Sen. Edward Kennedy brought his 50-foot schooner safely to shore in Falmouth, Mass., early yesterday morning after the vessel ran aground off Cape Cod and began taking on water. Kennedy had called the Coast Guard for help about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, but search teams were unable to find the boat -- the Mya -- because Kennedy had incorrectly radioed his position. He reported he was about two miles southwest of his family's Hyannis Port compound when he was actually about 10 miles southwest.

The Mya had been buffeted by heavy rain and high winds, and visibility at the time was less than a mile, the Coast Guard said. Seven passengers were aboard the vessel, but neither the Coast Guard nor Kennedy's Senate office could say who they were.

Star Treatment

The criticism continues in Los Angeles over the treatment actor Sean Penn received from the legal system after he violated probation by slugging a movie extra. Penn's attorney, Howard Weitzman, who has represented such clients as John DeLorean, Cathy Evelyn Smith and Ozzy Osbourne, said the way Penn's case was handled "is done every day for people in the business world." Herb Licker, who is representing the movie extra Penn punched, said the treatment was unusual. "I've had clients go to jail who had to have their children placed in foster homes just so they could serve their time," he argued.

As to Penn's treatment: He rode in the judges' elevator when making a court appearance; he chose when he would serve the 60-day sentence imposed for violating probation in an earlier assault case; he picked his own jail about 300 miles away from Los Angeles; and after six days he was released to go to Germany to work on a movie, and is to return to a jail of his choosing when filming is completed. Could that be the way the law works for everyone in Los Angeles?

Out and About

By all recent reports, interest in Oliver North T-shirts, bumper stickers and buttons has fallen off, and even congressional mail is much less supportive of the telegenic Marine. This may not be the right time, but master impressionist Rich Little is about to release his version of Ollie North on an album titled "Ronald Reagan Slept Here." Little, who studied North's vocal mannerisms while watching the Iran-contra hearings, has North in one segment on a talk show taking the blame for everything, including the crash of the Hindenburg and Joan Rivers' career. Who knows, people may still remember what North sounded like by the time the record is released ...

Hospital Report: Rep. John Dingell was listed in good condition last night at Georgetown University Hospital after hip-replacement surgery. The tough chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, who is expected to remain hospitalized for 10 days to two weeks, said he will back to work when Congress returns from summer recess on Sept. 9 ...

Sen. Frank Lautenberg and his wife Lois have separated and are considering divorce after 31 years of marriage. The New Jersey Democrat's office issued a one-sentence statement yesterday saying the two "have separated in contemplation of a divorce." It was the first indication of marital problems for the first-term senator, who plans to seek reelection next year ...

Radio and television's all-night talker Larry King is so well behaved since recovering from a mild heart attack several months ago that he has become the "poster boy" for both the Heart and Lung associations. He has cut all those rich and fatty foods out of his diet and has painlessly given up a three-pack-a-day smoking habit. On Nov. 5, he will be the Lung Association's Man of the Year, and next April 9, he will be the Man of the Year at the Heart Association Ball ...