John McCaslin

Between now and midnight Monday, anybody who makes a contribution to Sen. John McCain's White House bid qualifies to ride for an entire day with the Republican candidate aboard his campaign bus the Straight Talk Express.

"You will be entered to ride the bus with me by making a donation of any amount," Mr. McCain offers.

Not to be outraised, presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama is promising a car magnet, of all gadgets, to supporters who send him at least $15 by Monday night.

Food for thought

That would be the lead singer of the Smithereens, Pat DiNizio, providing entertainment in the courtyard of the House Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill Thursday evening.

Hosting a barbecue with chicken (price up about 6 cents per pound), pork (up 2 percent) and beer (there's always Milwaukee's Best), argues that the rising price of oil is what's taking a bite out of America's grocery budget.

Worse yet, the group says "major food companies like Kraft, Kellogg and General Mills are profiting from the recent hike in food prices, at your expense."

Perhaps the best news: the food, beer and entertainment, on Capitol Hill at least, are all free.

Don't sweat it

Gas and food prices got you down - or angry? Consider Colin Powell's 13 golden rules when faced with adversity.

1. It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
2. Get mad, then get over it.
3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
4. It can be done!
5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
7. You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.
8. Check small things.
9. Share credit.
10. Remain calm. Be kind.
11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
12. Don't take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Gay affair

With same-sex weddings as the uncomfortable political backdrop, Democrats are stepping out in force to headline Thursday night's Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council (GLLC) Gala at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

Potential White House first lady Michelle Obama will be keynote speaker, while Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, New York first lady Michelle Paterson, and Providence, R.I., Mayor and president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors David N. Cicilline are among other speakers at the dinner.

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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