- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 6, 2009

Climate culture

With every big political gathering comes inevitable cultural sideshows that dress up policy arguments, wonky speeches and partisan posturings and give the press something to squawk about. With a few shrill noises of our own, Inside the Beltway recently revealed that Al Gore was promoting his new book “Our Choice” during the weeklong United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009, which begins in Copenhagen on Monday.

It is not astonishing that Mr. Gore would promote his new oeuvre, though we wondered a little about the $1,209 VIP ticket for fans who wanted to have a picture taken with the former vice president.

Climate change is a big, glamorous business these days, full of righteous talk about suffering polar bears, carbon credits and other incomprehensible things — even as Climategate rages right outside the perimeters. Devoted fans will doubtless shell out the bucks to shake Mr. Gore’s hand and have a “light snack,” as the organizers describe the event. But wait. There is one other phenomenon connected to the U.N. climate conference that deserves some attention.

There is an official cocktail involved: the Copenhagen.

Yes. Well, why not? Meant to compete with the Manhattan and the Singapore Sling, the Copenhagen is a little pick-me-up for the global warming gaggle that grew out of a contest among Denmark’s top mixologists and was officially sanctioned by the Danish tourism board. One Gromit Eduardsen concocted the winning formula, and here it is:

5 centiliters Bols Genever (almost two shots)
2 cl. Cherry Heering Liqueur (equivalent to about three-fourths a shot)
2 cl. fresh lime juice
2 cl. sugar syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice cubes and strain into stemmed glass without ice. Garnish with a generous curl of orange peel.

Doing the math

“The $1,000 bill has President Grover Cleveland’s face on it. The $100,000 bill has the dour image of President Woodrow Wilson. We’ve already seen President Barack Obama attach his name and face to the $787 billion stimulus bill,” observes Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for the Media Research Center. “And if the left has its way, the face on the $6 trillion ‘climate justice’ bill will also be Obama’s. Or maybe it will belong to Al Gore.”

Eye of the beholder

Curiouser and curiouser: Is President Obama failing, succeeding, treading water or in a defensive crouch? In these odd days, his status is subject to interpretation, and the opinions can come from unlikely sources.

“Anyone who thinks Barack Obama is an easy mark off in 2012, just remember Bill Clinton was just labeled politically dead and came back to win a resounding re-election in 1996,” Mike Huckabee told Fox News.

Meanwhile, a longtime Obama stalwart appears to be wavering.

“Is the honeymoon over?” asked CBS News anchor Katie Couric during a recent newscast.

“Although President Obama has been in office less than a year, many Americans are growing disenchanted with his handling of the enormous problems he and the country are facing, from health care to unemployment to Afghanistan,” Ms. Couric continued. “His poll numbers are sliding, and at least one poll shows his job approval rating has fallen, for the first time, below 50 percent.”

And not to be outdone, along comes Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, who wants a certain former vice president to run for president.

“I think we should be taking the possibility of a Dick Cheney bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 more seriously, for a run would be good for the Republicans and good for the country,” Mr. Meacham observed. “The sound you just heard in the background was liberal readers spitting out their lattes.”

As we said. Curiouser and curiouser.

Days of yore

The 13th Amendment was ratified on this day in 1865, abolishing slavery. And after more than three decades of on-and-off attention, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finally completed the Washington Monument 125 years ago today, topping the structure with an aluminum capstone.

Who could have predicted the love affair between the White House and news media that followed? President Calvin Coolidge became the first president to give a presidential address broadcast on radio on this day in 1923.

And happy 34th anniversary to former Sen. Robert Dole and then-Elizabeth Hanford (and later a senator, too), married on this day in 1975.

It’s also former Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez’s 16th birthday. As a small survivor of an ill-fated sea voyage from Cuba to Florida, he sparked a five-month public tug of war between the U.S. and Cuba in 2000, considerable partisan bickering and an eventual riot among Cuban Americans in Miami after then-Attorney General Janet Reno ordered the lad returned to his father. She prevailed. Elian continues to live with his family in Cardenas, about 100 miles east of Havana.

Poll du jour

48 percent of Americans say the Republican party is “friendly” toward religion.

37 percent say the Obama administration is friendly toward religion.

29 percent say the Democratic Party is friendly toward it.

9 percent of conservative Republicans and 56 percent of liberal Democrats agree.

14 percent of Americans overall say the news media is friendly toward religion.

12 percent cite scientists, 11 percent cite Hollywood.

Source: Pew Research Center survey of 4,013 adults conducted Aug. 11-17 and Aug. 20-27.

Follow Jennifer Harper at twitter.com/ harperbulletin.

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