Loop Fans are waiting to see who's going to be the first member of Congress and the first lobbyist to land in a corporate jet next Tuesday at the newly reopened private aviation operations at Reagan National Airport.
Yes, over the objections of more security-minded administration officials, long-suffering corporate lobbyists, fat cats and politicians will once again use the private air terminal that has been closed since the government, citing national security, banned such flights after Sept. 11, 2001.
For the status-conscious, it will be even better than the old days, when just about anyone could avoid mingling with tourists and lesser folk. Only lawmakers and corporate types flying to or from 12 designated "gateway" airports will be able to fly to National.
The lists includes big cities -- New York area (LaGuardia, White Plains and Teterboro in New Jersey), Chicago Midway, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Seattle, Minneapolis and San Francisco. It also includes West Palm Beach, Fla., a large city in terms of wealth, and Lexington, Ky. Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, among its many attributes, is not all that far from the home of Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the Appropriations homeland security subcommittee.
And the status-conscious will be pleased to know that only 48 flights per day will be allowed, fewer than half the number permitted before the terrorist attacks. There are, to be sure, some lingering inconveniences. Crews and passengers will have to pass background checks, bags will be screened, and armed security guards paid for by the companies must be on board.
But these are small prices to be paid compared to the indignities of having the chauffeur drive all the way in from Dulles or BWI and the insult of actually having to stand in those dreadful lines.
It's not that these important persons have been closed out completely in the last four years. Word is there have been 3,500 "special waivers" for private jets to land at National so as not to put undue stress on our lawmakers.
Look for intensified pressure to open more "gateways" for deserving lawmakers and corporate folks in coming months in other very large cities, such as Nashville, and Anchorage, Juneau and Kotzebue, Alaska.
Bolton Burns Up Two Wishes
Chatter is that U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton has made some picks for four senior posts at the U.S. mission in New York. Alejandro Wolff, a highly regarded career foreign service officer who's been deputy chief of mission in Paris for the last four years and before that was executive assistant to then-Secretaries of State Madeleine K. Albright and, for a few months, Colin L. Powell, to be the No. 2 U.S. diplomat at the mission. He would succeed Anne W. Patterson, who's now assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs.
Mark D. Wallace, a lawyer, GOP consultant and former Bush 2004 deputy campaign director, is said to be the replacement for Patrick F. Kennedy at the United Nations in the management ambassadorship. Kennedy is a top aide to Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte.
Culture and the Corps
The Marine Corps has opened a center in Quantico to teach Marines something about the culture of the places where they are fighting, such as Iraq. The Marines, according to a report in InsideDefense.com, will learn five to six sentences of Arabic or French, among other languages, and "how to criticize Iraqi security forces in training and dealing with a Muslim Iraqi woman at a city checkpoint."
There is a way, an official at the center said, for Marines to do house searches so that the residents become intelligence sources rather than enemies of the U.S. occupation in Iraq.
Might want to ratchet that training up a few more sentences, if that's the goal.
The Lease He Could Do
This just in from Ogletown, Del. Police last month raided and shut down an alleged brothel owned by a lawyer at -- where else? -- the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
More than 20 people were arrested in a Sept. 23 raid at the Cape Cod-style house, the Associated Press reported. Business was brisk, at times creating constant traffic in the neighborhood, which is just outside Newark, Del.
The homeowner, Steven M. Goldstein, who works at HUD headquarters here in the division of program compliance, hired a Wilmington lawyer last week to evict the tenants for violating the lease. A HUD spokesman said Goldstein had not been involved in the management of the property and had not violated any HUD rules, because the dwelling gets no federal money and has no federal contracts. Goldstein had never met the tenant, Enrique Arce.
When police raided the home they found $56,428 in cash -- very brisk indeed, it appears -- and a SIG Sauer .357 semiautomatic handgun. Arce and two other men were charged with promoting prostitution, four women were charged with prostitution and 13 male customers, ages 17 to 42, were charged with patronizing a prostitute.