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Inside the Beltway

- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2011

BROWNIE REVISITED

The man former President George W. Bush once called "Brownie" has emerged with his own take on the nation's clashes with nature, a phenomenon that has been most keenly felt in recent weeks. Former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown — now a Colorado talk radio host — offers his own take on it all in "Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm: Hurricane Katrina, The Bush White House, and Beyond." The 232-page book will be in stores and available online later this week.

"It was a perfect political storm that would one day make or break careers, including mine," Mr. Brown says. "Hurricane Katrina happened during a Republican administration, but the harsh realities transcend political parties, economics, age, race, or ethnic origins. In one form or another, we are too often a nation in denial."

WEINER REVISITED

The media shelf life of Rep. Anthony D. Weiner's underpants scandal could be extended by some partisan shoving in the blogosphere. The progressive Daily Kos has accused BigHollywood.com founder Andrew Breitbart of orchestrating the "faux scandal" against the New York Democrat that involved a lewd photo of men's briefs, a college co-ed and a hacked Twitter account.

"So a liberal congressman basically stands accused of sending a highly inappropriate Tweet, while a right-wing blogger basically stands accused of setting him up," observes Daily Caller political blogger Mickey Kaus.

"They could both be innocent, of course. Or not. But this isn't a case of he said/he said. There are electronic records of all these actions. If both of the accused open up their computers to a neutral, third party tech nerd — who doesn't have to be in law enforcement — it should be possible to find out fairly quickly if either/both/none of them is culpable, no? The truth is in there," Mr. Kaus concludes.

THE CANDIDATE SHUFFLE

Republicans with a presidential glint in their eyes descend on Washington from elsewhere in about 48 hours. Among the confirmed speakers at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's conference and strategy meeting that begins Friday: Mitt Romney — who announces his White House bid on a farm in the wee town of Stratham, N.H., on Thursday — plus Herman Cain, fresh from an appearance with the Howard County Republican Central Committee in Maryland.

Donald Trump is also a confirmed speaker, and already at work on his yet to be titled politics and policy book for Regnery Publishing, due to be on bookshelves at summer's end. On the roster of probable speakers at the event: Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota - who meets with New Hampshire Republicans in Concord on Tuesday — plus Rep. Ron Paulof Texas and Tim Pawlenty.

ZOMBIE ACT TWO

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to capitalize on a certain giddy humor that unexpectedly resonated with press and public. The federal agency recently warned that in the event of a zombie attack, first responders and health officials were prepared to deal with the walking dead. The official announcement included practical emergency advice; the antic worked. The CDC got much buzz from incredulous but amused journalists, while citizens actually paid attention to the recommendations.

The method continues.

"First there were zombies; then came hurricanes," observe FEMA administrator Craig Fugate and Ali S. Khan, assistant Surgeon General and director of the CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response.

"With June 1st only days away, FEMA, CDC and the rest of the team are busy preparing for the upcoming hurricane season. And now that you've taken the necessary precautions to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, you can start preparing for hurricane season, too," the pair say in a cheeky blog that also incorporates official hurricane recommendations.

PASTOR'S CALL TO ARMS

A sense of political urgency is surfacing in the faith community. In Touch Ministries founder Charles Stanley is encouraging Americans "to get down on their knees to pray, then get up on their feet and become involved," to reverse a worrisome tide of events.

Mr. Stanley outlines his plan in "Turning the Tide: Real Hope, Real Change," a book to be published in late June. He insists our country turn away from one that "is headed for financial bankruptcy, is becoming more and more taxed with government programs that benefit only those in leadership positions, is negligent in the handling of Israel and has little regard for the innocent, especially the rights of the unborn, the elderly, and the handicapped."

The clergyman is also convinced that the nation views "a sinless, peace-giving, benevolent Jesus as one to be vilified," adding, "It's time that we take responsibility for the direction of our country and become involved both at a civic level and through fervent prayer."

POLL DU JOUR

• 71 percent of Democratic voters think that President Obama views American society as "generally fair and decent."

• 45 percent of U.S. voters overall agree with that idea.

• 24 percent of Republican voters and 39 percent of unaffiliated voters also agree.

• 63 percent of likely U.S. voters overall believeAmerican society is generally fair and decent.

• 24 percent overall say that U.S. society is "generally unfair and discriminatory."

• 14 percent are unsure.

• 37 percent overall say Mr. Obama thinks society is unfair and discriminatory.

• 18 percent are not sure what the president thinks.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,00 likely U.S. voters conducted May 25-26.

Chatter, murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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