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Monday, January 22, 2007


Tongass National Park, Alaska [click on photo to enlarge]

(Ken posted this today over at Down With Tyranny, my political blog. How could I not share it with everyone here who doesn't go there?

"There'll be a morning 'Kaffee Klatsch' most days and panel discussions galore explaining how democracy eventually will sweep through the Middle East like wildfire, how to balance the budget and various other issues."
--Al Kamen, speculating in today's Washington Post about the Weekly Standard's upcoming Cruise to Wingnuttia

[For my mother, who has managed to travel a fair amount in her life, perhaps the most memorable trip was a cruise along the Inside Passage of Alaska--the place she often says she most regrets not being able to get back to. I imagine, though, that if anything could spoil that spectacular land- and seascape, it would be traveling in this particular company, as reported by Al Kamen in his "In the Loop" column.--Ken]

In Troubling Times,
Conservatives Head Out to Sea

By Al Kamen

These are obviously not the best of times for Republicans. The House is gone. Ditto the Senate. President Bush's approval ratings are around 37 percent, and ratings on his conduct of the war are closer to 30 percent. The war itself grinds on. What's a beleaguered conservative to do?

It's time to regroup! And what better way to do that than to join the folks at the Weekly Standard, one of the last great bastions of war boosters, on a fun-filled week-long cruise in Alaska?

Yes, it's a week of sightseeing, partying and deep reflection with publisher Terry Eastland and top editors William Kristol and Fred Barnes aboard Holland America Line's ms Oosterdam this June. Other featured speakers include former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson and military historian Fred Kagan.

One of the true highlights is just the chance to be "traveling with like-minded conservatives," the promo material says, and not having to listen to we-told-you-so rants from the liberals and leftists that you might find on other cruises.

There'll be a morning "Kaffee Klatsch" most days and panel discussions galore explaining how democracy eventually will sweep through the Middle East like wildfire, how to balance the budget and various other issues.

The ship's show lounge "features Las Vegas-style productions," and while the invitation doesn't mention it, the luxury ship does indeed have a fine casino.

There will probably be cakewalk contests on the Lido deck each night, and spectacular Alaska each day, including a close view of the Hubbard Glacier [right], which, contrary to what radical-environmentalist, global-warming types would say, is "marching to the beat of a different drum . . . advancing while the rest of Alaska's ice rivers are receding rapidly."

There's a day in Ketchikan "in the heart of the Tongass National Forest" [top photo]. Maybe there'll be time for an optional anti-earmark pilgrimage to the proposed site of the famed "Bridge to Nowhere"? Weather permitting, there might even be a hunt for weapons of mass destruction. (Okay, okay, that was cheap.)

All this in your "penthouse suite w/verandah" for only $6,300 per person, double occupancy, or $4,500 per person in the deluxe suite. Single rooms in the cheapo category are only $2,600.

Do not miss the "photo/autograph session," where you can have your picture taken with Kristol, Barnes and Eastland. "Photos will be available for purchase," we're told. Priceless!

But hurry! There are only two penthouse suites available.


If you somehow missed the Weekly Standard's cruise to Alaska and you have a hankerin' to be stuck in a small enclosed space with a shipful of delusional hatemongers, fear not. All the Weekly Standard had to offer was a gaggle of the dullest propaganda scriveners in all God's Creation: Terry Eastland, Fred Barnes, William Kristol, Fred Kagan, and, to spice it up, a former Bush speech writer, Michael Gerson.

Now the National Review... these particular Republicans really know how to put on a cruise. Theirs starts in late July-- also to Alaska-- but what a lineup. How would you like to play some shuffleboard with Robert Bork? Go for a swim with Kate O'Beirne? (Come on; it's better than swimming with sharks, isn't it?) Soak in the jacuzzi with Dick Morris? Maybe take an aerobics class alongside Ed Gillespie? Or see "a Las Vegas-style production" with the likes of Rich Lowry, Ramesh Ponnuru, Michael Steele and Arthur Laffer? Does that sound like a vacation or what? And I didn't even mention certifiably insane rightist loons like Jonah Goldberg, Richard Allen, Mac Owens John Hillen and Jay Nordlinger. They're making some mighty tempting promises:

• Moderated panel sessions featuring our esteemed guest speakers, along with plenty of passenger Q&A.
• Plenty of chances to meet, schmooze and enjoy personal interaction with our special guest speakers.
• Exclusive Parties and Dining with our special guest speakers. You will dine with your fellow National Review attendees, so that you have the chance to meet many of your fellow conservative cruisers.
• Numerous private cocktail parties and evening smokers.
• And more...

A tiny bit of investigating led us directly to some of what that "And more" means: Chocolates on your pillow AND

• Spacious, elegantly appointed staterooms, many with private verandahs
• Luxurious Euro-Top beds and premium linens
• Daily housekeeping to tidy belongings and keep staterooms immaculate
• Large, extra-fluffy Egyptian cotton towels
• Lighted magnifying mirrors; massage shower-heads; salon-quality hair dryers
• Luxurious terry cloth bathrobes
• Televisions with DVD and VCR players
• Generous storage
• Complimentary fresh fruit
• Complimentary 24-hour in-room dining
• Nightly turndown service
• Complimentary shoeshine service
• Complimentary ice service

So leave that ice-machine at home; you are covered!

1 comment:

tech98 said...

Single rooms in the cheapo category are only $2,600.

This Cruise To Hell runs over 300% of the price of a regular Alaska cruise.
Pay a rip-off price and be stuck with right-wing gasbags for a week -- sounds like the kind of deal the Bush Administration has given the American public for the last six years.