SENATOR: Sir, in your capacity as Director of Space Flight, I assume that you have given serious thought to the question of gravity. Would that assumption be correct?
DIRECTOR: I don't--Senator, can you be a little more--I'm not familiar with the subject of your question.
SENATOR: Gravity, sir. I'm referring to the attractive force that all massive bodies are theorized to exert on each other. It holds the earth together, keeps it in its orbit around the sun . . . ? One of the four basic components of any possible Unified Field Theory? Surely you are familiar with this?
DIRECTOR: I would have to say this is not a topic on which I've been fully briefed.
SENATOR: "Fully briefed?" Sir, if your pencil rolls off your desk, does it land on the floor?
DIRECTOR: [Looks thoughtfully at the pencil on the table in front of him.] Senator, I would have to get back to you on that.
Exhibit 2: Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testifying before the House subcommittee on Public Health:
REPRESENTATIVE: Sir, I would like to draw your attention to the process known as Pasteurization, and--
DIRECTOR: Congressman, I have to interrupt for a moment. What was--what was that word again?
REPRESENTATIVE: . . . Pasteurization?
DIRECTOR: Yes. Pasteurization. Could you use that in a sentence?
REPRESENTATIVE: [Long pause.] Well, sir, I believe I was just doing that.
DIRECTOR: I see.
REPRESENTATIVE: Sir, are you telling me you don't know what Pasteurization is? The process of heating milk to kill dangerous organisms, then chilling it again for transportation or storage? Sir, this is simply--we are talking about one of the greatest advances in public health since the adoption of public sewer systems! And you're saying you've never heard of it?
DIRECTOR: Not a clue. They heat the milk?
REPRESENTATIVE: Yes. Named after Louis Pasteur?
DIRECTOR: [Shrugs.] Nope. I got nothing. Congressman, do--[Lowers voice, leans closer to mike.]--do the Russians know about this?
Exhibit 3: Attorney General, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee:
SHERMAN: Now, are there any U.S. citizens being held now by foreign governments or foreign organizations, without access to attorneys, as a result of rendition, where agents of the administration have taken people into custody and then given them up to foreign officials?
GONZALES: I don’t — Congressman, I don’t know if I have the question to that question either. It’s something I would have to look at.
SHERMAN: Wouldn’t you, as the chief officer responsible for protecting our civil rights, want to know?
GONZALES: Yes. And I’m not suggesting that that is occurring — It’s just — quite frankly, I hadn’t thought about this.
Note: To the best of our knowledge here at p3, only one of these has actually happened.