NewsBlog 5000
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Quality Reporting

Saturday, July 29, 2006

In this new feature, we showcase a reporter from another news organization that we believe has the spirit and quality exemplified by NewsBlog 5000.

Found in the Washington Post:

At Bolton Hearing, Some Unnatural Phenomena

By Dana Milbank

It would be no exaggeration to say that yesterday's confirmation hearing for John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was a washout.

Three hours into the dreary and desultory proceedings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a torrent of water began to pour from light fixtures in the ceiling, creating a waterfall between the nominee and the senators.

"We seem to have a little distraction," Bolton observed.

Congressional and State Department aides hurried to put trash cans under the leak, but the gusher spread toward the stenographer, causing puddles in the carpet and ultimately dripping on Sen. Barack Obama, who fled his seat.

"I just felt something come down on me," the Illinois Democrat declared.

"You can come and sit with me," Bolton offered.

"Let's hope it's rainwater and not something else," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

It turns out a hot-water pipe had burst in the women's locker room of a fitness center two stories above the hearing room. The resulting downpour provided a stream of cracks -- "before we get rained out . . . keep the buckets coming . . . this is a form of transparency" -- until Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) entered the room and declared in solemn tones that he would be making no remarks about the leak.

"All the comments have been made about the flood," he announced. That ended the fun before some of the best puns could be made.

Such as "Bolton's in hot water now."

Or "Hope this leak isn't classified."

As it happens, the cascade provided a fitting coda for a hearing in which both sides seemed to be suggesting that the administration's foreign policy -- at least the one unveiled during President Bush's first term -- was all washed up.


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