Air Force Lt. Gen. James A. Abrahamson, who has complained vociferously that an appropriation as low as $3.4 billion next year would wreak havoc on the "Star Wars" program he heads, apparently has enough cash on hand to hire himself a chauffeur.
Abrahamson's Strategic Defense Initiative Organization recently advertised for a "motor vehicle operator" to drive the director and his staff "to conferences and meetings within the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area."
The job would pay $18,000, according to a congressional aide who is not an enthusiastic supporter of the missile defense research program and who brought the help-wanted notice to The Washington Post's attention.
"I guess if you're a Star Warrior you don't want to wait around at your motor pool like other generals," the aide said.
SDI spokesman Lt. Col. Lee DeLorme countered, " Abrahamson is called to testify on the Hill repeatedly. He makes visits to the White House and other government agencies around town, and SDI has an office downtown. The OSD Office of the Secretary of Defense motor pool has been unable to support his requirements."
The job notice is itself a fine example of Pentagon craftsmanship: five pages that leave little to the imagination. Noting that the eventual winner of the job will need a security clearance and Special Intelligence Clearances, the bulletin spells out job qualifications that include: "Ability to operate a motor vehicle and safely maneuver in traffic . . . . Ability to follow and interpret road maps . . . . Ability to record and schedule accurate information concerning destinations, times and mileage." The driver will also be called upon "to assure vehicle readiness at all times," it says.
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Them Thar Hills . . .
Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) was collared by reporters in a hallway yesterday afternoon as he rejoined a session of the House-Senate tax conference committee. Noting that the committee hadn't made much progress in finding revenue to guarantee that tax overhaul would be a "revenue-neutral" affair, one reporter asked Dole whether the conference committee was going to have to meet over the coming weekend.
"I don't know," replied Dole, "I'm going to Iowa."
Passing over the obvious conclusion that Dole's trip might have something to do with the first caucus of the 1988 presidential primary season, the reported asked, "Is there revenue there, senator?"
"Gold," said the likely candidate. The Taxman . . .
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Dallas tax lawyer Lawrence B. Gibbs to be the new commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, after Sen. Gordon J. Humphrey (R-N.H.) agreed to halt his efforts to stall the confirmation.
Humphrey had sought "clarification" of the nominee's stand on tax-related questions bearing on abortion -- specifically, whether Gibbs believed that hospitals and clinics that perform abortions should continue to be tax-exempt. (Humphrey will be remembered as the senator who toyed with trying to put a stop to such exemptions through a floor amendment to the tax-revision bill.) According to a senate source, Gibbs satisfied Humphrey with his assurance that he would look into the matter as commissioner.
Gibbs, who succeeds Roscoe Egger, is a Dallas tax lawyer and Republican party stalwart. I Wanna Hold Your Hand . . .
"Say No to Sex Today at 11:00 a.m." So reads an invitation to a briefing by the Agency for International Development touting an innovative program to curtail population increases in Latin American countries.
"Can a record reach the top of the charts, capture the imagination of millions of Latin Americans and teach sexual self-restraint at the same time?" queries the AID release. "Can saying no to sex sell records? The answer is a resounding yes!"
The reason for AID's excited prose is a song that has made the Top 20 in "nearly every Spanish-speaking country in Latin America" and encouraged a video version. Called "Cuando Estamos Juntos When We're Together " and sung by "Latin American superstars" Tatiana and Johnny, the song was developed at AID's behest by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. In Peru, radio stations have given away 7,000 copies of the record to listeners who responded to an invitation to write in and tell what the song meant to them.
AID's release includes lyrics. Tatiana tells an ardent Johnny: "You will see that I'm right/When I say no/Even though my heart/Is burning."
Stay tuned for the follow-up song, called, in English, "Wait."