- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2011

THE SHEEN EFFECT

Once, it was mere adultery or clueless gaffes that gauged the shortcomings of politicians. The stakes have gone up. The extreme bombast and ballyhoo of one Carlos Irwin Estevez — aka Charlie Sheen — have become a political barometer of sorts.

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, who staged the first national convention for the movement last year, has declared that Mr. Sheen now “makes more sense” than House Speaker John A. Boehner. Mr Phillips is vexed that the plain-spoken Ohio Republican has not moved faster on his vows to restore fiscal sanity to Congress.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sheen and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are “ravers at arms,” says Britains Guardian newspaper, which offers a global quiz to gauge whether humanity can distinguish between the commentaries of the pair. Yes, well. One of them, for declared, “I am like the Queen of England.” New York Magazine offers a similar quiz featuring the quotes of Mssrs. Sheen and Gaddafi, along with Fox News host Glenn Beck — who has his own insight.

“His latest high is to be everywhere in the media,” Mr. Beck says of Mr. Sheen, who has signed a hefty contract to endorse products via Twitter, where he has accrued 1.5 million followers for “Team Sheen,” his new moniker.

“Sooner or later, America is going to say, ‘I’ve had enough of Charlie Sheen,’” Mr. Beck observes, adding that such a devastating plummet in popularity ultimately could contribute to the actor’s demise.

GAS ATTACK

The “drill, baby, drill” demographic is getting huge, and with good reason. Consider that gas prices jumped 22 cents per gallon since last weekend, the second-largest one-week increase in fuel prices since 1990, says the U.S. Energy Information Agency. We’re now paying anywhere from $3.42 to $3.65 a gallon for regular gas, deemed “sticker shock at the psychic level” by the American Automobile Association.

“The world has turned upside down since the winds of change swept through North Africa and the Middle East. Pump prices are changing at warp speed. Service station owners and distributors are panicking about what the next tank wagon will cost them and are passing that cost to us in advance of the next shipment,” says John Townsend, a spokesman for the group.

A resolute nation is bracing for the worst. A Rasmussen Reports survey finds that six out of 10 Americans expect the price of gas to top $5 a gallon by July 1. And most now agree with Sarah Palin that the U.S. is being held hostage by the oil-rich Middle East: 76 percent now believe the U.S. “does not do enough to develop its own gas and oil resources.”

The industry doesn’t believe it either.

“There is nothing ‘robust’ about the Obamatorium,” said Jim Adams, president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association, reacting to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s claim that the White House has a “robust” plan for Gulf Coast oil and gas production.

ALL BETS OFF

“Hey Republicans. Want to make a wager? I bet you one unplanned pregnancy that you are secretly pro-choice.”

(Motto from a new electronic card promoted by MoveOn.org.)

WEEKEND READING

Another giant public docu-dump of secret files? It’s not WikiLeaks and Julian Assange behind the wheel this time, but the British National Archives — which has released all its UFO/extraterrestrial/weird-lights-in-the-sky files accumulated from 2000 through 2005.

“File DEFE 24/2026 file contains UFO documents mainly produced by U.S. government agencies,” the British agency advises.

Yowsuh. Well, OK.

Find it all here: http://ufos.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

HOLA, AMERICA

“Our farmers and ranchers along the Rio Grande are caught in the middle of a border war that affects every citizen of our nation,” says Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, who fears for the safety of those who work 8,200 farms and ranches along the Mexico border.

Intimidation, trespassing, drug activity and property damage are a daily reality in the region, which generates $700 million in annual agricultural sales. Mr. Staples, with the help of several trade groups, is documenting his vigorous cause here: www.protectyourtexasborder.com.

“A threat to our food supply is a threat to our homeland security. Texas stands ready to fight these terrorists and protect our residents, but we must have increased federal support to secure our borders, defeat our enemies and safeguard our national food supply,” Mr. Staples adds. “The war on terrorism is not only being waged overseas, but also right here at home.”

DIBS ON DOBBS

Those who pine for a regular dose of the fiscally conservative wisdom of Lou Dobbs are in luck. The Fox Business Network debuts “Lou Dobbs Tonight” at 7 p.m. on March 14th, says Kevin Magee, executive vice president of the network. The show features a breakdown of the days top stories and how they affect the economy, with a clear focus on American taxpayers.

POLL DU JOUR

• 50 percent of U.S. voters say that cutting pay and benefits to state employees is a reality in tough times.

• 81 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

• 42 percent of voters overall give their state governor a positive job performance review.

• 48 percent of Republicans and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

• 22 percent of voters overall give their own state government a positive job rating.

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

Source: A Zogby Interactive poll of 1,981 likely voters conducted Feb. 22-24.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow the column at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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