Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, shown here smoking a joint
in his breakthrough film Pumping Iron, told British GQ that marijuana
is not a drug, it is “a leaf.” Did he really smoke marijuana in the movie,
he’s asked? “I really smoked it. And, I also inhaled.”
** TURKEY FLEXES MUSCLE ON ITS NATIONAL DAY. Turkey staged a major show of military strength today on its national day as talks continue over its pending major incursion into northern Iraq. Clearly the Turks are trying to pressure the US to take action against Kurdish separatist guerillas using northern Iraq as a safe haven.
** A REMARKABLE ECONOMIC FEAT. DOLLAR HITS NEW LOW AS OIL HITS NEW HIGH. The dollar hit a new low today as oil hit a new high. The euro is now worth $1.44 and four tenths of a cent.
This is all working out exactly as planned in 2003. Well, not so much …
** CALIFORNIA ELECTORAL COLLEGE INITIATIVE, AKA GOP CONSULTANT ENRICHMENT PLAN. I’m watching with some interest the promotion in conservative circles of the scheme to change California’s vote in the Electoral College from winner-take-all — as in every other major state in America — to apportionment by congressional district.
Frankly, there is no way such an initiative will pass in California, whenever the election is held. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has already stated that it’s a “loser’s mentality” idea.
The “sophisticated” rationale for it is that it will drain Democratic money. But the fact is that Republican fundraising is already way down, on every level — presidential, senatorial, and congressional. Much more likely is that this scheme drains Republican money. To the extent that anyone of any sophistication is convinced, note the word, to contribute to the effort.
I’ll have a lot more on this deal later. It’s fairly amusing.
** NEW RECORD OIL PRICE. Crude oil hit two new price records today: Highest ever intraday trading price and highest ever closing price. After climbing to $93.80 per barrel during the day, crude oil closed the day at $93.53 per barrel.
The price of oil has gone up over one-third since August.
Today’s new record was driven by the continuing geopolitical crises and the decision of the Mexican state oil company, Pemex, to shut down one-fifth of its production with a major tropical storm hitting the Gulf of Mexico.
** ROMNEY GETS NEW HAMPSHIRE BOOST. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, long the leader in the neighboring New Hampshire primary but more lately beset by Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, today picked up the endorsement of U.S. Senator Judd Gregg, the Granite State’s senior senator.
The former New Hampshire governor is an anti-tax stalwart. In debate prep during the Bush campaigns of 2000 and 2004, he played Al Gore and John Kerry.
** SCHWARZENEGGER MISSES CLIMATE CHANGE MEETING IN PORTUGAL BUT DELIVERS VIDEO MESSAGE. Due to the ongoing Southern California fires crisis, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger missed today’s International Carbon Action Partnership summit in Lisbon, Portugal. But he did deliver a video message in absentia, and sent California Environmental Protection Secretary Linda Adams and Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols to represent the state.
“It is exciting for California to be a part of the International Carbon Action Partnership,” said Schwarzenegger in his message. “This groundbreaking partnership is a historic step in the worldwide battle against climate change. In addition to regulations to reduce greenhouse gases, I firmly believe a global market for greenhouse gases will allow us to protect the environment while growing the economy. Last year in California, we took decisive action when I signed our landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Today, 26 American states are working toward similar plans or they are developing them.
“This first of its kind partnership will provide more incentives for clean-tech investment and economic growth while not letting polluters off the hook. And it will help renew the health of our planet. I would like to thank Governors Eliot Spitzer of New York and Jon Corzine of New Jersey, Premier Gordon Campbell from British Columbia and Portugal Prime Minister José Sócrates for their strong partnership and great leadership in the fight against global warming.”
The purpose of ICAP is to provide an international forum for governments to share their experiences on how best to design greenhouse gas trading mechanisms under hard emissions caps. ICAP signatories include the US and Canadian members of the Western Climate Initiative, created by Schwarzenegger, the Northeastern US states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, European Union members including Britain, Germany, and Portugal, and the European Commission.
Among those in attendance are Prime Minister and EU Council President José Sócrates of Portugal; European Commission President José Manuel Barroso; Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey; Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York; Premier Gordon Campbell of British Columbia; Minister Sigmar Gabriel of Germany; UK Secretary of State for Business, Rt. Hon. John Hutton; and Norway’s Finance Minister Kristin Halvorsen.
** SCHWARZENEGGER SAYS MARIJUANA NO DRUG. JOKINGLY, OF COURSE … Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a new interview with British GQ — and what California governor hasn’t been featured in that magazine? — said that marijuana is “not a drug.” It is, said the former action movie superstar, “a leaf.”
He was joking, of course, says Schwarzenegger press secretary Aaron McLear. Schwarzenegger’s staff is not infrequently abashed by some of the governator’s comments. I say roll it, as it were. Actually, that should read, roll with it.
In other pronunciamentos, Schwarzenegger listed former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who left office in June, as one of the greatest leaders in history, alongside former South African President Nelson Mandela, former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Asked if he would include President Bush on the list, Schwarzenegger said: “I would say that I was … very fond of his father. I worked for President Bush Sr., and he was a great man.”
“I think his son does some great things and there are some other things I don’t agree with.”
Needless to say. NWN will be reporting on that a great deal more this week.
** ANOTHER NEW OIL RECORD. Crude oil broke the $93 per barrel mark in trading early today before falling back to $92+. It’s all on account of the continued global insecurity much reported on and discussed here at NWN.
** CLINTON AND OBAMA DEAD HEAT IN IOWA, ROMNEY HAS BIG LEAD. In the latest poll of the Iowa presidential caucuses — now set for the astonishing date of January 3rd — Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in a dead heat on the Democratic side, while Mitt Romney has a huge lead on the Republican side.
On the Democratic side, Clinton and Obama are in a statistical tie, with 29% and 27%, respectively. John Edwards, who has staked his candidacy on winning Iowa, is third with 20%. Bill Richardson has 7% and Joe Biden has 5%.
On the Republican side, it’s a Romney runaway. The former Massachuestts governor, who has invested millions in uncontested TV ads, has 36%. The distant runner-up has only 13%. That’s a tie between Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee. Fred Thompson is at 11%, and one-time frontrunner John McCain has 6%.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia is fast re-emerging as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel.
You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND U.S. ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Crude oil prices went over a record $93 per barrel early today on concern over the geopolitical situation, namely situations in Iraq, Pakistan, and Iran.
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