- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Yes, it is a bodacious and merry occasion: The Media Research Center stages its annual Dishonors Awards Gala on Thursday night, so large that it can only be housed in the behemoth National Building Museum, a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. What draws this bustling conservative crowd? It is a rare moment for them to get back at the liberal media and cite those who are the bossiest, most inane, most extreme. And that is why the event is called the “dishonors” awards. And, of course, it is sold out.

Among the conservative stalwarts in attendance: Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, columnist Cal Thomas, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, funnyman Joe Piscopo, Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano, broadcast commentator Martha Zoller, talk radio host Chris Plante and David Daleiden, the very determined man behind the undercover Planned Parenthood videos.

“The Media Research Center’s annual gala is our signature event and one of the most anticipated gatherings of the year for conservatives. It’s a great way to catch up with old friends and colleagues. Attendees also get a chance to see the important work we do to expose the most absurd instances of liberal media bias — and have a blast doing so,” the center’s president, Brent Bozell, tells Inside the Beltway.

SHOULD THE U.S. HELP RUSSIA?

Now that’s a loaded and complex question, but someone had to ask it. A new YouGov poll reveals that 54 percent of Americans approve the U.S. cooperating with Russia to help fight the Islamic State; that includes 62 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats. President Obama is not keen on the idea, while Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Tuesday called Russian strategy “tragically flawed,” and said that any discussions between the nations would be limited to technical fare or safety issues. Oh, but it’s complicated. Find more numbers in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.



TRUMP AND RUBIO VAMOOSE TO VEGAS

Just as the chorus of his cranky critics reaches a crescendo, Donald Trump has his own plans: The Republican front-runner heads to Las Vegas Thursday for a rally at the Cirque du Soleil’s glittering Mystere Theater at the Treasure Island resort, which features a 10,032-square-foot stage and state-of-the-art everything. But of course. Bring it on. Mr. Trump’s resident fans include legendary Vegas crooner Wayne Newton, who revealed to Fox News on Tuesday that the billionaire was his candidate of choice because he “tells the truth.” C-SPAN will cover the rally at 2:30 p.m., incidentally.

Ah, but Sen. Marco Rubio will also be in Vegas at the very same moment. Mr. Rubio spent his formative teenage years in the town, and plans three days of campaigning, which includes a swank reception at the Bellagio Hotel, a flag football game with donors and fundraising in nearby Sun City.

But the real concern could be this: Where is Sheldon Adelson at the moment? The billionaire philanthropist and Republican uber-donor — who donated $100 million to select Republican candidates during the 2012 presidential election — lives in Las Vegas with his wife Miriam.

ON THE RADAR

“Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining abortion procedures and medical ethics at the nation’s largest abortion provider”

— A hearing scheduled for Thursday afternoon before the House Judiciary Committee, the fourth addressing whether the organization broke federal laws by selling aborted fetal tissue. The hearing will be covered live by C-SPAN3 at 2 p.m. EDT.

FOXIFIED

It is hard to believe that Fox News was founded almost two decades ago, but it is true. The network has marked its 19th anniversary since that day in 1996 when the network was launched, counting Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Neil Cavuto among the founding hosts. Fox News has been the top-rated cable news network since 2002, and, for the first time this year, now draws the largest prime-time audiences across the entire cable spectrum. In August it clocked 24 million viewers for its telecast of the Republican presidential debate, which ranks as the highest-rated nonsports cable telecast of all time.

A KEMP MOMENT

It is a week to recall and celebrate the late Jack Kemp, the pro quarterback, Republican lawmaker, cabinet member, fiscal conservative and presidential nominee who advised Americans, “The purpose of politics is not to defeat your opponent as much as it is to provide superior leadership and better ideas than the opposition.”

Veteran columnist Morton Kondracke and Weekly Standard editor in chief Fred Barnes have co-written “Jack Kemp: Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America,” describing Kemp as “the most important politician of the 20th century who was not president” and a pivotal advocate of supply-side economics. The book has just been published by Sentinel.

Two events celebrate it. Some 200 friends, family, “Kempies,” politicians, journalists and other fans gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce just across the way from the White House on Wednesday night. Both the statesmen and authors are also to be feted Thursday at the Hoover Institution, with a few words from Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means and a former staffer at Empower America, founded by Kemp and Steve Forbes in 1993.

“Jack taught Republicans to speak to people’s aspirations, and this is the story of how he did it. Anyone who wants to spark an ‘American renaissance’ should read this book,” notes an agreeable Mr. Ryan.

FOR WHOM THE TOLLS TOLL

Thirty-four states have 5,932 miles of toll roads, which bring in an annual revenue of $13 billion, according to a new report released Wednesday by the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.

“Drivers in New York and New Jersey pay the heftiest price for their commutes — accounting for almost one-third of all tolls collected across the U.S. The report indicated that drivers in the two states forked over an astounding $4 billion of the $13 billion in tolls accrued across the country,” notes a sympathetic New York Daily News in its own analysis of the findings.

“The facilities have been in place for a long time, they were very expensive to build, they are expensive to maintain, and they are tremendously expensive to replace,” Neil Gray, director of government affairs at the association, told the news organization.

POLL DU JOUR

64 percent of Americans approve of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State; 88 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 61 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent overall approve the U.S. cooperating with Russia to help fight Islamic State; 62 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

34 percent overall say the U.S. should take the lead in the fight against Islamic State; 57 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats agree.

33 percent overall approve cooperating with Syria President Bashar Assad to fight Islamic State; 31 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

26 percent overall say that Russia should take the lead in the fight against Islamic State; 24 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

20 percent overall say neither should take the lead in the fight; 9 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov poll of 995 U.S. adults conducted September 30 to October 1 and released Monday.

• Caterwaul and doggerel to [email protected]

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