John McCaslin

Suffice it to say, the Smithsonian Institution is not buying into the "global warming" hysteria being spread by Al Gore.

While in the District in recent days, professor Jeff Bennett of the Crawford School of Economics and Government at Australian National University toured the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, where he snapped photographs, since forwarded to Inside the Beltway, of two displays that caught his eye — both dealing with climate change and "the Future."

"Initiation of glacial conditions may be triggered by surprisingly rapid climate changes," reads one display. "Therefore, the minor global-cooling trend of recent decades ... is being carefully watched and studied."

Global-cooling trend?

Explains the next display: "the period 1890-1945 A.D. was abnormally warm, and there have been signs of cooling in the last few decades."

Mr. Bennett is the newest Julian Simon Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center, the nation's oldest and largest institute dedicated to free-market environmentalism.

Protecting troops

For safety's sake, the State Department recommends that Americans not travel to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia, among other nations. (Given that the Taliban is spreading its roots in Pakistan, you might think twice about a holiday there, too.)

Now we learn from Texas Rep. Ted Poe that the Texas Department of Public Safety this week issued its own travel warning: "Due to the increased rising level of violence in Mexico — which is attributed to drug cartels, violent criminal organizations, and increased presence of military personnel in some Mexican border communities — it is recommended that persons be discouraged from traveling to Mexican border towns ... Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Reynosa, Rio Bravo, Miguel Aleman, and Ciudad Juarez."

Meanwhile, U.S. Army officials at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, have actually declared travel to Juarez off-limits for U.S. military personnel.

"In other words," Mr. Poe, a Republican, points out, "Fort Bliss, the United States Army, they can go to Iraq, they can go to Afghanistan, but they can't go to Juarez right across the river because it is too dangerous."

Dorgan's question

The Trends Journal, if you haven't read, is forecasting the "Panic of '08."

The publication foresees "failing banks, busted brokerages, toppled corporate giants, bankrupt cities, states in default, foreign creditors cashing out of U.S. securities. Whatever the spark, the stage is set for panic in the streets. When the giant firms fall, they'll crush the man on the street."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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