- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 6, 2009

McCHRYSTAL GAZING

A talking point for Tuesday, perhaps, regarding Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan: “Hiding behind synonyms, President Obama begins a campaign to throw Gen. McChrystal under the bus … The White House is already starting the machine. First, they are ignoring Petraeus. Second, they are out to get McChrystal,” says Erick Erickson of Redstate.com

HOLA SUPREME

The newest member of the Supreme Court was not to be ignored during her big debut on Monday. JusticeSonia Sotomayor did not sit on the sidelines. But what can we expect in the long run?

“It will be interesting to watch if Justice Sotomayor respects the rule of law and rejects President Obama’s empathy standard for judges as she did during her confirmation hearings or if she embraces empathy as she did in her ‘wise Latina’ writings,” Republican National Lawyers Association chairman David Norcross tells Inside the Beltway.

BLOG PATROL

Hurray for virtuous bloggerhood. Alert scribes at the Political Carnival blog recently alerted the Secret Service about mischief makers on Facebook who posted a public poll asking, “Should Obama be killed?” This time, forward scouts at the Weasel Zippers blog nailed the New York Times for scrubbing its own story about President Obama’s failed bid for the Olympics. The “Zips” tracked an Oct. 3 Times report that initially included the names of Cabinet officers who accompanied Mr. Obama to Copenhagen, a comment from Rahm Emanuel and fancy prose:

“The prospect of winning was too irresistible. After all, Mr. Obama has already envisioned the day when he could welcome the world to his hometown, never mind that small matter of re-election,” the Times said.

All of it disappeared in an updated story, but not before the nimble “Zips” posted the before and after.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time the New York Times has scrubbed an article to shine a more favorable light on this administration,” a Weasel Zippers spokesman tells Beltway. “In the article last week by the Times’ public editor, the director of the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism Tom Rosenstiel was quoted as saying, ‘If you know you are a target, it requires extra vigilance. Even the suspicion of a bias is a problem all by itself.’ It is quite obvious that the reporters for the Times do not read their own paper.”

SAVAGE TSUNAMI

Michael Savage finally gets some equal time in not-so-jolly-old Britain. On Oct. 15, the talk-radio host will debate “the insanity of political correctness” with fancy argumentative types at the Cambridge Union, a debating society, appearing via an Internet video linkup.

He was banned from Britain by officials who declared he was a hatemonger, then placed on a list of “undesirables” that included terrorists and other criminals.

“This debate should awaken all free British citizens to the disastrous state the Gordon Brown government has created,” he says. “By speaking passionately about freedom of speech, I hope to appeal to the British people and the incoming conservative leadership to remove my name from their list of murderers and terrorists. And I hope to save England from a descent into mental slavery where petty bureaucrats dictate what can and cannot be discussed.”

GROWING INTEREST

This edition of Beltway is quite full of rancor. So for balance, and because it would make our mothers happy, here’s something pleasant: Tours of the White House Kitchen Garden are now available to elementary-, middle- or high school students on a first-come, first-served basis most Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., the White House announced Monday. Full details, regulations and online applications are available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours_and_events/garden/.

IN THEIR FACE

“The Republican Study Committee has become known as a fountain of robust, forward-thinking ideas and bold action,” writes Rep.Tom Price in a letter sent Monday to every member of the Democratic Caucus.

“In light of public assertions that House Republicans have offered no solutions for health care reform, please see this updated directory of more than 40 health care bills introduced by Republican Study Committee members this year. Thanks for your consideration,” the Georgia Republican adds.

WASTE LINE

Oh, woe is us. Consider that the average American family spends $1,000 each year on the Department of Agriculture, whether or not it uses that agency’s services. The agency also employs 96,000 workers in 7,000 offices, and oversees 10,700 pages of regulations. These factoids and other wonders of bloated bureaucracy can be found at www.DownsizingGovernment.org, a nifty new watchdog site launched Monday by the Cato Institute with a focus on inefficiency, ineffectiveness, redundancy and corruption.

“Some people have lofty visions about how government spending can help society,” says project leader Chris Edwards, director of tax-policy studies at the organization. “The essays on this Web site put aside such bedtime stories about how government programs are supposed to work, and instead focus on how they actually work in the real world.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 52 percent of Americans say the H1N1 virus will not have a major impact on the U.S.

• 58 percent of men and 46 percent of women agree.

• 53 percent of Americans overall plan to be vaccinated.

• 41 percent will not be vaccinated.

• 79 percent know the symptoms of the flu and where vaccinations will be offered.

Source: A Deloitte Center for Health Solutions survey of 1,010 adults conducted Sept. 10-13.

• Squeaks, leaks and mystery to [email protected] washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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