This and that

Friday, April 6, 2007

Global warming. This is a letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from U.S. Sen. Kit Bond:The cavalier attitude of your recent editorial ("Sunspots and Sausage," March 26) toward the poor struggling to pay their home-heating bills is disappointing. Over 29 million American families cannot pay their heating bills. They suffer through the winters with many relying on inefficient but costly electric space heaters and poorly insulated homes.

One girl in such a family was highlighted by AARP in its campaign for Congress to increase federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. I support helping the poor pay their heating bills, and I oppose making their conditions worse.

I cited the plight of that girl to former vice president Al Gore when he suggested in a recent Senate hearing that we should cap carbon emissions in a way that would drive up the price of electricity in coal-dependent states like Missouri by as much as 80 percent.

Apparently, your newspaper is not prepared to confront the hardships proposed draconian carbon-cap plans would place on the poor, fixed-income seniors and blue-collar manufacturing workers supporting middle-class families, because, like Gore, neither of you addressed that issue.

Nor do carbon-cap advocates like to admit how the Senate 95-0 rejected the Kyoto international carbon-cap treaty, or that even if the United States complied with its conditions it would produce a change in climate almost too small to measure. They like to forget that heavily polluting countries like India and China are exempt from its carbon caps and China will soon emit more carbon than the U.S., making any U.S. actions futile. These are issues, including scientific questions, such as those raised by the NOAA Space Environment Center linking solar energy variability with past Earth climate change, that any reasonable person must address before supporting policies that would harm Missouri's poor and disadvantaged.

Last week President Bush withdrew the nomination of Sam Fox of St. Louis as ambassador to Belgium because the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Joe Biden, indicated it was not going to consent to the nomination

Sen. John Kerry lambasted Fox for his donation to the Swift Boat groups and led the challenge.

Fox is one of the leading citizen-entrepreneurs of St. Louis, having chaired the United Way drive, Washington University's fund raising and donations to that school's fine arts center. He is national chairman of the Jewish Republican coalition and has given over $1 million to Republican candidates and causes since the 1990s.

Although initially endorsed by Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch "McCaskill wouldn't respond to questions about the matter ... or to say whether she still supported Fox."

[Update: President Bush appointed Fox to the ambassadorship on Wednesday, using his recess-appointment power. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported: "Fox said he is extremely familiar with Belgium and Europe in general, having made more than 100 business trips to the continent."]

Imagine yourself in a land where your countrymen followed the voice of political extremists who didn't like your religion.

Imagine having everything taken from you, your entire family sent to a concentration camp as slave laborers, then systematically murdered. In this place, they even take your name and replace it with a number tattooed on your arm.

It was called the Holocaust, when millions of people perished just because of their faith."

It is now more than 60 years after World War II in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russian peoples looking the other way.

Now, more than ever, with Iran, among others, claiming the Holocaust to be a myth, it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets it. In this case, those who are attempting to rewrite history are probably planning to repeat it. The hatred is already there, in place, taught to the children from infancy, with promises of glory and honor to those who carry out the plans. -- E-mail from a friend

Despite attempts by Democrats over the past three years to attack the administration of Gov. Matt Blunt, Missourians are satisfied with the direction of the state, according to new data from Public Pulse Research. The poll asked Missouri voters if the state was on the right track or wrong track, and the results were encouraging.

Overall, 47 percent of respondents said that Missouri is on the right track, with 43 percent believing otherwise. Younger Missourians, those 18 to 34 and 35 to 49, were even more likely to believe the state is heading in the right direction, with clear majorities in each category responding positively.

Recently, the Missouri House approved an amendment to an appropriations bill that would move funding for the Second Injury Fund from the attorney general's office to Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, removing Jay Nixon from the equation. An audio account of the proceedings indicated that the amendment passed by an 88-65 margin.

The vote took place weeks after a House committee requested that Nixon produce info on the Second Injury Fund, which has experienced skyrocketing annual payouts on his watch. During debate, supporters of the amendment disclosed that Nixon had failed to respond to their request, and they questioned his handling of the fund. Nixon first ran for attorney general on a platform that included reforming the Second Injury Fund. Since he's taken the reins, annual Second Injury Fund expenditures have spiked from $11 million in fiscal year 1993 to $67 million in FY 2006.

It remains unclear what role payouts to plaintiff lawyers, Nixon's top special-interest supporter, have played in the fund's financial woes. -- Missouri

Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.

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