The week (May 5th): Nobody asked me, but…

With an obligatory nod to the late, great Jimmy Cannon, nobody asked me, but….

THE REAL STORY BEHIND the sudden resignation of Porter Goss at CIA has yet to emerge, but if I had to place a bet, I'd wager that intelligence czar John Negroponte pushed for his ouster. That Goss did not give an explanation at his press conference with President Bush on Friday added to the mystery, but his silence also suggests that he was ousted because of friction with Negroponte. The expected appointment of a Negroponte deputy to head CIA would lend credence to that explanation.

Other theories circulating are much less likely, or patently absurd: the notion that Goss will return to Florida and replace Katherine Harris as the GOP Senatorial candidate doesn't hold water because Goss only postponed his retirement from political life to try to reform the CIA; that he is somehow implicated in a rumored investigation of the agency's third in command, executive director Kyle Foggo, a probe involving poker games and prostitutes, is ridiculous considering Goss' record and long-standing reputation for personal integrity.

To that point, those who covered Goss when he was a Florida congressman quickly learned that neither he nor his staff members would accept anything of value, including shared cab fares or lunch tabs, as a matter of principle.

"YOU WILL BE EXPECTED to bow as a gesture of respect at the statue of Kim Il Sung and at his mausoleum," counsels the Harvard Alumni Association's memo for Harvardians planning to visit North Korea on a special tour. Why? The memo explains: "Demonstrations of respect for the country's late leader, Kim Il Sung, and for the current leader, Kim Jong Il, are important." Important? Not to anyone with any self-respect or knowledge of the nasty track record of Fearless Leader. When should any American bow to statues of Kim Il Sung? When hell freezes over… (This nauseating example of People's Republic of Cambridge cultural sensitivity was revealed by the New York Post's Deborah Orin.)

WASN'T IT A BIT MUCH to hire a police escort to rush newly-reacquired Red Sox catcher Doug Mirabelli from the airport to Fenway Park so he could handle knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield on Monday, (even if the home side was facing the hated Yankees)? Red Sox Nation loyalists would disagree, no doubt, because Mirabelli caught all 99 pitches successfully (no easy feat with Wakefield's fluttering deliveries) and the Bosox won the game, 7-3. For the record, the Red Sox paid $160 for the rent-a-cop to drive Mirabelli to the Fens.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER'S column "Never Again?" in the Washington Post is a disturbing must-read: Krauthammer notes that "there are once again more Jews living in Israel — the successor state to Judea — than in any other place on Earth" and that, in "a cruel historical irony" this makes it a "tempting target for those who would finish Hitler's work." Krauthammer writes that Iran's drive to acquire nuclear weapons has led famed Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis to liken the situation to Europe in 1938. Will the tragic legacy of the American intervention in Iraq be that it forestalls dealing with bona fide weapons of mass destruction and anti-Semitic Iranian leaders apparently willing to use them?

ON THE LIST OF THOSE HAVING A TOUGH WEEK, add a number of candidates for the U.S. Senate. In Florida, Republican Katherine Harris' slow-motion meltdown continues as she faces allegations of quid-pro-quo favoritism with a defense contractor who made campaign contributions. (Florida governor Jeb Bush is now openly hoping for an alternative candidate). In New Jersey, Republican Tom Kean, Jr. and Democrat Robert Menendez launch cheesy attack websites ("Bob Menendez brings more baggage with him to Washington than a hotel bellhop"; "Too Junior for Jersey, But Just Right for Bush").

In Virginia, incumbent Senator George Allen must face questions about his character and racial attitudes after tough pieces in the New Republic by Ryan Lizza. But the worst of the week: the nasty spat between New York Republicans John Spencer and Kathleen Troia McFarland, with McFarland's advisor Ed Rollins calling attention to the conservative Spencer's extramarital affair with his onetime mayoral chief of staff. Senator Hillary Clinton's own campaign staff couldn't have devised a more damaging scenario for her opponents if they had been given control of the GOP effort.

AND I AM NOT making this stuff up…


Copyright © 2006 Jefferson Flanders
All rights reserved

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