Dire warning

Posted: May 25, 2004 12:00 AM

Because of the "current political polarization" in America today, the United States will suffer another "large scale" terrorist attack within the next year.

So warns a new poll conducted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police, revealing that 95 percent of the nation's police commanders and security directors expect a "catastrophic" terrorist incident within the continental United States.

"If Americans believe we're not being targeted for terror in the near future, they are fooling themselves," says NACOP Vice President Jim Kouri, who predicts the killers, among other dastardly missions, will be attempting to influence this November's presidential election. It worked for them in Spain.


"I'm partial to politicians with iambic names that rhyme with a lot of disparaging words," admits New Yorker staff writer Calvin Trillin, since 1990 the Nation magazine's "deadline poet," contributing a piece of verse on the news every week.

And while the name George W. Bush is everything but iambic these days, Trillin has compiled 112 pages of presidential verse for his new book, "Obviously On He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme." The author's poems, which go on sale next week, also feature Bush's "supporting cast," led by "Supreme Commander Karl Rove."

For anybody still wondering why the president invaded Iraq, consider Trillin's modern-day version of the Bill Clinton-era movie, "Wag the Dog":

"Osama's split and Wall Street's sagging.
It's time to get that puppy wagging."


Making a rare appearance in North Carolina last weekend was North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who spent much of the past year campaigning unsuccessfully for president.

"John Edwards has spent more time this year in Rochester, N.H., than Raleigh, N.C., so I'm glad Erskine Bowles is taking the opportunity to reintroduce Mr. Edwards to North Carolina voters," says Doug Heye of Sunday's fund-raiser for Bowles, who was White House chief of staff under President Clinton.

"It's been so long since they've seen him in the state, voters might have forgotten they have two senators," says Heye, a former Capitol Hill staffer who is in North Carolina working to elect Republican Rep. Richard M. Burr to the Senate.

"It will be interesting to see if Erskine will apologize to Mr. Edwards for supporting D.G. Martin in the 1998 (Senate) Democrat primary."


We ducked into the Greek Embassy in Washington to hear the country's new prime minister, Konstandinos Karamanlis, say he recently discussed with several Iraqi nationals how to go about replanting the marshland of northern Iraq with alfalfa.

During their conversation, the prime minister said, he asked the Iraqis about wild boars that once made life difficult throughout northern Iraq.

"How did you get rid of them?" Karamanlis inquired.

"The Americans got rid of the last wild boar," one of the Iraqis replied. "It was Saddam Hussein."


As the June 8 primary nears, former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley is leading five other candidates in the Republican contest for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Ernest F. Hollings.

That doesn't sit well with some South Carolinians, who blame Beasley for removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse dome in Columbia. After promising during his 1994 campaign to keep the flag on the dome, where it had waved since 1962, the Republican governor went on statewide television in November 1996 to propose moving the flag to the nearby Confederate Soldiers Monument. Beasley was defeated in his 1998 re-election bid, and the flag was moved in 2000 to the monument.

Not only that, say Confederate heritage groups, but Beasley has been fraternizing with Yankees, Democratic ones. Anti-Beasley forces are distributing photos of a smiling Beasley with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.

The photo was taken early last year, when Beasley accepted a Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library for "outstanding leadership" in taking down the flag.


NBC News anchor Brian Williams was invited back to the Catholic University of America in Washington, where he'd once bunked on the second floor of Alumni Hall, to deliver the 115th annual commencement address and reminisce about college life.

"It had the feel of a monastery," he recalled of his dormitory - until such time "Eddie" cranked his record player.

"Down the hall, I heard the unmistakable sound of the B-52s - not the aircraft, mind you, the rock group. It was the song 'Rock Lobster,'" Williams said. "I hunted down the stereo, and bounding from the room where the music was coming was a young man, ebullient, a great personality.

"He introduced himself as Eddie, a sophomore. You may know him today as Edward Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee. There's more where that came from if he ever tries anything on me."

Williams then confessed to the class of 2004 that the honorary degree they'd just seen presented to him "is the only degree I have received from Catholic University. Ah, yes, I dropped out of college."


Congress is getting an earful about union agents who bully rank-and-file workers in a "captive audience" setting - including on-the-job harassment and intimidating "home visits" - then pressure them into signing "card checks" that are counted as "votes" in favor of unionization.

Eleven workers from various industries and regions of the country have come to Capitol Hill to describe such abuse and intimidation, including Donna Stinson of Bristol, Va., who after one "card check" organization drive filed federal charges against the United Auto Workers.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Committee, explains: "Since workers are increasingly rejecting union membership when given the choice through secret-ballot elections, union officials are leveraging companies to help impose forced unionism from the top down."

Faith Jetter, an employee with the Renaissance Hotel in Pittsburgh, tells of coercive tactics used by the Hotel Employees Union. She, like the others, voiced support for a congressional proposal that would replace card checks with secret ballots - "so that me and my fellow employees could vote our consciences in private, without being pressured by the union representatives."

For Jetter and other employees to be able to vote in private means going up against Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Mix recently sent a letter to every member of Congress voicing opposition to Kennedy's misnamed "Employee Free Choice Act," which seeks to help unions attract millions of additional members by banning secret-ballot elections and replacing them with the card-check scheme.