- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 20, 2010

SHE’S STILL GOT IT

Reassuring news in troubled times. Some great American assets just keep on keepin’ on. Classic movie goddess Jane Russell — at age 89 — will be part of the burgeoning cast for Troopathon 2010, an 8-hour live broadcast from the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library. The event to raise money for care packages sent to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan was organized by Move America Forward — a grass-roots pro-troop group — and will be hosted by talk radio goddess Melanie Morgan and Big Hollywood founder Andrew Breitbart.

Other guests who will join live or via video feed July 1 include Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dennis Miller, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Michael Graham, Frank Gaffney — broadcasters all — plus actor Gary Sinise, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton and Newsbusters .com editor Noel Sheppard. The aforementioned care packages include everything from edible goodies to CDs, sun block, grooming items and other cheerful fare. Oh, and this also might be a good week to review some of Miss Russell’s grand films, like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “The Outlaw,” among others.

“We’ve got a lot of great guests joining us — including my great-aunt Jane Russell. She’s still going strong and I’m really excited to work with a legend of the silver screen,” event spokesman Levi Russell tells Inside the Beltway, and advises readers to consult www.troopathon.org for information.

TAKE A RAIN CHECK

The Gulf oil spill is a testing ground for one new reality, that’s for sure. Politicians will get no rest from their critics, thanks to unwavering news coverage, social media and live video from ocean depths, as well as White House fetes. Plan accordingly, says one who is also under the microscope on occasion.

“As oil continues to spill in the Gulf and unemployment hovers at 10 percent, the president can no longer take his eye off the ‘oil.’ While it is fitting and appropriate to look at the yachting activities of the BP CEO with incredulity, it is equally incredible that President Obama finds himself on yet another golf course as oil continues to spew into the Gulf,” says Republican National Committee chairman Michael S. Steele.

“Until this problem is fixed, no more golf outings, no more baseball games, no more Beatle concerts, Mr. President. The stakes are too high for President Obama’s lackadaisical approach to both his responsibilities and the challenges we face,” he adds.

READ AND WEEP

And gnash, too. James Corbett, a professor of marine policy at the University of Delaware has made a few calculations to bring the Gulf oil spill into visceral focus. The amount of crude oil lost — up to 60,000 barrels a day — since the rig explosion over two months ago could have produced enough refined fuel to power 133,000 autos, 11,000 trucks and 184 container ships for a year, Mr. Corbett says. Or cover all the petroleum needs for Orange County, Calif.; Reno, Nevada; Hartford, Conn., or Cape Coral, Fla. - also for a year.

“Trying to understand ‘how big is big’? That led me to think of ways to compare that, and in terms that we might understand,” Mr. Corbett explains.

POLITICAL CURRENCY

Is gold still worth the investment? Is the ultimate merger between Washington and Wall Street? What about the horrors — or secret mother lodes — on Wall Street? The Fox Business Network premiers “Money Rocks” at 8 p.m. on Monday, providing, the network says, a new take on financial practices at the vigorous intersection of the economy and politics, with celebrity and scandal thrown in.

“For years Washington and Wall Street have lived similar but separate lives,” host and former independent commodities trader Eric Bolling tells Inside the Beltway. “With the economic tsunami that hit recently and the ensuing White House response — the two have become one. The battle of free market principles with various social and economic distributions is on. ‘Money Rocks’ will, among other things, explore those fronts and their impact on every American citizen.”

KAGAN WATCH

Seven days and counting before confirmation hearings begin on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Broadcasters such as PBS are already planning “gavel to gavel” coverage of Miss Kagan’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her confirmation is expected by most insiders, punctuated by recent, impeccably timed releases of tens of thousands of documents showcasing her time in service to the Clinton administration.

These documents show that Miss Kagan is a “political operative,” says Carrie Severino, chief counsel to the Judicial Crisis Network, “with disdain for the Second Amendment and the National Rifle Assoc., concern for currying favor with gay and lesbian groups, and support for judges who will decide cases by giving an edge to ‘the underdog’ and interpreting the Constitution as a ‘living,’ malleable document.”

Ms. Severino adds, “This is in stark contrast to the way the John Roberts and Samuel Alito nominations were handled. Documents for those nominees were released truly as available — on every day of the week and not only at the low points in the news cycle.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 92 percent of Americans say the Gulf oil spill is “out of control.”

• 89 percent say the oil spill will affect their families, either directly, or indirectly.

• 63 percent favor amending the law to raise the liability limits on BP’s damage payments to spill victims.

• 51 percent say the Gulf will eventually “recover,” 49 percent say it will “never recover.”

• 51 percent oppose increased offshore oil drilling, 49 percent favor it.

• 48 percent say the situation in the Gulf is getting worse, 38 percent say it is stabilizing.

• 14 percent say it is “getting better.”

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research poll of 534 adults conducted June 16.

News, views and occasional optimistic factoids to jharper@washingtontimes.com.