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In the Loop: Another D.C. Power-Couple Moment

"The contractor shall conduct two, 3-hour, Humor in the Workplace programs that will discuss . . . the close relationship between humor and stress, and why humor is one of the most important ways that we communicate in business and office life." Hey, when you're hopelessly drowning in debt, you need a sense of humor.

In addition, the contractor must "have the ability to create cartoons on the spot about BPD jobs." (That would seem to shrink the field of potential jokesters a bit.)

Unclear how much BPD was willing to spend. Things never got that far because Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) got wind of the project and had it killed Friday morning. At 9:58 a.m., the BPD put a notice on the solicitation saying it had "determined that it no longer has a need for this requirement."

"Of all the agencies," Dorgan said in a news release, BPD "should know at there is very little that is funny" in today's economy. Sure, it's good to have "motivation in the workplace," he added, but "we have a greater motivation to save the taxpayers some money."

What about the need to laugh to keep from crying?

Moving On

The White House announced Friday afternoon that, as expected, Robert D. Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs (International) and formerly deputy U.S. trade representative, has been tapped to be undersecretary of state for economic, energy and agricultural affairs. He was also assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs in the Reagan administration, deputy assistant secretary of state in the Carter administration and a senior international economic affairs aide on Nixon's National Security Council.

Lee A. Feinstein, a top official at the Pentagon during President Bill Clinton's administration, later at the Council on Foreign Relations and more recently a senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is the pick to be ambassador to Poland. Feinstein worked as national security director on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and then became an outside adviser to President Obama. (He's one of the few Hillaryland folks to get a European embassy, albeit in Eastern Europe.)

Gary S. Guzy is to be named deputy director of the Council on Environmental Quality. He was general counsel and counselor to the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration and a senior attorney in the Justice Department's environmental division; now he is general counsel for a company that provides registry tracking systems for carbon and renewable-energy credits.

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