- The Washington Times - Friday, September 15, 2006

‘Carbon neutral’

During an interview with Australian broadcaster Andrew Denton about his global-warming horror picture, “An Inconvenient Truth,” former Vice President Al Gore was reminded that he frequently circles the globe aboard jet aircraft, and, therefore, isn’t he contributing to the problem?

“You fly a lot of miles,” Mr. Denton noted.

“Absolutely,” Mr. Gore replied.

“How do you reduce that?” the interviewer asked.

“All honor and glory to Qantas, by the way. I had a very comfortable flight over,” Mr. Gore replied. “But for the CO2 [emissions] … represented by my portion of that flight, I go into this emerging marketplace for offsets, and purchase verified, validated reductions in CO2 by an amount that more than compensates for the quantities that I’m responsible for.

“There is a Web site that accompanies the movie and the book, climatecrisis.net, that has a carbon calculator that individuals can use to calculate exactly what the magnitude of CO2 that you’re responsible for in your own lives — how to reduce, how to find the offsets — if you desire to become a carbon neutral.”

Dreaded call

Should Osama bin Laden come calling again, Allah forbid, you could be alerted to the danger by cell phone.

The Senate this week overwhelmingly approved the Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act, sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican. It seeks to create a national alert system by providing Americans with emergency information sent directly to their cell phones and other wireless devices.

“It’s only a matter of time before the next hurricane, tornado, earthquake, chemical spill or terrorist attack threatens the safety of our families, and we must be prepared,” says the senator, stressing that “every minute counts.”

Moving on

Why was a Boston police officer in Washington yesterday thanking former President Bill Clinton’s attorney, Bob Bennett, and his fellow counsel at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP?

Long case short, in 1998, Kenneth Conley was convicted of lying to a federal grand jury in connection with the law-enforcement beating of Michael Cox, an undercover police officer mistaken for a homicide suspect. Mr. Conley argued that he was nowhere close to the beating, and instead was busy apprehending one of the actual suspects.

Nevertheless, based on testimony by Richard Walker, another police officer on the scene, Mr. Conley became the only person prosecuted for the beating. Even after a direct appeal in 1999, the officer was sentenced to three years in prison.

Smelling a rat, Skadden in 2001 entered the case — pro bono — at the request of Rep. Bill Delahunt, Massachusetts Democrat. If nothing else, the congressman hoped for a presidential pardon. As it was, an appellate panel would not agree to a new trial, but Skadden finally persuaded the full 1st Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case again.

Then, in August 2004, Chief Judge William G. Young of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts granted Mr. Conley’s petition for a new trial, ruling that “crucial information” was withheld by the U.S. attorney’s office, all of which rendered Mr. Conley’s trial unfair.

Uncle Sam’s lawyers elected against retrying Mr. Conley, and the indictment was dismissed. Only in October was Mr. Conley reinstated as a Boston police officer.

Remarked Mr. Bennett this week: “While justice was delayed in the case, we hope that Kenny can now resume his life without this cloud hanging over his head.”

Welfare censorship

We can’t stop laughing at word that WelfareGame.com is re-releasing its once-controversial board game, “Public Assistance: Why Bother Working for a Living?” in both an economy version ($17.90) and a deluxe version ($33.90).

We’ve never played the game, but are told that it pits players on the Able-bodied Welfare Recipient’s Promenade against those in the Working Person’s Rut.

“Those on the Welfare Promenade begin with $1,000 and get $300 more for each out-of-wedlock child. They also get money by playing the lottery and the horses, getting involved in four ‘Saturday Night’ crimes — armed robbery, gambling, drugs and prostitution — and drawing from 50 ‘Welfare Benefit’ cards,” game co-inventor Bob Johnson explains.

“Players stuck in the Working Person’s Rut draw ‘Working Person’s Burden’ cards and do their best to stretch out their meager paychecks.”

Mr. Johnson points out that there is a “whole generation that hasn’t even seen this great welfare fraud game,” recalling that during the 1980s welfare officials in Washington successfully removed the game from the marketplace, an operation he labeled “government-directed censorship.”

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

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