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Inside Politics

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Media climate

Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, will hold a full committee hearing tomorrow on "Climate Change and the Media."

The hearing will look at how the media has presented scientific evidence regarding predictions of human-caused catastrophic global warming, the senator's office said.

"Senator Inhofe believes that poorly conceived policy decisions will result from the media's nonstop hyping of 'extreme scenarios' and dire climate predictions," said committee Communications Director Marc Morano. "This hearing will serve to advance the interests of sound science and encourage rational policy decisions."

Among those who are scheduled to testify at the hearing are geologist David Deming of the University of Oklahoma; paleoclimate researcher Bob Carter of Australia's James Cook University; Dan Gainor of the Business & Media Institute; Naomi Oreskes of the University of California at San Diego and professor Daniel Schrag of Harvard University.

The hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. in 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building. It can be watched live on the Internet at http://epw.senate.gov/epwmultimedia/epwmultimedia.htm.

Brownback's step

Republican Sen. Sam Brownback said yesterday he is taking the first step toward a bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

A vigorous abortion opponent, the Kansas senator pledged to make "issues of life," fiscal restraint and tax reform key components of his effort to woo supporters.

"I have decided, after much prayerful consideration, to consider a bid for the Republican nomination for the presidency," Mr. Brownback said. "There is a real need in our country to rebuild the family and renew our culture, and there is a need for genuine conservatism and real compassion in the national discussion."

Mr. Brownback said he has formed a presidential exploratory committee, which will allow him to travel the country and raise money while gauging support for the Republican nomination, the Associated Press reports.

Thomas returns

Sen. Craig Thomas returned to work yesterday, about a month earlier than originally planned, after undergoing treatment for leukemia.

"I'm glad to be back," the Wyoming Republican told the Associated Press in a telephone interview from his office in Washington.

Mr. Thomas, 73, was released Saturday from Bethesda National Naval Medical Center. He began treatment for leukemia on Nov. 9.

He had said previously he didn't expect to return to the Senate until January.

Mr. Thomas won re-election last month to a third term while he was in the hospital, easily beating Democrat Dale Groutage with 70 percent of the vote.

Mr. Thomas said he continues taking medication and undergoing tests. "I think I'm through with the major treatment," he said.

The senator was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, the most common form the cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

Dr. Brian Monahan, director of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the National Naval Medical Center, has said that most people with Mr. Thomas' physical condition and general health survive the cancer.

Amazing letter

"Washington has no shortage of bullies, but even we can't quite believe an October 27 letter that Sens.Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe sent to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Its message: Start toeing the senators' line on climate change, or else," the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

The letter's essential point, the newspaper said, "is that the two senators believe global warming is a fact, and therefore all debate about the issue must stop and ExxonMobil should 'end its dangerous support of the [global warming] "deniers." ' Not only that, the company 'should repudiate its climate change denial campaign and make public its funding history.' And in extra penance for being 'one of the world's largest carbon emitters,' Exxon should spend that money on 'global remediation efforts.'

"The senators aren't dumb enough to risk an ethics inquiry by threatening specific consequences if Mr. Tillerson declines this offer he can't refuse. But in case the CEO doesn't understand his company's jeopardy, they add that 'ExxonMobil and its partners in denial have manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress with strategies all-too-reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry for so many years.' (Our emphasis.) The senators also graciously copied the Exxon board on their missive.

"This is amazing stuff. On the one hand, the senators say that everyone agrees on the facts and consequences of climate change. But at the same time they are so afraid of debate that they want Exxon to stop financing a doughty band of dissenters who can barely get their name in the paper. We respect the folks at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, but we didn't know until reading the Rockefeller-Snowe letter that they ran U.S. climate policy and led the mainstream media around by the nose, too. Congratulations."

Sebelius chosen

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will assume the chairmanship of the Democratic Governors' Association next year as the party enjoys its first gubernatorial majority in 12 years, officials said yesterday.

Mrs. Sebelius, who was elected to a second term last month, will succeed New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging an official announcement tomorrow.

Mrs. Sebelius, 58, prevailed in her Republican-leaning state with 58 percent of the vote on Nov. 7. Her vice chairman will be West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III, who was elected in 2004, the Associated Press reports.

Civil rights award

The Congress of Racial Equality, one of the nation's oldest civil rights groups, has announced it will present an achievement award to Bishop Robert Morlino of the Catholic Diocese of Madison, Wis.

The award recognizes Bishop Morlino for exercising his free speech and religious free-exercise rights in the face of intense pressure designed to silence him -- and thereby chill the rights of others -- in the weeks preceding the recent marriage state constitutional amendment vote in Wisconsin. Bishop Morlino was targeted because he was the most visible proponent of the amendment measure banning same-sex "marriage" in Wisconsin, the group said.

For years, those seeking to invalidate America's marriage laws in court have attempted to advance their cause by invoking analogies to civil rights, the group said. This award is the first time that a major civil rights organization has publicly acknowledged the reality that the basic civil liberties of groups and individuals in America who believe in the protection of marriage are increasingly being challenged.

The award ceremony will take place Friday afternoon at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Madison.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.