- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 11, 2022

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise is not mincing words when it comes to the perils of the porous U.S. border with Mexico. The White House has essentially opened that border, he says.

“What angers most people is when they see that last year the largest cause of death among our young people in America was not COVID. Over 100,000 young people in America died from fentanyl and other drug overdoses from illegal drugs that have come across our open southern border since Joe Biden has been president,” Mr. Scalise said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“I had a high school group in from my district not long ago, and I asked them, ‘How many of you know somebody who’s died of a drug overdose?’ Do you know every single kid raised his hand? Every single one. That’s going on all across America too. Everybody knows somebody in a community that’s been touched by fentanyl and other drugs made in China but brought across our southern border by these drug cartels, who, by the way, are making billions of dollars a month trafficking people into our country illegally. President Biden has created a multi-billion-dollar industry. Unfortunately, it’s the drug cartels of Mexico who are making that money because he opened the southern border,” the Louisiana lawmaker noted.

Inflation nation

The White House should not be cavalier in its public messaging about inflation, or resort to blaming the ongoing price increases on the Trump administration. It is time for candor and practical thinking. 

President Biden should note that a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 87% of the respondents said inflation was the most significant source of stress in their lives — more troubling than such concerns as “global uncertainty” or a nuclear threat from Russia.

Meanwhile, price increases are keenly felt among Americans, especially when they hear that food prices are up by 9.4% on average — including bacon, up by 17.7% and eggs, up by 22.6%. The cost of unleaded gasoline has increased by 44.2%, by the way.

So says the new consumer price index for April released on Wednesday.

Consumers are taking this personally.

“Inflation affects more than consumer spending and stock prices; it is causing anxiety among Americans about meeting their daily financial obligations and important savings goals. The increases among Americans as a whole have been fairly modest over the past year, but these mask a much greater rise in worry among lower-income Americans, two-thirds of whom now have doubts about just paying their monthly bills,” writes Lydia Saad, director of U.S. social research at Gallup.

See some specific numbers illustrating this trend in the “poll du jour” at the column’s end.

Good news for conservative media

Salem Media Group specializes in Christian and conservative content delivered across multiple high-profile broadcast, digital and book publishing sources. Their radio properties reach 238 million people a week, and their website and apps attract 170 million page views a month.

The Salem stable of talent includes Charlie Kirk, Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt among many; their media entities include Townhall, HotAir and Red State.

Salem Media has good news to share. For the year’s quarter ended March 31 compared to the quarter that ended a year earlier, their total revenue increased by 5.5% to $62.6 million.

And some specifics: Compared to last year, broadcast revenue is up by 10% and digital media by 7.1%. The company expects its total revenue to increase between 6% and 8% for the second quarter. 

Find them at SalemMedia.com.

The baggage challenge

The Transportation Security Administration anticipates a busy summer travel season and the numbers of passengers — expected to number around 3.8 million — will match and could very well exceed those crowds of 2019 for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“Daily passenger volumes at TSA checkpoints show that people are traveling again, and TSA is ready for their return. Our airport security checkpoints include 47,500 highly-trained security professionals and new technologies that enhance security and reduce physical contact,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a statement.

He hosted a meeting on Tuesday with national airport and airline industry executives to go over the details which include new “Credential Authentication Technology” and CT scanners to enhance security of course, and also reduce physical contact within the checkpoints.

And of interest to the flying public:

“The CT units provide TSA officers the ability to review a 3D image of passengers’ bags and reduce the need to search the bag’s contents. Passengers screened in security lanes with CT units do not need to remove their travel-size liquids bag or electronics,” the agency advised.

Find guidelines and very helpful hints at TSA.gov.

The travel tips specify, for example, what is and is not allowed in carry-on or checked baggage. Antlers and fresh eggs, for example, are allowed onboard in both carry-ons and checked bags, Magic 8 balls — you know, the old fortune-telling novelty — are not allowed in carry-ons, but can be checked. Also included was a rule for everyone’s favorite crustacean.

“A live lobster is allowed through security and must be transported in a clear, plastic, spill proof container. A TSA officer will visually inspect your lobster at the checkpoint. We recommend that you contact your airline to determine your airline’s policy on traveling with your lobster before arriving at the airport,” the agency advises.

Poll du jour

• 63% of U.S. adults worry they won’t have enough money for retirement.

• 56% worry they can’t pay medical costs from a serious illness.

• 52% worry they can’t maintain a standard of living that they enjoy.

• 43% worry that they can’t pay normal medical costs.

• 40% worry they can’t pay normal monthly bills.

• 36% worry they can’t pay for their children’s college.

• 35% worry they can pay rent or mortgage.

• 22% worry they can’t pay a minimum payment on credit cards.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,018 U.S. adults conducted April 1-19 and released Monday.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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