“November 8th to 14th, 2006. What kind of week was it? A week, like all other weeks, filled with the events that alter and illuminate our times. And you were there.”

My apologies to Walter Cronkite, long-ago host of the great historical docu-drama “You Are There,” for maladapting his weekly signoff line. It’s the only summary that seems broad enough to cover the happenings of this ditzy week.

We lost Jack Palance and Ed Bradley. Palance once did a terrific job of portraying a corpse in a comedy movie. It’s hard to think of this tough, sparky guy’s current state not being halted by a director yelling CUT!

And I once came across Bradley at a local restaurant just down the road. There was a shock as he looked up at me from his table and my slow brain scrambled to confirm that yes, it was Bradley himself, a thousand miles from his usual habitat. Now there’s a shock realizing that I’ll never see him there again – though I certainly won’t be able to walk past his table without thinking of him.

The folks at New Life Church continue to work on damage control. And Russia is now in the good guys’ club, with their WTO membership approved. And Britney and Kevin have split, which seems a shame, seeing as how they deserved each other so richly.

But most importantly this week, the voters ran out of enthusiasm for the war on Saddam/Terror/Islam, so they sacrificed the party of President George “I’ll-sign-anything” Bush. (But hey, who knew that the war would actually be against Tehran and Damascus?)

Really, the war was the final straw, but the setup was the runaway GOP spending. I’ll still take “W” over any Democratic pol in the pile, but he does need to find his long-lost veto pen before the new Wrecking Crew starts dropping bombshell laws onto his desk.

I assume he will. After all, the saving virtue of a split administration is the relative scarcity of new spending acts. The last six years of Clinton’s and Eisenhower’s administrations (both split) were the only recent periods of tighter spending. And both periods were prosperous. That’s why the stock markets – fed mostly by Republican dollars – continued so nicely in the face of the rout.

Although there were plenty of scornable moments in Republican annals for the past six years, I still feel a touch of sympathy for Lord Tennyson’s Bedivere as he mournfully watches the mortally wounded King Arthur floating slowly away to the island of Avilion:

    Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere,
    “Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go? …
    For now I see the true old times are dead. …”

    And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:
    “The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
    And God fulfils Himself in many ways,
    Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
    Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?
    I have lived my life, and that which I have done
    May He within Himself make pure! but thou,
    If thou shouldst never see my face again,
    Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer
    Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
    Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
    For what are men better than sheep or goats
    That nourish a blind life within the brain,
    If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
    Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
    For so the whole round earth is every way
    Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.”

Oh, the Republicans will come back, no doubt. And I can even predict their winning campaign slogan: “Had enough?” But immense rivers of water and tears may pass under the bridge before then. Some of the pain will be attributable to the usual flurries of stupidity that rain down upon Washington in the normal course of events. Others will spring from deeper causes, seamlessly ingrained into the course of history from ancient times. For instance, last night I had dinner with Michael Rood, a friend who has done better and deeper studies of the prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel than anyone I know of. His precision on major events has been breathtakingly precise.

I asked him afterwards if there are any cosmic events on his near horizon. He replied that yes, we can expect Damascus to be bombed in 2010. Nuked, he thinks.

Hmm. With all the craziness going on these days, how could I argue with him?

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