Pollsters and pundits who declare Sarah Palin a political has-been and Republican irritant should curb their appetites. Mrs. Palin has bypassed localized rants and gone to the global forum. The possible presidential contender will spend her weekend in India and Israel, accompanied by powerful company and a star-struck international press - savvy strategy for someone seeking positive buzz, sensational photo-ops and foreign policy credentials.
Friday and Saturday find Mrs. Palin at the side of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; she is the keynote speaker for a massive business and culture conference studded with Bollywood stars and power players, staged at the swank Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi. Mrs. Palin's speech is titled "My Vision of America." And India? She has deemed it "the world's largest democracy," a source says.
On Sunday, she journeys to Israel, culminating in a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss "key issues facing his country, our ally Israel," Mrs. Palin says. Critics already are dismissing the visit as a maneuver to court Jewish voters or raise campaign funds. Those conclusions are premature. Besides, her peers have been there, done that. Mike Huckabee — in the company of actor Jon Voight — plus Mitt Romney and Haley Barbour also have made recent visits to Israel.
"The appeal of Sarah Palin as a GOP nominee is not just about domestic resentments. It is also about foreign policy revanchism. And it seems rash to dismiss the importance of this. There is something about an attractive woman wielding military force that reaches those parts of the psyche that 'no-drama Obama' never will or can," observes The Atlantic columnist Andrew Sullivan.
"In an era of 500-channel cable TV and live video over the Internet, there is no need for taxpayer-subsidized media. I am a strong believer in the free markets. I believe that if NPR reworks its business model and begins to compete for its income, just as other stations do, it will not only survive, but thrive," says Rep. Doug Lamborn, after his legislation to strip National Public Radio of federal funding passed in the House.
Aw. Such civility, even as a catfight looms when the legislation eases into the tighter confines of the Senate. NPR's defenders are preparing for combat. The Office of Management and Budget opposes the bill. Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, calls it a "mean ideological assault." And witness Rep. James P. McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat, who has proposed an amendment to "de-fund" Fox News.
"It has become clear that the Fox News channel is wildly biased. They continue to employ a talk-show host who called President Obama a racist. They continue to employ several prospective Republican presidential candidates as 'analysts.' … My amendment would prohibit federal funds — taxpayer dollars — from being used for advertising on the partisan, political platform of Fox News," Mr. McGovern says.
Meanwhile, NPR interim CEO Joyce Slocum laments the "tragedy" should the nation lose the public broadcaster — a "national treasure." Drama continues. Conservative activist James O'Keefe has released a third batch of sting video gleaned from the undercover footage of a former NPR executive that created the initial hubbub; this episode covers donations from George Soros. See it here: www.theprojectveritas.org.
"The parties to this litigation and John Edwards were all centrally and voluntarily involved in events that affected the 2008 presidential election, and those events, which are specifically placed at issue in this litigation, have raised serious questions about whether federal laws may have been violated."
(From a motion filed in North Carolina Superior Court by the Associated Press, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Dow Jones, Gannett, Bloomberg, the New York Times and five other news organizations seeking access to intimate sex tapes made by former presidential hopeful Mr.Edwards and his then-communications aide Rielle Hunter.)
NASA reports that the "super perigee" moon will appear to be 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than normal on Saturday. It's not been so cozy with the Earth since 1993, the federal agency says.
"I'd say it's worth a look." says of U.S. Naval Observatory spokesman Geoff Chester.
"A penny saved is a government oversight."
Bumper sticker spotted in Tampa, Fla.
POLL DU JOUR
• 65 percent of Americans say if charitable deductions were reduced for the wealthy, they would donate less.
• 64 percent believe the middle class pays more in taxes than the wealthy.
• 23 percent disagree and 13 percent are not sure.
• 55 percent favor a tax system under which everyone pays the same percentage of their income.
• 26 percent oppose that system, 19 percent are undecided.
• 51 percent of adults making over $100,000 a year say the wealthy pay the most taxes.
• 9 percent overall say the U.S. "has the best tax system in the world."
Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted March 13-14.
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