- The Washington Times - Monday, February 10, 2003

Bush clips
Former President George Bush this week will help his longtime barber from Afghanistan, Zahira Zahir, rebuild her alma mater Zarhona High School in Kabul.
Joining the former president will be his secretary of state, James A. Baker III.
No, the current president's father won't be swinging a hammer like former President Jimmy Carter. Rather, the senior Mr. Bush will deliver the keynote address Wednesday at a Watergate Hotel fund-raiser for the Friends of Zahira's Schools.
Funds collected will be used to purchase books, chairs, pencils and other essential educational supplies as well as repair vital buildings, and electrical and plumbing facilities destroyed during the many years of turmoil in Kabul.
Since the liberation of Afghanistan, women are being encouraged to pursue their dreams and seek the education they desire. And as you've read in this newspaper, thanks to the rebuilding efforts of the U.S. military, thousands of Afghan women are attending classes, reading books and becoming part of a world that has long been denied them.
As for Mrs. Zahir, hers is a fascinating relationship with the Bush family. Twice each month, Mrs. Zahir has kept personal appointments with President Bush in the family quarters of the White House. And she groomed his father and Ronald Reagan, too, as presidential hairdresser. (President Clinton preferred more expensive and exotic haircuts, some provided in uncommon places such as airport tarmacs).
Mrs. Zahir is a mother of three and wife to a former Afghan diplomat, and has operated out of the Watergate for many years. In the months after September 11, she was featured on national TV because dozens of her clients stopped coming to her because of her nationality.
Cost of a Zahir haircut: $30.
Castle for reflection
For almost 200 years, on the north tip of Governors Island, at the confluence of the Hudson and East Rivers, two fortifications served as outposts to protect New York from enemy attack.
Construction on Castle Williams and Fort Jay, two of the finest examples of defensive structures in use since the Renaissance, started in 1806. They played important roles in the War of 1812, the Civil War, and even World Wars I and II.
Of the two, Castle Williams, with its rocky promontory, served as the most important strategic defensive point in the entrance to New York Harbor. But such a castle is useless these days, certainly not the target of the terrorist hijackers who flew into New York and the Pentagon on September 11.
On Friday, President Bush issued a proclamation establishing the Governors Island National Monument. For the past two centuries, he said, the island has been managed by the U.S. Army and the Coast Guard, but today it is no longer required for national defense.
Rather, Mr. Bush suggested, with its proximity to lower Manhattan, the island makes "appropriate location from which to reflect upon the tragic events of September 11, 2001."
Sharks and bass
The United States' most notorious environmental scaremongers, celebrity busybodies, self-anointed public interest advocates, trial lawyers and others who say they know what's best for the rest of us are recipients of the 2002 Tarnished Halo awards presented annually by the Center for Consumer Freedom in Washington.
All of the above are known to use misinformation, duplicity and even violence to further a political agenda or fatten their wallets.
"2002 was a banner year for misguided activists, and the field of nominees was unusually rich," says CCF, which announces:
The "Billions and Billions Sought" Award, presented to legal sharks Samuel Hirsch and John Banzhaf for suing fast-food chains on the basis that restaurants are responsible for costumers' lack of discipline and common sense.
The "Most Callous Exploitation of a Tragedy" Award to Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who declared U.S. pork farmers a "greater threat than Osama bin Laden" (Mr. Kennedy was addressing the Waterkeeper Alliance, which the CCF says has waged its own war against those who bring the United States' little piggies to market).
The "Better Dead Than Fed" Award to Greenpeace, for pressuring Zambian dictator Levy Mwanawasa to deny his 2.5 million starving people access to U.S.-provided food aid because it contains genetically enhanced corn he called it poison that Americans have been getting stuck in their teeth for years.
The "Excuse Me, But Your Agenda Is Showing" Award to Ingrid Newkirk, president and co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, for saying PETA's "nonviolent tactics are not as effective" and for donating money last year to the North American Earth Liberation Front, which the FBI labels a "domestic terrorist group" responsible for a crime spree surpassing $40 million.
The "Don't Drink And Number Crunch" Award to former Cabinet secretary Joseph Califano and his National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse for a deeply flawed study overestimating underage drinking by 50 percent.
And finally, the "Fishing For the Truth" Award to the National Environmental Trust, for its high-profile campaign to convince the United States' elite chefs to stop serving "endangered" Chilean Sea Bass, which it's been discovered is not only not threatened, but it's not even a bass.

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