Welcome back, Industry Insiders. Let's have a warm welcome for our new resident humorist, G.I. John Kerry.
Military Intelligence, 1.0: Kerry landed in hot water this week when he told a crowd at Pasadena (California) City College that "if you study hard and do your homework...you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." The Massachusetts senator quickly backpedaled from that position, claiming the remark had been a badly butchered attempt at a joke. Staff members told the press that Kerry had actually meant to say, "If you don't, you get stuck at the University of Miami."
Military Intelligence, 1.1: "Or in the University of Miami president's office."
Military Intelligence, 2.0: Kerry-gate touched off a firestorm of partisan vitriol in the run-up to Tuesday's midterm elections. President Bush called the statement 'shameful.' White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said it 'fits a pattern' of Democratic hostility to the American military. Maurice Clarett wondered what a guy had to do...
Military Intelligence, 2.1: And that one finishes itself.
Military Intelligence, 3.0: The flap came at an especially inopportune time for Democrats, who were looking to a ride a wave of anti-war momentum into Tuesday's vote. In fact, some political observers went so far as to comment that the Senator's boner seemed almost like an act of intentional sabotage. Kerry referred all such speculation to his trusted speech writer, Pete Rose.
Military Intelligence, 3.1: Rose subsequently denied the allegations.
Military Intelligence, 3.2: While apologizing profusely.
Military Intelligence, 3.3: And offering a special two-for-one deal on autographed transcripts of the press conference.
Elsewhere in domestic politics, Republican strategists mounted a furious PR campaign to close out the election season. Engineered by White House gremlin Karl Rove, the program focused on mobilizing the GOP's conservative base, with the ultimate goal of turning out large numbers of fanatical, red-clad loyalists in the Midwestern states. Early reports were that the plan has been hugely successful in an around the city of St. Louis.
Cottage Industry for Dummies: That's supposed to be a Cardinals-won-the-World-Series joke.
Cottage Industry for Dummies, Expanded Release: Not to be confused with a Albert-Pujols-and-border-security gag.
Cottage Industry for Dummies, Advanced Reading: Or a Is-David-Eckstein-perhaps-Karl-Rove's-illegitimate-troll-baby? insinuation.
On the international scene, tensions ran high between the Bush administration and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki after al-Maliki ordered the removal of check points around the Sadr City region of Baghdad. The barricades had been established as part of a search for a missing a American soldier, but al-Maliki faced pressure from local Shiite authorities to lift the restrictions. The decision reflected what many observers call a growing rift between the United States and al-Maliki's government, mostly over the issue of sectarian groups and their role in Iraqi politics. Insiders hinted that al-Maliki is also really, really pissed about the way the BCS bowl picture is shaping up.
Connect the dots: In response, John Kerry suggested that the BCS officials were probably all ex-military men.
And kill the joke: But Pete Rose said he wouldn't bet on it.
The foreign news wasn't all bad for the United States, as North Korea agreed to return to six-party talks on its nuclear weapons program. The success of the talks, which will involve North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States, will likely hinge on the question of military and financial sanctions leveled against North Korea in the wake of its October nuclear test. Diplomats also hope to work out a trilateral agreement that would send Daisuke Matsuzaka to the New York Yankees.
Let's be serious here: Failing that, George Steinbrenner has instructed Brian Cashman to —just buy the Jap bastard.—
Finally this week, one for the kids. News surfaced on Tuesday that Shaquille O'Neal, apparently in preparation for the upcoming NBA season, had been part of botched child pornography raid conducted last month by the Bedford County (Virginia) Sherriff's Office. The raid, at which O'Neal was present as a reserve sheriff's deputy, falsely targeted the home of A.J. Nuckols, who has since filed a formal complaint in the matter. Among other things, Nuckols alleges that the arresting officers taunted him, held him at gunpoint, and irreparably dented the basketball rim over his garage during an impromptu free-throw session.
Turn Up the Heat: I don't know about Nuckols, but I'll say that if Shaq ever comes busting through my door at three in the morning demanding I hand over the kiddie porn, I'm probably going to soil myself.
Turn Up the Heat, Revisited: But that doesn't mean he's getting my Asian schoolgirl stash.
And on that note, it's just about time to knock off for the day. Have yourselves a good weekend, and let your voices be heard on Tuesday. Vote early, vote often, vote for the party that will fix what's wrong with Washington. Or failing that, just vote for the Democrats or the Republicans. No sense getting worked up over nothing...