- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 14, 2010

AT THE READY

Let the quacking begin. And the oratory. What with all the business-as-usual items on the Democratic wish list, the “tea party” will stand fast outside the lame-duck session that begins Monday in Congress. Republican heavyweights will rally at high noon on the U.S. Capitol grounds, joined by the Washington D.C. Tea Party, the Constitutional Tea Party, Let Freedom Ring and a host of other organizations in favor of less-government, and in particular, a two-year moratorium on pork-barrel earmarks.

On hand to lend political heft: Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Reps. Mike Pence of Indiana and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, and Reps.-elect Morgan Griffith of Virginia, Frank Guinta of New Hampshire, Bob Gibbs of Ohio and Sean Duffy of Wisconsin.

“Congress must respect the will of the people and refrain from passing any new legislation that supports or funds the left’s global warming agenda, the bailout for union pensions or funding for the Obama-Pelosi health care takeover,” says Tim Phillips, president of event organizer Americans for Prosperity.

“This is an opportunity for Republicans to demonstrate their commitment to cutting government waste and spending. The last thing we need in this economy is another ‘bridge to nowhere,’ ” Mr. Phillips says, adding that the public can follow the rally online at http://novemberspeaks.com.

FLOATING CONSERVATIVE

Please, somebody compile a playbook so we can track the fluid ideology of broadcast pundits. Witness filmmaker John Ziegler, maker of the 2009 documentary “Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected And Palin Was Targeted,” sparring with CNN’s Kathleen Parker:

“You essentially took part in the assassination of Sarah Palin,” Mr. Ziegler told the co-host of “Parker/Spitzer” on Friday, calling her an “alleged conservative” and citing her syndicated column that once framed Mrs. Palin as “out of her league” in national politics.

“I did not take part in the assassination. I led the assassination,” Mrs. Parker replied matter-of-factly.

“Have you cleaned the blood off your clothes yet?” Mr. Ziegler asked, adding, “You used to be a conservative before you got on CNN.”

Mrs. Palin responded to the exchange with a tweet on Sunday: “Parker: appreciate your admittance. Now, I’m still standing; Standing by family, faith & flag. Who do u stand by today?”

GET ON WITH IT

After all the hubbub, many Americans take issue with the fact that there is a two-month gap between the midterm elections and Jan. 3, when new members of the U.S. Senate and House finally take their seats and get down to business. That’s, uh, two months. About half of the voters say the wait is just too long, says a Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Nov. 9-10, which reveals that 49 percent think the time between Election Day and the big swearing-in should be shorter; 32 percent disagree. It has not always been thus.

“Interestingly, in January 2008, voters tended to oppose shortening the time between Election Day and the presidential inauguration on January 20. Thirty-two percent said there should be less time between the two - but 48 percent felt otherwise,” Rasmussen says.

CAUSE AND EFFECT

Aside from their celebrity, what do performers Ben Affleck, Rachael Ray, Ben Stiller, John Legend, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Barbra Streisand, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Nicole Richie and Avril Lavigne have in common? Each employs a “philanthropy consultant” to ensure that the causes they support are strategic in more ways than one, says Los Angeles Times writer Harriet Ryan.

She is tracking the phenomenon and the proclivities of the rich, famous and earnest to attend things like former President Clinton’s recent Global Initiative - which drew the likes of Jim Carrey, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julia Ormond, Kevin Spacey and high-profile journalists as well. We’re talking Katie Couric and Thomas Friedman here.

“What advisers do for their famous clients runs the gamut from preparing a charity’s tax forms to arranging meetings with members of Congress. They write speeches, update websites, and suggest which benefit galas to attend and which to skip,” Ms. Ryan explains.

“There’s red-carpet philanthropy, and then there’s real philanthropy. Ninety percent of what happens in philanthropy in the entertainment industry doesn’t have an enormous impact,” says Trevor Neilson, founder of the Global Philanthropy Group, which advises a dozen silver-screen biggies on where to tuck their donation dollars.

BUMPER PATROL

“Federal government: The NEW organized crime.”

Bumper sticker from Inside the Beltway reader Fred Cohrs, who displays it on his own car - along with 16 other mottos - on a “rotating basis,” he explains.

POLL DU JOUR

- 65 percent of Americans described themselves as “hopeful” after the midterm elections.

- 58 percent of Americans are “not confident” that President Obama and Republicans in Congress can work together.

- 53 percent of Americans are confident that Republicans in Congress will be successful effecting changes to improve the economy.

- 53 percent say Congress should “continue tax cuts for everyone.”

- 47 percent oppose health care reform passed in Congress in March.

- 31 percent want to completely repeal the legislation; 20 percent would leave it “as is.”

Source: An Associated Press-GFK Poll of 1,000 adults conducted Nov. 3-8.

- Quacks, facts, tactics to jharper@washington times.com