Inside the Beltway

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EXPLOSIVE NEWS

A lingering technical question about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks still haunts some, and it has political implications: How did 200,000 tons of steel disintegrate and drop in 11 seconds? A thousand architects and engineers want to know, and are calling on Congress to order a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7 at the World Trade Center.

“In order to bring down this kind of mass in such a short period of time, the material must have been artificially, exploded outwards,” says Richard Gage, a San Francisco architect and founder of the nonprofit Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Mr. Gage, who is a member of the American Institute of Architects, managed to persuade more than 1,000 of his peers to sign a new petition requesting a formal inquiry.

“The official Federal Emergency Management [Agency] and National Institute of Standards and Technology reports provide insufficient, contradictory and fraudulent accounts of the circumstances of the towers’ destruction. We are therefore calling for a grand jury investigation of NIST officials,” Mr. Gage adds.

The technical issues surrounding the collapse of the towers has prompted years of debate, rebuttal and ridicule.

He is particularly disturbed by Building 7, a 47-story skyscraper, which was not hit by an aircraft, yet came down in “pure free-fall acceleration.” He also says that more than 100 first-responders reported explosions and flashes as the towers were falling and cited evidence of “multi-ton steel sections ejected laterally 600 ft. at 60 mph” and the “mid-air pulverization of 90,000 tons of concrete & metal decking.”

There is also evidence of “advanced explosive nano-thermitic composite material found in the World Trade Center dust,” Mr. Gage says. The group’s petition at www. ae911truth.org is already on its way to members of Congress.

“Government officials will be notified that ‘Misprision of Treason,’ U.S. Code 18 (Sec. 2382), is a serious federal offense, which requires those with evidence of treason to act,” Mr. Gage says. “The implications are enormous and may have profound impact on the forthcoming Khalid Shaikh Mohammed trial.”

Stay tuned for more in this space.

JUST SO YOU KNOW

It’s done broke. But given enough duct tape, Gorilla Glue and a few safety pins, we’ll get by, perhaps.

Only 5 percent of Americans say our system of government is “broken and cannot be fixed,” according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey of 1,023 adults released Sunday. The vast majority - 81 percent - say, yes, it’s broken “but can be fixed.” An optimistic 14 percent insist the government “isn’t broken.”

Some don’t buy any of it, though.

“With metronomic regularity, we go through these moments in Washington where we complain about the government being broken. These moments have one thing in common: The left is having trouble enacting its agenda,” George Will told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “No one, when George W. Bush had trouble reforming Social Security, said, ‘Oh, that’s terrible - the government’s broken.’ ”

THINK ABOUT IT

“For years, we have had information stands about the war commanders. But the supreme commander was missing. We need to remember the man who led our country in the war.”

- Vladimir Makarov, chief of Moscow’s advertising and information committee, on his decision to decorate the city with posters of Josef Stalin on May 9, which Russia marks as the 65th anniversary of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II.

WHAT WORKS

Political operatives should remember that people still crave viable, timely content and friendly community that has not been sullied by technology’s bells and whistles. Witness conservative goddess Michelle Malkin, who has sold Hotair.com - a spirited political blog she founded in 2006 - to Salem Communications, which syndicates such talk-radio heavyweights as Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved, among other things.

Mrs. Malkin has emerged from her experience with insight about communications in the often chaotic media/political/ideological realm. For one thing, the “clean, simple, user-friendly format” has stayed the same, she says in a farewell message. And the answer to attracting a loyal audience did not lie in a burdensome multiplatform extravaganza, either.

“To survive, we needed to adapt, respond to market forces, and adjust the business focus to meet readers’ revealed preferences. Like the teleprompter reader-in-chief always says, ‘Change is never easy.’ I made the decision to redirect our resources away from original video reluctantly,” Mrs. Malkin says.

“But we looked at the metrics, we looked at the bottom line, and we listened to you. You wanted a 24/7, up-to-the-minute, one-stop, all-purpose conservative blog and aggregator. You wanted an Internet water cooler to hang out with your friends - a place where you could find all the political coverage you needed, but also a place where you could get comic relief, humpbot videos, the latest ‘Duuudes’ and ‘Hmmms’ and ‘Heart-aches,’ and off-beat stories of the day.”

SCHUSS UP

A limerick on a Monday? Aw, go ahead. This is courtesy of longtime friend-of-Beltway and “Politickles” author F.R. Duplantier:

At the Winter Olympics, aghast,

All the skiers see someone fly past;

They’re left out in the cold

As Obama gets gold:

No one’s ever gone downhill so fast!

POLL DU JOUR

• 84 percent of U.S. voters say the situation in Afghanistan is important to national security.

• 47 percent believe the U.S. can win in Afghanistan.

• 30 percent say victory is not possible; 23 percent are not sure.

• 42 percent approve of President Obama’s handling of the war in Afghanistan.

• 79 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of Republicans agree.

• 63 percent of Republicans say “winning the war” is the most important goal.

• 64 percent of Democrats say “ending the war as soon as possible” is more important.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Feb. 19 and 20.

Rumbles, murmurs, rants to jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow her at twitter .com/harperbulletin.

About the Author
Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

A graduate of Syracuse University, Jennifer Harper writes the daily Inside the Beltway column and provides additional coverage of breaking national news, plus long-term trends in politics, media issues, public opinion, popular culture, Hollywood foibles and “eureka” moments in health and science.

She has been a frequent broadcast commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Voice of America, Citadel Broadcasting, ...

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