- The Washington Times - Monday, October 8, 2001

Timing is everything
President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair had a "defining moment" during a recent private conversation at Blair House.
Originally, "few believed Bush and Blair would ever be as close as the prime minister was to former President Bill Clinton, who bonded instantly and famously with the Brit. But the events of the past month have redefined the new relationship between No. 10 Downing Street and the White House. More significantly, they have underlined the key role Blair now intends to play in world politics," the New York Post said.
"The British prime minister has worked tirelessly to build the coalition to fight terrorism. As Bush activated troops, bunkered with Pentagon experts and met at the White House with a handful of foreign dignitaries, Blair did the legwork.
"The world will see that in just a few short weeks, Blair has not only fulfilled his long-stated goal of turning Britain into a bridge between America and Europe, but he also has replanted the Union Jack alongside Old Glory as a flag of world force."

The long fuse
There was sound logic behind President Bush's decision to delay an Afghanistan attack.
"Much of the U.S. public and the international community had expected the Bush administration to strike back almost immediately," write Refet Kaplan and Michael Y. Park of Fox News. "Within hours of the Sept. 11 attacks, there were calls for the videos of sleek, exploding cruise missiles that became staples of military press briefings ever since the Persian Gulf War.
"That's what I call 'feel-good bombing,'" said Donald Snow, a national security expert at the University of Alabama. "It makes you feel good but it doesn't accomplish much of anything"
An immediate strike, while viscerally satisfying to Americans, would probably have done more harm to U.S. interests than good. "You might get some the air defenses or military bases, but you're certainly not going to get Osama bin Laden or major military infrastructure," said Victor Gubareff, another security analyst.

End of the line
Irony has surfaced at the future William J. Clinton Presidential Library Foundation down in Little Rock, Ark. The old Choctaw Terminal freight depot on the grounds of the unbuilt library will soon be demolished in the name of Clintonalia. Trouble is, local preservationists say the 101-year-old structure was built by black former slaves and is historically significant.
Still, former President Bill Clinton told Cybercast News, "No one can see [the depot] now, no one can use it now, it's of no use to anybody." That same night, Mr. Clinton received the Congressional Black Caucus Chair Award for achievements on behalf of black Americans.
Gregory Ferguson of the Friends of the Choctaw Terminal said the Clinton Foundation's plan to demolish the depot amounts to "destroying part of [black] heritage. It would be an absolute travesty for Clinton to tear this down." He added the depot is "a monument to the craftsmanship of these workmen who were born into bondage and who lifted themselves out through the skill of their hands and their talents. You can still see the hand-chisel marks on the stones, the mortar on the bricks is still intact."

All whipped up
Look out, now. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, is "reinvigorated, aggressive," and admired by Blue Dogs, New Democrats and the Progressive, Hispanic and Congressional Black caucuses who hope Mr. Hoyer will be elected Democratic whip on Wednesday.
"Not one of us doubts that Steny will run an inclusive, expanded and energized Whip operation that helps us confront our adversaries, allows us to advance a cohesive Democratic agenda and assists in our efforts to regain the majority in November 2002," wrote Democratic Reps. Joseph Crowley of New York, Darlene Hooley of Oregon, Baron P. Hill of Indiana, Ruben Hinojosa of Texas, Harold E. Ford Jr. of Tennessee and Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio to fellow lawmakers.
But along with a he-man, the Democrats apparently need a thinking CEO, should their dream come true and they win a majority. "We most likely will have a slim margin," the letter concluded, necessitating a "thoughtful and organized Whip operation."

A matter of benefits
Surviving partners of homosexual victims of the Sept. 11 attacks should get the same assistance that families of other victims get, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, told homosexual activists at the Human Rights Campaign dinner Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
"We have to make clear that what we're fighting for is our values," she said.
Same-sex partners of three of the victims were recognized at the gathering; those victims included a co-pilot of the airliner that hit the Pentagon, a woman on one of the jetliners that crashed into the World Trade Center; and a man who died in the WTC towers collapse.
Recently, the Rev. Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition said relief agencies should not give aid to surviving members of homosexual partnerships. While Mrs. Clinton made no mention of him by name, she said "domestic partners should enjoy the same benefits afforded other couples."

New and improved version
News flash: Love of country is now called "nuanced patriotism," according to the Los Angeles Times. "An evolved, centrist patriotism of startling sophistication and vitality" has emerged. "The evolved patriots want greater security. They also know that the freedom to assemble and openly debate policy is precisely what makes America worth defending."
They fly their flags, but "they're also overwhelming Amazon.com with orders for books on Islam, Afghanistan and foreign policy. The evolved patriots are urban professionals, former peaceniks maybe, who salute the courage of the Delta Force warriors and have no illusions about how much mercy they will show Al Qaeda. They're construction workers, radios suddenly tuned to NPR, who understand the geopolitical dangers of 'unintended consequences.'"
All emotional, they "felt the resurgence of a deep, protective impulse, dormant in this nation since World War II. Suddenly it hit: Democracy and freedom are not just afloat in a sea of equals; they are the ideals to which repressed and downtrodden people worldwide aspire, and when the best hope for ever achieving them is assaulted, nuanced solidarity becomes a rational form of self-defense."

A matter of the sole
The Rev. Al Sharpton says he doesn't want a job from Democratic mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer, or any other candidate. "I have never engaged in patronage," he said Saturday, the New York News reports. "All I ask is that whoever is in, that they do what is right for the people of this city."
On the weekend, Mr. Ferrer campaigned with Mr. Sharpton and former Mayor Ed Koch; Mr. Sharpton will "work black churches for Ferrer, but the campaign has yet to use him in a television commercial," the News said.
But while Mr. Sharpton who may run for president in 2004 asked supporters to vote for Mr. Ferrer, he also told them that he recently informed Mr. Ferrer that he bought new sneakers.
"Why?" Mr. Ferrer asked. Mr. Sharpton replied, "To march on you if we disagree."

Screening calls
The Emmys were canceled and some Hollywood projects shelved, but filmmaker Oliver Stone remained his old self during a film symposium at New York's Lincoln Center Saturday. "I'd like to do a bullet of a movie about terrorism and how it works. It could be a fascinating thriller that would really entertain people. I don't buy into this concept that all people want to see right now is 'Zoolander.' I think we can tie movies in to the attack. Let's make a big movie about terrorism and let's do a good job of it."

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