- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CRATEGATE, PART TWO

Uh-oh, the Dogs Against Romney thing has legs. Outraged that Mitt Romney once drove to Canada with his dog Seamus in a crate atop the family station wagon, the independent group protested against the Republican presidential hopeful outside the Westminster Dog Show in New York 48 hours ago, with coverage from CNN, MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times and many other news organizations. But it ain’t over until the fat dog sings, apparently. The American Kennel Club has joined the chase.

“The AKC promotes responsible dog ownership. Putting a dog in a crate for car travel is the first step toward responsible dog ownership. The second step would be to put that crate in a car,” says communications director Lisa Peterson.

New money for travel and kibbles appears to be materializing, meanwhile. Dogs Against Romney will protest outside a Romney fundraiser on Friday — this time at the Grove Hotel in Boise, Idaho. And yes, there’s a poll.

The Hollywood Reporter took up the cause as well, asking readers, “Will Mitt Romney’s treatment of his dog influence your vote?” The disconcerting results: 63 percent said, “Absolutely, never elect a man who mistreats his dog,” while 24 percent agreed, “There are many other reasons not to vote for him.” Only 7 percent said the matter would not sway their opinion.

EYE ON TWEETS

The news is sure to rattle the bloggers, the tweeters, the buzz-hungry. The House Homeland Security subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence conducts a hearing Thursday titled “DHS Monitoring of Social Networking and Media: Enhancing Intelligence Gathering and Ensuring Privacy,” meant to parse out the fine line between protecting the public and preserving First Amendment rights.

“With nearly 1 billion Facebook users and hundreds of millions of Twitter postings every day, social media can provide crucial real-time information for identifying threats, trends and breaking events,” says subcommittee chairman Rep. Patrick Meehan, Pennsylvania Republican.

“There are also privacy and civil liberties concerns implicit in this activity, which this hearing will address,” he adds.

In December, Mr. Meehan and subcommittee ranking member Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat, sent a letter to Caryn Wagner, the undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, inquiring about potential guidelines or protocols for the practice and posing eight questions about the oft-nonsensical world of social media.

“Social media lends itself to a great deal of misinformation and disinformation, both of which significantly impact the end product if not correctly identified. How will DHS ensure its analysts are fully equipped to handle this task?” the pair asked.

BUMPER PATROL

“Are you better off than you were $4.6 trillion ago?”

- Bumper sticker spotted in Tempe, Ariz.

WOODY APE OVER CHIMPS

“I was shocked to learn that the use of chimpanzees in experiments still persists in the U.S. even though the entire European Union and every other country around the world, except for tiny Gabon, have banned such experiments. But nearly 1,000 of these complex beings are locked inside barren cells in U.S. laboratories — some for as long as 50 years — where they have been intentionally infected with diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis and forced to endure decades of invasive procedures, fear, loneliness, and pain. I hope you will agree that chimpanzees deserve better.”

So says Woody Harrelson in a plea to Sen. Barbara Boxer, imploring the California Democrat to support the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, which would permanently remove chimps from their role in the laboratory and save taxpayers $30 million.

The actor has new billing from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which proclaims him “Woody Harrelson, great ape defender.”

HEADBANGERS FOR SANTORUM

Yes, the Foo Fighters entertained President Obama at a Beverly Hills fundraiser Wednesday night. But the Grand Old Party has gotten a cordial nod from the heaviest of heavy-metal guitarists. That would be Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine, who pines to see a Republican in the White House. But the plainspoken Mr. Mustaine is not crazy about Mitt Romney’s wealth, and though he admires Rep. Ron Paul’s outreach to the young and restless, he disagrees with his policies.

“Watching Newt Gingrich, I was pretty excited for a while, but now he’s just gone back to being that person that everybody said he was — that angry little man. I still like him, but I don’t think I’d vote for him,” Mr. Mustaine tells Musicradar.com, an industry site.

“Earlier in the election, I was completely oblivious as to who Rick Santorum was, but when the dude went home to be with his daughter when she was sick, that was very commendable,” the guitarist continues.

“Just watching how he hasn’t gotten into doing these horrible, horrible attack ads like Mitt Romney’s done against Newt Gingrich, and then the volume at which Newt has gone back at Romney — I think Santorum has some presidential qualities, and I’m hoping that if it does come down to it, we’ll see a Republican in the White House. And that it’s Rick Santorum,” he concludes.

POLL DU JOUR

• 57 percent of Iranians approve of their nation developing nuclear power for nonmilitary use.

• 19 percent overall disapprove; 24 percent don’t know or refused to answer.

• 40 percent approve of Iran developing nuclear power for military use.

• 35 percent disapprove; 24 percent don’t know or refused to answer.

• 35 percent of Iranians with a university degree approve, 48 percent disapprove.

• 46 percent approve of Iran cutting off ties with countries that impose economic sanctions.

• 31 percent disapprove; 23 percent don’t know or refused to answer.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 1,000 Iranian adults conducted from a telephone center outside Iran from Dec. 16-Jan. 10, and released Wednesday.

Doggerel, caterwaul, neighing to jharper@washingtontimes.com.