Britain’s then new Prime Minister Tony Blair offers this
off-the-cuff eulogy of “the people’s princess” shortly after news
broke of the death of Princess Diana 10 years ago.
** AP REPORT: GOP SOURCES SAY CRAIG TO RESIGN FROM U.S. SENATE TOMORROW. Unsurprisingly, Republican Senator Larry Craig, caught up in a police sex sting operation in a Minneapolis airport men’s room, will according to party sources resign his seat tomorrow at a press conference in Idaho. The departure of Craig, a staunch “family values” conservative and opponent of gay rights, will help the Republicans hold on to the seat.
** NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICANS CRITICIZE FRED THOMPSON. The chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party ripped Fred Thompson, saying the timing of the announcement of his long-awaited presidentical candidacy, on September 6th, is intended to keep the former senator out of New Hampshire Republican debate on September 5th, cablecast on Fox News.
“They are clearly trying to avoid this event,” said Granite State GOP Chairman Fergus Cullen.
** LARRY CRAIG TO MAKE SATURDAY ANNOUNCEMENT. Idaho Senator Larry Craig, at the center of a firestorm of controversy after the revelation of guilty plea in a Minneapolis airport men’s room incident, will announce his future plans tomorrow. He is under very heavy pressure from fellow Republicans to announce his resignation from the US Senate.
** SCHWARZENEGGER CANCELS U.K. TRIP, POSTPONES INDIA TRADE MISSION. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has just cancelled his late September trip to the UK to keynote the British Conservative Party conference. He has also postponed a planned fall trade mission to India.
In a statement, Schwarzenegger said: “While I am confident that we will be able to accomplish quite a bit before the end of the legislative session, I need to maintain the flexibility to call a special session.”
The former action movie superstar will speak to the Tory conference in Britain via satellite.
** RICHARDSON WILL SKIP ALL ROGUE EARLY PRIMARIES. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, the former UN ambassador running fourth in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, says he will skip all rogue state primaries that try to jump ahead of or sandwich themselves in the midst of the four officially sanctioned earliest contests of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
** JOHN WARNER RETIRES IN VIRGINIA. Senator John Warner, the former chairman of the Armed Services Committee and Vietnam War US Navy secretary who has become a critic of the Iraq War, announced today at the University of Virginia that he will retire from the Senate at the end of his term. Warner, 80, was first elected in 1978, campaigning with his then wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor. This seat is an excellent opportunity for a Democratic pick-up next year, with former Governor Mark Warner a strong prospect.
** SCHWARZENEGGER IN SAN DIEGO. In his event just webcast earlier from San Diego, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared with a panoply of leaders from business, civic institutions, the medical field, labor, and local government to reiterate his — and their — stand for a universal health care program in California. It was all quite familiar to NWN readers. Schwarzenegger took a few questions from local press (and one British reporter, who asked about greenhouse gases), and nothing new was brought forth. Schwarzenegger says he remains confident that something significant will be achieved, and as reported here yesterday, is back negotiating with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata.
** DIANA, 10 YEARS ON. On this Friday of Labor Day weekend, it’s the tenth anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, an event that transfixed much of the world. I found much of the ’90s Diana worship somewhat mystifying, but no less real for that. I met her once, and she seemed very nice and charming, but aside from being aware that she was the most famous woman in the world, I don’t remember much about it. She used her celebrity for causes, of course, such as AIDS and land mines, and forged a powerful bond with the British public after her divorce, which surprised the royal family which assumed that her celebrity derived principally from all the globally broadcast pomp and circumstance of the Royal Wedding. How wrong they were can be seen again in last year’s best film, The Queen, for which Helen Mirren won a very well-deserved Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth and Michael Sheen a British Academy Award nomination for his role as Tony Blair.
What would have become of Diana? Her fairy tale arc of Sloane Ranger to Princess of Wales made her world-renowned in Act I. Her divorce and emergence as “the people’s princess,” in Blair’s famous phrase (actually crafted by spin doctor Alastair Campbell) made her even more of a global icon in Act II. Would Act III have seen her married to her boyfriend of the time, Dodi Fayed, which would have made the playboy son of an Egyptian billionaire stepfather to the future King of England?
That’s the scenario that tantalizes those who see conspiracy in the Princess Di’s death following that late night chase by papparazzi through the streets of Paris. But it all happened on the fly. I was acquainted somewhat with Fayed, and once stayed at his beach house. The son of the billionaire owner of Harrod’s, Mohammed al-Fayed, Dodi Fayed was a playboy, a thrower of big parties he didn’t always pay for, as you see in the link above, a film producer who brought cash to the table rather than a particular expertise.
He was a nice man, fun, short, plain, clearly someone who would be utterly thrilled to be running around with the glamorous and ultra-famous princess. He was also not a very strong personality. When the photographers became a problem that night in Paris 10 years ago, he wasn’t prepared to deal with it. A getaway car and driver were hurriedly arranged on the spot — rather than pre-planned as you might do if you have large resources and are squiring around the most famous woman in the world — and disaster ensued. But that can be life in the fast lane.
** CRAIG EXPECTED TO RESIGN SOON. CNN reports that well-placed Republican sources say that Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who pled guilty a few months ago to a charge of misconduct in a Minneapolis airport men’s room, will soon resign his seat in the Senate, perhaps today.
** SCHWARZENEGGER IN SAN DIEGO FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM, LIVE WEBCAST THIS MORNING. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, now negotiating with Democratic legislative leaders on the shape of possible comprehensive health care reform, campaigns for a plan this morning in San Diego. At 10:30 AM, he will appear with San Diego business, civic, and labor leaders in a press conference webcast live.
** WESTLY DECRIES BUSH ADMINISTRATION IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN. Former California Controller and eBay honcho Steve Westly, now a greentech venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, blasts the coming Homeland Security crackdown on workers without valid Social Security numbers in a California Majority Report column. Westly says that what is needed in comprehensive immigration reform, and that the crackdown threatens key sectors of California’s economy, including coming seasonal harvests. It also threatens the workers, he argues, making it likely they will be forced further into an underground economy.
** CALIFORNIA POWER ALERT CONTINUES. A heat wave continues to strike much of the state. Today’s forecast peak electric power demand is 2000 megawatts below the record established in last year’s heat storm, in which levels were reached that had not been forecast for another five years. You can track peak electric power demand in near real time via Cal ISO (California Independent System Operator).
** AL QAEDA’S AMERICAN PRISONERS STILL NOT LOCATED. American troops are now in the midst of a 109th day of searching for the remaining two US soldiers captured by Al Qaeda in an ambush south of Baghdad. They have had no luck so far. A video put out by Al Qaeda forces in Iraq claims that all three men were executed after being captured. But, with the exception of the Californian found floating in the Euphrates River, that claim can’t be confirmed. The US high command in Baghdad has revealed that ID cards for the other two American prisoners were found in an Al Qaeda safehouse on June 9th.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. After going up earlier, crude oil prices have risen to the $71 to $74 per barrel range on concern about a storm in the Atlantic.
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