- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 31, 2009

OK, so 53 percent of American voters say that intelligent life exists on other planets, according to a recent survey from Rasmussen Reports. But things are partisan among the planets. Liberals, we find, are more inclined to believe this than conservatives, 72 percent to 45 percent, respectively.

In addition, 57 percent of Democrats think there are extraterrestrials out there, compared to 47 percent of Republicans. Men are more likely than women to agree, 61 percent to 46 percent.

Earthling voters are fairly broad-minded, though. Overall, 23 percent say the possibility of intelligent life out there is “not very likely,” only a truculent 12 percent insist the idea is completely unfounded while 12 percent are “not sure,” the survey found.

Is this a political matter? Well, yes. The survey also found that 81 percent of voters rate NASA positively — Republicans more so than Democrats. Three-fourths of voters think the U.S. should have a manned space program, which is good news for NASA and its $19 billion annual budget. The GOP and Dems were almost neck and neck on this one.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted May 18 and 19.

Meanwhile, there was nothing in the findings to indicate whether voters felt that intelligent life exists in North Korea, Iran or Hollywood. But that’s probably coming in some other poll.

Second thoughts

Time marches on, and very quickly, too.

“It’s a good time to be George W. Bush,” says Abe Greenwald of Commentary Magazine.

President Obama, and the country at large, is finding out that Bush’s most controversial policies were not born of ideological delusion, American arrogance, or missionary zeal.”

Most were “imperfect but sound,” Mr. Greenwald notes.

“But the validation of the last president runs a very distant second to the most compelling aspect of all this: the drama over CIA interrogations and Guantanamo will hopefully serve to set the administration on a more serious national security course. And it would be helpful if the American public finally dropped moral outrage as the preferred mode of political argumentation.”

Mountain do

Boggy Peak is getting an upgrade. It soon will be Mount Obama. The 1,319-foot summit in the Caribbean nation of Antigua will be renamed for Mr. Obama, says Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer in an official announcement this week. There will be a Mount Obama Monument and National Park with hiking trails, along with an Obama Museum with entertainment and educational facilities.

The new Mount Obama will be a “beacon of hope for all people,” says Mr. Spencer.

“He did not say how much it would cost or how the government of the dual-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda would pay for it,” noted an Associated Press account.

Boggy Peak gets its new name Aug. 4, Mr. Obama’s 48th birthday.

Quotes of note

“Liberated and unhappy: American women are wealthier, healthier and better educated than they were 30 years ago. … But all the achievements of the feminist era may have delivered women to greater unhappiness.” — Ross Douthat, The New York Times.

“This is the Oprah Winfrey presidency. She was his biggest supporter, and I think that she’s been behind the scenes orchestrating this presidency as a media presidency.” — Andrew Breitbart, to Fox News’ Glenn Beck.

“Captured terrorists are always a liability.” — Ralph Peters, the New York Post.

“U.S. to Respond to North Korea with ‘Strongest Possible Adjectives.’” — parody headline from the Borowitz Report.

Days of yore

George Washington signed the first U.S. copyright act into law 219 years ago today.

In addition, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held its first conference 100 years ago today.

Happy birthday to “make my day” actor and occasional politician Clint Eastwood, born in San Francisco in 1930. He was elected mayor of Carmel, Calif., in 1986 at age 56.

On this day in 1988, 1990 and 1994: Three former presidents — Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton — made peaceful overtures to the former Soviet Union. During his moment, Mr. Clinton pledged to cooperate with the new Russia in a “New World Order,” declaring that the U.S. would no longer point nukes in their direction.

What? Has it been four years already? After decades of speculation, the family of W. Mark Felt finally revealed to Vanity Fair magazine that the former FBI assistant director was “Deep Throat” of Watergate fame on this day in 2005.

By the numbers

77 percent of American voters say the release of photos showing alleged detainee abuse would cause a global backlash against the U.S. and endanger troops.

81 percent are concerned about a Taliban takeover of northwest Pakistan.

56 percent say there is a chance that the Taliban will get control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

55 percent say Guantanamo Bay prisoners should not be transferred to a U.S. prison should the facility close.

37 percent would agree with a transfer.

8 percent said that such a move would make the U.S. safer.

43 percent said it would make the U.S. less safe, 45 percent said it would make no difference,

Source: A Fox News poll of 900 registered voters conducted May 12 and 13.

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

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