With rumors of Fidel Castro‘s failing health in the news again this week, AOL co-founder Jim Kimsey and I were at a party the other evening discussing our respective trips to Cuba a few years back when Kimsey told me he recently found a poignant letter in the National Archives. It was hand-written in 1940 by a 12-year-old boy in Santiago de Cuba, to then-President Franklin Roosevelt asking him to send a “ten dollar bill green American because never I have not seen a ten dollar bill green American.” It was signed, “Your friend, Fidel Castro.”… And Kimsey’s $10 response
Kimsey sent a copy of the letter via Dagoberto Rodriguez Barrera of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington with a crisp $10 bill and a note to the Cuban dictator thanking him “for the many courtesies you have extended to me over the years …” That includes remembering him with holiday greeting cards and cigars. “I have fond memories of our drinks, conversation and your hospitality in Havana several years ago,” wrote Kimsey. “I wanted to respond for President Roosevelt by sending you a crisp, American ten-dollar bill – I hope it’s not too late!”
Virus to make you Sober
Even the CIA can be spoofed. Someone has been sending e-mails to many journalists this week allegedly from Steve Allison of the intelligence agency’s public affairs office saying the CIA has logged their IP address on more than 30 illegal Web sites. Apparently, so many pressies were actually concerned that it was necessary for the CIA public affairs office to put a voice recording on its phone saying that it was a hoax and to delete the e-mail and attachment infected by the virus, known as the Sober worm.
Cheney waits for no critic
David Corn, longtime Washington editor of The Nation and author of “The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception,” attended the American Enterprise Institute press conference where a former AEI fellow, Vice President Dick Cheney, gave an address on the Iraq war and terrorism. As the vice president left the room, ignoring both journalists and policy wonks, Corn was advised to tone down his “what, no questions?” monologue. Corn, who could be heard clearly across the room as media and guests departed quietly, said he wanted to ask the vice president if he thought it had been dishonest of him to point to a Czech intelligence report that claimed Mohamed Atta had met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague five months before Sept. 11, even though the FBI and CIA had discounted this report. But, in no time, Cheney was out of there.
Who’s minding D.C.’s store?
Followers of Mayor Anthony Williams‘ schedule know that recently he’s been spending more time abroad than in Anacostia. He’s traveled to Greece, Germany, Austria, China and – most recently – London. But while the mayor was in London, City Administrator Robert Bobb was also out of town. So who’s in charge? Neither the mayor’s office nor Bobb’s seemed to know. DCWatch Executive Director Dorothy Brizill points out that we’d be in a sad state if we got a homeland security alert about a threat and no city officials were “home.”
Georgetowner’s Roffman rebounds
We wish a speedy recovery to David Roffman, community activist and longtime editor of The Georgetowner newspaper. Dave suffered a mild heart attack over the weekend and is at home, resting up and getting ready for his next deadline.
Watch the Turkey Day stuffing
This spunky lady does. It’s not often that a feisty 110-pound 84-year-old joins Weight Watchers. But that’s what Mazza Gallerie boutique owner Harriet Kassman did when she gained 5 pounds. “They laughed but signed me up,” said the determined Kassman, who touts the program because she lost the unwanted 5 pounds in just two weeks.