- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2013

Will the liberal media heed the Values Voter Summit? The annual gathering opens Friday in the nation’s capital for three days of smart, authentic and, yes, fervent talk about faith, freedom and politics, as told by 66 speakers with much on their minds in troubled times. The opening line-up in the first hours tells all: GOP Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas and Tim Scott of South Carolina, plus GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Dr. Ben Carson and Mark Levin.

“We have conservatives from across the nation coming, and it’s a good time for them to be here. They’re arriving at a moment when the GOP may be going a little wobbly as the negotiations unfold between congressional Republicans and the White House,” pointman Tony Perkins, chairman of the Family Research Council, tells Inside the Beltway.

“I think the message that will emerge from the summit is this: Don’t capitulate. The message will be told in strong terms to stand firm in the efforts to delay or defund Obamacare, and it will resonate in Congress, and beyond Congress,” Mr. Perkins continues. “People will leave here encouraged and informed.”

Indeed. Also among the speakers: GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, in addition to Allen B. West, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Glenn Beck, Heritage Foundation President Jim Demint and retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin.

Gen. Boykin, a former Delta Force commander, leads a session titled “The erosion of religious liberties in the military.”

There’s coverage of note: C-SPAN3 will be there for the big opening volley from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and live online at C-SPAN.org from 9 a.m. to noon. Afternoon speeches also will be covered, to be aired on a delayed basis. “And we’ll have more, to be determined,” a network spokesman advises.

CHECKING THE DONATIONS

An interesting little device debuts at the aforementioned summit. It’s the “2nd Vote” phone app, which allows curious and discerning folks to see what political causes their favorite retailers financially support.

“This allows consumers to shop like they vote. Not all charities and businesses are alike; 2nd Vote ranks companies on their commitment to conservative and liberal causes so that consumers know where their money goes when they make purchases,” a spokesman says.

The app is available for Apple products through iTunes, and for Android devices through Google. Yes, it’s free.

TRUE COST OF ‘BARRYCADES’

There may not be very much data on who’s signing on with the Affordable Care Act. But money and public interest lost in the nation’s great parks due to the federal shutdown? The 900-member Coalition of National Park Service Retirees is on it.

The group compared current numbers and revenues with those from a year ago, and here’s what they found:

The parks were down by 715,000 visitors daily, and they lost $76 million in visitor spending per day. They also figured that $450,000 in revenue was lost each day that would go directly to the National Park Service, such as entrance and campground fees or boat rentals.

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona was affected the most, losing 120,000 visitors in the first 10 days of the shutdown, which translates to almost $12 million in revenue.

“These figures are mind-boggling and they only begin to capture the full economic shock of locking up the crown jewels of America — our national parks,” observes Maureen Finnerty, president of the group and former superintendent of Everglades and Olympic national parks.

NOTABLE APPEARANCES

Ahoy. And get out of the way.

Capt. Keith Colburn of Discovery Channel’s series “Deadliest Catch” journeys all the way to the Russell Senate Office Building on Friday with representatives from the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers. They have much to say. The formidable group will testify before the Senate Committee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard regarding the effects of the government shutdown.

It’s delaying the start of Alaskan king crab fishing season in the Bering Sea as the National Marine Fisheries Service simply can’t set quotas or issue crabbing permits, thus grounding the fleet — plus thousands of ancillary industries including processing plants across the state.

No indication from Discovery Channel whether the moment will be included in a future production. But it should.

HOLLYWOOD RARITY

“I have had such a blessed day. My new supporters have numbered in the thousands. My detractors I could count on one hand. I humbly thank you.”

— Veteran actor James Woods in a tweet Thursday, thanking fans who came to his defense after liberal critics attacked him via social media for disagreeing with President Obama on assorted issues

PUNDIT PATROL

Emotional, bombastic and daring audience draw. Yes, our political pundits add much glitter to the media landscape. But how truthful are they all? Coming soon from a group that already fact-checks political claims through a site called PolitiFact, here comes PunditFact, dedicated to checking claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers and the hosts and guests of talk shows.

It’s being funded by seed money from Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist Inc., plus $625,000 in grants from the Ford Foundation and the Democracy Fund. The site has a complex pedigree, consisting of a partnership of PolitiFact and the Poynter Institute, the journalism school that owns the Tampa Bay Times.

“Pundits on TV and radio, as well as bloggers and columnists, are prominent voices in our political discourse, yet sometimes they blur the lines between opinion and fact,” says Neil Brown, editor and vice president of the Times. “Now we will hold them accountable, much as we’ve done with politicians.”

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

Sold: Rustic mansion built of whole logs and local materials in Park City, Utah; 8,000 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms. Two-story great room, two-story stone fireplace, mountain views, stone terracing, custom windows, lighting, woodworking; built 1991.

Price: $8.9 million. Sold to Mitt and Ann Romney on Sept. 9.

POLL DU JOUR

89 percent of U.S. voters say members of Congress should not receive salaries during the government shutdown; 91 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats agree.

8 percent overall say members of Congress should receive their salaries; 7 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

65 percent overall disapprove of the job congressional Republicans are doing; 39 percent of Republicans and 11 percent of Democrats agree.

56 percent disapprove of the job congressional Democrats are doing; 84 percent of Republicans and 26 percent of Democrats agree.

46 percent overall would vote for a Democrat if the U.S. House vote were today; 14 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats agree.

41 percent would vote for a Republican; 76 percent of Republicans and 13 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Public Policy Polling survey of 1,000 registered U.S. voters conducted Oct. 4 to 6.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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