- The Washington Times - Friday, August 30, 2002

Financing a party
Forced to cancel last year's lavish "National Day Reception" at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz will hope for a better climate this Sept. 23.
Which means his royal highness will be doing all in his power to reassure distinguished Washington guests that Saudi Arabia isn't all it's been accused of. Referring most recently to the Rand think-tank analyst who issued this eye-opening advisory to the Pentagon: "Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies."
Rand analyst Laurent Murawiec warned Pentagon brass in recent weeks: "Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader."
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al-Faisal immediately labeled Rand's assessment "pure fiction," while the White House quickly distanced itself from the scathing advisory.
Then again, 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

It's the law
In making the case for a U.S. military operation to oust the heavy-handed regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, all President Bush need remind Capitol Hill lawmakers is that he's simply obeying a law that they had passed.
Senate Joint Resolution 23, to be specific, which Mr. Bush subsequently signed into law (Public Law 107-40). It authorizes the president to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

Patriot Day
With September 11 fast approaching, several readers have inquired whether Uncle Sam finally gave the somber date an official name. The answer is yes: A House bill was ultimately signed by President Bush that officially establishes September 11 as "Patriot Day."

Toiling away
During an NBC "Today Show" feature this week about newly crowned national Scrabble champion Joel Sherman, a Scrabble board was showcased that spelled the word "fag" among the tiles.
One curious viewer who wrote to the network was Tom Crandall of Arizona: "Please explain the reason for presenting this to the Today show audience. Also, please detail the difference in media reaction if this had occurred on the Rush Limbaugh Show or Fox News. It is important that I educate my niece and this would be fodder for an educational presentation in her classroom."
Today Show spokeswoman Allison Gollust reveals that Mr. Sherman, a 40-year-old retired bank teller, actually spelled "fag" to help him win the championship.
"It was one of the winning words," she tells Inside the Beltway, reminding us that "fag" has several meanings, although it is most often used disparagingly in American English.
Among the definitions culled from our Webster's dictionary: "to work hard, toil," "an English public school boy who acts as servant to an older schoolmate," and a "cigarette."
All we have to say is that it's too bad for House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas that he didn't recall some of these various meanings when he was loudly denounced for inadvertently referring to Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, as "Barney Fag."

Headline of the week
"The stuff they toss at Pombo is just like what he shovels," reads the newspaper headline in the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin, referring to what environmental zealots have been tossing at Rep. Richard W. Pombo, California Republican.
Apart from being a congressman, Mr. Pombo is a rancher and dairy farmer.

Signing off
One of Washington's top intelligence-gathering experts has had his fill of the Internet.
"I will today terminate my relationship with the 'net' that sends me junk every day, offering me pictures of girls without clothing engaged in sexual activities and offerings of plans that will make me rich overnight, etc.," James A. Ross writes in an e-mail message to his contacts in the intelligence field.
The modern-day Maxwell Smart says he will seek assistance in establishing "a usable communication system" exactly what he isn't sure yet (how about a phone in a shoe?) and in the meantime provides a post office box and business phone number so people can reach him.

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