Thursday, November 11, 2004

First things first

Political pundit Tom Adkins received the following birth announcement from his client, Chris Tate:

“Just wanted to let you know that Jill and I are filling up our house. Jill gave birth to Lauren Elizabeth Tate last Tuesday (Election Day), and she weighed in at 7 lbs. 11 oz., and measured 19.5 inches. Needless to say, we are very proud and excited. … By the way, Jill’s water broke at 5 a.m., but we waited to cast our votes for W. before going to the hospital.”

Sacrifice and support

In front of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery yesterday, six female soldiers were seen standing at attention and saluting as President Bush’s limousine passed by on its way to Veterans Day observances.

EMP blueprint

One of the more frightening post-September 11 reports is handed to us by Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican, dealing with an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that could disrupt electronic systems across the entire continental United States for years on end.

As Mr. Bartlett describes such a catastrophic scenario, one would be able to communicate only with those within range of their voice and travel only by walking or riding a bike. There would be no heat or light for houses, no running water and, after a few days, no food.

“Millions of Americans could die from starvation and disease as an indirect consequence of an EMP attack that disrupts the infrastructures for transportation, medical services, food and water,” the congressman writes to colleagues, who earlier were warned by the September 11 commission that the United States is vulnerable and virtually unprotected against such an attack.

Ironically, the Clinton administration dismissed an EMP threat. But concerns were realized in 1999 when, in the wake of so-called U.S. military “aggression” in the Balkans, Russia’s chairman on the Duma International Affairs Committee, Vladimir Lukin, warned a U.S. congressional delegation in Vienna, Austria:

“If we really wanted to hurt you … we would launch [a submarine-launched ballistic missile] and detonate a single nuclear warhead device at high altitude over the United States and shut down your power grid and communications for six months or so.”

The 9/11 commission states that even a low-yield nuclear weapon, purchased by terrorists on the black market or delivered to them by a rogue state, “can be employed to generate potentially catastrophic EMP effects over wide geographic areas.”

Editors of the Wall Street Journal wrote recently of the EMP potential: “All we can say is, we hope someone in Washington is paying attention.” Actually, Mr. Bartlett was paying attention before September 11, 2001, introducing legislation in 2000 to analyze the threat from EMP.

He says steps must be taken by the United States now, more than ever, to alleviate that threat.

Thankless duty

It wasn’t often that newly resigned Attorney General John Ashcroft received favorable press, as the following statement, issued by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, alludes:

“Attorney General John Ashcroft’s retirement … comes after four of the most difficult years any former attorney general has ever served. The attack on our home front put him, as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, in the critical position of having to draw a balance between intense law enforcement and respect for our civil liberties. He experienced one of the nastiest and contentious nomination reviews in recent history. Through it all, John Ashcroft maintained his integrity and we say ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’”

Mum’s the word

The Arlington-based Leadership Institute aims to ride President Bush’s coattails onto college campuses, dispatching 20 field representatives to higher institutions nationwide to launch independent conservative student organizations.

The institute says its Campus Leadership Program representatives face a recruiting hurdle in that, “predictably, leftists prefer campuses to be conservative-free zones.”

The institute notes that Valparaiso University’s administration granted CLP field representative Michael Sweeney permission to set up a recruiting table on the condition that he speak to students only if spoken to.

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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