Hillary vs. Harry

John McCaslin
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Posted: Jun 06, 2003 12:00 AM

We never thought we'd see the day that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be challenging Harry Potter. And the winner already is ...

"I've ordered 400 copies of Harry Potter and 10 copies of Hillary's book," says Barbara Theroux, owner of Fact & Fiction bookstore in Missoula, Mont.

Theroux says a memoir like Clinton's, Living History, will sell better in "discount places," and adds that the Missoula Public Library "will have several copies."

Clinton's book hits stores Monday, June 9, and Harry's latest adventures June 21.

REFRIGERATOR MAGNETS

Dr. Neal Barnard, a nutrition researcher and adjunct associate professor of medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine, is causing upset stomachs by claiming that cheese, meats and sugar are "physically addictive" because they release "opiatelike substances that seduce us into eating them again and again."

Barnard's new book, Breaking the Food Seduction (St. Martin's Press), also charges that the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, exploits these natural cravings, pushing Americans to eat more and more unhealthy foods.

"It's not gluttony, weak will, or an oral personality that keep some of us tied to certain foods," says Barnard, who also heads the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. "There's a biochemical reason many of us feel we can't live without our daily meat, cheese or sugar fix.

"Cheese, for example, contains high levels of casein, a protein that breaks apart during digestion to produce morphinelike opiate compounds, called casomorphins. These opiates are believed to be responsible for the mother-infant bond that occurs during nursing.

"It's no surprise many of us feel bonded to the refrigerator," he says.

How is the consumer lobby reacting to these claims?

"When it comes to information on nutrition and health, consumers are better served by advice from the AMA (American Medical Association) than someone that fronts for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)," says Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, which represents restaurant operators, food and beverage companies, and others working to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has come under attack for accepting millions of dollars from the animal-rights group.

WORKED IN JAPAN

The U.S. intervention into Iraq "reflects the character of President Bush himself," and will become a case "where an individual makes a great difference to history ... and, very profoundly, the nature of America, its power, and its principles."

So opines Thomas Donnelly, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, in an intriguing paper titled, "The Meaning of Operation Iraqi Freedom." Owing to the bold steps Bush has taken, no future president - Republican or Democrat - can easily abandon the U.S. commitment to Iraq, says the scholar.

As for naysayers here and elsewhere who that contend democracy will never take hold in Iraq, given its diverse cultural and religious beliefs, Donnelly says: "There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values.

"Well, they were wrong," he says. "They are mistaken. The nation of Iraq with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom."

Speaking at the AEI's annual dinner Feb. 26, Bush said it is "presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a ... Muslim is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life."

"Human cultures can be vastly different. Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on Earth."

"In our desire to be safe from brutal and bullying oppression, human beings are the same," the president said. "In our desire to care for our children and give them a better life, we are the same."

HARVARD CLIQUE

Freshman Rep. Katherine Harris, Florida's former secretary of state who became a central figure in the 2000 presidential election dispute, is already bidding farewell to her first congressional chief of staff - and campaign manager - Dan Berger.

Berger tells this column he will become vice president of government relations for America's Community Bankers. When not busy running political campaigns, he's lobbied for the past 15 years on both the state and federal level on behalf of financial services firms and insurance companies.

"Katherine has been a terrific friend to my wife and me for over a decade, and working for her as a congresswoman has been a wonderful opportunity," Berger says. "She has this magnificent combination of intelligence and energy, and it makes her an incredibly effective representative.

"As everyone up here will tell you, she thrives on the policy and wonkish details of how issues affect her constituents and our country. She is truly fun to watch."

As for his replacement?

"My best friend and Katherine's longtime (Florida) chief of staff Ben McKay will be arriving this week after earning his master's degree from Harvard - the same degree and school Katherine and I both attended - to be her new chief of staff," he says.

Meanwhile, we're surprised to learn that Berger has some hidden talents. He's presently working with two Florida comedians on a play called "Tyrant," "about an eccentric, funny, old Southern politician named Senator Ty Rant," he says. "I am also working on weekends, very slowly I might add, on a murder mystery that takes place in Southwest Florida called 'Dust' and a political intrigue screenplay called 'Treason.'"

WINNING THE DEBATE

It turns out one of Washington's newer - and more unusual - political magazines has exceeded expectations as quickly as it set out to redefine conservatism.

The inaugural issue of the American Conservative - edited by the politically-incorrect trio of Pat J. Buchanan, Taki Theodoracopulos (more easily pronounced Taki), and Scott McConnell - only hit magazine racks Oct. 7 and "our paid circulation has grown steadily, faster than we expected," McConnell says.

More importantly, McConnell says, the magazine is "succeeding in the debate - the initial inclination of the conservative establishment to ignore us was something they could not sustain. We're making real inroads."

Previously editorial page editor of the New York Post, McConnell says magazine readers include a large element of the American conservative movement "who are not in favor of empire and high immigration who previously did not have a voice. Now they have one."

Bylines and topics in the current issue include Peter Hitchens on curbing Britain's crime wave without creating additional victims, Richard Cummings on why the United States is really leaving Saudi Arabia, and last, but never least in traditional conservative thought, Buchanan, who seeks to explain what happens when democracies created by the U.S. turn around and vote against us.

As in Iraq?

"Neoconservatives, with visions of Iraq as a strategic base camp from which to strike Islamic tyrannies, are now insisting that, before elections, Iraqis must be tutored in American values and democratic ideals, lest they commit a blunder at the ballot box," Buchanan writes. "In short, Iraqis are free to choose a government - of which we Americans approve."

TURBULENT TIMES

A commercial airliner follows a customary Potomac River flight path on its low approach into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. A few miles south, unseen in one of dozens of Maryland inlets (Virginia's got plenty, too - take your pick) surrounded by thick foliage, al Qaeda terrorists in a small speedboat take aim with a shoulder-launched missile.

Not only does the slow-moving jet become an easy target - even in the dark of night when illuminated by its lights - the terrorists disappear and melt back into American society.

Impossible?

If it was, the Bush administration wouldn't be rushing as fast as it is to counter the threat to civil aviation posed by shoulder-launched missiles, or Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS).

In fact, President Bush and the other Group of Eight leaders this week endorsed a U.S.-driven plan to combat the danger to commercial airlines.

In November, there was an unsuccessful missile attack on an Israeli passenger jet in Mombasa, Kenya, a stark reminder of the threat posed by terrorists possessing MANPADS, which are widely available on black or gray markets around the world.

"Even an unsuccessful attack on a commercial airliner would have a devastating economic and political impact," a White House paper on the threat acknowledges.

The U.S. plan adopted by the world leaders will now adopt strict national controls over inventories and exports of MANPADS and key components; ban transfers of MANPADS to nonstate end-users; help countries that wish to dispose of excess MANPADS stocks but lack the means to do so; exchange information on countries that are not cooperating to control stockpiles of these weapons; and examine development of technical features that would prevent unauthorized use of newly produced MANPADS.