Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Invisible scar

During an interview two years ago with the Crisis Publishing Co., Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson commented that by now you’d think he would have appeared on the cover of at least one major black publication.

After all, the youngest of 12 children had answered a call from Martin Luther King, requesting that he travel to Alabama and help organize a voter-registration drive. From there, he was asked to join in the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., what became known as “Bloody Sunday,” when some of Mr. Jackson’s own blood would be spilled.

Why then, given his civil rights background and impressive White House Cabinet position today, does Mr. Jackson have such a low profile in the black community?

“If I were black with a ‘D’ behind my name, I’d probably be in every liberal newspaper on the front page the day President Bush appointed me,” Mr. Jackson told the interviewer.

Last week, this otherwise influential member of the Bush administration spoke to the African-American Leadership Summit in Washington, where he agreed with Bill Cosby and other black leaders “who argue that we must use every avenue possible to empower our people.”

“This will help us directly confront a crisis in the black community … crime, health, poverty, unemployment, poor education, lack of homeownership, misdirection, loss of hope and diminished freedom.”

He then recalled the “powerful lesson” of leadership he learned while a freshman at historically black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, when Bernard Lee, King’s top aide, personally invited him to Alabama.

“I jumped at the chance,” Mr. Jackson recalled last week. “And we marched to Selma. My life was forever changed on a Sunday morning as I stood, peacefully, with 600 other marchers on Pettus Bridge. More than 200 troopers met us on a day now known as Bloody Sunday. A man named Al Lingo ordered the troopers to release the dogs on us, and the beatings began.

“I was standing four rows from the front. I can still hear the N-word rolling from Al Lingo’s lips. They used whips and nightsticks, tear gas, electric cattle prods and digs. More than 50 of us went down. One of the dogs tore into my flesh. I still have the scar.”

Happier sheep

Marc Morano, communications director for Sen. James M. Inhofe on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, was leaving for the airport when Inside the Beltway called him on Friday.

Where was he going?

“Greenland,” came the unexpected reply. “It should be an interesting trip — there’s 30 of us going, and I’m the only ‘global warming’ skeptic.”

The U.S. Senate fact-finding mission, to investigate fears of a glacier meltdown, lasted three days. Now, Mr. Morano has posted his observations on the committee’s Web site. The journey “revealed an Arctic land where current climatic conditions are neither alarming nor linked to a rise in man-made carbon dioxide emissions,” he began.

Citing temperature charts, he points out that while Greenland has been “warming since the 1880s,” temperature averages since 1955 have actually been “colder” than the period between 1881 and 1955. In fact, one study concludes that Greenland “was as warm or warmer in the 1930s and 40s, and the rate of warming from 1920-1930 was about 50 percent higher than the warming from 1995-2005.”

Which could mean?

“New data is revealing what may perhaps be the ultimate inconvenient truth for climate doomsayers: Global warming stopped in 1998,” speculates Mr. Morano, reminding us that Greenland is “the land the Vikings once farmed during the Medieval Warm Period.”

(No wonder, The Washington Post reported last month, that some of Greenland’s residents are “cheering” whatever warming comes their way. “I can keep the sheep out two weeks longer to feed in hills in the autumn. And I can grow more hay. The sheep get fatter,” said one resident.)

Mr. Morano says senators and staff viewed Greenland and its “majestic giant glaciers and icebergs” via helicopter, boat and on foot.

Wordsmith please

Hats off to Rep. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, for introducing the Whistleblower Recovery Act of 2007, which seeks to more clearly define a federal “whistleblower” — or so we think.

“To correct this narrow interpretation,” says the congressman, “this bill would make it clear that potential whistleblowers can include those who divulge knowledge of an alleged wrongdoing — even though such a whistleblower may not have had knowledge of the direct way in which the wrongdoing progressed — as long as the whistleblower disclosed the allegation and that the wrongdoing would not have been discovered and fines assessed were it not for the disclosure of the whistleblower.”

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin @washington times.com.

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