- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 23, 2011

QUAKE-A-MAGEDDON

Yes, why not use the Great Capital Earthquake of 2011, the proverbial Quake-a-mageddon to exercise vigorous political humor? Bars in the nation’s capital were offering discounts on “shaken” drinks. And after the White House rattled from the Earth’s shifting tectonic plates rather than the undulating sound bites of Congress, folks took to social media. Among the aftershocks and after-tweets that surfaced, almost instantly, on Twitter:

“Shaking buildings full of people yelling and screaming, Tweeting up a storm and freaking out. Just your run-of-the-mill Rick Perry rally.” (From RickPerryFacts.)

“Capitol evacuated. Nation experiences brief economic recovery.” (commentator Ann Coulter)

“Okay, I’m done talking about the Earthquake. So far as I know, it didn’t hurt anyone. The Republicans on the other hand…” (Karl Frisch, former spokesman, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee).

“Has Michael Bloomberg called in grief counselors yet?” (Columnist Michelle Malkin)

NO PERRY PORN

An opportunistic press has been reveling in reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry held stock in Movie Gallery, a film company that distributes pornography. The American Family Association (AFA) has long boycotted the group, yet was the major sponsor for “The Response,” Mr. Perry’s recent daylong prayer event in Houston. Gleeful journalists connected the dots, then accused the Republican presidential hopeful of “hypocrisy,” among other things.

But the AFA has rushed to Mr. Perry’s defense, noting that he purchased $5,000 to $10,000 of Movie Gallery stock in 1995 and sold it that same year. The AFA did not launch its boycott of the company until 2000.

“The media has taken a grossly unfair and gratuitous shot at Gov. Perry. This represents sloppy reporting at its worst,” AFA President Tim Wildmon says. “A simple call to AFA could have clarified the timeline for anyone interested in reporting the objective truth. This is the ultimate nonstory, and every media outlet that carried this slander owes the governor an apology.”

SANITIZING 9/11

Ten years later, and the horror of a terrorist attack on American soil has been sanitized, some say.

“Today, 9/11 is being hijacked by the Obama administration and the left as a politically correct ‘national day of service,’ ” says Ron Meyer of theYoung America’s Foundation, which has established the 9/11: Never Forget project to “correct this bland, revisionist approach and properly remember those murdered by Islamic extremists on that fateful September morning.”

The project — which includes solemn vigils and public events with an emphasis on patriotism — is aimed at college students who were in elementary school that day, and now perceive 9/11 as a mere historic date. Mr. Meyer reports that students at 200 colleges have signed up to participate.

“Scores of students are signing up for the project, in spite of theleft’s attempts to ignore history,” he notes.

KEEP THE FAITH

The battle over religious symbols on public property is not confined to the Christmas season. It is a year-around phenomenon. Atheists have filed suit to bar the Ground Zero Cross created from 9/11 wreckage from the attack site itself. San Diego residents are wrestling with a California Department of Transportation plan to remove three crosses that have stood by the same roadside for more than 100 years. There are “cross issues” in veterans’ cemeteries.

There’s so much turmoil over the issue that Michael Youssef, pastor and founder of the Evangelical-Anglican Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, has written “When the Crosses are Gone,” a book that tracks the growing trend, to be published later this month.

“The eradication of crosses in public spaces signifies a worrisome trend that politicians need to recognize and address. Although those who wish to take down the cross state that they are upholding a separation between church and state, the truth is that religious symbols are a constant reminder to many people that they are ‘Gods law breakers’ and people hate to feel convicted,” he tells Inside the Beltway.

Mr. Youssef adds, “Politicians need to remind Americans that faith was a founding cornerstone of our country, and it should not be cast aside simply because of a growing social movement toward secularization.”

NEWT’S SIX SIGMA

Newt Gingrich give up his quest for the White House? The presidential hopeful does not appear to be slowing down in the least. Mr. Gingrich journeys to Manchester, N.H., on Thursday to investigate a local industrial sealant company that uses the “Six Sigma” business management strategy to improve quality and reduce waste.

Mr. Gingrich advocates the use of the method in the federal bureaucracy, to save $500 million in taxpayer money annually and eliminate unnecessary waste and abuse, he says.

Then it’s back to the Peach State. The former House speaker will attend a down home “Georgia GOP fish fry” in the town of Perry.

POLL DU JOUR

• 45 percent of U.S. voters would vote for President Obama and 45 percent would vote for Mitt Romney in an Obama/Romney presidential match-up.

• 80 percent of Democrats, 48 percent of independents and 5 percent of Republicans would vote for Mr. Obama in the match-up.

• 83 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats would vote for Mr. Romney.

• 49 percent of voters overall would vote for Mr. Obama and 43 percent would vote for Texas Gov. Rick Perry in an Obama/Perry presidential match-up.

• 81 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of independents and 10 percent of Republicans would vote for Mr. Obama in the match-up.

• 82 percent of Republicans , 32 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats would vote for Mr. Perry.

Source: A Public Policy Polling survey of 700 U.S. voters conducted Aug. 18 to 21.

Shakes, rattles, rolls to jharper@washingtontimes.com/ Follow the column at twitter.com/harperbulletin.