- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 28, 2013

“If the Congress won’t do it’s job, the people will,” declares the Citizens Hearing on Disclosure, set to take off in the main ballroom of the National Press Club on Monday. Disclosure? Are we talking health care here, or gun control? No, we’re talking extraterrestrial. Of course, the nation’s capital may seem like another planet at times, but no matter.

Five former lawmakers will parse the possibility that Congress and the White House have held back information on “an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race” for six decades, organizer Stephen Bassett says.

On hand for stranger-than-science doings: former Sen. Mike Gravel, plus former Reps. Darlene Hooley, Merrill Cook, Roscoe G. Bartlett, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Lynn Woolsey. The cast also includes 40 former military and government sources. The five-day event will be streamed live online for a small fee, as in less than $4. See the details here: citizenhearing.org

Mr. Bassett’s persistent group has some marketing prowess, meanwhile. Two years ago, it submitted a demand for UFO-y transparency to the White House “We the People” petition project; it quickly generated the required 50,000 signatures, prompting the Obama administration’s first response for the online program, which has become busy indeed:

“The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye. However, that doesn’t mean the subject of life outside our planet isn’t being discussed or explored,” White House policy analyst Phil Larson said at the time.

THE LAST COURSE

The planet as a whole is likely very relieved that the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is finally over. Weary onlookers at least have a whole year to prepare for the 2014 dinner, which marks the centennial of the once-modest event. Some final wisdom lingers, meanwhile.

“There’s likely an inverse relationship between the decline of the legacy media and the increasingly over-the-top desperation, self-congratulation and spectacle of the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. You would think the media would do themselves a favor and not televise the proceedings of their ‘otherness’ on C-SPAN, just as the Gridiron dinner is not open to cameras,” observes Powerline columnist Steven Hayward.

Now there’s a thought. The Gridiron has retained its elite cachet because its doors are shuttered to the voyeuristic world. The glittering correspondents’ dinner prompted Mr. Hayward to recall Winston Churchill and his famous dismissal of news and newspapers in 1929.

“Fancy cutting down those beautiful trees we saw this afternoon to make pulp for those bloody newspapers, and calling it civilization,” Churchill said.

“Wonder what he might say about Twitter,” Mr. Hayward muses. “Perhaps something like, ‘Fancy compressing your thoughts into 140 characters, and calling it ‘communication.’”

CULTURAL MOMENT

“Lined with ballistic material that can stop a 9 mm bullet traveling at 400 meters per second, the pink backpack is only one of a clutch of new products making their way into U.S. schools in the wake of Newtown school massacre. As gun control legislation grinds to halt in Washington, a growing number of parents and teachers are taking matters into their own hands. Elite Sterling Security has sold over 300 [bulletproof backpacks] in the last two months and received inquiries from some 2,000 families across the U.S. It is also in discussion with more than a dozen schools in Colorado about equipping them with ballistic safety vests, a scaled-down version of military uniforms designed to hang in classroom cupboards for children to wear in an emergency.”

— from a report in Business Insider.

WHERE WE STAND

“Less than two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings killed three onlookers, wounded [more than 260], and closed the streets of Boston during an intense manhunt for the suspects, half of Americans believe a terrorist attack in the U.S. could be imminent. That is up from 38 percent in August 2011, and is one of the higher readings Gallup has recorded in recent years,” says Gallup analyst Lydia Saad.

“At the same time, there has been a much smaller jump in Americans’ personal fear of becoming a terrorism victim, rising just four percentage points to 40 percent. Twelve years after fear spiked to 59 percent after the 9/11 attacks, Americans may be growing more accustomed to the threat of terrorism, and less likely to be personally rattled by it,” Ms. Saad notes.

Confidence in the federal government’s ability to protect Americans from terrorism “has fallen” to 70 percent, possibly from persistent media speculation that federal agencies overlooked important intelligence during the Boston manhunt. “How that review plays out could strongly influence Americans’ future confidence in the government to protect them from terrorism,” she says.

There is a gap. Public confidence in the government has been as high as 88 percent in recent years.

POLL DU JOUR

91 percent of likely Republican voters and 80 percent of Democrats in New Hampshire have not decided who to support in the 2016 presidential primary.

61 percent of the Democrats would vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton if the election were held “today.”

7 percent would support Vice President Joseph R. Biden, 3 percent New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

3 percent would support Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, 2 percent Virginia Sen. Mark R. Warner and 1 percent Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker.

15 percent of Republicans would support Sen. Marco Rubio if the primary were held “today.”

15 percent would support Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, 11 percent each New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

5 percent each would support their own Sen. Kelly Ayotte, former Utah Gov. John Huntsman Jr. or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Source: A WMUR-TV Granite State Poll of 507 New Hampshire voters conducted April 4 to 9 and released Friday.

Boisterous commentary, churlish remarks to jharper@washington times.com.