- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 12, 2010

THE INNER KAGAN

Is she or isn’t she? The networks are circling the wagons around Elena Kagan, presenting President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in nice, neutral tones, says Tim Graham of the Media Research Center. The networks’ “intentional confusion” of Miss Kagan’s political ideology stands in stark contrast to coverage of former President George W. Bush’s nominations of John G. RobertsJr. and Samuel A. AlitoJr. to the court, when networks raced to label them “conservative” and even “ultraconservative.”

Of 14 stories that appeared on NBC, CBS and ABC immediately following Mr. Obama’s announcement, only one — on CBS — deemed the judicial nominee “liberal,” Mr. Graham says. But Miss Kagan’s ideology is not the only topic that will be bandied about, some predict.

“Elena Kagan’s sexuality may actually become the central focus of her nomination fight. I have joked about this before, as I joked about Sonia Sotomayor’s status, assuming this would be an issue happily tittered about by the sexual cognoscenti as well as by the virulent right,” says Newser.com founder Michael Wolff. “But it seems about to go wide. You can feel it. We are just on the verge of articulating our right to know somebody’s sexual point of view.”

CROSS TALK

.”Much will be said of Ms. Kagan — praise and criticism of all sorts. But little will be in a form of lament, and that’s what I’d like to offer. A lament for the passing of American Protestantism,” says Beliefnet columnist Diana Butler Bass, in reaction tothe nomination.

“Ms. Kagan is Jewish. That means there will be six Roman Catholics and three Jews on the Supreme Court in a country that was once the largest Protestant nation in the world. … I’m not lamenting the numerical absence of Protestants. Instead, I will miss the fact that there will be no one with Protestant sensibilities on the court, no one who understands the nuances of one of America’s oldest and most traditional religions — and the religion that deeply shaped American culture and law,” Mrs. Bass says.

THE BOTTOM LINE

“Protecting their Fannies: Senate Dems vote down GOP plan to reform Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac as their sacred cows ask for $19 billion more in taxpayer funds.”

(The Republican National Committee’s summary of Senate finance hearings on Tuesday)

BOOK ENDS

“America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag”

(Sarah Palin’s new book title, to be released Nov. 23 by publisher HarperCollins.)

SCREEN GEMS

Gen. Wesley Clark is among luminaries who will attend an atypical movie premiere Wednesday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, with 300 wounded Marines as guests of honor. The film is “The Unbeatables,” a documentary that tracks the courageous spirit of paraplegic athletes, produced by Los Angeles filmmaker Steven Barber and financed by Dan Aykroyd, Clint Black, Steve Forbes and T. Boone Pickens, among others. The film has qualified for Academy Award consideration in 2011.

“My main message? These guys in this film aren’t disabled. They’re very able. In fact, they’re superhuman,” Mr. Barber tells Inside the Beltway, adding that “Avatar” director James Cameron himself donated more than 300 DVDs of his sci-fi blockbuster while the Washington Redskins supplied an equal number of team T-shirts for the guests of honor.

COMING TO TERMS

The investigation of Times Square bomb-plot suspect Faisal Shahzad roused the White House from its accustomed dainty political correctness, says New York Post columnist Ralph Peters.

“There wasn’t a single mention of ‘man-caused disasters’ this time around. Every administration point person talked ‘terrorism.’ Next thing you know, somebody in the White House will use the term ‘Islamist terrorist,’ ” he says.

Pajamas Media founder Roger Simon still frets that official records of the investigation will be sanitized, with no mention of terms like “jihad” or “Muslim” — similar to reports that emerged after the Fort Hood shootings last year.

“America has never been the land of censorship. Certainly, Vice President Biden and Rahm Emanuel have refused to censor their language in the public sphere. Yet, it is quite possible that public liaisons such as White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI director Robert Mueller, and Homeland Security [Secretary] JanetNapolitano have established policies that constrain the use of certain descriptive terms in national security documents and speeches,” Mr. Simon says.

“If this is so, we need to know. As such, I sincerely request a congressional hearing investigating this important subject.”

POLL DU JOUR

51 percent of U.S. voters say the Obama administration is as serious about fighting terrorism as was the George W. Bush administration; 43 percent disagree.

47 percent say Times Square bomb-plot suspect Faisal Shahzad should be treated like an enemy combatant.

45 percent say he should be treated as an American criminal defendant.

47 percent say the planned bombing demonstrated a Department of Homeland Security “failure” because it nearly succeeded.

42 percent say it was evidence of the agency’s “success’ because the plot failed and the suspect was caught.

Source: A FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll of 900 voters conducted May 4 and 5.

c Rants, ramblings and snappy press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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