NEWS AND OPINION:
He’s issued solutions to save America from a rotten economy, energy challenges and weird health care. He’s dogged his way through Iowa and New Hampshire. He survived what a gleeful press framed as a “mass exodus” of key staffers. Does presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich deserve “a second look for 2012?” National Review pitched the question; more than 7,000 of its readers responded. Alas, 88 percent say Mr. Gingrich does not warrant that precious re-examination.
But it’s all in the eye of the beholder, perhaps. Other observers, particularly those in the Iowa-based press, insist that Mr. Gingrich is on a comeback trail tempered by frugality and bolstered by such volunteers as Iowa state Rep. Jeff Kaufmann, state House Majority Leader Linda L. Upmeyer and former U.S. Rep. Greg Ganske.
“People are very worried about the direction of the country. In the last few weeks, we have seen an infusion of people stepping forward, offering their time and talent because they believe Newt is the best Republican to defeat the Obama machine,” campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond tells Inside the Beltway. “We are very encouraged. We are rapidly transforming from a campaign into a movement of Americans who want bold change.”
CLINTON AMONG US
Fresh from weighing in on the 2012 Republican presidential field - he favors Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman - former President Bill Clinton is in Washington on Wednesday to address the two-day Campus Progress National Conference. Some 1,200 youthful progressives plan to mobilize around the theme “Turning Truth to Power”; the event counts Planned Parenthood as a main sponsor.
Also on hand for the conference: Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, former green jobs czar Van Jones, White House Associate Director of Public Engagement Kalpen Modi, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling, “Democracy Now” radio host Amy Goodman and former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. But, uh, no Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
THE KING PIN
One New York Republican is intrepid. And industrious, too. This week alone, Rep. Peter T. King, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, will examine federal emergency communications when crisis comes to call, plus the expansion of Hezbollah’s operations in Latin America and its growing relationships with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and drug-trafficking organizations.
And sure to rankle the White House: A hearing on Thursday will investigate the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to “protect American jobs,” which includes appearances by Rep. Michael T. McCaul, Texas Republican and chairman of the Homeland Security subcommittee on oversight, investigations and management, plus representatives from the Semiconductor Industry Association and Eli Lilly, among others.
“When counterfeit prescription drugs enter the marketplace or cheap imitation parts breach a semiconductor manufacturing plant, it costs American businesses revenue and jobs. When sensitive equipment falls into the hands of rogue nations, it poses a threat to our national security,” Mr. McCaul observes.
“Voting in elections is stressful, even to a point that it causes hormonal changes among voters,” say scholars from the University of Haifa and Ben-Gurion University in Israel, who find that the level of cortisol - a hormone released when someone is under threat - is three times higher when citizens go to vote.
The researchers based their conclusion on before-and-after saliva samples from more than 100 voters, plus a questionnaire examining the voters’ “affective state.” Voters on the verge of doing their civic duty were “emotionally aroused” for better or worse, they found. Of note: Those voting for the underdog candidate were more worked up than those who favored the favorite.
“It is important to understand that emotions can affect biological processes, which in turn can influence our decision-making processes,” explains political scientist Israel Waismel-Manor, whose findings will be published in European Neuropsychopharmacology, an academic journal.
OBAMA, PHONE HOME
Politicians make big, fat public disclosures. Now it’s the planet’s turn. Friday is “World Disclosure Day,” says Stephen Bassett, director of Maryland-based Paradigm Research Group and founder of the Extraterrestrial Phenomena Political Action Committee. He insists world governments must stop withholding evidence that extraterrestrials already are wandering around among us. Mr. Bassett has long been after President Obama to own up to his campaign promises of “transparency” and reveal what he knows about such things.
Well, why not? Longtime Democratic power player John Podesta once led a project to declassify 800 million pages of UFO-related intelligence documents. And the United Nations is plans to appointing a “space” ambassador.
“The truth embargo is not about preventing citizens from learning about frisbees, balloons and bird flocks. It’s about withholding acknowledgment of nonhuman, intelligent beings flying about in Earth’s skies and much more,” Mr. Bassett says.
POLL DU JOUR
• 38 percent of Americans say the U.S. “stands above all other nations” in the world.
• 67 percent of “staunch conservatives” and 19 percent of “solid liberals” agree.
• 55 percent of tea-party supporters and 38 percent of libertarians also agree.
• 52 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats agree.
• 53 percent of Americans agree the U.S. “is one of the greatest countries” in the world.
• 32 percent of “staunch conservatives” and 62 percent of “solid liberals” agree.
• 42 percent of tea-party supporters and 56 percent of libertarians also agree.
• 43 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: The Pew Research Center’s 2011 Political Typology Survey of 4,461 adults conducted March 1-April 10; these findings were released June 30.
• Disclosures, closures, vacation postcards to jharper@washington times.com.