- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Well, there’s a thought: Rep. Steve Stockman has a timely request for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Texas Republican notes in a letter to Chairman Darrell E. Issa: “Recent revelations [show] the National Security Agency has been keeping an ‘ongoing, daily’ log of every domestic phone call in the United States. I respectfully request your Committee subpoena the records of every phone call made from all public and private telephones of all IRS personnel to all public and private telephones of all White House personnel.”

The lawmaker adds, “If President Obama is collecting such information, he certainly would want us to use it. If he has nothing to hide he has nothing to be afraid of.”

Mr. Stockman is revisiting a troublesome matter that recently riveted public attention, namely, the IRS targeting of conservative groups. “This case must be investigated fully, given admitted wrongdoing by the IRS, its potentially criminal implications and revelations the White House has been less than honest about what they knew and when,” he says.

From another corner of the universe: The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against FBI Director Robert Mueller, Attorney Gen. Eric H. Holder and three other members of the Obama administration challenging the NSA’s “dragnet acquisition” of phone call records, noting that the “practice is akin to snatching every American’s address book.” The suit says the practice violates the First and Fourth amendments, has a “chilling effect” on whistleblowers, and will ultimately impact the business of the ACLU itself.

BUSHTOPIA

“Americans’ views of former president George W. Bush have improved, with 49% now viewing him favorably and 46% unfavorably. That is the first time since 2005 that opinions of him have been more positive than negative,” writes Jeffrey M. Jones, a Gallup analyst.

Republicans still give the former president a kindly 87 percent favorability rating in a survey released Tuesday. That’s up 14 points from a similar poll four years ago. Predictably, less than a quarter of Democrats have warm feelings toward Mr. Bush. Still, it’s better than the previous survey, when only 10 percent of Democrats gave him a positive review.

IF IT’S WEDNESDAY

Then it’s time for a midweek fundraiser, no matter what’s happening in the nation’s capital. Indeed, President Obama embarks on a jaunt to Boston on Wednesday to raise money on behalf of “Ed Markey for Senate and the Massachusetts Democratic Party,” according to a White House dispatch. Then it’s on to Miami for some Democratic National Committee events, with a return home later in the evening. And yes, Air Force One still costs $179,500 an hour to operate.

LINE IN THE SAND

While the Senate argues the finer points of the immigration debate, the Heritage Foundation is launching a $100,000 ad campaign to take issue with the “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill, the organization says.

“The bill is an amnesty proposal dressed up in feel-good ‘pathway to citizenship’ rhetoric,” says spokeswoman Genevieve Wood, noting that their campaign aims to “show the proposal for what it really is — a rehashed version of 1986 reforms that proved to be an abysmal failure.” Previous Heritage research, she says, shows that amnesty would add trillions of dollars to the national debt.

“The pro-amnesty crowd is trying every trick in the deceptive marketing handbook — from rebranding ‘amnesty’ as a ‘pathway to citizenship,’ to the old bait-and-switch of promising strong security and delivering nothing but amnesty instead,” Ms. Wood adds. “We’re trying to shine some light on what the bill really does, so the American people won’t be fooled again.”

NO LINE IN THE SAND

“When the immigration bill was introduced 53 days ago, the bipartisan Senate group said it was a starting point and welcomed improvements. Since then, the bill has received an unprecedented amount of public scrutiny and input: Our office alone received thousands of suggestions and comments on the legislation, and senators offered 301 amendments during the Judiciary Committee mark-up,” says Alex Conant, spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican and the legislative point man.

Mr. Conant points out that 162 of the those amendments received votes, 92 were approved. And things are getting harmonious, at least among Republicans.

“After earlier accusing the bill of being ‘secret’ and ‘rushed’, the bill’s critics have recognized that the legislation is going through a thorough and open process,” he says.

“The debate is whether or not Congress, and specifically the Democrats who control the Senate, are serious about securing our borders and following through on decades’ worth of broken promises to do so.”

PERRYFIED

“Texas is calling. Your opportunity awaits,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry advises his audience in a pair of 30-second ads now airing on a half-dozen major cable and broadcast networks in New York and Connecticut.

The ads — $1 million worth — will air for a week, heralding Mr. Perry’s four-day sales trip to the two states that begins Sunday; he’ll meet with business leaders in the firearm, pharmaceutical and financial industries. Both the ad buy and the trip are paid for by TexasOne, a public-private partnership that has marketed Texas nationally and internationally as a prime business destination.

POLL DU JOUR

$13.3 billion: total amount Americans will spend to celebrate Father’s Day this year; $119.84: amount the average person will spend.

$2.5 billion: total amount spent by American to take Dad on a “special outing.”

$1.8 billion: total amount spent for new clothing; $1.7 billion: total amount spent on an electronic gift.

$755 million: amount spent on home improvement items; $710 million: amount spent on sports equipment.

53 percent will buy for their father or stepfather, 29 percent will buy for their husband.

10 percent will buy for a son, 6 percent for a brother and 5 percent for a grandfather.

Source: A National Retail Federation of 5.706 U.S. adults conducted May 1-8 and released Friday.

Nervous chatter, happy talk to jharper@washingtontimes.com.