Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ports and National Security

A Dubai (U.A.E.) company is bidding to succeed a British company as the manager of several U.S. ports. The initial public reaction has been negative. Democrats especially have criticized the Bush administration for approving such an arrangement for an Arab company. The company itself has requested a longer investigation period in order to answer all security concerns.

Remember that the port manager does not patrol the surrounding waters; the Coast Guard does. Also, the port manager does not clear goods and people into the U.S.; Customs does. Those are the major security concerns, I think. That does not mean the port manager can not do any mischief or engage in deception of the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs. It does mean the U.S. government retains those security responsibilities.

The fact that the company is from Dubai may cause us a slightly greater concern, but not appreciably. Since 9/11, the U.A.E. has been a U.S. ally. It is to our advantage to treat the moderate Arabs as allies and not as enemies. We will need their support in the long war against terror that is underway. If the moderate Arabs and Muslims take the side of the radical Islamists in Al Qaeda, the war on terror will become more difficult. As Sen. Hillary Clinton said but now seems to have forgotten, this is a war for hearts and minds. We will not win hearts and minds by prohibiting an Arab company from doing what we allow even a Chinese company to do. (Frankly, I have greater security concerns regarding the Chinese company.)

At this point, we do not have enough information about the Dubai company to make a final determination. Further investigation is warranted. However, the final determination should be based on serious security grounds, and not on anti-Arab fears. (It is rather ironic that Democrats, the foes of all racial profiling, are the ones who most want to deny the Dubai company any role in port management due to the company's Arab-ness.)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Civil War Averted in Iraq.

Normalcy, such as it is, seems to have returned to Iraq after last week's bombing of a principal Shiite mosque. No one has claimed responsibility for the deed, but the most likely suspect is Al Qaeda, which has been trying to start a civil war in Iraq.

The initial violent reaction to the bombing raised fears that a civil war was starting, but calm heads seem to have prevailed. The Shiites have been the subject of several provocations designed to lure them into a civil war, but they have resisted the basic human impulse for revenge. Sistani, the revered Shiite cleric, once again appealed for peace, and the Shiites listened, after a brief view over the precipice. Even Sadr, the young and ambitious Shiite cleric with a following among the poor, urged peace after seeing his own minions initially engage in retaliation but then eyeing the unfavorable reaction of most Iraqis to the prospect of civil war.

The news media in this country immediately assumed that the worst was coming, but they were wrong once again.

I only hope that this glimpse of civil strife will cause the political factions to unite sufficiently to form a government and will give the government the impetus to disarm the existing militias.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Posting Pause

Due to a death in the family, I will not be posting to Quite Right until late this week or early next week.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Early Thinking About 2008

It is too early to predict the outcome of the 2008 race for president, but the exercise is still interesting. American Research Group (hat tip to Polipundit) conducted an early poll of voter preferences for president and found some interesting but not too surprising results. The poll covered 7 states, South Carolina and the 6 New England states.

On the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton was the clear favorite. In her worst state, South Carolina, she received 30%, and her closest contender, John Edwards, received 15%. Edwards did well in South Carolina in part because he is from neighboring North Carolina. Kerry received 10% in his home state of Massachusetts, a disappointment for a man who was the 2004 nominee of the party. In no other state did anyone other than Clinton receive at least 10%. Clinton's preference exceeded the combined preference for all the other contenders except in 2 states, South Carolina (30% to 34%) and New Hampshire (32% to 37%). Note that those are the 2 most conservative states of the 7.

On the Republican side, John McCain was the clear favorite. McCain received at least 39% in each state. McCain's preference exceeded the combined preference for all other contenders in all 7 states.

In a face-off between McCain and Clinton, McCain prevailed in 6 of the 7 states, although 2 of McCain's states, Maine and Rhode Island, were within the margin of error. Clinton won only in Connecticut, which is next door to Clinton's state of New York.

These poll results are interesting, but it is premature to take them too seriously. They do indicate that each party has a strong frontrunner. Other candidates will be running uphill to catch them. However, early frontrunners do sometimes falter in the heat of a campaign.

The results also indicate that Clinton will have difficulty holding onto states that voted for Kerry in 2004. Keep in mind that the surveyed states include only one that voted for Bush in 2004 (South Carolina) and one other that was reasonably close (New Hampshire). McCain has a clear lead in 3 states that Kerry won, Massachusetts (48% to 39%), New Hampshire (52% to 32%), and Vermont (47% to 38%). Massachusetts and Vermont are essential states for any Democrat in a presidential election. If Clinton can not improve her image between now and 2008, she will probably lose, and perhaps lose big.

I caution you again that we have far to go until 2008. The political climate will change. Rest assured that McCain's generally favorable media coverage will disappear if he wins the Republican nomination.

One final observation: Conservatives do not generally like McCain now because of his strong support for campaign finance reform and his opposition to the Bush administration on several issues. However, his independence will be an asset if he can win the 2008 Republican nomination. Conservatives will serve themselves and their cause well if they consider the electoral merits of McCain, who is a conservative overall with an ACU rating over 80%.

Senate Ends Filibuster of Patriot Act

Yesterday, the Senate voted 96-3 to end debate on the Patriot Act. This puts an end to the Democrats' filibuster against renewal of the act. The 3 votes opposing cloture were Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), and Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.). Feingold is the leading Senate opponent of the war in Iraq. Jeffords is the former Republican who changed parties to put the Democrats temporarily in control of the Senate. Byrd is seeking re-election this year in a state that voted for Bush in the last 2 presidential elections. Expect this vote to be an issue in the general election campaign.

Power Line observes:

Once the handful of Republicans who had given the Democrats cover reached a deal with the administration, the fiilibuster collapsed. Even Harry Reid--"We killed the Patriot Act!"--voted for cloture, in what must have been a humiliating reversal.

Is this reversal Reid's "I was for it before I was against it" moment?

Islamic Version of Moral Equivalence

The Corner relays this from Reuters:

"If the West can place a bounty on Osama bin Laden and Zawahri we can also announce reward for killing the man who has caused this sacrilege of the holy Prophet," Qureshi told Reuters, referring to the al Qaeda leader and his deputy Ayman al Zawahri.

There you have it. At least one Muslim believes the killers of 3,000 people on 9/11 are morally equivalent to a cartoon artist who draws the prophet Mohammed.

Able Danger Hearings

Irish Pennants covered the public portion of the Able Danger hearings on Wednesday. His thoughts parallel mine.

The Irish Pennants post makes the point that "there seems to be a bipartisan interest in keeping the truth about ABLE DANGER from the American people.". The Democrats' interest in covering up the Able Danger story is obvious. If the Able Danger program did in fact discover Mohammed Atta and his connection to a Brooklyn cell of Al Qaeda in 2000, the Clinton administration would have some explaining to do.

However, as Irish Pennants writes, "It isn't clear why the Bush administration is covering up the suppression of ABLE DANGER data, because it occurred on President Clinton's watch." My own speculations are (1) someone (for example, Rumsfeld) will be embarrassed by the revelations, (2) there is no truth to the allegations being made, and (3) the Bush administration is trying to keep secret an ongoing national security program (similar to the NSA wiretapping program). Only the last speculation would justify the cover-up and intimidation of witnesses. However, the last speculation does not seem to be supported by the facts that have been made public so far.

"Most newspapers, including the one I work for, didn't run anything on the hearing." The near silence of the mainstream media confirms their bias in protecting the Clinton administration.

Stay tuned to this story. It is not yet clear whether there is substance to the allegations or why there is a cover-up. I would like to know, and so should you.

"Objective" Liberal Journalists Believe Conservative Journalists Can Not Be Objective

V.P. Dick Cheney chose Brit Hume of Fox News for an exclusive interview about the hunting accident last weekend. The interview was conducted Wednesday.

The liberal journalists in the Washington press corps decried Cheney's selection of Fox. They believed that Fox is a conservative news outlet that could not ask Cheney the tough questions. As Betsy's Page says, "All those news people who insist that they don't twist the news to fit their own self-acknowledged liberal ideology think that a conservative like Brit is incapable of doing the same thing." In other words, liberal journalists believe that they can be and are balanced and objective but that conservative journalists can not be and are not balanced and objective.

Remember this the next time you hear a liberal journalist saying that the liberal-dominated media are balanced and objective in their reporting.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

George Will Is Wrong on Warrantless Surveillance

George Will normally thinks clearly and gets the facts right. In his editorial this morning, Will writes disparagingly on the president's claim of inherent authority as commander in chief to conduct warrantless surveillance.

This monarchical doctrine emerges from the administration's stance that warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency targeting American citizens on American soil is a legal exercise of the president's inherent powers as commander in chief, even though it violates the clear language of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA], which was written to regulate wartime surveillance.

Will is wrong on two counts. First, FISA was not "written to regulate wartime surveillance". FISA was passed in 1978, a time of peace. FISA was primarily aimed at abuses by Pres. Nixon, abuses that were not connected to the conduct of war.

Second, and more important, the NSA's program of warrantless surveillance does not violate FISA. Neither FISA nor any other statute may reduce the authority granted to the president by the Constitution. To the extent that any statute purports to take away the president's constitutional authority, that statute is itself unconstitutional and thus invalid. By the way, Pres. Roosevelt began intercepting communications to and from the U.S. on the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked. Few felt that he did not have the authority to do so. Has the president's constitutional authority to wage war declined since World War II?

Also, FISA itself provides that it does not prohibit warrantless surveillance authorized by other statutes. The Authorization to Use Military Force {AUMF) gives the president the authority to wage war against Al Qaeda, among others. The incidental authority provided by the AUMF certainly includes the authority to conduct warrantless surveillance of Al Qaeda's communications. What kind of statute would authorize killing the enemy but prohibit spying on the same enemy?

Will argues:

None of the 518 legislators who voted for the AUMF has said that he or she then thought it contained the permissiveness the administration discerns in it.

On the other hand, when Congress passed the AUMF, none of the legislators said then, when it counted and before the partisan bickering over the matter started, that the AUMF prohibited the NSA's warrantless surveillance of Al Qaeda. Will's argument could be applied equally to the detention of enemy combatants. As the Supreme Court ruled in the Hamdi case, detention of the enemy is authorized by the AUMF as an incident to waging war. The same holds true for warrantless surveillance of Al Qaeda's communications.

Will has taken too one-sided an approach to this issue. The NSA program of warrantless surveillance is authorized by the Constitution and by the AUMF, and Congress has no constitutional power to restrict the president's constitutional powers. Pres. Bush is doing all he can to prevent another 9/11, and he should not be attacked politically for performing his obligation as commander in chief to protect the country.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Another Hillary Criticism

Hillary Clinton last week criticized the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terror.

Referring to fugitive al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, Clinton said, "You cannot explain to me why we have not captured or killed the tallest man in Afghanistan."

Of course, you can not explain to me why Hillary could not find her Rose Law Firm billing records, which an aide of hers found in the White House living quarters.

Hillary Forgets Clinton Administration Stonewalling

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) criticized the Bush administration for not being forthcoming. From the AP (via Fake Turkey):

"A tendency of this administration -- from the top all the way to the bottom -- is to withhold information ... to refuse to be forthcoming about information that is of significance and relevance to the jobs that all of you do, and the interests of the American people," Clinton said.

"Putting it all together, going back years now, there's a pattern and it's a pattern that should be troubling," she said at a press conference calling for a more robust federal response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

The former first lady continued: "The refusal of this administration to level with the American people on matters large and small is very disturbing, because it goes counter to the way our constitutional democracy ... is supposed to work."

Hillary has apparently forgotten about the last administration, which was not forthcoming about the following:

- Bill Clinton's draft dodging,
- Hillary's huge profits trading cattle futures,
- Hillary's "lost" Rose Law Firm billing records, which turned up in the White House living quarters,
- the FBI files in the White House,
- Vince Foster's suicide (preventing the police from questioning family members and from examining Foster's papers; some of the papers were never revealed),
- privatization of the White House travel office by giving it to a large contributor, and the subsequent criminal prosecution of the former office manager, who was acquitted,
- the 1996 Democratic campaign finance scandal,
- the use of the Lincoln bedroom by large contributors,
- the solicitation of money by Hillary's brother Hugh Rodham for his influence in obtaining pardons from Bill Clinton,
- the obstruction of special prosecutor Barrett in his investigation of cabinet member Henry Cisneros,
- the obstruction of the special prosecutor in his investigation of cabinet member Mike Espy,
- the taking of the White House furniture.

This list is not exhaustive. When Hillary talks about the "troubling" failure of an administration to be forthcoming, she needs to be reminded of the administration of which she was a part.

No News of Iraqi Mayor's Letter of Thanks

The mayor of Tall 'Afar in Iraq wrote a letter of thanks to the 3rd Army Cavalry Regiment. Part of the letter:

... Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.

... This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.

Scott of Power Line searched for newspaper reports of the mayor's letter of thanks. He found only one, in the St. George (Utah) Spectrum.

We learn from Power Line that the mayor had written an earlier letter of thanks to Gen. Casey. In that letter, the mayor expressed his desire that the Army unit remain in Tall'Afar and concluded, "Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, our hero, General Casey."

The mainstreamm media in this country choose not to give a complete picture of what is happening in Iraq. You rarely hear ofIraqiss' appreciation of the U.S. military there.

Cheney Interview at 2:00 EST

V.P. Dick Cheney will be interviewed by Brit Hume of Fox News at 2:00. In this exclusive interview, Cheney will tell all about the hunting accident in which he shot a friend. Do not expect the interview to have much effect on the fury of the Washington press corps.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Overreaction by Democrats and Press

V.P. Dick Cheney accidentally shot a hunting companion over the weekend. The man who was shot is doing well, considering he was hit with birdshot.

Since the Washington press corps did not find out first, all they seem to care about is why they did not find out sooner. One reporter asked whether Cheney should resign. (I wonder why no Washington reporter asks Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) why he did not resign after an accident that resulted in the death of a young woman.) Some partisan Democrats are over the top, comparing Cheney to Aaron Burr, who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

Accidents are unfortunate. The partisan spin and press overreaction is also unfortunate.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Intimidation Works

The cartoon intifada continues and spreads across the whole Muslim world. The campaign against the Danish cartoons that depicted the Muslim prophet Mohammed and the accompanying threats against the cartoon publishers has had an intended effect of intimidating many in the West into submission.

Very few newspapers or magazines in the U.S. have published the cartoons, preferring simply to describe them with words. In the U.K., a magazine, The Liberal, removed the cartoons from its website for safety reasons. (This magazine was the second one in the U.K. to publish the cartoons on its website and then quickly remove them.)

Senior police officers at Scotland Yard warned the magazine its staff could not be guaranteed protection from possible protests, after which the cartoon was pulled from the Liberal’s website and replaced by a large white square with the word “censored” placed over it.

Following the withdrawal of the cartoon, Ben Ramm, the magazine’s editor, announced on the website: “Despite our wishes and convictions, for reasons of safety the magazine will no longer carry the cartoon itself.”

In an earlier online editorial accompanying the publication of the cartoon, Mr Ramm had taken a strong line in support of free speech. “[The Liberal] will not be coerced into self-censorship by the threat of violence from those who use a platform of free speech to call for the destruction of the very system that enfranchises them,” he wrote.

One Western government, Sweden, shut down the website of a magazine over publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed.

The violence, threats, and boycotts by Muslims are having their intended effect. Many in the West are being successfully intimidated. They refuse to publish or withdraw publication of the cartoons out of fear.

It is difficult to blame them for being afraid. Brave words are easy to print or speak. Actions that put yourself and your colleagues at risk of death is not easy. The police in many European cities can not protect the media and their staffs from the many potential sources of harm. For those with staff in Muslim countries (such as CNN and BBC), the risk is more obvious and much higher, and the available protection is even less reliable.

The intimidation felt by many today is clear to us. Now imagine the intimidating effect of an Iran with nuclear weapons.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) opposes the program of warrantless surveillance of Al Qaeda suspects. Leahy has taken similar positions before. Betsy's Page passes this on from Investors Business Daily:

In 2000, the National Commission on Terrorism urged Congress to pass reforms to help law enforcement fight terrorists in the wake of the al-Qaida bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa.

One of the proposals made it easier for FBI agents to get authority from the Justice Department to conduct electronic surveillance on terrorist suspects in the Muslim community. Senate Republicans adopted that and other key provisions as part of a counter-terrorism bill.

But the bill was blocked mainly by Democrats who did not want the FBI "spying" on the Muslim community. Leading the charge against the bill was Leahy, who parroted the objections of then-Attorney General Janet Reno. They viewed the bill as too intrusive and discriminatory toward Middle Easterners.

As the article notes:

The anti-terror surveillance tool ... might have prevented the [9/11] attacks.

The biased mainstream media do not remind us of this and similar instances of bad judgment by Democrats on national security. Warrantless surveillance of terrorists may prevent another 9/11. Sen. Leahy and other Democrats in Congress are willing to risk doing without this tool to fight terrorism. Are you?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Funeral of Coretta Scott King

A funeral is a solemn occasion to honor the deceased, or so I was taught. Some of the attendees at the funeral of Coretta Scott King apparently believe that a funeral is an occasion to throw barbs at your political opponents.

Several dignitaries spoke at Ms. King's funeral. Pres. Bush and his father, former Pres. Bush, honored the memory of Ms. King. Joseph Lowery of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference threw verbal jabs at Pres. Bush. Former Pres. Clinton treated the funeral as a political rally for his wife's 2008 run for president. Former Pres. Carter also took verbal swipes at Pres. Bush.

Carter, forgetting that many whites suffered from Hurricane Katrina, referenced the hurricane as an example of racism. Carter, neglecting to mention that the Pres. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy ordered the surveillance, brought up the wiretapping of Martin Luther King as a way of injecting into the service today's political controversy over wiretapping terrorist communications.

Lowery deliberately attempted to embarrass Pres. Bush in front of a national TV audience. Lowery noted the absence of "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq and turned a phrase by alleging that there are "weapons of misdirection" in the U.S.

The partisan crowd cheered the Democrats' jabs at Pres. Bush, who attended and spoke to honor the life of Ms. King. The funeral was turned into a political travesty. The event reminds us of the funeral of Paul Wellstone, the Minnesota senator who died in a plane crash while campaigning for re-election. That funeral-turned-political-rally backfired and contributed greatly to a Republican victory in the Minnesota race for the U.S. Senate. Perhaps the tawdry conduct of the Democrats at this funeral will have a similar effect.

The grace and class of Pres. Bush shines brightest when his opponents display no grace and show no class.

Confirm Judicial Nominees

Confirm Them points us to a chart of federal judicial vacancies. Notice that the following district court nominees have been pending since early last year:

Sheridan, Peter G. - nominated to the New Jersey District on 2/14/05,
Ludington, Thomas L. - nominated to the Eastern District of Michigan on 2/14/05, and
Cox, Sean F. - nominated to the Eastern District of Michigan on 2/14/05.

The following appellate court nominees have also been pending since early last year:

Boyle, Terrence W. - nominated to the Fourth Circuit on 2/14/05,
Saad, Henry W. - nominated to the Sixth Circuit on 2/14/05, and
Myers III, William Gerry nominated to the Ninth Circuit on 2/14/05.

Boyle would be a good candidate for a confirmation vote. As Bench Memos (hat tip to Confirm Them) reminds us, Boyle was first nominated for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 9, 1991 by the Pres. George H.W. Bush. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), then chairman of the Judiciary Committee, blocked a hearing on Boyle's nomination.

Pres. George W. Bush nominated Boyle again on May 9, 2001. Sen. John Edwards blocked any consideration of Boyle's nomination. Boyle did not receive a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee until March 3, 2005, after Edwards had left the Senate. On June 16, 2005, the committee voted 10-8 along party lines to send Boyle's nomination to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation. The ABA gave Boyle its highest rating of "well qualified".

Enough time has passed. Every member of the Senate knows how he or she will vote on Boyle. The Senate has no reason to delay the vote on Boyle's nomination any longer.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Former Clinton DOJ Lawyer Contradicts Self

The Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings today on the program of warrantless surveillance of terrorist communications by the National Security Agency (NSA). Last week, a few self-described "scholars of constitutional law and former government officials" wrote a letter to Congress claiming that the Bush administration has not offered "a plausible defense of the NSA domestic spying program".

One of the signers was Walter Dellinger. While he was the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice under Pres. Clinton, he had a different opinion. (See pp. 14-16 of the letter by H. Bryan Cunningham.) Cunningham's letter quotes liberally from an opinion by Dellinger. The bottom line: Dellinger believed that the president had the authority and the responsibility not to execute unconstitutional laws, especially "provisions limiting the President's authority as Commander in Chief".

See The Corner for a fuller discussion.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Most Telling Moments in State of the Union Speech

The Democrats revealed their true colors in their reactions to Pres. Bush's State of the Union address to Congress. Two instances were most telling.

In the speech, Pres. Bush defended the controversial program of warrantless surveillance of international terrorist communications to or from the U.S. He closed, "If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to know about it - because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again." While Republicans loudly, Democrats responded with silence.

From his prepared remarks that were distributed before the speech, Bush noted that Congress failed last year to pass any legislation to reform Social Security. The Democrats rose as one to cheer and applaud thunderously, their loudest of the night. They had fallen into a trap. Bush continued with remarks that probably did not appear in the distributed text. He pointed that the problem did not go away. The Democrats stopped cheering.

To congressional Democrats, everything is partisan, even the great universal issues of Social Security and national security. For potential partisan gain, Democrats will let the Social Security problem fester, and they will oppose measures that protect the country's citizens from another terrorist attack.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sheehan Attempts Protest at State of the Union Speech

Cindy Sheehan, the antiwar activist whose son died in Iraq and who famously protested last summer near Pres. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, received tickets to last night's State of the Union speech. She was given the tickets by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Cal.). At that time, Sheehan was wearing her T-shirt bearing the message, "2245 Dead. How many more?".

When she went through security and entered the gallery, Sheehan wore a jacket over her T-shirt. After she sat down, she removed her jacket revealing her T-shirt and its antiwar message, which she intended to be prominently displayed when the cameras inevitably pictured her during the speech. (It was also reported, but not yet reliably confirmed, that she had a banner hidden inside her jacket.) It is against the law to protest in any way in the Capitol (specifically, "display in the Grounds a flag, banner, or device designed or adapted to bring into public notice a party, organization, or movement"). Therefore, an officer immediately escorted her out and arrested her.

By the way, Sheehan was not the only one who wore a T-shirt with a political message:

Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young (news, bio, voting record) of Florida — chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee — was removed from the gallery because she was wearing a T-shirt that read, "Support the Troops — Defending Our Freedom."

This incident shows that, contrary to what Sheehansupportersers may believe, she was not singled out.

Rep. Woolsey should be ashamed. It is irresponsible to give tickets to a professional anti-war protester who has publicly stated that Bush is a 10 times worse terrorist than Osama Bin Laden. It appears that Woolsey intended to have Sheehan disrupt the President's speech. Woolsey also is thought perhaps to be one of the congressmen who last year gave tickets to demonstrators at Pres. Bush's inaugural speech.

The House of Representatives should revoke the ticket privileges of a member who abuses the privilege by giving event tickets to people who intend to protest and disrupt the event. That seems to fit Rep. Woolsey in this case. At the least, Woolsey should show more respect to the institutions of Congress and the office of President and should be more careful in distributing tickets.

Sheehan has become a disgrace. She does not have to agree with Pres. Bush. She does have an obligation to the rest of us, however, to allow us to hear the State of the Union speech without disruption.