John McCaslin
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.


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.


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.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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