Loop kudos today to two courageous groups -- one conservative, the other liberal -- who had the temerity to schedule major oceanic parties right after the election. One will be throwing a big celebration; the other will be watching members throw themselves into the sea.
So top folks at super-lib magazine the Nation have scheduled their seventh annual, week-long Eastern Caribbean Cruise, setting off on Dec. 5 with stops in the Bahamas, St. Maarten and Tortola.
Publisher Victor Navasky says a record of about 500 libs -- double the early years' efforts -- have forked over as much as $6,000 for two for the best accommodations to spend the time in deep contemplation of important socio-political matters with the likes of author Calvin Trillin, law professor Derrick A. Bell, and party animal authors Jonathan Schell, Molly Ivins and Robert Scheer.
"If [Sen. John F. Kerry] loses," Navasky said, then the cruise "will be a constructive solidarity session," though at times solidarity in this crowd has been a scarce commodity.
The first two or three cruises saw near-mutinies over whether there were enough women on the panels, drawing a comment from comedian Al Franken that almost sparked a riot.
But this is Bush-hater central, and if President Bush wins, it might be best to put up netting to deter dives into the Caribbean. If things are not that dire, there still "may be a vote to take the next cruise to New Zealand," Navasky said, maybe check out some real estate opportunities.
On the other hand, he noted, this is not a real pro-Kerry crowd. "There is a lack of enthusiasm for Kerry," he said, "largely because of his Iraq war statements. If he's elected and stays the course [in Iraq], there will be a very early disillusionment."
Remember though, Navasky said, "these are vacations in the guise of seminars. People stay up too late and drink too much and some," though we find it hard to believe, "even gamble."
Meanwhile, the staunchly conservative Center for the Study of Popular Culture has planned its Restoration Weekend 2004 on the water in Boca Raton, Fla., for the weekend after next. So while the libs will have a bit of time to digest the news, the conservatives will still be incorporating.
"If Bush wins," said CSPC executive director Michael Finch, the 240 folks who've signed up, including 60 speakers, "will be in a celebratory mood." If not, "they'll be depressed," he said, "so we'll be looking to," among others, Michael Barone, William Kristol and Dick Morris, a man who knows politics and partying, "for guidance" and their assessment of the political environment.
The event, which started in the early Clinton years as "The Dark Ages" and morphed into "Restoration Weekend," gives attendees a chance to hang with retiring Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.), nonpartisan Swift Boat Veterans for Truth co-founder John O'Neill, and the increasingly entertaining duo of Sens. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) and Jim Bunning (R-Ky.). Worth the price of admission, which, for the three-night event is only $1,500 a person, $2,500 for a couple, not including hotel rooms. Sponsors only have to shell out only $20,000. Even so, Finch calls it only "a break-event," largely because they have to pay the travel and hotel bills of all the speakers.
And, like Navasky, Finch insists, "We'll have fun, no matter what. We'll still have fun."
Ralph Nader Memorial Stadium
This "PRESS ADVISORY" just in yesterday morning.
"Ralph Nader Holds Press Conference in Washington, DC, Election Day, 2004."
Wow! This could be exciting. Nader no doubt will give his assessment of the vote, how well he did, the mission he accomplished even though he looks to come in at around 1 percent. But wait a minute.
"Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader will be holding a press conference at 3:00," the release says, "in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Washington, DC, to discuss the lack of services, especially a supermarket in Anacostia. He will also discuss the public funding of the new DC stadium."
Doubtless, a massive crowd of reporters showed up yesterday to discuss these front-burner issues for America. This guy's got nothing but perfect timing.
Try the Mountains for Post-Election Blues
For those looking for a respite from Washington, a chance to really get away from the political animals, why not try Afghanistan? The election there is over, and it's lovely this time of year, just before the mountain roads become impassable for the winter.
Anyone planning a trip overseas would do well to check with the State Department's "Post Reports." Though geared to foreign service officers, these reports carry a wealth of information about your destination, including advice about health, transportation, religious activities, education, recreation and social life, along with weather, history, politics and demographics.
But for Afghanistan, there's one problem: Most all the information has not been updated since Dec. 31, 1986. A lot has happened since then.
In the entire 24-page report, only a few paragraphs were updated and that was done in September 2003. Fortunately, one of the handful of updates concerned the ever-important availability of domestic help.
"Good, trained servants are difficult but not impossible to find," according to the report. Live-in help should be given a few items, we're told, but "servants should understand that these items belong to the employer."