Issue 480, October 27, 2006
President signs border security bill
While there has been considerable disagreement among lawmakers in Washington over immigration reform, a general consensus exists that we must start by improving our border security. In September, Congress acted on that consensus by passing H.R. 6061, The Secure Fence Act of 2006. On Thursday, President Bush signed the bill into law, marking a win for efforts to improve our border security, and therefore, our national security. This legislation provides for hundreds of miles of additional fencing along our southern border, especially in areas with the highest numbers of illegal border crossings. It also provides for the Department of Homeland Security to deploy advanced technology like cameras, satellites and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to better secure our borders. In an age of terrorist threats, a porous border is an enormous security issue. That's why it's important that we enact measures like this one that address America's potential vulnerabilities.
New Jersey court clears path for gay marriage
On Wednesday, the New Jersey Supreme Court directed the state legislature to pass legislation that would give same-sex couples all of the same rights and benefits traditionally given to married couples. The ruling is the latest attempt by activist judges to redefine the institution of marriage, despite polling data that consistently shows support for protecting marriage as defined between one man and one woman. In every state where marriage protection amendments have appeared on statewide ballots, they have passed by solid margins. Eight more states will vote on marriage protection amendments this November, and many believe that this week's ruling in New Jersey will strengthen their chances of passing.
New York Times issues mea culpa
Bush administration officials and many lawmakers on Capitol Hill were outraged when New York Times editors decided in June to publish the details of a secret, but legal, government program used to track the banking-data of terrorist operatives. The Times' Public Editor, Byron Calame, recently published a column admitting that it was a mistake to expose the terror-fighting tool, considering that it operated within legal boundaries and hasn't misused anyone's personal financial data. While I appreciate Calame's willingness to admit a mistake, it would have been far less harmful to our nation's security had he and other editors come to this conclusion before publishing it for all the world, including our enemies, to read.
Intelligence Committee Chairman suspends staffer over suspected leak
Last Friday, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), suspended an unnamed Democrat staff member's access to classified documents after the staffer was suspected of leaking classified information to the press. Suspicions were raised when the staff member requested a specific classified document from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and contents from that secret document were then leaked to the press shortly thereafter. The staffer's access to classified materials will continue to be suspended until a full investigation can take place. It's unfortunate that Chairman Hoekstra was forced to take such action, but, given the sensitivity of the information his committee handles, he is right to take every precaution against possible leaks.
Quote of the Week
"In Nancy Pelosi's world, massive tax increases and refusal to discuss ways to strengthen Social Security turn the golden years into the dark ages."
-Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), referring to House Democrats' refusal to offer solutions for Social Security's looming insolvency, and their acknowledged intention to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire should they get control of Congress in November.