Bleak Streets: Johnny Cash Meets Eminem in Tunisia

Photo Credit: Steve Clemons

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After the end of America’s Civil War and the death of Abraham Lincoln, an envoy from Tunisia presented President Andrew Johnson with a huge portrait of the ‘Bey of Tunis’, His Highness the Mushir Mohammed Essadek.  The inscription below appears on the frame of the portrait which now hangs in the opulent reception room of the Department of State. His Highness the Mushir Mohammed Essadek, Bey of Tunis Portrait presented as a souvenir of his Friendship on November 1865 by…

What it Takes to Actually Change Washington and Change Policy

Reuters/Larry Downing

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When I started working in the US Senate in the mid-1990s, my then boss Senator Jeff Bingaman handed me, like he did to every incoming member of his staff, a copy of Eric Redman’s book, The Dance of Legislation: An Insider’s Account of the Workings of the United States Senate. The book tells Redman’s own story of then working on Senator Warren Magnuson‘s team and getting to know through error and success the machinery of the Senate legislative process. Redman…

DC Social Scene: English Soccer Trophy & EJ Dionne

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There are many who really detest the DC social scene — but others who love to know who is where and doing what to whom. It’s why West Wing was such a hit. People want to know what powerful Washingtonians are up. It’s one of the reasons why Mike Allen’s “Playbook” at Politico is a must read for so many the moment they wake up in Washington. Last evening I jumped between two competing events — the first hosted at…

Liberty’s Exiles: Tracking Those Who Defected from Revolutionary America

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Tonight at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff captivated a black tie audience with her research and writing on early loyalists to Britain living in the American colonies who abandoned their home after the Revolution.  She said that one in forty colonists decided to escape what they believed to be the chaos and disaster of the earliest days of the new nation. She shared a number of great stories about these pro-George IIl colonists establishing new colonies outside…

George Washington and the Queen

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Tonight much of Washington, DC’s glitterati will attend the Diamond Jubilee festivities saluting the reign of Queen Elizabeth II at the British Embassy. It will be packed — all under the able management of Ambassador Peter Westmacott and his wife — and his suffer-no-fools, knows-everyone social secretary Amanda Downes. At the time of the Royal Wedding of William and Catherine, then Ambassador to the US Nigel Sheinwald and his wife Julia arranged for really tough-to-get premium label whiskeys and liqueurs…

Free Doughnuts. . .Really

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I don’t need or want any. Ok, I’m lying. I want them but can’t have them. Or can I? Still, I’m going to walk by the Dupont Circle Krispy Kreme and see if there is a line. I hate lines far more than I love doughnuts — but I know many of you weight things differently. Here is info on free doughnuts this National Doughnut Day. Happy Hallmark. — Steve Clemons

What Happens When They Get Drones?

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AP David Ignatius‘ gripping novels are quickly emerging as the spy industry’s narcotic for smart, complex intelligence yarns to read on long flights.  His made-for-movies stories seem to be a hybridized LeCarre with a twist of Michael Crichton as he reveals tectonic fault lines between an overly self-confident, reckless America and a fragmented, in spots radicalized, almost always misunderstood Islamic world. His latest novel, Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage, has recently appeared in paperback and should be required reading for…