Contrary to common wisdom, a White House assignment isn't the most glamorous of media gigs. Often there's prolonged, frenetic activity followed by periods of inaction. Working conditions leave much to be desired, which is why the press and the White House get together occasionally to chat about things, as they did this week.

One issue, judging from NBC assignment manager Dave Forman's e-mail Wednesday to his crews at the White House, was snoozing on the job.

"It has come to the attention of a senior White House official that some crews assigned to the White House are laying out and sleeping in the briefing room," he wrote. "Crew members from other news organizations were found sleeping under the curtain behind the briefing podium on a recent weekend.

"We need to reiterate that [NBC crews] are not to take naps while on the job," Forman said. "We understand that there can be long periods of downtime in the White House, but sleeping is not acceptable." If anyone spots someone sleeping, "it becomes your responsibility to report it since the White House has mentioned the possibility of removing the hard pass [for entry] from those caught sleeping."

"In addition, lawn chairs on the north lawn and driveway area are not to be left unattended," he said.

So just throw a towel over the chair to show it's taken?

Models of Communications

Normally, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association Wireless 2003 conference March 17-19 in New Orleans would not be a Loop-recommended trip. Sure, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael K. Powell will be there. So will former AOL Time Warner vice chairman Ted Turner.

Even better, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, the richest man in the world and of course a wonderful fellow, brilliant speaker and close friend, will be giving the keynote presentation.

Still, the weather likely won't be great, and who wants to go to wonky sessions titled "Wireless LAN Meets Wireless WAN"? Or worse, "The International Business Dynamics of 802.11 and Cellular"?

Ah, but the planners have this problem figured out. They've come up with a fine "Convention Highlight." Yes, it's the "Fashion in Motion: Wireless Fashion Show! Stunning models strut the catwalk wearing the latest in fashion," the brochure says, "while displaying and demonstrating the most futuristic technology, hot products . . . and fashion accessories you have only read about." And they won't be wearing wires!

There's even a picture of a gorgeous, scantily clad model wearing, well, some sort of high-tech gizmo. There's only one Gates speech, but there'll be eight, yes, eight, half-hour model showings -- three on each of the first two days and two on the last.

Wireless Magazine's "Babes of Wireless" edition?

$111 a Pink Slip

Back in 1996, about 12,000 souls worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Now, after years of downsizing, the number stands at about 5,500, and continues to shrink.

About 700 workers departed in a recent series of buyouts, but there's still deadwood left, chief operating officer John F. Bovenzi said in a Jan. 6 memo to all employees. "We still have well over 200 employees occupying identified surplus positions," he said. "But even under the best scenario, these actions will not come close to eliminate the surpluses." (Now estimated at around 100.)

"Therefore, we will begin planning" to ax people in June, he said.

So more than a few FDIC folks were unhappy when American Banker reported last month that FDIC gave $860,000 in bonuses to 39 percent of its executives last year. An FDIC spokesman said the firings and demotions and such were not linked to the bonus system and that both activities were undertaken after careful deliberation.

Quick Loop Quiz! Who got the biggest bonus? Ah, you guessed it. Bovenzi, with $22,356.

Talbott Aide to Cheney Staff

Victoria Nuland, deputy chief of mission at NATO and top aide to former deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott, is the pick to replace Eric S. Edelman as No. 2 adviser on Vice President Cheney's foreign policy team assuming Edelman, who also worked for President Bill Clinton's pal Strobe, is confirmed as ambassador to Turkey. A diplomatic superstar and career officer, Nuland speaks Chinese and Russian and a few other languages.

Catching Up

The White House is moving to fill some slots at the Department of Homeland Security. C. Stewart Verdery Jr., senior legislative counsel at Vivendi Universal Entertainment and formerly counsel on the Senate Judiciary and Rules committees, has been tapped to be assistant secretary of homeland security for border and transportation security policy. Bruce Marshall Carnes, chief financial officer at the Department of Energy, moves over to the same job at homeland security.

William Emil Moschella, chief legislative counsel on the House Judiciary Committee, has been picked to be assistant attorney general for legislative affairs. Nicole Nason, assistant commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service, has been named assistant secretary of transportation for government affairs.