Diplopundit’s 2009 Words and Phrases to Remember


DEMINT: New Diplopundit word meaning to block, to hold, as
in “Mr. X’s nomination to be ambassador
to Country Y has been deminted by Senator Z because of senatorial disapproval
over the dear leader’s hairdo.”Or, “I did not have a normal nomination process –
my nomination was deminted for months in the Senate by a guy who disliked my

FULL BODY SCAN: New airport screening technology to be deployed
soon at US airports.  Thanks to terrorism
suspect Abdulmutallab who foolishly hid explosives in his underpants, we will all
soon undergo full body scans.  I guess the new perk for the next decade will
soon be the “no full body scan” lane?       
VISAS VIPER: Charming name for a State telegram without any hollow
venom-conducting fangs. Visas Viper report on possible terrorists who are not
current visa applicants for the purpose of watchlisting them. There is also Visas Donkey, and Visas Bear, and
no, you can’t pick your own animal for this.
CIVILIAN UPLIFT: Atrocious new term for the civilian surge
under Afghanistan 2.0. My dictionary defines “uplift” as “a rise of land to a
higher elevation (as in the process of mountain building),” or “a brassiere
that lifts and supports the breasts.” Ooh.
IDLE CURIOSITY: All-time favorite excuse for non-work
activities conducted during office hours especially related but not confined to
passport record snooping. As in “It was
not my fault; idle curiosity made me do it!”  
HUMAN RESOURCE INITIATIVE (HRI): New term for diplomatic
hiring that used to be called Diplomacy 3.0, but is now called HRI in
congressional bills. Thank gods! 
HOUSE-ENVY: A serious illness that apparently afflicts a
certain portion of the Foreign Service community overseas; reportedly impacts
morale at some posts from Afghanistan Albania to Zimbabwe (Afghanistan
has apartments and hootches). Don’t panic.
This non-contagious illness only makes an occasional appearance in OIG reports.
New title under Afghanistan 2.0; everywhere else, US missions still use
the traditional term, DCM for Deputy Chief of Mission to refer to the number #2
person at the embassy. Criteria for using
the “deputy ambassador” title, anyone?   
COLD CASE: James E. Hogan, Foreign Service Officer last seen
in Curacao (a 15% cost of living and a three-year, two R&R diplomatic post and
popular tourist destination where a man disappeared without a trace on September
24, 2009). Perhaps sad for you and me, but devastating for the family.
MUZZLED:  Madam le
Consul. Her blog’s disappearance is the subject of latest idea submitted in the
Secretary’s Sounding Board to allow internal blogging at State. The time has come to “liberate”
blogging in the Dept? Stay tuned!
Best wishes to Diplopundit’s blog friends, tipsters and readers. Let me end this year with an old Egyptian blessing — may God stand between you and harm in all the empty
places you must walk. 
Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010!