- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 26, 2012

APOLOGY REVIEWS ARE IN

While the spell of the Oscars lingers, so do reactions to President Obama’s recent apology to Afghanistan for the accidental burning of 70 Korans by servicemen on refuse detail. Anti-American rioting followed in the aftermath; some 25 people have died in the unrest, including two U.S. servicemen.

“Why apologize to Afghanistan? The reaction to an accidental Koran-burning was inexcusable. We have officially lost our minds.” (Andrew C. McCarthy, senior fellow at the National Review Institute).

“The killing of two U.S. military officers by a gunman inside Afghanistans heavily guarded Interior Ministry … has complicated President Obama’s plans to accelerate the NATO troop withdrawal and hand some operations over to the new Afghan army by mid-2013. The challenge facing Obama is even more difficult, both strategically and politically, because his administration is preparing another apology to neighboring Pakistan over the errant NATO strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last fall.” (National Journal chief correspondentMichael Hirsh)

“The disgusting spectacle of President Obama personally — the usual first-person verbiage again in play — apologizing to murderous Afghan Muslims for the Koran book burning, without condemning the murder of American soldiers, is a new low in failed leadership.” (Michael Ledeen, contributor to Pajamas Media.).

ANN’S HUBBY WRANGLING

Whenever Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney utters some passing aside that implies he’s really just a rich guy out of touch with America, the press salivates. A gaffe. How splendid. Romney rivals grin, their canine teeth exposed. Pollsters dream up yet another question about class warfare.

Then there’s Ann. As in Ann Romney. Even after her earnest, sometimes hapless hubby let it slip during a Detroit speech that his wife had not one but two Cadillacs, she was there, re-directing traffic. Well, at least he didn’t say she had a pair of Ferraris. Or a chauffeur.

“Maybe I should just do all the talking and let him just stand here and watch me,” Mrs. Romney later told a conservative crowd, adding, “I’ve also decided: No more debates. If we’re going to do another debate, he’s going to sit in the audience and watch me. And that’ll be it.”

WHAT THE GOVS THINK

When evening falls on post-primary Michigan on Tuesday, will Republican hopeful Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum emerge the victor?

“Romney,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder tells Bloomberg News. “It’s close. He’s made a lot of progress in the last week or so, in terms of the polling. And, importantly, he’s getting an opportunity now to get around Michigan and talk about what he’s achieved and where he wants to head, and that’s the important thing.”

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won’t endorse any fellow Republicans before April.

“I’ve got a recall coming up. I haven’t picked a candidate, but I think in the end, conventional wisdom in our state is still Mitt Romney will be the nominee and that he’ll do very well in Wisconsin,” Mr. Walker says.

OH, BEHAVE

For better or worse, there are now civility awards. “The nation’s first ever award for civility” has been bestowed upon syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks, who manage to argue on PBS without insult during the weekly “Newshour.”

The public broadcaster was proud, and ironically, a little uncivil in its own response.

“Their civil and informative discussion of politics stands in stark contrast to the partisan and often prickly environment that dominates the political landscape today,” executive producer Linda Winslow says.

The academic world was more succinct.

“They demonstrate that civility does not require one to be tepid,” observes James Mullen Jr., president of Allegheny College in Pennsylvania.

RIGHT-EARED

Cellphones have brought us into the era of being right-eared or left-eared. More than 70 percent of the blabbing population listen to their phones on the same ear as their dominant hand, regardless of how well they hear in either ear, says research released Sunday from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. In the study of 700 respondents, 90 percent were right-handed, 9 percent were left-handed and 1 percent ambidextrous.

Among the righties, 68 percent held the phone to their right ear, while 25 percent used the left ear and 7 percent used either ears. Among lefties, 72 percent used their left ear, while 23 percent used their right ear and 5 percent had no preference

Dr. Michael Seidman, lead researcher and the hospital’s director of otologic surgery, says the revelaton about the correlation between “cerebral dominance and sidedness of cell phone use” might help in tricky speech and language diagnoses. He also says the study may offer evidence that cellphone use and brain tumors are not linked.

If there were a “strong connection,” Dr. Seidman suggests there would be a far more people diagnosed with cancer on the right side of their brain, head and neck — the dominate side for cellphone use.

POLL DU JOUR

• 51 percent of Americans say President Obama is “too liberal”; 17 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Republicans agree.

• 35 percent overall says his political views are “about right”; 69 percent of Democrats and 6 percent of Republicans agree.

• 10 percent of Americans say Mr. Obama is “too conservative”; 11 percent of Democrats and 3 percent of Republicans agree.

• 22 percent of Americans say Mitt Romney is “too liberal”; 19 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of Republicans agree.

• 36 percent overall say Mr. Romney’s political views are “about right”; 17 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Republicans agree.

• 33 percent of Americans say Mr. Romney is “too conservative”; 55 percent of Democrats and 9 percent of Republicans agree.

Source: USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,014 adults conducted Feb. 18 an 19. See complete poll, including percentages for Rick Santorum, at www.gallup.com)

Squawks, whines and press releases to jharper@washingtontimes.com