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Jennifer Harper

Jennifer Harper

To read Jennifer Harper's Inside the Beltway columns, click here. Contact her at

Articles by Jennifer Harper

Move over, switch grass. This tricked-out motorcycle runs on organic biodiesel fuel made from converted bacon grease. (Hormel Corp.)

Help yourself to some deep-fried politics

"If you get tired of mudslinging in the pigpens and fast-talking from the carnival barkers at the Iowa State Fair, you'll have plenty of chances this month to take refuge with the politicians," advises The Des Moines Register, which has drawn two dozen politicos to grab a microphone, jump upon a straw-strewn stage at the fair and speechify for 20 minutes or so. Published August 6, 2014

This Sunday, July 27, 2014 photo provided by Ben Ferren shows large hail that fell in Midland, Mich., where winds toppled trees and ripped the roofs off buildings during severe thundertorms on Sunday. Crews are working to restore power after severe thunderstorms hit Michigan's Lower Peninsula and knocked out power to about 223,000 homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Ben Ferren)

Paging Al Gore: NASA says that global warming could be 'on hiatus'

NASA truly has the 100,000 feet viewpoint on this one. The nation’s space agency his noticed an inconvenient cooling on the planet lately. Atmospheric scientist Norman Loeb now asks: “The recent pause in global warming: A temporary blip or something more permanent?”. Mr. Loeb's reasoning “explores how global warming may be on vacation,” NASA helpfully explains. Published August 5, 2014

A Nigerian health official wearing a protective suit waits to screen passengers at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the region battle to stop the spread of a disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Poll finds Americans worried about Ebola and queasy about the media coverage

Media coverage is intense and often alarming on the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and the recent arrival of two patients in the U.S. to receive treatment. Is the nation worried? A new survey finds that 58 percent of Americans are concerned personally about the threat of Ebola disease, and a substantial number are aware of shrill press coverage. Published August 5, 2014

Cue anti-tank guns: The 5,775-pound big bruisers roll out to accentuate the "1812 Overture," the finale for the U.S. Army Band's summer concert series. (U.S. Army)

Conservatives man up and go on the offense

"The culture in Washington must change. And if we do the right things in the coming months, conservatives have a real opportunity to start calling the shots. It's time to go on offense. That is why we created a road map called the Conservative Policy Agenda," declares Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America, the feisty grass-roots offshoot of the Heritage Foundation. Published August 5, 2014

Hollywood observers wonder if Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight's conservative political views could mar his chances for an Emmy Award in August. (showtime)

Will Hollywood turn on silver screen conservative Jon Voight?

It's almost Emmy Awards time. Will Hollywood freeze out silver screen conservative Jon Voight following his recent vigorous protests against President Obama, the Democratic party and his fellow actors who are critical of Israel? The Oscar-winning veteran actor is indeed up for the Best Supporting Actor Emmy himself for his portrayal of a crime family patriarch on the popular Showtime series "Ray Donovan.'' Published August 4, 2014

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2013, file photo, the U.S. Capitol at sunset in Washington. Democrats and Republicans are fervently pursuing a batch of doomed bills in Congress because they target a coveted prize in the Nov. 4 elections: female voters. Wednesday, July 16's Senate vote on contraception legislation is the latest example of Democrats’ win-by-losing strategy, which forces Republicans to vote on sensitive matters that might rile women this fall.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

"Combat journalism' at The Washington Free Beacon goes into profit-making mode

The Washington Beacon has shed its privately owned non-profit status and gone over to the free market, the news organization announced Monday. Founded in 2012, the precise and often lethal collection of investigative journalists began as a project of the Center for American Freedom, targeting the realms of public policy, government affairs, international security, and errant media. Now there will be investors and advertisers for the newly realized for-profit journalistic enterprise. Published August 4, 2014

The kilty party? Scottish first minister Alex Salmond is leading the quest for Scotland's independence from England despite a union lasting three centuries. (scottish parliment)

Conservative author takes on publishing giant over Reagan

No wonder the public is wary of the media in all its permutations. The information universe has become a kind of freewheeling exercise in news aggregation and instant content sharing, driven by buzz and enabled by the Internet. Published August 3, 2014

**FILE** Ben S. Carson (Associated Press)

The Ben Carson surge continues

It appears to be a genuine, independent grass-roots phenomenon, and it keeps growing. More than 100,000 eager fans have contributed to the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, a 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. Published July 31, 2014

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, thinks he has good credentials to become president because "time has come around to the point where the people are agreeing with much of what I've been saying for 30 years." (Associated Press)

Ron Paul giving away a Colt AR-15 in the name of 'freedom'

"Each and every one of us has a God-given right — and duty — to defend freedom. That's why Campaign for Liberty is giving away a brand new Colt LE6920MP-B AR-15 equipped with a red dot sight. And so says Ron Paul to fans of his nonprofit activist group, which champions liberty, fiscal responsibility and lots more. Published July 30, 2014

** FILE ** Former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton (Associated Press)

John Bolton endorses Scott Brown, the newest 'national security candidate'

There's some new support for Scott Brown in his quest for the U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire. Citing the candidate's "national security credentials", John Bolton has stepped forward to endorse Mr. Brown, and also contribute a tidy $10,000 to his primary and general election campaign. Published July 30, 2014

Inside the Beltway: Everybody's hot on the Cold War

It is Cold War chic, a fixation on the dire days when B-52s thundered overhead, "peace through strength" proved a viable strategy and diplomacy was terse indeed. Press, pundits and politicians have bandied about Cold War talk with relish, so much so that President Obama himself came out to assure everyone that the United States was not engaged in a new Cold War with Russia. The Russians may not agree. Published July 30, 2014

Alaskan countryside  (photo from State of Alaska)

Alaska's language challenge: translating tax forms into Siberian Yupik (at $50 an hour)

Alaska is currently wrestling with a native language challenge: how to translate the state's longest tax measure for local populations? Due on the public ballot in August, the tax forms and informational pamphlet that accompanies the measure are some 50 pages long - and both documents must be translated into Yup'ik, Inupiak, Siberian Yupik, Koyukon Athabascan and Gwich'in Athabascan - the local dialects in the region. Published July 29, 2014

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat, are condemning the use of human shields in armed conflicts. (Associated Press)

Inside the Beltway: Republican posse rides out to fire Harry Reid

When Republicans talk about "43" on Tuesday, they won't be referring to George W. Bush. They will be referring instead to the 43 bills passed by the House that are languishing on the hallowed — or hollow — desk of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Now it's pushback time. Published July 28, 2014

** Former President Ronald Reagan. (Courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library)

Third time the charm? Americans wish certain presidents had stayed beyond two terms

For some presidents, once is enough in the White House. A lucky few managed to eke out two terms, and only one stayed on for four. And while Americans get a little nervous when it comes to multiple presidential terms, a substantial amount still wish that certain presidents had stayed on beyond their eight years in the big mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue. Published July 28, 2014

A battlefield site in Monmouth, New Jersey. (National Park Service photo)

Some federal help for old American battlefields: $1.3 million to spruce them up

This might be some federal funding that even the most frugal patriot would approve of. The National Park Service has awarded $1.3 million in preservation grants to help protect, document and interpret 75 of America’s significant battlefield lands. Time and urban progress have taken their toll on such sites, which are heavy with history. Published July 24, 2014