Flying Dis-United

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • May 13, 2005

by Karen Feld

Pension plan stiffs Mrs. Mineta – When a federal bankruptcy judge approved United Airlines’ plan to terminate its employees’ pension plans earlier this week, it not only affected the airline and its current employees – it also hit close to home. It impacts Deni Mineta, wife of Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, who flew as a United flight attendant for many years.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, right, speaking at a press conference at Ronald Reagan Washington International Airport on March 13. Mineta’s wife, Deni, was a United Airlines flight attendant. She will be one of the people affected by the airline’s plan to terminate its employees’ pension plans.

DeLay cronies fete their leader at cost

Even embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) still has some friends. The nonprofit American Conservative Union Foundation honored him at the Capital Hilton last night. In an unusual move, the sold-out dinner was not a fundraising event. All proceeds went to cover the banquet costs, rather than campaign or legal defense funds. Cheerleaders for DeLay included the usual suspects: David Keene (American Conservative Union), Ed Feulner (The Heritage Foundation), Grover Norquist (Americans for Tax Reform), Charlie Black and Mort Blackwell (the Leadership Institute), Gary Bauer (American Values), Paul Weyrich (Free Congress Foundation), House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds, and disgraced faker James Gannon aka James Guckert, who doesn’t need a White House press pass for this event. House Speaker Dennis Hastert sent a video. No surprise among the guests: Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who voted to weaken the ethics rules to protect his colleague, DeLay.

Patsy Grady Abrams, center, Miss Homestead Steak House with owners Greg, left, and Marc Sherry of New York.

One-time leg-of-lamb victim is new Kobe Beef Lady

“I finally get one line again,” said Patsy Grady Abrams as she was crowned Miss Old Homestead Bethesda yesterday. The 65+ red-headed spokesmodel, who read about the audition in this newspaper column, delivered the line, “Here’s the Beef. … The Kobe Beef!” In Abrams’ previous dramatic work, her other single lines in films included: “Oh my God, you are gay,” in the John Waters’ film, “Pecker” and “It’s off the hizzle for Fa’shizle” to Chris Rock in “Head of State.” She’s also played the victim of Kathleen Turner’s beating death with a leg of lamb in “Serial Mom,” another Waters’ movie. The Abrams Northern Virginia homestead will enjoy Porterhouse steaks delivered to their door for a year.

Runners-up were the Washington-area Daly dames, the three sisters about town who entered as a trio: Mary Daly Gorman, Markey Daly McKaig and Ginny Daly. They even brought their own cheerleaders including brother John Daly and friend Austin Kiplinger. Good sports all!

Soon, we’ll be missing another star

Skip Hartman is retiring after 42 years with Loews. He’s been vice president and here at Loews L’Enfant Plaza hotel since they opened 30 years ago. That’s quite a record for longevity in the very transient hospitality industry. The time seemed right for Hartman to retire. He has the highest standards and the hotel lost their four-star/four-diamond rating. That’s because it needs renovating and local owners JBG have a seven-year lawsuit pending with the prior owner, Sauercreek, out of the Netherlands. JBG naturally doesn’t want to do any major renovation until they know the outcome of the lawsuit. So Loews has opted not to extend their management agreement. As of June 1, the now three-star hotel will be renamed, L’Enfant Plaza, and it’ll be managed by Crestline Hotels for JBG.


Buzzing D.C. and dissing “dishing”

The alarms about a small plane violating White House airspace not only disrupts traffic and business as usual, but Wednesday’s breaking news drama also caused gossip doyenne Liz Smith, who was sitting in CNN’s Washington studio at the time, to get bumped from an interview about her new book, “Dishing.” Wouldn’t viewers have rather heard the latest dish on Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt instead of hearing about the repeated speculation of who trespassed into illegal airspace and why they did? If so, they wouldn’t be alone. Later that evening while speaking at the Corcoran, Liz Smith said that she was at a dinner party in New York just last week with Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and other “titans of industry.” “All they wanted to know was about Brad and Jen and their split.” “It’s just a media generated thing,” Smith says. “I think it has to do with the new movie ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’ (which stars Pitt and Jolie). We probably won’t hear of them afterwards, but right now people love Jennifer Aniston. She’s the new Debbie Reynolds.” By the way, Liz says she hasn’t met the new couple “because their press dogs are like bulldogs.” But she acknowledges, “It’s not an important story. The ideological separation of America and United Airlines throwing its pension fund to the government is an important story.”

Philippe Lajaunie, left, with Karen Feld and Campari eyeing his birthday cake made of steak tartare.

Congrats to a pet’s best friend

Congratulations are in order – Dr. Lee Morgan of Georgetown Veterinary Hospital just learned that he has won the American Veterinary Medical Association’s 2005 Practitioners Research Award. The prestigious award will be presented in Minneapolis in July. He was also a runner-up for Hartz’s vet of the year for 2004. Without question, Campari has the best health care!

In-Campari-able: Birthday bling and steak tartare – fit for a pampered pooch

There was plenty of both at Philippe Lajaunie’s second birthday celebration, Tuesday evening, on the terrace of his Brasserie Les Halles for le petit chien, Campari. His canine friends smaller than a bottle of Bordeaux were invited and shared a steak tartare cake and sipped water poured from French wine bottles while his human pals sipped special Campari drinks and sampled crab cakes and pommes frites. Political satirist Mark Russell and sports fan Charlie Brotman led the gang – including Campari’s Georgetown vet Lee Morgan, The Hill editor Al Eisele, ABC’s Kathleen Mathews, Mayor Williams’ speechwriter Erik Linden, boutique owner Harriet Kassman with poodle Bastien, and Ferne Levine with Tashi in Happy Birthday to Campari as he embarks on his “teenage” years. All guests went home with doggie bags – gourmet treats for the four-footers and Les Halles gift certificates from Campari for his singing friends. Ms. Beazley sent regrets from the White House.

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