• Politics Confidential

    Around the time Kathy Hamilton and Floyd Hammer were planning their retirement, they took an eye-opening trip to Tanzania, and the couple decided they still had work to do.

    “When you stand in a hut in Africa, and you witness a young man die ... there's no way to explain to you what the feeling is,” Hammer told Politics Confidential, standing outside the White House. “If we had had a meal with us, we might have saved that life.”

    After that trip nearly 10 years ago, Hamilton and Hammer set out to combat hunger, starting a non-profit organization, Outreach, which now operates in more than 15 countries and has delivered more than 233 million free meals to children suffering from hunger.

    And, in a rare White House event Monday, Hamilton and Hammer were recognized for their contributions to combating hunger by not just one, but two U.S. presidents. President Obama and President George H.W. Bush shared the stage in presenting the 5000th Point of Light Award to the

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  • Cirque du Washington: “This Town” author Mark Leibovich on what’s wrong with D.C.

    Top Line

    If you had any dying embers of respect left for official Washington, author Mark Leibovich smothers them in his new book about all that’s wrong with “This Town.”

    Leibovich casts some of Washington’s biggest stars, as well as its lesser-known insiders, as characters in his book, telling Top Line he wanted to “hold a mirror to a culture that is essentially in a gilded age.” The hard times of the last few years have barely dented the excesses of politicians, lobbyists, and the journalists who cover them.

    “While people don't like Washington fundamentally, I don't think they have a full cinemagraphic appreciation for like the carnival that's broken out here in recent years, and that's what I tried to do,” says Leibovich, who is also the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine.

    Borrowing a phrase from Sen. Tom Coburn, R – Okla., Leibovich says “the permanent feudal class of Washington,” comprising elected officials, former elected officials, lobbyists, and the

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  • Making ‘Homeland’: Creators of hit TV show on their responsibility to reality in fictional storyline

    On The Radar

    The creators of the hit Showtime series "Homeland" say they feel a responsibility to deal fairly with the controversial real-world issues that are weaved into the show’s fictionalized storyline.

    “We do absolutely search our consciences as a group, as a group of writers,” co-creator Howard Gordon told On The Radar.

    “Ultimately we have to gut check ourselves and sort of say…‘Are we being incendiary for the sake of being incendiary? Are we being provocateurs in a random kind of way?" Gordon said.

    The television series follows the story of bi-polar CIA Agent Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, as she tracks a Marine Sergeant who she suspects turned to terrorist ideology after being held captive by a terrorist group for many years.

    Co-creator Alex Gansa said the show's writers spend a great deal of time discussing ongoing policy debates and the news of the day as part of their creative process.

    “We also tend to be real wonks about this kind of stuff,” Gansa said. “We

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