In the News and On the Air: Iraq, Paper, Scissors

Hiyo, Silver. It wasn't easy to schedule an interview with the Rock, Paper, Scissors champion who graces our broadcast this morning.

His name is Jason Simmons, of Washington, D.C. We heard that Simmons will compete in this weekend's World Championship, under the stage name "Midnight Rider."

When our staffer Douglas Hopper phoned him, however, he denied being "Midnight Rider."

It turns out that Simmons has multiple personas, or rather multiple stage names. He was willing to talk with us but would not admit he's Midnight Rider.

When he finally came by our studios, Simmons did bear a striking resemblance to this photo of Midnight Rider:

http://www.nyrps.org/ (Just scroll down a beat.)

The only difference is that when we met him he wasn't wearing a Lone Ranger mask.

Before leaving, Simmons played me in the schoolyard game.

"The game started long before we threw the first throw," he said, after giving me a "thumping," to use President Bush's description of his party's election defeat.

Webb on the War. This morning, Renee Montagne talks with one of the men who administered the "thumping."

Democrat James Webb is a Vietnam vet who warned, before the Iraq war, that the U.S. could get stuck there for 30 to 50 years.

In our interview, Webb put his hopes on a diplomatic solution, with the U.S. calling on Iraq's neighbors for help and promisinge to keep no permanent bases in the region.

But he also insisted it's still up to the White House, not Congress, to come up with a plan.

That may be because it's not entirely clear if Democrats can unite on one.

Women in the House. James Webb is different from many of this year's election "thumpers."

The difference is that he's a man.

A record number of women are heading for Congress this year, 70 in the House alone. They will, of course, be led by the first woman speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who says she wants a more open and ethical House.

"Cleaning the House," observes NPR's Linda Wertheimer. "The domestic image is almost irresistible."

Here's a hint for the remaining men in Congress: if you get into a mean game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, "Midnight Rider" claims that women tend to lead off with scissors.

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