- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2009

Google’s limits

While President Obama joined European leaders to commemorate the 65th anniversary of D-Day over the weekend, Google posted an icon to its popular search page to memorialize something else: Tetris, the video game where players configure various-sized blocks for points.

“Celebrating 25 years of the Tetris Effect - courtesy Holding LLC,” it said.

“I have to say, though, that this is no departure for Google, a firm that finds it nearly impossible to post images celebrating any American holidays or important milestones in American history,” wrote Warner Todd Huston of Newsbusters.org. “So what we have here is just one more example of Google’s essentially anti-American policies.”

Mr. Huston isn’t the only one to have complained Google’s icons have given American soldiers the short end of the stick. World Net Daily’s Drew Zahn charged in a column that Google has repeatedly “snubbed” Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

Google has brushed off previous complaints by saying its “special logos tend to be lighthearted and often scientific in nature.”

Spokesman Sunny Gettinger said in a statement, “We do not believe we can convey the appropriate somber tone through this medium to mark holidays like Memorial Day.”

Mr. Zahn has noted, however, that on Remembrance Day in 2006, a holiday to honor fallen heroes in Australia, Canada, Britain and Ireland, Google’s logo incorporated three poppies - a nod to the Canadian poem “In Flanders Fields.” In the poem, poppies are cemetery flowers for war heroes.

Colbert commando

Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert wants credit for taking his show on the road with the USO to Iraq this week.

“The USO counts this as military service, right? I might want to run for office some day,” Mr. Colbert joked in a statement previewing the trip.

“Operation Iraqi Stephen: Going Commando,” performed and taped in front of the troops, will air this week and is the first program to produce a week’s worth of shows in a combat zone.

The program, which usually pokes fun at celebrities and politicians, will host a bevy of military guests. Some of those scheduled to appear on the show include Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih; Gen. Ray Odierno, commanding general of the Multi-National Force - Iraq; Lt. Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., commanding general of the Multi-National Corps - Iraq; Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe, command sergeant major of MNC - Iraq; Sgt. Robin Balcom, squad leader with the 463rd Military Police Company; and Spc. Tareq Salha, Arabic linguist with the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade (attached to 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment).

Palin watch

The first woman to appear on a Republican presidential ticket toured a series of women’s rights landmarks in Seneca Falls, N.Y., before delivering a blistering critique of the Obama administration and affirming her independence from Washington last week.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin traveled to Seneca Falls to celebrate former Secretary of State William H. Seward, who negotiated the deal with Russia to purchase Alaska in 1867 and who hailed from Auburn, N.Y.

She had a good share of low-key politicking along the way. Mrs. Palin arranged a remarkably quiet tour with husband, Todd, and 14-year old daughter Willow to the home of Harriet Tubman, the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, the National Women’s Hall of Fame as well as a local beauty salon to have her hair done for public events later that day, which included a Founder’s Day parade.

Mrs. Palin spoke at a private fundraiser benefiting the Seward House museum that evening, where she blasted Washington for attempt at “control” by forcing her to accept stimulus money and barring the development of energy in her state.

“Alaskans get tired of hearing that Washington bureaucrats know what’s best for us. So we push, and we fight, and we challenge decisions made inside the Beltway when they’re not in the country’s best interest,” she said.

“We know decisions being made lately, we believe are not in the nation’s best interest, not when they can’t lead us to energy independence. So though it seems that there are some attempts to try to make some from Alaska to sit down and shut up, we’re not going to sit down and shut up. We’re going to spread the message,” she said.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@washingtontimes.com.

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