- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 2, 2009

Certifiable

What with President Obama’s 48th birthday coming up Tuesday, the debate continues. Was he born in the U.S. or not?

The folks at World Net Daily remain convinced there’s something amiss in Mr. Obama’s birth certificate and that he’s ultimately not eligible to be in the White House. Factcheck.org offers details: Mr. Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, at 7:24 p.m., in Honolulu County, Hawaii; the serial number on his birth certificate is 010641 and there were birth announcements in the Honolulu Star and the Honolulu Advertiser.

Enough, already, says the National Review.

“Much foolishness has become attached to the question of President Obama’s place of birth, and a few misguided souls among the Right have indulged it. The myth that Barack Obama is ineligible to be president represents the hunt for a magic bullet that will make all the unpleasant complications of his election and presidency disappear,” the magazine notes in an editorial.

Beware the odd conspiracy theory, lest “the responsible Right become a mirror image of the loopy Left circa 2003.”

The editors say that the notion Mr. Obama refused to release a birth certificate is fiction and that there is no mysterious secondary document. And oddly enough PresidentArthur once had to quell rumors he was Canadian.

“One of the unfortunate consequences of this red-herring discussion is that there are plenty of questions about Obama’s background and history that we would like to have answered. In spite of two books of memoirs, there remain murky areas in his biography. And when it comes to those college transcripts, count us among those who’d love to know whether Dr. Bailout ever took an advanced economics class and how he performed in it,” the National Review says.

“Like Bruce Springsteen, he has a lot of bad political ideas; but he was born in the U.S.A.”

By the numbers

22 percent of Republicans favor Mitt Romney as presidential nominee in 2012.

21 percent favor Mike Huckabee.

17 percent favor Sarah Palin.

13 percent favor Rudolph Guiliani.

9 percent favor Newt Gingrich.

3 percent favor Bobby Jindal.

1 percent favor Jeb Bush.

Source: A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll of 303 Republican voters conducted July 21 to 22.

Stimulating conversation

The particulars of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — aka the “stimulus package” — are slowly surfacing. All 3,266 of them. Matt Cover of CNSNews.com has patiently tracked some of those projects and purchases through the Federal Procurement Data System, most likely tucked away in the same warehouse where the feds hid the Ark of the Covenant in “Indiana Jones.”

There was $4.8 million for “frozen sliced ham” and $5.3 million for “deli-slice turkey breast,” Mr. Cover found. Oh, and $16.8 million in “canned pork.”

And let’s not forget the $193,077 “double vault toilet building” at the Hoyer Campground in Spokane, Wash., another $487,944 for “toilet buildings and vaults” in the Pike and San Isabel National Forests. The Smithsonian Institute got $1.8 million to renovate the Slate Hill Barn and Hay Shed in Front Royal.

The Six Rivers National Forest in Eureka, Calif., got $326,304 for “roadside vegetation removal” while the Environmental Protection Agency got $20 million for “sediment removal” at the Iron Mountain Mine Superfund site. Last but certainly not least, some unnamed group in Reston got $840 to take a desk apart and relocate two other desks to another city.

And we thought the economy wasn’t getting enough stimulation.

Days of yore

Fifty-six members of the Continental Congress began adding their signatures to the Declaration of Independence on this day in 1776, beginning with Josiah Bartlett of New Hampshire and ending with George Walton of Georgia.

Seventy years ago to the day, Albert Einstein sent a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt urging that the U.S. inaugurate an atomic weapons research program.

The incident ultimately became a pop anthem sung by Jimmy Dean in 1962: On this day in 1943, Navy patrol torpedo boat PT-109 sank after being rammed by a Japanese destroyer while under the command of then Lt. John F. Kennedy.

The specter of Watergate loomed 35 years ago today when John Dean was sentenced to one to four years in prison for his involvement in the cover-up.

Single minded

Not married, engaged, matched, seeing someone, going steady or in some convivial understanding with a mature individual? Don’t worry. Don’t obsess. You’re in a good place. The rarified real estate Inside the Beltway was rated the fifth-best city for single people in the nation by Forbes magazine.

New York is in first place, followed by Boston, Chicago and Seattle. But D.C. has its cachet.

“With one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country — 6.2 percent compared with a national average of 9.1 percent — this metro area is a promising spot for those who are single as well as ambitious. Favorite bars include the Park at Fourteenth, H Street Country Club, Marvin and PX, a speakeasy in Alexandria,” Forbes explains.

Washington is rated seventh out of 40 cities for “coolness,” ninth for “culture,” third for online dating, 28th for night life.

Political awareness, civic engagement, patriotism, maybe? Sorry. No such category.

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

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