- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 22, 2002

No term limit
What's the Iraqi version of the "hanging chad?"
"Any man who did not vote for Saddam Hussein during the recent election," quips Dudley K. McDonald of Falls Church.

Pair of chiefs
To appeal to the entire black-tie audience, two guests of honor have agreed to be on hand for next month's presentation of Service to America Medals to top U.S. government officials: White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. and White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry.
Mr. Card is chief of staff to President Bush. He's perhaps not as well known as Mr. McGarry (played by Emmy-winning actor John Spencer), chief of staff to President Josiah Bartlet in the prime-time show "The West Wing."
Mr. Spencer once recalled being introduced to President Clinton's former White House chief of staff, Leon Panetta, "who gave me the biggest compliment. He said, 'Any government would be lucky with Leo as chief of staff.'"
Welcome aboard, Leo.

Mint a quarter
Now that Congress has passed a bill adding the federal city of Washington, D.C., to the Quarter Dollar Program commemorating the 50 U.S. states (is Walla Walla next?), let's assist the secretary of Treasury in selecting an appropriate design to appear on the commemorative side of the coin.
Send all suggestions, the more creative the better, to this column and we'll be sure to forward them to Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill.
Reader Steven Zell, a senior engineer at TRC Environmental Corp. in Windsor, Conn., gets things started: "I would suggest that the reverse (tails) side depict the United States Capitol building, which is a true symbol of Washington, D.C., and unlikely to offend either political party."

Enough said
Name of the petition being circulated to restrain celebrities (movie & TV stars, pop & rock stars, producers, directors, etc.) from capitalizing on their celebrityhood to sound off on whatever issue du jour comes rolling along to which they must bear witness: The HUSH (Help Us Silence Hollywood) Petition.

Going fishing
The terrorist threat against this country has made immigration reform "a matter of life and death," and cuts in both permanent and temporary immigration would contribute significantly to improved security by permitting more efficient management and by denying terrorists cover.
"We fail to act at our peril," warns Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, in a homeland-security report titled "Safety in (Lower) Numbers."
Since September 11, he says, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has been searching for more than 300,000 foreigners in this country "who have absconded after being ordered deported, and these names are being entered into the FBI's national crime database though only about 900 have so far been located."
In the meantime, the State Department is requiring more intensive examination of visa applications, particularly by young men from Muslim countries. Will that work?
"[T]argeting Muslim-majority countries wouldn't successfully screen out terrorists," says Mr. Krikorian. "As it is, applicants from Middle Eastern countries formally listed as sponsors of terrorism Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria have long faced a higher bar to entry. So instead, the September 11 terrorists came from Muslim countries not on the official list of terrorist-sponsoring countries."
As the United States looks critically at Muslim-majority countries, it could likely see terrorists coming from non-Muslim countries with large and radicalized Muslim minorities, notably the Philippines, India, China and Russia.
The FBI in recent weeks warned of one such development with regard to Russian citizens al Qaeda is said to have discussed hijacking a commercial airliner using Muslim extremists of non-Arabic appearance, specifically Chechen Muslims affiliated with al Qaeda already present in the United States.
Until the United States can regroup and recharge, Mr. Krikorian calls for cutting immigration "across the board," although security implications from this country's large foreign-born population "cannot be wished away."
"In such a world," he says, "immigrant communities act as the sea within which, as Mao might have said, terrorists can swim like fish."

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