Enemy of the Week

The Russians Are Coming and Going

Which doesn't mean they're going to win in this competition either. Our judges cannot be bought (at least not in rubles).

2.22.02

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Enemy Central always get is man -- er, person -- even if late on a Friday night. Sorry about that, folks. But the judge wouldn't lift her restraining order until sundown today, after she'd rejected the last of a few weeks' worth of Russian complaints. Seems we haven't given equal consideration to Russian performers in the Enemy Games. But what could we have done differently the last few weeks?

Last time it was Ted Turner who won the Enemy gold. Now is there any self-respecting national group that would want to boast having a fellow national of his ilk? Plus our Russian comrades forget we tried to get Ted deported during the Goodwill Games era, without success. The Russians were happy to take his money, but only so long as he kept his exit visa. If anything, they would have preferred for his then beloved Jane Fonda to be the defector. Everyone knows they've been looking for a replacement for Catherine the Great for more than two centuries.

Two weeks ago, meanwhile, another Ted, surnamed Kennedy, but with the same patronymic as anyone who called Joseph Stalin father, took top honors. This Ted they Russians have always liked, even if his robust intake hasn't been vodka-based. The problem, it appears, is that ever since our President Bush started being nice to Ted, his relations with their President Putin have chilled. We know what we can say to that: throw some serious rubles into your education bill. Mr. Putin, and maybe we'll do business.

Fortunately for world peace the Russians remain model goodwill ambassadors. Earlier this week, a hundred or so of them, all members in good standing of the Shostakovichian St. Petersburg Philharmonic, made an extended stop in Washington while in transit from Amsterdam to Los Angeles, where they were to perform the next night. According to Yankee pilot and crew, the St. Petersburg hundred downed every bottle of spirits on board, and were threatening to move on to the jet fuel and brake fluid shortly before the plane made a scheduled stop at Washington Dulles. Whereupon they were thrown off the flight, along with their baggage, and for one night at least raised the homeless count in the nation's capital by a frigid one-hundred. Eventually they did arrive in L.A., ready to perform next at the Betty Ford Center.

Quite a haul this week from the forgotten state of Oregon, where the salmon have returned to Capistrano (okay, so our command of West Coast lore is shaky). Two of Enemy Central's agents, i.e., readers who make sure our files our filled with nominations for Enemy of the Week, do a one -two to two of the rainy state's leading leaders.

Thus agent Matt Reilly, from the safety of his beach house in Seaside, OR, singles out Gov. John Kitzhaber for bringing a liberal sense of balance to the state. "Oregon with a population of 3.47 million ranks 27th among U.S.
states," Reilly writes, "yet we have a biennial budget of $12.3 billion, the 8th most expensive state government in the U.S." But who says those numbers can't improve? Already the state has the highest unemployment rate in the nation, which the governor sees as a sign the state badly needs a tax hike. Meanwhile, a little more mercy killing could shoot Oregon's population numbers in Wyoming's direction. So there's hope.

But no thanks to Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, Kevin Hudson's nominee for promising to undercut any Republican filibuster of campaign finance reform. With Republicans like Smith, why have Republicans?

An agent who prefers to work under the cover of anonymity, sent only a link and this cryptic message: "An early and earnest Nomination for EOW is the IOC." So what sayeth the august body? According to an unidentified IOC member, as quoted in this Guardian (U.K.) report from the Salt Lake City games: "This is a show designed to send a message to Osama bin Laden. President Bush is saying: 'Look at us: you bombed us but you can't stop us going about our normal lives.' But that is not what the Olympic Games are supposed to be about." This is the same IOC that brought the Olympic spirit to Sarajevo in 1984.

Typically, the fellow we've settled on this week didn't need anyone to turn him in. As always he was modest enough to do the dirty work all by himself. Remember how he used to carry his suitcase from the helicopter into the White House? Or hose down and sweep the tennis court? Or mow the South Lawn and the clip the hedges and remove dead branches and bring fresh nuts to the squirrels? So with characteristic timing, while the current President of the United States was on a critical foreign tour, this former president of the United States chose to under cut him by denouncing his "axis of evil" remark. "Overly simplistic," he called it. As always, if you're going to be simplistic make sure you keep it within bounds. That's what made him the greatest president since Gerry Ford. And that's what makes Jimmy Carter EOW this week.

(Don't forget to nominate your favorites for Enemy of the Week -- write to Enemy Central c/o editor@theamericanprowler.org; click below.)

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