- The Washington Times - Monday, January 21, 2002

Abdi, Abdi & Abdi
Held in jail since shortly after September 11, Mohamed Abdi is being set free this week.
You might recall that Mr. Abdi's name and Washington-area telephone number were found scribbled on a map in a car belonging to one of the hijackers that flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
In his defense, Mr. Abdi claimed that he had no idea how his name and phone number turned up on the map left behind outside Washington Dulles International Airport. Now, he and authorities alike are wondering if the hijacker perhaps tried contacting the wrong Mohamed Abdi.
Joseph Bowman, Mr. Abdi's attorney, points out that there is certainly more than one Mohamed Abdi in this melting pot of America, and several here in Washington. Wouldn't you know, reveals Mr. Bowman, that Mohamed Abdi's best friend's name is actually Mohamed Abdi.
And this Mohamed Abdi isn't the first Mohamed Abdi to land in court, if not prison. Take the Mohamed Abdi in North Carolina who has a criminal record. Or the Mohamed Abdi who was sued only a few years ago in Northern Virginia, just down the hall from where this Mohamed Abdi has sat before the judge.
(You'll be relieved to know that the co-defendant in the latter lawsuit case wasn't also Mohamed Abdi. His name was Mohamed Ahmed, who worked at Boston's Logan International Airport, origin of the World Trade Center terrorist skyjackers.)

New America
Speaking of recent immigrants, we see that the Immigration and Naturalization Service's former acting executive associate commissioner, Barbara L. Strack, is becoming director of a National Immigration Forum project: the Center for the New American Community.
The new center will focus on current issues, policies and practices related to the integration of immigrants into American communities. Its declared purpose is to "better enable newcomers to become full and equal participants in America, and to better enable receiving communities to successfully incorporate immigrants and refugees."

Letter of the week
From Holly Anderson of Upper Marlboro:
"OK, let me get this straight. It took four months for the Red Cross to help the survivors of the victims of the September 11 attacks on the United States, but it took four days to go to Cuba to make sure the terrorists are OK? Go figure."

Domestic war
If your mayor is out of town this week, he or she is likely here in Washington huddling with Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge.
Some 300 mayors from across the nation will be in the nation's capital beginning tomorrow for discussions surrounding homeland defense, preparedness and security. After two days of meetings, the mayors will board a special Amtrak Acela express train to New York City as a dramatic show of support for recovery efforts there.

Laffer course
The man who brought us the "Laffer curve" supply-side economist Arthur B. Laffer is entering the 21st-century classroom.
"My students can take my course without disrupting their lives, and I can teach on-line while fulfilling my responsibilities to my clients and my family," explains the well-known economist and founder of the Congressional Advisory Board, who will teach Econ103, "Supply Side Economics," at Yorktown University.com.
The course description says it is geared to adults, both Democrats and Republicans, who want to understand the economic forces that govern their lives.
During the Nixon administration, Mr. Laffer was the first chief economist to the president of the United States, and he later became "supply-side guru" to President Reagan. He had the nerve to argue that tax rates of 0 percent and 100 percent yielded about the same revenue: zilch.
His economic principles were so hotly debated that the future wife of NBC "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert once revealed that Mr. Russert on their first date, no less actually diagrammed the Laffer curve, hoping to demonstrate that Mr. Reagan's economic numbers didn't add up.
Mr. Laffer's economic acumen and influence in triggering a worldwide tax-cutting movement in the 1980s earned him the title of "Father of Supply-Side Economics." One of his earliest successes in shaping public policy was his involvement in Proposition 13, the groundbreaking California initiative that drastically cut property taxes in the state in 1978.
Today, he is counted among a select group of advisers who help shape legislative policies for the 107th Congress. He now says he wants to teach a new generation of students sharing a concern about high taxes and anti-growth government policies. The cyber-course costs $1,500.

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