John McCaslin

"So did you hear about Arlen Specter?" Inside the Beltway asked Sen. Diane Feinstein, California Democrat, as she was enroute to the Senate floor on Tuesday.

"No, what?" she asked.

"He's become one of you."

A puzzled look crossed her face.

"He's just become a Democrat."

"No," she gasped.


A huge smile crossed her face.

"I think it's teriffic. Maybe now we'll get the votes we need."


"Gillibrand Welcomes Senator Spector [sic] to Democratic Party"

Or so read an early copy of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's news release on Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to jump the Republican Party ship. She misspelled the Pennsylvanian's name an additional four times in the statement.

Then again, the Democratic senator from New York - and many on her staff - are new to Capitol Hill, given she was recently appointed to fill the seat of former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.


We told you earlier this week about Washington's upcoming inaugural juried political film festival, Politics on Film, and now we've obtained the final list of domestic feature films chosen from among the more than 100 submitted.

Without further ado, the 2009 screening selection for the May 7-10 festival:

1. "The Response:" A courtroom drama based on transcripts of the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals.

2. "Abraham Obama:" The journey of street artist Ron English's image ofAbraham Lincoln and Barack Obamamerged together onto an illegally displayed poster.

3. "Cult of Personality:" A review of the 2006 New Orleans mayoral election, called the most important race for mayor in the history of New Orleans and one of the most unusual elections in the country.

4. "Neshoba:" The story of a Mississippi town still divided about the meaning of justice, 40 years after the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

5. "The Other Side of Immigration:" An attempt to explain why so many Mexicans come to the United States illegally and what happens to the families and communities they leave behind.

6. "The Reckoning:" A film that follows an International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecution team for three years across four continents as it issues arrest warrants in Uganda, Congo and Colombia, culminating in the arrest warrant for the Sudan'sPresident Omar al-Bashirfor war crimes in Darfur.

7. "Sprawling from Grace:" An exploration of the unintended consequences of suburban sprawl and the importance of altering current development trends.

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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