- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

Dissing Alaska
Capitol Hill colleagues of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, a Republican, might want to re-check their notes before encroaching on Alaska's wilderness, for the senior senator has had about all he can handle.
"I have been [in the Senate] going on 35 years now, and I have never seen people make statements that are so unfounded and unfactual about things that I am doing," he says. "I am warning the Senate that if members of the Senate accuse me of doing things that are not proper and they are absolutely unfactual, I intend to come here and, on a basis of personal privilege, bring those senators to the floor and demand an apology. This has gone too far."
The latest problems for Mr. Stevens began in the closing days of the Clinton presidency, when Alaska at the last minute was added to the administration's so-called roadless rule. This after the Clinton White House telephoned Mr. Stevens to assure him that the largest state in the union would not be included in the administration's plan.
As it was, no hearings were held on the proposal, no hearings were held on the implications that such a rule would have on Alaska, and no request to Congress to include Alaska in the roadless area was ever made.
"I have never seen anything more deceitful than the conduct of the Clinton administration in their pursuit of the roadless rule," Mr. Stevens says.
The policy the senator wants changed now bars road building and logging on 58.5 million acres of national forest, including Alaska's Tongass, where in 1947 under the Tongass Act 1.38 billion board feet of timber was harvested per year.
That level has been eroding since. In 1980, under the Alaska National Interest Lands Act, it was reduced to 450 million board feet per year. In 1997, the Tongass land management plan reduced the level to 267 million board feet annually. By 2001, the harvest level was just 48 million board feet. Needless to say, the Alaskan timber industry has suffered, and thousands of loggers have lost their jobs.
To give it a better perspective, Mr. Stevens observes that southeast Alaska alone has more than 18 million acres of forest land, 95 percent of which is national forest. About 850 timber jobs remain there.
Mr. Clinton's abandoned home state of Arkansas, by comparison, has 19 million acres of forest land, 8 percent of which is national forest, and 43,000 timber jobs.
Pennsylvania has 17 million acres of forest land, 2 percent of which is in a national forest, and 82,000 timber jobs.
And New York has 19 million acres of forest land, 4 percent of which is national forest, and 51,000 timber jobs.
Last year, while Alaska harvested 34 million board feet, New York harvested nearly 900 million board feet of timber.

Status quo
Ask Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, why she doesn't support conservative judicial nominee Miguel Estrada to become the first Hispanic on the circuit court and she'll tell you because she doesn't want to break a long-standing agreement with Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah.
She recalls back to the days of the Clinton presidency, when Mr. Hatch, like today, was chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, charged with weighing the merits of prospective judges.
"Senator Hatch had a very direct conversation with me, and I am sure he did with other Democrats," Mrs. Boxer says. "What I like about Senator Hatch is you kind of know where he is coming from.
"He said, 'Senator Boxer, you have to send me moderates. Don't send me any liberals. Don't send me any progressives. Don't send me any activists. I want moderates for the bench. I am telling you here now, if they are not, they are not going anywhere.'"
Mrs. Boxer says she grew to understand what Mr. Hatch was saying, that "this was the pragmatics of politics and this is what we are going to do." So every judicial candidate she recommended to Mr. Clinton, she says, was a "mainstream moderate."
"Even with that, a lot of them had a hard time here" before the committee, she notes. "But they made it."

Martha's recipes
Today is President's Day, and were Martha Washington alive she would be raising her glass to her husband, George Washington, for reasons none of us were taught in history class.
The nation's first first lady, it turns out, enjoyed a daily nip. In fact, Martha's couture cocktails were traditionally served at Mount Vernon before dinner, which in the 1790s was a protracted affair that began at three in the afternoon, says Beth Davies of the Distilled Spirits Council in Washington.
Martha's private journals confirm that she created her cocktails with distilled spirits produced at her husband's distillery, which not only produced liquor for the Washington family, but was one of the largest and most profitable of the Colonial era.
"The distilled-spirits industry is very proud of its heritage and our founding father George Washington's role as a distiller," said Miss Davies, who gladly shares a few of Martha's handwritten recipes:
Martha's Rum Punch: 3 ounces white rum, 3 ounces dark rum, 3 ounces orange Curacao, 4 ounces simple syrup, 4 ounces lemon juice, 4 ounces fresh orange juice, three lemons quartered, one orange quartered, teaspoon grated nutmeg, three cinnamon sticks (broken), six cloves, 12 ounces boiling water.
Martha's Cherry Bounce Spritzer (if your cherry tree is chopped down, or cherries are not in season, use cherry liqueur): 1 ounce brandy, 1 ounce simple syrup, club soda, four cherries.
The spirits council is assisting Mount Vernon in a $1.2 million five-year restoration of Mount Vernon's distillery, construction of which began the first week of October 1797, when carpenters began "hewing the timber for the still house," as Washington scribbled in his journal.
From 1798 to 1799, the retired president produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey, pocketing a considerable amount $7,500. An updated version of the still was in use until the 1940s, when the Internal Revenue Service confiscated it from a Virginia moonshiner and shut it down.

First runner-up
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, took questions from the audience after delivering a speech late last week on how to deal with Iraq and North Korea.
A questioner at the event, sponsored by the Center for Strategic International Studies, asked a long question that ended with the words, "What would you do if you were president?"
"I seldom think about what I'd do as president of the United States," Mr. McCain answered.
After a pause in which not a sound could be heard in the room, Mr. McCain said, "That was a joke."
The room burst out laughing.

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