The Beltway Beat will greatly miss the many column contributions from former newspaperman and Ronald Reagan political adviser Lyn Nofziger, who died this week at age 81.
Apart from politicking, Nofziger told us he found immense enjoyment penning and publishing poetry, which he accomplished under the nom de plume of Joy Skilmer.
Our favorite verse, its subject matter still holding true today, is borrowed from Nofziger's book, "Unbridled Joy."
I wonder if we'll ever see
A country that is Clinton-free,
A time when Hillary and Bill
Have left us and gone o'er the hill,
A time when they don't think they're meant,
Each one, to be our president,
To tell us all what's best for us,
Defy us then to make a fuss,
To insist they're meant to rule us,
Sure, as always, they can fool us,
A time when they at last have quit,
Their drinking from the public teat,
When Bill no longer wags his jaw,
Instead, goes home to Arkansas,
And Hillary no longer runs
But takes to baking hot cross buns.
Percentage of Americans who say they trust the military, the presidency and Congress, respectively: 74, 44, 22. - Harper's Index, April 2006
NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS
"Boarded, flew, deplaned, drove. Nothing else." - White House pool report surrounding the first leg of the recent trip by President Bush to Indianapolis.
Taking a night off from serving up Washington dirt, best-selling (unauthorized) biographer Kitty Kelley on Saturday served up risotto with black truffles and langoustine and capellacci stuffed with sweet lemon polenta - prepared by chef Fabrizio Aielli at Teatro Goldoni.
Cause for celebration was her physician-husband Dr. Jonathan Zucker's 65th birthday party, attended by 60 guests and family.
No word on Kelley's next victim, but past books by the one-time press aide to the late Sen. Eugene McCarthy have run the gamut, from her 1978 debut "Jackie Oh!" about the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; unauthorized biographies of Frank Sinatra and Nancy Reagan; "The Royals," which sapped the moats of the British royal family; and finally "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty," published in September 2004 and loaded with outrageous accusations about president and Mrs. Bush, among others in the family.
PIGS AND PEOPLE
Who would have thought that political pundit Tucker Carlson would win accolades from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, while very attractive "Desperate Housewife" Eva Longoria and fellow bombshell actress Catherine Deneuve are coming under fire for their positions on hunting and sporting fur.
"I still go (hunting) to this day. I can handle a gun," ContactMusic.com was told by Miss Longoria, who explained that she's been hunting game since she was a child. "I could skin a deer, I could skin a pig, I can pluck a quail. You name it, I've done it."
Meanwhile, Deneuve is getting hissed at by the animal rights activists for informing the London Daily Telegraph that she has "never worn fake fur and never will."
As for the bow-tied Carlson, who professes his opinions nightly on MSNBC, PETA is praising him for "condemning the use of dogs in suicide bombing missions, (the TV host) calling it 'completely disgusting.'"
SHOOT AND SURVIVE
While we're on the subject of hunting, Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton has just impaneled a new Sporting Conservation Council, which for the first time will advise Uncle Sam on the interests and concerns of the hunting community, including gaining more access to federal lands.
In that regard, the secretary envisions the council helping to preserve wildlife while enjoying the sport of hunting at the same time.
"Dating back to Teddy Roosevelt, hunters have been the pillar of conservation in America, doing more than anyone to conserve wildlife and its habitat," she points out. "This new advisory council will provide a formal mechanism for the department to benefit from the expertise of sportsmen and women . . . as we develop federal policies."
The chosen council of advisers include, among others, Safari Club International Vice President Merle Shepard, who will represent big-game hunting organizations, and Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, who will speak for wildlife conservation organizations; Peter J. Dart, president of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; and John Tomke, chairman of the Board of Ducks Unlimited Inc., who will represent game-bird hunting organizations.
Washington will play host to the national premiere of "Fields of Freedom," a new digital film that supposedly transports audiences directly to the Battle of Gettysburg "with all its sound and fury," where they will witness "the ferocity of the battle and the anguish of its aftermath." Former President George Bush was chosen by the film's creators to narrate the Gettysburg Address.
The film is based on the newly discovered diaries of two soldiers fighting for the North and South, both recording their thoughts as they prepare for the bloody onslaught. After the April 5 premiere at the National Archives, the film will be a regular feature at new state-of-the-art big-screen theaters at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.