LOL! (Laugh-Out-Loud)

John McCaslin

4/9/2008 10:49:37 AM - John McCaslin

The quote of the week was overheard by Inside the Beltway yesterday as the media fawned over Sens. John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton upon their arrival at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing room to hear testimony of Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker.

Remarked Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida to Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota: "We could be naked or juggling and no one would even notice."

Idol craze

Put the White House on hold: Who will be the next American Idol — John McCain, Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton?

All three presidential candidates will make taped appearances on this evening's American Idol "Idol Gives Back" spectacular on Fox, during which time viewers can phone or e-mail donations to various children's charities.

Apart from the Washington VIPs, participating stars include, among others: Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Kiefer Sutherland, Bono, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Mariah Carey, Eli and Peyton Manning, Annie Lennox, Snoop Dogg and Gloria Estefan.

Ego earmarks

House Republicans and Democrats have spent the past several months debating whether to continue spending taxpayer dollars to name projects after themselves, from byways to bridges to buildings. Now comes the time to act.

A deadline has been set for noon tomorrow for lawmakers to be original cosponsors of legislation that will be introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican.

"The legislation I am introducing is simple," says Mr. McCaul. "It would prohibit federal funds from being used for any project named after a sitting member of Congress."

A House rule is in place prohibiting naming federal buildings after current members, but as the congressman points out it does not extend to other entities that receive federal funds.

Funny facts

So Robert Haught, recently retired "Potomac Junction" columnist for the Oklahoman, what are we to make of the hotly contested Democratic presidential primary, which is just short of getting bloody?

"One thing I learned," Mr. Haught told Inside the Beltway yesterday, "is that you shouldn't take politics too seriously. It's exciting and interesting, but campaigns can get very ugly, as the current race has shown. We've got three candidates, one of whom will be our next president, beating each other up on an almost daily basis."

We tracked down the veteran columnist after coming across his new book, "The POTUS Chronicles: Bubba Between the Bushes," which in light of the current state of affairs offers a few laughs about presidential politics.

"That's what Will Rogers did in his era," Mr. Haught said yesterday of Oklahoma's favorite son, who the book points out observed during the 1930s, "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."

Who's in charge?

The "urban farmers of Manhattan" are being looked upon as examples of federal taxpayer dollars getting funneled where they don't belong.

In 2005, the last year for which complete data is available, more than 300 New York dwellers received farm subsidies from the Agriculture Department, according to Republican Reps. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Joe Knollenberg of Michigan, who have urged their colleagues to prioritize funding those for whom the money was originally intended to assist.

Among the urbanites highlighted by the lawmakers as receiving the farm subsidies "are at least two billionaires, a former CEO of Seagrams, and numerous Wall Street power brokers. For example, a member of the prestigious Rockefeller family has received $228,000 in subsidies over the last five years and a New York venture capitalist received a payment of nearly $75,000 in 2005."