Sunday, October 26, 2003

Men and politics

A dozen alumni of Hampden-Sydney College, led by Alexandria lawyer David Drake Hudgins, have introduced one of their own — Steve Baril, Republican candidate for state attorney general — to the voters of Northern Virginia.

Son-in-law of the late Virginia Gov. John Dalton and a native of Chesterfield County, it’s Mr. Baril’s first run for statewide office. A practicing litigation lawyer in Richmond, he told an Alexandria reception that he’s never forgotten the advice of U.S. Sen. John W. Warner of Virginia:

“If you can get the Hampden-Sydney men behind you, it will make all the difference.”

Mr. Warner is an alumnus of rival Washington & Lee University, which switched to co-ed status in the 1980s. Hampden-Sydney, one of only two all-male colleges in the United States, has no plans to surrender its single-sex status (its football team soundly defeated our Catholic University on Saturday 57-14).

Founded in 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence, Hampden-Sydney has a student body of about 1,000. Among its graduates are one U.S. president — William Henry Harrison (the trunk of this columnist’s family tree), 13 senators, and numerous congressmen and state officials.

A popular bumper sticker at the college bookstore reads: “Hampden-Sydney College — Where men are men and women are guests.”

Stewardship debate

The Senate is soon to decide the fate of the Kyoto-like Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act. But before it does, a debate will be held at noon today on the legislation, which seeks to impose caps on carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power, manufacturing and transportation sectors.

In the Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium, Myron Ebell, director of global-warming policy for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, will square off against Dan Lashof, who wears the same hat for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

As Heritage notes, the controversial legislation is denounced by critics (read Ebell) as an energy-rationing scheme, and hailed by supporters (read Lashof) as a measure to counteract the dire consequences of global warming. The bill is co-sponsored by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

Mittens anyone?

In advance of the vote on the Lieberman-McCain global-warming bill, a transcript purportedly from New Hampshire Public Radio is being distributed on Capitol Hill, telling of young supporters of Joe Lieberman promoting their candidate’s fight against global warming in the pivotal primary state.

Oblivious on a recent cold and windy day to the first snowflakes of the year falling around them, the campaign team glanced up when an observer noted, “It’s snowing!” Unabashed, one Lieberman worker exclaimed, “That’s because of global warming.”

In fact, those in the scientific community sounding the alarm over global warming cite evidence that a rise in the earth’s temperature actually results in some places becoming cooler instead of warmer. Then again, New Hampshire always was on the chilly side.

Abated breath

Whether sickly or healthy and hale,

We object when the air gets too stale,

But what shall we do

When they ban CO2

And deny us the right to exhale?

F.R. Duplantier

Protecting our food

“Biosecurity” issues will take center stage in Arlington next week when the Alexandria-based Water Environment Federation, Agriculture Department, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency join forces for a three-day conference starting Nov. 2.

A special half-day workshop at the Sheraton National Hotel will center on “Biosecurity: The Price of Farm Security,” specifically identifying long-term solutions to biosecurity challenges associated with livestock and poultry production.

The Defense Appropriations Act, signed into law by President Bush last year, includes $328 million in emergency funding for the USDA to further protect the public on biosecurity issues. Millions of dollars have been spent thus far on bioterrorism protection, security upgrades and expanded federal laboratory capabilities to test meat and poultry products for bacterial and chemical agents.

Agriculture is coordinating biosecurity issues with the new Office of Homeland Security.

• John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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