Yeah, we're responsible

It has been a rough winter for the BBC. First, there was that messy business about its false report on the British government "sexing up" intelligence on Iraq's weapons program. Now the broadcaster has a new public relations problem on its hands, thanks to the host of one of its TV series. As we pick up the story, Jeremy Clarkson of "Top Gear" wanted to test the durability of a Toyota pickup truck by ramming it into a fixed object while cameras were rolling. So he chose a chestnut tree at the edge of a church parking lot in Churchill, England. But he also chose not to bother asking permission first. Apparently, no one in the village witnessed the act. One local viewer, however, caught the show and recognized the setting as well as the tree, which still bore traces of paint from the vehicle. "After a few days," the BBC admitted guilt, and now Churchill has a $470 check to pay for the damage.

So, Governors, where are your female policymakers?

The ranks of women holding top-level jobs in state government is changing at "glacial" speed, says Judith Saidel, director of a study on the subject for the University of Albany (N.Y.) Center for Women in Government and Civil Society. One finding: The percentage of women in governor-appointed positions - such as chiefs of staff and cabinet agencies - rose from 29.8 percent in 1999 to 35 percent in 2001, but has slid back to 32 percent today. Only three of the eight states with female governors - Delaware, Kansas, and Michigan - are above average in hiring women to set policy. The top 10 states, according to the study, and the percentage of key positions held by women in each last year:

1. Massachusetts 50.0%
2. Oregon 47.8
3. Florida 44.8
4. Iowa 43.1
5. Missouri 42.9
6. Kansas 39.3
7. Wisconsin 37.8
8. Virginia 37.5
9. Nebraska 36.8
10. Tennessee 37.1
- Associated Press

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