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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Party with Rich

Our most intriguing New Year's Eve invitation — "celebrate with Ivana Trump and Denise Rich" — came from Niche Media, publisher of Washington's Capitol File magazine.

We've not heard much from Mrs. Rich since the tumultuous close of Bill Clinton's dynasty, when on top of all of his other problems, the outgoing president handed a controversial pardon to her former husband, Marc Rich, the commodities trader who fled the United States in 1983 while being prosecuted on charges of tax evasion and other illegal activities.

Gore to 'spiral'

Former Vice President Al Gore could not have been pleased to read the end-of-the-year editorial on "global warming" this week in Investor's Business Daily.

"If 2007 was the Year of Al Gore, with his movie, Academy Award and Nobel Prize, 2008 just might be the year the so-called scientific consensus that man is causing the Earth to warm begins to crack," opines the newspaper. "The fissures started to show in 2007:

"Prominent French physicist Claude Allegre called Gore a crook and equates Gore's French followers with religious zealots. Weather Channel founder and meteorologist John Coleman said global warming is 'the greatest scam in history.' Gore continued to duck open invitations to debate his theory. More than 400 scientists disputed the global warming claims."

Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told IBD that it will take several years for the climate change scare to finally die, but "the death spiral will begin at some point, and it looks like the spinning will start in '08."

Second coming

Our judges had a difficult time deciding which of "The Best Notable Quotables of 2007," published by the Media Research Center, to highlight because every succeeding press quote was more outrageous and/or humorous than the previous one.

So we will simply publish the very first and the very last quotes from the entire list of 70 quotables:

MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "When I watched President Bill Clinton at Mrs. [Coretta Scott] King's funeral, I just have never seen anything like it. ... There are times when he sounds like Jesus in the temple."

McClatchy News Service headline: "As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch."

Tarzan and Jane

Yes, that is actress and political activist Jane Fonda coming under attack from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals "for bragging about fly fishing and stalking and killing turkeys during a recent appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

Between the Bushes

We send out congratulations to our good friend and fellow columnist Robert Haught, who announced that his popular Potomac Junction column, which has appeared for the last 18 years in the Oklahoman, is going into retirement — "a self-imposed term limit," as he puts it.

"After 18 years of observing the shenanigans in the nation's capital, I'm inclined to agree with Will Rogers: 'Politics is the best show in America,' " Mr. Haught writes in his farewell. "But 18 years is a long time. It's the equivalent of three terms in the U.S. Senate or nine terms in the House of Representatives."

He says when he began writing his column in 1989 from the Washington bureau of the Oklahoman, "it was with full confidence that there would be no danger of running short of subject matter."

"Those expectations certainly have been realized, thanks to the performers in this three-ring circus."

As it was, he was able to chronicle for his readers the exploits of three presidents: "We've 'prudently recreated' with George H. W. Bush, marveled at the survivability of 'Bubba' Bill Clinton and watched critics 'misunderestimate' George 'Dubya' Bush," he notes. "Every administration, every congressional session, every campaign has produced a bountiful supply of amusement for those who don't take the business of government too seriously."

The columnist says it was "tempting" to keep writing until a new president is elected, "especially with the prospect of ribbing and roughing up another Clinton administration."

Mr. Haught's forthcoming book, to be published this year, is titled: "The POTUS Chronicles: Bubba Between the Bushes."

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes .com.