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Instead of Plum Appointments, Maybe a Lump of Coal

Our Glassman Goof

President Bush said goodbye a second time to Karen Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy.
President Bush said goodbye a second time to Karen Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy. (By Pablo Martinez Monsivais -- Associated Press)

Speaking of the State Department, they called to say that Wednesday's column incorrectly said her nominated successor, Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman James Glassman, will be acting diplomacy czar pending confirmation. Not so.

Cannoli vs. Apple Pie

Bush seemed to some to be dissing American cuisine during his photo op Tuesday with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

"It will be my honor to feed you lunch," Bush said. "I doubt it is going to be -- the food is going to be as good as the food I had when I visited your beautiful country."

Hey. Our burgers can match theirs anytime, any place. What about Texas barbecue?

FEMA: No. 1 in PR Blunders

All in all, a pretty good week for FEMA. First, acting Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson did well enough at his confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that, barring holds or other delays, his confirmation seems a good bet.

A day earlier, FEMA received an especially coveted honor. It was No. 1 on the 13th Annual Top Ten PR Blunders List for 2007, compiled for many years by Fineman PR, a San Francisco firm.

Fineman said FEMA "truly fumbled" when it had staffers play reporters at a phony news conference to hail the agency's efforts during the recent California wildfires.

FEMA bested a particularly stellar list of contenders this year, according to PR Newswire, including the spectacular disaster by the Cartoon Network when it "covertly" placed blinking devices on bridges, bus depots and subway stations in Boston to promote a TV program.

Boston officials, naturally concerned that these were bombs, shut down sections of the city as a result of what one ad expert called "the most significant blunder in the world of guerrilla advertising."

The competition was so fierce that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ranked only ninth on the list. He told the annual convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists that people "have got to turn off the Spanish television set" and stay away from Spanish-language TV, books and newspapers in order to "learn English quickly." CBS News reported that this advice didn't go over well with the audience, many of whom were from Spanish-language media.

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