- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2003

Nobles: Patriotic physicist Edward Teller.

Mr. Teller’s love of freedom may have been due to his early experiences with tyranny. He was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1908, and by the time that he had earned his doctorate in theoretical physics at age 22 from the University of Leipzig, his country had experienced both Bela Kun’s Soviet-style Red Terror and the White Terror of the subsequent counterrevolution. After fleeing the excesses of the Nazi regime in 1934, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1941. While Mr. Teller made important contributions to the Manhattan Project, he was more fascinated with fusion, the basis for hydrogen bombs, than the fission used in atomic bombs. He was one of the first to believe that a weapon could liberate the huge energy potential of hydrogen, the lightest of the elements. His advice led President Truman to pursue the project, and the first hydrogen bomb was successfully tested in 1952. Mr. Teller remained a passionate advocate for the wise use of nuclear power for both energy production and strategic defense for the rest of his life. Wrongly thought to have been the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (that dubious distinction most likely belongs John von Neumann, the father of the modern computer), Mr. Teller inspired thousands of students who took his physics courses during his long tenure at Berkeley. He also was inspirational in founding the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, where his leadership led him to become acquainted with Ronald Reagan in the late 1960s. The two quickly became friends and admirers, and Mr. Teller was credited with inspiring aspects of Mr. Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. In 1983, Mr. Reagan presented Mr. Teller with the National Medal of Science. President Bush awarded Mr. Teller with the Presidential Medal of Freedom just two months ago. Mr. Teller died this week at age 95, leaving a legacy of the vast positive energies that can be liberated when physics is coupled with patriotism.

Knaves: Russell Ebersole, rancid war profiteer.

The stench began descending when Ebersole’s dogs failed the smell test. Specifically, they couldn’t catch the scent of the 15 pounds of C-4 that had been hidden in a vehicle sitting in a Federal Reserve parking facility. The dogs also missed two other vehicles packed with explosives sitting in the same area. That was just one of the five explosives-detection tests that Ebersole’s dogs failed after he offered them to the government shortly after the September 11 attacks. Ebersole’s company was paid $700,000, for the stuffy-nosed hounds, which were later used at such sensitive locations as the State Department. According to prosecutors, Ebersole created phony proficiency certificates for his dogs and featured dog-training trophies won by an employee who had left long before the war on terror began. His firm even billed the Federal Emergency Management Agency $11,000 for a fraudulent trip to New York in September 2001. Last June, Ebersole was convicted of fraud, and this week, Alexandria District Judge Leonie Brinkema sentenced him to six-and-one-half years in prison, the maximum allowed under federal guidelines. “Not only did [Ebersole] steal from this country at its most vulnerable time, but … he deliberately endangered the lives of many government workers, the public in general, and his own employees,” U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty said. Ebersole’s entire operation stank of the worst sort of war profiteering, providing incapable dogs at exaggerated prices, when resources and nerves were stretched to their limit. He has properly been hounded into the federal pound.

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