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That's SIIC -- or Is It?

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For those perhaps disinclined to attend because they think the old Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel is a bit dumpy, " Check out the newly renovated hotel at this website!" Korb urged in bold-faced excitement in the e-mail.

Finding Culture on the Fairway

If you can't make the IRS confab and you love golf, there's still time to sign up for the Smithsonian Institution's great trip in April to the final round of the 2008 Masters in Augusta, Ga.

Don't get the wrong idea. The Smithsonian does only educational tours to historic, scenic and cultural places, and this $6,000 weekend is no exception. "Study Leader" Mike Hurdzan, a golf course architect and historian, "presents a talk on golf history at Augusta as well as some little-known facts about the famous course design," the blurb says.

"See famous landmarks of the Augusta course like Amen Corner, Rae's Creek, Magnolia Lane, Nelson Bridge, and the Eisenhower Tree, where former President of the United States and club member Dwight D. Eisenhower hit this 125-year-old loblolly pine so many times that he campaigned (and lost) to have it removed!"

See? For golfers, this is like the Pyramids, Machu Picchu and the Great Wall all rolled into one! They advise you to book this month.

The Past Is the Present

Former deputy national security adviser Meghan O'Sullivan, who was senior National Security Council director for Iraq and before that a top aide in Baghdad to then-Iraq czar L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer, is back in sunny Baghdad this summer for another tour before heading up to Harvard in the fall.

There was some thought, we're told, of rewarding O'Sullivan for her service by giving her an ambassadorship. The pivotal United Arab Emirates job was mentioned, and while Margaret Scoby, a top career diplomat and former ambassador to Syria, had been in line for the posting, the UAE is thought to have wanted a political appointee, since they see the Saudis with their political appointee.

But folks on the Hill apparently warned that any confirmation hearing for O'Sullivan would likely turn into a full-blown assault on Iraq policy, what with three Democratic presidential contenders -- Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) -- on the Foreign Relations Committee.

We'll Miss You -- Not!

Speaking of Foreign Relations Committee members, Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) likes to boast of his service as President Ronald Reagan's Navy secretary. But now we learn that Reagan didn't have such a good impression of him. "Sec. Webb resigned over Navy budget cuts," the Gipper wrote on Feb. 22, 1988, according to "The Reagan Diaries," the just-out collection edited by Douglas Brinkley. "I don't think Navy was sorry to see him go." Ouch.


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