Let is not be said Enemy Central blinked first. We're back, after a several month hiatus, but not before the divine one, Ms. Maureen Dowd, came out of hiding herself. Her timing remains impeccable. She was first out of the box lionizing Mrs. Cindy Sheehan. "If only her husband were an undercover C.I.A. operative, the Bushies could out him," she wrote last week. Otherwise, her long break left her more open-minded, at least regarding Condoleezza Rice's Crawford getup -- "it was odd, if refreshing, to see a secretary of state wearing lilac," she wrote more recently. But didn't Henry Kissinger also wear lilac?
Unless Ms. Dowd is on a diet, we suspect she'll weigh in on the appointment of Cristeta Comerford as White House chef. Although not the first woman in American history to slave in the kitchen, Ms. Comerford is the first ordered to do so in the presidential residence. Lest George W. Bush be blamed for yet another move setting women back, first lady Laura Bush is taking credit for the selection. It could be described as a consolation prize for her losing out in choosing a successor to Sandra Day O'Connor. Incidentally, in a not so subtle dig at her husband's foreign policy, Mme. Bush picked someone who specializes in French cuisine. Meanwhile, to keep them from being sent to Iraq, the first lady is refusing to disclose the location her twin daughters. They've certainly not been spotted lounging poolside at Crawford or clearing brush along the outer perimeter.
Professional golf has a new PGA champion, one Phil Mickelson, the people's choice and a media darling. As such, naturally, his nickname is Lefty. Now when's the last time network television ever lionized anyone nicknamed Righty? Mickelson, needless to say, almost backed into his victory. True, he did hack his way out of some rough stuff at two critical moments. Otherwise, no one rose to the occasion in the season's final major, no one that is except Tiger Woods, who allowed the field to lap him before getting down to work and almost winning. Maybe next year to keep himself entertained he'll play all the majors left-handed. Surely the game could use another Lefty.
In more exciting summer music news than anything coming out of Marlboro and Tanglewood, the Clinton Presidential Foundation and wind ensemble has announced the release of an 11-track CD entitled, "The Bill Clinton Collection: Selections from the Clinton Music Room." It includes such autobiographical hits as "Spin the Bottle," "Let's Spend the Night Together," "You've Got What It Takes," "Blueberry Hill," "Love Potion Number Nine," and "Chantilly Lace." At the last moment, "Hey, Paula" was scratched.
The August heat is on, vindicating the inventor of summer swelter, Mr. Al Gore. But he's moved on to other things, which might explain why during the hottest time of year he appeared on Jay Leno as a man in black, including black cowboy boots, to launch his new television project. He seemed heavier and jowlier than usual. To be honest, he didn't look well, and this time we're not being paid to say that.
Another Al, surnamed Franken, caved to rightist pressure and devoted a televised radio program to the notion of Intelligent Design. To cope with its intellectual requirements, it appeared he added a few layers of glass to his Coke bottle spectacles, but still he couldn't help to look lost. It seems he was certain we all originate from a single bacterium, but he couldn't tell you where or when and how it all started. His bigger worry, one could tell, was how to keep his show from ending up as a replica of that proto-bacterium.
One thing we do know is that even some intelligent designs end up bacterial. Just for the fun of it, we put a Clinton finger-wagging clone under our microscope, and this is what we come up with -- a congenital liar in all conditions. Here's what Rafael Palmeiro told the press in late February after Jose Canseco said the two of them had done steroid work together: "I think, for the most part, fans know who's telling the truth and who's not. I think my reputation means a lot, and I think it carries a lot of weight. It's tough to defend yourself in the public's eye, but I think that my actions and how I defend myself stand on its own." Just think, he lied though he wasn't under oath. It takes a special kind of hero to pull that off. Not every time is our Enemy of the Week so smooth a swinger -- and wagger -- as Rafael Palmeiro has proved to be. Long may he ride the bench.