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What's Next for Bolton -- The Peace Prize?

By Al Kamen
Monday, February 13, 2006

Controversial U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton , who got a recess appointment in August after the Senate wouldn't confirm him, has been on something of a roll -- topped off last week with news of his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Bolton, who had been undersecretary for arms control and international security, was nominated by Sweden's former deputy prime minister, who lauded Bolton for his efforts to thwart proliferation of nuclear and other weapons, leading to the breakup of Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan 's nefarious nuclear weapons dealings.

Back in April, Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, called him "the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be." Last week, while saying Bolton still needed "to be watched," Voinovich said he was "pleased with the progress" Bolton and his team have made in reforming U.N. management.

Unless he gets confirmed, Bolton's appointment would expire at the end of this year. Well, no problem, that's when they award the prize, worth a cool 10 million kronor -- or $1.3 million. There are usually 140 or so candidates.

Smaller Hughes Convoy

Never let it be said that Bush administration officials don't learn from experience. In September, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes -- who's adopted a somewhat low profile amid the furor over those Danish cartoons -- took 16 reporters on her first trip to the Mideast. We all know how well that trip turned out. So this time, Hughes, heading later this week for Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Germany, has reduced the media contingent a bit. To zero.

Don't Forget to Tip

Whatever happened to Larry Franklin , a former Pentagon analyst and Mideast hard-liner who was sentenced last month to more than 12 years in the federal pen for passing government secrets to an Israeli diplomat and to two lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee?

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Franklin, 59, works nights as a parking valet at Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia.

'White House' About-Face

Dan Parisi , president of Whitehouse.com, the former porn site that became a financial services site, writes to say he's taking the site in a new direction.

"Real estate or finance does not seem to work on Whitehouse.com," he said, "as it gains no traction. It seems that people" visiting the site "only care about porn," Parisi said, "and I do not want to do porn again."

"So we are going with [a] political site," he said, with blogs, cartoon contests and such.

No Tech Transfer Here

Probably not a lot of telephone calls incoming at the Navy's Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Office -- or at least at that office's innovation research program or the Small Business Technology Transfer program.

The Web site says that if you're a qualified small business and want various mailing lists, call the listed 800 number. But when we did, some guy answered and said: "Call and talk to fun people," and he gave another number to call.

This time there was Muzak in the background and then a velvety-voiced woman said: "Hey there, sexy guy . . ." We hung up, figuring the rest of the sentence involved financial transfer, not technology transfer.

And This From the Fed

"The Federal Reserve Board on Friday announced that Michelle A. Smith will continue in her position as Assistant to the Board and Director of the Office of Board Members. The Board previously announced that she would be leaving to work for former chairman Alan Greenspan ."

Money Talks, Arnall Walks

Ambassadorships are getting costly indeed. Roland E. Arnall , founder of Ameriquest Mortgage Co., reportedly gave or helped raise more than $12 million for President Bush and the GOP in recent election cycles. But that wasn't enough to get him a fine posting in the Netherlands.

Senate Democrats, with some support from Republicans, questioned whether he should be confirmed as ambassador when state regulators were suing his company for bad lending practices. The nomination languished for months.

Three weeks ago, the company agreed to pay $325 million and change the way it lent money to settle. The Senate last week confirmed Arnall by voice vote.

The Southern California billionaire should still have enough left over to live in style.

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