NEWS AND OPINION:
Here’s a news bulletin that might not appeal to Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former New York mayor who has spent $50 million in the last year on public advocacy calling for stricter gun control laws.
“A majority of Americans, 56 percent, believe that if more Americans carried concealed weapons after passing a criminal background check and training course, the country would be safer,” reports Frank Newport, director of the Gallup Poll. That includes 82 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats — along with 74 percent of gun owners, 62 percent of men and 50 percent of women.
Forty-one percent of Americans overall disagree with this idea, saying that concealed carry conditions would make the nation “less safe.” That includes 16 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents and 67 percent of Democrats who agree with that — along with 24 percent of gun owners, 37 percent of men and 45 percent of women.
“Previous research shows that three in four Americans are opposed to banning handguns, and Americans in the past have overwhelmingly interpreted the Second Amendment as giving Americans the rights to own guns. All of this research supports the conclusion that Americans believe they should be allowed to own and carry guns, but with more stringent background checks. Americans are inclined to believe that carrying properly permitted guns could make the country safer,” Mr. Newport writes in his analysis.
SO HOW ABOUT BLOOMBERG/WEBB 2016?
Since presidential politics is often rife with talk of dream teams and fantasy matches, consider this combo: the aforementioned Michael Bloomberg and Jim Webb.
The pair are political hybrids who have dwelt in both parties and bring specific talents to the big, noisy table. Among other things, Mr. Bloomberg has financial and management acumen, and Mr. Webb has military prowess and experience as a U.S. senator and Navy secretary during the Reagan administration.
The conditions are right: Mr. Bloomberg’s powerful acquaintances — including media kingpin Rupert Murdoch — are now seriously suggesting the former New York City mayor run for president. Mr. Webb, who jettisoned his Democratic bid for the White House on Tuesday, is pondering life as an independent, with little in his campaign treasure chest at the moment. Mr. Bloomberg could solve that problem.
Yes, well, this is a fantasy match, among many fantasy matches. But to date, among news organizations recently suggesting Mr. Bloomberg could or should step into the 2016 race: CNBC, The Atlantic, The New York Times, New York Post, Fortune, Business Insider, Washington Examiner, Financial Times, National Journal and one more.
“Bloomberg would be an awful president,” noted Michael Walsh, a columnist for PJ Media. “But with the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua on the ropes and Donald Trump terrifying the New York City moneyed set, Bloomberg — Democrat, Republican, Independent and now Democrat again — would be just their kind of guy.”
JIM WEBB AS ALLEGORY
“Former Senator Jim Webb‘s decision to drop out of the race is a reflection of how far left the Democrat Party has moved away from the American people. Rather than move to the center following last November’s historic losses, Democrats are racing to the fringe and proposing policies that make President Obama look like a moderate,” points our Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
“A self-avowed socialist is the leading candidate of the Democrat Party in key early states, and Hillary Clinton is flip-flopping on issue after issue just to keep up. With Webb’s departure, it’s clear the Democrat Party is moving further to the extreme left and far away from mainstream Americans,” the chairman concludes.
NEWS FROM ELSEWHERE
Some revelations from the Texas State Fair, which continues in Dallas through Friday: The Smoky Bacon Margarita has been named “most creative” food at the fair, competing against such delicacies as beer-battered buffalo and chicken-fried lobster with an accompaniment of champagne gravy.
“An unconventional pairing of flavors adds a subtle smoky taste to a traditionally tangy drink. The Smoky Bacon Margarita takes the smokiness of freshly-cooked bacon and infuses it into a frozen lime margarita. With just a hint of smoke, this drink still captures the zesty citrus flavor of a traditional margarita,” the judges noted. “Finished off with a pinch of bacon crumbles on top, this thirst-quenching drink is served in a collectible souvenir cup for an added funky flair.”
A SHOWBIZ STORM GATHERS OVER IOWA
The Democratic hopefuls will all speak at the Iowa Democratic Party’s sold-out Jefferson-Jackson Dinner for 3,000 on Saturday. Already, Sen. Bernard Sanders has announced he will herald the event with a free concert, jumbo rally and historic march. But wait, another brand of showbiz has surfaced.
“See President Bill Clinton and Katy Perry in Des Moines!” advises Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s excitable campaign. Indeed, pop diva Ms. Perry will also offer a free concert.
Not to be outdone: former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who has played guitar for an Irish band in Baltimore for years.
“Katy Perry, I’m told, is doing a benefit concert for one of my opponents in Iowa. So in response, I thought I would offer this up for Taylor Swift,” Mr. O’Malley told ABC’s “The View” on Tuesday, removing his jacket and eliciting screams from the mostly female audience.
With that, he reached for a carefully situated green guitar and launched into his own version of “Bad Blood,” Ms. Swift’s current hit tune, for more screams — some not from the audience.
“Listening to Martin O’Malley playing ‘Bad Blood’ on The View is the definition of pain,” tweeted Jim Roberts, executive editor of Mashable.com, in the aftermath.
Mr. O’Malley, however, plans to “play the guitar with local musicians as supporters head in to the Jefferson Jackson dinner,” the candidate’s campaign notes.
POLL DU JOUR
• 69 percent of Americans say it is “comforting” to think they could help someone after they die by donating an organ; 65 percent of conservatives, 72 percent of moderates and 70 percent of liberals agree.
• 60 percent overall say they would want to “help someone in need” through organ donation; 54 percent of conservatives, 59 percent of moderates and 67 percent of liberals agree.
• 51 percent overall say they are registered organ donors; 48 percent of conservatives, 49 percent of moderates and 58 percent of liberals agree.
• 23 percent overall would consider becoming an organ donor; 23 percent of conservatives, 23 percent of moderates and 23 percent of liberals agree.
• 22 percent overall won’t be an organ donor because their health is not good enough; 21 percent of conservatives, 23 percent of moderates and 22 percent of liberals agree.
• 18 percent say they are “uncomfortable” with their organs being used after death; 17 percent of conservatives, 18 percent of moderates and 19 percent of liberals agree.
Source: A Harris Poll of 2,212 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 12-17 and released Tuesday.
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