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Civics Lesson: Dave's Denouncement (Patrick J. Flynn)
(topical, original, smirk)

It's sad but true - many Americans are ill-informed about the political
process in their own country.  Fortunately, the recent scandal involving
Senator Durenberger (R-Minn.) offers the perfect opportunity to discuss
a little-known but interesting facet of Our American Government At Work:

          C O N G R E S S I O N A L   P U N I S H M E N T S

According to today's Detroit Free Press, the Senate Ethics committee
recommended that the full Senate `denounce' Sen. Durenberger (who
apparently likes to be called `Dave') for the following ethical

+ falsely claiming office expenses for trips to his Minneapolis condo, and
+ collecting fees in excess of Senate limits for a book publishing deal.

Wow, these are serious charges!  Since Sen. Dave has apologized, and
didn't contest the charges, the Senate (presuming guilt) recommended

Dictionary and Thesaurus entries (Webster's 9th, Digital edition):

>de.nounce \di-'naun(t)s\ vt  de.nounced;
>[ME denouncen, fr. OF denoncier to proclaim, fr. L denuntiare,
> fr. de- + nuntiare to report ]
>1: to pronounce esp. publicly to be blameworthy or evil
>2 archaic 
> b: to announce threateningly
>3: to inform against: ACCUSE
>4 obs: PORTEND
>5: to announce formally the termination of (as a treaty)
>syn see CRITICIZE 
>P de.nounce.ment \-'naun(t)-sment\ n 
>P n 
>' Thesaurus:
>denounce  vb
>   syn    CRITICIZE, blame, censure, condemn, denunciate, knock, rap,
>          reprehend, reprobate, skin 
>   rel    accuse, arraign, charge, impeach, incriminate, indict, tax;
>          revile, vituperate; delate, inform 
>   idiom  cry harrow (or haro)
>   con    panegyrize, praise
>   ant    eulogize

The Senate's range of options is quite wide, eh?
On the mild end, we have 'cry harrow', wherein each member of the Senate
is required to say 'Harrow, Dave' in the morning instead of the conventional
'Hello, Dave.'  Harsher but nonviolent punishments include 'rap', wherein
the Senate is obliged to write, produce, and market a rap song about
Sen. Dave:

>[tappa-tappa-tappa-tappa tap tap skreeeeek!]
>We's the Senate, and we gotta say
>Dave's condo ain't no office, no way!
>[zippa-zippa-zippa-zippa boom boom CLAP!]

Moving into the physical punishments, we have `knock', which I
would recommend that Senators Larry, Moe, and Curly perform:

>``Dave, you're a knucklehead!'' BONK
>``Hey Moe! Let me at him!  Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!''  EYE-POKE

The three most blood-curdling punishments seem to be
`skin' (!), `eulogize' (!!), and, of course, the dreaded `tax' (!!!)
Imagine that!

Instead of using one of these disciplinary measures, the Senate has
decided that a denouncement is actually a `Harrumph of Disapproval.'
I can see it now.  I'll tune in C-SPAN tonight to see 99 senators
saying `Harrumph, Dave.  Harrumph!' in unison.

Apparently, Sen. Dave turned down a plea-bargain arrangement wherein he
would not be harrumphed, but merely referred to as the `Congress-weeny'
for one year.  I hear that Congress-weenies emeriti Wright and Tower
were in favor of that arrangement.

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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