THE SURPRISING RUMSFELD
A Bush-era stalwart is about to re-emerge after a four-year absence, wielding a hefty book, and with news of Elvis. Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's 832-page memoir, "Known and Unknown," is due on bookshelves Feb. 8; the author, who accepted no advance on the work, has said he'll donate profits to a private foundation. Meanwhile, the unflappable Mr. Rumsfeld -- once named one of People magazine's "sexiest men in America" -- has granted exclusive interviews to ABC News anchors Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos, timed with the publication date.
But about that Elvis business.
"He offers his plainspoken, first-hand views and often humorous and surprising anecdotes about some of the world's best known figures, from Margaret Thatcher to Saddam Hussein, from Henry Kissinger to Colin Powell, from Elvis Presley to Dick Cheney, and each American president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush," the publisher Sentinel notes.
JUST SO YOU KNOW
"In the 1,461 days that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, served as speaker of the House, the national debt increased by a total of $5.343 trillion, or $3.66 billion per day, according to official debt numbers published by the U.S. Treasury," says Terence Jeffrey, columnist and editor-in-chief of CNS news service.
PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH
A phalanx of 47 conservative leaders has potent advice for the 112th Congress, new members and Republican leadership in particular. Yes, the group calls for the repeal of Obamacare, economic growth, job creation, limited government spending, lower taxes, no more bailouts and an end to judicial activism. The group also wants a return to traditional values and insists that the U.S. -- "an exceptional country" -- be protected from foreign threats and porous borders. "Peace comes through strength -- not vulnerability, not appeasement and not an apologetic America," the group says.
"Work with the President and his allies when they agree to conservative goals. But do not compromise on fundamental principles of freedom and limited constitutional government. Repeal the mistakes of the past, and then lead with new approaches that work."
Who are these advisers? Among the many: Edwin Meese, former Attorney General; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Phyllis Schlafly, president of the Eagle Forum; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; David N. Bossie, president of Citizens United; Morton C. Blackwell, chairman of the Weyrich Lunch; Alfred Regnery, publisher of American Spectator; and Tom Winter, editor-in-chief of Human Events.
A CAUTIONARY TALE
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Darrell Issa's rigorous investigation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be welcome and important, "as long as he does not get diverted into obsessing over minute scandals, as congressional Republicans did too often in the 1990s," says a National Review editorial.
"Speaking of scandal, Republicans must have zero tolerance for it in their own ranks. Every new majority comes in pledging purity. Then human nature intervenes. It is always easy to find an excuse for giving your own side a pass -- personal relationships and political considerations crowd out ethics and standards. The last Republican majority slid down this path until it became a watchword for corruption. The tea party movement is partly a reaction against that self-serving politics, and Republicans had best not forget it."
"Let's not give the newly empowered Republicans -- and their blindsided tea party allies -- the ability to wipe out or even mitigate the only economic security deprived Americans can count on. Where is their heart?" proclaims former White House correspondent Helen Thomas, 90, in an inaugural column for the Falls Church News-Press in Virginia, ending her seven-month retirement after a controversy over remarks she made about Israel.
"I remain firmly convinced that she is neither bigoted, nor racist, nor anti-Semitic," the newpaper's founder, Nicholas F. Benton, said about his decision to hire her.
FAITH ON THE HILL
The "political overhaul" of the midterm elections had little effect on the religious composition of Congress, says an analysis by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Of the 535 members of the new Congress, none is self-described as "unaffiliated." Specifically, 304 of them -- or 57 percent -- are Protestants, similar to the U.S. adult population (51 percent). Compared with the previous Congress, the 112th Congress has added 12 Protestants, an increase of roughly 2 percentage points. Thirty percent are Catholic, 8 percent are Jewish and 3 percent are Mormon. Less than 1 percent are Muslim or Buddhist. See the myriad numbers here: http://pewresearch.org.
POLL DU JOUR
*35 percent of Americans predict there will be a female president in the next decade.
*47 percent say it will happen somewhere in the next 50 years, 9 percent say "not in this century" or "never."
*15 percent say a "new political party" will replace Republicans or Democrats as one of the two major parties in 10 years.
*30 percent say that could happen within 50 years, 38 percent say "not in this century" or "never."
*8 percent say the U.S. government will be overthrown by revolution in 10 years.
*65 percent say it will not happen in this century, or will never happen.
Source: A Harris Poll of 2,331 adults conducted Dec. 6-13 and released Thursday.
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