- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A little jittery? You are not alone. While the turkey roasts, while family and friends gather, most Americans will “have their eyes open” for the potential threat of terrorism Thursday — and well into the weekend. Fifty-one percent say they will be more watchful for possible terrorist attacks this Thanksgiving weekend than they have been in the past, says a new Rasmussen Reports survey.

Another 41 percent say their “level of vigilance will be about the same” — which is pretty vigilant, the pollster notes. A mere 5 percent say they will be less watchful.

While they may be attuned to threats, Americans also have a built-in, authentic sense of gratitude. Thanksgiving, in fact, is not the only time when the nation feels grateful for their lot in life. A large majority of Americans — 78 percent — feel a “strong sense of gratitude or thankfulness on a weekly basis,” according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, which charted the sentiments of 35,000 U.S. adults.

Only 6 percent say they seldom or never experience these positive feelings.

Those who pray daily, attend church and read the Bible have the most gratitude — 90 percent are thankful, the survey found. And among specific religions, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christians report the largest sense of gratitude. The lowest was reported among atheists and agnostics, with 62 and 64 percent, respectively.


“I have always believed that this anointed land was set apart in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the earth who had a special love of faith and freedom. Our pioneers asked that he would work his will in our daily lives so America would be a land of morality, fairness and freedom.”

— from Ronald Reagan’s Thanksgiving proclamation, Nov. 25, 1982


Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton recently vowed she would no longer use the term “illegal immigrant,” calling the phrase a poor choice of words. But some say the fuss is all manufactured. So says a meticulous analysis by ConservativeHq.com, a news site founded by longtime conservative maven Richard Viguerie, which finds the term “illegal alien” is actually deemed not as offensive as some claim.

“While those on the Left claim that using the terms ‘illegal’ and ‘alien’ are insulting and offensive, they are in fact based in the reality of language, legal thought and the U.S. Code. U.S. Code defines foreigners as ‘aliens.’ This is not an insult, but a legal term of art meaning any person not a citizen or national of the United States. [8 U.S. Code 1101 (a)(3)],” the analysis states.

“Throughout the U.S. Code foreigners are called ‘aliens,’ as in this portion of 8 U.S. Code 1101 (a)(6), ‘an alien presenting a border crossing identification card is not permitted to cross over the border into the United States unless the biometric identifier contained on the card matches the appropriate biometric characteristic of the alien.’”

The study continues, “The notion that ‘alien’ is a derogatory term is a completely manufactured issue intended to separate the language and legal thinking behind it from the argument about open borders and unlimited immigration,” he says.

“Now for the concept of ‘illegal’ being applied to an ‘alien.’ 8 U.S. Code 1101 (a)(13)(A) states: “The terms ‘admission’ and ‘admitted’ mean, with respect to an alien, the lawful entry of the alien into the United States after inspection and authorization by an immigration officer.

“Black’s Law Dictionary defines unlawful as not authorized by law, illegal. Illegal is defined as forbidden by law, unlawful. Semantically, there is a slight difference. It seems that something illegal is expressly proscribed by statute, and something unlawful is just not expressly authorized.”


On Thursday the NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station will watch football and dine upon smoked turkey, candied yams, rehydratable corn and potatoes au gratin, all sealed in plastic pouches, according to Expedition Commander Scott Kelly, who’s been aboard the space vehicle for nine months.

Meanwhile, Americans far below will enjoy 46 million fresh roasted Thanksgiving turkeys — an estimated 736 million pounds, according to the National Turkey Federation.

Americans will also help themselves to 30 million green bean casseroles — the tabletop staple consisting primarily of green beans, mushroom soup and crumbled onion topping, according to Del Monte. The manufacturer polled 3,000 people to find that the dish is most popular in the state of Louisiana, where it appears on 60 percent of the holiday tables. It is least popular in North Dakota and Hawaii, where the casserole only makes it to 18 percent of the menus.

Del Monte also reveals that bacon leads among the nation’s home chefs as the most popular “secret ingredient,” followed by mushrooms, cheese, grilled onions, almonds and sausage.

And about those pies: The nation is now in “pie season,” according to the American Pie Council — yes, an industry group. Among many things, the group found that Americans name apple pie as their favorite, followed by pumpkin, pecan, banana cream and cherry. The group estimates that 6 million men between the ages of 35 and 54 have eaten the last slice of holiday pie — then denied it. One out of five Americans have eaten a pie all by themselves.


95 percent of Americans say they will celebrate Thanksgiving Day with family or extended family and friends; 96 percent of Republicans, 95 percent of independents and 94 percent of Democrats agree.

61 percent overall say they’ll spend Thanksgiving at home; 61 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of independents and 60 percent of Democrats agree.

58 percent say they personally cook the big meal; 55 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 57 percent of Democrats agree.

32 percent say they most look forward to the turkey; 37 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats agree.

9 percent most look forward to the stuffing; 9 percent of Republicans, 8 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,368 U.S. adults conducted Sept. 9-17 and released Tuesday.

• Have a pleasant and optimistic Thanksgiving Day, and thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.

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