A Different Path for Hurricane Campbell
Hollywood Still Loves New Orleans
They might be living in Washington now, but that doesn't mean 40 New Orleans-area residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina aren't loyal to their hometown. We hear that the Motion Picture Association of America last week invited them to a dinner of flank steak and chicken and a screening of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the group's HQ a block from the White House. One of the evacuees pushed the group to promise that Hollywood would not forget New Orleans and would take advantage of special tax credits to return there and film movies. "It's a really big issue," says an MPAA official. "Of course we'll return." Need proof? The group, which represents major studios, is meeting with the Louisiana congressional delegation this week to discuss future film projects.
Just Nostalgic or Out of Touch?
The Bushies who recently wrote the plan to boost the mileage of light trucks are either nostalgic or blind to the prices we're paying for gas. That's because their program to require that mileage increase an average of 1.3 miles per gallon by 2011 was based on a two-year-old price of $25 to $30 per barrel of oil, not the current $65 price. So what? you ask. William Pizer, a former Bush economist now with Resources for the Future, a think tank, suggests the administration take advantage of the high prices and boost mileage another 4 to 5 miles per gallon. With gas higher than the White House figured, the added cost of making engines fuel efficient would be offset by the savings at the pump.
How the Pentagon Caught Katrina
Did Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have a premonition about hurricane season? Turns out that some two weeks before Katrina hit the Gulf, he signed a "severe weather execution order" that let the Northern Command dispatch officials to hurricane sites on its own, without Washington's OK. Officials report that the order helped speed the military response.
Dr. Scholl's in the Oval Office?
Is America ready for a president who wears clogs and plays with a teddy bear? Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist thinks so. The heart surgeon and undeclared White House hopeful has recently been sending us colorful E-mails about his travels in what appears to be a bid to show a folksier side as he considers the 2008 race. His latest includes "12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Bill Frist," as written by his kids. Among them: He prefers Dr. Scholl's clogs in the operating room and practiced stitches on his teddy bear.
The Trials of le Tour de Bush
Don't tell former Commerce Secretary Don Evans that mountain biking is a kid's sport. We hear that he fell and broke his collarbone last month while training to bike with his pal President Bush in Crawford, Texas. "He's in a lot of pain," says a friend, but recovering fast.
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With Marianne Lavelle and Julian E. Barnes