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In the Loop

Singing the Norwegian Blues

By Al Kamen
Friday, December 17, 2004; Page A31

Opponents of the Bush administration's Star Wars missile defense system jumped all over Wednesday's failed launch, saying the setback showed the administration was rushing to deploy the system without adequate testing.

Au contraire, said a spokesman for the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency: The test was not a failure, it just was not completed. "We weren't able to complete the test that we had planned," Richard Lehner told the Los Angeles Times. "I definitely wouldn't categorize it as a setback of any kind. The test had been planned for a while so it's a disappointment for those of us who were working on it. We will isolate the anomaly and fix it."

_____In the Loop_____
It's Time for Dems to Face the Music (The Washington Post, Dec 15, 2004)
For Rep. Sanchez, No Goodwill in Vietnam (The Washington Post, Dec 13, 2004)
Example Goes From Good to Bad (The Washington Post, Dec 10, 2004)
Iraqi Empties Newsroom (The Washington Post, Dec 8, 2004)
State Pays Price for Hassling Appropriator (The Washington Post, Dec 6, 2004)
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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


See? Not a fiasco but actually a great opportunity. More like Monty Python's dead parrot, the famed Norwegian Blue, which we all know wasn't really dead, as the shopkeeper explained to the irate customer, but merely "kippin' [napping] on its back," and "pining for the fjords." Why, if the parrot hadn't been nailed to the perch it would have broken out and "Voom!" Or maybe gotten off the launch pad and hit that target.

Whatever it is, they don't pay Lehner nearly enough.

Jumper: Academy a Reflector

Speaking of military matters of concern, Gen. John P. Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff, spoke to defense writers Wednesday about the sexual assault scandal at the Air Force Academy. Between 1993 and 2002, 142 female cadets reported being victims of sexual assault, and critics have assailed Air Force brass for not understanding the problem and not responding quickly to the situation.

Jumper was asked whether the problems at the academy were a reflection of a wider problem in the Air Force, according to our colleague, Renae Merle.

"The contemporary culture," Jumper said, "is more promiscuous in recent years and . . . people who come to the academy reflect the contemporary culture." So the academy has worked hard "to bring about the cultural change that's necessary to change the attitudes of the young men and women who come into the Air Force Academy.

"So it's not a climate at the Air Force Academy or a climate in the Air Force, there's a climate in the nation," Jumper said. "You watch halftime shows at the Super Bowl or 'Girls Gone Wild' or whatever the heck that is on MTV, you can see what today's youth brings to whatever they do."

" . . . We have taken specific, focused action on the culture issues," he said, "some of which are specific to the academy, and those go to supervision in the dormitories, mainly rules on drinking and cracking down on this sort of binge-type drinking that we see out there in our youth today. . . . "

Jumper's take on the scandal did not sit well with Kate Summers, director of services at the Miles Foundation in Connecticut, which works with victims of sexual or domestic violence in the armed forces.

"Promiscuity has nothing to do with rape," she said. Jumper's assessment, she added, echoes "the old adage that 'her skirt was too short or her blouse was too tight,' " which is "getting close to blaming the victim."

"Girls Gone Wild?"

You Can Tell a Republican by His Stripes

Job Alert! There's an excellent job opportunity at media giant Viacom International Inc., which owns CBS among other things, judging from an e-mail we just got from Gail MacKinnon, Viacom vice president for government relations.

MacKinnon sent the note Tuesday to House Republican offices and to the offices of GOP Sens. John Ensign (Nev.), Gordon Smith (Ore.) and George Allen (Va.).


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