- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2013

“You probably pay good money every month to your TV provider for access to channels like MSNBC and Al-Jazeera America — channels that you might not watch, or even agree with. Adding The Blaze will ensure that you and your family have a source of news and analysis that you can trust and that doesn’t betray your values. If we succeed, then we change the media. If we change the media, we control the debate. If we control the debate, we change politics. And if we change politics, we change the country,” declares Glenn Beck, in a new public pitch to bring The Blaze, his independent libertarian broadcast network, to cable TV.

He also insists he’s not in direct competition with Fox News.

“We’re all in this together. I’m not in competition. I believe all of us are in competition with the progressives,” Mr. Beck says.

THE OSCAR FINALE

Some viewers were rattled when first lady Michelle Obama stepped forward in a glittering silver dress for the grand finale of the Academy Awards. Critics questioned her “insider status,” they pondered her politically tinged comments and wondered why she was surrounded by a supporting cast of active-duty military personnel in full dress uniforms. Others have wondered aloud in public whether Mrs. Obama would have been called upon to present the Best Picture award if it had gone to “Zero Dark Thirty” rather than “Argo.”

Media Bistro, a much visited insider site for news media, revealed in an online poll that 63 percent of the respondents felt Mrs. Obama’s appearance was “entirely inappropriate.” Entertainment blogger Nikki Finke, a Hollywood confidante of the first order, deemed the appearance “unnecessary and inappropriate.”

Others went a step further.

“Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency Photoshopped pictures of Michelle Obama at the Oscars to conform to Iranian restrictions on images of the female body in the media,” reports The Guardian, noting that the altered image conformed to the nation’s rules that “Iranian women shown on Iran’s state television should have a hijab that covers their hair, arms and legs.”

The Guardian added, “Fars was also infuriated by the Academy’s decision to honor ‘Argo,’ which it described as an ‘anti-Iranian’ film produced by the ‘Zionist’ company Warner Bros. — an objection echoed by many other state agencies.”

PERRYLISCIOUS

The Conservative Political Action Conference has expanded its roster of confirmed speakers once again. Joining Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Jeb Bush, Newt Gingrich and a seeming cast of thousands for the mid-March event: Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He earns praise for leading the Lone Star State “with strong fiscally conservative policies,” says American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas.

Mr. Perry’s business prowess also can be measured in numbers rather than rhetoric, a rarity these days. During one week in February, the hands-on governor shepherded the creation of 1,000 jobs and $80 million in capital investment by closing the deal with an out-of-state electronics manufacturer willing to set up shop in Austin.

Mr. Perry also saw to it that an Italian-based steel pipe manufacturing facility would open in Matagorda County, creating 600 jobs and $1.3 billion in capital investment. Mr. Perry credited “the hard work of state and local officials, as well as the area business community, which always plays a major role in decisions like this.”

WISDOM OF THE AGES

“Politics will sooner or later make fools of everybody.”

— Then-Rep. Dick Armey, Texas Republican, to PBS on Sept. 14, 1990

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER BLAME

“While in Virginia, the President will visit Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, to highlight the devastating impact the sequester will have on jobs and middle class families if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise to avert the sequester.”

— President Obama’s Tuesday schedule, from a White House dispatch

A LOTT TO THINK ABOUT

It could prove a handbook, perhaps, for the next few months. “At the Brink: Will Obama Push Us Over the Edge?” written by economist John R. Lott and published by Regnery provides a sobering assessment of what President Obama has done, and intends to do with America in his second term, prompting the author to declare that the U.S. economy hangs in the balance, not to mention liberty.

He parses dubious stimulus plans, the debt monster, Obamacare, gun control, assorted scandals and offers some pointers for Congress.

“There is a growing awareness in the United States of the mounting debt problem, and opinion polls show increasing acceptance of budget cuts. But Barack Obama wants to raise taxes to redistribute wealth, not to reduce the deficit. Our country, in short, is in trouble. Can we pull ourselves back from the brink? Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but I believe that in America, facts can change minds,” Mr. Lott says. “And the facts are overwhelmingly lined up against Barack Obama.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 77 percent of Americans favor cutting foreign economic aid to save on federal spending; 85 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats agree.

• 55 percent favor curbing spending by regulatory agencies; 70 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

• 51 percent favor cutting “federal welfare spending”; 74 percent of Republicans and 32 percent of Democrats agree.

• 46 percent favor cutting defense spending; 21 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Democrats agree.

• 23 percent favor cutting spending on health care; 41 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats agree.

• 12 percent favor cutting Social Security payments; 20 percent of Republicans and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harris Interactive poll of 2.278 U.S. adult conducted Jan. 17 to 22 and released Monday.

• Churlish remarks and happy talk to jharper@washingtontimes.com.