Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and

Partisanship? Check.

Intransigence? Check.

Bad blood? Without bad blood, there'd be no blood in Washington at all.

But why do the bitterly warring parties keep zinging each other with the same tired sound bites, over and over again? Less than one week into this ridiculous government shutdown, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats seem able to find a single fresh way of saying the same old things.

"The president's refusing to negotiate," House Republicans keep complaining, just as they've been complaining since midnight Tuesday.

"We won't negotiate with a gun at our heads," White House officials fire back, just as they've been firing from day and night one.

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I have my views on which side is worse, far worse, as I'm sure you have yours. We'll get back to those in a minute. But the battle for linguistic originality is clearly being fought to a loud, 0-0 draw.

Perhaps this is inevitable in a media-centric, short-attention-span world. Neither side wants to risk going an inch off message. Everything is focused-grouped and poll-tested to the max.

But in politics as in life, the side that wins the battle of language tends to the win the war in the end. And neither has brought out the big guns yet.


So how 'bout some new ways of explaining who's gonna get us out of this -- or at least accusing the other side of high crimes and villainy?


ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Who ratted out John Jones? The Nassau fugitive squad is good, but you think they nabbed the Georgia fugitive (accused of ramming a police cruiser and other nasty stuff) at a home in Hempstead without any inside info? . . . LI dreamin': Things went so smoothly with his Jones Beach catering hall that Donald Trump now wants to build a golf course on Plum Island? . . . Nice, isn't it, when local kids do well? Even if they end up running the IRS in the middle of a government shutdown, the current assignment for Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High grad Daniel Werfel . . . What's so hard about labeling blood samples? Does the whole staff at Nassau County's vexed crime lab -- or just one technician -- need a refresher course in Crime Lab 101? . . . Are LI farm-stand operators toasting their new right to sell local wine along with the sober fruits and veggies? . . . The radar gun malfunctioned? Will that be Peter Mackoul's defense to charges he led state cops on a 104-mph chase along the Northern State Parkway in Hauppauge? . . . The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Youth Waterfowl Program, co-sponsored by the Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, teaches boys and girl ages 12 to 15 how to shoot and kill the aforementioned waterfowl? Would have guessed that from the program's gentle-sounding name?


THE NEWS IN SONG: Everybody's words got in the way: "Everybody Talks" by Neon Trees, tinyurl.com/talkedytalk

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Email ellis@henican.com

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It still makes no sense: A beloved 59-year-old church singer from East Norwich, her body found nine days ago in a parking lot in Bay Shore, 25 miles from home -- no motive, no suspects, no idea who could possibly wish harm on someone as sweet and kind as Saundra Simonee. The whole congregation at St. Pius in Plainview is perplexed. So are the Suffolk Police. Someone must know something. Who? What? Please!

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Sound nibbles

1 Cruz control!

2 We demand, you know, something

3 You're too dumb to compromise with

4 Sick people are sick for a reason -- leave 'em be!

5 Who needs government anyway?