- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Planet saver

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is “trying to save the planet” by preventing a vote on offshore oil drilling.

Mrs. Pelosi used those words in an interview with David Rogers of the Politico. His article on the California congresswoman appeared Tuesday at www.politico.com.

“With fewer than 20 legislative days before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, the entire appropriations process has largely ground to a halt because of the ham-handed fighting that followed Republican attempts to lift the moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration,” Mr. Rogers wrote. “And after promising fairness and open debate, Pelosi has resorted to hard-nosed parliamentary devices that effectively bar any chance for Republicans to offer policy alternatives.

“‘I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,’ she says impatiently when questioned. ‘I will not have this debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy.’”

Green and black

Climate change is now a racial issue, according to global-warming activists and a high-ranking Democratic congressman, the Business and Media Institute’s Jeff Poor writes at www.businessandmedia.com.

“It is critical our community be an integral and active part of the debate because African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change economically, socially and through our health and well-being,” House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina said Tuesday.

Mr. Clyburn, who is black, spoke at the National Press Club to help launch the Commission to Engage African-Americans on Climate Change, a project of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The launch came on the heels of a separate report by the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, which claims blacks are more vulnerable than whites to the effects of climate change. EJCC describes itself as a “climate justice” advocacy group.

“Though far less responsible for climate change, African-Americans are significantly more vulnerable to its effects than non-Hispanic whites,” the report says. “Health, housing, economic well-being, culture and social stability are harmed from such manifestations of climate change as storms, floods and climate variability.

“African-Americans are also more vulnerable to higher energy bills, unemployment, recessions caused by global energy price shocks and a greater economic burden from military operations designed to protect the flow of oil to the U.S.”

Newsweek’s cover

“The problem with the New Yorker’s Obama bin Laden cover was owed to a certain confusion about the moral status of wit,” Leon Wieseltier writes in the New Republic.

“The image was the creation of people for whom there is almost nothing more mortifying than not being in on the joke. That is the bridge and tunnel of the soul. So it is worth interjecting that the duty to get a joke is always followed by the duty to judge a joke. More, it is possible to get a joke and to hate it. I make such jokes often: I wish to be funny because I wish to offend. The New Yorker wishes to be funny but it does not wish to offend. No, that’s not fair. It is prepared to offend Dick Cheney. But now its urbanity has backfired and it has offended Barack Obama, than which there is no greater blasphemy. …

“There was some amusement to be had in the magazine’s appeal in its defense to its politics, as if progressivism is proof against insularity, and not itself an insulation. Still, my brothers and sisters at the New Yorker were not guilty of the week’s worst. Didn’t anybody see Newsweek’s cover? It consisted in a close-up of Obama praying, or in an attitude of prayer — his head on his clasped hands, his eyes closed, his brow gently furrowed by faith … .”

“‘What He Believes,’ intoned the caption above his holy ear. This devotional portrait marked another stage in the transformation of Newsweek into Commonweal, though in this instance religious credulity was accompanied by political credulity. Why is the religiosity of Barack Obama less deserving of liberal distaste than the religiosity of George W. Bush? I mean, Jesus is Jesus. And in an open society, which places an extraordinary intellectual burden upon ordinary men and women, and cannot fulfill its democratic purpose without the ceaseless encouragement of habits of critical thought in its citizens, surely blasphemy is better than idolatry.”

Economic illiterate?

“What if I told you that a prominent global political figure in recent months has proposed: abrogating key features of his government’s contracts with energy companies; unilaterally renegotiating his country’s international economic treaties; dramatically raising marginal tax rates on the ‘rich’ to levels not seen in his country in three decades (which would make them among the highest in the world); and changing his country’s social insurance system into explicit welfare by severing the link between taxes and benefits?” Michael J. Boskin writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“The first name that came to mind would probably not be Barack Obama, possibly our nation’s next president. Yet despite his obvious general intelligence, and uplifting and motivational eloquence, Sen. Obama reveals this startling economic illiteracy in his policy proposals and economic pronouncements,” said Mr. Boskin, a Stanford University economics professor and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H.W. Bush.

“From the property rights and rule of (contract) law foundations of a successful market economy to the specifics of tax, spending, energy, regulatory and trade policy, if the proposals espoused by candidate Obama ever became law, the American economy would suffer a serious setback.”

She’s back

“Just as the VP speculation comes to a boil, Sen. Hillary Clinton is resurfacing with an active political schedule,” reporter Christina Bellantoni writes in her “On the Democrats” blog at www.washingtontimes.com.

“She’s still burdened with mountains of debt from the primary campaign and today is offering supporters the chance to dine with her ‘under the stars’ if they give at least $5,” Miss Bellantoni said, referring to the price of a raffle ticket.

“She’s also about to mount an aggressive series of fundraisers, including one last night in Washington and some in California next month.”

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

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