“We just finished one of those wonderful French lunches that have been drawing Americans to Paris for centuries,” Kerry said en français. He praised France as America’s oldest ally, among other niceties. Then, with a wry smile, he said it was time to switch to English, “because otherwise I would not be allowed to return back home.”
A day earlier, Kerry tried out his German in Berlin. Pretty good was the verdict of an unscientific sampling of German reporters. On Thursday, Kerry gets a chance to show off his Italian in Rome.
Of course, when he arrives in the Eternal City, he can always rely on his old Yale roommate, U.S. Ambassador David Thorne, if he needs any translation help.
Weather, or not
Way back in 2001, a bipartisan group of House members formed the Climate Change Caucus, with a goal that at the time didn’t sound so radical: tackling the threat of global warming.
Flash forward nearly 12 years and the politics are very different. In a sign of just how things have changed, this month, another group formed. Its name is the rather euphemistic “Safe Climate Caucus,” and its membership doesn’t include a single Republican.
Members of the new group, spearheaded by Rep. Henry Waxman
(D-Calif.), have promised to take the bold step of . . . talking about climate change every day on the House floor.
The name seems a bit of clever branding. After all, it’s practically mainstream to deny “climate change,” but who doesn’t want a “safe climate”? We hear Waxman picked the moniker to focus on the “heart of the issue.”
The now-defunct Climate Change Caucus was led by former Reps. Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.) and John Olver (D-Mass.), and the enterprise petered out after Gilchrest was defeated in 2008.
Gilchrest, now director of Maryland’s Sassafras Environmental Education Center, wasn’t surprised to hear that the Climate Change Caucus had disbanded, or that no Republicans had joined the new group. But he’s unimpressed with any rebranding efforts. “It’s a little silly to call it anything but what it is,” he said.
Guess it will take more than that for the GOP to warm to the effort.
Nice while it lasted
House Speaker John Boehner, citing the impending sequester cuts to the federal budget, Wednesday canceled all House codel (congressional delegation) travel on military jets, our colleague Paul Kane
reported, citing GOP sources in the room.
Members may still be able to fly commercially, however.
Of course, as we noted the other day, that spectacular perk — full-service, business-class-only travel — was apt to be a sequester casualty anyway, for both the House and the Senate.