- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2009

HURT FEELINGS

Rep. John Conyers Jr. has been criticizing President Obama from the left, and Mr. Obama is not pleased.

Mr. Conyers tells the Hill newspaper that Mr. Obama phoned him recently to ask why the Michigan Democrat was “demeaning” him.

Mr. Obama may have been referring Mr. Conyer’s mid-November statement on liberal host Bill Press’ radio show that the president and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have been “bowing down” to “nutty right-wing” health care proposals in a desperate attempt to win votes.

Mr. Conyers, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and an early supporter of Mr. Obama’s presidential bid, said he was “getting tired of saving Obama’s can in the White House,” after liberal Democrats were forced to vote for a health care bill that omitted a “robust public option” and includes language opposed by abortion-rights supporters.

Last month, Mr. Conyers said Mr. Obama was “getting bad advice from … clowns” on Afghanistan, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press.

Mr. Conyers, in an interview with the Hill’s Molly K. Hooper, said, “[Obama] called me and told me that he heard that I was demeaning him and I had to explain to him that it wasn’t anything personal, it was an honest difference on the issues. And he said, ‘Well, let’s talk about it.’ ”

However, the congressman said he was in no mood to chat, because Mr. Obama had just announced a troop surge in Afghanistan, which Mr. Conyers strongly opposes.

And Mr. Conyers said he would prefer that the president reply to him in writing.

“I want something so serious that he has to respond in writing, like I am responding in writing to him,” he said.

PARADE OF HORRORS

“Here’s a partial rundown of some of the ills seriously attributed to climate change: prostitution in the Philippines (along with greater rates of HIV infection); higher suicide rates in Italy; the 1993 ‘Black Hawk Down’ battle in Somalia; an increase in strokes and heart disease in China; wars in the Middle East; a larger pool of potential recruits to terrorism; harm to indigenous peoples and ‘biocultural diversity,” Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens writes.

“All this, of course, on top of the Maldives sinking under the waves, millions of climate refugees, a half-dozen Katrina-type events every year and so on and on - a long parade of horrors animating the policy ambitions of the politicians, scientists, climate mandarins and entrepreneurs now gathered at a U.N. summit in Copenhagen,” Mr. Stephens said.

“Never mind that none of these scenarios has any basis in some kind of observable reality (sea levels around the Maldives have been stable for decades), or that the chain of causation linking climate change to sundry disasters is usually of a meaningless six-degrees-of-separation variety.

“Still, the really interesting question is less about the facts than it is about the psychology. Last week, I suggested that funding flows had much to do with climate alarmism. But deeper things are at work as well.

“One of those things, I suspect, is what I would call the totalitarian impulse.”

FOOL ‘EM

In the wake of the Climategate scandal, in which scientists were caught skewing data and plotting to silence dissenters, it seems odd that a Washington Post writer would accuse global warming skeptics of being irrational.

And what’s more, David A. Fahrenthold, writing in the Post’s Health & Science section Tuesday, said researchers are suggesting a way to make these irrational people do the right thing: “a new set of back-door appeals, designed essentially to fool people into serving their own - and the planet’s - best interests.”

HATEFUL RHETORIC

“Poor Harry Reid. With his health care plan deeply unpopular and with him trailing Republican opponents in Nevada, he is beginning to show signs of cracking under the pressure,” Peter Wehner writes in a blog at www.commentarymagazine.com.

“On the Senate floor, for example, he compared Republicans who oppose ObamaCare to those who opposed the abolition of slavery. In Reid’s words: ‘Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans can come up with is this: “Slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.” If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, “Slow down, it’s too early, let’s wait, things aren’t bad enough.” ‘

“For one thing, the Senate majority leader’s retelling of history is a wee bit off. It was the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves. … And the only person serving in the Senate today who was an ‘Exalted Cyclops’ - that is, thetop officer in a local Ku Klux Klan unit - is former Democratic majority leader Robert Byrd. …

“Recently, I have taken both James Fallows and E.J. Dionne Jr. to task for their glaring double standard on the issue of incivility in public discourse. Their outrage is expressed only when Republicans cross certain lines; they remain silent when Democrats do. A Dionne colleague wrote me to say I was being unfair to him. Well, then, here’s a fine opportunity for Dionne and Fallows - and for many other commentators - to condemn the kind of hateful rhetoric they say they find so distasteful. It’ll be instructive to see how many actually do.”

SOMETHING NEW

“CNN made a real, day-long effort on Monday to address the climate-change debate as a debate, giving skeptics of man-made climate change a series of chances to match the leftist view, especially during its evening programming,” the Media Research Center’s Matthew Balan writes at www.mrc.org.

“CNN is also the only U.S. TV news outlet so far to send an anchor to the Climate Research Unit at the center of the ClimateGate controversy,” Mr. Balan said.

“International correspondent Phil Black’s interview of Lord Christopher Monckton, a prominent skeptic of the theory of man-made global warming, ran four minutes into the 6 p.m. Eastern hour. The ‘passionate skeptic on climate change,’ as Black referred to him, traveled to Copenhagen for the U.N.’s climate-change summit, and is one of the few skeptics of the theory of man-made climate change in attendance.

“The CNN correspondent actually compared belief in the theory to a religion at the beginning of his report: ‘Copenhagen’s Bella Conference Center has become an international temple for thousands of true believers, people who have no doubt the planet is warming and humankind is to blame. But there are a few people here who do not believe.’ ”

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

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