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OPINION

Candle in the Wind

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Inside the Beltway has all the scoop you're going to need to shuttle off to New York to see Elton John perform solo on behalf of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's uphill presidential campaign.

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First, to get invited to the exclusive "after-party" featuring the music legend, Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, all you have to do is raise a minimum of $10,000 and fork it over to the New York senator's campaign.

Otherwise, $125, $250 and $500 tickets to the April 9 concert at Radio City Music Hall are sold out; $1,000 and $2,300 seats remain.

Two for one

We're told both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and daughter Chelsea will appear together at 6 p.m. tomorrow at DAR Constitution Hall, although tickets for the mother-daughter act are far more reasonable without Elton John in the house: $25 for general admission.

Own worst enemy

And here Sen. John McCain thought he was finished with presidential debates — at least until the Democrats get around to picking a nominee.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC), saying it has compiled streams of action video of the Arizona Republican, announces that Mr. McCain, over the DNC's Web site, "will appear in a series of debates against himself. As the two McCains square off, the American people will have the opportunity to hear the old McCain and the new McCain for themselves."

Good luck, Grover

That's right-wing activist Grover Norquist holding a book discussion at 5 p.m. tomorrow at the Americans for Tax Reform office on L Street Northwest.

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The book title alone speaks for itself: "Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives."

Did you see that?

Darn, we missed it. How about you?

We're talking about the powerful stellar explosion spotted at 2:12 a.m. Wednesday that officially shatters the record for the most distant object that could be seen with the naked eye.

"No other known object or type of explosion could be seen by the naked eye at such an immense distance," says Stephen Holland of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in nearby Greenbelt. "If someone just happened to be looking at the right place at the right time, they saw the most distant object ever seen by human eyes without optical aid."

Distance of the explosion: 7.5 billion light years, which means it took place 7.5 billion years ago — when Earth, NASA points out, had yet to even form.

You don't say

The National Black Republican Association (NBRA) has erected the group's first "Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican" billboard off an exit of Interstate 26 in South Carolina, which is sure to spark controversy.

"The billboard is located at a busy intersection [between] Columbia and Charleston," says NBRA Chairman Frances Rice. "It is attracting a lot of attention. We welcome the opportunity to explain why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican."

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Ms. Rice, who like King is from Atlanta, has insisted for years that the late civil rights leader was "absolutely" a Republican, adding that most black Americans were in those days, when Democrats trained fire hoses and sicced dogs on them.

YouLose

The Securities and Exchange Commission, since launching its SEC Anti-Spam Initiative one year ago this month, is reporting a significant drop in "financial spam."

In its pursuit against stock market e-mail spam, the SEC in recent days suspended securities trading for three companies that participated in spam campaigns and promotional videos over the Internet site YouTube. The companies are identified as NeoTactix Corp. (NTCX), Graystone Park Enterprises Inc. (GPKE), and Younger America Inc. (YNGR).

Since its crackdown began, the SEC reports financial spam-related complaints have decreased by more than two-thirds.

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