Inside the Beltway: In God they don’t trust

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The Office of Management and Budget has already issued a 16-page memo to federal agencies advising them on “prudent management” should there be “a potential lapse in appropriations.”

Uh-oh. And then what happens?

“If President Obama shuts down the government by vetoing a continuing resolution that funds all government operations with the exception of Obamacare, or the Senate fails to pass such a resolution, crucial services will continue without interruption,” explains Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation. That includes services related to national security, public safety and payments for Social Security and veterans’ benefits.

“The key fact, as the Department of Justice itself has said, is that when there is a short-term lapse in appropriations, the federal government will not be truly shut down,” Mr. von Spakovsky continues, noting that even Justice deems the term “shutdown” as inaccurate. A lapse in funding would be “neither catastrophic nor unprecedented,” he says. It would pare down government services to essentials to protect life and property.

“That would not include the hundreds of billions of dollars in the federal budget that are constantly squandered and wasted on frivolous, unnecessary, and unneeded programs,” Mr. von Spakovsky observes.

PARTY HEARTY

Their work may never, ever be done.

The Media Research Center tenaciously tracks political bias in the news media with hard numbers and clear evidence. And once a year, they party. The time has come once again. The watchdog’s annual “Dishonors Awards” gets under way Sept. 26 in a big, bodacious hotel three blocks from the White House; nearly 1,000 conservative stalwarts will gather to witness and vote upon hair-raising, left-leaning performances by elite liberal journalists.

Among those on the podium: Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican; Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, congressional hopeful Mia Love, Fox News commentator Monica Crowley and, of course, the organization’s founder and bias-detector-in-chief, Brent Bozell.

“While media bias is not always a laughing matter — the media are, after all, the chief propagandists for the radical left — we think every once in a while it’s healthy to poke fun at the hardcore leftists who comprise the national press corps,” observes an organizer.

VINE, FIG, DUCK

What? Recognition for a journalist who addresses faith and religion? Those topics currently accounts for a minuscule 1 percent of overall news coverage. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty presents the very first Vine & Fig Tree Award on Thursday to Eric Marrapodi, a CNN producer and co-founder of the network’s “Belief Blog,” which generates an average 7 million page views each month from those hungry for news about the creator, faith issues and other spiritual complexities.

Mr. Marrapodi will be feted at a hotel on the edge of Georgetown, complete with champagne toast, premium cocktails and an elegant welter of goodies from raw bars and sushi bars, and “duck carving stations.” And the vine and fig part?

The name of the award comes from George Washington’s reference to the “vine and fig tree” to illustrate the importance of religious liberty for all, in a letter to the Newport, R.I., Hebrew Congregation in 1790:

“Every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

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