John McCaslin

We're told singer Pat Boone will be stopping by the White House on Wednesday among his personal appointments while in Washington this week, including a photo session with a number of senators and congressmen before meeting with Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan.

After all, Mr. Boone was the original American Idol, winning not one but two national contests weeks apart in 1955: the Ted Mack Amateur Hour and Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts.

Upon learning Mr. Boone was coming to town, Annie Rohrhoff, a college student and research assistant at the 60 Plus Association and National Defense Council Foundation, recalled the many times she listened to her aunt Sue Cronin and her lady friends pretend Mr. Boone was not married and dream about which one of the women he would choose as his bride.

"Pat's wife, Shirley, has heard just about everything in their 54 years of marriage but perhaps not that one," reacts 60 Plus Chairman James L. Martin. The singer is the national spokesman for the senior citizens group.

NOT THE CLUB SET

Nobody brings to light a more outrageous if not hilarious batch of Fourth Estate quotes than the Media Research Center, including a recent gem uttered by Time's Joe Klein on CNN when reacting to former Bush White House aide Karl Rove's comment that Sen. Barack Obama resembles a snide country-club elitist.

Wondered Mr. Klein: "Since when do they start letting people like Barack Obama into Republican country clubs?"

GET OVER IT

An obviously much-needed conference on Race and Reconciliation in America, initiated and hosted by former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and his author and playwright wife Janet Langhart Cohen, is attracting leaders from myriad fields, including politics, business, military, law and entertainment.

The Cohens are co-authors of "Love in Black and White," the autobiographical account of their bi-racial marriage. The two-day conference, aimed at initiating a serious and civil dialogue on racial, ethnic and religious prejudice, will be held at the National Press Club on July 24 and 25.

"Any discussion of race or racism inevitably stirs uncomfortable reactions," says Mrs. Cohen. "The problem is that racial prejudice is not just a thing of the past, and neither whites nor blacks are over it."

Adds Mr. Cohen: "Our goal is to begin a national conversation to deal with the truth, understand the need for accountability, and learn how we can work together to really achieve a post-racial society."

Among the participants are Academy Award-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr., best-selling author Deepak Chopra, U.S. District Court Judge Harold Kennedy and Joshua Packwood, the first white valedictorian to graduate from the historically black Morehouse College in the school's 141-year history.

Also attending will be Simeon Wright, cousin of Emmett Till, whose 1955 murder in Mississippi helped spawn America's civil rights movement. A reading of Mrs. Cohen's new play "Anne and Emmett," an imagined conversation between Holocaust victim Anne Frank and Till, will be featured at the conference.

DRIVING TO MINNIE

One congressman calls it the "Post Office Congress," noting almost 30 percent of legislation passed by lawmakers in this 110th Congress "has been naming federal buildings."

"Today, I see we will be naming two more post offices," observed Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican, referring to the Bishop Ralph E. Brower Post Office and the Minnie Cox Post Office Building, both approved this week.

"Almost every morning I talk to my parents who are both in their 80s and are very inquisitive about what goes on in Congress," he said. "I tell them we are working on postal legislation. I don't really go further and tell them the legislation actually is just naming post office buildings throughout the vast plains and prairies of America. After all, we have named 72 federal buildings in [the current] Congress."

As for insult to injury, the congressman added: "Today Mom said she can't even afford gas to get to the post office."


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.