- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 26, 2010

SNOW JOB

As usual, news organizations are wallowing in melodramatic weather coverage to describe East Coast snowfall, employing descriptors right out of an Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel. But wait. It’s also ideal conditions for global warming alarmists and their journalistic handmaidens to go into handwringing mode; this time, researchers at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research are blaming “extreme winters” on global warming. Arctic air is warming, thus pushing the polar air elsewhere, and voila. Big snows. Or something like that.

“If it’s an arctic freeze, it’s global warming. If it’s unseasonably mild, it’s global warming. If it rains harder than normal, why, that is exactly what we would expect with global warming. Drought? Ditto. Heat wave, well of course, the earth is warming,” observes bioethicist Wesley J. Smith, a writer with First Things, and a critic of radical enviromentalism.

“Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail, nor sleet, nor baking sun, nor hurricanes, nor lack of hurricanes - or for that matter, any unusual weather pattern or condition - can stop some some global warming scientists from blaming global warming. Whatever it is. Wherever it is. Whenever it is.”

PERFECT STRATEGERY



All that endless mean talk about “Bushisms” from media elites and academics? Seems like his critics misunderestimated former President George W. Bush. His memoir “Decision Points” has sold 2 million copies since it was released in November; the book is not even in paperback yet . Publisher Crown Books simply frames this number as “remarkable.” Not to be tacky or anything, but former president Bill Clinton’s memoir, “My Life” has logged sales of 2.2 million copies — since it was first published in 2004.

PARRYING WITH PERRY

Yee-haw. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been named “Texan of the Year” by the Dallas Morning News, which in previous years cited Karl Rove and former President George W. Bush for the honor.

“Perry’s political instincts have been nearly infallible. With cowboy swagger and bold declarations, he has carved his own path, ducking debates and flirting with secession,” the newspaper said in an editorial. “Supporters and allies laud him as a consistent, dependable conservative. He is fiercely protective of business interests and committed to keeping taxes low in Texas - even if the resulting cutbacks are painful. He has become the face of Republicanism in one of the nation’s reddest red states.”

The paper later concludes, “While Perry’s friends and allies don’t publicly admit to any definitive knowledge of his game plan, many think his aspirations extend beyond Texas. And few believe that he would bypass a chance to run for president - or vice president - if national party leaders wooed him, or perhaps even if they did not … . Critics note that after 26 years in office, Perry doesn’t have a career to fall back on. His best job skill is winning elections, they say, so why wouldn’t he run?”

OUCH

Aches over health care reform are expanding beyond Sarah Palin’s recent warnings that the dreaded “death panels” could still be a reality. Owing to a provision in the new legislation taking effect Jan. 1, some 40 million Americans will no longer be able to use their Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account pre-tax dollars to purchase over-the-counter medicines, with the exception of insulin. We’re talking headache preparations, cough medicine, decongestants, athlete’s foot cream and more.

“The provision is just one of Obamacare’s two dozen new or higher taxes totaling nearly $600 billion over this decade,” advises Americans for Tax Reform. “The tax increase will affect any family that has one of these accounts. Therefore, it is clear violation of President Obama’s oft-repeated promise not to raise ‘any form of taxes’ on any family making less than $250,000 per year.”

UNCORKED

Over Christmas, rising sales of fancy lingerie were used as a positive indicators for the U.S. economy. This week, it’s champagne. The good news: the bubble has not burst. According to the marketing figures from Nielsen Media Research, champagne sales rose 8 percent, up to $780 million this year. Sales on imported French champagne frothed up 12 percent, to $191 million.

“I don’t even need to turn on the news to know how the economy is doing,” explains Rick Wells, a restaurant owner and event planner near Dallas. “Champagne sales never lie. When things are bad, customers downgrade to a cheaper bottle of bubbly. Things are turning around. We’re dusting off the Dom Perignon and Cristal again.”

POLL DU JOUR

- 79 percent of likely U.S. voters say lawmakers are more interested in helping their own careers than helping their constituents.

- 53 percent say Congress is doing a “poor job”; 13 percent rate congressional job performance as “good or excellent.”

 - 51 percent of voters say the most important role in Congress is “passing good legislation”; 69 percent of Democrats agree.

- 43 percent of voters overall say the most important role is to prevent “bad laws from being enacted”, 58 percent of Republicans agree.

- 39 percent of voters overall say Congress is “corrupt,” 36 percent disagree and 25 percent are not sure.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Dec. 21-22.

Rants, raves, mufflers to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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