- The Washington Times - Monday, August 5, 2019

Capitol Hill may not be such a quiet place this week.

“Democratic lawmakers itching for action on gun safety legislation will get their first chances to make some noise on Tuesday,” say Roll Call analysts Niels Lesniewski and Lindsey McPherson, who note that the House and Senate are scheduled to hold pro forma sessions, minus all the legislative trimmings until the first week of September.

They predict that “gun safety theatrics” may be the surprise order of the day Tuesday — citing a somewhat telling phrase from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as evidence.

“We have a golden opportunity to save lives,” Mrs. Pelosi noted in a Democratic Caucus conference call Monday, revealing that she had been in contact with families involved with previous gun violence who are eager for some legislative action.

“There’s a long history of members of Congress using the brief moments when the floors of the two chambers open for business during August recesses to engage in a bit of theater,” observe Mr. Lesniewski and Ms. McPherson.



‘DISTURBING, GROTESQUE’

Elected officials who continue to capitalize on mass shootings for political gain get no empathy from former Secret Service agent and commentator Dan Bongino.

“It’s one of the most disturbing, grotesque trends in politics lately,” he tells Fox News.

“Literally hours, if not minutes after an incident, people jump on their Twitter accounts. Politicians looking for votes, support, donations — instead of having some sense of empathy with the victims of this really unthinkable tragedy — your first instinct is to tweet about whose fault it is other than the actual person whose fault it is?” asks Mr. Bongino.

“What is going on in the culture? Instead, they’re worried about getting some extra votes in the Iowa caucus coming up? I mean this is sick stuff this is really disturbing,” Mr. Bongino concludes.

NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: NO POLITICIZING

“Our deepest sympathies are with the families and victims of these tragedies, as well as the entire communities of El Paso and Dayton. On behalf of our millions of members, we salute the courage of the first responders and others offering their services during this time. The NRA is committed to the safe and lawful use of firearms by those exercising their Second Amendment freedoms. We will not participate in the politicizing of these tragedies but, as always, we will work in good faith to pursue real solutions that protect us all from people who commit these horrific acts,” the National Rifle Association said in a statement released Monday.

KIMMEL FATIGUE

ABC’s longest running late-night host offers perspective on weighty politics.

“You watch news all day and see what’s going on. How do you walk on stage and ignore it? You can’t. I wish I could. It’s hard for me to talk about serious subjects, it takes a lot out of me,” Jimmy Kimmel told the Television Critics Association on Monday.

“I want to be funny. And it’s not fun doing anything like that. People, when they watch a late-night TV show, they feel they know you. And they want to know what you think, in the same way as when you interact with your friends. I wish we didn’t have to do it so frequently,” Mr. Kimmel said.

“Kimmel also revealed that he has zero plans to run for office,” writes Lesley Goldberg, the West Coast TV editor for The Hollywood Reporter.

THE HIGH-TECH FUTURE OF THE ABORTION DEBATE

One forward-minded politician has a suggestion for those who stand on either side of the abortion question.

“The abortion debate is stuck. Are artificial wombs the answer?” asks Zoltan Istvan, who ran for president in 2016 as a representative of the Transhumanist Party and is a self-described “science candidate” championing technology and artificial intelligence.

“The technology would allow fetuses to develop outside the female womb, so women would no longer have be pregnant. The promise of artificial wombs should appeal most to conservatives looking to reduce the 600,000 abortions performed annually in the United States, but pessimistic about the chance of overturning Roe v. Wade any time soon,” Mr. Istvan writes in a New York Times op-ed.

“Every fetus that was going to be aborted but instead makes it into an artificial womb could be considered a life saved,” the Libertarian-leaning, married father of two notes.

“It is unlikely that the abortion debate will be resolved soon — certainly not as a legal matter. But as a practical and philosophical one, artificial wombs offer a way for both sides in the debate to move forward. The only question is whether we are willing to accept the increasingly central — and beneficial — role that technology can play in resolving what were once considered immutable human problems,” Mr. Istvan advises.

500,000 GIGS

“Want to join the gig economy? Join Census,” advises the one and only U.S. Census — which has a half-million “gigs” to offer.

“From driving for a ride-sharing company to selling homemade crafts online, people in the United States are increasingly earning extra income in new and creative ways. These side jobs — or so-called gigs — are fueled by new opportunities triggered by technology and a trend by companies to hire more part-time or contract workers. And now, the U.S. Census Bureau is on the verge of becoming the largest gig employer next year,” the federal agency says.

“More than 500,000 temporary and part-time jobs are available as the Census Bureau ramps up hiring to conduct the 2020 Census next year. Hiring has begun for a variety of jobs including census takers who visit homes and office workers who check home addresses among other things. Pay ranges from $13 to $30 an hour,” the Census says.

Curious? Consult Census.gov.

POLL DU JOUR

38% of Americans have a “great deal” of “quite a bit” of confidence that their 2020 presidential election vote will be counted accurately; 63% of Republicans, 30% of independents and 28% of Democrats agree.

20% have a “moderate amount” of confidence; 15% of Republicans, 17% of independents and 28% of Democrats agree.

21% overall have “only a little confidence” or “none at all”; 11% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 30% of Democrats agree.

9% are not sure about the issue; 6% of Republicans, 11% of independents and 9% of Democrats agree.

11% don’t plan to vote in 2020; 6% of Republicans, 21% of independents and 4% of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted July 27-30.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin

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