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Inside the Beltway

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SLIME-ATE GATE

Heavens. A British "Climategate" scientist insults an American critic on live television and now half the known universe knows, thanks to YouTube. Indeed, University of East Anglia climate professor Andrew Watson called ClimateDepot.com writer Marc Morano something rude that begins with the letter "a" as the pair sparred during a BBC news show.

Mr. Watson is among those British scientists whose errant e-mails spawned Climategate. Mr. Morano - a detail guy with considerable inner mettle - did not abandon his civility, nor did he respond by calling Mr. Watson a name that begins with "a" - or even "b." Hey, Mr. Morano maintained a nice, clean environment.

"The poor professor was beside himself attempting to spin away one of the greatest scientific scandals of our age," Mr. Morano tells Inside the Beltway. "Watson seemed unable to fathom that a civilian would question his self-serving defense of the global warming establishment."

He adds, "But Watson's claim that Climategate is much ado about nothing is by far the most offensive thing he said during the debate."

See the moment in question right here: www.youtube. com/watch?v=Y8WDcQon9DY. The two-minute clip contains a single A-word. But it speaks volumes.

WHAT'S OUT THERE

Let the dot-connecting begin:

"Climategate controversy has echoes of Watergate" - the Times of London

"Were Russian security services behind the leak of 'Climategate' emails?" the Daily Mail of London

"An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the explosive hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were leaked via a small Web server in the formerly closed city of Tomsk in Siberia. ...

"Russia - one of the world's largest producers and users of oil and gas - has a vested interest in opposing sweeping new agreements to cut emissions, which will be discussed by world leaders in Copenhagen tomorrow," the newspaper said.

"Russia believes current rules are stacked against it, and has threatened to pull the plug on Copenhagen without concessions to Kremlin concerns."

OVERLOOKED

In all the noise over Sarah Palin's visit to the Gridiron Club and her book tour comes this telling little Tweet from the former Alaska governor, sent from her phone on Sunday:

"Leaving Walter Reed Hosp; met America's finest; seeing these young soldiers who sacrifice so much changes your life/puts things in perspective."

'BLANK CHECK'

Americans want to eliminate the threat of terrorism, and they want their troops safe, effectively equipped and reasonably comfortable as the Afghanistan surge gets under way. But the public is also plenty skittish that Afghanistan could turn into a proverbial "money pit" for the U.S. - a legitimate concerns when the term "millions" is bandied about with abandon by some of the major players.

"We never had a blank check in Afghanistan," Afghan President Hamid Karzai told CNN."I remember occasions in the past seven years where I've asked for only $25 million to provide for the security of the Afghan community leaders, religious leaders, and after negotiating for months, we didn't get it. So we are not used to a blank check, and we are not expecting one."

YET ANOTHER PHOBIA

Of interest to talk-radio host Michael Savage, included on a list of terrorists banned from Britain as "undesirables." The same office that bars Mr. Savage from jolly old England is also banning certain words from their lexicon.

The British Home Office has issued an eight-page guide to officials that recommends they not use such words as "Islamist," "jihadi" and "fundamentalist," and avoid making "explicit" links between Muslims and terrorism. Generic terms like "criminals" or "thugs" are encouraged. The guide bans "Islamophobia," lest it be interpreted as "a slur that singles out Muslims."

The office explained: "This is about using appropriate language to have counterterrorism impact. It would be foolish to do anything else."

GOING VIRAL

A healthy round of applause for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for their efforts to ramp down public hysteria over H1N1. The federal agency now offers a weekly "Flu View" report that gauges key indicators, mostly by hard, fast numbers.

The latest: Visits to doctors for influenzalike illness nationally decreased for the fifth consecutive week. Influenza hospitalization rates have decreased across all age groups. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza declined over the previous week, though it continues to be higher than expected for this time of year. Twenty-five states report widespread influenza activity; a decline of seven states from last week.

Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far continue to be 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses - and "remain susceptible to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir with rare exception."

POLL DU JOUR

• 22 percent of Americans say the United Nations is a "reliable source" of information on global warming.

• 59 percent say it's likely some scientists falsified research data on global warming.

• 52 percent say there is "significant disagreement" in scientific circles on the topic.

• 71 percent say "national leaders" should focus on the economy; 15 percent say they should focus on global warming.

• 31 percent say Al Gore is "an expert" on global warming.

• 81 percent are following news reports about "Climategate."

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Dec. 1-2.

Skepticism, wild praise, reserved commentary to jharper@washingtontimes .com

About the Author
Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY

A graduate of Syracuse University, Jennifer Harper writes the daily Inside the Beltway column and provides additional coverage of breaking national news, plus long-term trends in politics, media issues, public opinion, popular culture, Hollywood foibles and “eureka” moments in health and science.

She has been a frequent broadcast commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Voice of America, Citadel Broadcasting, ...

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