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Inside the Beltway: In Hollywood, Obama finds friendliest stage of all

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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The dream meeting between President Obama and the glittering kingpins of Hollywood on Tuesday has been billed as "the entertainment summit." It's more like the star-studded finale to a fundraising extravaganza, with the word "Obamacare" stricken from the script. It will mark the seventh moneymaking event in a mere 48 hours for the seemingly tireless president.

Indeed, Mr. Obama meets with Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who founded the studio with David Geffen and Steven Spielberg two decades ago. All three of them have been consistent million-dollar donors to the president's campaign. Consider, for example that a single fundraiser hosted by Mr. Katzenburg at the opulent home of actor George Clooney last year brought in $15 million.

So this last event is the big opportunity, perhaps, and one that brought a glint of fangs from White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest, when he was asked if Mr. Katzenberg's fundraising prowess had any influence on Mr. Obama's visit, which will include a speech about the, uh, economy.

"Contributing to the president's campaign or being a political supporter of the president doesn't guarantee you a presidential visit, but it shouldn't exclude you from one either," Mr. Earnest told reporters who were curious about this plot twist.

"DreamWorks obviously is a thriving business and is creating lots of jobs in Southern California and the fact of the matter is Mr. Katzenberg's support for the president's policies has no bearing on our decision to visit there," Mr. Earnest said.

PARENTS OF GIRLS = REPUBLICANS

"This study asks whether biological daughters affect political party identification, traditional views of women, or opinions about abortion and teen sex. We find that female offspring promote identification with the more conservative Republican Party, but this effect depends on social status. There is no evidence that daughters promote liberal views of women and less consistent evidence that they influence views of abortion or teen sex," state Dalton Conley and Emily Rausche, a pair of University of Kansas sociologists.

Their new findings published in the Sociological Forum suggest that parents with daughters are more likely to be Republicans. The research disputes previous studies that found parents of daughters tended to be Democrats.

"Their findings are consistent with a recent study that found boys who grew up with sisters in the house were more likely to identify as adults with the Republican Party," says Rich Morin, an analyst with the Pew Research Center who pored over the complex research.

"But why would having a daughter cause parents to become more Republican? The authors speculate that men and women might want more socially conservative policies when they have daughters and thus be more attracted to the GOP," Mr. Morin concludes.

ALTERNATIVE ETIQUETTE FOR HOLIDAY TABLES

"How to pick a fight with your relatives this Thanksgiving."

— Advice from Slate writer John Cook, who advises diners to be careful about selecting foes, adopt an air of "bemused contempt" and keep in mind that one is "providing entertainment and mortification" for everyone at the table.

"What should we fight about?" Mr. Cook asks. "Israel. You should fight about Israel. Particularly if you are Jewish or are married to a Jew or are the child of an evangelical Christian. If you can find a way to work your way backward to the Bill Clinton impeachment, that's always a gold mine of long-repressed rage and conflict. Otherwise you are stuck with the election — amateur hour."

DON'T FIGHT, LECTURE

"Start by asking: 'Have you thought about signing up for health insurance on the new marketplace?' "

— advice from Organizing for Action, the 15-million member grass-roots group that grew out of President Obama's re-election campaign, on how to start a positive Obamacare conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Like health care legislation, the advisory is complex. This is one of 11 "conversation tips" contained in Part 3 of the four-part document. Yes, it includes a "pledge." No, it does not include the word "Obamacare."

'SIZE OF A GRAPEFRUIT'

Is there crucial information about the interim deal with Iran that the Obama administration is not sharing with the public? Uh, could be.

"Under the agreement reached in Geneva, Iran is permitted to keep one-half of the uranium it has enriched to the 20 percent level, and is required to dilute the remaining one-half to 5 percent U-235. It is allowed to continue enriching uranium, but agrees not to take that process beyond 5 percent U-235 during the next six months," says John Hinderaker, a columnist with Powerline.com.

"No doubt many people who hear about those terms will be reassured, thinking that 5 percent enrichment, and even 20 percent, represents only a small percentage of the total effort needed to create the materials for a nuclear bomb. Unfortunately, this is not the case," he continues, citing an American Enterprise Institute report, issued in 2012. Gleaned from the research:

"Approximately 15 25 kilograms (33 55 pounds) of 90 percent enriched uranium is required for a Hiroshima type bomb (15 20 kilotons). It is about the size of a grapefruit or a softball and a U-235 implosion bomb is so simple it does not require testing. Despite not being an efficient military weapon it is an ideal terrorist device."

A NEWSPAPER BOYCOTTS THE WHITE HOUSE

A single renegade newspaper has now acted on White House "lack of access," brought to public attention last week by 38 major news organizations in a letter of protest to press secretary Jay Carney. The coalition was vexed that significant events were closed to photographers. "Official" photos were provided instead. The renegade? That would be the News Tribune based in Tacoma, Wash.

"A photojournalist's job is to document the news the way it really looks, not the way somebody wants it to look. Even when that somebody is the president. During his presidency, Barack Obama has time and again closed the door to photojournalists trying to take pictures of him performing official duties. Instead, he's had his own photographer take the pictures, which the White House distributes to the media. You can bet only flattering photos make it through," declares executive editor Karen Peterson in a message to readers.

"From now on, we won't publish White House handout photos of events that should have been open to news photographers, even if that means going without a photo. As the protest letter said, closing the door to the press gets in the way of the public's ability to independently monitor and see what its government is doing," she concludes.

USA Today announced late Monday that it would do the same.

POLL DU JOUR

79 percent of Americans rate the quality of their personal health care as good or excellent.

69 percent rate their health care coverage packages as good or excellent.

61 percent prefer a health care system based on "private insurance" rather than the "federal government."

59 percent remain satisfied with the cost of their personal health care.

52 percent say the U.S. health care system has "major problems"; 24 percent say the system has "minor problems"; 21 percent say it is in a "state of crisis."

19 percent say health care is now the most important problem in the U.S.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,039 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 7 to 10 and released Monday.

Dialogue, stage directions to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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