Go figure

John McCaslin
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Posted: Jul 06, 2006 8:07 PM
OK, let's get this straight: The United States is allowing millions of illegal aliens, most of them poor and uneducated, to remain in the country and place a tremendous burden on our infrastructure, yet the highly educated foreign nationals who come here to earn graduate degrees are shown the door as quickly as they earn their diplomas?

"Current policy, in effect, mandates that we send these innovative minds home, or to other countries which welcome their skills, to compete against us," says Rep. John Shadegg, Arizona Republican.

Consider these figures: In 2005, foreign nationals earned more than 40 percent of the master's degrees and 60 percent of the doctorate degrees in engineering awarded by U.S. universities. In some states, the percentages are higher.

"It makes absolutely no sense to educate and train these talented individuals and then refuse to allow them to stay in the United States," says the congressman, who has proposed a bill that would increase the allotment of visas the U.S. awards to its graduate students.

STILL NOT BAKING

Now the Senate has a women's to-do list.

"We women know about checklists," says Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat. "We remember all the important things that we need to get done by having a checklist."

So, the nine Democratic ladies in the Senate gathered recently for more than just tea at the historic Sewall-Belmont House on Capitol Hill, one-time home of National Woman's Party founder and Equal Rights Amendment author Alice Paul. The senators, New York's Hillary Rodham Clinton among them, drew up a checklist for change.

First, Republican men need to recall the advice of former President Bush and be kinder and gentler.

"We want to change the tone in the Senate for one of more civility," Mikulski explains.

Secondly, the Republican leadership needs to get back on schedule.

"We have only 50 days left before this Senate adjourns," she points out.

Third, remember what Moses taught: "Honoring your father and your mother is not only a good commandment to live by, it is a very good policy by which to govern," Mikulski says.

Clinton is a bit more blunt.

"We are sounding the alarm, and we are making clear that the Democratic women of the Senate will stand sentry."

Cookie dough, in other words, isn't on this list.

LIBERAL VALUES

Left-wing radio talker Al Franken will emcee the third annual DemocracyFest, tasked with "rediscovering the roots of America's core liberal values."

San Diego plays host to the July 14-16 festival, featuring some of the bigger names in "progressive" politics from Democratic Party leader Howard Dean to filmmaker and Huffington Post blogger Robert Greenwald.

Also appearing will be author David Sirota, who opines on his Sirotablog that Democrats continue to regurgitate a "fallacy" that Sen. Joe Lieberman is a centrist while lecturing Connecticut primary voters that Lieberman is "supposedly the reincarnation of John F. Kennedy."

"I swear - sometimes it is really just incredibly amazing how arrogant these out-of-touch, Beltway-insulated establishment apologists are, how stupid they think the public is - and how they are willing to embarrass themselves by so publicly expressing those traits in print," he writes.

Another festival highlight: a screening of Greenwald's new film, "The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress."

EVIL HOLIDAYS

We wrote last month that more and more Westerners, including Americans, are vacationing in North Korea, of all militaristic, missile-launching communist states.

Even the British Broadcasting Corp. highlighted the country in the vacation series, "Holidays in the Axis of Evil," although their reporter described it as a "Stalinist theme park."

Aware that North Korea is attracting foreign tourists as a means of earning much-needed international currency, the State Department has issued this advisory to Americans:

"Government security personnel closely monitor the activities and conversations of foreigners in North Korea. Hotel rooms, telephones and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. . . .

"Foreign visitors to North Korea may be arrested, detained or expelled for activities that would not be considered criminal outside North Korea, including involvement in unsanctioned religious and political activities, engaging in unauthorized travel or interaction with the local population."

YOU DON'T SAY

Our ears perked up when a member of the White House press corps persisted in asking presidential press secretary Tony Snow whether he was "concerned about the Mexican election, and what it might mean if there's a real problem down there."

Such as?

"They both claim to be president - we've got two guys claiming to be president of Mexico," the reporter said. "What if we've got two guys both claiming victory?"

Without naming names, Snow reminded the scribe: "I think we've had situations here where people have - there have been multiple claimants to victory."

PLAYING WITH FIRE

'Tis the season for fireworks, when Secret Service ears are trained to distinguish the difference between the sound of a firecracker and a firearm.

During one ride back to the White House this week, President Bush's motorcade came to a halt at a red light on 17th Street Southeast, near Congressional Cemetery, when suddenly there was a loud pop from a single firecracker.

Likely culprits: two boys and a girl, jumping up and down on a nearby rowhouse porch.

PIVOTAL OHIO

No better city than Cleveland or state than Ohio to play host this week to the 70th anniversary gala and board meeting of the Young Republican (YR) National Federation.

Honored guests are Ohio Sen. George V. Voinovich and his wife, Janet, both of whom were Cleveland YRs however many years ago. (Hint: The senator will turn 70 on July 15.)

Among the events are a black-tie Friday evening at Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a dinner Saturday featuring Republican National Committee Co-chairman Jo Ann Davidson, who is no stranger to Ohio politics.

Elected to the RNC's helm 18 months ago, Davidson was a member of the Ohio legislature for 20 years, serving as House speaker from 1995 to 2000. She caught the attention of President Bush in 2004 when, as chairman of his Ohio Valley regional campaign, she helped the state recruit more than 87,000 volunteers, who made more than 4.5 million door-to-door knocks and phone calls to voters - the majority in the final 72 hours of Bush's hard-fought campaign against Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

Indeed, Bush could not claim victory - or, for that matter, Kerry acknowledge defeat - until the late morning after Election Day, once all the votes in Ohio were counted.