You might have read that former White House intern Monica Lewinsky has crossed the pond to pursue an advanced degree in social psychology at the London School of Economics.
Just the latest stop for the 32-year-old Lewinsky, who, with the flash of her thong almost single-handedly (it takes two to tango) brought down the Clinton White House.
Why more studies at this stage of her life?
The Beltway Beat is told by a friend of Lewinsky that her handbag business, one of her more recent professional pursuits, "is pretty moribund - she uses garment workers in Houston to do the sewing."
And adding to the misery, Lewinsky "has gained an awful lot of weight."
One source told us that the world's most famous former intern "booted" her $2.1 million contract to be a weight-loss spokeswoman for Jenny Craig, carrying home only "about $400,000."
She drove the company "crazy with various demands, her temperamentalness, but mostly the fact that she didn't lose the weight required in the contract," the source states.
Meanwhile, her friend says that before she decided to move overseas to pursue a master's degree, Lewinsky "toyed with the idea of going to law school for a long time."
"She is basically quite intelligent," the friend states, describing Lewinsky as "just crippled emotionally. ... A sad case really, since all she wants to be - she has told friends so many times - is happily married with children."
GOD BEFORE GOP
We've learned of a major shake-up at the Washington-based National Black Republican Association, with six of the 10 NBRA board members resigning in recent days over various disagreements.
"The organization and its current leadership is heading down a much different direction than was envisioned by myself and the other board members," says Christopher R. Arps.
Similarly, the Rev. Eric M. Wallace, chairman of the African American Republican Council of Illinois and a candidate for lieutenant governor, writes in a resignation letter obtained by The Beltway Beat:
"If you guys decide to formulate another organization based on actually helping our people, let me know. If you choose people with a servant's heart, then I am in. I serve because of my relationship with my Savior. I am a Christian first, a father second, a minister and scholar third, and a black man fourth, and then a Republican. Heaven help me if I ever get these out of order."
Three resigning board members, we're told, frowned on signing a "statement of commitment" sent to them by NBRA Chairman Frances Rice, concluding with: "My failure to sign this statement confirms that I am not a member in good standing of the NBRA and am not eligible to be an officer in the NBRA or a member of the NBRA Board of Directors."
Board member Bill Calhoun, in a memo to Rice also obtained by this column, wrote: "Regarding your request for me to sign a letter of commitment, is this being requested of all board members? This appears discriminatory."
Meanwhile, there also were questions surrounding approval of the latest news release issued by the NBRA, praising President Bush's leadership after Hurricane Katrina.
"President Bush is to be commended for deploying all of the resources of the federal government to help the refugees," Rice stated in the release.
Like the resulting popularity that 9/11 handed former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Hurricane Katrina similarly has shined the national spotlight on Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
So much so that Barbour, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is now ranked third among Republicans - behind Sen. George Allen, a former governor of Virginia, and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney - in the 2008 White House Power Rankings, as posted by the Jockey Wire at PoliticalDerby.com.
"There is no easy way to say it," it states. "Despite the disaster and carnage of Hurricane Katrina, she has been a political gift to the affable Mississippi governor. In contrast to his counterpart in Louisiana, Barbour has earned rave reviews for his handling of the crisis. And ... he cannot ignore the fact that he suddenly looks more presidential than ever."
As for the remaining GOP horses, Allen "holds steady at No. 1"; Romney "is practically drowning in ink these days"; the fourth-place Giuliani "is still the man to beat"; and Arizona Sen. John McCain, running fifth, is gearing up to run a "much more aggressive, front-loaded campaign" than in 2000.
Rounding out the top 10 are Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
As for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich?
"The ultimate wild card," says the wire.
On the Democratic side, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton "is so far ahead that she earns an extra spot" - ranked both No. 1 and No. 2. However, if "Hillary isn't careful, she'll have to change her voter registration to Republican," the wire states.
"The insanely ambitious New York senator continues to move right while taking timely jabs at the president in order to please her peeps to the left," it notes, including her recent move to break up the Department of Homeland Security in response to Katrina.
Other Democratic front-runners: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, 2004 vice-presidential candidate John Edwards, Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry gets a few votes, while Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is more of a "major threat in 2012."
Not familiar with Robert H. Bork Jr.?
The namesake of the onetime Supreme Court nominee is well-known in Washington as head of the Bork Communications Group, a firm specializing in litigation and legal policy. Before that, he toiled extensively in the Fourth Estate, covering international economics at U.S. News & World Report and working as managing editor of the quarterly journal Regulation and as reporter at Forbes, the Detroit Free Press, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram and Miami Herald.
Somehow in between it all, he was special assistant to U.S. Trade Representative Carla A. Hills and held a similar position with Sen. Gordon Humphrey, New Hampshire Republican.
TALK ABOUT TENURE
He was appointed ambassador to the United States when President Reagan was in his first term. Now, after 22 years, Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar and his family are going home.
President Bush took a rare break from mopping up after Hurricane Katrina and bid farewell to Prince Bandar, thanking him on behalf of past presidents for many years of service and counsel.
Speaking of the latter on the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, carried out by 15 Saudi hijackers and four others, we won't forget Prince Bandar scolding the United States and the West for not accepting their share of the blame for the attacks. After all, he said, the West has a bad habit of providing political refuge to "bad people."
It was during a question-and-answer session with the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington in January 2003 that Prince Bandar was asked: "How would you feel if 15 or 19 Americans would go to Saudi Arabia and cause the damage that was caused on Sept. 11 by Saudi citizens to the United States?"
His response of such terrorists and their ilk: "They always go to London, Berlin, Paris, sometimes here (in the U.S.). And when we report to our counterparts, 'Look, these are bad people. Will you please help us with them?' we are told they are dissidents and that if we only give them the right to speak, they would not have problems."
"When they spoke, it was ugly," he concluded. "And the result of their thinking and speaking is what you saw on 9/11."