- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 5, 2006

Off with Gore

While one Washington reporter was quick this week to praise former Vice President Al Gore’s “superbly done” off-the-record PowerPoint presentation on catastrophic global warming during Grover Norquist’s weekly meeting of conservative activists, one scientific mind in the audience was unimpressed.

“It was a beautiful video collage of still and moving pictures that, unfortunately, groaned under the weight of its sins of omission for anyone with the slightest understanding of the issues,” the attendee tells Inside the Beltway. “In fact, I was struck at his presumption that there would be no knowledgeable audience members; there were, in fact, nearly a dozen students of the issue in the large crowd.

“As one renowned scientist noted to Mr. Gore, his presentation was wonderful, brilliant … so long as the viewer knows nothing.”

Beyond Osama

Bin Laden’s notable absence during the past year has underscored al Qaeda’s shift from a group to a movement — and indicates that even when he is not seen to be in control, the movement will keep steaming right along on course. This indicates that if bin Laden is alive and eventually is taken out by the United States, the movement will continue. Ideologies are much harder to kill than individuals.”

— Fred Burton, Terrorism Intelligence Report dated Jan. 3, 2006, published by Strategic Forecasting Inc.

Risen South

Once a rare breed, Southern Republicans are busy preparing for their upcoming Southern Republican Leadership Conference, to be held at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tenn.

And we’re told that for the first time, participants from the Midwest Republican Leadership Conference will join the Southerners at the biennial conference, bringing the total to 26 states represented.

The conference, to be held March 9 to 12, traditionally has featured the country’s top Republican prospective candidates for president. Confirmed speakers this year include Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The Tennessee Republican Party says Hotline, the National Journal’s daily political briefing, will conduct a presidential preference straw poll at the conference.

Heeeerre’s Edmund

Our item yesterday on the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., being an admiral, not a general — as was first reported in the White House pool report — generated considerable response from his many admirers, not the least being Charles E. “ChuckRigney of Norfolk, who, let the record show, was this columnist’s college roommate however many years ago.

“As you know, I am the chairman of the ‘53rd Annual Norfolk International Azalea Festival — A Salute to NATO,’ a weeklong celebration our city holds to thank the men and woman of NATO/SACT [Supreme Allied Commander Transformation] for what they do in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq and other parts of the world, including assisting the United States immediately after September 11th, and with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts,” Mr. Rigney writes.

Adm. Giambastiani, he points out, was the first SACT commander, charged with transforming NATO at the end of the Cold War, enlisting new countries (NATO now has 26 members) and responding quickly and effectively to the global war on terror.

Mr. Rigney also recalls that “President Bush, in introducing Admiral Giambastiani to the public and members of the Fourth Estate, kept mispronouncing his name, finally saying ‘around here we just call him Admiral G.’ ”

Anything else we should know?

“The admiral also does a great Johnny Carson impersonation,” he says.

The NATO salute takes place April 24 to 30. Canada has been chosen as this year’s most honored nation, with Paulina Gretzky, the singer-actress daughter of National Hockey League Hall-of-Famer Wayne Gretzky (she holds dual citizenship, as her mom is the actress Janet Jones), chosen as this year’s Azalea Queen.

More bully

Blame us, not former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, for suggesting that Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest president ever elected at age 42.

In fact, Mr. Keating, in his new children’s book, “Theodore,” correctly writes of events that led Mr. Roosevelt to “become president of the United States at forty-two, the youngest man ever to hold that office.”

Roosevelt was sworn in as president after William McKinley, six months into his second term, was assassinated.

John F. Kennedy was the youngest person ever “elected” president.

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

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