- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Winds of change

It’s reinventing-the-wheel time. The Obama administration has announced intentions to create a big, fat, shiny, new federal office called the “Climate Service” to track global warming, complete with six regional offices and lots of good intentions.

“It looks like the [warming] empire strikes back. Obama is attempting to engineer a global warming bailout. This is a classic response of the federal government: Bail out a corrupt and dying industry,” Marc Morano, editor of the watchdog site ClimateDepot.com, tells Inside the Beltway.

“What else would you expect of the feds? Man-made global warming has proven itself to be nothing more than sub-prime science, sub-prime economics, and sub-prime politics,” Mr. Morano adds. “This new federal agency will … produce the best science that politics can manufacture.”

But wait a minute. Don’t we already have an agency that does all this stuff? Could be:

“The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) coordinates and integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society. The USGCRP began as a presidential initiative in 1989 and was mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-606), which called for ‘a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the nation and the world to understand, assess, predict and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.’

“Thirteen departments and agencies participate in the USGCRP, which was known as the U.S. Climate Change Science Program from 2002 through 2008. The program is steered by the Subcommittee on Global Change Research under the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, overseen by the Executive Office of the President, and facilitated by an Integration and Coordination Office.”

Sounds familiar. Judge for yourself. This cumbersome passage comes right from the eye of the storm at www.globalchange.gov.

Cultural moment

Somebody buy something nice for Al Gore, perhaps:

“Snowpocalypse Now”

“Snowmageddon, snOMG”

“I survived Snowmageddon 2010”

(New t-shirts mottos from Zazzle.com.)

Do the math

5: Number of words Sarah Palin wrote on her left hand during a speech before the National Tea Party Convention on Saturday.

Unlimited: Number of letters that can be fed into a teleprompter.

1: Number of times Mrs. Palin alluded to President Obama’s use of a teleprompter during her speech.

2,641: Number of press accounts on Mrs. Palin’s palm that appeared in the last 48 hours.

Four sample headlines:

“Palin’s Palm-gate” (The Atlantic)

“Sarah Palin’s palm cheat-sheet steals her show” (The Washington Post)

“Forget the crib notes: It’s Palin’s unsavvy that really worries Republicans” (Newsweek)

“Sarah Palin needs more than a hand” (CBS News)

One official response:

“Hi Mom.” — What Mrs. Palin wrote on her palm during a subsequent campaign appearance for Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

Oui oui

Do gays make effective soldiers in the all-male French Foreign Legion? And what about gays and lesbians as Israeli Defense Force commandos? The discussion over “don’t ask/don’t tell” is now taking an international tune, courtesy of the Palm Center, a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara devoted to “gender, sexuality and military.”

The organization is looking for global cues.

“As military and political leaders anticipate the end of ‘don’t ask/don’t tell,’ the lessons from the 25 foreign forces that allow open gay service are instructive,” says Aaron Belkin, an associate professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the center’s director.

He also cited a 1993 Government Accountability Office report to Congress regarding gays and lesbians in foreign militaries that concluded “the presence of homosexuals in the military is not an issue.”

The center will release its own 150-page study on the subject next week; a “summit” will follow this spring.

“British and Israeli experts have confirmed their participation,” Mr. Belkin says.

From scratch

Some observers are leery of President Obama’s offer to host Republican lawmakers at a future heath care reform “summit” to discuss the 58-ton legislation.

“It seems the only play the president knows how to run is a hollow PR blitz,” says Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican and physician. “Republicans welcome honest discussion, but this event reeks of political gamesmanship. Throughout this debate, Republicans have been stiff-armed from participating, our plans ignored, and our ideas blatantly misrepresented. Its quite telling that only now, once the presidents plan is considered to be on political life-support, does the White House seek input from Republicans.”

He adds, “The only constructive discussions will start with a blank sheet of paper.”

Poll du jour

• 61 percent of Americans say President Obama is trying to put the country “back on track.”

• 34 percent of Republicans and 91 percent of Democrats agree.

• 54 percent say the president is “open honest and trustworthy.”

• 25 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats agree.

• 61 percent of Americans say the president is spending too much and creating debt.

• 84 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats agree.

• 61 percent of Americans say he “hasn’t done much for us yet.”

• 81 percent of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,576 adults conducted Jan 25.

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