NPR's "Marketplace" recently blasted Sen. John Breaux (D-Louisiana)for accepting the most free travel out of 582 federal legislators over the past four years, and it posted the complete rankings on its website, www.marketplace.publicradio.org. Lo and behold, number two is our own Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Delray Beach). The congressman has gotten $155,137 in travel contributions from corporations, universities, and other outside interests such as lobbyists, only a shade less than Breaux.
A less suspicious automotive part might note that Wexler is, after all, on the House International Relations Committee. But the committee's average ranking is only 212. Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of Miramar, who's on the House Terrorism Subcommittee, ranked 530.
Before the Iraq War, Wexler visited countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Jordan. Since the March 2003 invasion, he has hit Germany, Austria, and Taiwan, among others.
Tailpipe raised Eric Johnson, Wexler's chief of staff, in D.C. Perusing the NPR database, Johnson showed the tact and consideration that have made politicians beloved everywhere: "It says Breaux is the 'King of Travel,'" Johnson observed. "Does that make us the queen? I thought Mark Foley was." Take that, girlie man!
Then Wexler's boy pointed out that traveling on the lobbyists' tab saves taxpayer money. Wexler's jet-setting supremacy, Johnson suggested, was the equivalent of one of those gaudy service medals on a general's chest. "Quite frankly, Congressman Wexler thinks that all members of Congress should travel more," Johnson said. "I think President Bush is someone who didn't travel too much before he came into office, and we've seen what kind of bungling he's done in foreign policy."
Maybe the president can, like Wexler, do a junket or two on the tab of the Turkish-U.S. Business Council of Foreign Economic Relations Board. No strings. Honest.
Whomp on Wannstedt
This tube pities Dave Wannstedt. He took the Dolphins coaching job from the legendary Don Shula. He shouldn't just be tossed out like Dan Marino's old socks. No matter how badly his team stinks up the gridiron. But ju-u-u-ust in case, the Tailpiperino provides you with a Wannstedt-o-meter (right), so that you can keep track of when he's likely to get the boot, ax, bomb, or guillotine.
Avoiding the Friction
To stay on top of important cultural trends, Tailpipe attended the opening of Scores in Fort Lauderdale last week. The "upscale" strip club -- where gentlemen and ladies supposedly have civilized conversations over sips of champagne -- was poppin'. There were more naked women in the place than the dressing room of Radio City Music Hall on a Rockettes night, with hostesses in tear-away gowns plying the room, ready to strip at the flash of a sawbuck. At least 40 of them had been imported for the occasion from New York City and another 60 or so signed on from the local ranks, according to April from Dallas (no last names, please). They seemed to enter the place in waves, prancing across a stage and into the pit of bar tables, where giddy men awaited them.
Scores has learned a lesson from family-friendly Las Vegas. In the back of the club, there's a steak house called Tusk Restaurant, which operates separately. Scores CEO Dave Carter says he hopes to make the place the "venue of choice for businessmen, conventioneers, sports personalities."
The 'Pipe doesn't know much about the sin business, but the Scores ladies do seem a cut above those pushy strippers in "downscale" dives. They'll take no for an answer. Noraya from Brazil explained the routine. "We could dance," she said hopefully. Tailpipe looked around for a dance floor. Where? "Right here," she said. "Or in the friction room. There, it's closer." Tailpipe noticed that, around the club, nude women were moving rhythmically in front of male customers, most of whom sat with glazed, distant looks in their eyes. Tailpipe politely declined, but a guy named Kelly accepted the offer. Noraya stepped out of her dress and backed into Kelly, who leaned back in his chair, blissfully goggle-eyed. Then he pushed his face into Noraya's back and groped her hips and thighs.
Dude, you heard about the friction room?
"Not doin' anything there that I want to do," said a strangely sated Kelly.
No Hes for the Shes?
If you haven't picked up October's issue of She magazine, you may already be too late. "They tend to be gone within a week," says Tina Sordellini, managing editor of the glossy, Fort Lauderdale-based lesbian publication. With a monthly circulation of 15,000 serving Fort Lauderdale, South Beach, Key West, Hollywood, and, recently, points beyond, She, which is distributed at bookstores and restaurants for free, has made a national impact. "We started as a local South Florida magazine," says Sordellini, "and now you can find She mag in every major lesbian market." Bravo and VH1 have both noted the magazine's progress since its 1999 launch. Today, She is defined by fashion sense, self-empowerment columnists, and plenty of celebrity interviews.