- The Washington Times - Monday, December 21, 2009

KLEPTOCRATS ATTACK

Before the nation is overtaken by “Obamacare” and the delayed onset of the Christmas rush, here’s one final mop up of the U.N. conference that proved more anti-climactic than climatic.

“Copenhagen failed, no surprise there. The big winner is the global economy, which was spared an international pact to ration energy. By any sensible calculation, the dangers of economically ruinous global-warming policies far outweigh the dangers of the warming itself,” William Yeatman tells Inside the Beltway.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute analyst actually attended the summit.

“The big loser is the United Nations. U.N.-sponsored climate confabs long have been forums for kleptocrats from poor countries to browbeat rich countries for aid, but the pandering got out of hand in Copenhagen. Worse still, the U.N. demonstrated awesome incompetence in its handling of the event,” Mr. Yeatman continues.

“It gave out more invitations than the event site could accommodate so thousands of people were out in the cold, literally. I can’t imagine negotiations continuing under the auspices of this inane organization. Expect future discussions to shift to another forum, most likely the major economies’ meetings, which are run by the White House.”

PALIN SHORTCUT

“Copenhgen=arrogance of man 2 think we can change nature’s ways. MUST b good stewards of God’s earth, but arrogant & naive 2 say man overpwers nature,” - Sarah Palin’s reaction to the U.N. climate summit, filed by phone Sunday via Twitter.

BUMPER PATROL

“Blaming Bush is so last year.” — bumper sticker spotted in Waldorf, Md.

LAST-MINUTE THOUGHT

“The Senate health care bill will set up the federal government as being brokers for the abortion industry. No senator or organization can call themselves pro-life if they support such language,” says Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

A BITTER PILL

Monday dawns: Some doctors who oppose Senate health care reform could be yawning. Members of the Take Back Medicine coalition were disturbed enough to literally stage a collective “vigil” - like many news organizations — staying up to bear witness to the Senate roll call vote in the wee hours.

The group represents 500,000 physicians from 43 county, state and national organizations, including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Kansas Medical Association, Los Angeles County Medical Association and Louisiana Medical Association.

“The Senate bill is bad medicine and bad policy,” the organization says, insisting that a “second opinion” about the reform is still in order.

FEAR NOT

Some people condemn the emerging American sissy culture that cultivates fear of plane crashes, road rage, terrorism, the disease-of-the-week and more. Fueled by a shrill media, alarmist marketing and canny politicians, our society is “reeling from one scare to another, and usually for no reason,” says University of Southern California sociologist Barry Glassner.

“Are we living in exceptionally dangerous times? It is our perception of danger that has increased, not the actual level of risk,” he says. “People and organizations manipulate our perceptions and profit from our fears, including advocacy groups that raise money by exaggerating the prevalence of particular diseases and politicians who win elections by heightening concerns about crime, drug use and terrorism.”

Mr. Glassner authored “Climate of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things” in the 1990s to cover the era’s assorted bogeymen, and has since updated it for a new century, he says, to show the price of “social panic.” The book will be published Jan. 4.

NAVAL GAZING

And on to vigilance of another sort. Underwater archaeologists with the U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command are tending to 3,000 shipwrecks and 14,000 lost aircraft with a delicate hand and superior technology.

“A large percentage of the Navy’s history resides in sunken shipwrecks and aircraft, literally scattered around the globe,” says Robert Neyland, who directs the effort to locate, assess and preserve wrecks that are property of the U.S. government, regardless of what ocean they are in.

They uphold the Sunken Military Craft Act, which protects those craft from unauthorized disturbances, and was signed into law by President George W. Bush as part of the 2005 National Defense Authorization Act.

Global positioning, sonar and magnetometers are part of the toolbox, Mr. Neyland says, reaching sites that were previously inaccessible because of depth or location. But divers and scientists are “stewards” of the wrecks or artifacts brought to the surface for preservation - along with the remains of the dead.

“One of the really remarkable things archaeology can do is give these unknown sailors a face once again, and a history,” Mr. Neyland says.

The underwater archeologists drew accolades on the Pentagon Channel last week (www.pentagonchannel.mil). Visit with them here: www.history.navy.mil/branches/nhcorg12.htm.

POLL DU JOUR

• 57 percent of U.S. voters say it would be better if Congress had held off voting on health care reform.

• 34 percent want the reform to pass.

•25 percent say the legislation will leave them personally “better off.”

• 54 percent say they will be “worse off.”

• 10 percent will say their lives will be about the same; 11 percent are unsure.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Dec. 16-17.

Rants, chants, seasonal complaints to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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