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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

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush appears to be edging closer to announcing a White House run. (Associated Press)

And so it begins: Jeb Bush's first fundraiser

Jeb Bush, both the brand and the man, has officially launched. Mr. Bush now commands a spiffy new political action committee named The Right to Rise, which promises a leg up for small business, free enterprise, a strong defense and entrepreneurship. Its mission cites hard work and earned success as the "central moral promise of American economic life." The group espouses tempered optimism about future opportunity, "but we know America is falling short of its promise," Mr. Bush says. Published January 6, 2015

A letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service moves a cart of mail to his truck. (Associated Press)

Red letter day: The U.S. Postal Service poised to deliver 'frank appraisal' of its status

Now that the holiday rush is over, change is afoot in the nation's mail. On Tuesday, outgoing Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, who has led the oft-challenged U.S. Postal Service for four years, heads to the National Press Club for some candid talk about the future of an organization that handles 40 percent of the world's total mail volume - that's 158 million assorted pieces of mail a year. Some change is already underway though. On Monday, the service lowered its standards for mail delivery across the nation - delivery will be slower in some cases - and consolidated some facilities in a cost-cutting measure to counter financial losses of $26 billion in the last three years. Published January 5, 2015

Twitter (Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire via AP Images)

The most Twitter followers on the planet: Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, President Obama

The Digital Policy Council, a nonpartisan think tank, has analyzed the tweeting realm to reveal that 82 percent of world leaders use Twitter, sending out their 140-character missives to a combined audience of 116 million followers. "President Obama confidently retains the No. 1 spot with a vast following of 51 million. The U.S. president actually holds the third largest number of followers in the entire world." Published January 4, 2015

The 'camo casket' is gaining in popularity among devoted sportsmen, say Outdoor Hub reporter Daniel Hu. (Image from Outdoor Hub)

Great outdoors meets Great Beyond: Sportsmen and hunters now opt for the 'Camo Casket'

Business is getting brisk. Hunters with an eye for camouflage patters, natural wood and 18-gauge metal are now pre-purchasing, well, caskets themed around their favorite activity. Yes, it's the "camo casket," lined with camouflage material and personalized embroidered panels of turkeys, bass, deer and pheasant - with special display features to show off a favorite rifle or shotgun. Published January 3, 2015

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2009 file photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Department, a small Draganflyer X6 drone makes a test flight in Mesa County, Colo. with a Forward Looking Infrared payload. The drone, which was on loan to the sheriff's department from the manufacturer, measures about 36 inches from rotor tip to rotor tip and weighs just over two pounds. Wyoming lawmakers are considering a bill to ban law enforcement use of drones without a warrant. Members of the Wyoming Legislature's Joint Judiciary Committee are set to hear a draft bill beginning Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, in Laramie. If it's approved, the full Legislature could consider the measure early next year. (AP Photo/Mesa County Sheriff's Unmanned Operations Team, File)

Tour guide advice to Americans: Don't take your drone to Antarctica

The public is either uncomfortable with drones or fascinated by them. Those novel flying machines with nifty cameras and technical embellishments have their charm. The presence of drones overhead is multiplying, however, and concerns about their intrusions are now reaching to the far ends of the Earth. Really. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators is cautioning all potential travelers to Antarctica, who pine to fly a drone to check with their travel agent or tour operator before packing their device. So reports Travel and Tour World, an industry source. Published December 30, 2014

Voters head to the polls at Benton Harbor High School on Election Day Tuesday, November 4, 2014, in Benton Harbor, Mich.(AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell)

Out with the old, in with the new: Voters say GOP needs a 'fresh face' in 2016

Americans appear to have as case of dynasty fatigue - they are leery of another Bush or Clinton in the White House. But voters are also cautious about going with a new but unknown quantity, particularly in an age when the nation's opportunistic foes seek signs of unsure leadership. Some strategists warn against supporting maverick and insurgent candidates. Others applaud them. A new poll, however, reveals that much of the public is receptive to a "fresh face" for the GOP in particular. Published December 30, 2014

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2014 file photo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaks in Washington. The 2016 presidential race was about the new Republican-controlled Congress even before the 2014 polls closed. As the GOP rout became clear late Tuesday, would-be Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton was granted a ready-made foil in the Republican-led Congress that begins next year just as a handful of high-profile senators seized on their new status as a springboard into 2016. Key Republican governors, meanwhile, have already begun to distinguish themselves from unpopular congressional leaders in both parties. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

At last: Ted Cruz wins a 2016 presidential straw poll - Rand Paul in second place

A certain Texas Republican still has plenty of fans. Sen. Ted Cruz has won the Federalist Today Presidential Straw Poll with 26 percent of the nearly one thousand votes cast. "Placing a respectable second and third, Senator Rand Paul (22 percent) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (16 percent) showed that they also have considerable support among the 'lovers of freedom and anxious for the fray' Federalist faithful," report David Corbin and Matt Parks, two analysts for The Federalist - a learned but vibrant online journal. Published December 29, 2014

Nancy Joy casts her vote at the Stone Center, in Oxford, Miss. on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. Voters in Oxford went to the polls today to vote in national mid-term elections as well as school board positions. (AP Photo/Oxford Eagle, Bruce Newman) NO SALES

Undecided and unconvinced voters: 'Other/Not sure' currently leads GOP presidential pack, poll finds

This could annoy Republican presidential hopefuls who are racing to make a footprint on the 2016 campaign. "In a potentially huge field of candidates vying for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, the winner today is Other/Not Sure with 19 percent of the vote," reports pollster John Zogby, who surveyed several hundred likely Republican primary voters. Published December 28, 2014

FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2010 file photo, a student uses an Apple MacBook laptop in his class in Palo Alto, Calif. New warnings are emerging of a security flaw known as the "Bash" bug, which cyber experts say may pose a serious threat to computers and other devices using Unix-based operating systems such as Linux and Mac OS X. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Expert's warning: Likelihood of future cyberattacks on U.S. emanating from Cuba is '100 percent'

"Apparently the United States has not yet learned its lesson of the downside of giving away communication technology to Communist regimes, and will once again pay the price. In a year or two when Cuba gets advanced broadband circuits promised by President Obama, the likelihood that we will see attacks on U.S. public and private networks emanating from Cuba is 100 percent," predicts James W. Gabberty, professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. Published December 28, 2014

The New Hampshire Rebellion - a nonpartisan grassroots group -  wants politicians to know their state is 'not for sale." (Image from New Hampshire Rebellion)

Restless grassroots: New Hampshire 'Rebellion' declares their state is not for sale

While much of America takes to their living rooms in freezing January, there's big doings in the Granite State, where the New Hampshire Rebellion — a nonpartsan grass-roots group — is busy planning a chilly gathering to protest political corruption and to send a message to presidential candidates that local voters are "no longer for sale." Published December 25, 2014

Franklin Graham.

Democrats, atheists — never a dull moment even at Christmas...

"The holiday season is filled with food, traveling, and lively discussions with Republican relatives about politics — sometimes laced with statements that are just not true. Here are the most common myths spouted by your family members who spend too much time listening to Rush Limbaugh — and the perfect response to each of them," says the Democratic National Committee in a holiday message that includes talking points for health care, pay equity, climate issues, economy and immigration for those who have a "Republican uncle." Published December 24, 2014

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots (Associated Press)

Message to the IRS from the tea party: 'We will not be silenced'

"There is no question that the IRS as an agency, and its leaders individually, directed and implemented a scheme to silence and demoralize tea party groups. We knew it was going on before Congress and the Treasury Inspector General confirmed it," declares Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. Published December 24, 2014

Travel to Cuba will soon be a reality for many more Americans. (Image from Insight Cuba)

Hola: American tourists ready to scurry to exotic 'enchanting' Cuba

Well that did not take long. President Obama's announcement of a major policy change towards Cuba is only days old, but would-be turistas are already scurrying towards the allure of the long isolated nation. Insight Cuba, a non-profit travel organization that has specialized in legal "people-to-people" travel to Cuba for Americans for years, has just added 70 additional departure dates to keep up with the sudden surge in interest and bookings since Mr. Obama's revelations. Published December 23, 2014

Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, released his painstaking review of 1.3 million pages of IRS documents and transcribed interviews conducted following revelations that the agency had targeted conservative groups. (Associated Press)

Cyberwarfare: The theaters strike back, step up for Sony, shoulder 'The Interview'

Hubbub continues over Sony's flip-flop: The studio will offer limited theatrical released of its parody film that showcased North Korea President Kim Jong-un and launched a cyberwar — and a thousand melodramatic commentaries. That change of heart evolved, perhaps, with the help of 532 maverick members of the "independent art house community" — smaller, independent movie theaters — now charged with showing "The Interview" beginning Thursday. Published December 23, 2014

President Obama in the Oval Office (Photo from The Barack Obama Foundation)

The future Barack Obama Presidential Library could contain 'community organizing' center

Just in time for President Obama’s winter holiday in Hawaii: State and local officials in the Aloha State have submitted their formal proposal for the Barack Obama Presidential Center — this to The Barack Obama Foundation, a year-old nonprofit that’s coordinating the project and entertaining pitches from Chicago and New York City as well. Published December 22, 2014

"As you know, the Republican Party and Hollywood have at times been at odds. But we can all agree that the current situation regarding the release of 'The Interview' goes far beyond politics. It is about freedom and free enterprise," said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. (associated press)

Sony woe continues: 'What's next — a ban on "Mash" reruns?'

Though Sony's uber-lawyer David Boies has now indicated the studio's parody film showcasing North Korean President Kim Jong-un will be distributed at some point in the future, the media morality play continues. Two other major studios have followed suit: One canceled production on a psychological thriller about North Korea, another placed an existing film which spoofs the nation's politics into cold storage. Published December 21, 2014