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Friday Digest

Digest

Nov. 16, 2001

Quote of the week…

“Thanks to the United Front [AKA the Northern Alliance] and United States, the people of Afghanistan will be free.” –Afghan refugee Mohammed Rasoull

On cross-examination…

“A cleansing wind is blowing through the land, clearing away cobwebs in the minds of those accustomed to unquestioningly obeying the elite. You say you’re uncomfortable with references to God in the pledge? Tough. America was founded on religious principles. The pilgrims weren’t secular humanists. The Declaration of Independence appeals to the Supreme Judge of the World, not the chief justice of the Supreme Court.” –Don Feder

Open Query…

“Can we still say it was wise to remove all the locks and doors to our lovely home, so strangers could enter at will?” –Pat Buchanan

The BIG lie…

“[The United States must] stop its unilateral war against Afghanistan. …No honest voice could defend an endless slaughter, with the most sophisticated weaponry, of a dispossessed, starving, helpless people. …What international coalition are we talking about? What is its legitimacy based on, if it has started by stridently disregarding the General Assembly of the United Nations? …[Cuba will never assist] terrorist actions against the people of the United States or of any other country.” –Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, addressing the United Nations General Assembly. (On Tuesday Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld noted al Qaeda terrorists might flee from Afghanistan to neighboring Iran and Pakistan, or to past terror havens in countries like Somalia and Sudan. Rumsfeld also named Cuba, Iraq, Syria, Libya and North Korea as “states that in the past have housed terrorists.”)

News from the Swamp…

In the Executive Branch, President Bush Tuesday announced deterrent force cuts reducing the nuclear warheads arsenal at least two-thirds over the next decade, to a level between 1,700 and 2,200. The resulting force will be “fully consistent with American security,” Mr. Bush said after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although he and Putin retain differing opinions on the proposed U.S. missile defense shield, they intended to “continue dialogue and discussion” on the subject. The confab, rounding out with a visit at Mr. Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch, ended heavier on atmospherics than accords, but the personal relationship between the two presidents is genuine.

Evidence of the cordiality between the two was typified by Mr. Putin’s comment at Crawford High School, where students were asking the two world leaders questions. “No math questions, please,” Mr. Putin said. “Good idea,” Mr. Bush retorted. “Particularly no fuzzy math questions.” Mr. Putin also noted, in a serious moment, that President Bush can be trusted “to do what he says he will do” – a clear jab at the previous administration of Prevaricator-in-Chief Bill Clinton.

However, as national security expert Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., warned, “If the new relationship President Bush has been trying to forge with Vladimir Putin is to amount to anything positive – let alone a post-Cold War friendship characterized by trust, cooperation, and a constructive ‘strategic framework,’ Mr. Bush must make sure that there is no bait-and-switch on missile defenses.” Stay closely tuned on this one!

Also on Tuesday, President Bush said “fill ‘er up and top 'er off,” as he ordered the U.S. emergency oil stockpiles replenished while prices are low – the first time these reserves will have been filled to capacity. (The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, established to provide the nation oil in the case of a severe supply disruption, now holds 544 million barrels of oil, but has a total capacity of 700 million barrels.) You may recall, in a blatant move to help Albert Arnold Gore’s campaign, Bill Clinton released 30 million barrels to help lower domestic fuel costs.

One more historical footnote to the 2000 presidential election: A nearly yearlong study of disputed Florida ballots, commissioned by eight news organizations and conducted by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center, concluded that under most vote counting procedures, President Bush would have won – even under the Florida recount method losing candidate Al Gore requested. (Only with a full statewide recount of all rejected ballots might Gore have gotten the nod.) While almost everyone else considers the question entirely moot, some partisan diehards persist, such as Bob Fertik, of Democrats.com, who sniffed, “They [media outlets] chose to spin the outcome as a victory for Bush. They chose to validate Bush’s theft of the presidency rather than look at the facts.” (Yeah, like the New York Times and the Washington Post are out to “spin the outcome as a victory for Bush.”)

In the House, faith and patriotism are back in legislative favor. The House Thursday agreed, 297-125, to H. Con. Res. 239, a bill “expressing the sense of Congress that schools in the United States should set aside a sufficient period of time to allow children to pray for, or quietly reflect on behalf of, the Nation during this time of struggle against the forces of international terrorism.” And friend of The Federalist Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) introduced H.R. 3201, the “Freedom to be a Patriot Act” banning federal funding to any individual or organization that “prohibits the patriotic display of the flag of the United States.”

In the House of Lords, while any economic stimulus package appeared stalled for the time being as Democrats tried keeping it larded up with pork projects, House and Senate negotiators reached agreement Thursday on legislation they claim will increase the nation’s air security. Airport screeners would become federal employees within two years, though individual airports meeting strict federal standards could opt out of the system and use local law enforcement officials or private security firms for screening functions. The negotiators also agreed that passengers would finance the measure by fees of $2.50 per flight, with a maximum $5 charge per trip. As The Federalist noted last week, the first DNC alert in two months emphasized the importance of federalizing this new workforce of 28,000 – obviously the Demos think this is a big gain for the Party. In the matter of improving air safety, disagreements obscured the lack of clarity about what makes a federal case of it – as only interstate flights are reasonably covered under the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause.

Judicial Benchmarks…

In the halls of justice on the right, the University of Georgia Board of Regents chose not to appeal a ruling that the university’s race-based “affirmative action” admissions program was unconstitutional, preferring instead to increase recruitment efforts to boost black student enrollment.

On the Left…

Rather than contesting Bill Clinton’s removal from Supreme Court’s practice roster, Clinton lawyer David Kendall wrote the high court’s clerk, “Former President Clinton hereby respectfully requests to resign from the bar of this court.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton charged that the $1.35 trillion Bush tax cut “undermined our fiscal responsibility and our ability to deal with this new threat of terrorism. …If we hadn’t passed the big tax cut last spring we wouldn’t be in the fix we’re in today.” Tax cuts cause terrorism?

Speaking of Ms. Hillary, just after the 9-11 attacks, she claimed on NBC’s “Dateline” that daughter Chelsea “had gone on what she thought would be a great jog. She was going down to Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers. She was going to get a cup of coffee and – that’s when the plane hit!” NBC’s Katie Couric noted, “At that moment, [Hillary] was not just a Senator, but a concerned parent.”

This week, Chelsea says that she was actually at a friend’s Park Avenue apartment – far from the Trade Center – where she watched the attack on TV. Chelsea noted, “I stared senselessly at the television. I am still unsure about what Humpty Dumpty represented to me on that day…. It just seemed as though the world were falling down, like Humpty Dumpty.”

Fresh from being booed off the stage of the “Concert for New York,” now this. Seems truth and Clinton perceptions just rarely intersect!

The Commissars…

Argenbright Security Inc., which handles security for both Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports, has been under fire for botched security arrangements. But Argenbright execs explain that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is to blame for the fact that 87 percent of their workers are not U.S. citizens. In 1999, the EEOC mandated that Argenbright rehire seven Muslim women who charged religion bias, and including Muslim-sensitivity training for all employees.

From the department of military readiness…

About some necessary force reductions … speaking to the American Obesity Association, University of Wisconsin internal medicine professor Dr. Richard Atkinson reported that 54 percent of U.S. military personnel are overweight and 6.2 percent qualify as obese. Observing that 58.6 percent of males and 26.1 percent of females in uniform are overweight, Dr. Atkinson cited the greater risk of field training injuries, from “a high injury rate in people who are too thin and in people who are too obese.”

From the states…

The Centers for Disease Control has requested that its proposed “model state emergency health powers act” be submitted to all 50 state legislatures for enactment, to deal with such calamities as a possible terrorist-instigated smallpox attack. Under the plan, a governor’s declaration of a public health emergency would permit quarantine of entire cities, closure of roads and airports, herding citizens into commandeered sports stadiums and armories, and rationing of drugs and other medical supplies.

Manny Diaz, a Cuban-American attorney who last year represented the family trying to keep young Elian Gonzalez in freedom, is now mayor-elect of Miami. Political newcomer Diaz defeated former Mayor Maurice Ferre, by 55-44 percent – and with no recount.

In economic news…

Wall Street saw a slight uptick this week, with the Dow posting a modest 200-point gain Tuesday, which some analysts tap as evidence the U.S. is heading back out of recession.

Culture comment…

We’ve been keeping you abreast of developments from the loony public library at Boulder, Colorado, which initially refused flying a flag as objectionable while simultaneously displaying the “Hung Out to Dry” artwork featuring ceramic penises on a hangman’s rope. Bob Rowan, who dismantled the “art,” has now been charged with criminal tampering, a misdemeanor punishable by a county jail term up to a year and fines from $250 to $1000. Rowan said, “I went down there, looked at the display, and was just flabbergasted. Pornography doesn’t belong in our library. They can [display it], in a private show, a paid-for location – not something that’s jammed down our kids’ throats. I just hope that the courts look at my point of view.” We concur!

Faith Matters…

The Salvation Army this week reversed its recent decision allowing organizational divisions to offer so-called “domestic partner benefits” to employees’ unmarried and homosexual “partners.” National spokesman Maj. George E. Hood said, “There was an incredible uproar. What we heard – both externally and internally – was that this was a bad decision.” Betsy Gressler, of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, replied, “This is very disappointing. They bowed to pressure from anti-gay extremists … they caved to right-wing organizations.” No, they simply bowed to Biblical authority in moral matters.

On the frontiers of science…

A Columbia University study from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse shows that people with religious faith are much less likely than nonbelievers to have substance abuse problems. Furthermore, treatment through a faith-based recovery program increases chances of successful sobriety. “Too often, clergy and physicians … are ships passing in the night,” said center president Joe Califano.

On the frontiers of junk science…

The federal Office of Research Integrity just ruled that Steven F. Arnold, a former researcher at the Tulane University Center for Bioenvironmental Research, “committed scientific misconduct by intentionally falsifying the research results published in the journal Science and by providing falsified and fabricated materials to investigating officials.” Arnold led a team that published a June 1996 study claiming that pesticides and PCBs combined were up to 1,000 times more potent as endocrine disrupters than either chemical in the absence of the other. “The new study is the strongest evidence to date that combinations of estrogenic chemicals may be potent enough to significantly increase the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, birth defects and other major health concerns,” said then-EPA chief Carol Browner. “I was astounded by the findings,” said then-EPA pesticide chief Lynn Goldman. “I just can’t remember a time where I’ve seen data so persuasive.… The results are very clean looking.”

In July 1996 Congress passed and Clinton signed legislation requiring the EPA to establish protocols for screening thousands of chemicals for their potential to act as endocrine disrupters.

Around the world…

At World Trade Organization meetings in Qatar, both Red China and Taiwan were admitted to the global group’s membership roster.

And in a speech to the UN later this week, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres is expected to explicitly approve the idea of a demilitarized Palestinian state – as if that would ever eventuate!

And last…

Tuesday during intense U.S. airstrikes against remaining Taliban and al Qaeda forces, an apparently errant missile hit the Kabul office of Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera, which has broadcast bin Laden propaganda. (The news channel’s office is near several Taliban officials’ residences; the Taliban Ministry for the Suppression of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue was directly across the street.) Oh, and the same missile also damaged nearby offices of The Associated Press and the British Broadcasting Corp. And, here, military officials have been saying they’ve had a hard time distinguishing friend from foe….

Defend Liberty!