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Inside the Beltway: Meteor media frenzy
Question of the Day
Of interest to those following meteor mania around the planet, and hysteria over fireballs and sonic booms: The 101-year-old American Meteor Society is a straightforward resource amid alarming press accounts about big sizzlers overhead, including speculation about what would happen, say, if a big fat meteor hit the nation's capital. The nonprofit group tracks the activity, and provides a report link for eyewitnesses, among other things. Find the society at amsmeteors.org.
A sample tidbit from the site: "Another form of sound frequently reported with bright fireballs is 'electrophonic' sound, which occurs coincidentally with the visible fireball. The reported sounds range from hissing static, to sizzling, to popping sounds. Often, the witness of such sounds is located near some metal object when the fireball occurs. Additionally, those with a large amount of hair seem to have a better chance of hearing these sounds."
TEA PARTY AT FOUR YEARS
Naysayers and critics have not blunted the unapologetic enthusiasm of determined tea partyers. The grass-roots movement marks its fourth anniversary Tuesday, marking an event that resonated with many Americans on Feb 19, 2009. That was the day CNBC analyst Rick Santelli gave a "rant heard 'round the world" on live TV, declaring that the fiscally irresponsible federal government was behaving badly, and that a tea party-style revolt might be in order.
Since then, the tea party has been declared dead on several occasions by mocking pundits. But that does not appear to be so. Organizers are intent on raising a quick "$1 million money bomb" to prove the movement is very much alive, and quite ready to rumble.
"The big-government politicians and consultants of both parties believe the tea party's time has passed. They believe we no longer have the power, the enthusiasm or organizational muscle to fight them," writes Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, the movement's largest umbrella group, representing some 3,500 local groups.
"They are dead wrong. So we are going to shock the entire political world by raising $1,000,000.00 in just ten days," she continues. "We are going to show the entrenched big-government politicians and their allies that the tea party is stronger than ever."
CLINTON + CLINTON
A new team: Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton now share a powerful and lucrative force, indeed. Talk.
"We are proud to share the exciting news that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has joined the Harry Walker Agency exclusively for her speaking engagements," the uber-influential agency announced Monday. Mr. Clinton has been a featured star with the New York-based group, which represents a startling array of political stars from both sides of the aisle. Besides the Clintons, the group also has Al Gore, Howard Dean and Democratic strategist Jim Messina in its stable -- right along with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Rick Santorum.
There's money at this microphone. Mr. Clinton earned more than $13 million in speaker's fees in 2011, as revealed in Mrs. Clinton's financial disclosure report filed with the State Department last year. Of note: A CNN analysis of those records showed that the former president earned $89 million from paid speeches since leaving the White House in January 2001.
PALIN ON THE MARCH
They know an audience draw when they see it: Sarah Palin will speak at CPAC this year, offering proof that the former Alaska governor has yet to lose the affection of conservatives, no matter what the mainstream media say. According to American Conservative Union's stalwart chairman Al Cardenas, "Gov. Palin electrified the crowd in 2012 and we are thrilled to welcome her back this year."
But let the Palin bashing begin among the mostly liberal crowd disappointed that Mrs. Palin has re-emerged.
"So much for rebranding the GOP," said Eric Boehlert, senior fellow at Media Matters for America, in a tweet. "She's Baaaaaack," proclaimed a Huffington Post headline.
This is the 40th year for CPAC, with this year's festivities set for a hotel on the banks of the Potomac River. The event's confirmed speakers roster is fascinating and formidable. Yes, it includes Sens. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, among several lawmakers. But also due on the dais: Allen B. West, Wayne LaPierre and Jeb Bush. It will be interesting to see whether Dr. Ben Carson appears on the list in the very near future. See more at conservative.org/cpac.
VIGUERIE ON THE MARCH
Longtime traditional conservative maven Richard Viguerie wants ideas, and he's willing to pay for them. Mr. Viguerie has announced a $10,000 "Liberty Prize" for grass-roots conservatives willing to submit a plan or ideas "to take over the Republican Party." The most important political battle in America is not between Republicans and Democrats or between conservatives and liberals, Mr. Viguerie says.
"It is the battle for control of the Republican Party between establishment, big-government Republicans and limited government, constitutional conservatives. It has become clear that establishment Republican and Democratic politicians have failed America because they have both accepted big government as the solution to every problem," he proclaims.
But hurry. Plans should be submitted by March 8 through thelibertyprize.com.
POLL DU JOUR
• 83 percent of Americans say the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea is a critical threat; 85 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats agree.
• 83 percent of Americans say the development of nuclear weapons in Iran is a critical threat; 91 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats agree.
• 81 percent say international terrorism is a critical threat; 88 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats agree.
• 53 percent say "Islamic fundamentalism" is a critical threat; 70 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of Democrats agree.
• 51 percent say China's military power is a critical threat; 59 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,015 U.S. adults conducted Feb. 7 to 10.
• Speculation and peevish comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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