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Gone but Still Giving

The Second Time Around

A happy Loop congratulations to Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), 83, who's getting married next month in Los Angeles to Irene Hirano, president and chief executive of the Japanese American National Museum. Inouye's wife of almost 57 years, Margaret, died two years ago. Hirano, 59, was divorced about 20 years ago, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. It's to be a simple church service, immediate family only.

Mum's the Award

We're pleased to see that FEMA was one of the "winners" this week of the 2008 Jefferson Muzzle Awards, given by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

The Charlottesville organization lauded the Federal Emergency Management Agency for staging the infamous phony news conference we wrote about in October. That was where staffers posed as reporters and lobbed softballs at Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson about FEMA's efforts during the California wildfires. Other Muzzle winners included the New York DMV for recalling a vanity license plate, GETOSAMA, as offensive and a Nebraska judge, presiding over a sexual assault trial, for telling witnesses they could not use the words "rape, "victim," "assailant" and "sexual assault kit."

Since FEMA would prefer to move on from the news-conference debacle, In the Loop will graciously accept the Muzzle on the agency's behalf.

Just in time! Folks at the State Department have been working on a facelift of the Bush Diplomatic Hall of Glory at the State Department, adding some large, beautiful photos of the Great Diplomat's latest overseas trips.

Loop Fans will remember that the exhibit, along a busy corridor on the way to the cafeteria, replaced mostly grainy old black-and-whites of historic, significant times in American diplomatic history, including Wilson at Versailles and Roosevelt and Churchill signing the Atlantic Charter.

In contrast, this exhibit, which first appeared in September 2003, features quite beautiful White House photos of truly insignificant moments.

The newest pictures sent over by the White House follow in that tradition, sprucing up earlier diplomatic breakthroughs with the latest triumphs, including photos from last fall's Mideast peace conference and President Bush's trip to Africa in February. There's a great shot of Bush at a clinic in Tanzania.

The family album -- including a fine photo of George and Laura Bush strolling in front of the Kremlin and another of their June audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican -- also has shots of Bush with important world leaders, such as Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and French President Nicolas "Elvis" Sarkozy.

Fortunately, some of the old photos remain, including our favorite of that complete loser, former Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim al-Jafari, whom Bush had praised as a "great Iraqi patriot" and "a strong partner for peace and freedom." Jafari was kicked out in 2006.

But there's no picture of Nouri al-Maliki, who replaced him. Maybe it was Maliki's less-than-perfect recent gambit to rough up his rival, radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr?

Best to hurry on down to Foggy Bottom to see the exhibit. No matter who wins in November, the photos will be gone in January.

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