THE ALIEN PRESS
Have extraterrestrials invaded Earth? They certainly have invaded culture, politics and the press. Starting Friday at the National Press Club: a three-day X-Conference set to explore “exopolitics” - the political ramifications of government secrecy about otherwordly events, plus UFOs, aliens, unusual technology and X-PPAC, the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee. Talk radio’s “Coast to Coast” host George Noory will be on hand to parse the issues. Invitations to the conference have gone out to the White House and every member of Congress, organizer Stephen Bassett tells Inside the Beltway.
“The X-Conference brings the UFO/ET issue to the government’s doorstep - the researchers, activists, witnesses, documentaries - and asks the same question now being asked around the world, ‘When is the United States government going to end the truth embargo regarding an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race?’ ” he says.
The Pew Research Center has announced that “the debate over aliens was the only news item to receive significant attention on both blogs and Twitter, capturing the imagination of social media users.”
And no wonder. In the past week alone, physicist Stephen Hawking cautioned naive earthlings that dysfunctional aliens wander the planet, while the State Duma has called on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to check whether Kalmyk leader Kirsan Ilyumzhinov divulged state secrets to aliens whom he claimed to have met in 1997.
Pollsters don’t ignore such things. Harris Polls finds that 36 percent of Americans say they believe in UFOs, while a Rasmussen Reports survey found that 53 percent of American voters said intelligent life exists on other planets - with liberals more inclined to believe this than conservatives, 72 percent to 45 percent.
Dude, where’s my reverence? With much ado, Comedy Central recently censored “South Park,” omitting references to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad for fear of offending the faith’s followers. But Newsbusters analyst Lachlan Markay smells a double standard afoot: Despite the heavily politicized and debated edit, the network is still developing “JC,” a cartoon series featuring Jesus Christ as a “regular guy” who moves to Manhattan to “escape his father’s enormous shadow.” “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are also at work on “The Book of Mormon,” a musical comedy set to open on Broadway next year.
“Comedy Central has pushed the envelope in the past. The long-running ‘South Park’ features Christ as a regular character. Apparently, making people uncomfortable by poking fun at their beliefs is fine. Unless those people are Muslims,” Mr. Markay says.
“This is nothing revelatory. The double standard has existed at least since the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published depictions of Mohammed, sparking worldwide protests. But Comedy Central’s unveiling of ‘JC’ a mere 15 days after a heavily censored episode went on air serves to drive home just how absurd and offensive to the values of a free society this double standard is.”
“Mother’s Day is the second-largest U.S. consumer spending holiday. The 2010 Mother’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey found the average person will shell out $126.90 on Mother’s Day gifts, compared to $123.89 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $14.6 billion,” the National Retail Federation says.
Wait, didn’t outerwear manufacturer Weatherproof and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals get scolded by the White House in January after they used images of President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in advertising campaigns? The White House has a long-standing policy that the presidential name and likeness can’t be used for commercial purposes. But no matter. Here we go again:
“Summer travelers can vacation like a president. … Vacations are front and center these days with the summer travel season just around the corner and news of President and First Lady Obama’s weekend getaway to Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains,” says the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, which produced an instant Obama-centric PR campaign after the couple’s visit to North Carolina.
The outreach features multiple photos and a video, tracing the Obamas’ itinerary in the Tar Heel State from April 23 through 25 and plugging the couple’s destinations, including Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa - now offering the Ten Presidents Package - and Beer City USA, which created a “craft beer for Obama” called President’s Spring Break Ale.
“Asheville would like to think that President Obama had a spring in his step and a romantic glow as he waved goodbye to his spring getaway destination,” the bureau notes.
Tough job, but somebody has to do it: The American Conservative Union has singled out “defenders of liberty and the true liberals in Congress” - rating 10 senators and 56 representatives among those who consistently stand up for conservative values.
The list is “widely regarded as the ‘gold standard,’ the definitive conservative assessment of the federal legislative branch,” says the group’s chairman, David Keene.
See the stats here: www.conservative.org/ congress-ratings. Names are listed in sections called Standouts.
POLL DU JOUR
• 77 percent of Americans say government employees have more job security than those in the private sector.
• 67 percent say private-sector employees “work harder” than government employees.
• 61 percent believe the average government worker earns more than the average taxpayer.
• 40 percent oppose a 10 percent pay cut for government workers.
• 36 percent favor the cut, 22 percent are unsure.
Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted April 29-30.
• Grumbles, mumbles, yelps to jharper@washington times.com.