- The Washington Times - Friday, March 12, 2010

TRILLION JILLION KAZILLION

There is a bumper sticker out there that says, “Don’t tell President Obama what comes after a trillion.” And there are wags who suggest Mr. Obama’s face should be on a trillion-dollar bill, if and when we ever have one. But what’s a trillion, let alone the $9.7 trillion Mr. Obama’s budgets would add to the national debt over the next decade. Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican, and his very nimble Republican Study Committee have assembled their own comparisons to help voters understand “the value of one trillion.” A few examples:

“With one trillion dollars, you could buy each person in the world an iPod. One trillion dollars could give every kid in the world $455. While some may say she’s priceless, according to her insured value, one trillion dollars could pay for roughly 1,400 Mona Lisas. A Maserati GranTurismo is worth about $117,500. With one trillion dollars, you could buy 8,510,638 of these speedsters, roughly one for every person in the state of New Jersey.”

“With the median sales price for a new home in America at a little more than $200,000, we could build, with one trillion dollars, a brand new abode for 5 million American families. The cost of building the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center was $621,000,000. With one trillion dollars, you could build 1,610 of these underground wonders.”

THE MASSA MEDIA

There was caterwaul and questionable moments, but the rabid press actually had some watchdog impact while chronicling the rapid denouement of former congressman Eric Massa, the New York Democrat who resigned from office this week. In a House resolution introduced Thursday, Rep. John A. Boehner cited three newspaper accounts about Mr. Massa’s sexually charged high jinks to help justify his call to investigate what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew - and when she knew it.

“Numerous confusing and conflicting media reports that House Democratic leaders knew about, and may have failed to handle appropriately, allegations that Rep. Massa was sexually harassing his own employees have raised serious and legitimate questions about what Speaker Pelosi, as well as other Democratic leaders and their respective staffs, were told, and what those individuals did with the information in their possession,” the resolution states. “The aforementioned media accounts have held the House up to public ridicule.”

But the Massa-centric media completely irked Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, who spotted just two lone reporters in the press gallery to witness his criticism of the war in Afghanistan.

‘We’re hearing about Eric Massa 24/7,” the Rhode Island Democrat hollered. “The press of the United States is not covering the most significant issue of national importance, and that is the laying down of life in the service of our country. It’s despicable.”

His rant got generous, often admiring attention in the mainstream media. But the Media Research Center’s analyst Brent Baker smells bias.

“When conservatives take to the House floor to criticize the news media’s liberal distortions, that’s not newsworthy to NBC,” he said, noting that the network chose “to showcase an unhinged liberal Democrat.”

THE BIG DIFFERENCE

“I served my time. They didn’t … . I created jobs and a payroll. That’s more than these New York politicians have done.”

So says libertarian Kristin Davis - the “Manhattan Madam” who served time in prison for prostitution then declared her candidacy for governor of New York - on how she differs from her one-time client Eliot Spitzer, and other officials. Ms. Davis, incidentally, uttered this aside to “America’s Morning News” hosts and friends-of-Beltway John McCaslin and Amy Holmes.

TWO ALEXANDERS

“For decades, intellectual politics and policy debates in the U.S. have been distorted by a strange residue of liberalism, reminding us of the movement’s long dominance over U.S. politics. Many liberal and progressive thinkers assume, usually implicitly, that they alone have a monopoly on knowledge about cause-and-effect relationships in U.S. society, government and the economy,” observes Gerard Alexander, a University of Virginia political scientist who will address this topic Monday at the American Enterprise Institute.

“This assumption supports conventional claims that conservative politics are fundamentally irrational rather than guided by reason and evidence - most famously, that something is ‘the matter’ with Kansas or that despair leads people to ‘cling to guns or religion’ ,” Mr. Alexander adds.

Patriot Post publisher Mark Alexander - the men are not related - cites a similar phenomenon.

“Liberals speak of unity, but they incessantly foment disunity, appealing to the worst in human nature by dividing Americans into constituent dependencies. They speak of freedom of thought - except when your thought doesn’t comport with theirs,” Mr. Alexander says. “They assert First Amendment rights - except when it comes to religion or speech that doesn’t agree with theirs.”

He adds, “As Ronald Reagan observed, ‘The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.’ ”

JUST SO YOU KNOW

Attention clergy: Consider sending out a text message to the congregation during services this weekend: A new CareerBuilder survey of 5,200 adults found that 11 percent of Americans are fussing with our cell phone in one form or another while “in church.”

The poll also found that two-thirds also tend to their phones during a meal, while six out of 10 do the same when they are, uh, in the restroom. Half check it lying in bed at night; a quarter will answer when they are in a movie. About a fifth will fuss with the phone on a date, at the gym or at a child’s school event.

POLL DU JOUR

• 95 percent of Americans say it’s important to reduce the national debt.

• 65 percent say the federal government should cut tax loopholes and establish a minimum tax for corporations to reduce the debt.

• 60 percent say the U.S. should lower foreign aid to reduce it.

• 56 percent say the U.S. should reduce the number of government employees.

• 43 percent say we should increase taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year.

• 35 percent would reduce military spending.

• 14 percent would reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits.

• 13 percent would reduce scientific and health research.

Source: A Zogby poll of 2,068 adults conducted Feb. 17-19 and released Thursday.

Hollers, scholars, dollar watcher news to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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