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Inside the Beltway
Question of the Day
No. It's not an illusion. Broadcasters "worship Earth Day and attack Easter," according to an analysis of coverage released Wednesday by the Culture and Media Institute (www.mrc.org/cmi.) Nearly two-thirds of the Easter stories were negative -- 22 out of 34 -- while 100 percent of the stories about Earth Day positively glowed. Easter coverage also was used as a vehicle to attack the Catholic Church, pairing the seasonal mentions with overwrought coverage of pedophilia within the priestly ranks.
"The media cant seem to produce a truly positive or even neutral story about Easter, without then immediately throwing Christians under the bus," said Erin Brown, the analyst who pored through news accounts from ABC, CBS and NBC.
"Only nine Easter stories were positive and of those, seven were just casual mentions and not full stories," she said. "The other three stories were neutral or generic references to Easter as a time of the year."
Many Americans get vexed if they think the traditional White House Christmas tree has somehow disappeared. Likewise, the nation also fears that "Easter" will get excised from the White House Easter Egg Roll in favor of generic "spring" or righteous "Earth Day."
Relax. "Easter" survives. The event -- which will draw 30,000 children from 50 states on Monday -- remains the largest annual public event at the White House. Yes, there will be Easter eggs: 83,000 souvenir wooden eggs, 19,000 hard-boiled eggs and a flotilla of "chirping eggs" for visually impaired children. But wait, there's more. Much, much more.
Kelly Ripa, John Lithgow, Kristi Yamaguchi and Geena Davis are among celebrity storybook readers. The cast also includes professional and Olympic athletes, musicians, dancers, jump-ropers, celebrity chefs and 60 volunteer face painters. Festivities include an "instructional dance party," an obstacle course, "hands-on training from basketball and tennis pros on the Presidents court," yoga, gardening, an arts and crafts workshop, a farmer's market and egg decorating.
"All goody bags are recyclable and are made from recycled materials. The packaging of the eggs, made from recyclable paperboard, was designed to minimize waste and environmental impact. The wooden souvenir eggs are made in the U.S. from Forest Stewardship Council-certified US hardwood," the White House says, noting that the event requires 90 trash bins and 90 recycling bins.
But wait. Someone has remembered that this burgeoning spectacle is, after all, a children's event dating back to 1878. There is room for something unabashedly from the old-time "kiddie" domain: "The event cannot officially be called the 'White House Easter Egg Roll' until the opening ceremony, when the Easter Bunny makes an appearance," the planners advise.
JUST SAY NO
Republicans are not in touch with their cosmic inner hippies, apparently. Democrats? Well, like, maybe a little, man. A CNN/Opinion Research poll finds that 42 percent of Democrats favor the legalization of marijuana while 56 percent oppose the idea. And in the Grand Old Party, 28 percent approve legalization, and 70 percent oppose it.
"Get righteous," advises the invitation from the Daily Caller and Americans for Tax Reform. Tucker Carlson's news site and Grover Norquist's fiscal interest group will host a book release party Thursday in Washington for the ever-vigilant Andrew Breitbart, who will introduce "Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World." The book, released Friday, already ranks No. 1 in political books, No. 1 in the social science, No. 4 in biographies and No. 13 in overall popularity at Amazon.
The Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus is at work. After anti-hunting groups based their call for a ban on traditional, lead-core ammunition on the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, Sens. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat, and John Thune, South Dakota Republican, are aiming back with bipartisan legislation to "clarify" the long-standing exemption of ammunition and ammunition components under federal regulations. The act also calls for lead fishing tackle, similarly under attack from anti-hunting groups, to be exempt.
"Hunting, shooting and fishing are more than just pastimes in Montana -- they're part of our outdoor heritage. They're Montana values that we pass on to our kids and grandkids. And I'll fight for those values whenever D.C.'s rules get in the way of common sense," declares Mr. Tester.
"Outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing, not only provide recreational opportunities, but also greatly contribute to South Dakota's economy. The Environmental Protection Agency's overreaching regulations in other areas are already negatively affecting jobs and businesses across the country, and I am committed to ensuring that ammunition and tackle do not become subject to arbitrary regulation," warns Mr. Thune.
POLL DU JOUR
• 64 percent of U.S. voters support increasing taxes on people with incomes over $250,000 to reduce the federal deficit.
• 43 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of conservatives and 45 percent of tea party supporters agree.
• 83 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of liberals also agree.
• 44 percent of voters overall would support cutting military spending to reduce the deficit.
• 34 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of conservatives and 32 percent of tea party supporters agree.
• 53 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of liberals also agree.
• 18 percent overall support cutting Medicare or Medicaid to lower the deficit.
• 25 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of conservatives and 28 percent of tea party supporters agree.
• 9 percent of Democrats and 8 percent of liberals also agree.
Source: A McClatchy-Marist Poll of 1,084 registered voters conducted April 10-14.
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