- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Terrorist humor

“You should differentiate between men and women’s perfume. If you use women’s perfume, you are in trouble.”

—Among tips listed in an Al Qaeda terrorist manual, obtained by Wall Street Journal correspondent Alan Cullison in Afghanistan and turned over to U.S. authorities, teaching terrorist recruits how to pass unnoticed in the West.

Troop strength

A White House aide tells us that Bush White House staffers have been ordered not to be within 50 miles of New York City during next week’s Republican National Convention — so as to avoid any appearance of “politicizing.”

Meanwhile, now that U.S. military service has become a primary theme of Sen. John Kerry’s quest for the presidency, it’s worth noting that nearly one in five delegates to next week’s 2004 Republican National Convention is either a veteran of the U.S. armed forces or an active member of the military.

Veterans make up 15 percent of the Republican delegation traveling to New York City to renominate President Bush. Another 3 percent of GOP delegates are active military personnel.

By comparison, when the Democrats gathered in Boston last month, veterans made up 11 percent of the delegates.

Iraqi tune

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, appearing before the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, was asked whether deep divisions between the United States and certain European allies over the war in Iraq is an impediment to overall success in the Middle East.

Her reply: “You know, I’m tempted to say about the trans-Atlantic relationship what I think Mark Twain apparently said about Wagner’s music: It’s better than it sounds.”

How rude

This columnist can’t write aboutMark Twain without recalling a favorite political line of the American author: “Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Women are key

This Thursday is Women’s Equality Day, marking the date in 1920 when women won the right to vote. It so happens that a higher percentage of women than men now vote in the presidential election.

Also worth noting: More women than men are undecided about who they will vote for in the 2004 presidential election; women represent the largest number of voters up for grabs in the battleground states, and women represent the largest percentage of swing voters.

Swinging bunch

Responding to yesterday’s Inside the Beltway item that a minimum of 4,000 Americans have registered to vote at strip clubs so far this summer, Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, remarked: “So that’s the definition of a swing voter.”

Whistleblower talks

Minneapolis FBI agent Coleen Rowley, who shook up FBI headquarters after writing a 13-page letter to bureau Director Robert S. MuellerIII accusing the FBI’s top agents of setting up a “roadblock” to terrorist investigations, is coming to Washington to share her assessment of American security three years after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The still-active agent, who along with 27-year CIA veteran Ray McGovern will speak at a Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation breakfast on Sept. 8, will also give her evaluation of the much-debated September 11 commission recommendations and the nomination of Florida Rep. Porter J. Goss to become CIA director.

Rancher’s rule

“Shoot, shovel and shut up.”

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, Colorado Republican, repeats the phrase known by farmers and ranchers who encounter endangered species that threaten crops and livestock.

The congresswoman is calling for reform of the Endangered Species Act, signed into law by President Nixon more than 30 years ago. Since then, 1,300 species have been listed as endangered, while fewer than 30 have been removed — 11 of them because it turned out they were never endangered in the first place.

She cites the Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse and the fact that original research that caused the mouse to be listed as endangered “is now being called into question, even by the original researcher.”

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

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