- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ground zero

“All the treason fit to print,” Deroy Murdock observed at National Review Online yesterday.

“The most puzzling thing about The New York Times’s exposure of America’s counterterrorism secrets is that this Manhattan-based newspaper has no apparent sense of self-preservation. If the Times were headquartered in, say, Bismarck, North Dakota, its spectacular disregard for human safety might be explained by the low probability that terrorists ever would hit its community directly. However, the Old Gray Lady occupies the bull’s-eye on Islamofascism’s dartboard,” Mr. Murdock wrote.

“Perhaps America’s self-appointed ‘Paper of Record’ is so self-absorbed that its morally vain editors and publishers ignore the fact that the September 11 hijackers attacked Manhattan, killing 2,749 individuals. These likely included Times subscribers and advertisers alike,” he continued.

“The Times’s manifest arrogance (exemplified when an acquaintance of mine recently answered his phone and heard a recording say, ‘Please hold for a New York Times reporter’) already is insufferable. But as this institution threatens 8.5 million New Yorkers, its potentially suicidal Bush hatred has devolved into reckless endangerment of Americans.”

A cultural moment

Weaponize blogs? Let’s log on. The Defense Department said yesterday that the Air Force has awarded $450,000 to a pair of Massachusetts information technologists intent on mining the planet’s blogs for actionable intelligence against terrorism. Brian Ulicny and Mieczyslaw Kokar will share the funds for a three-year project titled “Automated ontologically-based link analysis of international Web logs for timely discovery of relevant and credible information,” the Defense Department said.

On the upswing

“The national mood is improving, with 30 percent of voters stating the nation is headed in the right direction, compared with 23 percent last month. This is due mostly to Republicans rallying around the Bush administration; Republican voters who believe the country is on the ‘right track’ improved from 43 percent to 60 percent in just one month. Democrats who believe the country is on the right track also increased slightly (10 percent to 13 percent).

“President Bush’s favorability increased to 42 percent, a five-point jump from May, while his job approval increased four points (41 percent). These are both encouraging numbers for Bush and, more importantly, for Congressional Republicans because the base of the Republican Party is behind this upward mobility (79 percent of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Bush, and 76 percent approve of the job he is doing as president).”

— From a National Journal Hotline/Diageo poll of 800 registered voters conducted June 21 to 25 and released yesterday.

That pathetic core

Al Gore, former cover boy for Rolling Stone, is still getting fawning press from the magazine, which helped him inaugurate his new, earthy he-man image in the 2000 presidential race.

“You used to think: I wouldn’t mind taking a class from this guy,” wrote Will Dana. “Nowadays, you wouldn’t mind having a beer with him. … Gore’s renewed visibility has only fueled speculation that this is all part of a carefully orchestrated plan to launch his third bid for the presidency.”

Mr. Dana continued, “It’s not unreasonable to hope that Gore runs, but the dream of a Gore candidacy also underscores the pathetic core of today’s Democratic Party: It has become so unusual to hear a mainstream Democratic politician speak from a sense of conviction that when one does, people practically start begging him to run.”

Hola, America

Enough legal immigrants will be eligible to vote in the next presidential election to “dramatically — and negatively affect the outcome of the 2008 presidential election for the Republican Party,” states a study released yesterday by the Chicago-based Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which says there are 14.25 million potential new immigrant voters.

The study said, “Republican-led legislative attacks on immigrants and red-hot anti-immigrant demagoguery” are driving record increases in citizenship applications, noting that 16 states are home to unregistered immigrants in numbers larger “than the vote differential between President Bush and Democrat John Kerry in 2004,” including Iowa, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon and Wisconsin.

“We will be concentrating efforts in battleground states to turn out the vote,” said Lydia Hernandez of the Arizona Coalition for Migrant Rights, a partner of the Illinois group.

Feudin’ and funding

A Senate committee yesterday cut President Bush’s request for the State Department and foreign aid by more than $2 billion and shifted the money to flood control, sewer grants, border security and other programs, the Associated Press reports.

The moves are likely to meet with resistance from the White House. The administration objects to such shifts and to a $9 billion cut to Mr. Bush’s Pentagon budget request, with that money restoring proposed trims in domestic programs.

Meanwhile, the AP reports that the House passed a bill that supports the president’s plans to explore Mars and increase spending on research and encouraging science professionals to enter teaching.

Kinky yes, Grandma no

No, Granny, no. Carole Keeton Strayhorn, independent candidate for Texas governor, cannot use “Grandma” on the ballot come November. Secretary of State Roger Williams has deemed the name too durn close to Mrs. Strayhorn’s official slogan, “One Tough Grandma” — and therefore ineligible, the Austin Chronicle reported yesterday.

“She has been called One Proud Grandma concerning her grandchildren, one Heartbroken Grandma, concerning foster children, and the Texas Monthly called her One Ticked Off Grandma,” her attorney Roy Minton argued. “Grandma is clearly not a slogan. Probably the earliest battle cry that Texans had was ‘Remember the Alamo.’ But the Alamo is in San Antonio and nobody thinks it is a slogan.”

Mr. Williams is a hard sell, though, and likely will give an official thumbs-down to “Grandma” this weekend. Meanwhile, he has informed another governor wannabe — Kinky Friedman — that “Kinky” appears to be a genuine nickname and will be allowed on the ballot — after his given first name, Richard. Both candidates hope to whup Republican Gov. Rick Perry in the race this fall.

Contact Jennifer Harper at 202/636-3085 or [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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