FOR A YEAR AND A HALF now, my husband and I have lived in a tall, tomato-red house near the southern end of Washington's Embassy Row. Built in 1898, the house had the exact combination of personality and sturdiness we had been looking for. Just as important, it came with an array of age-related quirks that scared away all other potential buyers. This allowed us to avoid the bloody bidding wars so common in D.C.
On its face, Attorney General John Ashcroft's plan, announced last week, to fingerprint about 100,000 foreigners visiting the United States each year sounds prudent. Since "fingerprints don't lie," as Ashcroft recently put it, fingerprinting visitors from Arab and Muslim nations should be a reliable way of identifying terrorists who would otherwise quickly disappear inside the country. In fact, until recently even liberals endorsed this logic.
At an early June meeting of Republican activists in California, White House political director Ken Mehlman set the stage for the November congressional elections. Delivering a slick PowerPoint presentation with 27 slides bearing short, declarative sentences and nifty national maps, Mehlman summarized the parties' competing approaches with boardroom efficiency. First he explained the by-now-familiar Democratic strategy: Support George W.
A few hours before President Bush's big speech last Thursday announcing what is shaping up to be the most ambitious attempt to expand the federal government since Hillarycare, the White House quietly released an amendment to an obscure, Clinton-era executive order. The White House deleted from the original order a phrase defining America's air-traffic-control system as "an inherently governmental function." In other words, it was the first step toward privatizing the work of some 20,000 air-traffic controllers (the guys Ronald Reagan famously fired his first year in office).
THE FACE OF EVIL: There are two things about the Daniel Pearl video that are unforgettably shocking. The first, of course, is the sight of his murder.
Last week the United States learned that, more than one month before September 11, President George W. Bush received a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) memo mentioning a possible Al Qaeda hijacking. News of the memo took Washington by storm. It dominated newspaper headlines and TV talk shows. Democrats abandoned their long-standing caution regarding the war on terrorism and demanded to know what Bush knew and when he knew it. The White House counterattacked.But the "smoking gun" isn't all that smoking. The memo--prepared at presidential request--vaguely mentioned hijackings.
The furious volley of charges between Democrats and the White House over what President Bush knew about the terrorist threat before 9/11 seems to have produced some clear winners and losers. After a week of acid exchanges, the consensus in Washington is that Democrats are in retreat and Bush is jetting off to Europe victorious. The White House supposedly won the skirmish with a furious two-pronged, vice-presidential counterattack. First, Dick Cheney questioned the patriotism of Democrats who implied that Bush had actionable intelligence about September 11.
It's five miles from Northern Virginia, where the Pentagon sets military targets, and a mile and a half from Foggy Bottom, where the State Department cobbles together coalitions. To look at it, you'd never guess that the ten-story glass-and-steel building at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and T Street, nestled amid the town houses and cafes of Dupont Circle, serves as one of the headquarters for the U.S. propaganda war against terrorism. If it doesn't look like a government office building, that's because it's not. Rather, it houses a public relations firm called The Rendon Group.
On a clear day, when the sun shines so brightly that the Kentucky bluegrass actually looks just a little bit blue, Arthur Hancock can stand atop one of Bourbon County's rolling hills and survey a good portion of the 2,000 acres he calls Stone Farm. He can see the low-slung barns; the tall ash and oak trees; the miles of wooden fence; and, most importantly, the horses. Stone Farm has more than 200 of them—mares looking after their foals, yearlings grazing together, stallions prancing in their private paddocks.