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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2011

YOUR TAX DOLLARS

Uh-oh. Trouble at home is not just confined to Super Bowl Sunday apparently. The National Institutes of Health has funded new research revealing that domestic violence rises 10 percent after NFL upsets and by 20 percent when the games involve traditional rivals. Disappointment on the gridiron raises the risk that football fans may react "inappropriately," the study says. It was funded entirely by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a division of the federal agency.

"Unexpected disappointment may underlie loss of control and violent behavior. Calls to the police reporting men's assaults on their wives or intimate partners rose 10 percent in areas where the local National Football League team lost a game they were favored to win," says an analysis of 900 regular-season games published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics by economists David Card and Gordon Dahl, of the University of California, Berkeley, and University of California, San Diego, respectively.

"This is not limited to football," Mr. Card adds. "Someone who gets a speeding ticket on the way home, for example, might also be more likely to act out in a way he would later regret."

SAY AH-H-H

Wednesday actually marks the exact one-year anniversary of the moment when President Obama signed health care reform into law, accompanied by Vice President Joseph R. Biden's indelicate assessment that the occasion was a "big f-ing deal." The 2,700-page legislation also remains a big confusing deal for Americans who still don't know, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi once intoned, "what's in it." Only a quarter of Americans expect the law to improve their personal health care, says a new Gallup poll. About a third say it will stay the same, 39 percent expect their care to worsen.

Republican medical men have not given up the fight, though. Reps. Tom Price, Republican Policy Committee chairman, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — both physicians — will hold a news conference Wednesday morning to parse things out. Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma — also a doctor — has penned a "physician's checklist" on the legislation for National Review.

"One year ago, Democrats and the president lauded passage of ObamaCare claiming that it would improve our health care system. Today, this fundamentally flawed law has completely failed to live up to the promises Democrats made when they rammed it through Congress," observes House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.

Virginia also sued the federal government exactly one year ago, challenging the constitutionality of the law.

"People were promised their premiums would decrease. They have not. People were promised the law would lower costs. It did not. People were promised the law would improve care. It has not. And people were promised they could keep existing coverage if they like it. They cannot," Mr. Cantor says. "Congressional Democrats and the Obama administration have been forced to admit the law will eliminate nearly 1 million jobs, increase health care costs by $300 billion and reduce health choices for individuals and families."

NOT IMPRESSED

"Miserably inefficient."

— Undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics Ashton B. Carter, describing continuing resolutions in Congress during an appearance at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics U.S. Missile Defense Conference.

HEADLINE DU JOUR

"They know who wears the pants in this country. But do they know this is the start of Hillary's campaign? She does."

— Lucianne Goldberg, founder of Lucianne.com, on news coverage of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

PASS THE HAT

If history is an indicator, Republican presidential hopefuls may not match President Obama's campaign war chest as 2012 looms, some say. A timid, squeaky exploratory committee may not cut it. It's all in the math.

As he was entering the White House fray four years ago, Mr. Obama raised $59 million for his presidential campaign during the first half of 2007 alone, says Bloomberg News correspondent Jonathan D. Salant. To match that, prospective Republican challengers to his re-election would need to take in roughly $590,000 a day until June 30 if they entered the race today.

Inside the Beltway does more elementary and most likely questionable ciphering to reveal that translates to $24,583 an hour, $409 a minute and almost $7 a second.

"It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the Republicans to raise as much money as Obama," says former Republican National Committee finance chairman Al Hoffman.

"Even so, that doesn't mean the Republicans can't mitigate an Obama funding advantage. Independent outside groups, such as Karl Rove's American Crossroads that helped the party win control of the U.S. House in 2010, are preparing for 2012. And prospective candidates are lining up major fundraisers and preparing efforts to attract small donors," Mr. Salant observes.

POLL DU JOUR

• 53 percent of likely voters favor a repeal of the health care reform law, 42 percent oppose a repeal.

• 79 percent of Republicans favor a repeal, 72 percent of Democrats oppose it.

• 50 percent overall say it is likely a repeal could take place, 37 percent say it is unlikely.

• 69 percent of Republicans agree, 52 percent of Democrats disagree.

• 43 percent overall say a repeal would be "good for the economy."

• 34 percent say the health care reform plan will be "good for the country."

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted March 18 and 19.

O-o-o-h-h-s, a-h-h-h-h-s, cat calls to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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