- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 16, 1999

Al’s opportunity

It would appear that President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, who will be making an official visit to Washington starting Dec. 17, is the world’s only sitting president who is a mountain-climber and parachutist.
Mr. Nazarbayev, 59, has climbed a number of his country’s peaks, according to public relations consultant Peter Hannaford. Just over three years ago Mr. Nazarbayev accepted a challenge to lead a team from his army’s Central Sports Club to the summit of 13,160-foot Abai Peak, the country’s most important.
Once at the top, he challenged the club’s climbers to ascend Mount Everest. Two years later, a team of nine Kazakh men and one woman succeeded.
Mr. Nazarbayev then challenged them to climb the highest peak on each continent. Besides Everest, they have so far climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro and Antarctica’s Mount Elbrus.
Meanwhile, the mountaineering president accepted the invitation of the Almaty Paraplane Club to parachute into the foothills above his country’s largest city, becoming the first sitting president to parachute (former President Bush made two jumps, but only after leaving the Oval Office).
“Our own presidential candidates might take a leaf from his book and challenge one another to climb the most peaks in New Hampshire’s White Mountains,” Mr. Hannaford suggests.
Mount Washington, anyone?

Al Nino

Vote Republican and get better weather. Or so Christopher C. Horner, counsel to the Cooler Heads Coalition of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has discovered.
“You see, now that we have been treated to NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) compendium of worst weather’ of the century, it is time to reflect on the deeper meaning of it all,” Mr. Horner tells this column.
“As you will note from the information enclosed, there is a compelling coincidence’ of horrific weather sweeping the planet over the years, then, come the Reagan and Bush administrations, virtually nothing (one toddling little El Nino), and very little, respectively.
“Then, suddenly, extreme weather events became as common as Clinton administration scandals.”

Future Cabinet

What do Robert Kennedy Jr., Kathleen “Katie” McGinty, Federico Pena, Ted Danson and Pat Bryant all have in common?
You may find out if Vice President Al Gore becomes president.
Until that possibility, the outspoken environmentalist, the Council on Environmental Quality chairman, the former energy secretary, the Hollywood actor, and the tabloid TV anchor respectively are “Environmental Voters for Gore.”
“Al Gore is the leading environmental statesman of our generation,” the party of five writes in a letter to Inside the Beltway. “We ask for your help making sure he is our next president.”
They cite the vice president’s “groundbreaking” book, “Earth in the Balance,” and how it awakened Americans to the importance of the ozone layer and clean water, and note that since 1994 Mr. Gore has “led the charge repeatedly to fight back Republican efforts to roll back critical environmental protections and enact anti-environmental special interest legislation.”

Giving bureaucrats

Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala, chairman of the 1999 Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), says federal employees are expected to contribute a record $42.8 million this year to charity.
Which makes Miss Shalala, who expects performance from her colleagues, very happy because she set this year’s goal at $42 million.
More than 135,000 bureaucrats in the Washington area have made pledges thus far, and the CFC expects to hear from 180,000 by the end of the campaign tomorrow.
Last year, federal employees raised $40.8 million.

Spraying bigotry

Finally, regarding our item yesterday on NOW National Organization for Women President Patricia Ireland’s targeting advertisers on hundreds of radio stations that carry Rush Limbaugh’s broadcast of “bigotry” Dennis B. Turner writes:
“I have often wondered why those who are the most bigoted are the first to use the term bigot for anyone who disagrees with them. Maybe a skunk smells it’s own scent first and in order to hide where the stink really comes from they blame someone else.
“Here we have a group that equates men with the ultimate evil and is bigoted to the core acting as if nothing they say causes stereotypical views of men. It is indeed interesting that we have had state and federal sponsoring of groups that are the epitome of bigotry. One only has to listen to their rhetoric to see the definition of bigotry writ large.”

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