John McCaslin

The bartender of the classic TV sitcom "Cheers" was heard to argue that "oil and water simply don't mix."


Former forest ranger (as a young man) John D. Dingell is making headlines by becoming the longest-serving member in the history of the House of Representatives, the Michigan Democrat having assumed his seat in 1955 at age 29 after the death of his father, the incumbent congressman.

Ever since, whenever Mr. Dingell's name has appeared in print, it more often than not is preceded by "liberal," albeit not in the traditional sense that he's unwilling to listen to the other side.

Just over three years ago, this columnist saw fit to quote the congressman after President Bush's 2006 State of the Union address, which he actually praised as "balanced."

"After years of divisive rhetoric, he spoke like a man wanting to work with the opposition," Mr. Dingell noted. "It is now my hope that these words are matched with deeds; if they are, I will be happy to work with him."

Mr. Bush, of course, is now in Texas. Mr. Dingell has begun working with his 11th president.


"Teen Expelled for Bringing Gun to School," "Should the Death Penalty be Allowed in Montana?" "Dead Dogs and Screaming in the Woods."

Those are three of the latest headlines in the Flathead Beacon, a weekly tabloid newspaper published in Kalispell, Mont. (where this columnist got his journalism start so many years ago), funded no less by D.C. native/TV personality Maury Povich, who with his wife, former CBS anchor Connie Chung, are 10-year residents of the surrounding Flathead Valley.

Mr. Povich, son of the late Washington Post sportswriter Shirley Povich, recently celebrated his 70th birthday.

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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