John McCaslin

Besides baseball, one of Washington's favorite summer pastimes is opening the invitation to political pollster Frank Luntz's annual Major League Baseball "All-Star Party" at his McLean home and reading the Top Ten Reasons to Attend.

Our favorite pair of reasons: "See this year's baseball All Stars before they become next year's congressional witnesses" and "For kicks, let's see if an ice sculpture of Al Gore can survive nine innings."

A well-known collector of virtually every form of memorabilia, Mr. Luntz also shows off his latest acquisitions to his VIP guests. Among this year's stash is a shirt worn by John Wayne in "The Green Berets" and an original costume from the Civil War movie classic "Gone With The Wind."

Lou seeks legacy

No better place for Lou Cannon to lecture on his latest book, "Reagan's Disciple: George W. Bush's Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy," than at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

The library staff touts Mr. Cannon as "the most prolific biographer" of the nation's 40th president, with five books about the Gipper under his belt. The longtime newspaperman spent 26 years with The Washington Post, covering Mr. Reagan during his terms as governor of California and president.

The lecture is Friday at 1 p.m.

Nutty Professor II?

Tulane University spokesman Michael Strecker is quoted by the New Orleans Times-Picayune as saying, "We are in discussions with James Carville about the possibility of his joining the Tulane community."

As of this summer, Mr. Carville and his wife, Mary Matalin, are keeping homes in both New Orleans and Alexandria.

Inflation giving

When it comes to opening up their wallets, Democrats would appear to be more excited than Republicans about this November's presidential election. Or are they?

The Federal Election Commission says thus far in the 2008 election cycle contributions to the Democratic Party have increased significantly: $247 million, a jump of 45 percent compared with the 2004 cycle. Republican receipts, on the other hand, declined 19 percent when compared to 2004.

Nevertheless, Republicans somehow have still managed to raise more money than Democrats during this 2008 election cycle, or just over $260 million as of April 30.

The FEC's figures also reveal that individuals are by far the largest source of federal funds for each party: 86 percent for Republicans, 77 percent for Democrats. Both sides can thank the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act for that spike, which increased the limit individuals can give to $25,000 - adjusted for inflation, mind you.

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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