We try to stay clear of politics here since things in this country have become so polarized it’s hard to have a friendly debate with someone of the opposite viewpoint. But when one side of an issue so distorts the definition of a word that our customers hold dear, we believe we have the obligation to speak out.
Regardless of your own personal opinions about the CIA Leak/Valerie Plame/Scooter Libby issue, one argument has absolutely no merit whatsoever in the debate. Since the scandal broke, some defending the administration have argued that Valerie Wilson sent her husband to Niger on a "boondoggle". A quick Google search for "joseph wilson niger boondoggle" returns 20,000+ results, including mainstream media sources like the Washington Post.
A boondoggle to Niger? Are you kidding? Webster’s Dictionary defines boondoggle as: a wasteful or impractical project or activity often involving graft. Colloquially, it refers to a mini-vacation justified as a business trip. A Board Meeting in Maui is a boondoggle. A "fact-finding trip" to St. Andrews in Scotland is a boondoggle. It should be against the law to use "boondoggle" and "Niger" in the same sentence.
Our customers already know this, but the best boondoggles typically take place in Vegas, Hawaii, New Orleans (pre-Katrina), or Key West. In fact, Golf Magazine makes a couple of beautiful plaques for their annual Top 100 Courses in the US, Top 100 Courses You Can Play (all public courses), and the Top 100 Courses in the World. The plaques come with little gold pegs that you can pop into the courses you’ve played. The plaques could just as easily be called the Top 100 Boondoggle Venues.
Believe it or not, not a single course in Niger made the list. Alert the media.