Jeffrey LewisShowing "Skunk" Baxter Some Love

Doobie Brother’s guitarist and “Missile Defense Analyst” Skunk Baxter—recently appointed to NASA’s Exploration Systems Advisory Committee—gets some love from the Wall Street Journal for his unconventional views on terrorism:

“We thought turntables were for playing records until rappers began to use them as instruments, and we thought airplanes were for carrying passengers until terrorists realized they could be used as missiles,” says Mr. Baxter, who sports a ponytail and handlebar mustache.

“My big thing is to look at existing technologies and try to see other ways they can be used, which happens in music all the time and happens to be what terrorists are incredibly good at.”

All kidding aside, Skunk’s “big thing”—retasking existing technologies—is consistent with my concern that he was placed on the NASA advisory panel to further the interests of the Missile Defense Agency in space exploration missions.

Apparently, the WSJ isn’t alone in showing Skunk the love. The puff piece notes that Skunk is a very busy mammal:

[Baxter] does regular work for the Department of Defense and the nation’s intelligence community, chairs a congressional advisory board on missile defense, and has lucrative consulting contracts with companies like Science Applications International Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.

WSJ also answers my question—“How the hell does a guy in a band called the Doobie Brothers keep a security clearance?”— with this pithy little comment:

During one background interview, Mr. Baxter says, he was asked whether he could be bribed with money or drugs. He recalls telling the investigators not to worry because he had already “been there, done that, and given away the T-shirt” during his rock career.

Subscription only, but I’d be happy to send a copy to anyone in need of a good laugh.


  1. Nukeeater (History)

    Just what we need in the Puzzle Place…. Skunk! With Rorhabacher and Weldon the other two idiots still chasing RA115s and 116s from those nasty russkies……!

  2. dcpolicywonk (History)

    Glad I’m not the only one who finds the idea of “Skunk” as any sort of expert (except for music and drugs) a little ridiculous and Weldon just a silly, pompous ass.

  3. rakehell (History)

    I read that article but I couldn’t figure out what his credentials were, other than that he seemed a quick study, and that he seemed to know two or three key people.

  4. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Well, this is Washington.

    As far as I can tell, you’ve captured his primary qualifications.

  5. Leslie (History)

    Just add this to the list of reasons to be scared.

  6. Phila (History)

    You’ve mentioned “Skunk” before, and each time, my brain has refused to process it. I look around for the evidence that it’s a joke, and don’t find it, and then I submerge the information completely until next time.

    If memory serves, Baxter did a bunch of session work for Steely Dan, too. Maybe he can get those guys involved. We don’t have nearly enough burned-out, quasi-mystical buffoons in government. Not enough grotesque facial hair, either.

    The real worry will be if North Korea seeks parity by hiring Mahavishnu John McLaughlin.

  7. nukeeater (History)

    “little ridiculous”

    I much prefer the term FUBAR!