- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 15, 2010

BLOCK PARTY

The season of SB 1070 lawsuits is upon us. Friends and foes of Arizona’s immigration law - set to take effect in less than two weeks - are in full warrior mode. Seven lawsuits challenging the legislation are already in federal court. The Obama administration has filed a preliminary injunction to block the law. Republican Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and David Vitter of Louisiana have crafted an amendment meant to block the White House maneuver. It was deftly attached to a small-business bill set for floor debate next week.

Now Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, the man who actually wrote the legislation in language consistent with federal law, has filed a “motion to intervene,” also intended to block the White House.

“The purpose of SB 1070 is to protect the citizens of Arizona from the devastating and deadly impact of rampant illegal immigration. And it is outrageous that the Obama administration would attack Arizona for simply protecting its own citizens, especially when it has failed so miserably to do its constitutional duty and secure the border. This is a legal battle of epic proportions,” Mr. Pearce says.

“In many ways, this comes down to a fight between those who want to enforce the law and those who do not,” says Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, the conservative legal watchdog that will represent Mr. Pearce.

STRONG BREW

Calls for reconciliation between the NAACP and the grass-roots “tea party” have come from Newt Gingrich and others following a week of controversy between the two sides over charges of racism. But the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is still taking the hard line and says tea partiers have “failed to repudiate elements within the movement who use racist or bigoted language.”

The riff continues; CAIR is now tracking incidents it says shows that tea partiers are “Islamaphobic,” says communications director Ibrahim Hooper.

“If the ‘tea party’ wishes to be taken seriously by mainstream Americans, it must repudiate all those who express or promote extremist, racist or bigoted views while claiming to be affiliated with the movement,” Mr. Hooper says.

STRONGER BREW

“Have you noticed that you can’t swing a dead cat these days without hitting some television host claiming the ‘tea party’ or a conservative is racist? Turn on ABC and there it is. Ditto CBS, CNN, and MSNBC,” observes Noel Sheppard, a media analyst for Newsbusters, an online press review.

“Think it’s just a coincidence, or could this be a response to President Obama’s plummeting poll numbers and the panic in the liberal media that November could be a realigning election that results in a massive Republican sweep of Congress?” Mr. Sheppard adds.

REPUBLICANS PLEASE NOTE

Sometimes bare numbers speak the loudest. NGP Software - which provides fundraising software for 75 percent of all Democratic lawmakers, the Democratic National Committee and its affiliates plus 90 percent of all Democratic state parties - says the donor money is coursing in. Overall contributions to Democrats have increased by 62 percent in the past two years, the company says.

“Many Democratic campaigns are running more sophisticated online fundraising efforts in 2010, and as a result they’re raising dramatically more online,” observes CEO Stu Trevelyan.

BUMPER PATROL

“I started out with nothing and still have most of it left.”

Bumper sticker spotted in Gaithersburg, Md.

A LITTLE ADVANCE

The release of former President George W. Bush’s 548-page autobiography “Decision Points” is impeccably timed. It will hit book shelves on Nov. 9, just 48 hours before the midterm elections begin, providing a distraction to the Democratic campaign dance and a boon to Republicans intent on retooling their party’s image.

Crown Books describes the book as a “groundbreaking new brand of memoir” that will “shatter the conventions of political autobiography - also promising it will “captivate supporters, surprise critics and change perspectives on one of the most consequential eras in American history - and the man at the center of events.”

Crown also says Mr. Bush “writes honestly and directly about his flaws and mistakes,” adding, “he also offers intimate new details on his decision to quit drinking, discovery of faith, and his relationship with his family.”

RING-A-DING-DING

It’s political theater of the best. Or worst, maybe. Now available: Nine free phone ringtones in the real voice of Rod R. Blagojevich, gleaned from FBI recordings and complete with expletives and brusque Chicago style. Oddly enough, the ringtones are being offered by the State Journal Register, the oldest newspaper in Illinois. Hear the paper’s sonic cavalcade of Rod at www.sj-r.com.

To the paper’s credit, there is courtesy bleep whenever Mr. Blagojevich drops the proverbial f-bomb. Incidentally, this is the second round of Blago-style ringtones; the first were offered in 2008 by FunMo and Entertonement, a pair of online electronic companies.

POLL DU JOUR

68 percent say the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is a “major disaster.”

65 percent of Americans give BP negative ratings in their response to the Gulf oil spill.

65 percent also disapprove of the federal government’s response.

56 percent approve of criminal charges against oil companies involved in the spill.

53 percent disapprove of the way President Obama has handled the spill.

44 percent say the amount of offshore drilling should be “kept the same.”

35 percent are “angry” about the spill, 33 percent are “concerned” and 29 percent are “upset.”

Source: An ABC News/Washington Post survey of 1,288 adults conducted July 7-11.

Speculations and assorted annoyances to jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.