- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 17, 2008

By the numbers

78 percent of Americans believe in God, 15 percent believe in a universal spirit, 6 percent are atheists.

89 percent of conservatives belive in God, 9 percent believe in a universal power, 2 percent are atheists.

62 percent of liberals believe in God, 24 percent in a universal spirit, 13 percent are atheists.

89 percent of Republicans believe in God, 9 percent believe in a universal spirit, 1 percent are atheists.

77 percent of Democrats believe in God, 14 percent believe in a universal spirit, 8 percent are atheists.

Source: A Gallup survey of 1,017 adults released July 28 with a margin of error of three percentage points.

Quotes of note

“It’s going to be a three-way race.” - Ralph Nader, on announcing he plans to stage rallies outside the Democratic and Republican conventions.

“Apparently, we are not, in fact, worthy.” — McCain campaign adviser Michael Goldfarb after actor Mike Myers forced the campaign to remove an unauthorized “Wayne’s World” clip from an advertising spot.

“Reflections on Gender and Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign: The Good, the Bad, and the Misogynic.” — Title of a lecture by Rutgers University political scientist Susan Carroll at the 104th annual meeting of the American Political Science Association on Aug. 28.

“World’s largest gathering of political scientists and observers of politics.” — How the aforementioned meeting bills itself.

Days of yore

Not quite sure where to land, our earliest bureaucrats moved the nation’s capital from Philadelphia to New York City on this day in 1790; the final move to Washington came two years later.

Happy birthday to Davy Crockett, born near Limestone, Tenn., on Aug. 17, 1786.

He represented Tennessee in the House of Representatives from 1826 to 1828 and again from 1833 to 1835. After an unsuccessful third run, Crockett said in his autobiography, “I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not, you may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas.”

He died at the age of 49 at the battle of the Alamo. Among those who have played Davy Crockett in Hollywood: George Montgomery, Fess Parker, John Wayne, Brian Keith, Johnny Cash and Billy Bob Thornton.

No. Has it been a decade already? On this day in 1998, President Clinton admitted in videotaped testimony before a grand jury to having an improper relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern.

Bumpy road

There may or may not be a provision for this hidden somewhere in campaign finance regulations.

“Democratic politicians receive a 40 percent increase in contributions in the 30 days after appearing on the comedy cable show ‘The Colbert Report.’ In contrast, their Republican counterparts essentially gain nothing,” notes a new analysis by James Fowler, a political scientist with the University of California at San Diego.

“These findings appear to validate anecdotal evidence regarding the political impact of the program, such as the assertions by host Stephen Colbert that appearing on his program provides candidates with a ‘Colbert bump’ or a rise in support for their election campaigns,” Mr. Fowler said.

He compared data from the Federal Election Commission to the appearances of candidates on the show.

“Specifically, Democrats who come on the program raise $8,247 more than colleagues who don’t do so on the 32nd day following their appearance - a bump of roughly two-fifths over the normal rate of receipts. Republicans do not appear to benefit at all from appearing on the program; notably, they raise more funds in the month before coming on the program while actually raising less money in the month following their appearance - hinting at a possible ‘Colbert bust’ for the GOP instead.”

Barr none

Presidential hopeful Bob Barr is on the fiscal warpath, and Gipper-inspired.

“The current national debt is $9.5 trillion, and the debt ceiling was recently raised to $10.6 trillion to give congressional spenders a little ‘breathing room.’ Total unfunded liability for America’s two big retirement programs, Social Security and Medicare, is more than $100 trillion. Where is the government going to get the money necessary to pay even a fraction of these obligations?” Mr. Barr asked recently.

He wants to systematically identify those programs “which are of dubious constitutional authority, unnecessary, wasteful, or sometimes all three at once. For this purpose, as president, I will appoint the Commission to Cut Wasteful Government; not just waste in government, but wasteful government itself.”

It’s modeled after the so-called Grace Commission created by President Reagan in 1982, which identified $424 billion in potential savings in its first three years alone. But look out.

“The Commission to Cut Wasteful Government will be instructed to be even tougher than the Grace Commission.” Mr. Barr added. “Rather like a Grace Commission on steroids.”

Wear and when

Viva the happy ending. The new blog “Black Men for McCain” offered a recent post complaining that Sen. John McCain’s online retail shop had T-shirts for demographics of all persuasions - save one.

“They offer personalized t-shirts for just about every ethnic and cultural minority imaginable. Currently available - Women For McCain, Irish For McCain, Jewish Americans For McCain, Hispanics For McCain, Asian & Pacific Islanders For McCain, Arab Americans For McCain Now I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but, uh - I’m black, proud, and I want a damn t-shirt. I have contacted the McCain campaign and received no reply. I think it’s safe to assume that if Arab Americans get their own shirt, Black Men are not asking too much,” the post stated.

The McCain elves were apparently not asleep at the wheel.

“If this doesn’t illustrate what makes America great, I don’t know what does. In response to my request, the McCain campaign is now offering an ‘African-Americans For McCain’ t-shirt. This is within four hours of my post. No, it’s not my preferred slogan, but perfectly acceptable,” noted a follow-up post.

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] .com or 202/636-3085.

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