The Bush administration, it appears, is suffering from a serious but little-noted problem: a "marriage gap." That is, a top female official is almost five times as likely to be single as her male counterpart.

In a fact-filled survey of 367 top administration officials by the National Journal, 33 percent of the women, but only 7 percent of men, were single. This may suggest that, to get ahead, it's better for women to be single. Could be that is the reality vs. the rhetoric of "family friendly."

As for Democratic National Committee chief Howard Dean's slap that the GOP is "pretty much a white Christian party," the survey found that about 83 percent of Bush officials are white and 71 percent are white Christians -- deducting 9 percent listed as Jewish and about 3 percent as "no religion."

In contrast, based on our extrapolation from only somewhat comparable studies of the Clinton administration, it appears roughly 73 percent of Clinton top officials were white. Religious affiliations were not included in those studies.

The survey, to be released Monday, also spotlights favored undergraduate schools (Yale tops the list) and graduate schools (Harvard ranks tops here).

Maybe She'll Use California Champagne

Don't delay! There's still time to get up to the New York City docks this afternoon to watch Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao give a speech and christen the newest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line's fleet, the Pride of America.

A Labor Department news release says it is the "largest U.S.-flagged ship ever built" and will have a "a 100-percent American crew." Federal law requires that U.S.-flagged ships have an American crew and be paid U.S. wages. The ship will cruise the Hawaiian islands, which foreign-flagged ships cannot do unless they also stop at a far-off foreign port.

Chao's presence seems only fitting, since her father was in the shipping business. Norwegian Cruise Line is a subsidiary of Star Cruises, which is owned by the Genting Group, Malaysia's largest multinational company.

The ship's "Best of America" theme, the department's media advisory says, "honors the country's rich history, culture and unity." The ship was built Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Who Knew What -- and When

The liberal blogomania over the media's cover-up of the "Downing Street memo" -- the British intelligence notes of meetings indicating, among other things, that the administration's decision to invade Iraq was made long before anyone else knew about it -- continues unabated.

The fuss reminds us of a front-page story by colleague Glenn Kessler, written in January 2003, two months before the invasion, parsing President Bush's decision-making process on Iraq.

The article includes this anecdote: "Only later did it become clear that the president already had made up his mind. In July [2002, about the time of the Downing Street memo], the State Department's director of policy planning, Richard N. Haass, held a regular meeting with [then-national security adviser Condoleezza] Rice and asked whether they should talk about the pros and cons of confronting Iraq.

"Don't bother, Rice replied: The president has made a decision."

Well, it's still good to know the Brits had also figured this out.

Give or Take a Few Years

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, chatting with reporters in Brussels on Wednesday, said a decision on whether to close Guantanamo would depend on President Bush. Gonzales noted, according to Reuters News Service, that soldiers captured during World War II had been held for "many, many, many, many years."

War historians might say there are a few too many "manys" in that sentence. Maybe as many as four too many.

The last German POWs left this country by July 1946, 14 months after the war ended. Italian POWs had already gone home. In both cases, many didn't want to go -- life being pretty good here -- and, we're told, the Italian authorities were not keen on a rapid return because of devastation in the home country.

The United States was the first of the great powers to release its POWs. The French, for example, held on to some of theirs until 1948, putting the Germans to work in mines, as farm workers and on projects to rebuild the country. It was, one source said, kind of a "grudge match." The Soviets, not exactly a crowd to be emulated, held on to their POWs -- the ones they didn't shoot -- for years.

It is true that some POWs, for example those who committed crimes in this country, were held longer. Some, who killed guards or other POWs, were held for years or were executed. (There's a cemetery for them, with gravestones, in Leavenworth, Kan.)

And, of course, some Germans -- Rudolf Hess, Albert Speer, members of the Waffen SS who shot prisoners -- were held for many years. But they had been adjudicated war criminals, not POWs.

The GOP Doth Protest Too Much?

It was deja vu all over again. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), decried delays over confirmation of Bush U.N. ambassador-nominee John R. Bolton by Democrats demanding internal administration documents.

Barely a year ago, Senate Republicans decried delays of Pentagon nominees by McCain, who was demanding internal documents involving the $20 billion Air Force tanker deal.