- The Washington Times - Monday, January 10, 2011

PRAY, HE SAYS

The hypersensitive public discourse on violence, rhetoric, civility, guns, politics and the press barrels on, 72 hours after the Arizona shootings. With irony intact. Take, for instance, Fox News host Glenn Beck, vilified by partisan critics as an arbiter of hatemongering and aggressive culture, right along with Rush Limbaugh, the tea party and Sarah Palin. Mr. Beck — like his accused peers — seems mighty peaceful at this juncture, however. He has issued a challenge to “all Americans, left or right, regardless if youre a politician, pundit, painter, priest, parishioner, poet or porn star” — to denounce violence and “stand for peace.” And to pray for the victims, and for the nation, Mr. Beck says.

“Implicating a conservative tie to this heinous act of violence or to Jared Lee Loughner, who is no conservative, is nothing short of a naked campaign to criminalize conservative thought,” says Media Research Center President Brent Bozell. “Shame on the reporters and media outlets that entertained these outrageous accusations and who are now responsible for spreading the lies.”

The discourse keeps on moving. Swiftly.

“Insurrectionist rhetoric — which posits that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to take violent action when they believe that our government has become ‘tyrannical’ — was once confined to the dark corners of gun shows and the Internet. In todays America, however, it has become a ‘mainstream’ idea that is widely promoted by movement conservatives, high-profile media figures, and even elected officials and candidates,” says Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

“Tucson was not unique. Since the conservative wing of the Supreme Court embraced the insurrectionist idea in the D.C. v. Heller decision in 2008, there have been numerous threats and acts of violence against government officials,” Mr. Horwitz says, advising politicians to “prioritize public safety and human life over gun industry profits” and speak out “against poisonous insurrectionist ideology” that threatens democracy itself.

“We find it unconscionable that the gun prohibition lobby wasted no time at all in its attempt to exploit this hideous attack in an effort to further its political agenda,” counters Alan Gottleib, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “When will these people stop dancing in the blood of crime victims in an attempt to resuscitate their relevance?”

CLICK, CLICK, CLICK

Was it bothersome, distracting? Several Beltway readers complained about the whirring and clacking of multiple press cameras during President Obama’s national moment of silence for the Arizona shooting victims, staged Monday on the South Lawn of the White House.

“It was just so intrusive. One still camera recording the image for history I can understand. But that many going off with old-fashioned powerdrive noise? To me, it was a form of press incivility,” grumbles one reader. “If the big blabbermouths on the networks can respect protocol and stay silent at a time like this, the press should follow suit.”

NAVAL GAZING

“We can’t do enough self-examination. This is not self-flagellation. … We have to have a true compass ethically. We have to have a true compass morally. We have to have a true compass inside our profession.”

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, addressing a National Defense University all-day conference Monday titled “Military Professionalism: Introspection and Reflection on Basic Tenets and the Way Ahead.”

URN A LIVING

Old urns never die, they get auctioned. A pair of massive marble urns from Arlington National Cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater near the Tomb of the Unknowns — present during official memorial services attended by every American president of the 20th and 21st centuries — are up for sale Jan. 29-30 at The Potomack Co., a Virginia auctioneer. The urns tower 9-feet high and are expected to fetch $20,000 to $40,000, a spokeswoman tells Inside the Beltway.

Should we mourn their disposition after years of faithful service, standing sentry for so long, the victims of renovation, replaced by the Department of Defense with replicas? No. It’s OK. Really. All sorts of things go up on the auction block — historic naval vessels, famous aircraft, personal detritus of the rich and famous. Even Gen Ulysses S. Grant’s silver and gold presentation sword was sold to the highest bidder in recent years. But most times, bidders tend to be ardent admirers of the objet in question and will protect its welfare.

The urns can be spotted in historic photographs and currently belong to Maryland interior designer Darryl Savage, who has long re-purposed antique appointments and architectural salvage from classic hotels, chateaux, churches and other public buildings. In a good way. Mr. Savage is selling his entire inventory, a collection accrued over 22 years that includes chimney pieces, tapestries, doors, stone and marble garden furniture, paintings and statuary.

POLL DU JOUR

• 87 percent of Republicans voters recognize Mike Huckabee in a field of 2012 presidential candidates, 31 percent “strongly” favor him.

• 84 percent recognize Newt Gingrich, 28 percent strongly favor him.

• 84 percent recognize Mitt Romney, 25 percent strongly favor him.

• 95 percent recognize Sarah Palin, 30 percent strongly favor her.

• 73 percent recognize Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican; 21 percent strongly favor him.

• 40 percent recognize Rick Santorum, 18 percent strongly favor him.

• 21 percent recognize Jon Huntsman, 21 percent strongly favor him.

Source: A Gallup Poll of 923 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, conducted Jan. 4-5.

Nouns, verbs, adjectives to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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