- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2012

It is a case of “liberal lionization.” Even Daily Beast uberanalyst Howard Kurtz notes that the media have developed a man crush on Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., framing him as a “profile in courage,” and in gushing terms. But beware, there’s agenda afoot, others say.

“Don’t be fooled by the false praise being heaped upon Chief Justice John Roberts by the mainstream media and its favorite go-to legal commentators,” warns BigJournalism.com columnist Joel B. Pollak, who cites CNN and New Yorker contributor Jeffrey Toobin as a prime example of such things.

“It’s in the left’s interest to praise Roberts now, having demonized him in the weeks leading up to the decision. Not only does the ruling uphold Obamacare and give apparent substance to the Obama presidency, but it also gives the left an excuse to keep beating up the so-called conservative, ‘politicized’ Court over its Commerce Clause holding, while demonstrating that such bullying is devastatingly effective,” Mr. Pollak notes.

DRONES IN VEGAS

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International has put itself on public radar by issuing an industry code of conduct for those who operate or manufacture such mysterious devices for civil, defense and commercial concerns. It’s a burgeoning group. Founded in 1972 as the National Association of Remotely Piloted Vehicles, the group boasts thousands of members worldwide. But wait. The organization descends upon Las Vegas in early August for a four-day event that definitely is manned: 8,000 attendees from 40 countries are expected.

Among the speakers: Vice Adm. William R. Burke, deputy chief of naval operations warfare systems, and Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, U.S. Army deputy chief of staff, plus Lt. Cmdr. Rorke Denver, a Navy SEAL and a star of the film “Act of Valor.”

While the occasion appears intensely academic, there are signs that the drone crowd can, uh, whoop it up. Well. Maybe.

“Networking continues in a more casual atmosphere at TAO — located at the Venetian Hotel & Casino. Party at Las Vegas’ hottest nightclub. Get some good karma at the Buddha bar, relax with old friends in one of the many lounge spots, cool off at TAO Beach or grind your gears on the dance floor,” counsels one advance advisory.

GOING UNDERGROUND

Relentless power failure after a violent weather event in the nation’s capital has spawned many narratives. Nervous observers wonder if the ongoing crisis is proof Washington is unprepared for catastrophe, either natural or man-made. Others question the infrastructure, suggesting the power grid be added to the list of White House fixer-uppers.

“Why do Americans tolerate such outages?” asks David Frum, a contributing editor at Newsweek and a CNN analyst.

“Outages are not inevitable. The German power grid has outages at an average rate of 21 minutes per year. The winds may howl. The trees may fall. But in Germany, the lights stay on,” he says. “There’s no Teutonic engineering magic to this impressive record. It’s achieved by a very simple decision: Germany buries almost all of its low-voltage and medium-voltage power lines, the lines that serve individual homes and apartments. Americans could do the same. They have chosen not to.”

Mr. Frum cites industry figures that claim it costs 10 times as much to bury wire as to string it overhead, but he questions their viability. He predicts outages will persist in packed cities with increasingly older populations. As an ancillary factor, unemployment lingers.

“Burying power lines is a project that could put many hundreds of thousands of the unemployed to work at tasks that make use of their skills and experience,” Mr. Frum reasons. “Meanwhile, the federal government is able to borrow vast sums of money at the lowest interest rates since the Great Depression. The Obama stimulus has to date failed to produce many projects of lasting benefit to the country. But here’s one that our children and grandchildren would appreciate — and that might save our parents’ lives.”

COLBERT WATCH

From the odd, hybrid political world of Stephen Colbert comes a claim that the Comedy Central’s fake newsman is “promoting destructive and unsustainable population growth.” Colorado-based filmmaker Dave Gardner faults Mr. Colbert for waggishly promoting “America’s new 8-child policy,” advising his audience that, “if we want to maintain our super-power status, we’re going to have to breed like Mormon squirrels.”

Yes, well.

Citing World Population Day on July 11, Mr. Gardner counters, “Stephen Colbert is a mouthpiece for ultra-wealthy tycoons who profit from growth. These growth pushers encourage us to make babies to grow the market for their products.”

There’s no reaction yet from Mr. Colbert, a father of three. But there’s plenty from the filmmaker.

“Organizations like The United Nations, Sierra Club and the Waxahachie Precision Lawn Chair Brigade trip over themselves to be politically correct, avoiding even the word ‘overpopulation,’ ” Mr. Gardner complains. “People the world over should limit their family size. Let’s just say it.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 70 percent of Americans say the Supreme Court decision on the health care law will not influence the likelihood of their voting in the November elections.

• 65 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats agree.

• 22 percent overall say the decision will make them “more likely” to vote; 31 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

• 56 percent overall say opponents of the health care law should move on to other national problems; 26 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats agree.

• 38 percent overall say opponents should continue efforts to block the law from being implemented; 69 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats agree.

• 47 percent overall approve the Supreme Court decision to uphold the health care law; 12 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Kaiser Health Tracking Poll of 1,239 U.S. adults conducted June 28-30.

Droning, murmuring, shouts and hollers to jharper@washingtontimes.com