Inside the Beltway

Question of the Day

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

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GROOVY

“It might have played well back then.”

Former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir, on how Sarah Palin’s “maverick” style would have fared during the 1960s - in answer to a theoretical question posed by Inside the Beltway during a conference call for HeadCount.org, a nonpartisan group that enlists rock stars to contact randomly selected fans and encourage them to vote.

Among those who have volunteered for “voter reminder calls”: Mr. Weir, Willie Nelson, the Flaming Lips Wayne Coyne, Questlove of the Roots, My Morning Jackets Jim James, Gusters Adam Gardner, Marc Brownstein of the Disco Biscuits, Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers Band and Jon Fishman from Phish.

O’REILLY’S FACTORS

Yes, why not put out a comic book about Bill O’Reilly? The Fox News host gets cartoon biography treatment from publisher Bluewater Productions in “Political Power: Bill O’Reilly.” Priced at $4, the 32-page opus will be available in November through Amazon, at bookstores and at comic book shops; perhaps complimentary copies should be sent to the hostesses of ABC’s “The View.”

“It’s a biography. To be more accurate, it’s part of a biography. Because there’s no way I could encompass the entirety of someone’s life that has the breadth and depth that I learned Bill O’Reilly’s does,” says writer Jerome Maida. “If you look at the ‘factors’ that have made O’Reilly the man and success he is today - the passionate pundit on the air, the drive to be successful and the desire to look out for ‘the folks’ as he puts it - it all stems from his childhood.”

THE POST-JUAN WORLD

“Most likely when Congress reconvenes after the elections.”

When Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, plans to introduce legislation to end taxpayer subsidies of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - which has received $4 billion in those funds since 2001 - according to a source speaking on background

POST-JUAN PART 2

It’s not likely that National Public Radio will indulge in a big ideological identity crisis anytime soon. In the surprisingly rough wake of Juan Williams‘ termination as an on-air news analyst last week, the liberal talkers have circled the wagons and insisted that they are fair and balanced. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne upheld the virtue of NPR, telling NBC that the public broadcaster regularly features New York Times “conservative” writer David Brooks, noting, ” David and I argue politics on NPR all the time. … And I would note, I’m a liberal. I’m always countered by David or somebody more conservative than David.”

Hmm.

“There it is. NPR isn’t liberally biased because it uses ‘conservatives’ like Brooks to counter liberals like Dionne. Of course, calling Brooks a conservative is like calling an ox a bull. He’s thankful for the honor, but would prefer to have back what’s rightfully his,” said Noel Sheppard, an analyst with Newsbusters.com, a conservative press watchdog.

“More humorously, Brooks doesn’t even consider himself conservative. When I interviewed him at the Republican National Convention in 2008, he told me he’s a right-leaning moderate,” Mr. Sheppard said. “Yet he and other moderate-righties like him are what NPR and PBS have on to counter the far-left leaning views of folks like Dionne. And this is what they call balance.”

DEBUGGING DEVICE

There will be much guffawing and schadenfreude around the world if bedbugs are ever found lurking in the White House, the halls of Congress or the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Big Apple already has bedbug crisis-intervention protocols in place.

“There is a misperception about a massive bedbug infestation in New York City hotels. The perception is simply wrong, triggered by reports of isolated incidents which have been professionally and thoroughly treated according to the most rigorous industry standards,” said Joseph E. Spinnato, president of the Hotel Association of New York City.

“This is not a hotel cleanliness issue. Bedbugs have been found in commercial, residential and industrial buildings. Some have attributed the resurgence in bedbugs to restrictions on the use of certain pesticides that have been banned,” Mr. Spinnato said.

“Our members are on high alert with respect to any condition that might disturb the comfort of our guests, including bedbugs.”

PALIN-SESSED

Heavens. It seems the British can’t keep their eyes off certain females in their former colony. A few headlines from the past 24 hours:

“March of the Mama Grizzlies: The glamorous, gun-crazy women with big game in their sights on November 2” (Daily Mail).

Sarah Palin’s ‘mamas’: more grisly than grizzly” (Guardian).

“Sarah Palin dominates U.S. campaign trail” (Daily Telegraph).

“Fame and Money: why Sarah Palin won’t run for the White House in 2012” (Independent).

POLL DU JOUR

- 89 percent of Americans give Congress a negative review.

- 94 percent of independents, 93 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats agree.

- 66 percent of Americans overall say the U.S. is “on the wrong track.”

- 63 percent give President Obama’s “job performance” a negative rating.

- 33 percent of liberals and 89 percent of conservatives give Mr. Obama a negative job review.

- 70 percent of independents, 90 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats also give him a thumbs down.

Source: A Harris Poll of 3,084 adults conducted Oct. 11-18.

- Margin notes, cartoons, complaints to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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