- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yes we can-can

“The health care reform debate is not exactly the Folies Bergere.”

That is what Roger Simon, founder of Pajamas TV, tells me. And he is right. There are no dancing girls or cocktails involved in the health debate, at least, not yet. Still, things could use a little showbiz boost, and that is exactly what Mr. Simon has in mind for a group of Republican lawmakers.

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, Reps. Tom Price of Georgia and Dave Camp of Michigan will join “Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds and National Center for Policy Analysis President John Goodman for a live forum Wednesday that links studios in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, to be streamed online.

Yes, through the confusing miracle of technology, irate citizens can e-mail or Twitter questions. Or send their own cheeky video clips, if so moved. It’s all in the name of direct political access.

Mr. Simon, an Academy Award nominee, screenwriter and mystery writer, says that, indeed, “Hollywood sensibilities” and contributions from the young turks of the blogosphere will lend a little glitter and muscle to the discussion. But Mr. Simon is definitely out for blood.

“This massive change in the government is being rammed down our throats. It’s so abrupt. This is, like, 16 percent of the gross national product at stake here,” Mr. Simon says. “There’s no way any one had time to know what’s in this legislation, let alone review it. We want to link the public up with legislators and try make some sense out of it.”

The forum begins at 7 p.m. The curious should visit www.pjtv.com/healthcare for information.

Do the math

Number of pages in health care reform legislation currently before the U.S. Congress: 1,012.

Number of representatives in Congress: 435.

Number of representatives who have signed a “Responsible Healthcare Pledge” from the nonpartisan policy organization Let Freedom Ring, signaling that they intend to read the legislation: 63.

Number of Democratic lawmakers who signed the pledge: 0.

A few choice words

Some people like to march around wave stuff when they protest health care reform. Here’s a list of field-tested slogans for protest signs, gleaned from a list of 180 suggestions from the Teaparty Patriots.

These appeared on placards during grass-roots citizen protests July 17:

• Socialized medicine hot line: 1-800-YOU-DEAD

• Socialized Emergency kit: aspirin and a Band-Aid

• Socialism is like a hospital gown. You think you’re covered but you’re not

• God heals and the government collects the fee

• ObamaCare - So Good You’ll Just Die

• Clinging to My God, My Guns, and My Health Care

• Undertakers for socialized medicine. We’ll make a killing

• Welcome to Uncle Sam’s clinic. Satisfaction or your MUMMY back

• If you don’t have a hernia you’re not carrying your share of the load

• Socialized medicine: save money, share a hearse

Uh-hoy

First ladyMichelle Obama has signed up for sea duty. Sort of. Mrs. Obama will serve as “sponsor” for the future Coast Guard National Security Cutter “Stratton,” the namesake of Capt.Dorothy Stratton, who directed the Coast Guard’s Women’s Reserve, or SPARs, during World War II.

Construction began Monday in Pascagoula, Miss.; it is the first time a first lady has ever sponsored a Coast Guard cutter, says Rear Adm.Ronald J. Rabago.

No pleasure craft, this. When finished, the Stratton will stretch 418 feet and boast an array of weapons, a 54,139-square-foot enclosed deck, a crew of 148, a range of 12,000 nautical miles; chemical, biological and radiological environmental hazard detection and extra helping of intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.

In the words of one really old, cantankerous salt, “Yeah. Now you’re talking.”

“I am honored,” Mrs. Obama says. “This vessel will embody the strength of today’s military and the enduring courage of our Coast Guard’s men and women.”

Poll du jour

Fifty-eight percent of Americans say U.S. involvement in Iraq is “a mistake.”

Fifty-six percent say “things are going well” for the U.S. in Iraq.

Thirty-six percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan is a mistake.

Fifty-four percent say things are going well for the U.S. in Afghanistan.

Source: A Gallup Poll 1,018 national adults conducted July 10 to 12.

• You know you want to. Send tips, etc., to [email protected] or 202/636-3085.

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