Even Bigwigs Have to Take a Dip in the Capital's Jury Pool

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, July 25, 2006

This is why God created BlackBerrys, folks! Yesterday was shaping up as a routinely dull day in the jury pool holding pen at D.C. Superior Court until a clerk called a couple dozen names into the courtroom of Judge Rafael Diaz. Two immediately greeted each other.

"Hello, Karl," said Madeleine Albright .

"Hello, Madame Secretary," said Karl Rove .

Then everyone in the room dived for their portable communication devices. "It reminded me of why I moved to Washington!" one witness gasped to us from a courthouse broom closet.

The Bush strategist was in a lightweight olive-green suit, cell glued to ear, and looked like he had lost weight. He was heard telling Albright that Omaha (which just won a surprising chunk of anti-terror funds) is a target because all the phone lines cross there. In the waiting room, he passed time with homework (notes on the Iraqi prime minister's visit, a draft op-ed on American workers, a PowerPoint on Social Security reform, an article on "Candidate Giuliani," bullet points on Gulf Coast reconstruction). When another juror started snoring, he quipped, "We need to get that guy some sinus surgery." Once in the courtroom (a cocaine distribution case), Rove was quickly excused, prompting a wave of huffy our jobs are as important as his! whispers. But, explained White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, "He knew the judge socially": Their kids graduated from high school together. Said another juror: "Somehow I thought his next court appearance would be less mundane."

The former secretary of state wore a brown unconstructed blazer-and-culottes ensemble, a blue tee and low-heeled loafers. Another potential juror was glad to see that Albright hasn't been dismissed yet: "That may work for us. Don't they ask if you know anybody in the room? We all know you!" Replied Albright: "That didn't work for me."

Her Ambassadorship Has Come In. Next Stop: Barbados.

Mary Ourisman
In Mary Ourisman's future: A posting worth toasting.(File Photo)
She's cute, she's blond, she's Texan, and yep, it's finally official: Mary Ourisman is going to be the ambassador to Barbados.

The wife of car tycoon Mandy Ourisman is a high-profile figure on Washington's social and cultural scene; Laura Bush attended her 60th-birthday party in February. The White House formally announced the nomination last week, months after word leaked out that President Bush had tapped her for the job. The Caribbean postings are often reserved for political appointees with ties to the Republican Party -- the Ourismans have donated $443,620 to GOP candidates and committees since 1999.

Like a good nominee, Ourisman is keeping mum until confirmed, but her husband says, "She's on cloud nine -- she's very honored. And I'll be supporting her and going with her." They'll be leaving homes in Washington, Palm Beach, and Jamaica for the ambassador's residence on the west coast of the laid-back island nation, where their pals will undoubtedly pour serious bucks into the tourism industry. "Remember, in Barbados the prime minister walks down Broad Street and pushes his own trolley in the market -- without security," says Roy Morris, editor at Barbados's Daily Nation newspaper.

If confirmed, Ourisman will become not only "Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary" to Barbados (population 265,000) but will also represent the United States in St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua, Dominica, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Lots of drinks with little umbrellas in her future!


Miss Universe 2006
From left, contestants Miss Switzerland Lauriane Gillieron, Miss Paraguay Lourdes Arevalos, Miss Japan Kurara Chibana, Miss USA Tara Conner and Miss Puerto Rico Zuleyka Rivera hold hands during the Miss Universe competition in Los Angeles.(Hector Mata - AFP)
The new Miss Universe, 18-year-old Zuleyka Mendoza of Puerto Rico, is fine after fainting at a news conference following her win Sunday night. Pageant officials blamed the hot lights and her heavy metal-chain gown. (No such problems for fourth runner-up Miss USA, whose lavender dress was designed by "Project Runway" folks.) Why isn't Puerto Rico part of the Miss USA pageant? Because it's "a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States," hence a separate country in pageant logic. Are you thinking what we're thinking, Miss D.C.?

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

Tom Hanks and Dennis Miller touring the Spy Museum on Saturday night after both attended the Nationals victory over the Cubs at RFK. Hanks (in a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame jacket and jeans) brought two of his sons; he's been on a 50th-birthday pilgrimage this summer to visit every MLB stadium in the nation. He told museum folks he's doing research for his upcoming role in " Charlie Wilson's War," about the wheeler-dealer Texas congressman who secretly helped arm the Afghan mujaheddin in the '80s.

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