- The Washington Times - Friday, April 23, 2010

BENCH WARRANT

It’s an ongoing parlor game: Who’s on the rarefied shortlist to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens? There are 10 hopefuls at this juncture - seven women, three men. Five have ties to Chicago. Five are favored in the press as front-runners: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland of the D.C. Circuit, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diane Wood and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sidney Thomas.

The decision has brought out the busybodies. Some urge President Obama to choose a populist, a Protestant or a gay while others say, hey, either impose term limits or leave it at eight justices, not nine. Many pine for a Supreme Court nominee who has at least gotten out of the house from time to time - “people from outside the judicial monastery,” as Sen Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, put it.

“We would support a candidate who will be committed to the limited government described in the Constitution and who would apply the Constitution and laws of this nation fairly and impartially without using his or her judicial position to advance a political agenda,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, tells Inside the Beltway.

“Limiting myself to his likely shortlist - I’m assuming someone like, say, Miguel Estrada wouldn’t fly - I think Judge Garland would be Obama’s strongest candidate because he appears to be independent of the president and less likely to simply rubber-stamp the president’s liberal policy agenda when it inevitably comes before the high court.”

MEMO TO SENATE

“The Ivory Tower Bailout Protection Act.”

(New name for President Obama’s financial reform, suggested by Republican Study Committee chairman Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.)

JUST SO YOU KNOW

Along with how-to sessions for desktop publishing and employee management, this official “training class” for Senate staffers will take place from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday in the Hart Building; “Meditation: Relax Your Busy Mind.”

OK, you guys. Now visualize some calm place and just breathe slowly…

THE RUBIO EXPRESS

The Marco Rubio train keeps rolling: Former Vice President Dick Cheney has endorsed the young Republican conservative in his quest for the Senate seat in Florida.

Mr. Cheney joins a growing passenger list of Rubio endorsers that includes Republican Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Tom Coburn and James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma; Republican Reps. Jeff Miller and Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida, Eric Cantor of Virginia, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, Mike Pence of Indiana, Tom Price of Georgia and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

Wait there’s more: Florida state House Speaker Larry Cretul, Steve Forbes, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Rudolph W. Guiliani, Jeb Bush, Grover Norquist and such organizations as the Club for Growth, Family Research Council Action PAC and Irish-American Republicans.

BULLIES AND BOORS

So behave, already. Almost all Americans - 95 percent - say civility in politics is important for a “healthy” democracy; 87 percent say it’s possible for people to respectfully disagree about politics and 85 percent say politicians should “cultivate” friendship in opposing parties. Seven out of 10 felt “ashamed” by lawmakers’ behaviors during the health care reform debate. This is all according to a new survey conducted by John Zogby for Allegheny College.

Respondents were most annoyed by “belittling” behaviors, cited by 89 percent, followed by racist comments, personal attacks and shouting. No statistics on, say, throwing food or use of the F-bomb - though 40 percent would like to take ill-behaved politicians “to the woodshed.” Both parties were guilty, however: 28 percent of respondents blamed Democrats for incivility, 33 percent blamed Republicans and 33 percent blamed both. (See more in Poll du Jour.)

SAME OLD SAME OLD

Even after Climategate took the big wind out of global warming, broadcasters persisted in alarmist coverage of same, says the Business & Media Institute, which tracked the fare from November through March.

“The scandals didn’t compel the three networks to adjust their typical global warming gloom-and-doom coverage. ABC, CBS and NBC aired pro-alarmist stories more than six times as often as stories about ‘errors’ in the science,” says analyst Julia Seymour.

“Reporters warned about the potential end of French wines, the threat of rising sea levels, melting Andes glaciers, worsening allergies, floods, droughts, dengue fever and the danger posed to animals from the Arctic fox to Atlantic salmon,” she continues.

Nearly 65 percent of the stories (86 out of 133) continued to hype the threats after Climategate. The study also found that proponents of global warming agenda outnumbered dissenters by a 13-to-1 ratio in the broadcasts.

“The networks promoted the same liberal agenda, despite new cracks appearing in the foundation of the global warming movement, week after week,” Ms. Seymour adds.

POLL DU JOUR

• 70 percent of Americans say political parties have made politics “less civil.”

• 65 percent blame competitiveness of elections.

• 61 percent blame TV news shows, 61 percent also blame talk radio.

• 59 percent say “changes in American culture” cause political incivility.

• 58 percent blame “a sense of entitlement” among average citizens.

•42 percent blame blogs.

• 40 percent blame Fox News host Glenn Beck, 25 percent blame MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Source: An Allegheny College/Zogby International poll of 1,000 adults conducted March 24 and 25 and released Thursday.

RSVPs, thank you notes, press releases to jharper@ washingtontimes .com.

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