- The Washington Times - Friday, February 12, 2010

MIGHTY RIGHTIES

The Daily Beasts’ list of “The Right’s Top 25 Journalists” is something to ponder and puzzle upon until the next big roster comes along. The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Gigot is at No. 1, described as “an intensely private man” and “the most influential conservative journalist that many Americans have not heard of.”

Yeah, OK. Well, my cousin once had a crush on him, too.

The rest of the top 10: in second place, Glenn Beck, followed by Rush Limbaugh, Peggy Noonan, Bill O’Reilly, Michelle Malkin, David Brooks, Sean Hannity, James Taranto and Matt Drudge. See the rest at www.thedailybeast .com.

PROTECTION GONE WILD

When in doubt, blame humanity. In an effort to draw attention to the ghastly specter of human reproduction, the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity is distributing “Endangered Species Condoms” in all 50 states beginning Friday.

“Human overpopulation is destroying wildlife habitat at an unprecedented rate,” said Randy Serraglio, a conservation advocate leading the campaign.

“All of the major threats to the earth’s biodiversity - sprawl, logging, mining, dams, pollution and climate change - are driven by human overpopulation. Our Endangered Species Condoms are designed to capture people’s attention, get them laughing and get them talking,” he said.

Well, it will get them doing something, anyway - most likely saving the condoms as collector’s items or selling them on eBay. The six animal portraits showcase all the regulars on the guilt-ridden conservation hit parade, including the polar bear, spotted owl and snail darter.

The condoms will be distributed at bars, supermarkets, schools, concerts, parties and other public events by grandmothers, college students, university professors, health care providers and ministers, the group said.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with volunteers,” Mr. Serraglio said. “We expected 100, but got over 3,000 in just a month. The demand far exceeded our first run of 100,000 condoms. We’ll be producing another 100,000 as soon as the first batch hits the streets.”

The group may have borrowed their idea from the New York City Health Department, which began offering its own line of designer condoms three years ago.

BUMPER PATROL

“Conservative by choice, American by the grace of God.”

- Bumper sticker spotted in Fredericksburg, Va.

READ IT AND WEEP

It took them a year: 34 former heads of the Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the General Accounting Office and the congressional budget committees have crafted a plan. “Red Ink Rising: A Call to Action to Stem the Mounting Federal Debt” is the end product from the bipartisan Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform. Representatives presented their case before the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday.

The 36-page report recommends that the U.S. develop a cogent plan this year, then stabilize the public debt “at a reasonable level over a reasonable time,” specifically, a 60 percent debt-to-GDP target by 2018.

“Under the President Obama’s budget, debt would rise from 53 percent of [gross domestic product] at the end of FY 2009 to 77 percent in 2020, and the debt would continue to grow thereafter,” the analysis says. “Under reasonable assumptions, the debt is projected to grow steadily, reaching 85 percent of GDP by 1018, 100 percent by 2022 and 200 percent in 2038.”

“The fiscal future we leave to succeeding generations will lower their standards of living. It is our strong belief that we must begin to take action now to prevent that from happening,” say co-chairmen and former lawmakers Bill Frenzel, Tim Penny and Charlie Stenholm.

See their opus here: http://budgetreform.org.

RED-MEAT POLITICS

Or not. If only because The Washington Times no longer has a food section and it’s been a long week, the Beltway hereby offers this recipe for turkey lasagne from White House chef Cristeta Comerford, who revealed to Martha Stewart on Thursday that it is a “favorite” of the Obama family. Yes, ABC built an entire show around this and other White House culinary fare, to be broadcast on Presidents Day.

The ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil; 1 cup chopped yellow onion; 4 cloves garlic, minced; 1 pound fresh ground turkey; 1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, crushed; 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste; coarse salt and freshly ground pepper; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil; 16 cooked lasagna noodles; 15 ounces low-fat ricotta or cottage cheese; 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese; 1 large egg, beaten; 2 pounds fresh spinach, washed but not dried; 1 pound low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add ground turkey and cook about 10 minutes. Add plum tomatoes and tomato paste and season with salt and pepper; let simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir in basil and parsley; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and egg; season with salt and pepper and set aside. Place damp spinach in a large skillet over medium heat; cook until wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Ladle one-quarter of the turkey mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; spread to cover. Add a pasta sheet, one-third of the mozzarella, one-third of the ricotta mixture, one-third of the spinach mixture and another quarter of the turkey mixture. Repeat process two more times; top with remaining sheet of pasta. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over top; transfer to oven. Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand about 5 minutes before cutting; serve.

POLL DU JOUR

• 61 percent of American voters say Congress should “scrap” the current health care reform legislation and start over again.

• 84 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of independents agree.

• 53 percent of Democrats say Congress should build on the current health care plan.

• 54 percent of voters overall say Congress should wait until after the November midterm elections to vote on reform.

• 80 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents agree.

• 66 precent of Democrats say the legislation should be passed before November.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Feb. 9-10.

Press releases, complaints, recipes to jharper@washington times.com.

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