.... The question, of course, is “why a handbasket”? Is there something particularly diabolical about handbaskets (small baskets with handles, usually used for carrying fruit or flowers) that makes them suitable for conveying one to Hades? The answer appears to be no, since “going to hell in a handcart” seems to be a popular variant in Britain, and “going to hell in a bucket” is popular on the internet (as well as a wide variety of lame puns such as “going to hell in a Hummer” and “in a handbag”).
I think the addition of “in a handbasket” (or “handcart”) served two purposes. The first is simple alliteration, always a good way to make a phrase catchy and memorable. The second, the idea of being carried to hell in a basket or cart, makes the journey more concrete in the listener’s mind, since “go to hell” by itself is a worn phrase hardly anyone takes literally anymore. The basket or cart also implies swift and irrevocable transport to doom.
Senator John Kerry, head of the Senate foreign relations committee, arrived in Cairo Tuesday evening, as part of his tour of the region, to hold talks with Egyptian officials about the “democratic transformation” of Egypt, according to the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA.
Kerry and his Egyptian hosts will be discussing the presidential elections due late in May, and the conflicts in the region, including Syria, the Sudan and Israel.
According to Al Ahram, Senator Kerry and US Ambassador to Cairo Ann Patterson will meet with Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate and head of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Mohamed Mursi, at the FJP headquarters on Wednesday....
I'm sure this will be oh, so helpful. Al Ahram reports that "Kerry has made several visits to Cairo since the January 25 revolution."
He's quite the diplomat.