- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Hillary vs. Harry

We never thought we’d see the day that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be challenging Harry Potter. And the winner already is …

“I’ve ordered 400 copies of Harry Potter and 10 copies of Hillary’s book,” says Barbara Theroux, owner of Fact & Fiction bookstore in Missoula, Mont.

Ms. Theroux says a memoir like Mrs. Clinton’s, “Living History,” will sell better in “discount places,” and adds that the Missoula Public Library “will have several copies.”

Mrs. Clinton’s book hits stores Monday, and Harry’s latest adventures June 21.

Leveling the Hill

Somebody had to think the unthinkable.

Given the deadly attacks of September 11, and the likelihood of future attacks, a group of past and present government officials — Lloyd N. Cutler, Alan K. Simpson, Kenneth Duberstein, Lynn Martin, Donna E. Shalala, Brian Baird, Thomas S. Foley, Charles Fried, Newt Gingrich, Jamie S. Gorelick, Leon Panetta and Robert H. Michel included — will issue a report today detailing how to ensure the continuity of Congress after a catastrophic terrorist attack on Capitol Hill.

Through a year of study and public hearings, the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution’s panel, “Continuity of Government Commission,” has identified obstacles Congress would face in reconstituting itself after an attack.

The report will conclude that a constitutional amendment to allow for the immediate filling of mass vacancies is the only solution that will ensure that the institution of Congress would continue despite the death or incapacitation of many of its members.

This newspaper, quoting a CIA report, revealed yesterday that al Qaeda and related terrorist groups are set to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons against the United States.

Less than two years ago, on the heels of September 11, Congress was shut down for several days after an anthrax attack. The Hart Senate Office Building — ground zero in the biological attack — remained closed for months.

Worked in Japan

The U.S. intervention into Iraq “reflects the character of President Bush himself,” and will become a case “where an individual makes a great difference to history … and, very profoundly, the nature of America, its power, and its principles.”

So opines Thomas Donnelly, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, in an intriguing paper titled, “The Meaning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Owing to the bold steps Mr. Bush has taken, no future president — Republican or Democrat — can easily abandon the U.S. commitment to Iraq, says the scholar.

As for naysayers here and elsewhere who contend democracy will never take hold in Iraq, given its diverse cultural and religious beliefs, Mr. Donnelly says: “There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values.

“Well, they were wrong,” he says. “They are mistaken. The nation of Iraq with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom.”

Speaking at the AEI’s annual dinner Feb. 26, Mr. Bush said it is “presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a … Muslim is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life.”

“Human cultures can be vastly different. Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on Earth.”

“In our desire to be safe from brutal and bullying oppression, human beings are the same,” the president said. “In our desire to care for our children and give them a better life, we are the same.”

Refrigerator magnets

Dr. Neal Barnard, a nutrition researcher and adjunct associate professor of medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine, is causing quite a few upset stomachs by claiming that cheese, meats and sugar are “physically addictive” because they release “opiatelike substances that seduce us into eating them again and again.”

The medical doctor’s new book, “Breaking the Food Seduction” (St. Martin’s Press), also charges that the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, exploits these natural cravings, pushing Americans to eat more and more unhealthy foods.

“It’s not gluttony, weak will, or an oral personality that keep some of us tied to certain foods,” says Dr. Barnard, who also heads the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “There’s a biochemical reason many of us feel we can’t live without our daily meat, cheese or sugar fix.

“Cheese, for example, contains high levels of casein, a protein that breaks apart during digestion to produce morphinelike opiate compounds, called casomorphins. These opiates are believed to be responsible for the mother-infant bond that occurs during nursing.

“It’s no surprise many of us feel bonded to the refrigerator,” he says.

How is the consumer lobby reacting to these claims?

“When it comes to information on nutrition and health, consumers are better served by advice from the AMA [American Medical Association] than someone that fronts for PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals],” says Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, which represents restaurant operators, food and beverage companies, and others working to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has come under attack for accepting millions of dollars from the animal-rights group.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected].

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