- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Einstein theory

For those who want to cut and run from the bloody war on terrorism, the Republican Study Committee recalls what Albert Einstein, of all minds, once said: “The world is a dangerous place to live — not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

Glass houses

You’d think the White House press corps never heard a four-letter word before, including the version that slipped out of President Bush’s mouth regarding the strife in Lebanon.

One reporter asked White House spokesman Tony Snow for a “comment on the president’s use of a word that some people might consider to be an expletive.”

“Not unless you’ve never used it,” Mr. Snow replied.

Snooze, you lose

It was Ronald Reagan who said that the “nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on the Earth is a government program.”

With that in mind, Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas Republican, continues to seek co-sponsors — he’s got more than 100 already — to his “Abolishment of Obsolete Agencies” act.

After all, he points out in a letter to his colleagues, an average of five federal agencies perform the exact same function.

If approved, the act would establish a 12-member bipartisan federal Sunset Commission, which would then set out to identify savings and improve government efficiency by abolishing obsolete federal agencies. Each agency identified as redundant would be given an expiration date and allowed some time to justify its existence.

If it fails, it faces reorganization or abolishment.

We checked with Mr. Brady’s office yesterday and learned that the congressman will appear this morning before the House Government Reform Committee to discuss his legislation. A vote on his act and similar legislation introduced by Rep. Todd W. Tiahrt, Kansas Republican, could come as early as next week.

Vote to vote

To draw national attention to the District for reasons besides murder and mayhem, there’s a push afoot to schedule a 2008 D.C. Presidential Caucus in between the caucuses in Iowa and the primary in New Hampshire.

“If the District of Columbia holds one of the ‘first-in-the-nation’ nominating contests, we will receive a generous amount of media attention, which will assist in spreading awareness throughout the country of the struggle of District residents with regard to full voting rights and representation in Congress,” D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp said in a statement.

Ocean tapping

Who said the legislative process on Capitol Hill is easy to track?

Consider that the House on Monday night voted to approve “The National Capital Transportation Amendments Act of 2005,” which in essence provides $1.5 billion in federal money over 10 years for Washington’s subway and transit system (labeled the lifeblood of the U.S. government, given federal workers make up more than half of rush-hour riders.)

We say “in essence” because by itself the legislation, known as H.R. 3496, doesn’t commit one dime to the Metro system.

Instead, House Government Reform Committee Chairman Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican, already secured a source for the funding through a provision he added last month to the Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act, of all unrelated measures.

And if you think that’s confusing, for the Metro system to receive any of the $1.5 billion for upkeep, the area’s three jurisdictions — the District, Maryland and Virginia — first have to agree to match the amount.

Faded by the sun

Yes, Virginia, it’s hot out there. And out of curiosity we checked, and sure enough there is a congressional hearing scheduled for this week on global warming.

Lawmakers looking for the cause might read the scientific article in the July 19, 2006, issue of CO2 Science magazine, which concludes that solar activity — not manmade activity — could be the reason (apart from it being summer) for these higher temperatures.

The article reads, in part: “In light of these real-world-based observations, plus the multitude of studies that indicate most climate changes of the past were clearly associated with changes in solar activity … the case for anthropogenic CO2 emissions playing anything more than a minor role in contemporary global warming would appear to be fading fast.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]washington times.com.

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