- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Just so you know: The Bible is America’s favorite book “of all time.” So says a Harris Poll released Tuesday that asked 2,300 “unprompted” respondents to volunteer their answers. Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind” was in second place, followed by J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series, and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” round out the top five.

“There is sort of a political divide. First, there is something that Republicans, Democrats and independents actually agree on. ‘Gone with the Wind’ is their second favorite book. However, while conservatives and moderates say the same, liberals’ second favorite book is the ‘Harry Potter’ series,” points out pollster Regina Corso.

‘133 DAYS ABROAD’

Ah, the well-traveled White House. The National Taxpayers Union Foundation has done all the math and figured out that President Obama’s recent eight-day journey through Asia cost the public $8.7 million just to keep Air Force One aloft. The magnificent albeit pricey aircraft was airborne for a total of 38 hours at $228,288 an hour in operating costs.

The organization already has proclaimed Mr. Obama to be the most traveled president ever; this is his third international trip this year. All told, the president has now spent 133 days abroad on 34 total trips since he took office.

“Presidential travel entails substantial planning, logistical support, security provisions, and therefore presents significant costs for taxpayers,” says Michael Tasselmyer, the foundation’s policy analyst.

“The $8.7 million price tag of operating Air Force One offers perspective on what some of those costs can be, even though the full extent of the fiscal impact remains unclear. Given that diplomacy is a vital part of the chief executive’s duties, this is only the latest reminder that taxpayers would benefit from greater transparency and disclosure of travel expenditures no matter who occupies the White House,” Mr. Tasselmyer adds.

PIPE DREAMS

Well, this is one way to do it. Though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has actually alluded to the potential of including a Keystone XL pipeline amendment on upcoming energy efficiency legislation next week, his peers are getting restless.

Republican Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee have co-sponsored legislation introduced by fellow GOP Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota more than a year ago to remove the requirement for presidential approval of the pipeline. The decision has been delayed for years; the State Department has yet to approve construction of the final sections, which, if completed, will transfer 800,000 barrels of oil daily from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries.

“After extensive environmental reviews over the last five years, the president still refuses to approve the Keystone XL pipeline without any logical reason, despite the many benefits to our economy and energy security,” says Mr. Corker. “This bill will allow us to move ahead with construction on the pipeline so we can expand access to North American energy, create jobs and promote economic growth, all while providing a safer and more environmentally friendly method of transporting oil.”

YOUNG DEMOCRATS GROW WEARY

The young and restless have a case of Obama fatigue, according to Harvard University. Wait, what? Harvard says this? Indeed.

A new national poll of America’s 18- to 29- year-olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics finds that a paltry 23 percent of young Americans say they will “definitely be voting” in November, down 11 percentage points from five months ago.

“Among the most likely voters, the poll also finds traditional Republican constituencies showing more enthusiasm than Democratic ones for participating in the upcoming midterms,” the pollsters say.

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