Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, seen here signing California’s landmark
climate change bill, makes post-partisan moves on the national stage today.
** COURT OF APPEAL SIDES WITH STEM CELL RESEARCH ADVOCATES. The California 1st District Court of Appeal this afternoon decided against the opponents of California’s landmark stem cell research initiative, Proposition 71, passed by California’s voters in November 2004. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said this in a statement from Washington: “Today’s ruling is a victory – I always believed the courts would uphold the will of California voters. Stem cell research holds our best promise to find a cure for debilitating illnesses, like Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. I’m also proud of California’s leadership – we have already awarded the first round grants to researchers to begin work on this potentially life-saving science.”
** SCHWARZENEGGER HIT FROM FAR RIGHT AND FAR LEFT. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was hit from the far right and far left today as he took his post-partisan centrism message to Washington. Way off to starboard, the Orange County Register blogs weighed in, denying the greenhouse effect and generally operating in what might be called full fulmination mode.“Everyone Should Just Ignore Arnold,” proclaimed columnist Steve Greenhut. Like that’s going to happen, right? The guy is one of the most famous and powerful men in the world. A small blog column is not going to change that.
Greenhut quoted right-wing fave Tom McClintock, a four-time loser in bids for statewide office, saying he’s never going to believe Schwarzenegger again. The governor’s erstwhile running mate believed Schwarzenegger when the then new governor, countermanding the advice of his Pete Wilson advisors of the time, who view McClintock as an unremitting pain in the ass, intervened to help the state senator stave off defeat in his re-election bid by raising badly needed money McClintock could never raise on his own.
Meanwhile, way off to portside, the governor’s favorite stalkers, the California Nurses Association, are running radio ads around the state attacking him for not backing singel-payer, government-run health care. They nailed him but good in the special election of 2005, after his infamous remark about “kicking the butts” of the special interests. Since then, however, with his return to the center, their efforts have been rather one-note. They pushed a single-payer health care bill, with few actual specifics involved, which Schwarzenegger promptly vetoed after they barely drew a few hundred people to a Capitol rally captured in its full glory in an NWN video. They turned a political reform initiative into an unending series of attacks on Schwarzenegger, contrary to earlier promises to go after both big political parties’ excesses. The initiative failed with barely 20% of the vote.
** MICHAEL BOSKIN AS GIULIANI’S TOP ECONOMIC ADVISOR. Tapping another big-name conservative from California, Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign today announced that Michael Boskin is now on board as senior policy advisor and as “Mayor Giuliani’s lead advisor on all economic matters.”
Boskin, now a senior fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford, was chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors during the first Bush Administration. A product of the University of California at Berkeley, Boskin now serves on the boards of directors of software giant Oracle Corp. and the world’s largest oil company, Exxon Mobil.
Exxon Mobil is a somewhat controversial company, as you may have heard.
** REDISTRICTING REFORM UPDATE. California Common Cause’s Ned Wigglesworth says the group is not submitting a redistricting reform initiative today to the Attorney General’s office, but that attorney Barry Fadem probably is. Common Cause was part of the discussions around the initiative.
** MORE BRITS TO AFGHANISTAN. The British government has announced it is sending another 1400 troops to Afghanistan, on top of 800 more announced a few weeks ago. The additional announcment is nearly the number announced last week as the first part of a British withdrawal from Iraq. Soon, for the first time since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, there will be more British troops, 7700, in Afghanistan than in Iraq. Britain makes the move with most of the NATO allies not stepping up and a major Taliban offensive expected in the spring.
** CALIFORNIA REDISTRICTING INITIATIVE TO BE SUBMITTED TO ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE. Frustrated by the Legislature’s slow pace in moving on redistricting reform — a project that ended in a comedy of errors last year between the two legislative houses, leading many observers to conclude that majority Democrats really didn’t want to do anything — Common Cause and other reform groups are submitting an initiative to Attorney General Jerry Brown for legal vetting prior to beginning signature gathering. If the Legislature doesn’t act, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is likely to support the measure.
** NEVADA REPUBLICANS STEP AWAY FROM PRESIDENTIAL CAUCUS. Althought they would like to get in on the fun now being enjoyed by their Silver State Democratic counterparts, Nevada Republicans probably won’t move their presidential caucus up to mid-January of next year. They might do a straw poll, however. Why not move the caucus? Well, unlike the Democrats, whose national party specifically selected an early Western state to break up the old Iowa/New Hampshire two-step, national Republicans have not done so, and would probably penalize Nevada Republicans. The earliest a Nevada Republican caucus could go under current rules is February 5th. It might be moved to early February.
** NUCLEAR FUTURE? Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace who has become quite controversial with some of his old environmentalist colleagues, writes today in the San Jose Mercury News about the wonders of a new generation of nuclear energy technology and its increased relevance in the greenhouse era. Moore was in Fresno late last week working with proponents of a new nuclear power plant outside the city.
** SIMON SAYS RUDY. Bill Simon, the investment banker who was the 2002 Republican nominee for governor of California, has been named director of policy for Rudy Giuliani’s nascent presidential campaign. Simon introduced Giuliani before his very well received speech to the California Republican Party convention earlier this month. Giuliani campaigned in California in 2002 for Simon, helping win a Republican primary over former LA Mayor Richard Riordan, who has also endorsed Giuliani. That primary was marked by the massive intervention of Democratic Governor Gray Davis against Riordan, who worried Davis as a moderate Republican.
Simon was an assistant US attorney during Giuliani’s famed stint as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, during which he prosecuted the Mafia and Michael Milken, not that the two were connected, mind you. Simon and Giuliani were having breakfast together in New York when the first plane struck the World Trade Center on 9/11. Simon is a likable conservative, a noted family man, son of a famed conservative stalwart, former Secretary of the Treasury William Simon, who played a major role in establishing the financing for some of today’s biggest conservative think tanks.
** GIULIANI REACHES OUT TO RIGHT. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani will address the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday in Washington. Giuliani’s views are well to the left of that annual assemblage on social issues and some environmental matters. But he has to find some way to deal with his party’s right wing. And he may be their best shot at retaining the White House.
Giuliani, incidentally, with Florida possibly moving up as an early primary next year, recently brought former Governor Jeb Bush’s campaign manager onto his political team. Karen Unger was also Bush’s deputy chief of staff and appointments chief.
** SCHWARZENEGGER ADDRESSES NATIONAL PRESS CLUB. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will lay out his view of post-partisan centrism today in Washington in an address at the National Press Club. The themes will be very familiar to NWN readers. The speech will be carried live by C-SPAN at 10 AM Pacific time. Schwarzenegger again called for a “timeline” for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq yesterday on the CBS program Face The Nation.
** SCHWARZENEGGER AND WESTERN GOVERNORS ANNOUNCE CLIMATE CHANGE AGREEMENT. The governors of five Western states — California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and New Mexico — just announced a regional program to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The governors will formally sign a memorandum of understanding at the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington, D.C. The MOU commits the five states to develop over the next 6 months a regional target for greenhouse gas reduction and, over the next 18 months, to devise a market-based program to reach the target. The pact also commits the states to a multi-state registry to track greenhouse gas emissions in the West and to promote greentech.
“Western States are being particularly hard-hit by the effects of climate change,” noted Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano in a statement.
“This MOU sets the stage for a regional cap and trade program, which will provide a powerful framework for developing a national cap and trade program,” said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “This agreement shows the power of states to lead our nation addressing climate change.”
“With this agreement, states are once again taking the lead on combating global climate change – while Washington, D.C. sits on its hands,” said New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. “This historic agreement signals our commitment to tackling the problem head-on at the regional level and building on efforts in our individual states.”
** Monitor computer memory prices on a daily basis. Some chip prices are down.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. Crude oil prices are around $60 to $61 per barrel on expectation of a report that US fuel supply is down. Refineries have lately been operating in diminished capacity.