Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Inaugural connection

Perhaps it is a bit tenuous, but we do have a connection with the inauguration of the 44th President.

The story starts in 2004. In Illinois a heated race was taking place for an open seat for the US Senate. Republican candidate Jack Ryan was making a strong bid for the slot, and it looked like he has a pretty good shot at it. The Democrats had put a relative unknown against him and Ryan was pushing hard. He had to, after all this was Illinois and although it was the "Land of Lincoln", the GOP was far from a powerhouse there.

And, of course, Illinois had Chicago where Republicans were never strong. Big Jim Thompson, once mayor, had famously told his constituents to "vote early and vote often." And stories still circulate about the dead rising from their graves to vote for Kennedy in 1960.

But Ryan was doing alright with the voters and the polls. It wasn't going to be easy, but he had a shot. Until, that is, the news media (specifically, The Chicago Tribune) started to demand that certain sealed court records be opened for inspection.

Ryan had been through a messy divorce a few years earlier. As part of the final decree, it had been agreed by both parties that the documents relating to visiting rights be sealed. Everyone involved thought it best to keep some things private, if only for the sake of the kids. The news media didn't agree. The Tribune sued to have the documents opened.

The judge sided with the newspaper and opened the records. It seems that during custody hearings where visiting rights and alimony payments were determined (and where all parties are, of course, scrupulously honest and forthright) Ryan's wife claimed that he took her to sex clubs and pestered her to perform sex with him in public. Ryan denied the charges. He said they had gone to an avant-garde club in Paris during a romantic get-away, but neither of them felt comfortable with the proceedings so they left.

Opening the records of this acrimonious divorce led to a rather bizarre twist: a sex scandal involving a husband and wife in which nothing happened. Or, in other words, licit sex had not taken place! Scandal!

It was a big deal. So big, in fact, that Ryan was forced to withdraw from the race short weeks before the election. The Republicans were left without a candidate, and were forced to scramble. At that point, the Democrats were all but assured of winning the seat.

The Democrat candidate was Barack Obama. Yep, he won and went to the Senate.

Ryan's wife was actress Jeri Ryan. She is best known for her role in Star Trek: Voyager as Seven-of-Nine.

Where do we come in? Well, Seven-of-Nine stands greeting customers in our bathroom.

Now it could be plausibly argued, I suppose, that Barack Obama might have won the Presidency if Seven-of-Nine hadn't been standing in our bathroom. But that is far from a certainty. Do you honestly think that Mr. Obama would want to take that chance?

Live long and prosper.


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