AND FOR DESSERT: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) turned a cordial dinner on Capitol Hill into a scathing roast of the two guests of honor: Joel Kotkin and David Friedman, high-profile Los Angeles authors who are heading up the new Progressive Policy Institute West. Waters was furious at a Times essay by Kotkin and Friedman, chiding her for leading an alliance of old-style liberals and large defense contractors in quest of "federal bailouts" for troubled defense firms. "Defense executives are courting the entitlement crowd by offering them such carrots as inner-city investments and minority-hiring quotas," the two wrote. Calling their article "outrageous," Waters declared that she "has never been aligned with defense contractors" and "never made a deal with them." "Don't assume you know this process better than we do," she added, referring to 15 other California lawmakers in the room. "We didn't get here because we're stupid or dumb." Somewhat flustered, Kotkin and Friedman, who were rebuffed when they tried to meet with Waters earlier, said they hadn't meant to offend.