INSIDE THE BELTWAY
CONGRESS: JUST 12 WORKDAYS IN TWO MONTHS
Lawmakers may think no one is looking as they exit the nation’s capital for impending vacation, campaigning, fundraising or the proverbial family time. But someone is watching. And counting. Jim Hoft, founder of GatewayPundit.com, dragged out the current congressional calendar to discover that lawmakers have only 12 days of work scheduled through the end of September.
Yes, just 12 days of productivity until October dawns and autumn is underway.
The calendar itself reveals that each day in August is marked for “district work” — as in the lawmakers’ home districts. In September, there are six more “district” days, plus two “no votes” days, one federal holiday and a scant few “D.C. work week” designations when lawmakers are actually milling around in the U.S. Capitol or thereabouts. The result? Congress has a dozen days to be productive.
Mr. Hoft recalls that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan made an earnest appearance on Fox News on March 8 and vowed that there would be 200 solid work days in play to get President Trump’s agenda passed. Those 200 days run out on Aug. 7.
“Nothing has happened, and Congress will be on break when the 200-day promise flies by,” says Mr. Hoft. “Only 12 days to get at tax reform and Obamacare. Can we all now agree this Congress is openly working against this president?”
Former Vice President Al Gore is very busy promoting “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” his second documentary film on global warming, which opens in theaters Friday. Mr. Gore appears to be in a feisty mood, and he’s plenty vexed with President Trump.
“The president has surrounded himself with a rogues’ gallery of climate deniers, coming out of close ties with the carbon polluters,” Mr. Gore told CBS on Wednesday. “The carbon polluters have taken over part of our democracy. We need to take it back.”
His comments, however, were delivered the same day that National Center for Public Policy Research analyst Drew Johnson released a report detailing Mr. Gore’s own carbon-related practices.
According to the findings, the former vice president’s 10,070-square-foot estate near Nashville, Tennessee, used 230,889 kilowatt hours of electricity during the last 12 months — or 21 times what the typical American household uses in a year. Mr. Johnson based his report on data from Nashville Electric Service, incidentally.
“Al Gore has attained a near-mythical status for his frenzied efforts to propagandize global warming. At the same time, Gore has done little to prove his commitment to the cause in his own life. I’m not sure he even believes what he’s saying,” says Mr. Johnson.
A RETURN TO WEST VIRGINIA
President Trump has scheduled one of his jubilant jumbo rallies Thursday, this one at a public arena in Huntington, West Virginia, which holds 9,000 people.
“President Trump clearly believes in putting Americans back to work, including supporting coal and manufacturing jobs. He knows the challenges West Virginia faces but believes, like I do, that our state’s best days lie ahead,” says Rep. Evan Jenkins, West Virginia Republican who recently accompanied Mr. Trump on Air Force One, where the two enjoyed a meatloaf dinner onboard the aircraft.
The city of Huntington, meanwhile, is witnessing some political warfare. The Herald-Dispatch reports that readers are “going at each other over Trump visit” in an online comments section, though the local newspaper did offer a sampling of comments “fit to print” — many quite heartfelt and hopeful about Mr. Trump’s visit.
“West Virginians gave President Trump a more than 42-point victory over lying Hillary, and this week we got some of the first good news in nearly a decade about the comeback in our coal industry, “says Conrad Lucas, chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party. “This White House is with us, for us and finally on the side of middle Americans who want to work. We will make this state and nation great again.”
“What’s almost as tough as Kevlar, as flexible as silk, has the DNA of a spider but comes from a worm? Something the Army is looking to buy for as much as $1 million,” reports Patrick Tucker, technology editor for Defense One.
“The U.S. Army is upping its investment in genetically engineered spider silk for body armor. Last year, the service paid almost $100,000 to Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, which makes spider silk that can be produced at scale — with silkworms,” writes Mr. Tucker, who adds that the Army will move to the second phase of the contract and will look to the lab to produce a customized strain of the silk for “flexible” body armor.
Spider silk is much tougher than regular worm silk, and about half as tough as Kevlar. But it’s far more flexible — 3 percent elasticity for Kevlar versus nearly 40 percent for spider silk, Mr. Tucker explains.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul has released his monthly “Terror Threat Snapshot” for August, which reveals that in 2017, there have been 14 “homegrown jihadi cases” active in the U.S. and the FBI continues to investigate cases in all 50 states. Overall, there have been 209 ISIS-linked plots or attacks against Western targets in the last four years; that includes 31 since January alone.
There’s some promising news too.
“Last month the U.S.-led coalition reclaimed control of Mosul from ISIS, representing a significant blow to the terror group that is the greatest threat to the homeland,” says Mr. McCaul. “While the American-backed liberation of Mosul is a major victory, the fight is far from over. We must stay vigilant in order to keep them from establishing new safe havens and stop them from returning to the West. I applaud President Trump for making the fight against ISIS a top priority.”
POLL DU JOUR
● 72 percent of U.S. voters say the Justice Department should open a new investigation into “government leaks of classified information”; 84 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats agree.
● 18 percent say the Justice Department should not investigate the matter; 12 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of independents and 24 percent of Democrats agree.
● 48 percent say the Justice Department should open a new investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state; 79 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats agree.
● 43 percent say the Justice Department should not investigate the matter; 16 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 72 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,972 registered U.S. voters conducted July 27-29
The Capitol will not be a very busy place in the next months, says a watchdog. There are 12 days of work scheduled through September.