- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 7, 2012

FASHION OBAMA

Fie on that pesky old populism for a while: Now on sale through President Obama’s re-election campaign, 18 designer garments — we’re talking scarves, shirts, handbags — priced from $40 to $95. They’re all part of the campaign’s new “Runway to Win” collection from 23 top designers, including Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs and Diane von Furstenberg. Why, they already threw a fashion show in Manhattan on Tuesday evening, hosted by actress Scarlett Johansson, fashionista Anna Wintour and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

And by golly, the ever fashion-conscious Grand Old Party is at the ready, striking back with its own suggestion for the collection. And that would be some nice flip-flops, meant as “performance wear for politicians determined to win at any cost,” and emblazoned with the motto “SUPERPACS: ‘A threat to our democracy’ (Just kidding!)” Naturally, the squishy footwear is shown in soft, hopeful blue.

“In light of the president’s flip-flop regarding his sudden embrace of super PACs — he said they ‘threaten democracy,’ but now White House staff and Cabinet members will attend events and raise money for them,” observes Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer. “We thought the one item they were missing were some high-end designer Obama Super PAC Flip-Flops. The sandals are fake; the flip-flop is real.”

MEMORABLE EVENT

The presidential field just grew by one: Memory expert, “brain athlete” and U.S. Navy reservist Ron White — who can memorize a deck of shuffled cards in 1 minute and 27 seconds — has declared his intention for a White House run as a third-party candidate, with a platform of note.

Among other things, Mr. White promises to make it an impeachable offense for a U.S. president to use a teleprompter. He also will ensure all politicians would not only follow the U.S. Constitution, but memorize it, and will send all immigrants through memory training to learn the English language. Oh, and Mr. White also says he’ll memorize the names of every man, woman and child in the nation, just for good measure.

“I have memorized the entire Mayan calendar. I am the only one who knows how to outsmart it. Vote for me if you don’t want the world to end in 2012,” he explains. “Also, if President Obama saw you on the street, would he even know your name?”

POLICING PLANNED PARENTHOOD

Between the White House and the Susan B. Komen Foundation, there’s been much ado over abortion funding and birth control in the press, much of it shrill and partisan. Now comes news of possible waste, abuse and potential fraud at Planned Parenthood, compiled and sent to Congress by the Alliance Defense Fund and the Susan B. Anthony List. Among other things, the reports notes that one-in-five Planned Parenthood affiliates in the U.S. are implicated of waste in audits or federal lawsuits

“Planned Parenthood has to play by the same rules as everyone else. It certainly isn’t entitled to a penny of public funds, especially if it is committing Medicare fraud,” says ADF senior counsel Steven H. Aden.

See the full report here: www.sba-list.org/ppwaste.

THE BEACON BECKONS

Just launched from the Center for American Freedom: The Washington Free Beacon — a nonprofit, nonpartisan independent news service devoted to investigative and in-depth reporting on government, international security and the progressive movement.

Edited by Matthew Continetti and longtime columnist for The Washington Times and national security journalist Bill Gertz, the new publication will scrutinize cronyism and “self-dealing” within the Obama administration, and among its allies and donors — just as the mainstream press monitors conservative politicians and institutions.

Mr. Gertz points out, for example, that China’s military now uses retired U.S. military leaders for influence, and in intelligence operations. See all the big rumblings here: www.FreeBeacon.com.

LONDON’S BRIDGE

Those who wonder how many American colleges and universities got so politically correct and gutless can prepare a round of applause for one Herbert I. London, who receives the $10,000 Jeane Kirkpatrick Prize for Academic Freedom at CPAC 2012, during the Ronald Reagan banquet on Friday night.

“This prize is intended for intellectual warriors on the college campus,” says Michael W. Grebe, president and CEO of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which underwrites the award. “Herb London has been a leader for honesty and truth in the classroom and a promoter of solid scholarship. He is the example that today’s academics should emulate.”

Mr. London was a founder of the Albert Gallatin School of Individualized Study of New York University in 1972 and served as dean for two decades. He was also a founding member of the National Association of Scholars and currently serves as president emeritus of the Hudson Institute and as a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

POLL DU JOUR

• 68 percent of Americans want news “without a political point of view.”

• 65 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats agree.

• 37 percent of Americans say there is “a great deal of political bias” in news coverage.

• 49 percent of Republicans and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

• 57 percent of conservative Republicans also agree.

• 36 percent of Americans get their presidential campaign news from cable news, 32 percent from local TV news, 26 percent from broadcast network news, 25 percent on the Internet and 20 percent from the local newspaper.

• 9 percent get campaign news from late-night comedy shows, 8 percent from national newspapers, 8 percent from religious broadcasts, 7 percent from PBS news shows and 2 percent from Twitter.

• 36 percent of Republicans, 11 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of tea partiers get their campaign news from Fox News Channel.

Source: A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey of 1,507 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 4-8 and released Tuesday.

Fashion hints, memorable events to jharper@washingtontimes.com