- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Halloween creature

“I am running for governor of Mississippi against a Billary Clinton liberal who worked hard for Al Gore.”

—former Republican National Committee chairman and gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour, trying to scare Mississippi voters into supporting him over Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in next Tuesday’s election

Hands-on president

Texas columnist Molly Ivins, author of “Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush,” and the sequel “Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America,” actually isn’t that unkind to Dubya in her current cover story for the left-wing magazine Mother Jones.

Writing about Mr. Bush’s compassionate conservatism, she says the president is “neither mean nor stupid.” Instead, he just has a bad habit of visiting and praising a government program, only to turn around and cut its budget.

Oh, well, he’s got to whittle away at the $375 billion deficit someplace.

Dirty work, but …

If nobody else is speaking about “accomplishments” in Iraq, then Sen. Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican, will.

“The United States, our allies and the Iraqi people have accomplished much,” he says to critics of the mission to rebuild that country, rattling off:

• The Iraqi Governing Council has been formed, bringing together 25 political leaders from across Iraq. The council will name Iraqi ministers, represent the new country internationally, and draft a constitution that will pave the way for national elections leading to a fully sovereign Iraqi government.

• Thousands are volunteering for the new Iraqi army.

• Close to 30,000 Iraqis are training to be members of Iraq’s new police force.

• Shipments of office supplies, including furniture, computers and printers are equipping seven essential government ministries.

• Some 760,000 metric tons of food items have been dispatched into Iraq in the last four weeks.

• Crops are being successfully planted in areas that have not produced for years.

• The Iraqi Nurses Association has initiated a two-day conference to lay the groundwork for adequate nursing services in Iraq over the next 10 years.

Finally, Mr. Nickles says that now that Iraqis know Saddam Hussein’s sons, Uday and Qusai, are confirmed dead from a firefight in Mosul, they are less fearful of working with the United States to bring stability to their country.

Fire-wall protection

Americans aren’t the only Internet users concerned with online privacy being invaded by government eavesdroppers. Now the “secret police” are bidding to control the Internet in Ukraine.

Reporters Without Borders says the Ukrainian secret police (SBU) are not only trying to take control of Internet operations in the country, they also desire to intercept e-mail messages.

The SBU recently petitioned the Ukrainian parliament to legalize the recording and interception of phone and Internet messages, ostensibly to help fight crime, according to the IDG News Service. The SBU has also gone to court to assume control of a popular domain name owned by a private firm.

The SBU has even asked U.S.-based ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, to give its blessing to the domain transfer — which is highly unlikely.

Mary Hewitt, ICANN’s director of communications, told Inside the Beltway yesterday whether in the United States, China or Ukraine “security and stability of the Internet is a primary concern of ICANN’s.”

“Our Security and Stability Advisory Committee are always keeping their finger to the pulse of new developments,” she said.

ICANN’s security committee monitors the security of Web domain names like the one the SUB wants to control. In fact, the committee is chaired by Stephen Crocker, who helped pioneer computer fire-wall construction.

Little engine

It’s been a year since Sen. Paul Wellstone, “the Little Engine that Could,” tragically died in a Minnesota plane crash.

Senators on both sides of the aisle this week paid tribute to the liberal Democrat, who waged his first campaign in an old green school bus.

Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, says what he admired most about Mr. Wellstone was that “he befriended working people, like the janitors who cleaned his Senate office. One night, Paul waited until midnight so he could meet them in person and tell them thanks.”

And for a small guy he had amazing physical strength, the senator added.

“He worked out at the Capitol Police gym, and he still holds the record there for doing the most chin-ups.”

Mr. Wellstone also holds the gym’s pushup record — 89 in one minute.

New bumper sticker

“If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier.”

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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