- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 24, 2010

ETCHED IN THE HEART

Korean War veterans remember exactly where they were some six decades ago. And we pause with them, on the anniversary of the conflict’s earliest moments. More than 231,000 North Korean troops invaded South Korea before dawn on June 25, 1950. Three days later, Seoul fell and President Truman ordered U.S. forces into service against the “unprovoked aggression.” Numbers speak loudest here - the Defense Department casualty statistics from that very first day to July 27, 1953, the date of the armistice:

1,789,000 (total serving “in theater”), 38,574 (total “in-theater deaths”), 17,672 (total “non-theater deaths”), 1,521 (total killed in action, no remains), 22 (died of wounds, no remains), 4,549 (missing in action, no remains), 1,891 (“captured and declared dead,” no remains), 8 (“non-hostile missing,” no remains), 84 (“non-hostile, other deaths,” no remains), 103,284 (wounded, “not mortal”).

It is a “forgotten war” no more, however. Thousands of veterans and active duty troops here and in South Korea remember, says the Defense Department. A massive ceremony at Seoul’s Jamsil Olympic Stadium will unfold Friday, with more to follow - including a re-enactment of the Inchon landing on Sept. 15 by a hundred U.S. Marines, accompanied by counterparts from six other countries.

“This is the Republic of Korea saying ‘thank you for all that you did 60 years ago’ ,” says Army Gen. Walter Sharp - commander of U.S. Force Korea, Combined Forces Korea and United Nations Command - and son of Earl W. Sharp, an infantry platoon leader with the 40th Division during the Korean War.

ANTI-GRAVITAS

The heavyweights around the nation’s capital already manage to operate in rarified air, perhaps. But come the Fourth of July, the power players have a chance to get weightless, too. ZERO-G, the only FAA-approved provider of commercial weightless flights, will be thundering out of Washington Dulles International Airport for the few, the proud and the well-heeled.

Passengers, who experience 15 brief periods of weightlessness aboard a specially tricked out aircraft, get pre-flight training, a flight suit, video, a “regravitation celebration” and certificate. The price? The “ZERO-G Experience” is $4,950 per seat, uh, plus tax. For details: Call 888/664-7284 or visit www.gozerog.com.

THE SPITZER SHOW

Inquiring minds want to know. Does Kristin Davis - the “Mayflower Madam” who once supplied former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer with call girls - approve of his new gig as CNN talk-show host? Ms. Davis has entered politics herself, and is now running for governor of the Empire State as a libertarian candidate.

“I am disgusted that CNN has given Eliot Spitzer a spot hosting a show. I feel very very strongly that this man should not be put in the position to influence the lives of others. He should not be in any position of power,” she tells Inside the Beltway.

“I, personally, have no desire to have a cable talk show. Although, I would love, love to sit across a table as a guest on Spitzer’s show. Its about time someone asked the real questions,” she adds.

MIRED IN CONTROVERSY

The networks love to report on the drama of “controversial” laws. Trouble is, the laws deemed “controversial” are often conservative laws, says the Culture and Media Institute, which analyzed 110 news transcripts from ABC, CBS and NBC from the past five years. The researchers found that laws reflecting conservative ideology were called “controversial” 30 times as often as those representing the liberal side.

The Arizona immigration law, however, was pigeonholed the most, deemed controversial 56 percent of the time in total broadcast coverage.

“The recent health care reform law, which 55 percent of likely voters would like to see repealed, wasn’t labeled ‘controversial’ once,” says researcher Alana Goodman. “Neither was the auto bailout package, which 53 percent of Americans believe was a bad idea.”

The only two “liberal laws” described as controversial were Oregon’s assisted suicide policy and a California law requiring serial numbers on bullets, in single reports, both on ABC News.

STICKS AND STONES

Uh-oh. The word police have trained their software upon the White House. The Global Language Monitor reveals that five main narrative “arcs” about President Obama have emerged on the public’s radar, based on an extensive analysis of press coverage, social media outlets, blogs and electronic databases. The Texas-based researchers use analytic software to track the frequency of key words and phrases.

The primary themes are “Obama as oil spill enabler, Obama as the big spender, Obama as the Chicago-style pol, Obama as out-of-touch or aloof and Obama as healthcare reformer,” the analysis says.

The BP oil spill is taking its toll.

“These trends will likely prove less favorable than Mr. Obama’s original narrative as the Washington outsider, who will stare down both Beltway denizens and politics as usual,” says the group’s president Paul JJ Payack.

“The narratives emerging from this inexorably slowly unfolding ecological disaster are running roughshod over those earlier, far-more positive narratives the president is attempting to revive,” he adds.

POLL DU JOUR

c 75 percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s deal with BP to pay $20 billion for oil spill damages.

c 72 percent say the spill will have an impact on White House policy and congressional legislation to decrease use of oil and increase use of alternative fuels.

c 60 percent say BP will “make good” on its pledge to pay for damages.

c 55 percent say offshore drilling is “safe, reliable and cost-effective.”

c 50 percent say Mr. Obama’s response to the spill was “too passive.”

c 22 percent gave a positive review of the federal government’s response.

c 10 percent gave a positive review to BP’s response.

Source: A Zogby Interactive poll of 2,099 adults conducted June 18 to 21.

c Weighty remarks and inside skinny to jharper@ washingtontimes.com. Follow her at twitter.com/harper bulletin.