- The Washington Times - Monday, August 15, 2011

ROLLING BLUNDER

More nicknames have emerged for President Obama’s heartland bus tour: Rolling Blunder, Bus Force One, Running on Empty, America Under the Wheels, Hell on Wheels, Beast Bus. All courtesy of talk radio, the conservative blogosphere, fierce Republicans and — astonishingly enough — National Public Radio, which came up with the Beast Bus.

“The debt end bus tour … and a president who is really the campaigner-in-chief here of America. All he’s doing is campaigning,” says Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “That’s what this bus tour is — it’s a campaign trip. It’s paid for by taxpayers, and we are not going to sit around and let it continue.”

ANOINTED CONSERVATIVE

The 2012 presidential race is redefining what it means to be a “conservative standard-bearer,” says Richard Viguerie, chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. “Tim Pawlenty’s exit from the race demonstrates a dynamic in Republican politics that few in the media grasp. It is no longer enough to appear conservative just to the liberal elites of the media.”

Mr. Viguerie observes, “To the media, Pawlenty was a conservative because his personal story was one of a man who lives by conservative principles. But his campaign failed to gain traction because his record as governor — and candidate — was one of flip-flopping and compromise on fundamental conservative principles. The real reason Pawlenty is out is because tea party and grass-roots conservative activists are no longer going to allow the liberal media to anoint the conservative candidate.”

PERRYTOPIA

“America’s jobs governor Rick Perry learned the value of hard work, patriotism and faith in God … conservative to the core.” (Dialogue from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s first presidential campaign spot, released Monday.)

PIETOPIA

“Two slices each of apple, pumpkin, German chocolate, and something with graham crackers, along with an entire coconut cream pie.” (President Obama’s order at the Coffee Mill in Zumbrota, Minn., courtesy of White House pool reporter Glenn Thrush of Politico.)

BIG FAT WASHINGTON

“Washington, D.C., led the nation in economic confidence during the first half of 2011 with the only positive Economic Confidence Index score (+11) in the U.S.” reports Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup, which tracked the sentiments of 87,634 employed adults during the first six months of the year.

“Its 12-point increase in confidence compared with the same period a year ago expanded its lead. Maryland and Virginia — states adjacent to the nation’s capital — are also in the top 10 in confidence, as they were in the first half of 2010.”

Mr. Jacobe adds, “Those living in and around D.C. benefit from having the federal government as their major industry. And, unlike state and local governments, the federal government has continued to grow even as many other industries have not during the recession and its aftermath.”

REAL ECONOMIC TERRORISM

Lest we forget, Osama bin Laden once intended to bankrupt America and ruin the economy, figuring that each $1 al Qaeda spent on military strikes cost the U.S. $1 million in economic fallout and military spending, this according to analysis from CBS, the Associated Press and other news organizations way back in 2004.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is striking back Wednesday, bringing together an interesting pair “to identify areas where enhanced security measures can promote america’s economic vitality.” Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano joins Tom Ridge, who held the post in the anxious years after 9/11, to talk turkey about security advancements since then, “with the understanding that security directly impacts the business environment and overall economic vitality,” the organizers say.

Miss Napolitano will also make an announcement regarding her agency’s trademarked “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. Mr. Ridge, now chairman of the Chamber’s National Security Task Force, will examine what security practices foster economic growth “to highlight the important role of the private sector in the shared responsibility of homeland security.”

SCIENCE CORNER

So much for chubby federal programs to combat obesity. A new study of 6,000 hefty Americans by Canada’s York University finds that “being fat can actually be good for you,” since “obese people who are otherwise healthy live just as long as their slim counterparts, and are less likely to die of cardiovascular causes,” the researchers said.

“Our findings challenge the idea that all obese individuals need to lose weight. Moreover, it’s possible that trying — and failing — to lose weight may be more detrimental than simply staying at an elevated body weight and engaging in a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity and a balanced diet,” says lead author Jennifer Kuk, an assistant professor of health science at the campus.

POLL DU JOUR

• 83 percent of U.S. adults own “some kind” of cellphone.

• 73 percent use their phones for texting and taking photos.

• 54 percent use the phone to share photos or videos, 44 percent go online.

• 42 percent use their phones for entertainment when they are bored.

• 29 percent have turned off their phones “to get a break.”

• 20 percent were frustrated with their phones for slow downloads, 16 percent have difficulty reading the phone screen.

• 13 percent pretended to be on their cellphone to avoid interacting with other people.

Source: A Pew Internet and American Life Project survey of 2,277 adults conducted April 26 to May 22 and released Monday.

Nicknames, tales and wails to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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