- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CLINCHING THE DEAL

Here’s the White House take-away message for Wednesday: India loves America forever ‘n ever. And India really, really loves America now that President Obama is in charge.

The White House is eager to mark its territory in this arena, whisking away evidence that the George W.Bush administration was once very productive in its efforts to buoy India up on the world stage, both as a financial powerhouse, forward-thinking democracy and strategic ally in a troubled region.

About seven hours before the first guest had arrived for Tuesday’s state dinner honoring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the White House press office issued an ironclad series of “Fact sheets on U.S.-Indian Cooperation” essentially providing a five-part guide to every last thing that was accomplished during his visit, and then some.

“In total six memoranda-of-understandings were signed, two memoranda-of-interest as well as several other initiatives and agreements. Below are some of the highlights from the four papers covering global security and counterterrorism, education and development, health cooperation, economic trade and agriculture, and green partnerships,” the talking points memo - whoops, sorry - the press notice explains.

The language ultimately claims the fame for the current administration.

“In their meeting today, Prime Minister Singh and President Obama noted that the U.S.-India counterterrorism relationship has advanced in a short time to unprecedented levels of cooperation,” notes one fact sheet.

YOU BETCHA

And for the rest of the country, Sarah Palin also has her take on India:

“We have to make sure that we’re working closely with India, the largest democracy in the world, a strategic partner of ours. We have to make sure that India and Pakistan know that, hey, the last thing that this world needs is conflict between these two countries. In fact, they both need to understand that each other are not the problem. The Taliban is the problem,” Mrs. Palin told Fox News on Tuesday.

CHOWAPALOOZA

Lord, may it all be scrumptious. Amen. With that in mind: The Defense Logistics Agency spent exactly $2,741,483.49 on Thanksgiving dinner for U.S. troops in Iraq and $1,301,292.42 for those in Afghanistan - providing a traditional feast for 180,000 hungry heroes.

“Providing superb meals to our U.S. troops is a critical mission,” says Air Force Brig. Gen.Scott Chambers, commander of the agency. “We start planning the traditional Thanksgiving meal even before Memorial Day rolls around.”

And here’s the combined total: 267,399 pounds of turkey; 63,776 pounds of ham; 61, 813 pounds of stuffing; 65,329 pounds of potatoes; 51,652 pies. These numbers don’t include the burgeoning figures for the rest of the menu: roast beef, shrimp, cranberry sauce, corn, green beans, sweet potatoes and cake.

The mind reels. But the heart is warmed.

THE CLIMATIC FRAY

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies for their refusal - for nearly three years - to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act, says CEI senior fellow Christopher Horner.

“The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding ‘Climategate’ scandal,” he says.

CEI is seeking information revealing internal discussions and e-mails about “NASA’s quiet correction of its false historical U.S. temperature records,” plus blog entries by NASA employee Gavin A. Schmidt at RealClimate, a site owned by the “advocacy” attuned group Environmental Media Services.

“This, and the related political activism engaged in, are inappropriate behavior for a taxpayer-funded employee, particularly on taxpayer time,” Mr. Horner notes.

BUMPER PATROL

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele is making his list, checking it twice. The online “GOP Store” is now open for business he says, burgeoning with stuffed elephants, wearables and cool office stuff. And bumper stickers. Among them:

“Is it 2012 Yet?”

“It’s not right or left. It’s right or wrong.”

“You have to endure four years of Carter to get to Reagan.”

“Give me Liberty. Not Debt.”

For information, consult www.gop.com.

FINEMAN ALERT

Yowsuh. Amid tales of apple green linen, purple flowers and symphonic music from the White House state dinner comes this from Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman:

“I have a nagging sense that all of that grandeur has become a little deceiving. I’m not sure the rest of the world sees the White House as ‘the place to be’ any more. And that will have unsettling consequences for all of us,” he says.

“Obama’s role as the elegant, path-breaking, intercultural celebrity is not enough to reverse a steady erosion of our global dominance - especially not if he’s seen merely as a new hood ornament on an economic clunker. My concern is merely anecdotal. But I have been collecting anecdotal evidence for decades. It’s what I do for a living.”

POLL DU JOUR

- 53 percent of Americans say they are more thankful this Thanksgiving than they were last year.

- 11 percent are less so; 35 percent are “about as thankful.”

- After “family and health,” 41 percent are most thankful for their religious faith.

- 19 percent cite their job; 15 percent the nation.

- 14 percent cite “something else”; 6 percent cite their community.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Nov. 18-19.

Rattles, battles, tattles to jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.


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