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In the Loop

A Swift Kick in the Sinn

By Al Kamen
Wednesday, March 16, 2005; Page A21

'Tis not going to be your usual St. Paddy's celebration in Washington this year for Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Past visits here found the charismatic Adams at the White House, the Capitol and all about town.

But a recent $50 million bank heist allegedly by the Irish Republican Army -- Sinn Fein is its political wing -- and the murder of a loyal supporter, whose five sisters publicly accused the IRA of committing, have dried up those invitations a bit.

_____In the Loop_____
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The U.N.'s Taller, So He's Moving Up (The Washington Post, Mar 9, 2005)
Free Speech Is Not for the Taking (The Washington Post, Mar 7, 2005)
Narcissus Is Now Greek AND Roman (The Washington Post, Mar 4, 2005)
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Friday's Question:
It was not until the early 20th century that the Senate enacted rules allowing members to end filibusters and unlimited debate. How many votes were required to invoke cloture when the Senate first adopted the rule in 1917?
51
60
64
67


The White House won't give Adams the time of day. A longtime Sinn Fein fan, Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), demanded the IRA disband, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who had regularly welcomed Adams here on the holiday in past years, said he will not meet with him this time around.

But the official cold shoulder doesn't mean Adams won't have anyplace to party. The American Ireland Fund, a group of heavy-hitter business types with ties to Ireland and Northern Ireland, is having a black-tie dinner on St. Patrick's Day eve, honoring Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) as its "man of the year."

Adams and other Northern Ireland politicos -- David Trimble, head of the Ulster Unionist Party, and Mark Durkan, head of the Social Democratic and Labour Party -- are expected to attend.

Other guests expected to be there include Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Paul Murphy.

No rule that says The Great Day can't start a wee early.

Today Iraq, Tomorrow the World?

There are still persistent rumors, despite recent vehement denials all around, that Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz remains a very strong contender to be named head of the World Bank.

Just $203,436 for a Little Peek

The Freedom of Information Act isn't exactly free, as the American Federation of Government Employees recently discovered. AFGE, looking for information about what the commissioners at the Social Security Administration have been up to, filed a request for "any and/or all" meetings, appointments, hearings and then "any and/or all" notes, minutes etc., involving the events.

No problem, SSA said. "We estimate that a total of 24,661 hours of search would be required," the agency said, but the first two hours are free. So that brings the cost down to only $813,747. "You may wish to consider modifying your request to reduce the cost," the agency said.

If not, just pay a 25 percent deposit -- required for costs exceeding $250 -- which would be a bit more than $203,436.75, and they'll get right on it. You can pay by check, or the agency will take a credit card.

AFGE's thinking this one over.

W------ H. L--- III Is Shy

Assistant Secretary of Commerce William H. Lash III was said to have been most upset over a small column item last month about some minor confusion in e-mails at the department over where Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez would make his first trip.

Lash, not pleased to see his name in print, told his deputies it was "highly inappropriate" to release travel information prematurely. His top folks passed the word down. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Henry A. Levine quickly summoned his staff for an 11:30 a.m. meeting that day, where we hear he read the item aloud and was said to have called it the worst case of unprofessionalism he had ever experienced.


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