- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 4, 2009

PARTY ON

Well, happy 48th birthday President Obama — though the nature of those birthday details has become a politically charged topic among those convinced Mr. Obama was not a natural-born citizen and therefore not eligible for the office.

WorldNetDaily offered $10,000 to anyone who could produce Mr. Obama’s birth certificate. Jason Hommel, the California-based author of the “Silver Stock Report,” has now offered $100,000.

“After all my research into the matter, I thought it would be impossible for anyone to prove that Obama was a ‘natural-born’ U.S. citizen, so I decided to increase the stakes and awareness of the issue by offering more,” Mr. Hommel tells Inside the Beltway. “I am particularly concerned by the rapid loss of freedom in the U.S., particularly the infinite power of the Federal Reserve to buy any business they want with fresh bailout money. That’s leading to totalitarianism.”

He points out that should Mr. Obama be impeached, no Republican will assume office.

Mr. Hommel continues, “Obama is merely George Bush on steroids. The only change is that it’s even more of the same.”

“If it turns out that Obama was born in the U.S., and my reward helps to keep Vice President Joe Biden out of office and ends the controversy - or even highlight the issues of freedom - then I will consider that my money will be well spent,” Mr. Hommel says.

The White House has doggedly countered the rumors for months, officially announcing in October and again in July that Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, also verified that she had reviewed the president’s records and verified he was born in the Aloha State.

SAY CHEESE

Ice cream, cake and party hats with snappy elastics? White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was noncommittal about Mr. Obama’s plans for his birthday - only allowing that every single Senate Democrat will lunch at the White House on Tuesday and the press is not invited. The lawmakers will talk over their feelings about being Democrats, but no big issues will be on the table.

“It’s the president’s birthday,” Mr. Gibbs advised. “And Chuck E. Cheese was booked.”

LIGHTS, CAMERA

Attention, Cecil B. DeMilbank.

Not all print journalists emerge unscathed from appearances on camera, and no wonder. Newspaper types essentially have two choices in TV land: Play it somberly or get coy and hope the audience marvels that a reporter can actually bark, roll over and do tricks.

Things can get complicated, as they did for Washington Post political columnists Dana Milbank and Chris Cillizza, who produce an online video called “Mouthpiece Theater,” which is somewhere between home movie and political discussion at the water cooler.

The gentlemen made a three-minute video about President Obama’s recent beer summit, attired in matching smoking jackets and offering waggish beer selections for luminaries. Why, Republican leadership could swill Devil’s Brew or Lucifer; South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford might enjoy a Molson XXX.

“But we won’t tell you who’s getting a bottle of Mad Bitch,” Mr. Milbank said, as a little photo of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton popped up in the corner.

That is what Mr. Milbank said, though the real name of the aforementioned Belgian beer is De Dolle Brouwers Dulle Teve.

“Dulle Teve means ‘Mad Bitch,’ but the U.S. government does not like the name,” notes the manufacturer’s disclaimer.

The video proved too much for the Columbia Journalism Review, Media Matters and Post management, which yanked the opus from the paper’s Web site. Media Matters, however, snagged and posted the video on its own site. Some marketers might consider this is good thing — Mssrs. Milbank and Cillizza were now banned and bootlegged, and infinitely more appealing.

But wait. Aren’t they, like, “journalists”? Or is this Stephen Colbert syndrome, as the press veers toward celebrityhood.

Media Bistro, the online chat joint for the press, crafted a poll. Did Mr. Milbank go “too far” with his reference to Mrs. Clinton? The results: 67 percent said yes, he did, while 37 percent said, aw-w-w, it was just a joke.

“This lame, dumb attempt by journalists to do ‘video’ is just pathetic. JUST REPORT THE NEWS. That’s all you have to do: Just report the news. You do not have to be doing stupid videos, and you should not be doing these stupid videos,” said one posted comment on the matter.

POLL DU JOUR

30 states are solidly Democratic, 8 states lean Democratic

4 states are solidly Republican, 1 state leans Republican

8 states are competitive.

Top 5 Democratic states: District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Maryland, Vermont.

Top 5 Republican states: Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Alabama.

Source: Gallup Poll survey of 160,236 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 2-June 30.

Announcements, odes and rants to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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