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web posted December 20, 1999

Competence gets rewarded! The Lincoln Heritage Institute Announces Their National College Essay Contests - Winners receive $250 cash!

It was announced today that the Lincoln Heritage Institute is accepting applications beginning December 16th for their National Essay Contests. There are two contests a year with the cash awards of $250 being made two weeks prior to Spring Break and at the end of the school year. The subject for the first essay is "The Role of the Media in a Federal Election."

The Lincoln Heritage Institute's National Essay Contest is open to all College and University students majoring in Journalism/Communications or attending law school.

The winning essays will be published in a national periodical, on the Internet, as well as being sent to the electronic and print media.

The students must be at least a sophomore in college or a second year law student with a 3.5 grade average or higher. The essays must be at least 2 000 but not more than 2 500 words in length. All references, quotes, and sources must be identified in footnotes

The subject for the essays will be announced in December and March, and applications are due each year by January 15, for the spring break award, and by March 20 for the end of school year award. Essay deadlines are February 18 and April 20 respectively.

"We have every confidence that the essays submitted by American college students will show a depth of knowledge, interest, understanding, and focus that will make all Americans proud." said C. Grady Drago, President of the Institute. "Our youth are the incubators of the accomplishments and failures of their parents. I believe we will find that in spite of the failings of our public education system, our institutes of higher learning are more than meeting the challenge of educating our youth."

Application may be made by contacting the Institute by e-mail at lhi@wmis.net; or by calling the Institute at 517-663-5909. For expedited service you may fill out the application form on our web site - http://www.lincolnheritage.org or down load it and mail to the Institute at 620 Hall St., Eaton Rapids, MI 48827. In addition to the questions on the form, applicants must provide us with a letter of recommendation by one of his/her professors in the major field, along with an address and phone number. .

In addition to the cash prize, winners will automatically have their winning essay entered in the institute's $1 500 scholarship contest. The Essay contests will be advertised in school papers, and with student organizations.

The Essay Revue Board will evaluate all essays. Members of this Board include Mr. Paul Their, former chief speech writer for President Ford and Undersecretary of Agriculture, Mr. Charles Bedell, Trustee, lawyer for Murphy oil, and former Counsel for U.S. House of Reps.; Mr. Phil Brennan, Author, Journalist (wrote under the name of CATO for the National Revue); Dr. Charles VanEaton, former Manager of the Hillsdale College Economics Department and Currently a member of the faculty at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University; Dr. Mickey Craig, head of the Political Science Department at Hillsdale College; and Jerry Crandall, consultant and former Chief of Staff for then Senate Majority Leader, Senator John Engler of
Michigan.

Many entries, in addition to the winning essays, will be published in the Lincoln Log, the ADDRESS, and in the Lincoln Log News and Views. They will also be uploaded to a special page on our Web Site and remain posted for at least six months.

All essays become the property of the Lincoln Heritage Institute.

Barbara Bush says son sometimes should just not answer questions

Barbara Bush thinks her son is saying a lot of right things in his run for president, but she also suggests he be a bit careful about his words -- advice she admits she doesn't always take herself.

"I'm glib and I think sometimes George is, which is to his detriment sometimes," she said in an interview with USA Today published on December 13.

The former first lady thinks her son was wrong to answer questions about whether he had been faithful to his wife, Laura, which he said he had.

"You've got to draw the line, and maybe he should have drawn it sooner," Mrs. Bush said.

George W. Bush has declined to answer reporters' questions as to whether he has ever used illegal drugs, and Mrs. Bush expects such scrutiny to increase in the coming year.

"Do I think he had a lot of fun at college? You betcha he did. You should work very hard at everything you do, but you also ought to have fun in life. He had a lot of fun, I imagine," she said.

As part of her support for her son's candidacy, Mrs. Bush has raised money for the campaign. But she said she's not the most interested family member in the house.

Former President Bush "is obsessed with the campaign, and I am not," she said.

Still willing to take a political potshot, she said her son would win the Republican presidential nomination and then beat either of the "extraordinarily liberal" Democratic contenders.

At Iowa debate, GOP candidates agree on problems but disagree on solutions

Republican presidential candidates decried violence in America, problems with health care and campaign finance abuse on December 13 at a debate in Iowa, but they largely rejected a major government role in solving those problems.

"I think the best accountability for people who break the law is jail, certain jail," Texas Gov. George W. Bush said when asked about strict gun control laws. Bush and the other candidates took a tone of strict accountability throughout a debate that featured more direct confrontations than past forums.

Bush, Arizona Sen. John McCain, magazine publisher Steve Forbes, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, former ambassador Alan Keyes and conservative activist Gary Bauer converged on the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines to engage in the 90-minute session. The debate followed lines similar to those seen in Phoenix, but some careful staging and a little flexibility in rules and time limits led to a more free-wheeling debate.

The result was more direct conversation and conflict between the candidates -- particularly between Bush and McCain, who differed on several issues.

The two moderators, John Bachman of Des Moines television station WHO and NBC's Tom Brokaw, walked around the stage and approached the candidates directly, and the candidates were not generally cut off by strict time limits. The result was a more conversational tone than in other candidate forums earlier this month.

McCain, for example, went after a sacrosanct Iowa topic -- federal subsidies for ethanol made from corn, the farm state's biggest crop.

"I'm here to tell you the things you don't want to hear as well as the things you want to hear," said McCain, who is not running actively in Iowa and who is second in most national polls to Bush. He said the subsidy should end and that other candidates would agree "if it weren't for the fact that Iowa is the first caucus state."

"I'd support ethanol whether I was here in Iowa or not," Bush responded to loud applause.

The Texas governor spent much of the night taking direct and difficult questions from the moderators and other candidates. For example, when Bauer asked Bush about the potential abortion views of a running mate, Bush said the most important issue was whether the vice president was adequately qualified for the job.

And when McCain tried to extract a pledge from Bush to reject so-called "soft money" -- the unlimited political-party-building funds that come from business and labor -- Bush refused and said such an action would ensure Democratic control of the government. "I think that's unilateral disarmament," he said.

But the lack of formality made it easier for the moderators to skip or ignore candidates, and Forbes appeared to suffer at times from this. For example, the debate was nearly 15 minutes old before Forbes was given the opportunity to answer a question -- after Bush already had twice answered questions.

Bush, on the other hand, appeared to receive more attention than at past debates, and did not exhibit some of the rolling of eyes and discomfort that had caused grumblings in past performances. He did have some awkward moments -- when asked about a philosopher-thinker who had influenced him the most, he said "Jesus" and, when asked why, at first said the answer should be self-evident. But for the most part, the less formal format allowed him to be more conversational and appeared to put him more at ease.

Much of the rest of the debate covered ground the candidates had discussed in two other candidate forums -- one in Phoenix and one in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Concerns that a culture of violence is developing among American youth were raised by several candidates. "There's an insensitivity to life in our society today," said Hatch, who said teenagers "learn how to rape, they learn how to murder, they learn how to treat other human beings wrongfully" because of violent media influences, including films and computer video games.

Several candidates talked of problems with the federal Medicare system, particularly concerns about whether it would cover prescription drug costs in the future. "We're asking senior citizens to make a choice between their health and their income," said McCain. "Medicare is probably the most difficult challenge we face in the next century, because it has a lot to do with other things besides money."

Foreign affairs also took up a substantial portion of the evening, particularly U.S. trade and defense policies toward China.

"I don't think the question is whether China should belong to the World Trade Organization. I believe the question is whether the United States should belong to an organization that violates every constitutional principle," said Keyes.

The early skirmishes for the GOP nomination have been fought largely before party activists, with candidates trying to make bigger impressions in the relatively higher-profile campaign debates. This was the last debate involving all six contenders before the campaign year 2000 actually dawns.

"You have to remember a lot of this is still inside baseball," said Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford. "There aren't a huge number of people paying attention yet, but that number is growing."

The New Hampshire primary is set for February 1, 2000, while Iowa's electoral caucuses will take place a few days earlier, on January 23 and 24.

The Iowa debate was sponsored by the state Republican Party, which distributed some 2 400 tickets to party faithful to view the event live.

Ottawa proposes $1.3 billion to reduce greenhoax gases

The federal cabinet has approved in principle spending $1.3 billion over five years for the first phase of a national climate change strategy, government and environmental sources say.

The majority of the money - $955 million - would be earmarked for programs to reduce the level of greenhouse gases Canada produces, according to briefing notes for a cabinet presentation from David Oulton, who heads the federal Climate Change Secretariat.

Another $235 million would be devoted to the government's science capacity, to generate more information on the effect of expected warming on Canada's polar ice cap and where and when climate change effects will be felt.

Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada, which have joint responsibility for the climate change file, are also requesting $110 million for more research to identify the most vulnerable regions and industries, and to develop ways to adapt.

Canada promised two years ago at an international meeting in Kyoto, Japan, to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 to 6 per cent below 1990 levels. That will actually entail a 26 per cent cut in emissions from business-as-usual levels, the documents say.

The briefing notes call the impact of climate change the "most profound economic challenge since (World War II)," on a scale much greater than either the energy crisis sparked by rising oil prices in the 1970s or the free-trade agreement with the United States.

Over the next 100 years, the cabinet brief predicts, there will be a radical increase in temperature of up to 3 to 5 degrees Celsius in southern Canada and 15 degrees in the North.

The consequences "will include severe droughts and water shortages in some areas, with droughts 10 times more frequent in the Prairies, more floods like the Red River disaster, a half-metre drop in the levels of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and reduced permafrost."

The government has a wide range of policy options available to meet its greenhouse gas commitments, including tax credits to encourage emission-reducing technology and loans for making government and commercial buildings more energy efficient.

Government sources caution that, despite an agreement in principle, cabinet must still assign funding for the proposal.

Climate change may get buried during the run-up to Finance Minister Paul Martin's next budget, expected in late February, one source said.

Buckley's wraps up 'Firing Line'

After 33 years as the conservative beachhead on television, "Firing Line" is declaring a cease-fire.

William F. Buckley taped the final two episodes of his PBS series on December 14, which started at conservatism's ebb and provided a forum for Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. The last show will air during the last week of December.

"You've got to end sometime and I'd just as soon not die onstage," said Buckley, 74. "That it ends at the millennium gives it a poetic touch."

Before ending his 1 429th and last show with a champagne toast, Buckley told viewers, "say your prayers, stay healthy and thanks for sticking with `Firing Line' all this time."

The National Review magazine founder started "Firing Line" in 1966, in the midst of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and two years after Barry Goldwater's humiliating defeat. His ideas advanced with the conservative movement, through the glory years of Reagan and Mrs. Thatcher.

The 1990s saw "Firing Line" often drowned out by the combative political talk that proliferated on cable television. It was cut from an hour to 30 minutes.

"I don't think it has the impact it had because there are so many things you can watch with conservatives and liberals," said William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard and an ABC commentator. "That wasn't the case in the late 1960s."

Kristol, 46, said as a teenager he watched Reagan debate Bobby Kennedy on the Vietnam War, with Buckley serving as moderator.

"For people of my generation, Bill Buckley was pretty much the first intelligent, witty, well-educated conservative one saw on television," he said. "He legitimized conservatism as an intellectual movement and therefore as a political movement."

Kristol was one of six panelists on Buckley's final show, participating in a discussion that meandered through West Coast politics, abortion, the free market, the Sexual Revolution and Washington nightlife.

Despite its title, "Firing Line" stood out as a forum where ideas could be debated at length and not screamed across a table.

Buckley was always willing to give time to an intelligent idea, even when he disagreed, conservative columnist George Will said.

"Americans watch billions of hours of television and almost never see a conversation," Will said. "They see talking heads, they see interrogations, they see shticks of various sorts, monologues, but actual conversation and protracted discussion of any sort is unheard of."

While conservative heroes like Mrs. Thatcher, Goldwater, Jerry Falwell and Jack Kemp were Buckley guests, he also brought on such liberal figures as George McGovern, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, John Kenneth Galbraith and Eugene McCarthy.

Buckley and "Firing Line" were saluted this week in - of all places - the liberal magazine The Nation. Writer Christopher Hitchens said "Firing Line" was one of the best places for people of all political stripes to explain themselves.

"I did my first `Firing Line' in 1983 and swiftly learned that if I left the studio cursing at what I hadn't said, it was my own fault," Hitchens wrote.

"Firing Line" is seen on about 300 of PBS's 350 stations nationally. Buckley has endorsed a successor: He is urging more PBS stations to pick up "Uncommon Knowledge," a weekly public affairs program with Peter Robinson, a former Reagan speechwriter, as host. It is seen on 75 PBS stations.

Rifkin sues Monsanto

A group of Iowa, Indiana, and French farmers sued Monsanto Co. on December 14 for allegedly selling genetically altered crops without first ensuring they were safe for consumers and the environment.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, aims to stop industry leader Monsanto from adding genes to give soybeans, corn, and other plants resistance to pests without more rigorous testing.

Monsanto said its products are safe and the lawsuit was unfounded.

The day before, the Food and Drug Administration held the last in a series of meetings to hear what changes -- if any -- are needed in how biotech foods are regulated and labeled.

The issue is also a priority in world trade talks. Japan, the European Union, South Korea, and others have already moved ahead to require labels on foods made with transgenic crops to satisfy consumer worries about long-term health and safety.

"This lawsuit alleges that the company had a responsibility to make sure that any safety representations about the product were backed up," said Jeremy Rifkin, head of the Foundation on Economic Trends, which is backing the lawsuit filed by two Indiana farmers, two Iowa growers, and a French soybean farmer.

For example, Monsanto should have done additional testing for Bt corn in other countries to determine if the crop posed any risks in other climates and soil types, he said.

"This lawsuit will refocus the global debate," Rifkin said. "It puts the spotlight directly on the life science companies and the future of agriculture. It's no longer just a trade issue between the United States and the European Union."

Rifkin is an environmental activist who has published several books about transgenic crops and has petitioned the FDA to impose stricter standards for testing and approval.

Also supporting the lawsuit is the National Family Farm Coalition, which represents more than 20,000 US growers with concerns about genetically modified crops.

American farmers, who eagerly embraced biotech crops during the past three years, will spend the winter months deciding what seeds to buy for spring planting. Some are worried that conventional crops could command a premium over transgenic ones, reflecting the preference of overseas buyers.

In 1999, half of the soybeans and one-third of corn grown by US farmers were genetically modified varieties.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, which could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, Rifkin said.

It also accused Monsanto of anti-competitive practices to control the patents and sale of altered seeds. Named in the lawsuit as alleged co-conspirators with Monsanto were Novartis AG, DuPont Co, AstraZeneca Plc, and Dow Chemical Co.

Monsanto said it would fight the lawsuit.

"We're people who use these products, too. We're not going to introduce something into the market that is unsafe for families," said David Snively, an attorney for Monsanto.

Monsanto said it spent tens of millions of dollars and years to field test each new plant variety for safety.

Company scientists test how quickly a modified plant is broken down inside an animal's stomach, whether the nutritional components have changed, and the impact on the environment.

Although fewer than a dozen companies dominate the development and sales of genetically altered seeds, there is fierce competition among them, Snively said.

"We're as competitive an industry as one can imagine," he said. "Monsanto's products have had widespread acceptance in the marketplace because they have performed well."

Farmers like the crops because they need fewer chemical pesticides and produce better yields and quality, he said.

The company is also pushing ahead with the next generation of altered crops engineered to benefit consumers.

The week before, Monsanto announced it had developed a genetically engineered rapeseed plant that could help the estimated 800 million people in Third World nations who suffer from blindness and other Vitamin A deficiency diseases.

Rifkin said vitamin-enhanced crops may pose more problems.

"What are the repercussions for foraging birds, insects and other animals when they digest plants that are acting as pharmaceutical factories?" Rifkin said. "We just don't know."

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