This is it! The cruise of a lifetime! The one you've been waiting for. It's the Judicial Watch "Cruise to Clean Up Corruption," sponsored by the conservative watchdog group that has pursued many of the major scandals of the Clinton administration. It's eight glorious days on the luxurious MS Rhapsody of the Seas, leaving Los Angeles Feb. 27 and cruising down to Puerto Vallarta and back, with stops in Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan.
But that's not what makes this cruise a must-do. It's the star-studded cast on board, featuring none other than Paula Jones herself, according to the brochure, which gives her title as "heroine." Then there's "author" Dolly Kyle Browning, who has claimed she had a lengthy affair with Bill Clinton and has written a novel inspired by that relationship.
There are three days of scheduled "At Sea--Judicial Watch Seminars," with founder and chairman Larry Klayman and president Tom Fitton, along with conservative radio talk show host Blanquita Cullum; reporter Christopher Ruddy, who raised questions about the deaths of Clinton aide Vincent Foster and Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown; Joe Farah, president of the Western Journalism Center and editor of worldnetdaily.com, a conservative online magazine site; and former Pentagon official and House Rules Committee national security investigator Ed Timperlake, co-author of a book on Clinton's Chinese contributions.
Sure, the trip's a bit pricey: $11,000 for two in the spectacular "owner's suite" (just under $10,000 for one person) on the Bridge Deck, but there are also the cheaper interior rooms farther down for about $3,800 for two.
Many organizations--the Heritage Foundation, the Nation magazine, among others--hold cruises to raise money and bring the faithful together. But those trips will always be available. This cruise, on the other hand, is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. After all, the Clinton administration won't be around the next year.
And if the seminars "to clean up corruption" get a bit heavy for a cruise, there's a picture in the brochure of some happy cruise-goers gathered around a table with little piles of small disks in front of them, each looking down at two cards facing up. Must be some kind of card game. And behind them appear to be, yes, slot machines!
Plenty of rooms are still available, but hurry. And be careful whether you select early or late dining. The brochure warns: "(Note! Early seating will conflict with many Judicial Watch special cocktail parties!)"
Ringing His Bell
There's been much talk of late about the Digital Divide, the gap between well-off urbanites and poor or rural folks over getting access to the Internet. So, Bell South last week announced that it was going to try to do something about the inequalities of Internet access by using radio transmissions to beam connections into the hinterlands.
First, the Bell South people needed to have a trial, to see if the proposed system will work. But where to begin? They selected Houma, La., a small town not very different from hundreds of others in the South.
But there's one thing Houma can claim: It sits in the district of Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.), who happens to be a powerful member of the House Commerce Committee and has sponsored a bill that would make it easier for regional Bell telephone companies to enter the long-distance market. Just a coincidence.
Moving about. . . . John Wyma--a former lobbyist for Upjohn Co., aide to former representative Howard Wolpe (D-Mich.) and more recently chief of staff to Rep. Rod R. Blagojevich (D-Ill.)--is moving to the Senate side to be chief of staff to Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Jim Kennedy, now special adviser to White House counsel Beth Nolan and formerly a longtime aide to Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) who arrived at the White House just in time for the Monica Lewinsky controversy, is moving down to the lower press office to be deputy White House press secretary, though he'll continue to handle counsel-related matters.
The Clinton departures continue. . . . At the Justice Department, Loretta C. Argrett, the first African American woman to be an assistant attorney general, will leave her position as the head of the tax division at the end of the year. Argrett, a chemist both in the private sector and at the Food and Drug Administration, dropped that vocation after about 15 years for Harvard Law School and private practice here starting in 1976. She taught at Howard University law school before leaving to run the tax division and will return to her teaching job.
At the Interior Department, Patricia J. Beneke, assistant secretary for water and science and former counsel on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will leave at the end of the year to work in the private sector.
A Post colleague, waiting last week for a long-overdue fax from Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government, called to find out what was up.
The problem, a Gore staffer explained, appeared to be that the recycled paper the office prefers had been cycled once too often and the fax machine was not accepting it.
How about photocopying it for a messenger pick-up, our colleague suggested.
No, he was told, the paper had so much recycled content that the copies were unreadable.
It's not easy being green. . . .