John McCaslin

Mr. Gravel contends a commitment to freedom and peace "can't be found in the two major parties that control the government and politics of America."

As for Mr. Barr, he concluded that Republicans "lost their core principles."

Pizza party

We see where Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, will throw more of his weight behind Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, whom he has endorsed for president.

The congressman once made headlines by remarking that if he were Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's brother he would have punched her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in the nose for hooking up with Monica Lewinsky. He will appear at Generous George's Positive Pizza and Pasta Place on April 6 to explain how Mr. Obama can win the White House and Democrats can increase majorities in Congress come November.

Organizers of the Obama event also are aiming to hear from Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine via a conference call. The governor endorsed Mr. Obama more than a year ago.

Grab your camera

If you haven't noticed by the increase in tourist traffic, the 2008 National Cherry Blossom Festival begins tomorrow and lasts through April 13, with the festival's parade set for April 12, between Seventh and 17th streets Northwest.

All told, more than 3,700 cherry trees are beginning to explode in color around the Tidal Basin, in East Potomac Park and on the Washington Monument grounds. The blossoms are expected to remain in peak bloom through Thursday, which is average compared with other years.

Unseasonably warm or cool temperatures, notes the National Park Service, have resulted in blossoms reaching peak bloom as early as March 15 (1990) and as late as April 18 (1958).

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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