Jewish World Review Jan. 3, 2001/ 19 Teves, 5762

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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The year that was -- THE year began with a vow by the media to find the real winner in Florida. "Every chad a vote," was their motto. With a photo of a mustachioed Katherine Harris as inspiration, they began counting the dimpled, the hanging and the loose - a daunting task in any retirement haven.

News distractions of 2001 nearly thwarted their efforts. In January the Clinton Dynasty ended with a flourish that took even we Clinton bashers aback. The departing Oxford hick looted the White House whilst pardoning Marc Rich. Having been on the lam since the 1980s, Mr. Rich had not yet been tried, let alone convicted. But his ex-wife, Denise, a songwriter, was endowed with sizeable soft-money contributions.

Mr. Bush was sworn in as president with Mr. Gore visibly disgruntled during the inauguration speech and muttering, "The New York Times is still counting, ranch boy."

California soon grabbed headlines because residents there discovered that power plants are the root cause of electricity. Angry Californians tossed Ed Begley, Jr. and his electric car campaign from the environmentally powerless Golden State.

John Ashcroft's nomination for attorney general was not well received. A Pee-wee Herman nomination would have had less resistance and he is not a lawyer. Mr. Clinton joined Mr. Herman as a non-lawyer when the Arkansas Supreme Court threatened disbarment. The underage Bush girls were also ousted from several bars - those in which spirits and TexMex are served.

In May the FBI revealed 3,135 previously undisclosed documents in its Timothy McVeigh investigation. Senator Hillary Clinton, astonished at the sudden discovery of long-lost documents, clicked her tongue, "How could this have happened?"

It was the best of times and the worst of times for animals. Britain's Parliament imposed a fox hunting ban and "Monkey Man" terrorized residents of Utter Predesh in India. In Yeti and Loch Ness tradition, Monkey Man staged 48 attacks, with 3 deaths of frightened souls who jumped from windows when confronted by the intruding MM. The Taliban had no comment. Leo the dog perished when he was hurled across a California freeway during a road rage incident. Despite John Ashcroft's confirmation as attorney general, Leo's killer was sentenced to 3 years.

Actor Robert Blake found camaraderie with O.J. Simpson and John and Patsy Ramsey. All had loved ones murdered when no one else was around and vowed to find the real killers. The media real prez counters in Florida said, "You go, Baretta."

Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont jumped ship from Democrat using Republican funds to get elected to unabashed Democrat, thus tipping the balance of power in the Senate. The Daschle plan of joint leadership was deep-sixed with Jeffords' defection.

June was a sad month. Archie Bunker, aka Carroll O'Connor, left us meatheads. Racing legend Dale Earnhardt was killed and Vince Foster theorists emerged. The media demanded the autopsy report, curious about the cause of death when a racecar driver crashes into a wall doing 180 mph. Andrea Yates killed her five young children and became the poster girl for the media's self-concocted gender curse of postpartum depression. Katie Couric stumped for funds for defense lawyers. Leo the dog had more supporters than the five Yates children.

Enter Gary Condit and Chandra Levy. Another intern captured the nation's attention because she had mysteriously disappeared without a Barbara Walters' interview. Rep.Condit offered assistance in the search for Ms. Levy by throwing his coat over his shoulder and continuing to blow-dry his hair.

In July, the New York Times issued a 3,000-word, front-page report on the Florida recount. No one is quite sure what the story said except Al Gore had not yet won.

In August Bill Clinton opened his Harlem offices and said he was "home." Mr. Bush did go home to Crawford, Texas where the media halted counting long enough to grouse about a too-long presidential vacation.

From the barren ranch, Mr. Bush partially approved stem-cell research based on Sen. Orrin Hatch's promise that Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox would be cured.

Then came September 11. The media had its hands full with massive loss of life, closed airports, anthrax and the spelling of Al Qaeda.

The recount results emerged in November. Mr. Bush won Florida, no matter how they counted the ballots, the dimples, the chads and the courts. But the country had already found its real president and given him an 88% approval rating for smoking out terrorists and taking them dead or alive.

We returned to home, family, friends, patriotism and G-d. John Ashcroft could do no wrong. America the beautiful confirmed its soul. Every other story of 2001, just like the recount with which it began, became a footnote.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


12/27/01: The Twelve Days of inconsistency
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12/13/01: Curbing brats
12/06/01: Power to influence
11/29/01: The disappearing art of grading
11/21/01: The Big Two-Five
11/13/01: You can never find a lib when you need one
11/01/01: Unlucky in sports
10/26/01: An epidemic of counselitis
10/16/01: A touch of class
10/12/01: Of human nature and monsters
10/05/01: Sensitive man
10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
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12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
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12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
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11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
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09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
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05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
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12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
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11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
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08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings