Sunday, October 10, 2004

Mission creep

Beware of being designated a World Heritage Site.

“World Heritage Sites in the United States were noncontroversial until the Clinton administration and overzealous environmental groups used Yellowstone National Park’s World Heritage Site designation to stop a proposed gold mine located on private property outside the boundaries of the park,” notes Rep. Richard Pombo, California Republican.

In 1972, the United States ratified the World Heritage Convention. Since then, 20 properties in the U.S. have been designated as World Heritage Sites, operated under a worldwide program administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), based in Paris.

“Many in Congress joined me in believing this mission creep of the World Heritage Convention was never envisioned when the United States ratified it over 30 years ago,” says Mr. Pombo, who adds that the National Park Service has developed a “tentative list” of cultural and natural properties in the United States it considers suitable for inclusion on the World Heritage List.

“Presently, this list contains 70 properties in over 30 states and the District of Columbia,” says the congressman. “Based on the experience during the Clinton administration … America must be very cautious when it proposes new areas for designation as World Heritage Sites.”

Case in point: Alaska’s oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge appears on the “tentative list,” which the congressman says could jeopardize U.S. national security and international competitiveness.

Nuclear necessity

As far as one American daughter is concerned, nuclear-weapons technology and development is necessary, so long as it doesn’t fall into evil hands.

Sen. [John] Kerry should be held accountable for his lack of understanding of how our nuclear-weapons programs have been developed and utilized,” Dari Bradley tells Inside the Beltway. “We are not to be placed in the same light as Iran and [North] Korea.”

Given his 35 years of nuclear research and weapons development, including the Fleet Ballistic Missile system, Mrs. Bradley’s father — the late Edward E. O’Donnell — has been nominated by Florida Democratic Sen. Bob Graham and Sen. Bill Nelson for a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In a letter to President Bush, the latter Democrat wrote that Mr. O’Donnell “made an impressive contribution to our great country by expending his time, talent and energy in the development of scientific research that has greatly enhanced our national security.”

In the first presidential debate, Mr. Kerry said “it doesn’t make sense” for the United States to “pursue a new set of nuclear weapons,” including — as he repeated in Friday night’s second debate — “bunker-busting” weapons the Pentagon says would aid the fight against terrorists.

“I am going to shut that program down,” Mr. Kerry said, and “make it clear to the world we’re serious” about containing nuclear proliferation.

As Mrs. Bradley sees it, the mere existence of her father’s nuclear weapons helped to end the Cold War.

Mr. Nelson also noted that Mr. O’Donnell’s nuclear research led to “medical breakthroughs” for prostate cancer and other types of cancer.


“Can you live with regret on Nov. 3?”

Heading of a letter from Democratic strategist James Carville to those on the Democratic National Committee mailing list, saying their support for Sen. John Kerry is worthless if they don’t show up at the polls on Nov. 2 to vote.

Odd couple

Former Rep. Randy Tate, Washington Republican, who later became executive director of the Christian Coalition, has joined the board of directors of the public-affairs group Grassroots Enterprise Inc. — a nonpartisan bunch, or at least the firm’s shingle states.

The board is chaired by Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Clinton, who is currently on a leave of absence while serving on Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign.

Dumb donkeys

Tired of driving around with bumper stickers that become outdated — “Al Gore for President,” for instance — the day after an election?

An online political-paraphernalia company, the Politickles Shop, has created “permanently relevant” campaign slogans — meaning you’ll never have to scrape off a bumper sticker again.

“Vote for My Candidate” is one such sticker that never needs replacing.

As for the perfect sticker for poking fun at people who self-identify as donkeys: “Republicans Vote Tuesday/Democrats on Wednesday.”

• Fans of this column will enjoy John McCaslin’s new book, “Inside the Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans From Around the Nation’s Capital.” Mr. McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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