- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009


”Reminds me of Jimmy Carter turning off the lights at the White House,” says our insider at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), who forwards a memo he and his colleagues were sent by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Among nearly two dozen “major” cost-saving steps Ms. Napolitano announced she will implement over the next 120 days: consolidating subscriptions to publications and newspapers to avoid duplication, eliminating printing and distribution of all reports and documents that can be sent electronically or posted online, maximizing use of conference calls and Web-based meetings and using purchasing agreements to save on office supplies.

“Finally,” the secretary writes to the myriad agencies that now fall beneath the DHS umbrella, “in the interest of cost containment and unifying the department, I enacted a moratorium on all external contracts for the design and production of new seals and logos. Let me be clear - many DHS components have long histories that are linked to their seals. We are proud of this heritage and thankful for their service. But we’re also stewards of taxpayer dollars and we’re not spending any more money to develop new logos.”


A North Carolina congresswoman is accusing the Democratic leadership of “living the book ‘1984’ by George Orwell,” published in 1949 and famous for its portrayal of government encroachment and control over the citizenry.

”I want to say that if there is anybody out there who hasn’t read ‘1984,’ ” begins Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, “or hasn’t read it in a long time, I strongly urge you to do so because we are obviously living through what Orwell predicted. We are just a few years later than he suggested it would be.”

Twenty-five years, to be exact.


”GM: Government Motors.”

That’s how Republicans on Capitol Hill are now referring to General Motors, after the Obama administration’s virtual takeover of the once-mighty Detroit automaker.


So how popular is President Obama after 70 days in the Oval Office?

The latest Rasmussen Reports daily presidential tracking poll, issued Wednesday, finds 37 percent of the nation’s voters “strongly approve” of his performance, while 29 percent “strongly disapprove.”

Overall, 57 percent “somewhat approve” of Mr. Obama’s performance, while 41 percent “disapprove.”

Mr. Obama’s biggest group of supporters: 84 percent of African-Americans “strongly approve” of the president’s performance.


Earlier this week, Inside the Beltway recalled the late Joseph Pulitzer once stating: “Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together.”

Now, a survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism at the Pew Research Center finds that even the newest breed of “online” journalists believes that “the Internet is changing the fundamental values of journalism - and more often than not for the worse.”

That said, these same members of the Online News Association are less likely to think journalism is headed in the “wrong direction” than are journalists from the “legacy media,” such as newspapermen.

The more-traditional journalists surveyed, who also file stories on the Internet, albeit not exclusively, also believe the Web is lowering journalistic values. “In particular, they are worried about declining accuracy,” the research group states.

Said one unidentified reporter: “I think there’s a huge potential in online journalism, but there’s also a lot of scary stuff out there.”

• John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or or e-mail jmccaslin @washington times.com.

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