- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 26, 2009

Should America make nice with the Taliban? Uh-h-h, maybe not, says M. Zuhdi Jasser, a former U.S. Navy officer, physician and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.

President Obama‘s recent overture to the Taliban not only sends a dangerous message of appeasement to our sworn enemies, but it sends a lethal message of abandonment to all those who have suffered the oppression of the Taliban,” Dr. Jasser says.

“How can a presidential candidate who campaigned on a message of ‘change’ turn around as president and completely abandon those who seek change away from the thugs and theocrats of the Taliban of Afghanistan?”

Dr. Jasser, a Muslim who founded the Phoenix-based group in 2003, draws a line in the sand.

“There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Taliban can be trusted or serve as any type of viable ‘partner’ in a negotiation of the future of Afghanistan and global security. They have in fact repeatedly proven to be sworn enemies of freedom and liberty. They will tell the Obama administration what it wants to hear,” he continues.

A quick, feel-good fix won’t work, Dr. Jasser contends.

“Rather than empowering our anti-Islamist Muslim allies in the region who are already underfunded and outmatched, President Obama is giving our ideological allies the signal that the U.S. would rather sit with oppressors and get short-term assurances of stability than sit with real agents of anti-Islamist change.”

Former Vice President Dick Cheney took a wider stance, saying it was “disturbing” that Mr. Obama recently declared misgivings about U.S. policy while he was overseas.

“You have to be very careful. The world outside there — both our friends and our foes — will be quick to take advantage of a situation if they think they’re dealing with a weak president,” Mr. Cheney told Fox News. “The United States provides much of the leadership in the world. We have for a long time. I don’t think we’ve got much to apologize for.”

Future kingpins

So you want Junior to grow up and be, oh, Donald Rumsfeld — or maybe Stephen Chu? There are colleges that cater to such aspirations, according to educational consultant Katherine Cohen, founder of IvyWise, a New York college admissions counseling service.

“Here are the top … colleges to attend if you want to be in the president’s Cabinet,” she says.

There’s Harvard University of course, because Harvard has more alumni in Cabinet positions than Yale, Princeton, Stanford and MIT combined. Then there’s the University of California Berkeley, Yale University, Georgetown University, Indiana University and the University of Denver.

But getting to the presidential Cabinet is not a particularly exacting art. Who you know rather than what you know holds more sway. Ms. Cohen, though, insists these campuses are “specifically tailored for the future politico.”

Quotes of note

Bo Obama. What an impact he’s having on America. If J. Crew sold dogs, just think of the potential.” — WMAL news anchor Rick Fowler.

“There are two phenomena that I confess to not ‘getting’ these days: Twitter and Meghan McCain.” — Ed Morrissey of HotAir.com

“Comedy Stimulus.” — Title of Jay Leno‘s new traveling road show.

Chili today, hot tamale

Oh well. So we’re weak. So we put comfort food in a political column. Yeah, well, why not? Just consider this to be a bipartisan, multi-ideological message.

Kettle Brand now makes Jalapeno Potato Chips, just in time for Cinco de Mayo — or at least to see Alex, Sergei, Brooks and the other adorable Capitals take the Stanley Cup.

The chips are all natural, etc. etc. — and priced from $1 to $4. They should be in most grocery stores this week.

Days of yore

Happy birthday today to sculptor Daniel Chester French, the man behind the monumental statue of Abraham Lincoln, seated in the memorial of the same name. French was born in Exeter, N.H., in 1850.

The state of Maryland did not go gray on this day in 1861, when the Maryland House of Delegates voted against seceding from the Union.

On this day in 1974, President Nixon released transcripts of 46 taped White House conversations — 1,200 pages worth — in response to a subpoena issued during the Watergate trial. He eventually turned over tapes as well.

“I want there to be no question remaining about the fact that the president has nothing to hide in this matter,” Mr. Nixon said. “I made clear there was to be no cover-up.”

Last but not least, communism took a real hit 19 years ago today, when the destruction of the Berlin Wall began in 1990.

By the numbers

66 percent of Republicans say humans are not to blame for global warming.

51 percent of Democrats blame human activities for global warming.

48 percent of voters overall blame climate change on planetary influences.

34 percent of voters overall blame humans.

Meanwhile, 49 percent of the voters think President Obama would cite human activity as a reason for global warming; 19 percent think the president would cite planetary trends.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted April 15 and 16.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washington times.com or 202/636-3085. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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