- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 31, 2002

90,000 missing

The following not-so-fun fact is presented today by Rep. Clifford Stearns, Florida Republican, who gives us a detailed breakdown on the illegal immigrants roaming about our land (now you'll understand why President Bush is taking the "sleeper terrorist" threat so seriously).

"Out of the nearly 9 million illegal aliens now in the country," the congressman says, "more than 90,000 are from Middle East nations, including Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan."

In other words, not just nations with close ties to terrorism are harboring al Qaeda cells knowingly or unknowingly.


Myriad minds

How to enjoy freedom and security at the same time is the challenge facing most everybody in this country, not the least being D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, whose tourist-dependent city of monuments, memorials and museums remains half-barricaded owing to the terrorist threat.

"We clearly do not know how to do it," admits Mrs. Norton, the District's nonvoting representative in Congress. "Nobody knows how to do it because nobody has ever had to do it."

So, Inside the Beltway has just learned, Mrs. Norton will soon introduce a bill called the "Open Society With Security Act," which would establish a 21-member presidential commission to "simply look at how we can make the unprecedented accommodation between security against dangerous global terrorism on the one hand and the maintenance of an open and free society on the other."

Mrs. Norton foresees a commission consisting not only of security experts ("security is too important in an open, free society to be left to security people," she says), but law enforcement, the military, architects, city planners, historians, sociologists, engineers even artists.

"Put them all at the table," she says. "Let them thrash it out and advise us."


New show

Once was the time Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton was "home alone."

That's not surprising, given that it was more than five months before the Cabinet secretary's first department nominee took office. Mrs. Norton, come to think of it, spent the better part of her first year without most of her top officials.

Now, with only hours to spare before her first anniversary (the secretary was confirmed by the Senate on Jan. 31, 2001), the Senate has finally finished filling all of Mrs. Norton's positions.

"Today, finally, we have a 'Full House,'" says Mrs. Norton.

Minutes before President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday night, the Senate confirmed Kansas Wildlife and Parks Secretary Steve Williams as director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

That is no small confirmation. Mr. Williams will now head the nation's primary wildlife-conservation agency, consisting of more than 7,500 employees and a 2002 budget of $1.27 billion.

"Americans care deeply about fish and wildlife," he says.


Bush rewind

In his first formal State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Bush in 48 minutes outlined 39 new or expanded initiatives, significantly fewer than the 104 initiatives proposed by President Clinton in his 2000 State of the Union address.

"It's a pleasure to watch a State of the Union Address largely devoted to carrying out the federal government's proper function of providing national defense," says Cato Institute Executive Vice President David Boaz. "Too many recent State of the Union speeches have involved a laundry list of proposals that exceed the powers granted to the federal government in the Constitution."


Cowards and such

Regarding our item this week on former President George Bush supporting a movement to march the ROTC back onto the Yale University campus, where it's been banned since the Vietnam War, reader James K. Wholey of Washington writes:

"I am a mid '70s graduate of Brown (which, in its characteristic determination to let no liberal trend get past it, also did away with ROTC, about the same time as Yale), who nevertheless subsequently served in the military, albeit without distinction (unlike former President Bush).

"Afterwards, I got my law degree at Penn, one of the few Ivies that, to its credit, had and has retained ROTC throughout all the turmoil and trends; and I there encountered a classical citation used as a sort of motto by the oft-beleagered administrators of the program and which has stayed with me to this day:

'That [state] which separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools.' Thucydides, 'The PeloponnesianWars'"

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