The season for press dinners kicks off with the 121st annual Gridiron Club dinner on Saturday eve- ning. But even the many radio and TV correspondents who aren’t President Bush fans will likely be disappointed that he has just bowed out of attending one of the most prestigious press dinners of the season: the 62nd annual Radio-TV Correspondents dinner at the Washington Hilton on March 29. Since the president is scheduled to be in Cancun, Mexico, the press will have to go on without his remarks on Dubai securing the doors to the event. Instead, the guests will have to settle for Vice President Cheney again this year — he did come out of his bunker to step in last year when Bush attended Pope John Paul II’s funeral in Vatican. That’s when Cheney unveiled a video of himself looking under furniture in the Oval Office for weapons of mass destruction. Stand-up comic Frank Caliendo will entertain, and word is he’ll make everyone feel very much at home with his impersonation of the absentee.
MEDIA TO BLOOM IN U.A.E.?
Dubai may know how to handle security at ports, but the broadcasting industry is one category where the country isn’t quite up to speed. But just wait. The first international radio conference to be held there in May is expected to draw 500 professionals to help grow the staid radio industry in the Middle East. They’re currently looking for sponsors. On the other hand, Arab TV in America is booming. Al-Jazeera’s new channel is planning to open a 100-person D.C. bureau. It expects to start broadcasting nationwide from here within the next couple months.
DISUNITED FROM ARAB EMIRATES: WHO TAKES FALL?
Insiders speculate that although Dubai has pulled out of the ports deal rather than participate in a 45-day investigation, the word I hear is that heads will roll in the administration. One of those expected to go by the end of the year is Treasury Secretary John Snow, since his office oversees the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States. Retiring House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., is a likely candidate for Snow’s job.
IF YOU KNEW SUZY LIKE I KNOW SUZY
There’s probably a bit of social history here. New York society columnist Aileen “Suzy” Mehle’s possessions go on sale Wednesday at Weschler’s auction of “Washington D.C. Interiors.” Included are living room, sunroom and bedroom furniture handpicked by New York interior designer Ann Downey, a pair of ormolu and bronze “blackamoor” torcheres, Asian works of art, and Persian and Indian rugs. Suzy, 85, thought to have been discovered by Truman Capote, is better known in New York circles, but her son, Roger W. Mehle Jr. was assistant sec- gan administration, where he spent a lot of time deregulating the financial services industry. More recently, he served as executive director of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. Suzy, who said, “What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond-buckled shoe,” retired last fall after 50 years in the gossip-writing business. She still writes occasional pieces for Women’s Wear Daily and W magazine.
PALM READ: JACOMO BACK ON HIS FEET
We’re happy to report to Palm-lovers that Tommy Jacomo, the host with the most, is recuperating from successful back surgery. No doubt the problem was caused by bending over backward for all those power players.
BUCHWALD STILL LAUGHING
Beloved funnyman and longtime newspaper columnist Art Buchwald, who’s been in a local hospice for several weeks, has been regaling his many A-list visitors with details of the service he’s planned upon his death. Participants include Vineyard friend and songstress Carly Simon, as well as TV newsmen Tom Brokaw and Mike Wallace.