- The Washington Times - Friday, November 20, 2009

IN THEIR MIDST

Something to ponder: Shooting suspect Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was once an active part of the local academic community of national security advisers and insiders.

Maj. Hasan was a “participant” in George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute’s Presidential Transition Task Force, which organized a quartet of forums from October 2008 to January, according to “Thinking Anew - Security Priorities for the Next Administration,” a report on the four events from the nonpartisan think tank issued May 19.

The forums delivered “innovative strategies and solutions to current and future threats to the nation,” and they featured plenty of heavyweights.

The expansive roster of advisers, wonks, diplomats, lawmakers, journalists, academes, military and administration analysts included former national security advisers Kenneth Rapuano and Richard V. Allen; former CIA directors James Woolsey and William H. Webster; Fran Townsend, former White House adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism; Stephen Flynn of the Council of Foreign Relations; and William Bratton, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Among other nightmare scenarios, the events addressed terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Chief Bratton, in fact, “called for a ‘convergent strategy’ that weaves together community policing and counterterrorism strategies under the ‘guiding philosophy’ of intelligence-led policing,” the report said.

Maj. Hasan was listed in the report as a representative of the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine.

BUMPER PATROL

“Change is coming in 2012: End of an Error.” - spotted in Fort Washington, Md.

BUMPER CONTROL

“Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8” - spotted in multiple locations.

The biblical passage in question reads: “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” But some worry this bumper sticker is really veiled hate speech, because the next verse reads, “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”

It’s not in the realm of hate speech, says Chris Hansen, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The language is “ambiguous,” he says.

Deborah Lauter, director of civil rights at the Anti-Defamation League agrees that the bumper sticker is “acceptable political discourse.” For it to be considered hate speech, it “would advocate actual violence or cite scripture that was more clear in its message,” Ms. Lauter says.

THE PALIN FINESSE

Critics often scorn Sarah Palin’s persistent appeal with the public; perhaps they simply choose to overlook the fact that lack of pretense, straightforward language and kind gestures can be effective political strategy, on par with nuanced fare from high-end publicists. Her book tour traverses key political battleground states, her whistlestops include Costco stores, BJ’s Wholesalers, Sam’s Club and the Fort Hood base exchange, where she will donate sales royalties to military families affected by the Nov. 5 attack there.

Mrs. Palin will be in the nation’s capital region Dec. 5 - but not at, say, Trover Books or Politics and Prose. She will appear at BJ’s in Fair Lakes Shopping Center, in the blue-tinged Virginia suburbs.

And in a masterful reversal of negative news coverage, Mrs. Palin agreed with talk-radio host Laura Ingraham on Thursday to auction off the jacket she wore on a recent Newsweek cover that showcased the former Alaska governor in shorts, with a headline calling her a “problem.” Proceeds will benefit Fisher House, a charity that aids families of wounded troops.

“This is a phenomenon that just keeps giving. Its very lack of explanation, and ensuing incredulity and apoplexy, propel it. There may not have ever been anything like it in modern American politics. Well, Ronald Reagan perhaps. But his was, at least, a 20-year phenomenon. In little more than a year, Sarah Palin has gone from zero status to significant opposition leader, contender for the leadership of her party, and one of the most extraordinary media figures in the country,” says Michael Wolff, founder of Newser.com

“Nobody in the media has been able to offer any satisfying rationale for her fantastic rise. Indeed, every analysis in essence explains why she should merely be a laughing stock, which, curiously, she is, even as her rise continues.”

BRING ‘EM ON

Terrorists? No problem.

The American Federation of Government Employees’ (AFGE) Council of Prison Locals (CPL), which represents correctional officers, supports the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees into the Federal Bureau of Prisons, most likely the Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois.

“We fully support housing Guantanamo Bay detainees at Thomson,” said AFGE national president John Gage. “This is an opportunity to bring thousands of good-paying jobs to an area in desperate need of an economic revival.

“Supervising terrorists is nothing new for Bureau of Prisons correctional officers. They’ve maintained a safe and secure environment at Supermax and they can do it at Thomson. We welcome the idea of protecting our nation, and the world, from these detainees,” adds CPL president Bryan Lowry.

POLL DU JOUR

- 45 percent of Americans say the attack on Fort Hood by shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was an act of terrorism.

- 47 percent say it was “murder,” 8 percent are unsure.

- 64 percent say federal and military authorities should have been able to prevent the attack.

- 31 percent say prevention was not possible, 5 percent are unsure.

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey of 1,014 adults conducted Nov. 13-15.

Quiet reassurance, optimism, maybe some whistle-blowing to jharper@ washingtontimes.com.

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