- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WITH PEN IN HAND

With a flourish - or maybe not - 80 grass-roots conservative leaders will sign the Mount Vernon Statement Wednesday within the hallowed library of the Collingwood Estate, originally part of George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The document itself is a stately recap of all things conservative; the signing no publicity stunt, but rather, an old-fashioned auspicious occasion, gravitas included.

“Conservative principles are timeless and effective. Americans are realizing this truth as they watch - in horror - as government officials violate the principles and practices that have America strong and good,” says signer Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America.

“This is the right time - with more and more citizens becoming involved - to clearly and plainly lay out the foundational beliefs that bind us together, the values that will put American back on track,” she adds.

“This event demonstrates that the conservative movement is vibrant, energized and organized to lead America into a renewed era of liberty and self-government,” observes L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center and William F. Buckley’s nephew.

Mr. Buckley championed a similar conservative compact, signed in his Connecticut home almost 50 years ago.

Among the dozens of conservatives present this time around: Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, American Conservative Union President David Keene and National Review writer Kathryn Lopez.

Interested folks are also welcome to sign the document via its new Web presence: www.themountvernon statement.com

SENIOR MOMENT

While lawmakers squabble over health care reform and the economy, one stark reality remains. These are tough times for senior citizens: 51 percent are receiving smaller Social Security checks this year - decreases as much as $70 a month, according to a survey from the 1.2 million member, nonpartisan Senior Citizens League.

Two-thirds of seniors say their monthly expenses have increased by “at least $80 per month” in the last year, forcing 45 percent to cut back on doctor visits. An additional 38 percent postponed filling a prescription or took less than prescribed to save money; 47 percent had trouble covering their utility bills.

“Although the economic downturn has been tough for many Americans, few groups have been as hurt as our nation’s seniors,” says Daniel O’Connell, chairman of the group. “Too many seniors are no longer living on a fixed income, but rather a shrinking income.”

Social Security checks can be lower since many seniors have their Medicare premiums automatically deducted, Mr. O’Connell says. But deductions do not typically lower payments for most seniors since they receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment. And here’s the rub: Seniors failed to receive an adjustment this year, for the first time since 1975.

The survey of 2,086 adults over 65 was conducted Dec. 15-Feb. 12.

JUST SO YOU KNOW

“Another kick in the gut.” (Sarah Palin’s response to a joke about mentally challenged people during the cartoon series “Family Guy” on Sunday.)

“Are there any limits to what some people will do or say about my little brother?” (Bristol Palin, reacting to the same joke.)

“The show is an equal-opportunity offender.” (Creator Seth McFarland, reacting to the mother and daughter.)

JUST SO YOU KNOW 2

This just in from State Department special envoy for climate change Todd Stern:

“People who have an agenda that is directed toward undermining action on climate change grab whatever tidbit they can find and say, ‘Look, theres no climate change. It snowed last week in Washington; there’s no climate change. That kind of stuff is nonsense,” Mr. Stern said during a briefing Tuesday.

BUMPER PATROL

“1-20-13”

Bumper sticker spotted “on the inner loop of the Beltway near River Road” on Tuesday by Beltway reader John Stodola.

THE REEL DEAL

The folks from Grumpy’s Tackle will be there, along with contingents from the Chum Bucket and the Viking Fleet. Coming soon to the Capitol steps: a “tea party” of sorts for disgruntled commercial fishermen and charter boat operators vexed by federal laws that restrict their crafts from certain marine waters in the name of conservation and management.

The “United We Fish” rally is set for Feb. 24 and is expected to draw up to 3,000 fishermen who fear their livelihood is turning into the proverbial big one that got away.

“The Obama administration is on a path that will put additional thousands of people out of work when a minor relaxation of the rigid rebuilding requirements, making virtually no difference in fish conservation, would save most of those jobs,” says organizer Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.

There’s a little potential Climategate mixed up in it, too. The group claims the regulations were crafted using “flawed science,” which originated with the Pew Oceans Commission. A board member - Jane Lubchenco - became director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last year. Legislation to relax the federal laws has been introduced before both House and Senate.

“February 24th, 2010, just might be the most important day in sportfishing history,” says Bill Donovan, publisher of New Jersey Angler Magazine.

POLL DU JOUR

• 62 percent of Americans say “most members of Congress” do not deserve to be re-elected.

• 54 percent say Democrats don’t deserve re-election.

• 56 percent say Republicans don’t deserve re-election.

• 52 percent say President Obama does not deserve re-election

• 46 percent would vote for a Democratic candidate for Congress “if the election was today.”

• 46 percent would vote for a Republican “if the election was today.”

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research poll of 1,023 adults (including 954 registered voters) conducted Feb. 12-15.

Astute observations, soliloquies, tackle boxes to jharper@washingtontimes .com

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