- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2009

Smart Girls

What Stacy Mott started as a simple blog has morphed into a thriving social networking site, complete with its own e-zine aimed at Republican women.

“I started as a blogger in June and in November I put out a help-wanted ad online for conservative women to start a small group,” said SmartGirlPolitics.org founder and president Stacy Mott. “I thought I would get a couple hundred. I got 10,000.”

The site is even popular with some men, too. Former Bush White House Senior Adviser Karl Rove frequently promotes it on his Twitter account.

The new project, called Smart Girl Nation, launched this week. The first lineup of stories ranged from discussions on politics, feminism and culture, such as the debate over Miss California’s statements on gay marriage. One of the most popular initial articles is a piece of political satire in which a writer, who goes by Dr. Dave, imagines what would happen if Somali pirates snuck into the White House to steal President Obama’s teleprompter.

It ended with a joke about a failed rescue for the teleprompter. “Using binoculars, this reporter could see what appeared to be the following message on its screen [in screaming all-capital letters]: ‘Don’t come for me. I orchestrated this escape. I can’t take anymore abuse from these incompetents.’ ”

“It all ties back to politics in one shape or form,” Mrs. Mott laughed.

Big budget book

Getting the inside scoop on the president’s budget is going to cost you.

The Government Printing Office is selling the official fiscal 2010 budget, which runs 1,360 pages, for $73. The information is also available, for free, online for those who prefer their budgets in paperless form.

Conservative fiesta

Nearly 100 conservatives gathered with some Republican luminaries to celebrate a fiesta for the first anniversary of an advocacy group created to improve the party’s relationship with the Hispanic community.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions all toasted the group the Hispanic Leadership Fund (HLF) at a fundraiser in upper Georgetown on Wednesday evening.

There, attendees dined on hors d’oeuvres, drank cocktails and listened to what organizers called “Reagan revolution music” from the 1980s.

HLF President Mario Lopez said, “We try to make our events fun, upbeat as well as reflective of the Latino culture.”

Bushisms continue

A new book about worldwide religious revival attributes a quotation about Texas evangelicals to former President George W. Bush that’s certain to stir up some tension in the religious community.

The Economist’s John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge claim Mr. Bush made a pointed remark during his 2000 campaign to a Texas-based reporter, who asked him whether he thought his support for free trade with China might have cost him the Christian vote.

“You only think that because you live around those wackos,” the president replied, according to the authors.

Obama in action

President Obama is now, permanently, in action. Even in Tokyo.

Jailbreak Toys has produced a series Barack Obama dolls. Prices range from $12.99 to $20. One features the president in a plain, black suit. Another is completely blank to allow someone to paint the president to their liking. An “inaugural edition” toy has the president in a metallic gold suit.

The most popular doll, however, is no longer for sale. The “Tokyo exclusive,” which comes with an all-white suit and pale blue tie, is sold out.

Jailbreak Toys has been running ads to help sell its dolls on the left-leaning blog Daily Kos.

Handshake bans

Several colleges are banning handshaking at upcoming commencement ceremonies over concerns about spreading the A-H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu.

Administrators at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, the University of Illinois and the University of South Florida (USF) have each forbidden anyone to shake hands while congratulating their 2009 graduates.

“It has been decided that there will be no handshaking at commencement ceremonies due to the recent outbreak of swine flu and the spreading of germs through touching (handshaking),” USF chief of staff Cindy Visot wrote to deans and vice presidents.

UM Business Dean Robert Dolan has joked his graduates consider replacing handshakes with an elbow bump for the ceremonies.

Some say the paranoia over the virus is getting … ahem … out of hand.

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter @washingtontimes.com.

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