** FOR ARNOLD, GOOD NEWS AND NOT SO GOOD NEWS. In good news for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, state appelate court justices have upheld a lower court ruling that there are no limits on contributions to candidate-controlled committees promoting or opposing ballot measures. The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission had tried to limit contributions to Schwarzenegger’s political committee pushing initiatives in 2005 to what was then the limit on contributions to his own election committee, $22,300. But a Sacramento Superior Court judge disagreed with the commission. The appelate court decision upholds that ruling and grants Schwarzenegger continued flexibility as he pursues his agendas. He can’t raise much now for his gubernatorial campaign committee as he is now prohibited by the state’s term limits law from running again for governor.
Did Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger turn a serious warning about the Devil among us into mere Hollywood entertainment?
In more mixed news, a self-published author who had claimed that Schwarzenegger’s movie End of Days was based on a premise stolen from him may get his book back on the market. The publisher had taken the tome, “The Devil’s Reign,” off the market because of several offending passages. The movie, as I’m sure you know, is about a deeply troubled, alcoholic ex-New York cop tellingly named “Jericho Cane” (hey, he once played a Southern sheriff, this is far more believable) who saves the world at the Millennium by protecting a virgin, impersonated by the estimable Robin Tunney, from impregnation by the Devil, who comes to earth in the guise of a slick investment banker played by Gabriel Byrne, the event which would bring about the apocalypse or end of days or something like that. (Action movie theology is not my strong suit.) The author of the self-published book who believes his unique premise was stolen had developed his movie idea after decades of discerning the presence of the devil among us. His purpose in pursuing the movie idea was to warn the world.
** GEORGE ALLEN’S “DISTRACTIONS.” Outgoing Virginia Senator George Allen, very narrowly defeated by former U.S. Navy Secretary James Webb in the election that gave control of the U.S. Senate to the Democrats, reflects on his defeat in this WashPost exit interview. He attributes his defeat, which not only ended his Senate career but also his nascent campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, for which he was seen as the leading contender from his party’s right wing, to “distractions.” Such as, presumably, the famous “Macaca” video moment, and his very strong support for the collapsed Iraq policy.
** A VERY POPULAR JOB OPENING: SADDAM’S EXECUTIONER. Hundreds of Iraqis have applied for the job of executioner of Saddam Hussein. The former dictator is slated for death by hanging. The government considered having a public execution in a stadium, but realized it would present a tempting target for guerilla attacks. The event will be photographed, of course, and a videographer will record it for later showing on Iraqi TV news. How much do you want to bet that becomes a very popular Internet video item?
** IRANIAN ELECTIONS UPCOMING. Iranian election coming up at the end of next week. On December 15th, Iranian voters will select the new national Assembly of Experts and local elected officials. The Assembly of Experts selects and oversees Iran’s Supreme Leader, currently the ailing Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. We can safely say that Iranian electoral politics is not the strongest suit of New West Notes, but NWN will be delving into it. In the somewhat murky, to say the least, internal politics of the Islamic republic, the Supreme Leader is the highest ranking religious and political figure in the country, essentially the head of state. The President, everyone’s favorite fanatic, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the head of government.
** Monitor global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. Crude oil prices have slipped to $62 per barrel on forecasts of milder winter weather.