** IRAQ/IRAN ENERGY ACCORD. The energy ministers of Iraq and Iran met today in Tehran. Iran says it will help Iraq rebuild its electric power system, which was disrupted during the US invasion and never adequately put back together. There may be an agreement announced this week linking the Iranian and Iraqi electric power grids.
Yet another sign of the times indicates a further segmentation in prosperity beyond the usual rich vs. poor with the middle squeezed in between. I noticed last week that the Versace boutique just off San Francisco’s Union Square has recently closed. While I’m not entirely unhappy about that, it is quite interesting. Business had been good there, but had fallen off of late. The store was there the last time I checked, two months ago in the midst of campaign freneticism. It seems that the extremely rich are doing extremely well. But that the merely rich, not to mention the affluent, are not doing quite so well.
Altman had noteworthy links to two Hollywood superstars who have loomed large in politics, Warren Beatty and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The governor had only his second movie role in an Altman film, The Long Goodbye, in which he played a, um, henchman, following his triumph in Hercules In New York. (“I thought I had … arrived. You know, I was just off the boat!”)
The Long Goodbye, a ’70s Elliot Gould vehicle, was the director’s deconstruction of Raymond Chandler’s LA detective Philip Marlowe. Beatty, of course, was more prominent in his Altman role, earning many acting honors for the titular role in McCabe and Mrs. Miller, in which he starred with his real life leading lady of the time, the stunning Julie Christie. McCabe, which Beatty wrote with Altman while they were shooting, is a deconstructionist Western, actually a fairly political film in which a budding entrepreneur — McCabe, proprietor of a saloon and brothel in a bustling new Northwestern town — goes up against nascent corporate capitalism. And dies in the snow for his pains, while the incongruously named Constance Miller loses herself in an opium den.
It is true. ’70s cinema did not always go for the relentless “up” ending.
** The latest CNN poll shows Hillary Clinton, as expected, with a wide lead over the 2008 Democratic presidential field.John Kerry, also as expected, has fallen back in the wake of his disastrous comments about US troops in Iraq at a Phil Angelides for Governor rally in Pasadena. Clinton, however, spent heavily in winning about two-thirds of the vote in her re-election to a U.S. Senate seat from New York. The new sensation, first-term Illinois Senator Barrack Obama, is now running evenly with 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and wealthy lawyer, and former Vice President Al Gore.
Clinton has 33% support among Democrats nationally. Obama, Edwards, and Gore all have around 15%. Kerry has dropped from 12% to 7%.
Those are national numbers, dependent on name ID. The race will actually take shape in several early states, notably Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. And if California moves up its primary, perhaps in the Golden State, which in any event will be an utterly crucial funder for the candidates.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. After rising to nearly $60 per barrel on a few mini-crises — extreme weather conditions in the Port of Valdez (12% of US oil comes from Alaska) and guerilla activity threatening Nigerian oil platforms — crude oil prices have settled back around $58 per barrel. A relatively warm winter is expected in most of the US.
Fresh off his second landslide election as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger has several new things planned for the first year of his second term. First up before the policy is a very unusual inauguration on Friday, January 5th. Inaugurations are regularly held on a Monday, by law on the first Monday in January.
But the first Monday next January is New Year’s Day. This led others being inaugurated into their own statewide offices to presume that their own ceremonies would occur on the following Monday, January 8th, along with the governor’s. But Schwarzenegger, not bound by convention and impelled by media and guest considerations, has chosen the highly unusual move of a Friday inaugural ceremony.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is sworn into her new office on January 3rd. Schwarzenegger’s State of the State address, which will have a different style and emphasis from his second inaugural address, is January 9th. Friday, January 5th allows enough space between the Pelosi affair, the Schwarzenegger inaugural, and the State of the State.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s victory party film, seen here with reaction shots from Maria Shriver (who makes an important introduction), Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and other family members. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez co-stars. The darkened hall image was randomly selected by YouTube.
In addition, Friday is a better day for out of town guests. When Schwarzenegger was sworn into office the first time at his massive 2003 Inaugural, guests came in over the weekend for a variety of private soirees, then faced a new work week following the Inaugural itself on Monday, November 17th.
This unusual Friday move, somewhat amusingly, came as news to California’s outgoing Attorney General, Bill Lockyer (the new state treasurer), and incoming Attorney General, former Governor Jerry Brown. But there will be no constitutional crisis, much less a coup by the former governor and presidential candidate, as the current governor’s legal counsel has researched the matter and declared a Friday inaugural to be legal.
As he moves into his second term, Schwarzenegger will oversee the implementation of sweeping changes adopted in his first term and move on new areas, all the while dealing with a chronic budget shortfall.
The voters’ approval of over $42 billion in infrastructure bonds could set in motion a free-for-all scramble for funds. But a high-ranking administration figure says that the governor’s relevant Cabinet members will oversee each area, reporting to Schwarzenegger chief of staff Susan Kennedy.
Of course, the two biggest bond issues, transportation and education, coincide with the areas overseen by outgoing secretaries Sunne McPeak and Alan Bersin, respectively. So appointment of their successors takes on an added urgency.
California’s landmark global warming law moves into higher developmental gear next year and environmental secretary Linda Adams is already working with the state’s Air Resources Board, the agency charged with developing standards and market approaches, and other players in and out of state government.
Schwarzenegger’s expansive moves on renewable energy, including his Million Solar Roofs measure, also move more into implementation mode next year. As does the nation’s largest stem cell research effort, jump-started this year by a $150 million loan from the governor after opponents tied the program’s $3 billion bonding authority up in the courts.
The former action superstar plans to do more on infrastructure. He regards this year’s biggest ever bond measures to a fraction of what needs to be done. But new moves next year are likely to focus on public/private partnerships, leveraging private enterprise and governmental sources rather than returning to bonds for now, according to a high-ranking administration source.
Education reform will be a significant focus next year. Despite the state’s chronic budget blues, education funding appears secure. Schwarzenegger wants to make much information about schools available to parents, particularly online. He would like to see all pertinent information about schools there so parents could make informed choices. This could also have the hoped for effect of fostering more competition.
Political reform is on the docket, as well. This includes a possible move on campaign finance reform. But at the top of the list is redistricting reform. Democratic legislative leaders famously failed to deliver as promised this year. Next year, they say, will be different. Term limits changes might be in store. What also may be in store is moving up California’s presidential primary to give the state a major voice in selecting the 2008 Republican and Democratic presidential nominees.
Then there are the prisons. Schwarzenegger’s mostly stopgap special session plan was rejected by the Legislature. His plan to ship some prisoners out of state was opposed in court by the state’s prison guards union, which opposed his re-election, but they lost. He’ll work with legislative leaders on a new comprehensive plan.
The former Mr. Universe’s new health care team has already been at work for many weeks. They’re still working. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were still working at the time of his State of the State address.
** BIG STEM CELL MONEY BY YEAR’S END. The San Francisco-based California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the Golden State’s stem cell research institute authorized two years ago by popular vote through Proposition 71, will have $181 million in finance by year’s end. Funding had been delayed by lawsuits sponsored by the religious right. But Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger authorized a $150 million loan to CIRM over the summer. The institute’s finance committee, still chaired by outgoing Treasurer Phil Angelides, finally met on the matter today and accepted the loan. In addition, $31 million in bond anticipation notes (notes sold in anticipation of bond sales that have been stalled by legal action against Prop 71) have come to fruition, with the money coming from philanthropic interests. Two-thirds of those funds are foundation and individual money associated with the Intel fortune. CIRM is the biggest stem cell effort in the county.
** Word is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may not announce the new chair of the House Intelligence Committee until January. Moderate LA Congresswoman Jane Harman is the ranking Democratic member on the intelligence committee and is well regarded for her expertise, but Pelosi doesn’t like her and has reportedly promised the slot to Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings, who was tossed out of a federal judgeship in 1989 by vote of both houses of Congress.
Villaraigosa campaign manager Parke Skelton is not amused. Here is what he wrote to NWN on the matter: Well, yes, the Villaraigosa team does reject the insinuations in the Tony Castro piece. In reading it through however, beneath it’s snide psuedo-psychoanalyzing, it really doesn’t make any hard claims. As far as I can tell the claims are these:
1) Herman Katz, the teacher who encouraged Antonio to apply for college and paid the cost of his SAT exam, did not think that what he did was as big a deal as Antonio did. Huh? Wouldn’t that make sense? I’ve heard Antonio tell the story a number of times over the past 14 years and he frequently points out that when he, years later, contacted Mr. Katz, his former teacher didn’t remember what he had done. Teachers touch thousands of lives — and change quite a few, often unknowingly. That is the whole point of the story. Mr Katz has never challenged the accuracy of Villaraigosa’s story.
2) That Antonio’s estranged father denies that he was abusive to Villaraigosa’s mother. He would not be the first abuser to do so. At the same time Castro quotes Villaraigosa’s cousin, Ramon Villar, as fully corroborating the Mayor’s recollections. Others do too.
3) That Villaraigosa’s father did not give the son from his second marriage the same name he had given Villaraigosa. He named him Anthony — which is not only the same name, but Villaraigosa was called Anthony throughout his youth.
4)That Villaraigosa was not a star athlete in high school. He has never said that he was. He said that he played high school football and (according to the article) was “not on the first string.” Where is the contradiction? Surely people who were not star athletes are entitled to employ the occasional sports metaphor.
Other bizarre points in the article include opining that Antonio and his wife combining their names when they married constituted some kind of devious effort to “reinvent” himself. Strange. Maybe it was just a loving gesture. Maybe they don’t like hyphens.
Castro also quotes an Eastside activist, Art Pulido, at length. Without going into the immense wisdom of using Pulido as a source for anything, Pulido seems to be saying that sometime between the age 25, when he worked out with Villaraigosa at a gym, and the age 35 when he encountered him again, Villaraigosa had upgraded his wardrobe and shaved off his mustache. Gee, that happens to a lot of us between those ages.
In short, the Castro article is a smarmy pastiche of inference and insinuation, unbuttressed by a smidgen of factual evidence.
** AN ANGELIDES LEGACY. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides, the outgoing state treasurer, suffered the biggest loss of any major Democrat in the country in this otherwise big Democratic year in his race against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yet he does leave a legacy. Increasing polarization in the state Assembly.
Not that this would bother the hyperpartisan Angelides, who trashed bipartisanship and centrism late in the day in his own campaign. I have a number of Angelides stories, incidentally, from inside his campaign. But NWN is more about the future than the past, and the subject of the Angelides campaign is not very interesting to me heading into Thanksgiving.
While there was some superficial PR from Arnold’s camp about the post-recall inaugural being a barebones “swearing-in” ceremony and not an inaugural, that was really for the credulous. In fact, the affair went on for a couple of days, loaded with private parties filled with VIPs and celebs, family and friends. There was an elaborate system of lists, security checks, and, of course, fancy invitations, badges and passes. All of which said, of course, “The Inauguration of Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
The inaugural itself — in contrast to next January’s affair, which will be held in the somewhat dingy Sacramento Memorial Auditorium — took place on the picturesque West Side of the state Capitol. There was a careful gradation to the seating arrangements, which filled the available space. At the rear of the throng of guests, and somewhat to the sides, were hundreds of press from around the world. The event was carried live on cable news in North America and live on TV newscasts from Moscow to Tokyo. You get the drift.
To me, the piece has something of the air of a drive-by shooting. There are, for example, frequent references to psychological experts, especially those expert in the area of narcissism. However, there are also interesting elements which tend to cast doubt on the mayor’s story of the abusive environment from which he sprang. I present and highlight the piece not as something endorsed, but of definite interest. You should read it for yourselves.
I know and like Villaraigosa. He was a good Assembly speaker. He’s off to a good start as mayor of LA. After he first ran for mayor in 2001 — with great fanfare from the LA Weekly and many others — and lost, he was out of office for a time. During that period, in 2002, while covering the United Farm Workers march to pressure then Governor Gray Davis to sign an important farmworkers’ rights bill, I spent the better part of a day walking up a hot and dusty road in the Central Valley, talking with Villaraigosa, who was accompanied by his son. He’s a good guy.
** FROM THE DEPT. OF BRILLIANT IDEAS. Israel’s new minister of strategic affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, says that Israel should assassinate all the leadership of Hamas, withdraw from all peace accords, and strip Israeli Arabs of their Israeli citizenship and deport them. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, his government severely weakened by Israel’s unsuccessful war with Hezbollah, brought Lieberman’s far right party into the government to shore up its far right flank. Olmert’s office says Lieberman’s position does not reflect the government, notwithstanding his holding the strategic affairs portfolio in the cabinet.
Lieberman, a native Moldovan, and his Yisrael Beiteinu party appeal to many of Israel’s large community of immigrants from Russia and the former Soviet Union. “They have to disappear, to go to paradise, all of them, and there can’t be any compromise,” he says of Israel’s militant opponents. Given what Israel encountered in the Hezbollah war, this seems, shall we say, fanciful at best. NitWit Realism always appeals to extremists, of whatever ideological or theological stripe.
** In the wake of mostly scathing reviews for her attempt to install her ethics reform-eschewing ally, Congressman John Murtha, as the new House majority leader, House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi has not yet resolved her dilemma around the crucial chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee. She disdains naming the ranking Democrat on the committee, judged by most to be the best-qualified, LA Congresswoman Jane Harman, a more moderate Democrat and intelligence expert. But her other options are not great. Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings, who prior to his election to the House was kicked out of a federal judgeship for malfeasance in office, would be a PR disaster. The sometimes touted compromise pick, Texas Congressman Silvestre Reyes, is dismissed by experts as a career Border Patrol “timeserver.”
** When five Western security contractors (four Americans and an Austrian) were abducted on November 16th at an Iraqi security checkpoint — and convoy of 43 large trucks taken — many of the abductors wore Iraqi security forces uniforms. The drivers were let go. This points up what informed sources say is a serious problem for Iraq, the infiltration of the security forces by interests inimical to the US and the current Iraqi government. British forces backed by US airpower are now conducting raids in the southern province of Dhi Qar in attempts to locate the abductees.
** A friend yesterday was commenting on what a bad day incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was having, with her pick for House Majority Leader, Congressman John Murtha, demolished in balloting by Congressman Steny Hoyer. Which was true only if you overlooked the fact that Pelosi received the unanimous vote of the new majority House Democrats to become the first female House speaker and the first Californian House speaker. Yet it’s clear that Pelosi is off to a somewhat rocky start, with her active intervention in the leadership fight turning out to have backfired with some members and certainly with the media. And she has another problem, as discussed a few days ago, over the crucial chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee.
LA area Congresswoman Jane Harman is the very well-qualified ranking Democrat on Intelligence. But Pelosi is backing another Democrat on the committee, Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings, for the chairmanship. Hastings is more liberal than Harman, who supported the US invasion of Iraq, and is backed by the Congressional Black Caucus. And Pelosi doesn’t particularly like Harman, a very bright politician who can be prickly. Harman is more conservative but probably more in tune with the country, which also backed the invasion of Iraq but, like Harman, has become very critical of the failed Iraq policy. And Harman is much more highly esteemed in opinion leader circles, where she is seen as the obvious choice for the chairmanship, and among many of the more moderate Democrats who will need to support Pelosi if her speakership is to succeed. Hastings, too, and this is no small matter, as a federal judge was impeached by the then Democratic-controlled House and convicted by the then Democratic-controlled Senate after being accused of taking bribes in a mob case.
I like Nancy Pelosi. I’ve been acquainted with her for many years. When she was chair of the California Democratic Party back in the ’80s, I found her very fair and even-handed for me to deal with as representative of Senator Gary Hart. She’s already off to a bumpy start with the Murtha matter. The Intelligence chairmanship is actually more important. She needs to go with the best choice possible, the person with the most expertise, and work with that person as leader of the House.
** Today is the third anniversary of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first inaugural as governor of California. It was quite a spectacle, a massive, multifaceted, glittering endeavor, a series of events, mostly private, with the main event set on the dramatic West Steps of the Capitol in Sacramento, with the scene filled with people and media from all over the world. The second inaugural won’t be that.
** Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is awfully happy that California’s unemployment rate has dipped to 4.5%. That’s the lowest in the 30-year history of the state keeping statistics.
Former President Bill Clinton mobilized the Democratic base with TV ads and rallies for Prop 87.
With all our focus on hashing over the obvious outcome of the California governor’s race — Arnold Schwarzenegger’s very good campaign vs. Phil Angelides’ simply bad campaign — the state’s massive ballot propositions are going mostly unremarked upon. Californians endorsed building for the state’s future and another tough-on-crime measure while rejecting the left on all tax measures and more tinkering with political reform, and the right on abortion and property rights.
Let’s go through the propositions, one by one. (The percentages are the latest from the Secretary of State’s office, the designations those used by the Secretary of State.)
1A Transportation Fund Protect: 77.0% to 23.0%
This measure to protect transportation sales taxes from “raids” for other purposes was a slam dunk, winning by 54 points. The victory was a triumph for the transportation lobby, which has frequently screamed about the education lobby dipping into “its” funding. Of course, its passage may make future budget solutions more difficult. As I reported late last year, it was during polling by Democratic pollster Jim Moore on what became this measure that transportation lobby advocates discovered that the public could have an appetite for a very big infrastructure bonds package. Governor Schwarzenegger found this interesting.
1B Hwy/Air/Port Bond: 61.3% to 38.7%
Four weeks before the election, report the heads of the Public Policy Institute of California Poll and the Field Poll, Mark Baldassare and Mark Di Camillo, there was “weak to moderate support” for the Big Bang Bonds infrastructure package. But the bipartisan campaign by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Democratic legislative leaders Don Perata and Fabian Nunez, and Senator Dianne Feinstein carried the day. And the big $20 billion transportation bonds package — championed in different form two years ago by Perata, who spearheaded the overall campaign for the bonds package — won in convincing fashion, by 22 points.
1C Housing Shelter Fund: 57.5% to 42.5%
The affordable housing bonds measure was worrisome because it contained what many observers viewed as the most “social engineering.” But it benefited from a very favorable ballot description. (Thank you, Attorney General Bill Lockyer.) And by virtue of the fact that bloc voting occurred on the bonds. 33% of all voters backed all the infrastructure bonds. Only 12% opposed them all, according to the Field Poll.
CORRECTION: The Legislature came up with the description of the housing bonds, not Attorney General Lockyer.
1D School Facility Bond: 56.7% to 43.3%
The big education facilities bond initiative slightly underperformed the rest of the package voted out of the Legislature, despite benefiting from a separate campaign on its behalf by the education establishment. Polling showed somewhat more resistance to it because voters have been voting for many education bonds over the years, and have seen per pupil spending rising dramatically over what it was 10 years ago, yet the schools still struggle.
1E Disaster/Flood Bond: 64.1% to 35.9%
The Perata-led bonds committee, and the governor’s personal campaigning of the last month of the campaign, did a good job getting Southern California voters to back this measure which mainly benefits Northern and Central Californians. Maybe Californians don’t want to see the River City, the state capital at Sacramento, become the next New Orleans after all.
83 Sex Offender Reform: 70.5% to 29.5%
California voters are not sympathetic to criminals. This is especially true with regard to child molesters.
84 Water/Flood/Park Bond: 53.8% to 46.2%
This largely environmental bond measure was contemplated in concept by Schwarzenegger, but it couldn’t get through the opposition of conservative Republicans in the Legislature. So environmentalists qualified the measure, Schwazenegger and others endorsed it and campaigned for it, and it won.
85 Parental Notification: 45.9% to 54.1%
The latest attempt to require parental notification on teenage abortions went down by a slightly larger margin than it did last year.
86 Cigarette Tax: 48.1% to 51.9%
The cigarette tax for health care had a slight lead going into election day, but went down by four points under the very heavy weight of tobacco industry advertising. On a less-cluttered ballot with less money on it, it would have passed.
87 Energy/Oil Tax: 45.3% to 54.7%
The oil extraction tax to fund alternative fuels research trailed slightly going into election day. It lost by nine points, falling under the weight of over $100 million in oil industry advertising, a record for a US ballot initiative. Proponent Steve Bing, the Hollywood producer, spent about $50 million on its behalf, also a record for an individual spending on a ballot measure. His friends Bill Clinton and Al Gore campaigned extensively for it. On a ballot with less money on it, this would have had a good chance of winning.
One thing it did succeed in, and this was something cooked up by Clinton and Bing, was in helping mobilize a Democratic base vote dispirited by the disarray at the top of the ticket with the merry-go-round themes and negative charisma of the Angelides for Governor campaign.
President Clinton never campaigned in public with Phil Angelides. He did three TV ads and two big rallies for Prop 87, which did quite well in Democratic-oriented Coastal California. Clinton’s former deputy secretary of the interior, John Garamendi, eked out a four-point win over conservative darling Tom McClintock in the lieutenant governor’s race. Democrat Debra Bowen edged Bruce McPherson by three points for secretary of state.
88 Educ. Fund/Prop. Tax 23.1% to 76.9%
The parcel tax hike for education measure was abandoned by its sponsors.
89 Campaign Public Fund: 25.5% to 74.5%
The “Clean Money” initiative was a major disappointment. In an era marked by Congressional corruption scandals and big money sloshing its way around the political establishment, an initiative to clean up politics should do well. Or at least raise provocative questions about the political game. This initiative by the California Nurses Association looked at first like it might do that.
However, the measure, upon further scrutiny, turned out to benefit labor far more than business on ballot propositions. Worse than that, its backers used it principally as a pro-Angelides campaign vehicle — don’t forget that political reform was Angelides’ principal campaign theme, for about four days — constantly bashing Schwarzenegger but having relatively little to say about the other side, contrary to my understanding with the campaign. It quickly became apparent that it would lose, and lose badly.
90 Eminent Domain 47.6% to 52.4%
This measure would have made it harder to do public works projects. With late opposition from Schwarzenegger, and not much of a campaign for it, it went down by five points.
** FROM RUSSIA WITH LIKE, WHAT? President George W. Bush met with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday in Moscow on his way to Singapore for an Asian-Pacific summit. They had much to discuss. Russia’s bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), the role of Iran in the Middle East (and perhaps a settlement of the Iraq crisis), Russia’s building of a nuclear reactor for Iran, Russia’s now regular role in opposing US foreign policy. Which knowledgeable observers view as a way to deflect US concern about and criticism of Russia’s increasingly authoritarian internal polices, as well as a play for a partial return to the power role the country had in the days of the Soviet Union. Moscow has a positive relationship with Tehran, having carried its water on the UN Security Council. The US is set to agree to Russia’s accession to the WTO this weekend, if all systems are go.
** California’s daily newspapers are filled with articles about the state’s budget deficit next year (reported on NWN yesterday), which amounts to a few billion dollars. Since the structural budget deficit of the Gray Davis years of one-party rule has never been fully eradicated, the budget deficit in the next year or two may be higher. How should it be dealt with? If you think there should be tax increases, what are they? If you think there should be budget cuts, what are they?
** House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi faces a challenge today when her endorsed candidate for House Majority Leader, John Murtha, takes on House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. Press observers generally think that Hoyer has the edge, notwithstanding Pelosi’s endorsement of Murtha. How will this affect Pelosi’s nascent speakership?
** THE SOUR GRAPES AWARD GOES TO … Losing GOP attorney general candidate Chuck Poochigian. After running the most thorough-going, relentlessly negative campaign of the year against former Governor and current Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, and losing by nearly 20 points in the process, the termed-out Fresno state senator and former senior staffer to GOP Governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian turned out to be the only losing statewide candidate who did not make a congratulatory phone call to the winner. I’m told he didn’t like Brown’s counter-attacks against him. Well, Jerry Brown is a very nice guy. Except when he is not. When people go way out of their way to mess with him, it frequently does not end well. Actually, there was much more Brown could have done, had he been so inclined. Why was Pooch, known among insiders as a very conservative but amiable man, so negative? I’m told he believed, until rather late in the day, that he was going to win. Why he believed that, I can’t say.
“Xinhua Finance Ltd. and the Milken Institute today released the first three of eight new economic indicators tracking China’s financial markets. The three indicators, whose launch was announced at the US-China Executive Summit in New York, are aimed at providing investors, analysts and financial professionals with deeper insight into China’s money and capital markets. The first three of the Xinhua Finance/Milken Institute China Indicators series objectively evaluate three important facets of China’s economy: the currency market, the equity capital market and the debt capital market. They are: Renminbi Pressure Indicator,
Chinese Initial Public Offering Indicator, and Market-Adjusted Debt Indicator.”
The Milken Institute was founded by former junk bond titan Michael Milken, who I profiled ten years ago in the midst of his recovery/redemption as a philanthropist/economic forecaster/investor following his conviction for manipulating financial markets.
** Revenues for the State of California continue to run above forecast, according to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s finance spokesman, H.D. Palmer. October is $204 million above forecast. The fiscal year to date is $605 million above forecast.