John McCaslin

A U.S. congressman is intrigued to be invited to an upcoming "Homeland Security Training Seminar," billed as an "intense three-day experiential training seminar ... for avoiding and surviving hostage detention."

After all, it's taking place at the Ritz-Carlton in Maui.

Federal and state officials are offered a federal per diem rate for the seminar, speakers for which include Bruce Jessen, who until last year was the Pentagon's senior Survival Evasion, Resistance and Escape psychologist, and now is on contract to the U.S. government in the war against terrorism.

Participants also will hear from Jim Mitchell, who spent 13 years with elite U.S. counter-terrorist units and also is contracted to Uncle Sam to fight terrorism, and David Dose, who provides hostage training to the Department of Homeland Security, State Department and the U.S. Senate.

Topics for the seminar, orchestrated by R.S. Consulting (firm President Randy Spivey managed all hostage survival training for the Pentagon until last year), include skills for "coping with isolation in a hostage environment."

Spouses who wish to tag along are being offered complimentary seats at the seminar. Don't forget your sunglasses.


Ironically enough, California's embattled Gov. Gray Davis was among the Democratic "thinkers" asked by former Clinton Cabinet member Andrew Cuomo to contribute to his now-published book, "Crossroads: The Future of American Politics" (Random House).

Little did Davis, who writes six pages, know that his own future would now be in doubt.

"Believe me, I count myself as extremely fortunate to have squeaked by with a five-point victory," he wrote of his 2002 race. " ... voters seemed to agree on two things: that it's a governor's responsibility to mind the store while the president is preoccupied with terror, and that their own governor was not doing a very good job of it."


You'd think they'd have the decency to wait for a voting irregularity to actually occur, but the California Democratic Party is seeking $100,000 in donations to help reduce last-minute voter confusion and for post-election legal counsel.

The party is urging concerned Democrats across the country to contribute to the fund in the days remaining before Tuesday's recall vote.

"The October 7 special election presents all kinds of potential problems," party Chairman Art Torres says. "I wish I could be optimistic and assume there won't be problems. But I have to be realistic. It is going to happen."


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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