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Obama's back: A roundup of gatecrashers, polls, pols and wild horses

January 4, 2010 |  4:08 pm

Wild Horse Roundup via Helicopter

Catching up:

The president and his family are back in the White House recovering from their Hawaii beachfront vacation.

Just in time to issue a proclamation for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

So the capital's political news resumes. It now turns out that at that White House Indian state dinner Nov. 24, the very first of the Barack and Michelle Obama administration, every single guest at the tent party was a gatecrasher. In fact, they gave out tickets on the corner like TV shows in New York.

It was the initial state to-do run by Obama Chicago pal and White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, and she didn't know how these things go and was worried no one would show. So she just told a whole bunch of her friends to come over.

No, just kidding. There were gatecrashers. Remember that couple from the circus that had 18 seconds of their fame by slipping through security, posing for scrapbook photos and....

...finding their way later onto obliging TV shows?

Well today as part of its ongoing official investigation into who had the extra state dinner dessert, the Secret Service announced that a third uninvited person slipped through the metal detector and guest checkoff list while Ms. Rogers had no one stationed at the gate.

Good thing the dinner wasn't for whomever is president of Nigeria this month.

Speaking of which, some comforting news for any would-be air passenger who's had to toss an oversize shampoo container:

Now that we're in the tenth year of the fighting in Afghanistan, where 9/11 was planned and rehearsed, the nation's airplane security folks have just issued a list of countries from which passengers will be especially scrutinized before boarding flights to the United States. Especially, say, those buying one-way tickets, paying cash and bringing only one set of underwear.

The new list involves high-volume tourist meccas like Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria, Sudan. Now if only there were some direct flights from these places to especially scrutinize.

For heaven's sake, don't anyone mention that canny terrorists could fly to another, less-sinister place to catch a U.S.-bound plane. Oh, wait: that Nigerian guy already did this from Amsterdam and Homeland Security Secy. Janet Napolitano announced the system worked fine.

So now as part of its tightened security steps to protect Americans, TSA will no doubt place a brave Dutch citizen on every inbound flight.

A brave Dutch Windmill

Speaking of surefire government plans, new polls out today from Rasmussen Reports show that Americans who like the Democratic Obama-Reid-Pelosi healthcare legislation have surged to 42%. However, 52% really don't like it, mainly middle-class Americans.

A majority of Americans believe the plan will hurt healthcare quality, 59% are infidels who figure it will actually increase healthcare costs, 57% oppose the bills' plans to cut Medicare benefits by hundreds of billions of dollars and, for some strange reason, 78% of Americans suspect that Obama administration cost estimates are way under the actual expenses.

However, in the spirit of promised bipartisanship, Americans are united in who should pay for the healthcare legislation: Someone else. They like the idea of having those earning more than a half-mill finance the changes.

In other news about wealthy people, Republican Rep. Henry Brown of South Carolina announced his retirement today.

That means nothing to the residents of 434 other congressional districts, but it adds to the growing list of members of Congress on both sides giving up and opting to leave their Hill jobs.

Both political parties will churn out talking points that each retirement dooms the other side. But it's too early to tell how the voluntary departure of incumbents will affect the November midterm elections, which history suggests cost seats for the party controlling the White House.

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Peter King of New York, who also seems to find his way onto cable shows quite often, told Don Imus this morning on the Fox Business Network that, contrary to reports, he really is considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat once held by Hillary Clinton and now occupied by Democratic appointee Kirsten Gillibrand. Said King: "Actually, I am looking at it — you know, a number of people have come to me."

Speaking of political minorities, In Defense of Animals points out that Obama's Interior Department continues a new roundup of wild horses on public and private Western lands these days, despite a federal judge's suggested postponement.

The animal ancestors of early-day mustangs, the wild horses are "removed" because the Bureau of Land Management says the freeloading horses compete for forage with private cattle, whose owners happen to pay BLM a fee for munching said taxpayer-owned grass.

In the interests of the administration's promised transparency, the roundups -- accomplished by helicopters stampeding the wild creatures into holding pens for shipment -- are closed to the public.

Eliot Katz, a veterinarian and president of IDA said: "For America's wild horses, President Obama's promise of change rings hollow. His administration has continued the same secretive and destructive Bush Administration war on the wild horses of the American West." Finally, something in 2010 that's Bush's fault.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo:  (file); Getty Images (file. a brave Dutch windmill).