- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 26, 2011

BOEHNER‘S GREEN TIE

With his straightforward demeanor, there has been talk that House Speaker John A. Boehner appears “more presidential” than President Obama, even after weeks of debt-ceiling debate and brinksmanship. Conservative guru Richard Viguerie, in fact, calls Mr. Boehner’s rebuttal to Mr. Obama on Monday night “the best speech of his political career.”

But the president’s media pals are at the ready. Once, they mocked Mr. Boehner’s sentimental tears and his tan. Now it’s his ties. Along with gleefully emphasizing Republican discord over Mr. Boehner’s newest proposals, journalists are agitated over his choice of an emerald green tie during the primetime showdown. Among the many observations:

“The last time we saw a tie this green, it was on a leprechaun: The only thing missing on Boehner’s versions are small, embroidered dollar signs.” (Kurt Soller, Esquire).

“Perhaps Boehner meant to explain the bright green tie he wore for the speech: We have just wandered into the Emerald City, and are being told to pay no attention to the wildly dysfunctional legislative body behind the curtain.” (Amy Davidson, New Yorker).

But Mr. Boehner likes green ties, apparently. And here’s proof that he’s under close scrutiny. Based on an analysis of recent photographs of the speaker in action, ABC Neckties, a fashion-industry blog, estimates that Mr. Boehner sports a green tie “25 percent of the time.”

NEWT’S GREEN WHOPPER

The cozy loveseat, a few sweet nothings about the environment. Newt Gingrich’s 2008 public-service announcement with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — produced at the behest of one Al Gore — essentially blamed the U.S. economy for global warming. Mr. Gingrich later drew catcalls from global-warming debunkers, not to mention those alarmed that a Republican could snuggle so closely to a Democrat. But hey. It’s over now.

“I was trying to make a point that we shouldn’t be afraid to debate the Left, even on the environment. But obviously it was misconstrued, and it’s probably one of those things I wouldn’t do again,” Mr. Gingrich said during an appearance on WGIR, a talk-radio station in Manchester, N.H. — where he continues in ceaseless campaign mode.

“We welcome Gingrich’s last-ditch attempt to grasp scientific and political reality, but still scratch our heads as to why Newt refers to the Pelosi ad as some kind of ‘debate’ that was ‘misconstrued’ by the public. Mr. Gingrich, please just admit your whopper of a mistake and stop trying to spin your embarrassing behavior,” says Marc Morano of ClimateDepot.com, which tracks the unreasonable green-mindedness of politicians and policymakers.

NO LOW-FAT GRANOLA

“Admission to the breakfast started at $1,000 per plate. Guests were served a souffle made from local duck and chicken eggs, cheeses, spinach, tomatoes and herbs; a peach and raspberry pudding; smoked trout, fruit and other pastries.”

-From the White House poll report filed by Salt Lake Tribune reporter Robert Gehrke, chronicling first lady Michelle Obama’s appearance at a Democratic fundraiser in Utah on Tuesday morning.

CHINESE TAKE-OUT

Is anyone watching? The National Institutes of Health awarded more than $30 million in research grants to Chinese scientists at Chinese universities in the past two years, says an investigation by Traditional Values Coalition. In the past decade, the federal agency has awarded $90 million to Chinese causes, the group says.

“As our country heads to fiscal ruin, why are we giving millions in taxpayer dollars to Chinese science — which benefits China and its institutions — when they hold more than $1 trillion in American debt?” asks Andrea Lafferty, president of the coalition, who also notes $367,686 went to a study on the lives of female prostitutes in southwestern China.

“It is good to fund certain types of medical research, provided it benefits those who pay for it — the American taxpayer,” Mrs. Lafferty observes. “We call on the Obama administration and Congress to enforce a moratorium on NIH grant-making while a special prosecutor or another impartial investigator conducts a full review.”

WATCH THE SCOTCH

Along with celebrating our historic heritage, Americans also honor edibles and potables. In the month of July alone, the nation marked National Beans ‘n’ Franks Day, National French Fries Day and National Caviar Day. Most of these moments are developed in concert with very clever interest groups, lobbyists and PR shops. Which brings us to Wednesday, which is National Scotch Day. From the organizers at MBooth, “a global communications company,” comes cocktail recipes for the occasion that throw Scotch whisky in with chipotle syrup, vermouth and sherry, among other things.

Here’s the simplest recipe of the bunch, “The Smokey Scotsman,” which we present verbatim from the holiday mixologists who developed it:

“2 oz. of the Macallan 10 Years Old, one half ounce of fresh lemon juice and 3-5 fresh sage leaves. Muddle, add ice, shake and dirty pour into double rocks glass.”

No, Inside the Beltway does not know what “dirty pour” means, but good luck.

POLL DU JOUR

• 68 percent of U.S. voters say the news media are politically biased.

• 46 percent say journalists favor Democrats; 22 percent say they favor Republicans.

• 28 percent say the media are “reasonably balanced” in its approach.

• 57 percent think of the news media as “somewhat or very” unethical.

• 39 percent say the media are “somewhat or very” ethical.

• 44 percent say journalists are “too friendly” with politicians.

• 24 percent say their coverage of politicians is “appropriate.”

Source: A Hill Poll of 1,000 likely voters conducted July 21.

Press releases, legitimate complaints, recipes to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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