Cottage Industry: November 10
Happy Friday-after, Cottage cheesers. How 'bout a hand for our new Master of Ceremonies, Dandy Don Rumsfeld.
Tuesday's Gone, I: And what a Tuesday it was for the Democrats, who rode a wave of national unrest over the war in Iraq to a new majority in both houses of Congress. The Republican party was left reeling in the aftermath of the election, and even the most veteran political observers expressed surprise at the number of Democratic upsets. On a personal note, my bracket was busted early—I had Rick Santorum into the Elite Eight.
Tuesday's Gone, II: The Senate balance ultimately came down to the Virginia race, where Republican incumbent George Allen lost a close vote to Democratic challenger Jim Webb. Allen's reelection efforts hit a stumbling block when the onetime Presidential hopeful referred to an Indian member of his opponent's campaign staff as "Macaca," sparking a firestorm of popular furor. Somewhere, Steve Lyons wondered what all the fuss was about.
Tuesday's Gone, II.i: Allen subsequently revised his campaign slogan, which to that point had been "What Would Hooman Hamzehloui Say?"
Tuesday's Gone, III: The Democratic victory means that Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco congresswoman, is poised to become the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives. When asked how she planned to approach the job, Pelosi told reporters that she would look to the examples set by trailblazers in the sports world, like Jackie Robinson and Marge Schott.
Tuesday's Gone, III.i: Her critics have accused Pelosi of being a political extremist dedicated to an agenda of "San Francisco values." Look for criticism to be especially sharp if Pelosi returns from the congressional recess sporting forty pounds of new muscle and as a size eight-and-a-half Speaker's cap.
Tuesday's Gone, III.ii: Reports that Pelosi had insisted on installing her personal Barcalounger in the House chamber were unconfirmed at press time.
Tuesday's Gone, IV: Tuesday's elections featured a handful of former athletes in races around the country. Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann, running as a Republican, was shut down in his bid to become governor of Pennsylvania. Campaign insiders say Swann's chances for victory were damaged by his pick for Pennsylvania Transportation Safety Advisor, Ben Roethlisberger.
Tuesday's Gone, IV.i: Former Redskins and Saints quarterback Heath Shuler, on the other hand, defeated eight-term Republican incumbent Charles Taylor for the right to represent North Carolina's eleventh congressional district. Shuler immediately announced his intention to hold out for more money before reporting to Washington.
Tuesday's Gone, IV.i.a: My goodness, did that one ever write itself.
Tuesday's Gone, V: Speaking of politics and sports, can we please do something to spice up partisan victory celebrations? The Democrats looked so lame milling around the podium and dancing arhythmically to Sheryl Crow on Thursday night. The Industry recommendation: champagne baths, — la the World Series winner. Think about how fun it would be watch to Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer rub bubbly in each other's hair. And let's be honest: It wouldn't be any more wasteful than the rest of the Democratic social agenda.
Tuesday's Gone, V.i: But hey—'minimum wage increase' sure sounded good in those stump speeches. Kind of like 'computer ranking system' sounded good in those BCS promos.
Tuesday's Gone, VI: The most immediate fallout from the election shakeup came out of the Pentagon, where Donald Rumsfeld stepped down as Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld had been the focus of increasingly vocal criticism in recent months, for both the troubled state of the war in Iraq and the Secretary's apparent inability to do anything to improve the situation on the ground. In Green Bay, Packers fans expressed hope that Brett Favre might take a hint.
Tuesday's Gone, VI.i: In response, Favre popped two Vicodin and reiterated his resolve to the stay the course until he's thrown interceptions to every defensive back from Tampa to Tikrit.
And finally this week, on the lighter side of the news: On Sunday, Saddam Hussein was sentenced to hang by an Iraqi court for crimes against humanity, in connection with the 1982 killings of 148 civilians in the Shiite town of Dujail. The verdict, which came three years after the former Iraqi leader was deposed by a U.S.-led invasion, drew mixed reaction from observers around the globe. Many critics questioned the morality of the ruling, citing the dubious ethical validity of capital punishment. Supporters argued that the death penalty was in fact a more humane course of action than the court's alternative proposal, one hundred years of Tony Kornheiser commentary.
Not really though: Because no one's that vindictive.
And on that note, it's about time to call it an afternoon. Check back in next Friday, when we'll celebrate the Earthly Paradise wrought by the new order in Washington. Or, failing that, when we'll just make do with more of the same...
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