Monday, January 12, 2004

Circa 1859

Were those alarming predictions of mass extinctions caused by future global warming — splashed across the front pages of many newspapers (not ours) last week — yet another salvo in the ideological battle to frighten the public into believing in catastrophic climate change?



Yes, Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Iain Murray says of the startling predictions first reported by the journal Nature.

“Not only are the conclusions outlandish, but the theory upon which the entire article rests has been itself thoroughly disproved,” charges Mr. Murray. “The authors used a theory from 1859 that the absolute area of animal habitat controls the number of possible species, despite ample proof in recent years that that simply isn’t true.

“Without that connection, any predictions about actual extinction rates are hogwash.”

The Nature article suggests as many as 1 million species could go extinct by 2050 because of higher Earth temperatures. As CEI notes, only 12,000 species of approximately 14 million living on Earth today are considered threatened with extinction.

Love the pork

More than three months into fiscal 2004 and Congress has yet to finish the appropriations process.

Which isn’t to say senators and congressmen haven’t found time to pile on the pork.

The House passed the 1,448-page, $820 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal 2004 on Dec. 8, but the Senate isn’t expected to take action on the bill until it reconvenes Jan. 20.

Meanwhile, Citizens Against Government Waste says the bill is continuously “stuffed” with parochial projects.

Some recent examples: $750,000 added by the Senate for Love Inc., a Fairbanks, Alaska, social service facility; $300,000 added by the House for street furniture and facade improvements for the city of Luverne, Ala.; and $75,000 added by the House for construction of a social hall for the Japanese Community Center in East San Gabriel Valley, Calif.

Only so liberal

Updating our item last week on fallout over the same-sex “marriage” ruling in Massachusetts, a Zogby International poll finds 69 percent of likely voters in the traditionally liberal commonwealth want to vote on a constitutional amendment to keep Massachusetts a traditional marriage state.

The Coalition for Marriage says the poll’s findings are further proof of a trend in favor of “one man, one woman” marriage ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s July decision legalizing sodomy and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision of Nov. 18 redefining marriage.

Living history

Historians, educators, Academy Award recipients, notable filmmakers, actors and celebrities will descend on Washington next month for the first Black History Month Film & Discussion series.

The sponsoring Flow Foundation has secured Visions Cinema Bistro Lounge on Florida Avenue NW and the Republic Gardens on U Street NW for the first-ever history sessions coinciding with the city’s observance of Black History Month.

“Black History Month is an important time for culture and American history,” says project coordinator Corey Jennings. “We felt that the Washington, D.C., metropolitan community … deserve to be reacquainted with the experiences and contributions of persons and organizations that have made history.”

Among the more notable individuals planning to come face to face with the public: two-time Academy Award winner and two-time Emmy winner Russell Williams II, Maya Angelou, Negro League baseball player Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Woody Wilson, J. Weldon Norris, the Howard University Choir and Steven Torriano Berry.

Overheard

Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio told a restaurant crowd in Washington that he will introduce a D.C. “statehood” bill before the close of the 108th Congress. We will be the first to let you know if it passes.

• John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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