- The Washington Times - Friday, October 26, 2001

Toughen up, America
Soothing the nerves of a jittery nation is the biggest challenge facing U.S. leaders in the war against terrorism.
"Our biggest problem is fear," House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt repeated yesterday. "The terrorists want us to all be afraid. They want to cripple our country through fear. And our biggest challenge is going to be trying to get people not to be fearful, as difficult as that sometimes may be."

Food fight
Medical microbiologist Sam W. Joseph is a veteran of the Naval Medical Research Command, researching biological- and chemical-warfare agents. Today, as a professor of cell biology and molecular genetics at the University of Maryland, he studies organisms that can attack in the environment and through food.
In fact, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill rush to protect the nation's food supply from biological attack, Mr. Joseph is finding ways not only to eliminate organisms should they wind up in the local salad bar, but also to eliminate those organisms that could be applied directly to crops to wipe out food supply.
If that's not enough to swallow, the professor warns it is "easier than we like to think" to obtain dangerous organisms from research labs like Maryland's, where security has been a top priority. Yet all researchers, Mr. Joseph says, aren't so careful.

Progressive patriotism
One of the more intriguing examples of political fallout of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is a California congressional race pitting two progressive female Democrats: the challenger standing on the "patriotism" platform, the incumbent inching her way there.
It is Audie Brock, a former state assemblywoman challenging Rep. Barbara Lee the lone member in Congress not to vote to grant President Bush authority to use force against terrorists who points out how Mrs. Lee is becoming more Red, White & Blue by the day.
"It appears Mrs. Lee is beginning to realize that you can still be a progressive and love your country enough to defend it the two are not mutually exclusive," says Miss Brock, who charts a tedious flip-flop by the Berkeley congresswoman in the weeks since her highly controversial vote:
Sept. 14: "I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States. Let us not become the evil that we deplore."
Sept. 14: "We have made a great mistake in subverting and circumventing the Constitution of the United States. [Oregon] Sen. [Wayne] Morse was correct, and I fear we make the same mistake."
Sept. 18: "I don't believe we need to let this cycle of violence spiral out of control."
Sept. 19: "I am not comparing this to the Tonkin Gulf."
Sept. 19: "Military action is a one-dimensional reaction to a multidimensional problem."
Sept. 19: "The administration is moving forward in a forthright fashion."
Sept. 21: "I'm not unilaterally opposed to military action."
Sept. 23: "Secretary of State Colin Powell himself eloquently pointed out the many ways to get at the root of this problem economic, diplomatic, legal and political, as well as military."
Oct. 19: "[I] was never against taking military action."
Voters will weigh that statement in the Democratic primary in March.

'Dear Tom' letters
Pieces of mail now being stacked at an undisclosed location for anthrax screening Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle receives on average in a week: 5,000 to 6,000.

Army of 19
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks launched by 19 foreigners using simple, unconventional weapons will result in the largest insured loss in the nation's history.
"With estimated losses of upwards of $50 billion, the potentially astronomical liability of future attacks has put the [insurance] industry at risk of not being able to cover future losses associated with terrorism," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue now warns the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Nevertheless, the insurance industry remains committed to meeting its obligations to policyholders as a result of the September attacks.

Photography tips
Posted on a Capitol Hill bulletin board:
You are a free-lance photographer for a news service traveling alone in the Middle East. There is a flood in progress and many homes have been destroyed. You come across Osama bin Laden, who has been swept away by the floodwaters. He is barely hanging on to a tree limb and is about to go under.
You have to make a choice: You either put down your camera and save him, or you snap a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph as he loses his grip on the limb.
So, here's the question and think carefully before you answer:
Which lens would you use?

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