Eye Opener: The Halloween edition
Happy Friday! It's Halloween Eve, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will dress up as a rancher. The Agriculture Department will close its annual farmers market season with recipe sharing and an antique cider press demonstration. Young children from a nearby day care center will trick-or-treat through the halls of the Department of Veterans Affairs like they do every year.
There's nothing terribly scandalous scheduled (that we know of so far), and we invite government employees with Halloween office parties to Send The Eye photos, party gossip and winners of best costume contests. We'll feature them later Friday or early next week.
Now, with a wink of The Eye to Al Kamen -- and the shenanigans regularly featured in his "In the Loop" column -- let's briefly recall Halloween trouble of year's past:
• The Racist Homeland Security Costume: An Immigration and Customs Enforcement employee was suspended in 2007 for wearing a costume that drew complaints from other workers as racially insensitive. The outfit of dreadlocks, dark makeup and prison stripes was deemed "most original" by top officials at a Halloween party.
• Al and Tipper as 'Beauty and the Beast': A Kamen classic from 1995: "The Walt Disney Co. -- after receiving a request from Vice President Gore and his wife, Tipper -- rushed to produce custom-made 'Beauty and the Beast' costumes for the Gores to wear at their annual Halloween party for the press." (See the photo above.) Disney sent outfits with the Gores' precise measurements to Washington, along with the costume designer and a makeup artist. The Gores never asked for a bill from Disney, but eventually received one for $8,365.
• Tehran, 1979: As Kamen wrote in 2005, "On Nov. 4, 1979, just a few days after Halloween, militant Islamic students took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Various parts of the embassy were still decorated with ghosts and goblins and other scary stuff. So when the hostages were taken to a room with decorations, the Iranians asked what this was all about. One hostage explained, apparently closing the culture gap. "You do this to your children?" a confused militant asked.
REMINDER TO FEDERAL EMPLOYEES: Send your Halloween photos, gossip and costume winners to The Eye
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• More Obama Nominees Announced, Confirmed: The president taps Suresh Kumar to serve as director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and James P. Lynch to serve as director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The Senate also confirmed Regina M. Benjamin on Thursday to serve as the next surgeon general. Track all of Obama's nominees with The Post's Head Count.
• Hillary, Hillary, Hillary: She presses Pakistan on al Qaeda while Obama apparently seriously considered her for vice president.
• Federal Protective Service moves out of immigration bureau: The embattled agency, responsible for guarding government buildings, has been transferred from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau to the National Protection and Programs Directorate. It is still part of the Homeland Security Department.
• Union at odds with FAA over pilots' penalty: The union isn't defending actions of the pilots, but officials of the Air Line Pilots Association claim regulators jumped the gun and disregarded voluntary procedures worked out over many years among regulators, airlines and unions.
• Congress extends continuing resolution through Dec. 18: Agencies without approved budgets have been operating since Oct. 1 under a CR, which expires Oct. 31.
• Swine flu hit millions in Spring: From 9,000 to 21,000 people were hospitalized as a result, and up to 800 died from April to July, when it largely faded out, according to CDC estimates.
• FDIC chief criticizes reform plan: Senior regulators and some lawmakers clashed once again with the Obama administration on Thursday, finding fault with central elements of the White House’s latest plan to unwind large financial companies.
• FBI lets barred tycoon visit the U.S.: Aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska met with agents in August and earlier this month as part of a continuing criminal probe.
| October 30, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener
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