An “American miracle” or an “exercise in self-aggrandizement on a Napoleonic scale”?

Reuters/Chris Keane (Beck at an NRA meeting in Charlotte May 15)

 No, I am not talking about Reuters Washington Extra, but Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally which is due to take place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday. Beck, never one to hide his light under a bushel, has described tomorrow’s event as “a defibrillator to the heart of America”, “the Woodstock of the next generation”, and “the turning point” in American history. Eugene Robinson in today’s Washington Post was less optimistic about the rally and its “egomaniacal” host, who will be speaking a few steps down from where Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech on the same day in 1963. Washington Extra is not taking sides.

Ben Bernanke’s speech at the Federal Reserve conference in Jackson Hole was considerably less dramatic than Beck’s is likely to be, but does merit a quick mention too. The Fed chairman said the economic recovery had weakened more than expected but downplayed concerns that it might slip back into recession. The Fed, he said, was ready to act if needed to spur growth and said the central bank still had ammunition left. He at least is not reaching for the defibrillator yet.

Finally, commiserations to all you Nationals fans after the news that rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg could miss at least a year and perhaps the whole 2011 season with a significant ligament tear in his right elbow. I will be wearing my Nationals T-shirt this weekend in sympathy.

Here are our top stories from today…

Bernanke says recovery softer, Fed to act if needed

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economic recovery has weakened more than expected and the Fed stands ready to act if needed to spur slowing growth. Bernanke downplayed concerns that the economy might slip back into recession, predicting a modest expansion in the second half of this year with the pace picking up in 2011.