- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 16, 2011

OLD RELIABLE

Pf-f-f-t. There goes all that newfound civility in press and politics.

“So much of this attack on President Obamahas been ad hominem — directed at the person, the president,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthewstold his audience after calls from lawmakers and journalists alike to end public rudeness following the Arizona shootings — not to mention a new National Football League edict to teams, ordering a timeout on “trash talk” between rival players.

In his defense of Mr. Obama, the “Hardball” host was in familiar form, though.

“Whether it’s somebody — some cracker out there on the right calling him, some birther type — that he’s not an American. Or it is someone a little more sophisticated. But they’re basically saying he’s a socialist,” Mr. Matthews observed.

THE HOLIDAY

“As a country, we must expand access to opportunity and end structural inequalities for all people in employment and economic mobility. It is our collective responsibility as a great Nation to ensure a strong foundation that supports economic security for all and extends the founding promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to every American. Dr. King devoted his life to serving others, reminding us that ‘human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle — the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.’ Commemorating Dr. King’s life is not only a tribute to his contributions to our Nation and the world, but also a reminder that every day, each of us can play a part in continuing this critical work.

“For this reason, we honor Dr. King’s legacy with a national day of service. I encourage all Americans to visit www.MLKDay.gov to learn more about service opportunities across our country. By dedicating this day to service, we move our nation closer to Dr. King’s vision of all Americans living and working together as one beloved community.”

(An excerpt from President Obama’s officialproclamation recognizing the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.)

READY TO RUMBLE

Newly minted Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus already is parsing the tenure of his predecessor, Michael S. Steele; Mr. Priebus is also in the process of overhauling the biggest Grand Old Party gathering of all — and he thinks big.

“We are committed to holding a world-class 2012 Republican National Convention that will be worthy of the next president of the United States,” Mr. Priebus says, adding he has “discontinued the employment” of — at this juncture — unnamed key players and pines for “a convention that all Republicans, especially our 2012 presidential nominee, can be proud of.”

CHENEY WATCH

Former Vice President Dick Cheney will soon re-emerge from his quieter lifestyle — drawn into the public arena by the fast approaching Ronald Reagan Centennial. Mr. Cheney will speak at Young America’s Foundation’s “Reagan 100 Dinner Banquet” on Feb. 5 at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, Calif. — discussing solutions for the public policy battles and the former president’s influence on young conservative leaders.

MORE OF SAME

The “big three” broadcasters have a soft spot in their hearts, apparently, for the Congressional Budget Office, which has “been dramatically wrong” reporting on health care and other major policy issues since President Obama took office, says new research.

Still, only 16 percent of ABC, CBS and NBC news stories mentioning the CBO included even an iota of criticism about the office during that time period, according to a substantial study of the phenomenon released Monday by the Media Research Center.

HOLLYWEIRD

American legends, heroes and special effects are morphing one into the other these days. In theaters come summertime: “Cowboys and Aliens,” a Steven Spielberg extravaganza with a cast of Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and other he-men cowboys battling extraterrestrials in the Wild West, circa 1875.

Also rushed into theaters by June: Twentieth Century Fox’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” based on the Seth Grahame-Smith novel — to be produced by Tim Burton. Who is screen-testing for the role of young Abe Lincoln? That would be: Benjamin Walker, James D’Arcy, Adrien Brody, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Josh Lucas.

“It’s a very interesting mix of semi-knowns and unknowns, stage and screen vets,” notes Deadline Hollywood founder Nikki Finke. “The movie is a 3D re-imagining of Lincoln’s life that depicts the 16th president as an ax-throwing, highly accomplished killer of vampires, an obsession of his since those bloodsuckers supposedly took the life of his mother. Taking revenge, Lincoln wreaks havoc on the vampires and their slave-owning protectors.”

POLL DU JOUR

78 percent of Americans say there has been “significant progress” made toward Martin Luther King’s dream of racial equality.

64 percent think race relations in the U.S. are “generally good.”

63 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats, plus 63 percent of conservatives and 66 percent of liberals agree.

58 percent of blacks and 66 percent of whites also agree.

57 percent of Americans overall approve of the way President Obama “is handling race relations.”

34 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats, plus 35 percent of conservatives and 79 percent of liberals agree.

• 81 percent of blacks and 53 percent of whites also agree.

Source: A Quinnipiac College Poll of 1,647 registered voters conducted Jan. 4 to 11.

• One liners, special effects to jharper@washingtontimes.com.