- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2013

“There’s been a lot written about this movie; some of it has popped off the entertainment page to the news page. And from time to time, some of you might have wondered if we would have liked to comment on some of that coverage, and the answer is yes. Let me just say this: There was a very interesting story on the front page of The New York Times today by Scott Shane about a CIA agent who is now facing jail time for talking to a reporter about waterboarding. This gentleman is going to jail for that. And all I can say is that I read that story very closely. It sort of reminds me of what somebody else said when they were running for president, which is, ‘If this [stuff] was happening to somebody else, it would be very interesting. For us, it’s quite serious. But nevertheless, I stand here tonight being extremely proud of the film we made. And in case anyone is asking, we stand by the film.”

So says Mark Boal, writer of “Zero Dark Thirty,” during his acceptance speech for best picture at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Monday. Mr. Boal, incidentally, faces a Senate investigation into the sources of his information for the film, which details the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Coin operated

“We should have known a coin was Obama’s solution to everything. It was right there in his slogan: ‘change.’”

(Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert, on this week’s popular notion that a platinum, $1 trillion coin is a way to counter the federal debt crisis.)

Flip the coin

“This scheme to mint trillion-dollar platinum coins is absurd and dangerous, and would be laughable if the proponents weren’t so serious about it as a solution. I’m introducing a bill to stop it in its tracks,” says Rep. Greg Walden, Oregon Republican.

“My wife and I have owned and operated a small business since 1986. When it came time to pay the bills, we couldn’t just mint a coin to create more money out of thin air. We sat down and figured out how to balance the books. That’s what Washington needs to do as well. My bill will take the coin scheme off the table by disallowing the Treasury to mint platinum coins as a way to pay down the debt.”

Reagan moment

“The widow of Medgar Evers is giving the invocation at the Obama inaugural, but her brother-in-law, Charles, endorsed Ronald Reagan in 1980. Both men were civil rights activists. This refutes the idea that Reagan was making a racist appeal in 1980, as some liberals have charged,” Reagan historian Craig Shirley points out to Inside the Beltway, and reported in his book on the 1980 campaign, “Rendezvous With Destiny.”

Beck and call

He once staged a massive “Restoring Honor” rally for traditional values at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, in shirt sleeves and a bulletproof vest. But Glenn Beck has evolved. The independent media mogul and former Fox News personality is now located in Dallas, and plans to send up President Obama’s big inauguration doings Jan. 20 with Texas-sized high jinks.

“It’s an epic Misfits Ball. While that guy is having his ball, we’re having ours,” Mr. Beck says, noting that the black-tie event is for everyone on Mr. Obama’s D-List and below.

But who’s going?

“It should be everyone who is no longer welcome in Obamaland — whoever’s not allowed in that guy’s America,” Mr. Beck says.

He’s bandying about a potential guest list and welcomes suggestions. On the dream roster so far: National Rifle Association Chairman Wayne LaPierre; Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Florida congressman Allen B. West, Michelle Malkin, Ted Nugent, Herman Cain, Ann and Mitt Romney, plus representatives from Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby. Follow the developments here: glennbeck.com.

Secretary Krugman

After Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, suggested in a Guardian opinion piece that Paul Krugman be nominated for Treasury secretary, The New York Times op-ed columnist swung into blushing denial.

“I’m flattered, but it really is a bad idea. The main point, as I see it, is that it would mean taking me out of a quasi-official job that I believe I’m good at and putting me into one I’d be bad at,” Mr. Krugman wrote in a blog.

“Let’s talk frankly about the job I have. The New York Times isn’t just some newspaper somewhere, it’s the nation’s paper of record. As a result, being an op-ed columnist at The Times is a pretty big deal — one I’m immensely grateful to have been granted — and those who hold the position, if they know how to use it effectively, have a lot more influence on national debate than, say, most senators. Does anyone doubt that the White House pays attention to what I write?”

Academic bliss

So what is the least stressful job in America? According to CareerCast.com, the breeziest job of all is university professor. In second place is seamstress, followed by medical records technician, jeweler, medical lab technician, audiologist, dietician, hairstylist, librarian and, in 10th place, drill press operator. The group based its choices on a spectrum of factors such as salary and job outlook. For the professors, it’s got to be the money.

Harvard University pays full-time professors $198,400, with a 7:1 student-to-professor ratio, while University of Chicago professors receive $197,800 per year with a 6:1 ratio. Among public universities, the University of California at Los Angeles is highest paying, with an average wage of $162,600 for its full-time staff, according to CareerCast analyst Kyle Kensing.

Poll du jour

• 45 percent of Americans approve of the “fiscal cliff” deal.

• 26 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of conservatives, 66 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of liberals agree.

• 52 percent overall approve of President Obama’s “performance” in the fiscal cliff deal.

• 27 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of conservatives, 81 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of liberals agree.

• 31 percent overall approve of House Speaker John A. Boehner’s performance.

• 38 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of conservatives, 27 percent of Democrats and 28 percent of liberals agree.

Source: An ABC News/Washington Post poll of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 2 to 6.

• Crabby admonitions, cautionary tales to jharper@washingtontimes.com.