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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ON THE RADAR

An Islamic group called Sharia4America plans to demonstrate near the White House on Thursday afternoon. They vow, "Muslims will let the tyrant Barack Obama and the American people know that a new constitution beckons the U.S. called the sharia," referring to Islamic law and core principles. Organizers have yet to apply for a permit with the National Park Service, a required protocol for marches on the Mall, or thereabouts.

"I can confirm that we are not in possession of an application for a permit on Thursday afternoon for any organization that has 'sharia' in its event title," says spokesman Bill Line, who also notes that he received multiple inquiries from news organizations curious about the rally.

"This march on Washington is an affront to the very idea of America and in no way represents the core of American Muslims," says Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim and the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. "American Muslims need to denounce this rally and to unequivocally state that the movement to bring shariah into government is unconstitutional and unconscionable for liberty-loving Muslims in America."

Dr. Jasser adds, "The organizers believe that freedom of speech is a one-way street and ultimately that their rally for shariah will not be countered by Muslims or Americans. We stand in support of groups like Move America Forward and the Liberty Alliance, who also will rally on March 3 against shariah and the Islamic state."

BARACK O'BAMA

"Through hard work, perseverance, and patriotism, women and men of Irish descent have given their brawn, brains, and blood to make and remake this nation -- pulling it westward, pushing it skyward, and moving it forward."

From President Obama's official proclamation naming March "Irish-American Heritage Month."

PARENTS' LAMENT

"While some economists are saying the economy has improved, voters don't seem to be feeling it. Most disturbing is that half of voters have lost faith that their children will have a better life than they have had," says pollster John Zogby. "This certainly implies an acceptance of a new norm of high unemployment and limited economic mobility."

Indeed, a melancholy new Zogby Poll finds that 51 percent of voters do not anticipate the proverbial good life for their children. Only 7 percent are "very confident" their offspring will do better.

AUTHORESSES

Former U.S. Senate hopeful Christine O'Donnell has declined ABC's invitation to appear on "Dancing With the Stars," shunning the sequins and terpsichorean fame for the literary life.

"I have another challenge before me: To complete a book that tells the story of the 2010 election cycle with the dignity and respect it deserves," says Ms. O'Donnell, who lost her Delaware Senate race last fall. "This book will serve as a clarion call to my fellow citizen-activists by taking the reader beyond petitions and protests and articulating not just what we should do, but why we must do it."

Meanwhile, Bristol Palin has opted to reveal all about her many weeks on the prime-time dance drama — and lots more. The 20-year-old daughter of Sarah Palin also is writing a book — titled "Not Afraid of Life" — to be released this summer by Harper Collins, which published her mother's best-selling "Going Rogue" and "America by Heart."

Ms. Palin, the publisher says, "gives readers an intimate behind-the-scenes look at her life for the first time, from growing up in Alaska to coming of age amid the media and political frenzy surrounding her mother's political rise; from becoming a single mother while still a teenager to coping as her relationship with her baby's father crumbled publicly — not once, but twice."

GAS BIAS

Broadcasters don't link escalating gas prices with President Obama in their coverage. But President George W. Bush? Uh-huh. His fault.

"They connected Mr. Bush, not Mr. Obama to high prices. As gas prices rose in 2008, network reporters mentioned Mr. Bush in 15 times as many stories than they brought up Mr. Obama in a similar period in 2011," says Julia Seymour, a researcher with the Business & Media Institute who examined every news report on ABC, CBS and NBC that mentioned gas prices during those time periods.

She also found that not one single story brought up any of Mr. Obama's "anti-oil policies" this year, despite the impact they could have on supply and prices.

CHINA'S CHINA

Not too tasty: A Department of Emergency Medicine research team at Philadelphia's Thomas Jefferson University tested cooking utensils and dinnerware made in China and sold in the city to find that almost 30 percent contained lead, which "astounded" them. The researchers dutifully reported it to the Food and Drug Administration.

The officials in turn "were so alarmed at the significant amount of affected items" that the federal agency is initiating further studies of imported Chinese — and Mexican — cookware, says Dr. Gerald O'Malley, who led the study.

POLL DU JOUR

• 36 percent of Americans would blame Republicans if the federal government shuts down this week.

• 8 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats agree.

• 35 percent overall would blame the Obama administration.

• 69 percent of Republicans and 11 percent of Democrats agree.

• 17 percent overall blame "both equally."

• 17 percent of Republicans and 17 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research center poll of 1,009 adults conducted Feb. 24-27.

Hue and cry, noise and commentary to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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