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Apropos of today's warm weather in the East and impending return blizzard to the Plains, let us consider the plight of the world's endangered polar bears.

The Wall Street Journal carried a story Thursday about how polar bears may be added to the endangered list by the Bush administration because of fears that their habitat may be melting in our current global warming heat wave. We even had an administration official on this program last week on the polar bear problem.

Well, am I red-faced. Turns out if you look at the polar bear problem, the problem is too many polar bears. Well, maybe not too many, but there's a lot of them.

In the 1950s the polar bear population up north was estimated at 5,000. Today it's 20- to 25,000, a number that has either held steady over the last 20 years or has risen slightly. In Canada, the manager of wildlife resources for the Nunavut territory of Canada has found that the population there has increased by 25 percent.

Turns out the polar bear is being used by environmental groups to force the Bush administration to cave on global warming. To admit it is here, to admit it is bad, and to ratchet back the U.S. economy to slow down our production of greenhouse gases, which would save the polar bears habitat from melting, maybe, even if there are more and more polar bears around to watch their habitat melt.

This is called the spotted owl theory of environmentalism. Find a critter that might be hurt by human activity, and using that critter as a plaintiff in a lawsuit — I'm exaggerating only slightly — get the human activity to stop.

I've seen logging stopped this way, fishing stopped, and now with the polar bear mega population in danger of breaking into a sweat, a whole lot of things might be stopped if environmentalists get their way.

That's My Word.

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