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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Monday, October 11, 2010

SCREEN GEMS

The "Hollywood right" gets some red carpet glitter Tuesday evening with the premiere and press screening of "I Want Your Money," the smart and relentless documentary by independent filmmaker Ray Griggs that warns against President Obama's economic policies by contrasting the words and ideas of Mr. Obama and Ronald Reagan. The movie, which opens in 500 theaters nationwide on Friday, was self-financed by the intrepid Mr. Griggs, 36, who deems his work "a call to action for those who care about the future of the United States." There will be a cocktail reception at the exclusive 85-seat Letelier Theater in Washington; Mr. Griggs will introduce his film himself.

The film includes interviews from Michael Reagan, Mike Huckabee, Steve Forbes, John Stossel, Newt Gingrich, Andrew Breitbart and a dozen luminaries, plus movie clips, dramatic vignettes, graphics and animation. There are moments of caustic whimsy: An animated Bill Clinton, for example, flirts with an animated Sarah Palin, with the former president telling the former Alaska governor, "If you want to hang out after this fight is over, I do have a room upstairs." The film's trailer - definitely not typical fare - went public last weekend and was shown before such blockbusters as "The Social Network." It drew the curious attention of filmgoers who actually "stopped gabbing and chewing popcorn and paid attention to it," according to one eyewitness in a Virginia theater.

There's some activism afoot, including a "Debt-Free America" petition that calls for fiscal responsibility, an end to bailouts and a repeal of the "14th Amendment, Section 4 to prohibit future indebtedness and deficit spending by the federal government and to reject all federal government debt obligations accrued prior to the ratification date of this amendment." See all the meaty stuff at http://iwantyourmoney.net. Meanwhile, Mr. Griggs observes, "the only thing scarier than the truth is doing nothing about it."

FEMININE MYSTIQUE

"The Democratic Party is boring. And its women are either old or unattractive." -Tom Junot, the Politics Blog, at Esquire magazine.

A DELICATE MATTER

Up in Delaware, Christine O'Donnell appears to have neutralized potential damage from the recent expose of her "witch video" with some grace; old MTV footage of the U.S. Senate hopeful's conversations about her otherwordly experiences are now, well, old news. The challenge to defuse an embarrassing moment has now fallen to Krystal Ball, the twentysomething Democratic nominee for Congress in Virginia's 1st District. Nine compromising photos of the candidate wearing a red velvet Santa hat and black lace camisole while cavorting with an ex-husband at a Christmas party six years ago have gone viral - part of a "smear campaign" against her by a blogger "with close ties to my opponent's campaign and the local Republican Party," Mrs. Ball says.

"It's sexist and it's wrong, regardless of political party. And I have a message for any young woman who is thinking about running for office and has ever attended a costume party with her husband or done anything stupid on camera. Run for office. Fight for this country. Don't let this sort of tactic deter you," Mrs. Ball says. "Good people, people of conscience, will come to your aid and you should trust in the basic fairness of the American people. Run for office. We need you."

In gentlemanly fashion, her Republican opponent, Rob Wittman, personally asked the offending bloggers to scrub the photos from their sites. Virginiavirtucon.com - which originally posted the images - has obliged.

INEVITABLE

"I'm not in a position to stop it. I don't believe in standing in the way of an avalanche." (George Soros, on a potential Republican takeover of Congress on Nov. 2, to The New York Times.)

TALK TO DAD

Or mom. Or your brother, the neighbor, for that matter. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has issued an urgent call to action to the nation, asking Americans "to collect and preserve the story of at least one veteran and to pledge to preserve this important part of American history." Time is of the essence, he adds. He wants the accounts of 10,000 veterans by Veterans Day, each story destined to be placed in the most permanent and august of American records.

Oo-rah.

The Veterans History Project relies on volunteers to record veterans' remembrances using certain guidelines found here: www.loc.gov/vets. Volunteer interviewers can also request information at vohp@loc.gov or the toll-free message line at 888/371-5848, Mr. Billington said.

POLL DU JOUR

- 66 percent say it is never justified under any circumstances to take "violent action" against the U.S. government.

- 60 percent of Americans say the federal government would "work better" if a constitutional amendment passed requiring a balanced budget.

- 56 percent say the government would benefit from a national referendum system allowing citizens to vote on proposals addressing major issues.

- 50 percent say it should be easier for a third party to compete in politics.

- 50 percent say the Supreme Court should base rulings on the Constitution "as it was originally written."

- 46 percent say it should rule based on the Constitution as "it means in current times."

- 46 percent say the federal government is a "threat" to their personal freedoms.

Source: A Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University survey of 2,054 adults conducted Sept. 22 to Oct. 3.

- Delicately worded press releases and other fare to jharper@ washingtontimes.com.

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