And now, the Loop Almanac of American Politics 2000 Trivia Quiz.
The venerable almanac, a must for political junkies everywhere, will be on the stands next week, along with the district-by-district predictions of National Journal's veteran analyst, Charles Cook. Here are our favorite 10 questions based on information in the book:
1. Which lawmaker claims to be the first (and only) librarian elected to Congress?
2. National Rifle Association president Charlton Heston campaigned for which Democrat in 1998?
3. What U.S. city lays claim to the most military retirees?
4. Which six states have never elected a woman to Congress?
5. Which state legislature has the highest percentage of women members?
6. Coya Knutson of Minnesota lost reelection to her House seat in 1958 primarily for what reason?
7. Which two governors are of Hungarian descent?
8. How many states do not have legalized gambling?
9. How many Chinese Americans have served in Congress?
10. Which state leads the country in manufacturing refrigerators?
Answers coming in Monday's In the Loop.
Missed the Vote but Not the Boat
Some folks who labored hard to push through Richard C. Holbrooke's confirmation yesterday as United Nations ambassador before the Senate recess were taken aback when they learned he was off on a two-week vacation cruise to Alaska and wouldn't be at work until Aug. 23.
But it's not as though Holbrooke didn't care about what was going on. Kay King, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for legislative affairs, was relaying each yea and nay of the vote to Holbrooke via cell phone while he was airborne.
The 81 to 16 vote demonstrated the Senate's overwhelming confidence in the veteran diplomat's ability to fill the U.N. post, vacant since September. But there were indications of possible rough seas for his hoped-for nomination to be Al Gore's secretary of state, should the vice president become president.
One ominous sign is that Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) voted against him. A second warning light is that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) did not vote because of a scheduling snafu, but he didn't rush to the floor to voice his support.
In the E-Mail: Bob's Living With Pamela
Most government e-mail is exceptionally dull. But the one circulating Monday in the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division raised a few eyebrows.
The official e-mail, sent to 300 support staff and lawyers, outlined an impending change in the life of one environmental lawyer. Specifically, Bob, a veteran attorney, will be "living full time" as Pamela on Aug. 23, after a "medically supervised gender transition."
All the division's senior managers "have expressed support for Bob's decision," the e-mail said. Everyone's entitled "to our own personal thoughts and beliefs," it went on, but the department is "committed to a safe and healthy" workplace where folks of "diverse backgrounds and beliefs can work free of harassment, intimidation or discrimination . . . and can contribute to the overall success of our efforts."
Bob's been a skillful litigator, we are told, and will "no doubt continue to perform at a high level after he assumes his . . . new name of Pamela."
Management is "working to support Bob . . . and to address this transition in a dignified and sensitive manner. We ask that you do the same."
A note from Bob, attached to the e-mail, says he always wanted to be a private person but "some things can't be helped."
There you have it.
The polling firm of Greenberg-Quinlan Research is bringing on some veteran administration talent. Robert O. Boorstin, formerly a speech writer for President Clinton and more recently consigliere to former treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin--and before that a reporter for a New York newspaper--is joining as a vice president working on international accounts. Mark B. Feierstein, formerly at the Organization of American States and more recently the Agency for International Development, is joining as a senior analyst.
Takeoffs and Landings
Heading out . . . Daniel Smith, a highly regarded minority staff director on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and former administrative assistant to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), is going to the American Cancer Society to be vice president for federal and state relations.
Rebekka Bonner, former White House aide and more recently press secretary for the Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is leaving to go to Yale Law School and then, if she can stand all that ivy, to Harvard Business School.
Coming back . . . Eric Liu, a former speech writer at the National Security Council who left to write a book on race called "The Accidental Asian," be a talking head on MSNBC and get a law degree at Harvard, is returning to the White House to be a top deputy to Bruce N. Reed at the Domestic Policy Council.