- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2014

The much esteemed Ben Carson has revealed to The Washington Times that he’s formed his own political action committee to help out hopeful Republicans in the upcoming midterms - an action with many possible implications down the road. Dr. Carson’s many fans, meanwhile, have their own momentum going, and one that appears to be a genuine grass-roots phenomenon. It keeps growing.

More than 100,000 eager folks have contributed to the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, an independent political action committee that has raised $8 million in less than a year, all of it dedicated to the idea that the author and former pediatric neurosurgeon should definitely, positively run for the White House in 2016.

“Momentum continues to build,” says campaign director Vernon Robinson, who adds that 17,000 volunteers are busy encouraging support for Mr. Carson and that 300,000 people have signed petitions encouraging him to enter the race.

“To rally 100,000 donors in less than a year, more than two years before the presidential election, is simply an astonishing achievement,” says John Philip Sousa IV, national chairman of the committee and great-grandson of the famous bandleader.

“We’ll enter our second year of operation next month, and I’m thrilled by the trajectory of our campaign. The American people are clamoring loudly for Dr. Carson to enter the race, and we will continue to do everything we can to make that happen,” Mr. Sousa adds.

THE BIG CHILL

The planet still puzzles over this question: Is the United States in a new Cold War with Russia? President Obama already told journalists this week that there is no new version lurking. Maybe it’s just a Cool War now. A barb from afar takes issue, though.

Russian parliamentarian Alexei Pushkov declared in a startling tweet in the aftermath: “Obama will go down in history not as a peacemaker - everyone has forgotten about his Nobel Peace Prize already — but as an American president who launched a new cold war.”

He could reflect the views of Russians themselves, who recently gave President Vladimir Putin an 83 percent favorability rating, and now appear much at home with an aggressive posture on the world stage.

“Russians largely back their country’s tough stance on Ukraine, which earned Russia more economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe this week. Nearly two-thirds of Russians surveyed before the latest round of sanctions believe Russia needs to have a ‘very strong position’ in relations with its neighbor,” notes a new Gallup poll that tallied the opinions of 2,000 Russians in face-to-face interviews.

Still, there are nuances - and long memories.

“Majorities in all segments of Russian society, regardless of gender, age or education, almost uniformly back a strong position on Ukraine. Russians aged 60 and older — who remember Ukraine as part of the Soviet Union for most of their lives — are the most likely of any age group to support good relations with Ukraine by all means,” the Gallup analysis states.

PREPARE TO GET SHRUGGED

The third and final installment of “Atlas Shrugged,” the movie based on Ayn Rand’s monumental 1957 novel, will be in the nation’s theaters in just over a month. Harmon Kaslow, the film’s producer, will be in the nation’s capital on Friday to talk to press and politicos alike. His main interest, he says, is “talking up the impact that libertarianism is having on our country.”

Mr. Kaslow has some powerful help in the third film, which has promising reviews, runs about 100 minutes and is subtitled “Who Is John Galt?” Conservative and tea party icons have stepped up to make cameos in the film, citing their belief in its support of individual achievement. Among them: Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, Sean Hannity, Grover Norquist, FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe, talk radio hosts Rusty Humphries, Andrew Wilkow and Phil Valentine plus Jonathan Hoenig, a Fox News contributor and a hedge fund manager.

“This is much more than a book. It’s influenced millions of people, and its going to continue to influence people,” explains Mr. Paul. “The most important thing is the fact that it challenged conventional wisdom. The willingness to stand up and challenge — and not go along with the status quo, and not be pushed around by the masses — that makes a difference. Individualism is the key to what is presented in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ and I got a powerful message from it.”

THE BIG TENT

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus made a special point of addressing the annual National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Boston on Thursday, and here’s what he thinks about it.

“It’s important for the Republican Party to work with America’s black journalists and our country’s black media outlets. It’s also critically important that our nation’s journalists know what we’re doing at the RNC to engage black voters,” Mr. Preibus says. “We are and will continue to be present in black communities across this country. As a party, we owe it to every voter to share what we’re doing in cities and states across the country. The RNC did a pretty simple thing by showing up, and it’s having an impact.”

MODERN JOURNALISM

Oh, the humanity. A veritable tempest, a storm of coverage and one F-bomb have erupted after a Washington Times story this week that pointed out a little case of global warming irony during a big EPA public hearing in Colorado this week.

“The Climate Reality Project brought its ‘I’m Too Hot’ trucks and offers of free ice cream to this week’s Environmental Protection Agency hearings on power plant emissions, but the climate wasn’t cooperating,” wrote Times reporter Valerie Richardson. “When the hearings began at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Denver, the temperature was a chilly 58 degrees. Plus, it was raining.”

The Climate Reality Project was organized by Al Gore. The Times item was picked up by Fox News, which included the headline “Climate doesn’t cooperate with Al Gore.” That, in turn, apparently vexed CNN correspondent Bill Weir, who tweeted this in reaction: “Weather is not climate, you willfully ignorant f–sticks”, though he spelled out the word in question.

Mr. Weir’s comment was retweeted 2,200 times by late Thursday afternoon.

The dust-up drew coverage from, among other news organizations, the New York Daily News, The Week, The Wrap, NewsBusters, Mediaite, Salon and The Huffington Post before the CNN reporter had an apparent change of heart. Seventeen hours after his criticism, Mr. Weir tweeted this: “The glop of Midwestern guilt stuck in my chest prob won’t go away until I apologize to @foxnation for name-calling. Dumb move. My bad.”

That, incidentally, was retweeted 40 times.

WEEKEND REAL ESTATE

For Sale: Frank Sinatra’s Edgewater Penthouse, New York City. Four bedrooms, six baths, wraparound terraces overlooking East River; located on East 72nd street in Manhattan. Twin wraparound terraces, 3,200 square feet of living space, 18-foot ceilings, glass staircase, chandeliers, fireplace, glassed-in rooftop party room, custom closets, gourmet kitchen, dining room seats 10, motorized window shades. Sammy Davis purportedly threw his champagne class out the window,” the relator notes. Guests once included John F. Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Mia Farrow and Marilyn Monroe.

Price: $5 million, through “The Jacky Teplitzky Team” at Douglas Elliman Real Estate (Elliman.com).

POLL DU JOUR

52 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the U.S. Supreme Court.

53 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent overall say the court is “middle-of-the-road”; 45 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 34 percent of Democrats agree.

27 percent overall say the court is conservative; 11 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agree.

26 percent say the court is liberal; 38 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 1,805 U.S. adults conducted July 8-14 and released Thursday.

Moody pronouncements and churlish remarks to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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