Honore's bark starts a movement
It's already an acronym: DGSOS. And if fans of Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, commander of the troops engaged in hurricane relief, get their way, the letters will soon be on bumper stickers, coffee cups, and rubberband bracelets. It stands for "Don't get stuck on stupid," Honore's bark to reporters asking him questions comparing preparations for Hurricane Katrina with those for Hurricane Rita. While the saying has been around a while, Honore's celebrity helped it take off like wildfire on the Internet and even prompted radioblogger.com, which has the audio posted, to suggest that spokesmen like President Bush's Scott McClellan copy the phrase.
Video clip of Honore's comments: thepoliticalteen.net
Angie Jolie wants war money
Hollywood beauty Angelina Jolie has a better idea for how the government can spend its $5 billion a month on the war: fight HIV/AIDS. "I'm confused about the priorities," Jolie said at a Wednesday meeting of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS held in the fabled LBJ Room right off the Senate floor. Wrapping up a 90-minute meeting with business big shots like Virgin's Richard Branson and political heavyweights like Sens. Joseph Biden and John Kerry, she scoffed at the $15 billion the administration has pledged to fight the disease, the most ever by the United States. "We're talking about three months" of what it costs to fund the war, she said.
Fondly called "Angie" by the guys at the large table, Jolie is a longtime political advocate on social issues like AIDS. She later said that her celebrity status helps bring attention to her issues.
For those who care, she was conservatively dressed in a black suit, wore a lone string of pearls and matching pearl earrings, and showed off highlights in her hair.
While the business leaders talked about how they are helping fight AIDS, Kerry bluntly suggested that the money President Bush has promised won't likely rise, especially as Congress mulls Hurricanes Katrina and Rita aid. In fact, he suggested that the GOP leadership might stretch out the funding over a longer time. Kerry said he has been focused on AIDS for years and felt frustration in raising the fight to a war level. "I spent a couple of years venting that frustration nationally," he said, referring to his 2004 presidential campaign. "Now I'm even more frustrated."
How about KBH for VP
Put Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins down as one big-time politician who'll be cheering Tuesday night's new TV show, Commander In Chief, starring Geena Davis as the president. "I'll be watching," Collins said at a breakfast this morning. Collins says it's likely that a woman will be president one day, but it doesn't sound like she thinks it will be Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a potential presidential candidate in 2008. "It will take election of a woman as vice president before we see a woman as president," she says. That would seem to rule out Clinton, who nobody suggests is running for the No. 2 spot. Instead, she agreed, the likely party to have a female VP is the GOP and maybe in the next election. Her choice: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas. But she did suggest two others: Fellow Mainer Sen. Olympia Snowe and former New Jersey Gov. and ex-EPA Director Christi Whitman. Collins adds that she doesn't want to be president.
Charity Hospital's do-it-all chief
Two days after Hurricane Katrina, Dwayne Thomas was siphoning diesel from a National Guard truck in a desperate effort to run the generators that would power the ventilators keeping his patients alive at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.
"That kept us going for another 36 hours," he told our Nancy Shute. But how quickly times change. Three weeks later, Thomas, CEO and medical director of Charity, was working the House Rayburn Building, looking sharp in a brown suit and electric-blue shirt. His mission had turned from saving the lives of his patients to saving the hospital, which has ministered to the city's poor since 1735. On the shopping list: $750 million in federal funds to replace "Big Charity," a 1930s-era building ruined by the floodwaters. And in the meantime, how about having the Navy lend its hospital ship, the Comfort? Or how about one of those nifty mobile Army hospitals, like they're using in Iraq? When asked whom he'd been lobbying, Thomas looked momentarily blank, then pulled a wad of business cards from his briefcase. Next time he comes to town, no doubt he'll have ready the all-purpose response: "key government officials."
Capitol File party talk
Thursday night's launch party for Washington's new upscale magazine, Capitol File, was as advertised: a boozy mix of the city's media and political elite. We squeezed through the throngs spread out over several rooms on the second floor of Georgetown's Four Seasons Hotel to get these nuggets:
- Yes, it's true, former Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe is writing a book about his experiences in politics over 25 years. The tip was first reported by New York Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove. McAuliffe said it will be filled mostly with funny stories about his days at the DNC and friendship with Bill Clinton. But McAuliffe promised he wouldn't pull any punches about what went wrong in the 2004 election.
- How does former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta stay so skinny despite his fancy cooking? He runs. Or, more specifically, he runs marathons. In the première issue of Capitol File, he wrote about his love of cooking. Last night, he joked that he's the "food editor" of the new mag.
- Actor Joe Pantoliano thinks the press is too focused on itself and not the news. He even suggested that TV news was so self-centered that it reminded him of the movie Broadcast News. While a self-described "news junkie" since 9/11, he admits to preferring the BBC because "they're more accurate."
Capitol File: www.capitolfile-magazine.com
Good time for Clinton to call in sick
Memo to former President Clinton: Early October might be a good time to stay away from your presidential library and museum in Little Rock. Reason: All those women still mad with your flirting and worse plan to be there drawing attention to their harassment charges laid out in the book Their Lives.
The PR stunt will start with a tour by the women of the library, followed by a press conference and a book giveaway to anybody who tours the Clinton library. Then organizer Eric Jackson, publisher of the book, will encourage all those conservative Clinton haters to do their own "Billgrimage" to the library. "It's very likely," he tells our Suzi Parker, "that the entire place is going to be flooded by conservatives that day." What day? We don't know yet, but the organizers tell us it will be during the first week of October. It's the brainchild of Candace Jackson, who wrote the book. Pals tell us she got the idea when watching CNN recently and hearing about Clinton fans making "Billgrimages" to Little Rock.
Visit the Clinton Library: www.clintonfoundation.org
Capitol File's A-list rollout
It doesn't get any hotter than this in Washington: The newest entry into the upscale magazine market, Capitol File, is holding a star-studded launch party Thursday at the newly renovated Four Seasons in Georgetown. The guest list looks like the cream of the crop from the city's biggest A-list event, the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. Among the "host committee" for Jason Binn's Niche Media magazine that plans to convince us that the city is "fun and sexy" are CNN's Paul Begala, Wolf Blitzer, and Larry King; ABC's George Stephanopoulos, and even the Big Cheese of the whole Four Season chain, Wolf Hengst. OK, so where's the sexy part? How about Larry King's wife, Shawn King, whose debut country album, In My Own Back Yard, is skyrocketing? Or actor and Kid 'n Play rap star Christopher Reid and actor and MTV jazz guy Bill Bellamy. To the Fun List, add these who've R.S.V.P.'d: actors Ron Silver and Joe Pantoliano, and Raymone Bain, publicist to stars like Michael Jackson. On both lists, we put the Capitol File's editors, Kate Gibbs and Anne Schroeder and their publisher, Paige Bishop.
And there will even be news at the "by invitation only" fete. Binn will present the Red Cross with a $100,000 check for Hurricane Katrina projects. Not bad for a magazine that has published only one issue, but certainly affordable: At about $16,000 a page, the ad-filled 344-page premiere should have filled Binn's bank account.
It will also be the first time many have seen the fixed-up Four Seasons, which just underwent a $25 million renovation that expanded room sizes. And in case you didn't know, the hotel in Georgetown is the home to sports, music, and Hollywood stars visiting and sometimes lobbying Washington.
Ed Koch decrees: Bush loves Jews
Ed Koch is no Kanye West, the rapper who suggested that President Bush's slow reaction to Hurricane Katrina was racially motivated. Sure, Koch, the former Jewish New York City mayor, had blasted Bush's handling of the crisis, but he never said Bush doesn't like Jews. Here's the scene: Bush last week was speaking in Washington at a rare Jewish unity dinner marking the 350th anniversary of Jews in America. "I can't help but notice and welcome Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City," the president said of the Democrat who had backed Bush's re-election. Koch, the recipient of the prestigious Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award from the American Jewish Historical Society, could have pulled a West but instead praised the president, reports our Kent Allen. "George W. Bush loves us."
The Katrina rap on Bush
What started with rapper Kanye West's nationally televised slap of President Bush's Hurricane Katrina reaction"George Bush doesn't care about black people"has been turned into a song that's flooding the Internet. Rappers Micah Nickerson and Damien Randle wrote the hit on Bush, which is done by the Houston band Legendary K.O. It's fairly clean, by rap standards, but powerfully critical of Bush and the federal government's post-Katrina reaction, which many blacks believe was slow because many of the victims were African-American. Here are some of the lyrics:
Five days in this . . . attic
I can't use a cellphone I keep getting static
Dying cause they lying instead of telling us the truth
Screwed 'cause they say they're coming back for us, too
But that was three days ago and I don't see no rescue
Swam to the store, tryin' to look for food
Corner store's kinda flooded so I broke my way through
Got what I could but before I was through
News say the police shot a black man trying to loot
Bushies shrug it off as an unfair attack, and some instead point to the words of another rapper, Master P, who is quoted by allhiphop.com as blasting West and saying of Bush: "We gon' need the president."
FEMA's always been slow
He's the former chairman of the 9/11 Commission and doesn't have much good to say about the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina. But as Thomas Kean tells it, he really didn't expect more, especially from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. See, he was governor of New Jersey from 1982-1990, and he had to call on FEMA several times to help with floods. "They haven't changed that much," he said this week comparing FEMA's work in New Jersey in the 1980s to what they did after Hurricane Katrina. "They are notoriously slow," said Kean. But, he added, "Once they get in, they do a pretty good job."
A new file on the Capitol
It's ready, set, go for the Capitol File, the highly anticipated Washington society and fashion magazine. Hitting the streets Friday, the new slick from Niche Media's Jason Binn is a weighty 346 pages filled with some very entertaining stories written by an array of Washington big shots like former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, Bush advisor Ed Gillespie and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Podesta reveals that he's an all-American cook, the product of an Italian-American dad and Greek-American mom. "Family life," he pens, "revolved around the dinner table and men could cook." Want proof? Podesta says he and wife Mary cooked their wedding reception dinner. Talk about ambitious: They fed 85 guests Italian, Greek, and Polish specialties. He even included a few recipes for Capitol File readers. Albright, meanwhile participated in a little Q&A for the mag, discussing her travels around the world. Best walking cities: Prague, Istanbul, Paris. What's the best way to pack? "I finally figured out that a trip is not the time to show off your entire wardrobe. If you can decide that you can have one basic color, that helps." She adds that it's hard being a female diplomat when it comes to fashion. "You cannot appear on television in five different countries in the same outfit," says the former Clinton aide. "Being the first woman Secretary of State, I think that was a surprise to people that I had to have clothes, not just a change of a tie."
Executive Editor Anne Schroeder says the ad-packed Capitol File will try to reveal what buttoned-down officialdom likes to keep secret: "Washington is fun and sexy." If the mag turns out to be anything like Binn's Gotham, for example, that won't be hard. Our latest Gotham just arrived and features stories on the city's best-dressed, coolest parties and even an ad featuring a naked Pam Anderson strategically posed enough to win a PG rating.
Capitol File Magazine
The politics of Hurricane Katrina
Republicans in Washington are happy today about one element of the Hurricane Katrina disaster: At least they weren't the first to drag politics into the story. Credit for that goes to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who went on HuffingtonPost.com to blame Katrina on Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. His theory: Barbour, in a memo, pushed President Bush to derail the Kyoto global warming pact, which then led to bad weather. His blog concluded with these two sentences: "In 1998, Republican icon Pat Robertson warned that hurricanes were likely to hit communities that offended God. Perhaps it was Barbour's memo that caused Katrina, at the last minute, to spare New Orleans and save its worst flailings for the Mississippi coast."
That has naturally angered Republicans. But they are defending Barbour and praising his handling of the situation. Over the past three days Barbour has followed the 9/11 playbook of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani by holding regular and emotional press briefings, meeting with constituents and touring the damaged area. "He's playing his cards right," says a GOP strategist. "Tragedy can bring out the best in people." Another Barbour fan said that the governor's threat to looters was exactly what the conservative base wanted to hear. What's more, say allies of the former Republican National Committee chairman, it's a good debut on the national stage for a politician who some believe wants to run for president in 2008.
Meet Governor Barbour
Follow South Mississippi's handling of Katrina's aftermath