The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By John McCaslin

Join the crowd

Inside the Belt­way has learned that the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity was alerted to a se­cu­rity in­ci­dent that oc­curred Nov. 18 in­volv­ing Rep. Sheila Jack­son-Lee, the out­spo­ken Texas Demo­crat who serves on the Home­land Se­cu­rity sub­com­mit­tee on intelligence, in­for­ma­tion shar­ing and ter­ror­ism risk as­sess­ment.

Mrs. Jack­son-Lee, we learn from DHS cor­re­spon­dence, was go­ing through se­cu­rity at Ge­orge Bush Hous­ton In­tercon­ti­nen­tal Air­port in Texas when the alarm sounded not once, but twice. As with other pas­sen­gers, she was then placed in a queue for fol­lowup screen­ing, at which time she “com­plained” about the process.

The con­gress­woman pro­ceeded to re­trieve her per­sonal carry-on items, al­though a Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cer in­formed her that she would have to be re-screened first, at which point the law­maker con­tin­ued to com­plain.

Other of­fi­cials stepped in, and the con­gress­woman even­tu­ally was per­suaded to re­turn to the screen­ing gate to com­plete the safety process.

Div­ing plat­form

The heart of a busy cap­i­tal like Wash­ing­ton is the last place one would ex­pect to find the 26-yearold grand­son of leg­endary ex­plorer Jac­ques-Yves Cousteau work­ing hard to en­hance what he calls “our wa­ter planet.”

Philippe Cousteau, with mother Jan and sis­ter Alexandra, founded EarthE­cho In­ter­na­tional in 2000 in honor of his late fa­ther, ex­plorer Philippe Cousteau Sr., who died in a plane crash in 1979. The group’s mis­sion, in short, is to em­power in­di­vid­u­als to take ac­tion to sus­tain and en­hance not just the oceans, but the en­tire planet.

When not at EarthE­cho’s head­quar­ters on 16th Street North­west, Mr. Cousteau fre­quently lec­tures around the world, is chief ocean correspondent for Dis­cov­ery’s An­i­mal Planet Chan­nel, re­calls his many ad­ven­tures over Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio, is founder and pres­i­dent of a me­dia group, and pro­duces and di­rects doc­u­men­taries.

In­deed, Steve Ir­win, the Aus­tralian “Croc­o­dile Hunter” who died two months ago from a stingray barb off Aus­tralia’s north coast, was in the area to film seg­ments for “The Ocean’s Dead­li­est” with Mr. Cousteau.

“He was an amaz­ing guy; it was a freak tragedy, and God took him from us way too early,” Mr. Cousteau tells Inside the Belt­way, adding that the pro­duc­tion the two were work­ing on to­gether and “co­host­ing” will air Jan. 21 (on Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel and An­i­mal Planet) “as a trib­ute to him.”

Mr. Cousteau came to the Wash­ing­ton area two years ago, set­tling in Pen­tagon City in Ar­ling­ton, Va. and promptly dis­pos­ing of his car.

“I’m right on the Metro, and my of­fice is on the Metro down­town,” he ex­plains. “I re­ally like the city. It’s a great place for what we do, it has won­der­ful peo­ple for what we do, but un­for­tu­nately I’m gone too much. [. . .] I’m prob­a­bly trav­el­ing two-thirds of the time.”

He says that be­ing a “com­mu­ni­ca­tor and sto­ry­teller, bring­ing peo­ple ex­cit­ing and in­spi­ra­tional ad­ven­ture sto­ries, just like my fa­ther and grand­fa­ther did,” is the high­light of his work.

“I’m ded­i­cat­ing my life to the spirit of my fa­ther and grand­fa­ther, to make this world a bet­ter place for ev­ery­body, and I mean ev­ery­body,” Mr. Cousteau says. “Peo­ple of­ten for­get that. They think car­ing for the en­vi­ron­ment is all about tree-hug­gers, wind chimes and Birken­stocks. It’s not.”

Last stand

The Se­nate has ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion re­mem­ber­ing Min­nesota’s late Sen. Paul Well­stone for his lead­er­ship, and in do­ing so Illi­nois Sen. Richard J. Durbin re­called one of the last votes cast by his Demo­cratic col­league.

“I can re­call the last time I saw him. He was a few feet away from me here. It was the night we cast our vote on the Iraqi war,” Mr. Durbin said. “It was a vote that was a hard one . [. . .]

“Twenty-three of us voted against the war that night. I was one, Paul Well­stone was an­other [. . .] and I came to the well on the floor to say good­bye to Paul be­cause we were both off for the re-elec­tion cam­paigns of four years ago. I came over to wish him well, and I said, ‘Paul, I hope that vote doesn’t cost you the elec­tion.’

“He said, ‘You know, it is OK if it does be­cause that is what I be­lieve and that is who I am.’ [. . .] It was the last time I ever saw him. He went home, and within two weeks, he was killed in a plane crash with his wife and staff mem­bers.”

2008 field

“It says some­thing about John Kerry that he’s ranked be­low a guy who says he isn’t even run­ning,” con­cludes the latest Po­lit­i­cal Derby 2008 Power Rank­ings (Po­lit­i­, one of the more in­trigu­ing track­ing ser­vices for the cur­rent race for the White House.

Here are the latest odds and ob­ser­va­tions, be­gin­ning with Repub­li­cans:

1. John McCain: “For now, McCain clings to the top spot, but the horses be­hind him are pick­ing up se­ri­ous steam as we round the quar­ter pole.”

2. Mitt Rom­ney: “He re­cently took his first shot, re­fer­ring to McCain’s po­si­tion on gay mar­riage as ‘disin­gen­u­ous’ and po­si­tion­ing him­self as the only top-tier can­di­date on the right side of im­mi­gra­tion, cam­paign re­form and detainee in­ter­ro­ga­tion.”

3. Ru­dolph W. Gi­u­liani: “Rudy is the nicest-look­ing horse on the farm, but will pri­mary and cau­cus vot­ers feel the same af­ter a full phys­i­cal?”

4. Newt Gin­grich: “The grass­roots loves him and ev­ery other horse will be whin­ing for his sup­port and en­dorse­ment.”

Re­main­ing horses, in or­der of rank, are Gov. Mike Huck­abee, Rep. Mike Pence, Sen. Bill Frist, Sec­re­tary of State Con­doleezza Rice, Rep. Dun­can Hunter, and Sen. Ge­orge Allen.

As for Demo­cratic horses jock­ey­ing for po­si­tion:

1. Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton: “Hil­lary has oc­cu­pied this spot since day one of our rank­ings, but the dis­tance be­tween the 800pound horse and the field has shrunk con­sid­er­ably.”

2. John Ed­wards: “He’s re­fin­ing his mes­sage nicely and ap­pears more de­lib­er­ate than in ’04.”

3. Barack Obama: Is the ‘Oba­ma­ma­nia Show’ al­ready off the sched­ule? The tip sheet has seen Fox sit­coms last longer.”

4. Bill Richard­son: “He’s show­ing some teeth, get­ting ac­tive on­line, and his re­sume is un­matched on the track.”

The rest of the field, in or­der, in­cludes Sen. Evan Bayh, Al Gore, Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Sen. Russ Fein­gold, and Mr. Kerry.

The Hil­lary Mon­u­ment

What with all the new mon­u­ments and memo­ri­als fight­ing for space on an al­ready crowded Na­tional Mall, we are re­as­sured to dis­cover that New York Sen. Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton “al­ready has a me­mo­rial in her name there — a mod­est one, but doubt­less ca­pa­ble of en­large­ment.”

So noted Inside the Belt­way reader John Lock­wood, who sent us scur­ry­ing Nov. 27 to the trunk of a huge white oak tree that shades part of the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture head­quar­ters near 14th Street and Jef­fer­son Drive South­west, across from the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment.

One even finds a bronze tablet at the base of the tree, bear­ing th­ese words ut­tered by the Demo­crat and for­mer first lady: “As we en­ter the new mil­len­nium, we will not sim­ply be cel­e­brat­ing a new year, we will be cel­e­brat­ing the en­dur­ing strength of democ­racy, the re­newal of our sense of cit­i­zen­ship, and the full flow­er­ing of the Amer­i­can mind and spirit.”

The tablet says the tree was ded­i­cated to Mrs. Clin­ton by Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Dan Glick­man on Dec. 15, 1999.

Cromwell’s legacy

That would be syn­di­cated colum­nist Cal Thomas re­turn­ing Nov. 28 to his alma mater, Amer­i­can Univer­sity, to lec­ture a class taught by his “Fox News Watch” col­league, Jane Hall.

Miss Hall, a re­spected author­ity on pol­i­tics and jour­nal­ism, also in­vited Mr. Thomas’ fa­vorite and most in­flu­en­tial pro­fes­sor, back when the bud­ding colum­nist was the man on cam­pus.

“He is Bill Cromwell, who taught a diplo­matic his­tory of Europe course and an­other his­tory course, both of which I took,” Mr. Thomas says. “He made me fall in love with his­tory, not only be­cause of his in-depth knowl­edge of the sub­ject, but his in­cred­i­ble en­thu­si­asm for it and his teach­ing skills.” Teach­ing skills? “He would be in per­pet­ual mo­tion in class and rarely use notes,” Mr. Thomas ex­plains. “He spoke so fast that some­times I fell be­hind in tak­ing notes, put down my pen and just watched the aca­demic equiv­a­lent of ‘per­for­mance art.’ ”

The colum­nist grad­u­ated from Amer­i­can in 1968, “but I was on an eight-year pro­gram, what with flunk­ing out as a fresh­man and go­ing into the Army for ‘65 and ‘66. Ah, those were the days.”

For the record, Mr. Thomas says the good pro­fes­sor “is not re­spon­si­ble for my pol­i­tics.”

Time­less para­ble

Dur­ing a re­cent key­note ad­dress in Lon­don, U.S. Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion Chair­man Christo­pher Cox turned to a para­ble when ad­mon­ish­ing the In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Se­cu­ri­ties Com­mis­sion­ers on why “we have no choice but to co­op­er­ate” dur­ing a global in­vest­ing era that is fraught with fraud.

“You might think of it as Rousseau’s dilemma,” said Mr. Cox, re­fer­ring to to­day’s temp­ta­tion by reg­u­la­tors to at­tract in­vestors and is­suers by re­lax­ing stan­dards — at the ex­pense of the other ju­ris­dic­tions.

“Two cen­turies ago, the philoso­pher Jean Jac­ques Rousseau [told] the story of five hunters who come to­gether in a for­est, at a time when each one of them is des­per­ate with hunger. If they can kill a stag, it will pro­vide enough to save all of them. But they will all have to co­op­er­ate in or­der to trap it,” Mr. Cox said.

“It’s also the case, how­ever, that the hunger of any one of them will be sat­is­fied by a hare. And sure enough, just as the hunters are about to suc­ceed in trap­ping the stag, a hare comes within reach of one of the hunters, and he grabs it [. . .] and sat­is­fy­ing his own hunger, the hunter per­mits the stag to es­cape — and the oth­ers go hun­gry.”

Sen. Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton, New York Demo­crat, has a white oak tree ded­i­cated to her on the Na­tional Mall.

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