- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hemp on the Hill

At a recent Capitol Hill luncheon to mark the introduction of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005, about 100 congressional staffers feasted on a five-course gourmet hemp meal — “Bahama Hempnut Crusted Wild Salmon” and “Fuji Fennel Hempseed Salad” were among the unusual dishes.

The purpose of this hemp feast?

In the year since the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) blocked an attempt by the Drug Enforcement Administration to ban hemp foods in this country, sales of omega-3 rich hempseeds have reportedly increased by 50 percent, to a total of $4.57 million.

“Walk into any health food store, and you’ll find an increasing variety of hemp foods,” says Alexis Baden-Mayer, director of government affairs for Vote Hemp, who adds that the U.S. marketplace is currently supplied by hempseed grown and processed in Canada and Europe.

“[B]ut some members of Congress want to bring hemp farming back to the U.S.,” she says. “The increase in hemp food sales will only help our view that U.S. farmers should be able to supply the surging demand.”

New seasons

One of the most diversified and intriguing art exhibits in Washington isn’t found at the National Gallery of Art or the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Simply stroll into the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown to sample works by Raymond Mason, Rackstraw Downes and Leonardo Cremonini, just a few of the internationally acclaimed artists — 100 in all — featured throughout the hotel.

Famous architect Pierre-Yves Rochon, who previously restored glittering life to Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris, has just finished restyling 200 of the Washington hotel’s guest rooms around the collection, which numbers 1,500 pieces and was acquired over the years by hotel owner William Louis-Dreyfus.

Tonight, the hotel will celebrate completion — and provide a first glimpse — of the multimillion-dollar renovation by welcoming, along with the Capitol File magazine, 800 of Washington’s VIPs and others to the Pennsylvania Avenue landmark.

In attendance will be the property’s former general manager, Stan Bromley, now regional vice president and general manager of the Four Seasons San Francisco, actors Ron Silver and Joe Pantoliano, actor and former MTV VJ Bill Bellamy, CNN broadcaster Larry King and his wife, Shawn (her country music CD is taking off in sales) and the regular assortment of politicos, pundits and members of the Fourth Estate.

Capitol File publisher and CEO Jason Binn will be on hand to present a check for $100,000 to the Red Cross, which will be received fittingly enough by John B. Breaux, the former senator from Louisiana, on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Turn up the heat

Benny Peiser, professor of science at Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom, says “give peace a chance: turn up the heat.”

He points us to the latest issue of CO2 Science Magazine, and its take on a Chinese Science Bulletin article arguing that while historians typically point to political, economic, cultural and ethnic unrest as chief causes of war and civil strife, changes in climate “play a key role as well.”

The Chinese authors analyzed historical data on wars and social unrest in China from the late Tang to Qing dynasties (the middle of the ninth century to the early 20th century).

“[P]eak war clusters, nationwide periods of social unrest and dynastic transitions were all significantly associated with cold [phases], as opposed to warm phases,” the CO2 article states. “Historically, warmer climates have been much more effective than cooler climates in terms of helping to ‘keep the peace’ in China. Based on this model, perhaps we should all pray for a little global warming to give peace a better chance worldwide.”

King’s mission

Given the departure of former California Rep. Christopher Cox, who left Congress in July to become the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the House Republican Conference has appointed Rep. Peter T. King of New York as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, the principal oversight panel for the Department of Homeland Security.

And talk about inheriting a full plate.

“In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, we know that we have a tremendous responsibility to ensure that the nation is prepared to respond to all catastrophic events, whether terrorist attacks or natural disasters,” says Mr. King, who considers his appointment a “mission” to protect Americans.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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