- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 9, 2001

'An American hero'
Syrian-born Oubai Shahbandar has been denounced by the student newspaper at Arizona State University, and his colleagues in the student senate have tried to impeach him.
Is Mr. Shahbandar the victim of anti-Arab or anti-Islamic prejudice? No. It's because he's a Republican.
His parents moved to the United States when he was 8, and he says he loves American for its "freedom, opportunity, equality."
That's made him rather unpopular with left-wingers at ASU, Jennifer Kabbany reports in Front Page magazine (www.frontpagemag.com).
Among other politically incorrect sins, Mr. Shahbandar called ASU's women's studies department "a joke" run by "femi-Nazis" who "just need to find a good man."
He also started a "Socialist Professor of the Month" feature on the university's Republican student Web site.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, a student posted a large flag in the ASU cafeteria, but officials took the flag down because of "concerns for the feelings of international students on campus."
Mr. Shahbandar sponsored a student government resolution to put the flag back up.
When the measure failed, Mr. Shahbandar declared, "It is outrageous that this open display of anti-American extremism is prevalent on our campus in this time of war."
He called one opponent a "bloody, anti-American left-wing fascist." That led to impeachment charges that ended in a vote of censure.
News of the controversy sparked community pressure, and the flag was returned to the cafeteria. Miss Kabbany calls Mr. Shahbandar "an American hero."
"I love America," he says. "I look around every day, and I see the luxuries afforded by capitalism and the American way of life. Life is better here."

I, Clintonius
Former President Bill Clinton is reported to have recently lamented that he didn't have a "defining moment" such as the current war against terrorism during his presidency.
One visitor to Andrew Sullivan's Web site, www.andrewsullivan.com, pointed out Mr. Clinton's similarity to a historical figure described by the Roman historian Suetonius:
"He even used openly to deplore the state of his times, because they had been marked by no public disasters, saying that the rule of Augustus had been made famous by the Varus massacre, and that of Tiberius by the collapse of the amphitheatre at Fidenae, while his own was threatened with oblivion because of its prosperity, and every now and then he wished for the destruction of his armies, for famine, pestilence, fires, or a great earthquake."
To whom was Suetonius referring? Caligula.

Un-Oprah reality
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed more than 5,000, Americans have repeatedly been told that Islam is a religion of peace.
Rod Dreher isn't buying it, especially from TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who recently devoted a special program to celebrating Islam.
"Watching Oprah's 'Islam 101' program," the New York Post columnist says, "I thought of the Lebanese Catholics at my church, who stopped me after a prayer service for the World Trade Center dead to talk, on the record, about the anti-Arab persecution they feared coming.
"They all said they knew plenty of Muslims here in New York who were peace-loving people, and that it would be wrong to think ill of them," Mr. Dreher says, writing in National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com). "I asked these Arab Christians if these Muslims supported terrorist organizations, monetarily or otherwise. Every one of them said yes, sheepishly. After the interview was over, the group asked me not to use their last names. They were afraid of being physically attacked by Muslims in their neighborhoods.
"'That's amazing,' I said to them. 'You are all Christians living in the United States of America, yet you are afraid to have your names attached to patriotic statements, out of fear that your Muslim neighbors, the same people you are defending to me, will attack you. What does that say about the reality of Islam in America?'"

Thrilla on the Hill-a
During a pickup basketball game in the House gymnasium last week, Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., Tennessee Democrat, was injured so badly he needed four stitches above one eye.
Mr. Ford got banged up in a collision on the court with Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, New York Democrat.
Top aide Mark Schuermann told Roll Call's Ed Henry that Mr. Ford compared his injury to one of boxer Muhammad Ali's most famous victims.
"He said he felt like Joe Frazier after the 'Thrilla in Manila'," Mr. Schuermann said.

'My dear Jesse'
"Thank you for your courtesy and kindness toward me during this past year," the junior senator from New York wrote by hand in blue ink. "Although I may not have agreed with your politics, I respect your commitment and perseverance and wish you well."
That's what Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote to Sen. Jesse Helms when the North Carolina Republican whom Mrs. Clinton once accused of being part of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" against her husband announced he would retire from the Senate at the end of this term.
John Wagner of McClatchy Newspapers reports that hundreds of letters including one from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher addressed to "my dear Jesse" have been pouring in for Mr. Helms since the 79-year-old conservative stalwart announced his plan to retire when his term ends in 2003.

No doubt now
The release Sunday of a video showing Osama bin Laden declaring that "nobody in the U.S. will feel safe" until the U.S. withdraws from Arab lands and the Jews leave Palestine "brings a note of clarity" to the campaign against terrorism, William Safire says.
"No longer can any nervous Arab ruler pretend to doubt bin Laden's direct culpability for the hijack attacks," Mr. Safire writes in the New York Times.

He's the victim?
Osama bin Laden's video speech yesterday showed the terrorist mastermind speaking in "the language of the self-conscious victim the victim who asserts his right to commit any crime on the grounds that he believes a crime was done to him first," Jon Podhoretz writes in the New York Post.
"Bin Laden's real target, as he makes clear, is the House of Saud the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia since 1903.
"He's a Saudi born and bred. He wants control of his native land."
Noting that U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf war fought to protect Saudi Arabia from the threat of an invasion by Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Mr. Podhoretz concludes: "We've done more for the 'Islamic nation' than Osama bin Laden has or ever will. He wants to kill us for that. We're going to kill him first."

Straight shooter
President Bush joined Italian-Americans at the White House yesterday to commemorate Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer who landed in the New World in 1492.
Liza Minnelli sang "New York, New York," and joked about having gotten "big Texas hair" in honor of the Texas-born president.
Among the guests were Chris Ganci and Peter Ganci III, sons of New York firefighter Peter Ganci Jr., who was killed Sept. 11 while trying to rescue people from the World Trade Center.
"I can't remember," Mr. Bush said, "if it was Chris or Peter III who looked out at the South Lawn and said, 'God, I wish Dad were here. He could hit a three wood right over the fence.'
"I said, 'It might make him nervous. He might shank it into the water.'
"He said, 'No, you don't know my dad.'"

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