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The Friday Faxline

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The Friday Faxline
Issue 385, December 10, 2004

9/11 bill missing key component
The House and the Senate passed legislation this week that enacts many of the 9/11 Commission's most important recommendations. Both the House and Senate passed competing versions of this legislation earlier this year. Negotiations over the bill stalled last month over two sticking points: access to intelligence for military commanders on the battlefield and the ability of illegal immigrants to obtain legal drivers licenses. I voted for the House version because it addressed both these issues. The House-Senate compromise - the conference report - however, dropped the immigration provisions, despite the 9/11 Commission's assertion that immigration reform had to be addressed. I voted against it because I don't feel it's right to leave a job this important unfinished. What's in the bill is good, but the bill is incomplete. There is legislation being drafted that will fix this and we have a commitment from House leaders and the Administration that it will be among our top priorities next year. I still have doubts, however, that the Senate is interested in addressing this important recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.

White House defends Ten Commandments displays
The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear arguments next year in a case brought by the ACLU against two counties in Kentucky that display framed copies of the Ten Commandments in their courthouses. The Bush Administration has weighed in with the court in favor of the displays.

California school outlaws Declaration of Independence
A fifth grade teacher at Stevens Elementary School has been barred from using historical documents in his classroom that refer to God. The ban extends to writings by William Penn, Samuel Adams, and other founding fathers, including the Declaration of Independence. School administrators claim that the documents were of a religious nature, accusing the teacher of trying to force his own religious belief on his students. Having read many of the Founders' writings, it is difficult to know how a teacher might go about helping his students understand this era in our nation's history without including references to God. Not only do bans like this prohibit teachers from teaching the truth about our nation's founding, they ignore the fact that many of our Founders did in fact believe in God and were not shy about saying so.

Falluja: weapons depot for terrorists
This week, American military commanders in Iraq circulated a sixty page document detailing what troops have found in Falluja, the primary base of operations for terrorists in Iraq . Several pages go into great detail about the headquarters of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi which contained videos of beheadings, training videos on how to operate small arms and fire mortars, videos of martyrs being buried, videos of attacks on coalition troops, and volumes of Jihadist documents and correspondence. Marine commanders said troops moving from house to house in the city had discovered large numbers of weapons stores, including stocks of mortar shells, machine guns, ammunition, cannons, and rocket-propelled grenades.

Quote of the Week
"We have now left a hard and dark past behind us, and today we are opening a new chapter in our history."
• Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, 12/7/2004, during his swearing-in as Afghanistan 's elected President.

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