- The Washington Times - Monday, December 22, 2014

Voters are annoyed with the U.S. Congress and President Obama — though the lawmakers are currently worse off than the White House: 74 percent disapprove of the job performance on Capitol Hill compared to 54 percent who turn thumbs down at the president says a new Zogby poll. But a specific behavior is afoot.

“Mr. Obama is now clearly in full legacy protection mode. He is certainly not acting like a lame duck,” says pollster John Zogby. “He needs to act to fulfill his promises on immigration, foreign policy, the environment, and the minimum wage — and to fulfill the promise that voters once saw in him.”

The president’s lofty numbers of the hope-and-change era have ebbed in key demographics, with six-out-of-10 all voters griping that the nation continues to be on the wrong track. “He will need to win back his base and this new poll shows how much he has to do,” Mr. Zogby observes.

So what is the legacy? That has become a very popular parlor game in the press both here and abroad, as journalists parse the pros and cons of Obamacare, immigration, assorted judiciary scenarios, the war on terrorism, Cuba cordiality, the economy and complex matters involving executive orders. But the press itself, some say, will be a vital component to Mr. Obama’s legacy.

Even at the end of November, radio host Rush Limbaugh noted that indeed, the legacy building was already underway, warning his audience, “The legacy is going to be only the last two years of the regime, not whatever came before, because that’s a disaster. It’s going to be fabricated, made up, and the media is going to do everything they can to write it, defend it, protect it, and prolong it.”


SEE ALSO: Obama low approval rating gives Republicans chance to lead on economy, security

Hola. Well that did not take long. President Obama’s announcement of a major policy change towards Cuba is only days old, but would-be turistas are already scurrying towards the allure of the long-isolated nation. Insight Cuba, a nonprofit travel organization that has specialized in legal “people-to-people” travel to Cuba for Americans for years, has just added 70 additional departure dates to keep up with the sudden surge in interest and bookings since Mr. Obama’s revelations.

“People love to be part of history, and there hasn’t been a better time to travel to Cuba. Everyone wants to see Cuba before it changes,” says Tom Popper, president of the group. And among the formal tour offerings: Undiscovered Cuba, Vintage Cuba, Classic Cuba, Scenic Cuba, and Jazz in Havana — complete with appealing branding: “It’s often said that visiting Cuba is like traveling back in time. Indeed, the classic cars, weathered buildings, and unique history create an unforgettable experience in this enchanting country, one that stays with visitors long after they return home,” the group notes.


“As we revive one proud legacy of The New Republic — the launching of new voices and experts — those new voices and experts will be diverse in race, gender, and background. As we build our editorial staff, we will reach out to talented journalists who might have previously felt unwelcome at The New Republic. If this publication is to be influential, and not merely survive, it can no longer afford to represent the views of one privileged class, nor appeal solely to a small demographic of political elites,” says New Republic editor-in-chief Gabriel Snyder, in his first “Editor’s Note” since 48 staff editors and writers walked out on the 100-year-old publication earlier this month.

“As it always has, The New Republic will be a home for ambitious journalism, trenchant argument, provocative ideas, and innovative storytelling. What will change is that our biggest stories will be the beginning of our efforts, not their finale: they will be commitments for change, set the agenda for our daily coverage, and shape the conversations we have on social media. In the final years of the Obama presidency, during which big-hearted idealism withered in front of cynicism about the present and pessimism about the future, we must be pragmatic, forward-looking, and tireless pursuers of solutions, not only the bearers of problems,” Mr. Snyder notes.


Do not tell children there is no Santa Claus. Repeat. Don’t do it, says Temple University psychology professor Frank Farley, also the former president of the American Psychological Association.

“Santa provides children with a vivid, imaginative and memorable figure with positive personal traits to represent Christmas, and children should be allowed to believe,” says Mr. Farley.


New Jersey voters appear to be resigned to one thing. Gov. Chris Christie will run for president. Two-thirds say their slimmer governor will throw his proverbial hat in the ring, says a Rutgers University poll of registered voters released Monday — and that finding is sustained across every demographic, including Democrats, Republics, liberals, conservatives, men, women and all age groups.

But will he win? Uh, no. In a theoretical match-up with current Democratic favorite Hillary Rodham Clinton, she would trump Mr. Christie, 49 percent to 39 percent among all New Jersey voters.


A round of applause, please, for Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Radiological Material Removal Program. They have made America safer through the “Off-Site Source Recovery Project.” Both lab and agencies have recovered over 1 million curies of radioactive material — a major milestone in protecting the U.S. and everybody else from the bad stuff that could fuel a terrorist dirty bomb. The recovery process in recent years has yielded 38,000 sealed radioactive sources in 1,100 different locations, in all 50 states

“Taking disused, unwanted and, in limited cases, abandoned nuclear materials out of harm’s reach supports the Laboratory’s mission of reducing global nuclear danger,” says Terry Wallace, a global security director at Los Alamos — which has been in the radioactivity business for quite some time. “This milestone represents tremendous progress in removing a potentially deadly hazard from all corners of the globe. Los Alamos helped usher in the nuclear age, so it’s quite appropriate that this Laboratory continues to use its nuclear expertise to assist the DOE in stewardship of nuclear materials.”

And a brief science lesson: a curie is a unit of radioactivity named after radium discoverers Marie and Pierre Curie — roughly equivalent to the amount of radioactivity in a gram of the radium-226 isotope. And the hot find that finally put the science guys over the 1 million-curie milestone: a pencil-sized stainless steel capsule, containing 100 curies of the radioactive isotope cobalt-60.


93 percent of Americans give the U.S. Congress a negative job performance review: 94 percent of Republicans, 94 percent of independents and 91 percent of Democrats agree.

70 percent say the U.S. is on the wrong track: 85 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

67 percent give President Obama a negative job performance review; 94 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

46 percent say Mr. Obama will try to work with Republicans in Congress; 17 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 75 percent of Democrats agree.

31 percent say Republicans in Congress will try to work with Mr. Obama; 52 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,225 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 10-15.

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