“Never tell me the odds.” It’s the 30th anniversary of Star Wars this Memorial Day weekend. This is actually a scene from the second film in the series, best of the six, The Empire Strikes Back.
** AL QAEDA’S AMERICAN PRISONERS STILL NOT LOCATED. A 15th day of searching by thousands of US troops south of Baghdad for the two remaining American soldiers captured in an ambush by Al Qaeda has ended. The prisoners have still not been located.
** ISG RULES. Incidentally, as I’ve said from the beginning, President George W. Bush is going to end up doing mostly what the far right’s bete noire, the Iraq Study Group, recommended late last year. Just somewhat later than advised by his father’s (and Ronald Reagan’s) wise men. That’s because it’s the logic of the situation. Yet he is quite stubborn. Witness the dramatic force reduction scenario being floated today. Not to mention next Monday’s negotiation in Baghdad with Iran on the future of Iraq.
** SCHWARZENEGGER AND DELLUMS. This is over the heads of the largely non-historically oriented California press corps. But I’m wondering who else was amused by the lengthy and, by accounts from both sides, quite amiable time spent together yesterday by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and new Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. Dellums, as well-informed people over the age of 25 know, was perhaps the most famous left-wing member of Congress in his heyday. Then the former House Armed Services Commitee chairman retired and became a lobbyist. For some major corporate interests. Then he came to back to politics to help reassert the fading black community’s interest in California politics, taking advantage of then Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown’s wildly successful campaign for attorney general.
The famous Dellums won the Oakland mayoralty in a landslide. Then yesterday found himself in quite agreeable circumstances with Schwarzenegger. Lauding the state’s super-prompt reopening of the Oakland-based MacArthur Maze east of the Bay Bridge following the massive, disrupting tanker truck accident there less than four weeks ago. And spending the better part of an afternoon in agreement with Schwarzenegger’s anti-gang strategies.
** A CONSERVATIVE REJECTING THE RIGHT’S LEGAL ARGUMENTS. The Sacramento Superior Court judge, incidentally, who summarily rejected the right-wing challenge to Atttorney General Jerry Brown’s ballot description of the California term limits change initiative, is a Republican apppointed by the very conservative former Governor George Deujkmejian. And Judge Gail Ohanesian is also the judge who tossed with more than a little contempt the lawsuit which sought to block Brown from being installed as the state attorney general. After the former governor and Yale Law School grad had won a 19-point landslide victory over the relentlessly negative campaign of former state Senator Chuck Poochigian.
** AN ANNIVERSARY. 30 years ago this weekend, a little film called Star Wars went into wide release in US theaters. The movies were never the same after.
** AND INDY. The most recent Indiana Jones picture, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, which features Sean Connery as Harrison Ford’s dad, a thrill for Connery to be sure, was released 18 years ago this weekend. The fourth movie in the series is scheduled to go before the cameras on June 12th, with Steven Spielberg directing and Star Wars guru George Lucas producing. Connery is still likely to appear in the latest sequel. With the great Cate (Elizabeth) Blanchett.
** TUFF TALK ON UNIS AND THE PRESIDENTIAL FRONTRUNNER. Here right-wing bloggers and would-be political pundits, whose last experience with non-yuppie uniforms was in the Cub Scouts, crack wise. It’s interesting that most Republican fire over the Senate vote on continuing the Iraq funding concentrates on Barack Obama, rather than Hillary Clinton, who still leads in most surveys of the Democratic presidential primaries. Most Republicans I know are intrigued and somewhat to very worried by Obama.
I don’t want to spend an enormous amount of time writing on a holiday weekend, since I write too much as it is. But the “he wouldn’t know an RPG from a bong” shot on Obama by an unnamed McCain advisor — and my observation is that Republican political staffs are equivalent to Democratic political staffs in their relative absence of vets — reminds me of McCain’s wonderful memoir, Faith of My Fathers. (McCain’s father and grandfather having been four-star admirals.) I’m not at home, so don’t have the personally inscribed copy of it in front of me. But I am reminded of the senator’s own tales of himself as perhaps the hardest partying officer in the Navy of the 1960s. And there was a great passage of a training base he was stationed at, with regular booze and babe-soaked parties, in which he was the “commodore” of the Lake Something or other Yachting Club. Which had, as I recall, a raft with a flag on it as its “flagship.” Which occasionally sallied forth on the “lake.”
I’m thinking an Obama-McCain race would be most entertaining.
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