Donald Rumsfeld, A Real Stand-Up Guy
By Richard Leiby
Thursday, June 24, 2004; Page C03
United we stand: In a just-revealed notation on a 2002 memo about interrogation tactics, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indicated that making terrorism detainees stand for up to four hours was no biggie in the physical stress department. "I stand for 8-10 hours a day," Rummy scrawled. "Why is standing limited to four hours?"
Yesterday, underlings were happy to confirm that their 71-year-old boss does, indeed, toil for hours without sitting. Evidently he enjoys it. "There is no chair at his desk in his office," spokeswoman Hollen Wheeler told us. "When he works, he stands. When he reads or writes, he uses a stand-up desk all day. . . . Maybe that's a tribute to his health. He's in great shape."
But what about when Rumsfeld relaxes? "When he has lunch with people he sits down," said a defense official who asked not to be identified. "But what he does when he eats alone, I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if he stood."
Further proof that one man's torture is simply another man's posturing.
• Male readers beware: This is a dramatic, sad story of addiction, but you can't relate. It's about women who are powerless over their compulsions. It's about expensive footwear and an innocent-looking young Washington woman named Emily Kumler, who is feeding her own addiction and corrupting others by hosting secretive "shoe parties" with a shadowy dealer.
"I consider this man the equivalent of my crack dealer," Kumler, 27, confessed to us this week. "Except he sells me very nice shoes."
Emily Kumler, in polka-dot top, surrounded by other shoe-aholics in her apartment. Not pictured: The shadowy source behind the footwear.
(Courtesy Emily Kumler)
At less than half price! And the merchandise includes Vera Wang and Prada! "These shoes cost between $350 and $450; nobody paid more than $125," she boasted.
Kumler, a reporter for Medill News Service, won't narc out her "shoe source" by naming him, but says she made the connection while shopping. "I met him near Dupont Circle where he was trying to sell shoes to a store owner, so I know he's not fencing."
Earlier this month she allowed Jane magazine to photograph a shoe-buying frenzy when the source brought more than 200 boxes of slides, sandals, stilettos and slingbacks to her apartment. A dozen women participated, using Kumler's bed-turned-sofa as the center of the deep-discount orgy.
"The women flocked to a pink bed in the middle of the living room," she told us in an e-mail. "Like whores to sailors the ladies dragged pair after pair of shoes to the bed hoping for a good time." Meanwhile, the photog from Jane snapped shots and "ordered the ladies to 'get crazy on the bed!' "
Those photos are too graphic for this column, but as a public service we are presenting alternate evidence that such disturbing activities do occur, unbeknown to men, within the legal limits of Washington, D.C.
Flying Off, and Above, the Shelves
• Scanning the lengthy list of headlines on Matt Drudge's Web site around 3 p.m. yesterday, you'd get the impression that Bill Clinton's new memoir was a nationwide flop: "Sales slow in Florida . . . Stacks left untouched on Maryland Shore . . . Book sales quiet in Arizona . . . Tome slow out of gate in Cincinnati . . . Not flying off shelves in Hudson Valley . . . Mixed reaction in Manitowoc . . . No best-seller in Billings," etc.
Drudge, longtime booster of all things anti-Clinton, did link to one story predicting that "My Life," the former president's look back, would sell upward of 100,000 copies and set a record for single-day nonfiction sales. In fact, it shattered that record with sales of more than 400,000 copies -- as trumpeted in a press release put out by 1:30 p.m., quoting Sonny Mehta, president of the Knopf Publishing Group: "We are seeing exceedingly strong sales for 'My Life' not only across the country but around the world."
Drudge, usually one of the quickest cyber- reporters around, picked up that story late in the afternoon, after we sent him requests for comment.
And speaking of The Book: Where does anybody find time to read a 957 -page doorstop? Former Clinton aide and current ABC News host George Stephanopoulos got lucky Tuesday, in a manner of speaking, when he found himself stuck on the tarmac at La Guardia for several hours along with other New York-to-Washington passengers. By the time the scheduled 3:30 p.m. flight reached the District five hours later, Stephanopoulos had plowed through the book, he told us through a rep yesterday.
Hold the Phone!
• Republican Rep. Porter Goss, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, may regret granting firebrand filmmaker Michael Moore an interview for the movie "Fahrenheit 9/11." Guffaws erupted at a preview screening when Goss declares that anyone with concerns about intelligence collection could call a toll-free number.
Suddenly, a message appears on the screen saying there is no such number. But Moore helpfully flashes a number: the direct line for Goss's office.
Julie Almacy, the Florida lawmaker's communications director, has not seen the movie (it opens tomorrow) but told us her boss was misinterpreted. "Porter is speaking metaphorically. He's said that to a multitude of people: The intelligence committee is, metaphorically, a 1-800 number. If you have a complaint regarding the intelligence community, you can call the intelligence committee."
A spokesman for the movie had no comment yesterday.
With Anne Schroeder
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
The secretary of defense, in his favored locked and upright position.
(Frank Johnston - The Washington Post File Photo)
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