By Al Kamen
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Sen. Trent Lott's resignation announcement Monday stunned the political cognoscenti, but the rationale seems pretty obvious. Lott (R-Miss.), 66, needed to cash in before he got much older. Being GOP whip isn't much of a job when you're in the minority and prospects are not good for a change in that status anytime soon.
The true significance of Lott's departure is that it leaves Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) as the last Singing Senator left standing, or sitting, or whatever.
The barbershop quartet, formed in 1995, stopped performing when baritone John Ashcroft lost his seat to a dead Democrat in 2000. Shortly thereafter, then-Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont bolted the party. And now bass Lott is soon to be out.
This leaves tenor and lead singer Craig -- who for now says he's quitting next year -- going solo, unless he wants to recruit some replacements.
It's the biggest musical breakup since the legendary Ben E. King left the Drifters.Frist a Partner at Cressey
Speaking of former Republican senators, Loop favorite Bill "Dr. Video" Frist, the former majority leader, has joined the Chicago private investment firm Cressey & Co. as a partner, Bloomberg reports. The new company specializes in the health-care industry.Iraqis Miss an Opportunity
Everyone who is anyone showed up at the Annapolis Mideast peace parley yesterday. The Saudis were there, the Jordanians, even the Syrians. But not, curiously, our Iraqi allies. They were invited, we are told, and Washington really wanted them there, but they declined.
It's a particularly odd decision, what with the sinking dollar and the spectacular shopping bargains available this holiday season.And I'd Like to Follow Up
FEMA's phony news conference last month was not the first time a Department of Homeland Security flack played reporter at a briefing.
Seems that in January 2006, a public affairs aide with Immigration and Customs Enforcement asked a question at a San Antonio news conference, according to an investigation by DHS, which oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency and ICE.
Unlike in FEMA's excellent ploy, the ICE aide was told not to ask the question but did so anyway and was reprimanded afterward, DHS told House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).
The faux reporter did not identify herself, the Associated Press reported, but San Antonio reporters knew at the time that she worked for ICE.Must Read, Indeed
A security meltdown the likes of Three Mile Island hit the ABC News morning tipsheet yesterday. The Note's "Must Reads" e-mail was sent out at 5:30 a.m. to an elite group of what presumably are the touted "Gang of 500" opinion shapers -- the people who count in the world of politics and media.
No one, absolutely no one, is told who is on this famous bcc ("blind carbon copy") list. Well, that was the case until yesterday morning.
Despite our constant admonitions to be very, very careful before hitting the "send" button, a young ABC-er hit it -- accidentally, we're told.
Not a minute later came the "would-like-to-recall" message, trying to retrieve the five-page list of the e-mail's recipients. Too late.
Now everyone on the list knows who's in the gang and who's not. There are about 524 addresses, but many are duplicates, leaving perhaps a few hundred in the coveted category.
The list includes the usual pols -- Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.), Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) -- lobbyists including Tommy Boggs, Dick Armey and Linda Daschle; Hill staffers; campaign types; White House aides; and, of course, many reporters.
Not on the list: George W. Bush.Zinni's Commanding Presence
We're told that some officers at Central Command have posted a photo of their former chief, Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who in retirement has become a vigorous opponent of Bush administration policy in Iraq. Below the photo is this caption: "WWZD?"
What would Zinni do? Seems pretty clear if you've been keeping up with all the op-eds he's been writing.Big-Time Bake Sale
It seems like only yesterday, but it was nearly 15 years ago when then-Arkansas first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, asked about her legal career, said: "You know, I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life." (That rivaled her other campaign classic: "I'm not sitting here, some little woman standing by her man.")
And now, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) is fundraising with cookies. Yes, you can "learn deliciously easy tips & recipes for flawless cookies," she says in her invite to a "Holiday Cookie Workshop" set for Dec. 12 in Arlington.
"Menu: Raspberry Shortbread Bars -- Iced Orange Gingerbread Stars -- Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers -- Mini Cranberry Chocolate Chip Scones."
Just $1,000 for a political action committee, $500 for an individual. (Cookies apparently are free.)Negative Impact
And now, this e-mail from Columbia University's journalism school. "Your Annual Support Impacts Current J-School Students," the subject line says. The noun is later used again as a verb when we are told that our contribution will "positively impact" the "incoming class of 2009."
Sorry. It's not a verb until Bill Safire says so.