- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 21, 2010

FROM ‘UH-OH’ DESK

Note to Democrats: Posing with a gun just to woo a certain voting demographic is not always prudent. Posing with a gun when your rival’s motto is “Send a Warrior to Congress” is, uh, really not prudent. Indeed, former U.S. Marine and Republican Jesse Kelly, who led a combat platoon in Iraq and is now running for Congress in Arizona, has spotted wishful fakery on the campaign trail.

Mr. Kelly challenged the Democrat incumbent for posing with an AK-47 assault rifle in an Arizona Daily Star article, with a caption that read “Today’s been just another day on the border for hard line U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.” The lawmaker wears a dark jacket and brandishes the weapon, with a half dozen fatigues-clad soldiers in the background.

“It turns out the picture has nothing to do with border security and was taken during a trip to South Asia in 2009,” Mr. Kelly says. “The caption in the paper is as fake as her claim of being a Blue Dog. The question is, who made the error? Did the Daily Star or the Giffords campaign write the misleading words? Either way, we exposed them both and will continue to do so right up through November 2,” Mr. Kelly adds.

UPDATE: The Arizona Star has removed the photo in question, explains reporter Tim Steller, who had borrowed the image from Flickr, a photosharing website, and added the misleading caption. Readers took “photo, caption and headline at face value,” he says, though he had only intended it to be “symbolic” of the lawmaker’s stance on border issues. The photo has been removed, and as Mr. Stellar notes, “it added up to a lesson learned.”

CURIOUSER & CURIOUSER

During a Democratic fundraiser in California on Monday, President Obama was heckled by gay activists. More chained themselves to the White House fence, all vexed by the lingering fate of “don’t ask, don’t tell” legislation. But wait. On the very same day, Nicki Stallard, a transgendered gun activist, addressed a Second Amendment Rights rally in Virginia, representing Pink Pistols, a group that urges gays to arm themselves.

“She gave a gutsy and humorous speech while wearing a black skirt and jacket with a purple blouse, nylons and high heels. She is about 6 ft. 4 inches tall, around 200 pounds,” says LaDonna Hale Curzon, executive producer of Sarah Palin Radio. “I had to congratulate her, and suggested that she trade in her boring, matronly, black high heels for a pair of open-toe, red Naughty Monkeys.”

For the footwear-challenged, Naughty Monkeys is the shoe brand Sarah Palin favors from time to time.

Mrs. Curzon continues: “It was truly a great moment to see this person address the crowd and win acceptance and applause. We won’t see or hear the ‘lamestream media’ report any of this. They still think conservatives are all homophobic racists, and they want the public to think that as well.”

ASHES TO ASHES

Dreary figures from volcano-gate: The U.S. Travel Association reports the restless Iceland volcano has cost the U.S. economy $130 million a day. So far, the total cost is $650 million in direct travel spending and $90 million in tax receipts. Seventy-eight percent of flights between the U.S. and Europe have been canceled.

SO WE CAN SEE …

Tech-savvy Republicans intent on dragging Congress into the 21st century are imploring House SpeakerNancy Pelosi to allow Skype and other videoconferencing software on Capitol Hill.

“The voices of the American people are not reaching those in charge in Washington. We must look for new ways to promote open dialogue,” says Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. “More Americans every day are using video to communicate, yet the House remains tied to outdated rules that make videoconferencing difficult and expensive. The fact is, we don’t need to sacrifice cybersecurity to open new lines of communication.”

Reps. John A. Boehner of Ohio, Eric Cantor of Virginia, Mike Pence of Indiana, Dan Lungren of California, Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Mr. McCarthy have sent a letter to Mrs. Pelosi, heavy with talk of “transparency” and an “open” Congress. Will Madame Speaker - who famously urged passage of health care reform “so we can see what’s in it” - heed their plea? Maybe they can guilt her into it.

“Rather than lagging behind, let’s move one step closer into the future of congressional communications,” the group said.

JUST SO YOU KNOW

And now for some promising news: U.S. military officials report that combined security forces killed several insurgents in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province without a single civilian casualty. They also confiscated or destroyed the following:

A vehicle-mounted 12.7 mm heavy machine gun, multiple automatic assault rifles, mortar grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and RPG launchers, a Russian-made 122 mm projectile, 61 pounds of explosive material, 5,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition, a disassembled anti-aircraft gun, six rocket-assisted warheads, 200 pounds of homemade explosives, “miscellaneous” shrapnel, 2,040 pounds of raw opium, 1,875 pounds of processed opium, 615 pounds of hashish, 200 pounds of marijuana seed - and that’s just a smidgeon of the Defense Department list.

Way to go.

POLL DU JOUR

• 94 percent of liberal voters say they will vote for a Democratic candidate in the 2010 midterm elections.

• 88 percent of conservative voters will vote for a Republican.

• 88 percent of Republicans plan to vote for a Republican candidate.

• 84 percent of Democrats will vote for a Democrat.

• 42 percent of independents will vote Republican, 25 percent will vote Democratic, 26 are undecided.

• 46 percent of moderates will vote Democratic, 31 percent will vote Republican, 19 percent are undecided.

Source: A Zogby poll of 2,018 likely voters conducted April 16 to 19.

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