- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ALIEN ISSUES

“District 9,” the extraterrestrial oppression film, is currently No. 1 at the box office as Americans become alien-attuned, at least for a spell. Those who follow the political side of such phenomena have never left their posts, meanwhile.

“The main issue for us hasn’t changed,” Stephen Bassett tells Inside the Beltway. The executive director of D.C.-based Paradigm Research Group and X-PPAC — the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee — is calling for the White House to release all classified materials about UFOs, alien encounters, unusual technology and additional otherworldly fare.

“The U.S. government has got to change its position on this truth embargo. They need to let people know what’s going on here, just like the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Brazil and Russia are doing,” Mr. Bassett says.

Indeed, those countries are slowly releasing official accounts of unusual events. The National Archives of Britain, for example, posted 4,000 pages online Monday documenting 800 alleged “encounters” in the past two decades, including a firsthand report from a U.S. Air Force officer.

Mr. Bassett pines for something similar. His organization has sent thousands of letters and e-mails to the White House asking for formal acknowledgement of “the ET presence.” The group wants eyewitnesses to extraterrestrial phenomena to testify before Congress; it wants to know if some fabulous new science is languishing in a Pentagon desk drawer. And it wants a big story, too.

Mr. Bassett also says X-PPACers have contacted the White House Correspondents’ Association in an effort to persuade journalists to “step up, do their job and ask appropriate questions.”

He says there’s some irony afoot — or aloft, maybe.

President Obama included government transparency as part of his campaign,” he says. “If he doesn’t end this truth embargo, he’ll have to inherit it, he’ll have to explain why he sat on this information. Because if the U.S. doesn’t come out with it, France, Britain, Russia or China will. This could be a huge, political, historical legacy, and it’s a chess game.”

Yes, well. And from our Who Knows Desk, we reported that in May, a Rasmussen Reports survey found that 53 percent of American voters said intelligent life exists on other planets — with liberals more inclined to believe this than conservatives, 72 percent to 45 percent.

SARAH’S BACKYARD

Drill, drill, drill? Well, maybe not just yet.

Still, there is some intense interest in the land of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The White House’s brand new Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force is journeying through Alaska and the Arctic region this week — Nome, Fairbanks, Barrow, Prudhoe Bay — chatting up the locals, indigenous community leaders and industry representatives.

The official party includes David Hayes, deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior; Jane Lubchenco, under secretary for Commerce of Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator; Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change; and Adm. Thad W. Allen, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, among others. The journey will culminate in a town meeting in Anchorage on Friday.

President Obama has ordered that a “framework for improved stewardship, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning” be ready in six months, according to a White House memo, all in an “ecosystem-based approach.”

CHRIS CRAFT

Coming Aug. 27 on MSNBC: “The Kennedy Brothers: A Hardball Documentary, reported by Hardballs Chris Matthews.”

Wait, as in Chris Matthews? The “thrill going up my leg” Chris Matthews? Yes. The man whose commentary regularly vexes Republicans and conservatives also does serious long-form fare, and in solemn mode.

“This is a ‘Hardball’ look at the Kennedy brothers and their tough fight for the American presidency. It’s grounded in real-life politics and contains footage you’ve never seen before and inside accounts you’ve never heard before,” Mr. Matthews tells Beltway.

PHONE CALL DU JOUR

What with all the hoopla about Tom DeLay’s upcoming foray into terpsichore on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” an unidentified female reader called up in a fit of pique to point out what she deemed an inconsistency.

“I thought Mr. DeLay was a Baptist. And I thought Baptists weren’t supposed to dance,” she said.

POLL DU JOUR

35 percent of Americans say Obamacare is “good” for the quality of medical care overall.

34 percent say Obamacare is good “for people like them.”

39 percent say Obamacare could help contain the cost of health care.

52 percent say it could help provide more people with insurance.

30 percent say it could strengthen the economy.

42 percent say it could make health care more cost-effective.

Source: A Harris poll of 2,029 adults conducted July 20-22.

Truths, hearsay, press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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