Timed to coincide with Bill of Rights Day, and coming a day after the first anniversary of the Newtown shootings: it's "Guns Save Lives Day," organized by one Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. He has made some major national broadcast advertising buys — "hundreds of thousands of dollars" worth, he says — to promote this newly designated day, and its very specific aim.
"Our message points out that guns do save lives, and that it is not in the interest of public safety to create so-called gun-free zones where people are defenseless against violent criminal attack," Mr. Gottlieb says.
"While others will exploit national tragedies to push an agenda of victim disarmament, we have a different message that the public has a right to hear," he continues. "The proper use of firearms in emergency situations can make a difference to the safety of would-be victims, whether they are night-shift grocery clerks, single moms, senior citizens or small business owners."
The group has the enthusiastic backing of 30 local and regional gun rights groups; the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is among the groups protesting the idea. See the information here: GunsSaveLivesDay.com. Currently, 50 percent of Americans oppose stricter gun control laws, 49 percent favor them, according to a new CNN poll. And the inevitable partisan divide: 65 percent of Republicans oppose stricter gun laws, 71 percent of Democrats support them.
YES, DRUG TEST THE LAWMAKERS
Should our lawmakers be exempt from random drug tests? Guess not. A hefty majority of Americans — 78 percent — say members of Congress should be subject to such monitoring; 86 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats agree. So says a YouGov survey of close to 1,000 people released Thursday.
"Sixty-four percent of Americans support requiring welfare recipients to submit to drug tests, but even more are in favor of requiring congressmen to also prove that they do not take illegal drugs," says Peter Moore, an analyst with the pollster. Only airline pilots draw a stronger reaction, with 87 percent of the respondents supporting random tests for pilots.
Meanwhile, another two-thirds overall say lawmakers who are "arrested and convicted of possessing a small quantity of cocaine" should resign; 72 percent of the GOP and 67 percent of Democrats agree. And there's a price: only 4 percent overall would vote for the guilty lawmaker — that includes 4 percent of Republicans and 6 percent of the Democrats.
NOT DONE WITH THE BASHIR MATTER
MSNBC host Martin Bashir apologized and resigned from his post following three weeks of hubbub over his troubling remarks about Sarah Palin. But management? Some insist that NBC and parent company Comcast should apologize to viewers for the now infamous Nov. 15 broadcast.
"This one is not over. NBC and Comcast's continued refusal to acknowledge, let alone apologize, for Martin Bashir's disgusting remarks about Sarah Palin is as gutless as it is shameful," says ever vigilant Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center.
"They owe it to their viewers and to Gov. Palin to issue a strong, unequivocal public statement condemning the vile hate speech that they've not only permitted, but encouraged on MSNBC," he continues, noting that the silence "confirms" that such treatment is acceptable, as long as the target is a conservative.
A DECADE AT FOX NEWS
Time flies with good shows. An anniversary of note on Sunday: classy newsman Chris Wallace marks his 10th year as host of "Fox News Sunday" and plans to offer a retrospective of sorts in the broadcast. So what did he hope for at the time?
In an interview 48 hours before his first show on Dec. 7, 2003, Mr. Wallace told this columnist: "There is an energy, an excitement at Fox News. The greatest days are ahead," he said at the time. "When Fox says it's fair and balanced, the critics say that it's just putting the best face on bias. I couldn't disagree more."
Mr. Wallace's first guest on the show was Howard Dean, incidentally. He also dismissed any ratings threats from CNN or MSNBC during that interview a decade ago. "Competition? What competition?" Mr. Wallace asked.
REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR
"In battle after battle, our troops fought with courage and honor. They took the Pacific theater island by island, and eventually swept through Europe, liberating nations as they progressed. Because of their extraordinary valor, America emerged from this test as we always do — stronger than ever before. With solemn pride and reverence, let us remember those who fought and died at Pearl Harbor, acknowledge everyone who carried their legacy forward, and reaffirm our commitment to upholding the ideals for which they served."
— from President Obama's official proclamation recognizing Pearl Harbor Day, which is Saturday.
What with Christmas dawning in 19 days, we deviate from the punditry path to offer a recipe shared by a certain famous pastry kitchen. Verbatim from the chefs at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., here is White House Cranberry Upside Cake:
For the bottom of the cake pan: 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar, 1 cup fresh cranberries.
Cake: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons orange juice, 2 large eggs, separated; 1/2 cup milk.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan and pour into the bottom of a greased 9-inch cake pan with a parchment circle on the bottom. Add cranberries.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter with half the sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the orange juice. Add the egg yolks one by one, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the other half of the sugar until the whites hold a firm peak. With a large spatula gently fold the beaten egg white into the cake batter in two additions. Pour the batter into the cake pan containing the sugar and cranberry mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the top of the cake has browned, starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and then flip the cake over onto your serving plate. Makes one 9-inch cake.
POLL DU JOUR
• 66 percent of Americans say the federal government rather than state or local governments is best suited to protect U.S. borders; 65 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Democrats agree.
• 58 percent say the federal government can best protect civil rights; 40 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats agree.
• 31 percent say the feds provide the best health insurance; 7 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats agree.
• 23 percent say the feds are best suited to "run the courts"; 14 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Democrats agree.
• 18 percent say the federal government provides the best public education; 5 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats agree.
• 9 percent say the feds are best suited for "paving roads"; 6 percent of Republicans and 11 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A YouGov poll of 987 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 23-24 and released Thursday.
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