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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Monday, July 11, 2011

JUAN'S REVENGE

Well, that was quick. Less than nine months after he was unceremoniously fired from the delicate airwaves of National Public Radio, Juan Williams has returned fire with "Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate." Due on shelves in one week, the new book chronicles the journalist's life after he dared reveal his uneasiness with passengers wearing traditional Muslim garb on commercial aircraft.

"NPR banished the veteran journalist in an act of political correctness that ultimately sparked nationwide outrage and led to calls for Congress to end its public funding of the media organization," summarizes publisher Crown Books.

Mr. Williams recalls the bleak hours after his dismissal, and the bright moment when Fox News CEO Roger Ailes offered him a three-year contract, and advised that "he wanted to see how America's left-wing media and politicians reacted to a serious journalist being silenced this way." The book has been lauded by Mr. Ailes, Fox News senior correspondent Brit Hume, White House adviser David Axelrod and Karl Rove.

"Juan Williams is both dangerous and highly constructive. He is both of these because, although he is a liberal, he is also a well-informed independent thinker," says Mr. Rove. "Driven by conviction and evidence, he is not afraid to dissent from liberal orthodoxy. He's a liberal with whom conservatives can have an honest debate and sometimes find common ground."

TIE ONE ON

Power ties in sky blue or crimson? Not during the first round of debt ceiling talks on Sunday as Republican leaders like House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia faced White House foes, each other and the slavering press.

"Clearly a 'no ties' memo went out; all had open collar shirts and blazers. Sen. McConnell had a canary yellow polo-style shirt on, Rep. Cantor sported plaid," reported pool reporter Scott Wilson of The Washington Post.

A different memo went out on Monday, apparently.

"All right, guys, this is the same shot you had yesterday, except we're wearing ties today. All right?" President Obama told the waiting press gaggle, who got a full, 38-second audience with the president, according to The Washington Times' Dave Boyer, pool man of the moment.

HALLELUJAH, MR. CAIN

"Must Tell Jesus," "I'm So Glad You Did," "This Is the Day," "My Soul I Anchored," "Hallelujah Square," "Heaven."

(Tunes from presidential hopeful Herman Cain's rediscovered 1996 Christian gospel album, released online Monday at ReverbNation. Hear samples here: www.reverbnation.com/1686160)

SHALOM, MR. BECK

"Where you go, I shall go. Your people are my people, your God is my God … As a man who also worships the one God, in the times that we live in, it is clear that what is going on is God's work. If we are silent, evil will win. But if we stand up and take charge, God will do the rest," Glenn Beck told the Israeli Knesset during a visit Monday.

"The media as we know it, politics as we know it, is over. It is going to change. My message to you is to think out of the box. and the way to think out of the box is to just tell the truth," Mr. Beck added, noting that his support for Israel has "deepened" since the 9/11 attacks.

He returns to Israel Aug. 24 for "Restoring Courage," a public rally similar to a large scale patriotic event Mr. Beck staged at the Lincoln Memorial last year.

PATRIOTIC TWADDLE?

Hyperbole over White House antics could harm a certain Republican hopeful, proclaims one New Hampshire newspaper.

"Can presidential candidate Mitt Romney emerge as the grownup who disavows such ideological excesses? If not, he may become his party's nominee, but he won't appeal to the voters in the middle who decide elections," proclaims a Concord Monitor editorial. "Judging by Romney's performance in New Hampshire so far, he has a long way to go."

The newspaper advises Mr. Romney to stop with the "ping-ponging, spinning, qualifying and denying," lest he lose the confidence of voters.

"To be taken seriously by the independents who decide New Hampshire elections Romney will have to give up the hyperbole and blame game and offer real ideas, not patriotic twaddle, bankrupt trickle-down promises, and calls for tax cuts and deregulation," the Monitor says.

OLDIES DO GOODIES

Maybe frantic politicians and journalists need a dose of Frank Sinatra. Bruce Houston, president of Metro Radio, is convinced that the Washington area needs "oldies and easy listening" music to soothe all the savage beasts out there. Just launched: 1420 AM WKCW, based in Northern Virginia, and the sole refuge for nostalgic fare near the nation's capital.

"It's songs and artists you don't hear anymore on the radio," Mr. Houston says, noting the format is being produced "in house" rather than from a syndicated service. Listen live at www.metroradioinc.com.

POLL DU JOUR

• 77 percent of Americans are "very or somewhat" concerned that raising the debt limit would lead to more government spending and a bigger national debt.

• 73 percent are very or somewhat concerned that not raising the limit would force a government default and hurt the economy

• 47 percent are more concerned about raising the debt limit and increasing spending and debt.

• 66 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats agree.

• 42 percent are more concerned about not raising the limit, and forcing a default.

• 27 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of independents and 54 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center/Washington Post poll of 1,001 adults conducted July 7-10.

Lyrics, onomatopoeias, palindromes to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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