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Inside the Beltway
Question of the Day
OSAMA FOIA, PT. 2
The post-mortem photos of Osama bin Laden are must-haves. News organizations, interest groups and now, one presidential hopeful, are pining to peek at the "grisly" fare in the name of public transparency. Politico, the Associated Press, Fox News, Judicial Watch and Citizens United are among those who have dutifully filed Freedom of Information Act requests with defense and intelligence agencies; by law, the agencies have 20 days to respond. Andy Martin, a conservative presidential hopeful known for his combative "birther" stance, has also filed a FOIA request with the U.S. Navy for the photographs, plus medical evidence and other documents. He's added an aggressive political agenda, however.
"While I am overjoyed that we got bin Laden, I am afraid that due to President Obamas hesitation and incompetence we may have squandered an even greater opportunity to strike a mortal blow at al Qaeda," says Mr. Martin, whose campaign theme has segued from interests in Mr. Obama's birthplace to a new motto: "Join the new Ronald Reagan revolution."
Meanwhile, he said Mr. Obama has "endangered U.S. national security" and "staged a politically motivated charade to kill bin Laden because he wanted the 'bonus' of the kill without the 'onus' of having to handle a live Osama bin Laden afterwards," all with an eye on the 2012 presidential campaign.
A political bounce for President Obama following the death of Osama bin Laden? Yes. But it's waning as global and stateside political complications ensue, some analysts say. A selection of Mr. Obama's favorability numbers, per pollster, in the past week: 48 percent (IBOPE/Zogby), 46 percent (Harris Polls), 52 percent (Gallup), 57 percent (CBS/New York Times), 51 percent (Rasmussen Reports), 50 percent (Pew Research Center), 52 percent (CNN/Opinion Research), 48 percent (Newsweek/Daily Beast).
Physical fitness = fiscal fitness. So says Rep. Aaron Schock, dubbed "America's Fittest Congressman" and the "ripped representative" by Men's Heath magazine. The Illinois Republican - age 29 and a fan of form-fitting Zegna suits - is a regular in the House gym, and a devotee of "P90X," the video workout series created by Tony Horton. Mr. Schock also is pushing his own summer fitness challenge (www.menshealth.com/schock), with political frills. He's imploring couch-loving citizens to drop 30 pounds by Labor Day.
"How does that help America? Health care may be the single biggest factor in our nations ongoing budget crisis. Yet eight out of every $10 we spend on health care is spent on diseases that are preventable, if only we took better care of ourselves. Think of the billions of dollars we could use for better infrastructure, renewable energy and job creation," Mr. Schock advises.
"Rep. Schock: Who needs Medicare when youve got abs like these?" counters the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which confabulated its own parody cover, adding that the lawmaker "employed an unusual tactic to distract from his vote. Schock took to the cover of Mens Health where he exposed everything but his drastic plans to end Medicare."
Did news of the death of Osama bin Laden originate on Twitter? Members of the Twittersphere would like to think so, many citing former Defense Department staffer Keith Urbahn, who tweeted ahead of breaking news coverage that he heard that bin Laden had been killed. Pakistani resident Sohaib Athar also offered tweets about helicopter activity in Abbottabad on May 1 - prompting CNN media analyst Howard Kurtz to observe, "I love the fact that this guy scoops the entire world."
Hold off on a "Pulitzer Prize for tweeting," counters Los Angeles Times media analyst Joe Flint.
"He did not scoop the entire world. He heard noise and posted something on Twitter about it. He didn't know what the noise was so how did he scoop the world?" Mr. Flint demands. "Perhaps Twitter will soon create its own version of a wire service. For now though, it is a corner bar for the world to tell everyone what happened to them that day. Sometimes the drunk sitting next to you at the bar is right on the money, and other times he doesn't know what the heck he's talking about."
NOW HEAR THIS
Free music? Indeed. Librarian of Congress James Billington, musician Harry Connick Jr. and Sony Music President Richard Story introduce the National Jukebox on Tuesday, a free interactive website featuring 10,000 historic sound recordings - popular music, opera, early jazz, famous speeches, poetry, humor. The library's bustling site (www.loc.gov) will allow users to create and share their own playlists.
"This is an extraordinary milestone in the preservation of our nation's aural heritage, considering that a national study found that only 14 percent of commercial sound recordings produced in the U.S. between 1895 and 1965 were currently made available to the public by rights holders," a Library spokeswoman says.
Bristol Palin is not done with show biz yet. As an encore to her glittering appearance on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," Miss Palin has signed on for a 10-part "docu-series" for the Bio Channel, chronicling a move from Alaska to Los Angeles with her toddler son Tripp. The scenario has the single mom working for a charity and living with former dance partner Kyle Massey and his actor brother Christopher. No title yet, though producers for Associated Television International promise, "This will be the first time shes opening up her real life."
POLL DU JOUR
• 52 percent of American believe Republican and Democrats are not adequate and a third major political party is needed.
• 68 percent of independents and 60 percent of tea party supporters agree.
• 52 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats also agree.
• 52 percent of liberals, 52 percent of moderates and 51 percent of conservatives also support a third party.
• 40 percent overall say Republicans and Democrats "do an adequate job."
• 32 percent of tea partyers agree.
Source: A USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,013 adults conducted April 20-23 and released Monday.
• Numbers, opinions, fitness plans to email@example.com
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