Sunday, August 24, 2008

Noble: New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, for rescuing two young Americans trapped by the war in Georgia.

When 7-year-old Ashley Evans and her 3-year-old sister, Sophia, flew to Tblisi in June to visit their grandmother, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Their mother and father flew to the Georgian capital with the girls (who typically spend much of their summer in the former Soviet republic) and dropped them off with Grandma before returning to the United States. The girls were scheduled to return to the United States Aug. 26.

It was a relatively pleasant summer on their grandmother’s farm until two weeks ago, when Russia invaded Georgia, shutting down transportation out of the country. Fortunately, Mr. Smith, New Jersey Republican, came to their rescue. Mr. Smith, whose passion has been international human-rights issues, flew to Georgia to bring Ashley and Sophia home, enlisting the help of Eric Fournier, the French ambassador to Georgia. With the help of an international aid group, Mr. Fournier reached the girls at their grandmother’s rural farm. Then came the six-hour trip back to Tbilisi, which took the children through 10 checkpoints and one combat zone. On Thursday afternoon, the children were reunited with their father at the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi.

For his tireless efforts to rescue two American children from a war zone, Rep. Chris Smith is Noble of the Week.

Knave: Police and library officials in Grafton, Wisc., for their roles in bringing about the arrest of a woman for a pair of overdue library books.

On its Web site, Grafton boasts that it is “an award-winning community” and is “considered one of the most progressive communities in Wisconsin.” Dull-witted is a more accurate description, judging from the recent arrest of Heidi Dalibor, 20, who was busted for ignoring overdue notices. Library books should be returned when they are due, and people who break the rules should be hit with mounting fines - and with the most extreme scofflaws, the bills could be turned over to collection agencies. But in “progressive” Grafton, police apparently don’t have enough robberies, burglaries and the like to keep them busy, so instead they hunt down wayward library patrons: They arrested Miss Dalibor at her home, handcuffed her, put her in a police cruiser and made her prisoner number 005138. (She was freed after agreeing to pay $180 in fines for the books).

For squandering time and money that could be better spent on fighting serious crime, police and library officials in Grafton are the Knaves of the Week.

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