- The Washington Times - Monday, October 6, 2003

Just say nyet

Although one would never know it by reading the establishment press this past week, Russia — at least for now — just killed the Kyoto Protocol.

President Vladimir Putin and fellow officials announced at a major news conference that Russia has fallen off the globally warmed beet wagon, in part because it has no intention of limiting its economic growth.

“This matters because Kyoto’s terms were such that at this point only ratification by Russia or the U.S. could bring it into effect,” says Christopher C. Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Washington’s foremost skeptic of man-made global warming.

“With both powers having given that global warming treaty the cold shoulder, Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman now assume the burden of crippling America’s economy in the name of a hysterical and spectacularly debunked theory.”

He is referring to proposed “Kyoto implementation” legislation introduced by the Arizona Republican and Connecticut Democrat respectively — legislation where Americans get a free scoop of Ben & Jerry’s in exchange for their support — that is expected to come up for a Senate vote a few days before Halloween.

One reason we’re told Russia said “nyet” is because it couldn’t receive a written promise of sufficient Kyoto revenue from the European Union. Russia was apparently banking on a tidy profit by selling “carbon dioxide credits” — illusory tons of hot air not emitted during a resulting economic downturn.

As Kirill Kondratiev, head of the Russian Academy of Sciences, put it: “The only people who would be hurt by abandoning the Kyoto Protocol would be several thousand people who make a living attending conferences on global warming.”

Whitewater footnote

The death Saturday night of Sid McMath, 91, a once-famous governor of Arkansas, adds a wistful footnote to the Whitewater saga. Mr. McMath had nothing to do with Whitewater himself, but his late law partner, Henry Woods, did.

When Mr. McMath was elected governor of Arkansas in 1948 at the age of 36, he won Harry S. Truman’s gratitude by holding Arkansas for the Democrats against sentiment to vote with the Deep South for the Dixiecrats. He had grown up in Hot Springs, selling newspapers on the street, where he fondly recalled listening to aging Confederate soldiers tell their war stories of derring-do at the battles of Jenkins Ferry and Poison Spring.

He joined the Marines on the eve of World War II and was a war hero himself (Guadalcanal and Bougainville, where he won the Silver Star). He came home to lead a “GI revolt,” cleaning out the gamblers and hoodlums as a fighting prosecutor, and was promoted to governor.

President Truman took a liking to the young governor, and the important national magazines of the day (Collier’s, Look, the Saturday Evening Post) were soon full of admiring profiles, and Mr. McMath was at the top of the short list for Mr. Truman’s running mate for 1952. Mr. Truman decided to retire, but by then Mr. McMath was damaged goods.

Henry Woods, Mr. McMath’s executive secretary, had embroiled the governor’s administration in a controversy over millions of dollars missing from a highway construction bond issue. The state legislature, led by a young state senator named Jim Johnson, convened an audit of the highway funds. When a grand jury was about to return an indictment of Mr. Woods, the presiding judge retired in the middle of the night. His successor, appointed by Gov. McMath, quashed the impending indictments and empaneled a new grand jury. Mr. Woods went on to become a federal judge.

The story doesn’t quite end there. Forty years on, Jim Johnson, by now retired from a judgeship on the state Supreme Court, recalled Henry Woods’ adventures in an op-ed essay in The Washington Times, describing the judge’s conflicts of interest arising from his close association with Bill and Hillary Clinton. The 8th U.S. Circuit of Appeals cited the Johnson essay, among other things, in taking the Whitewater case away from Judge Woods.

Mr. McMath, for his part, was remembered yesterday in Little Rock with warmth and affection from friend and old foe alike as a man who could have been the first president from Arkansas.

“He invented charisma in Arkansas politics,” said former U.S. Sen. David Pryor. Jim Johnson (an ex-Marine himself), Henry Woods’ old nemesis, agreed. “He was a good speaker, a war hero, and he was as handsome as a movie star. That’s a powerful combination. He could have been a contender.”

Other gray lady

Whomever the voters may choose —

Whether Arnie, McClintock, or Cruz —

A survey of leaders

And newspaper readers

Shows the Los Angeles Times will lose.

— F.R. Duplantier

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

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