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An Ugly Schism in Foreign Relations

A Spreading Emergency

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It seems FEMA is back in a sticky mess. The Federal Emergency Management Agency included packets of peanut butter in the prepared meals it distributed to victims of last month's deadly ice storm in Kentucky.

Although the Food and Drug Administration's national recall of peanut products expanded throughout January, FEMA continued to put peanut butter in its meal kits. FEMA spokesman Terry Monrad said the agency did not find packets from vendors included on the FDA's recall list.

"I don't think the whole country was just all of a sudden ditching everything with peanuts in it," Monrad said, defending the agency's decision not to take the peanut butter out of the meal kits.

But on Feb. 4, FEMA took action. The agency recalled the packets after learning that some were linked to vendors of tainted peanut products and may pose health risks.

Thankfully, Monrad said, no disaster victims have reported injuries or illnesses.

Not Quite the Real World

"A major reality production company is casting now for a new documentary series set on Capitol Hill," said a classified ad last week in the Hill newspaper. "We are looking for fun-loving, hard-working guys and girls," 21 to 35 years old, who "work on Capitol Hill or are affiliated with the government/policy," the ad says.

"We are looking for people with outrageous personalities who will show us what it's like to work and play on the Hill," the ad said, with a special interest in "goings-on outside of the office."

"Outrageous personalities?" On the Hill? Fish in a barrel.

Clarification

Yesterday's column said that Condoleezza Rice did not visit the Middle East on her first overseas trip as secretary of state -- despite our list noting that she went to Israel one leg of that voyage. (Of course, we were thinking of Arab countries.) And yes, she did spend a few hours in Ramallah on the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Please, no more calls.

With Philip Rucker


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