- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The ever-restless news media tracks presidential activities — sometimes as sport, sometimes for political purposes — calling attention to how many times President Obama has gone to the golf course (180, or thereabouts) or how much he’s spent in taxpayer funds to fire up Air Force One for fundraising or recreation. That’s around $44 million, according to a Judicial Watch tally.

Meanwhile, the president has some 30 months left in office, and the dreaded “L” word looms — “L” as in “legacy.” As his days in the White House dwindle down to the proverbial precious few, Mr. Obama’s legacy building is likely to commence sooner rather than later. The hunt will be on for authentic achievements with quantifiable gains and laudable forays across the aisle. When analysts and pundits finish squawking about it all, the historians will emerge to sort things out, a process that can take decades.

But alas, the press is busy charting the White House trajectory in terms of failures, not victories.

“If President Obama wants to change his legacy from massive immigration failure to bipartisan immigration reform, his best bet is to work with Republicans to craft a measure that addresses the humanitarian crisis, helps secure our southern border — and puts us in a better place to pass the other reforms we need,” says a New York Post editorial, which offers a little advice.

“Back in 2008, the president’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, famously said, ‘You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.’ The border now presents Obama with such an opportunity to move America forward on immigration. But it requires a president willing to lead rather than play politics.”

FOR THE LEXICON

“Chiraq”

— New term for the city of Chicago, site of 84 shootings during the Fourth of July holiday, from syndicated columnist Roland S. Martin.

“A major American city is quickly being lost to guns, gangs, drugs and hopelessness, and political and business leaders are giving lip service to the problem. Yet while our politicians dither, the city’s South Side and West Side residents are living in perpetual fear, afraid to walk the streets,” Mr. Roland writes.

“It’s time for Mayor Rahn Emanuel to put his ego and political ambitions aside. It’s time for him to ask the state police and the National Guard to come into Chicago and assist the police department in regaining control of the city’s streets.”

FOR THE LEXICON, PART 2

“Choomer-in-Chief”

— From a CNN headline, after President Obama was offered marijuana by a bystander during a public appearance in Denver on Tuesday. Mr. Obama laughed but declined the invitation.

PERRYIFIED

What really went on during the “roundtable meeting” between President Obama and Texas Gov. Rick Perry? Mr. Perry will share what he knows Thursday night with Fox News host Sean Hannity, in a broadcast from the Lone Star state that includes a helicopter tour of the Texas border with the governor. Air time is 10 p.m. Eastern time.

NADER RAIDS ISSA

Uh oh. Ralph Nader is annoyed with Rep. Darrell Issa for all sorts of things, including the California Republican’s investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups and his legislative protocols, among other things. Mr. Nader has penned a somewhat lengthy open letter to the lawmaker, and here’s just a small piece of it:

“I have been observing, with increasing dismay, your antics and the collateral damage and missed opportunities resulting from your Committee’s ‘oversight’ of the Executive Branch. History will not be kind in chronicling the manner in which you have run the Committee. You have abdicated your major responsibility as the Chair in pursuit of fanciful allegations, wrapped in your wrath, while ignoring extensive abuses such as huge corporate contract scandals or inadequate enforcement budgets that limit the abilities of agencies to bring violative corporate contractors to justice and preserve taxpayer assets throughout the federal government.”

Mr. Nader later adds, “In discussing your theatric performances with both your critics and your nominal supporters, the word that comes up most is ‘shameless.’ Shamelessness connects to behavior that is factless, priorityless and clueless to the many duties that you choose to ignore with your frolics and detours. Where is your leadership here?”

SHUT UP ALREADY

Is it cacophony or just vigorous political discourse? A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll asked Americans to consider a woefully short list of six public figures, then reveal who they “most want to be quiet.”

Sarah Palin led the rambunctious roster, cited by 52 percent of the respondents, followed by Jesse Jackson (51 percent), Dick Cheney (45 percent), Newt Gingrich (43 percent), Al Gore (40 percent) and Bill Clinton (32 percent). A more forgiving 12 percent, however, said the talkers in question should just keep talking.

CULTURAL MOMENT, VOCAL EDITION

Those who know young women who speak in a trendy croaky voice that often ends with a question should tell the ladies to stop. It’s a bad habit, yes, but worse, it could mar their chances for employment in an already stressed marketplace. Females who speak in this Kim Kardasian-like, Valley girl mode — called “vocal fry” — are perceived by potential employers as “less competent, less educated, less trustworthy, less attractive and less hirable.” The impressions are even more pronounced when the interviewer is a woman.

So says a team of researchers who published their findings about a month ago in PLOS ONE, a scientific journal, and who have reaped global media coverage ever since. People are amazed to discover just how destructive this annoying vocal style can be.

“Vocal fry is speech that is low-pitched and creaky-sounding and is increasingly common among young American females. Some argue that vocal fry enhances [the] speaker’s labor market perceptions, while others argue that vocal fry is perceived negatively and can damage job prospects. In a large national sample of American adults, we find that vocal fry is interpreted negatively,” write researchers Rindy Anderson and Casey Klofstad.

“The negative perceptions of vocal fry are stronger for female voices relative to male voices. These results suggest that young American females should avoid using vocal fry speech in order to maximize labor market opportunities.”

POLL DU JOUR

65 percent of Americans approve of the Supreme Court decision that ruled unions could not require some nonunion members to pay union fees; 18 percent did not approve.

60 percent say the Supreme Court “gets too mixed up in politics.”

59 percent say court decisions favor “some groups more than others.”

47 percent approve of the court’s “Hobby Lobby” decision; 41 percent disapprove.

44 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Supreme Court.

42 percent trust the court to make decisions that are “right for the country as a whole.”

27 percent say it would be better “to do away” with the court if Americans disagreed with most of its rulings.

Source: A YouGov/Economist survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted July 5-7.

Braying, baying and old sayings to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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