- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 3, 2002

African diary
Time to check in with Christopher Horner, our man at the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, to find out how global warming and famine are faring at the gathering of 60,000 souls.
"Squabbling notwithstanding, anyone having attended even one such confab knows that, at the appointed hour, or after the nearly ritual extension of the session to give the appearance of some serious sleeve-rolling, whatever can be agreed is hailed by the participants as precisely the cat's pajamas in pursuit of which they came," says Mr. Horner, a counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington.
In other words, Mr. Horner predicts: "The greens will bemoan a meager 'step in the right direction.'"
"Speaking of not kidding," he continues, "I cut through the Gucci store on my way to the Heinrich Boll Institute's 'Wealth Alleviation' seminar. This saved no time, overpopulated as it was with the world's ministers taking a shopping break between sessions demanding more aid aid to date having been very beneficial to retailers such as Gucci, though not often finding its way to those who need it, a point the Bush administration is admirably hammering home here."
Any memorable pictures?
"Where's my camera?" Mr. Horner asks. "In the Sandton Library, serving as an administrative annex for my office and others, directly beneath the 'Adult Fiction' sign lie two swinging doors labeled 'French Press Center.'"

On second thought
Harvey L. Pitt, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, says former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin will be treated like everybody else during the SEC's probe into the implosion of Enron Corp.
"If the commission finds violations of the securities laws, regardless of by whom, we will take appropriate action," Mr. Pitt assures Rep. Mark Foley, a Florida Republican who requested that the SEC investigation include Mr. Rubin's participation on behalf of the former energy giant.
Mr. Pitt tells the congressman in a letter we obtained yesterday: "You have my assurance that the [SEC] enforcement division will carefully consider the information you provided concerning former Secretary Rubin."
Some of that information concerns Mr. Rubin sounding alarms of Enron's pending collapse and placing calls to Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance Peter Fisher to see how he felt about the idea of Enron getting a credit-rating boost.
Both men ultimately agreed, in Mr. Rubin's words, that "this is probably not a good idea."

Witch doctoring?
Political correctness creeping into your medicine cabinet?
Ladies from the Independent Women's Forum in Washington think so, and will argue their case at a Capital Grille luncheon on Sept. 17 attended by cancer specialists Dr. Saul Green and Dr. Wallace Sampson, co-founders of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, and moderated by Dr. Sally Satel, author of "PC, M.D. How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine."
The forum will point to a growing "scandal" within the government centered on federal investment in the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Green and Dr. Sampson will discuss NCCAM's "repetitious investigations, recurring grants, implausible methodologies, lack of conclusions and unending research."

Timid Republicans
Constitutional corruption, not politics, more rampant on Capitol Hill?
It may come as news to Sens. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, and Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, chairman and ranking member respectively of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but politics may not be to blame as their committee continues to stall confirming President Bush's judicial nominees.
"It is the corruption of the Constitution itself that explains the current stall and the decision by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee to impose an ideological litmus test on Bush's nominees," argues Cato Institute legal affairs expert Roger Pilon, who heads the Center for Constitutional Studies.
"Judges today do set national policy far more than they used to and far more than the Constitution contemplates," he says. "In fact, it is because the original design has been corrupted, especially as it relates to the constraints the Constitution places on politics, that we have come to ideological litmus tests for judges."
Mr. Pilon predicts that Republicans will be unable to make a credible case for their judicial nominees until they come to grips with the constitutional revolution that took place during the New Deal.
In the meantime, he says, Republicans "come across as timid Democrats," arguing occasionally for limited government but unsure how to go about it.

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