- The Washington Times - Monday, December 14, 2009

CLIMATE

Inhofe: Obama can’t cut gas emissions

President Obama is heading to the Copenhagen climate talks with empty promises on curbing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, Sen. James M. Inhofe said Sunday.

“He doesn’t have that power to do that. And people in other countries don’t realize that,” Mr. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and a leading critic of global warming legislation, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Inhofe said he wanted to bring the message home in the final week of the Copenhagen conference that Mr. Obama will not be able to follow through on a pledge to cut emissions roughly 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels, as he will not get the necessary legislation through Congress.

“That’s [the] reason I’m going, to make sure people in these other 191 countries know the president can’t do that,” Mr. Inhofe said.

The House in June narrowly approved a plan to cut carbon-dioxide emissions along those lines, but the legislation is now stuck in the Senate, which won’t take it up until next year.

AFGHANISTAN

McGovern hits Obama on war

George McGovern, a liberal patriarch of the Democratic Party, on Sunday blasted President Obama’s decision to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, comparing it to Vietnam.

“Today, I am astounded at the Obama administration’s decision to escalate the equally mistaken war in Afghanistan,” Mr. McGovern, a former senator from South Dakota and Democratic nominee for president in 1972, wrote in The Washington Post.

“And as I listen to our talented young president explain why he is adding 30,000 troops - beyond the 21,000 he had added already - I can only think: another Vietnam,” Mr. McGovern continued. “I hope I am incorrect, but history tells me otherwise.”

Mr. McGovern compared Mr. Obama to President Lyndon Johnson, who decided to escalate the Vietnam War.

FARMING

Senate allows sales to Cuba

The Senate approved a provision on Sunday to facilitate cash sales of U.S. farm goods to Cuba, overturning restrictions by former President George W. Bush’s administration.

“By allowing cash-based sales of our world-class U.S. goods to Cuba, we restore congressional intent and make it easier for American producers to export during a critical time for our economy,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said.

The move follows efforts by President Obama to improve relations with Communist-run Cuba. Mr. Obama says he wants to “recast” ties and has announced a slight relaxation of the decades-old U.S. trade embargo on Havana.

The farm goods provision was added to legislation to fund dozens of federal agencies for the rest of the 2010 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

The House has already approved the massive spending bill, which Mr. Obama is expected to sign into law on Friday.

OBITUARY

Paul Samuelson, economist, dies

NEW YORK | Economist Paul Samuelson, 94, who won a Nobel Prize for his effort to bring mathematical analysis into economics, helped shape tax policy in the Kennedy administration and wrote a textbook read by millions of college students, died Sunday.

Mr. Samuelson, who taught for decades at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, died at his home in Belmont, Mass., the school said in a statement announcing his death.

President Obama’s chief economic adviser, Lawrence H. Summers, is his nephew.

In 1970, Mr. Samuelson became the second person, and first American, to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, created in 1968 by the Central Bank of Sweden. The other Nobels have been awarded since 1901.

Mr. Samuelson was a liberal, and like many of his generation a follower of British economist John Maynard Keynes, who proposed that a nation needs an activist government that could foster low unemployment by steering tax and monetary policies, even if it meant deficit spending at times.

He was among a circle of JFK advisers, who included John Kenneth Galbraith and Walter Heller, who led President Kennedy to recommend the historic income tax cut that Congress eventually passed in early 1964, three months after the president was assassinated.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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