'Piltdown Man'

Posted: Aug 17, 2007 1:47 PM
'Piltdown Man'

'Piltdown Man'

Our mailbox overfloweth this week, thanks to Washington resident John Lockwood, who while conducting research at the Library of Congress came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."

The story told how "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

Our item about Mr. Lockwood's discovery was picked up by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge, reaching audiences totaling in the millions, among them Charles H. Bertram of Ormond Beach, Fla.

"Al Gore's 'global warming' has to be the biggest hoax since England's missing link, 'Piltdown Man.' Look it up, happened about 1912," Mr. Bertram says.

Sure enough, that was the year one of the most famous archaeological hoaxes in history took shape in a gravel pit in the English village of Piltdown, where experts thought they had unearthed the fossilized skull of an early human. Wouldn't you know, more than 40 years later it was determined that a prankster had attached the lower jawbone of an orangutan to the skull of a modern human.

Then there's this letter from an otherwise concerned John Barnes of Lebanon, Tenn.: "Just read the Inside the Beltway note about the 1922 Washington Post article. What can be done to make sure that the environmental radicals do not get inspiration from Sandy Berger and go into the Library of Congress to steal, and then destroy, the article?"

Village idiot

"I feel like ... the idiot, because I feel like I'm distracting from the other things that are important, like global warming and that kind of stuff. I genuinely mean that. And I don't know what to do."

Lindsay Lohan, lamenting on her recent public behavior during an interview with Elle magazine

Gipper's gaze

Look for Ronald Reagan to be keeping permanent watch over the U.S. Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told former first lady Nancy Reagan during a visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California this week that he is working with other senators who want to erect a statue of President Reagan in the U.S. Capitol.

"There could be no more fitting recognition than to welcome his likeness to the halls of Congress," Mr. McConnell told Mrs. Reagan.

Meanwhile, the Republican leader said he will also be sponsoring a bill to establish the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission in preparation for the 100th anniversary of Mr. Reagan's birth on Feb. 6, 2011.

"And you can be sure that there are a lot of us in Washington who will be working hard to make sure this celebration is commensurate with your husband's achievements," he said.

Whose money?

Dennis J. Kucinich doesn't have much money to hide, and yet he's hiding the most.

A 2008 presidential campaign finance analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics finds that the Ohio Democrat, "whose campaign doesn't have that much money to count, has provided zero information about the employment of donors responsible for more than half of his larger contributions."

All candidates, the center points out, are required to provide information about their donors who give more than $200 — name, address, employer and occupation. Still, as of the end of July, $22.4 million in individual contributions to presidential candidates has no employer or occupation information attached to it.

Republican presidential hopefuls, it turns out, have more thoroughly disclosed their campaign money than Democrats, with a full-disclosure median of 92 percent compared to 87 percent for Democrats, according to the center.

Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico is the most revealing, filling in required blanks for 96 percent of his contributions, followed by Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona with 95 percent.

"On the low end, Tom Tancredo — the Colorado Republican who decries the anonymity of undocumented immigrants — hasn't fully documented nearly a quarter of his contributions," the center scolds.