Inside the Beltway

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

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AND IN SUMMARY

“Thanksgiving and Black Friday: consecutive days that show us at our best and absolute worst.” — a timely tweet from Boston Globe writer Eric Wilbur.

TELL MAMA

“I was forced to go through a full-body scanner without being advised of an alternative. I was subjected to an abusive pat-down search. My laptop, cell phone or PDA was seized or searched. I was detained for extended periods of time when returning to the U.S. I was asked inappropriate questions when returning to the U.S. I was treated differently because of my race, religion, national origin, sexual identity or disability. I was singled out due to the suspected presence of my name on a watch list. I was denied boarding. I believe my rights have been violated in another way.”

— Check-off items on a new American Civil Liberties Union complaint form for those who want to register formal dissatisfaction with the Transportation Security Administration.

WHAT’S BREWING

“Americans are as likely to want tea party-backed Republican members of Congress to have the most influence over federal policies in the coming year as they are to prefer President Obama. The Democratic leaders in Congress rank last in this regard, behind the Republican leaders,” says Gallup Poll analyst Lydia Saad, who adds that mainstream Republican leadership ignores public warming to tea partiers “at its peril.”

Indeed, Mr. Obama garnered 28 percent of the favorability vote in a new survey, followed by tea partiers (27 percent), mainstream Republicans (23 percent), with Democrats bringing up the rear at 16 percent. Message to the Grand Old Party, though: Behave. Half the respondents also feared victorious Republicans will “go too far” in the zeal to reform, however, though 43 percent said that “they won’t go far enough.”

WHAT SHOULD BE BREWING

“Where is the Democrats’ tea party?” asks Pajamas Media writer Chris Salcedo. “The Democratic Party has become synonymous with deficits, defeatism and the decay of the American dream. Where are the rank-and-file Dems who will rescue their party from its hard-left leadership? My message to Democrats is simple: Take back your party. Your leadership has lead you astray.”

FINGER POINTING

The American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Coral Ridge Ministries, the Family Research Council, Liberty Council, the National Organization for Marriage and the Traditional Values Coalition are among 18 groups named by the Southern Poverty Law Center as groups that “pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities … often amplified by certain politicians, other groups and even news organizations.”

The activist group plans to place many on a list of hate groups in 2011.

The damning list is “an absurd distraction emanating from a once-great organizations real mission,” says Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. “With all the actual hate groups out there, how can Southern Poverty Law Center stoop so low?”

GRIZZLED

“Pioneering feminist” Gloria Steinem is weighing in on conservative women, faulting Sarah Palin’s choice of “mama grizzly” as an icon because the bears “are famous for their exertion of reproductive control in their lives.” Like eating their young, maybe? Ms. Steinem, now 76 and a contributor to the online journal “Big Think,” is not keen on the Republican sisterhood in general.

“Republican women have accepted their own subordination,” she says. “Any group of people that has been subordinate absorbs the idea of our own subordination, and that it is natural, and comes to think that the only way to survive is to identify with the powerful. And I think that is not surprising, and it is what happens to a lot of right-wing women. I mean, they think they better do what the powerful tell them to, otherwise theyll be in even more trouble.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 91 percent of Americans still have holiday shopping to do.

• 79 percent say it is “important to them” that what they buy is made in America.

• 58 percent have not started shopping yet.

• 38 percent have started.

• 6 percent are finished.

• 54 percent of women say they finish shopping “early.”

• 47 percent of men say they finish shopping “at the last minute.”

Source: A Rasmussen reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Nov. 20-21.

• Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com

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