened Tuesday night before a packed audience at the National Theatre.

The multitalented Michael Siberry returns to Washington in the role of King Arthur, while his beautiful Lady of the Lake is played by Esther Stilwell, who grew up near Fayetteville, Ark. The Broadway production, politically adjusted a tad to amuse its Washington audience, runs through Jan. 6.


So, Democrats on Capitol Hill are rethinking their year-end budget strategy, wishing they had more to spend.

Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat, actually told the Wall Street Journal this week: "I'm not in the business of trying to pave the way for $70 billion to $90 billion for Iraq for $10 billion in table scraps."

Which got Senate Republicans wondering what $10 billion worth of "table scraps" could buy these days. Among other things, $10 billion buys: a 6-pound chicken, 3 pounds of fresh potatoes, 2 pounds of fresh green beans, and a pot to cook it all in for every household in America.

Lecture lecture

There are far too many lectures on any given day in Washington to cover them all, let alone give them mention. But one lecture to be delivered tomorrow by Lee Edwards, de facto historian of the Heritage Foundation, caught our eye: a lecture on lectures.

The conservative think tank hit a milestone this year: the 1,000th formal lecture delivered from its podiums.

"Pretty much the entire pantheon of conservative greats has held forth at Heritage: Reagan, Buckley, Kirkpatrick, Kirk, Hayek, Thatcher and many, many more," James Weidman, Heritage's director of editorial services, tells Inside the Beltway. "Indeed, it was [Russell] Kirk who kicked off the whole shebang, delivering the first Heritage lecture on June 4, 1960. His topic: 'The Conservative Movement: Then and Now.' "

Other intriguing titles from the past include: "The Politics of T.S. Eliot," by Mr. Kirk in 1989; "Why I Am Leaving Congress," by Rep. Tim Penny, Minnesota Democrat, in 1994; and "The Severed Flower: Conservatism Without God," by Rabbi Daniel Lapin in 1994.

Tomorrow morning's lecture by Mr. Edwards, who is the foundation's distinguished fellow in conservative thought (among other titles around town), is set for 11 in Lehrman Auditorium, hosted by Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner.

No Beetles

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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