“What in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?” — Senator Hillary Clinton
** L.A. LIVING WAGE LAW. Organized labor in LA has a poll that it say shows that any election move by the business lobby to try to overturn the city’s “living wage” law — which grants airport area hotel service workers a higher minimum wage than others, $9.30 per hour, plus another $1.25 an hour for benefits — would be a slam dunk failure. The numbers show the law supported, 74% to 23%. Indeed, backers say that voters want to go further with the law. There’s no real reason to doubt that. Public support for an increased minimum wage is broad throughout California. But campaigns are campaigns, and what LA labor is not mentioning is that a living wage law in even more liberal Santa Monica was defeated in a public vote.
** WHY DIDN’T THEY THINK OF IT BEFORE? BECAUSE THAT ISN’T HOW THEY THINK. New West friend Dan Weintraub in his Sacramento Bee blog notes that some Republicans in the U.S. Senate like Alabama’s Jeff Sessions have discovered that talking about illegal immigration’s impact on labor markets and services for the poor is a compassionate way to talk about their opposition to immigration, and wonders why they haven’t thought of that before. I suspect they haven’t thought of it before because their opposition to immigration has nothing to do with concern for workers or poor people.
Actually, some other people thought of this before Jeff Sessions. They include quite a few new Democratic members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Which is why comprehensive changes to the immigration laws were not a part of new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s big change agenda.
** SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS. Is there a bit of a p.c. backlash underway in Hollywood against the very strong storyline in 24‘s Season Six, in which Islamic jihadist terrorists have just detonated a suitcase nuke in LA? The acclaimed Fox TV show won Emmy Awards last fall for its fifth season, for, among other things, best television drama and best actor (Kiefer Sutherland as counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer). But last night at the SAG Awards, the show lost out for both best actor and best ensemble (the SAG rough equivalent of best drama). The material being judged by the SAG membership was from the same Season Five which swept the Emmys. And Sutherland has previously won a couple of SAG best actor awards for the same role.
Most of the people I voted for in the Screen Actors Guild Awards didn’t win, as it happens, with the notable exception of Helen Mirren winning best actress in a feature film for The Queen.
** GIULIANI’S MOVES. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s presidential exploratory committee has just announced a New Hampshire chair. It’s former New Hampshire Republican Chairman Wayne Semprini. Giuliani has previously brought on board a New Hampshire political director and a “coalitions director” for the Granite State. The 9/11 standout, a frontrunner in the polls, ventured to New Hampshire over the weekend for only the second time in three months. As reported over the weekend, he was received respectfully, but not rapturously, at a state Republican conference. Giuliani, according to the Washington insiders’ Hotline, really didn’t knock ‘em dead in New Hampshire over the weekend.
Noting that there were long stretches of talk with no applause, and no humor, the publication seemed unimpressed. Here’s my observation. Unless you have total commitment to presidential politics, entering a campaign is like playing at half-speed in the NFL. It’s a good way to get hurt.
** HILLARY’S JOKE. Some of the press, ever linear, think Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton made a gaffe yesterday in Iowa when she deadpanned an audience member’s question about what qualified her to deal with evil guys. The audience roared at her response, as you’ll see, in which she repeats the question and stands there at first quietly, then breaks into a big grin as she sways relaxedly on the stage. On one level, she’s obviously making a reference to her sometimes wayward husband, the former president of the United States. Not to mention, on another level, the various guys like Ken Starr and Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News personalities who went after her hammer and tong. Trust a political reporter to ask for an explanation of a joke. Not to mention to expect an answer.
** SCHWARZENEGGER HEALTH CARE WEBCAST AT 10 AM. Continuing his campaign with the business community, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger holds another roundtable on his comprehensive health care plan, this one at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
** Monitor computer memory prices on a daily basis. Prices are mostly stable.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. Crude oil prices have dipped to $54 to $55 per barrel.