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Inside the Beltway

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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RON'S RANT

The "ground zero mosque" outcry continues, and this time the outcry is over the outcry - with some rambunctious libertarian underpinnings.

"Are we not overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians are 'fiddling' while the economy burns," says an annoyed Rep. Ron Paul, who emerges in support of the project, demanding less "grandiose demagoguery" and more cogent chatter on war, peace and prosperity.

"The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom? In my opinion, it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it," the Texas Republican continues.

"They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill-conceived preventative wars," Mr. Paul says, adding, "Many fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and First Amendment issues and don't want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be 'sensitive' and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction."

The lawmaker's break with many of his peers spells opportunity for some, though.

"Ron Paul vs. Rand Paul on the mosque," observes Justin Elliott of Slate magazine "Ron Paul goes after conservative critics of the so-called "ground zero mosque," a group that includes his own son.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE

"Ridiculous."

Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman, on the idea that Pentagon was involved in recent rape allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

LUNAR TUNES

What music will wake up the astronauts on the final space shuttle mission? While old hippies surely insist on something from the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the leading contenders of the moment are "Countdown" by Rush, "The Star Trek Theme" by Alexander Courage and "Blue Sky" by Big Head Todd.

This is according to the ever more cuddly NASA, which is allowing the public to vote on a list of 40 musical contenders for the official rousing moment. And in a dream scenario for every garage band on the planet, the federal agency will also consider original songs. Details at https://songcontest.nasa.gov

PURSE STRINGS

"The economy is the moral issue of our time," Sonja Eddings Brown, founder of the Kitchen Cabinet, tells Inside the Beltway. "This is the year for fiscally conservative women to unite, to stand on our principles and resist this huge movement to bury our children in debt."

Mrs. Brown, a former ABC News producer and mother of three, founded the catchy-named California political action committee to organize women and promote fiscally conservative political candidates like U.S. Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina.

"We give everyday women the voice they deserve in Washington. So many of us are desperately worried about jobs, our house payments and the futures of our families. Washington doesn't seem to be listening to our pleas to stop spending our money," Mrs. Brown continues. "This is a get-out-the-vote effort, with 10 weeks until election day."

Visit the effort here: www.thekitchencabinet pac.com.

AND THAT'S THE NEWS

Once there were "women's" and lifestyle editors, or those who tended high school sports. Time marches on. The Associated Press has named Sonya Ross the new "Race/Ethnicity/Demographics editor," a first for the wire service.

"She'll work with AP journalists around the country to produce coverage that captures the changing facets of race and ethnicity in the United States and its effects on the experiences of people of various races," says acting Washington bureau chief Steven Komarow.

"She'll help the AP look thoughtfully at the evolving definition and significance of race and ethnicity in American culture and society," he adds. "Sonya will also expand her role in the news department's diversity initiatives, and help the AP create new types of content on diversity topics in all formats."

ANCHORS AWAY

Statistics from a single health facility in Texas bring the 14th Amendment - which grants automatic citizenship for babies born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants - into focus. Three-quarters of the 7,000 babies born annually at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth are the offspring of undocumented workers.

Republicans, including Sen. John Cornyn, have called for hearings in January, when Texas lawmakers are expected to file legislation prohibiting Texas hospitals from issuing birth certificates to the "anchor babies" of illegal immigrants.

"We cheapen the value of our citizenship, particularly when we give it away to people who are committing a crime against the United States," state Rep. Leo Berman of Tyler tells the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

POLL DU JOUR

- 81 percent of liberal voters say President Obama's views are "mainstream."

- 75 percent of conservative voters say his views are "extreme."

- 48 percent of voters overall say the views of Mr. Obama are extreme.

- 57 percent overall say the "Democratic congressional agenda" is extreme.

- 55 percent of U.S. voters consider the views of Sarah Palin to be extreme

- 35 percent say the views of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are extreme.

- 33 percent say the views of Mitt Romney are extreme.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Aug. 21 and 22.

- Rants, rumbles and occasional kindly notes to jharper@washington times.com.

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