- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 8, 2012

There will be a bipartisan cast of thousands at the White House on Monday, liberating all the wonks, officials and strategists from policy and campaign doldrums for a few hours, anyway. The 134th annual White House Easter Egg Roll is set to host 30,000 guests on the South Lawn to promote “health and wellness” through sport, dancing, cooking, storytelling and, uh, an egg roll. The Easter Bunny himself has many extra helpers this year.

As in 61 costumed characters with Hollywood roots or educational intent who will also gambol on the famous green. Some are familiar: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Charlie Brown and Smokey Bear, who lost his middle “the” some time ago, though he now has his own phone app courtesy of the ever vigilant Ad Council, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.

The White House is precisely in tune with young, contemporary culture, meanwhile. Also appearing: Fairy Twinkletoes, Katsuma, Poppet, Clicky, Yoohoo and Chewoo, Wow Wow Wubbzy, Abby Cadabby, Screech, Slice, Ruff Ruffman, Sid the Science Kid, Wonder Red, Word Girl, Woofster, Power Panther, Slapshot, Air Slapshot, and Doki Dog, to name just a few.

But there will be a few raucous political underpinnings too. The White House also advises that “George, Tom, Abe and Teddy from the Racing Presidents” will attend. Tune in for live online video streams from the South Lawn all day here: WhiteHouse.gov/live. Or chime in via Twitter using the hashtag #EasterEggRoll.

AND IN SUMMATION

The Republican Study Committee has broken down the national debt crisis to a simple but alarming graphic, easy enough for a child to understand. Indeed. “One day kids, all this debt will be yours!” quips a new map of the world revealing how much the U.S. owes around the planet, and to whom. See the map and much more here: rsc.jordan.house.gov/.

“We owe trillions of dollars to foreign countries. It’s unfair and immoral to pass this debt to our kids. Do the right thing: cut, cap and balance the budget,” says committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

And here are the numbers, straight from the Treasury Department, Mr. Jordan adds. We owe $1.159 trillion to China, $1.079 trillion to Japan, $258 billion to “oil exporters” in the Middle East and South America, $229.1 billion to Brazil, $227.8 million to “Caribbean banks,” $142.5 billion to Russia, and $142.3 billion to Britain. The grand total owed to overseas concerns: $5 trillion.

HISTORIC MUDSLINGING

“He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash. But I grow lyrical.”

Journalist H. L Mencken, reviewing the 1921 inaugural address of President Warren G. Harding.

HOLA AMERICA

Latino or Hispanic? Is there a difference? The demographic group in question has clear preferences. Four decades after the U.S. government mandated the use of “Hispanic” or “Latino” to publicly designate those whose roots are in Spanish-speaking countries, the truth at last emerges.

The majority of them — 51 percent — prefer to describe themselves based on their specific country of origin. Another 24 percent prefer Hispanic or Latino, while 21 percent say they’re “American.” The findings are from the Pew Hispanic Center; see the sizable poll here: PewHispanic.org.

CITIZEN CAIN

He’s not done yet: Here comes “Cain’s Revolution on the Hill” as tax day looms. Former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has big doings planned for the nation’s capital; he arrives in town April 15 for a reception to honor the late Andrew Breitbart, followed by a “999 Patriot’s Summit” and a tax day rally at the Capitol the following afternoon. See all the plans here: CainConnections.com.

The 9 percent flat tax on individuals, businesses and sales that was Mr. Cain’s rallying cry during his campaign last year is still very much intact.

“It is fair, simple, transparent and efficient. It taxes everything once and nothing twice. It taxes the broadest possible base at the lowest possible rate,” he says.

THE GREAT DIVIDE

Empathy does not cross political lines. So says a new University of Michigan study revealing that we can look beyond gender and/or national origins, “but if you’re a Democrat and someone else is a Republican, that person seems extremely different. … Political values are emotionally charged. People get really fired up,” says lead author Ed O’Brien, a graduate student in psychology on the campus.

Test subjects in the study were given a short story to read, chronicling a “left-wing, pro-gay rights Democrat and a Republican proponent of traditional marriage” who go hiking in winter but get lost with no food, water or extra clothes. The results: Readers clearly empathized most with the hikers who shared their politics.

“Even if you’re feeling shared pain, you may not let that connection affect your opinions of people who are very, very different from you,” observes Mr. O’Brien, who published his findings in Psychological Science.

POLL DU JOUR

• 61 percent of Americans are following the news about the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.

• 80 percent of blacks and 59 percent of whites are following the story.

• 46 percent overall say Trayvon’s race did not factor in whether Mr. Zimmerman was arrested after the shooting.

• 20 percent of blacks and 49 percent of whites agree.

• 39 percent overall say Mr. Zimmerman would have been arrested if the person he shot was white.

• 73 percent of blacks and 35 percent of whites agree.

• 35 percent of Americans say racial bias was a “major factor” leading up to the shooting.

• 72 percent of blacks and 31 percent of whites agree.

Source: A USA Today/Gallup poll of 3,006 U.S. adults conducted April 2 to 4.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.