- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Couple of heroes

Congress this week honors two Americans for their efforts to prevent the most devastating modern-day terrorist acts ever committed on U.S. soil.

Tim Nelson was the first to pick up the phone and call the FBI on the morning of Aug. 15, 2001. Exactly one hour later, Hugh Sims phoned the FBI. Those pair of calls set into motion the only U.S. criminal prosecution, thus far, stemming from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 — that of French national Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty last month to six counts of conspiracy to commit terrorism.

“I came to the United States of America to be part … of a conspiracy to use [an] airplane as a weapon of mass destruction, a statement of fact to strike the White House, but this conspiracy was a different conspiracy than 9/11,” Moussaoui testified.

Mr. Nelson and Mr. Sims were on the staff of the Minnesota flight school where Moussaoui, despite not having a pilot’s license, shelled out $8,300 in cash to learn how to fly a 747 jumbo jet.

Otherwise terrific?

Wisconsin Rep. David R. Obey is the only Democratic member of the House to have served on the three major economic committees in Congress: the Budget Committee, the Joint Economic Committee (he was chairman for two terms), and the Appropriations Committee (he’s the senior Democrat).

This week, as Congress was weighing the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, Mr. Obey all but trashed the department charged with preventing terrorism.

“[We] have an agency which is essentially incompetent and dysfunctional,” he observed. “We are trying to protect the nation’s security by working through an agency which is gargantuan, which is bureaucratic, to say the least, which is filled with inertia, and filled with people working at cross-purposes. Outside of that, it does a terrific job.”

Crisis bidding

Here’s a twist to the hot-button issue of illegal immigration (which really isn’t “immigration” if it’s illegal, but that’s a story for another day).

The Web domain www.stopillegalimmigration.com is being auctioned off to the highest EBay bidder on July 4 to help raise money to fight the problem of illegal aliens, which number as many as 11 million in this country.

Adam Christing, a California small-business owner auctioning off the domain, says he will donate 20 percent of the money generated to Americans for Legal Immigration (ALI-PAC), which supports the right of people to legally enter the U.S.

William Gheen, the president of ALI-PAC, said, “We support those that obey our laws and legally immigrate to the U.S. While at the same time, 6,000 to 10,000 people walk right across the border every night illegally, and more must be done to address America’s illegal-immigration crisis.”

Buying into boycott

Some Kentuckians are helping theater owner and Vietnam War veteran Ike Boutwell absorb the financial loss he is taking by refusing to show JaneFonda’s new movie, “Monster-in-Law.”

Mr. Boutwell, who called Miss Fonda a “traitor” for her support of North Vietnam in the war, will not show “Monster-in-Law” at either the Movie Palace in Elizabethtown, Ky., or the Showtime Cinemas in Radcliff, Ky. He acknowledged to a local TV station that this refusal likely would be “a good lick to the pocketbook.”

But according to Louisville’s WAVE-TV, an NBC affiliate, a supporter bought four tickets to another movie and then turned them in without using them as “a contribution to Movie Palace for their losses” for not showing “Monster-in-Law,” which was the nation’s top-grossing film last weekend.

Chris Shaw, the commonwealth’s attorney in Hardin County, told WAVE that he “would encourage anyone else from Hardin County to do the same so that we can support what is a really brave action and one that could hit somebody in the pocketbook.”

Child exploitation

Rep. Katherine Harris, Florida Republican, today hosts a Capitol Hill “Summit on Pornography,” which will focus on obscenity enforcement and violence against women and children.

Mrs. Harris tells Inside the Beltway that one of her concerns surrounds child victims of pornography — for which she partly blames the press.

“They label it ‘child prostitution.’ There is no such thing,” she says. “A child, unlike an adult, does not decide to become a prostitute. It is ‘child exploitation.’”

The summit begins at 9 a.m. in Room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building with a presentation by Rep. Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, about the dangers of pornography on the Internet.

“Too many studies have linked pornography with horrific crimes against women and children for responsible lawmakers to remain silent,” Mrs. Harris says.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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