A Scandal's Many Names

By Al Kamen
Monday, May 23, 2005

And now, the winners in the In the Loop Name That Scandal contest. This was to come up with a new moniker for the ethics investigation into House Majority Leader Tom DeLay 's travels.

This was a challenging contest -- demanding a modicum of creativity. And Loop Fans rose to the occasion with about 800 e-mail entries and scores more via regular mail. (The e-mails as usual started first in Europe -- they have a built-in six-hour time advantage -- around 4 a.m. Eastern time.) There were many entries focusing on DeLay's name; his nickname, "The Hammer"; or his career as an exterminator. And there were many creative efforts to use the themes suggested by the allegations against DeLay (R-Tex.), such as golf, travel, flying, tribal casinos and so on. Despite our warnings about penalties, there were countless entrants who insisted on submitting -gate entries.

And so, in no particular order, here are the winners:

· Several entrants worked on a French theme. "DeLaissez Faire" was submitted by Neil Quigley , a telephone company engineer in Weatherford, Tex. Other entrants who worked that French thing were: Government Accountability Office employee and former contest winner Keith B. Cunningham of Washington, who suggested "Dangerous DeLay-isons"; "Au De Mal Lays," which business writer Pamela Drew of Manhattan said was the "intoxicating scent which allows Washington insiders to believe the smell of pork can be removed from their greased palms"; and "d'Affaire DeLay," submitted by Fred McCoy, a history buff from Alexandria.

· Working off the air travel theme, Clay O'Dell , a communications specialist for a health association in Washington, suggested "Exceedia.com" because DeLay's travel expenses far exceed "what you would expect from your run-of-the-mill congressman." Also, "Tribalocity," defined by Washington lawyer Brant Levine as "the use of tribal funds for travel."

· Variations involving DeLay's golfing efforts included: "Tee-Putt Dome" submitted by Fred Thibodeau , a retiree from Bangor, Maine, incorporating tepee and golfing and a play on the Teapot Dome Scandal of the Harding administration; John Carney , a computer engineer and prior winner from Rochester, Mich., also submitted the "Dome" suggestion along with "Golfing With Wolves."

· Great Falls architect John G. Colby suggested "Troondoggle," playing off the trip to Royal Troon, Scotland, to play a few holes, a trip allegedly funded by tribal casino money; financial manager Robert Hayden of Glen Burnie offered "The Play'em Where DeLay Tour."

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