It’s Super Bowl Sunday – featuring the wisely favored Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the exciting upstart Arizona Cardinals. Here are some highlights of one of the best Super Bowls, the 1989 game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals.
** OBAMA TODAY – SUNDAY. President Barack Obama appears live on NBC’s Super Bowl pre-game show, then hosts a Super Bowl party at the White House with Democratic and Republican members of the Senate and House, and some personal friends.
Here are the members of Congress who will be at Obama’s Super Bowl party today: Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Congressman Artur Davis (D-AL), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA), Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA), Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Congressman Paul Hodes (D-NH), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D-DC), Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA), and Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI).
Obama is finalizing what looks like the likely appointment of Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican, to be his new secretary of commerce. Gregg’s appointment would give the administration three Republicans in the Obama Cabinet. It would also allow New Hampshire’s Democratic governor, John Lynch, to appoint a new US senator. That could get the Democrats to 60, enough to block any filibuster without getting a few Republican votes. But Lynch may opt to appoint another moderate Republican, Bonnie Newman, who was head of Republicans for Lynch when he ran for governor and was dean of Harvard’s JFK School of Government.
Yesterday, Obama congratulated the Iraqi government for apparently successful provincial elections around the country which may up the timetable for US withdrawal.
Here’s Alaska Governor and right-wing favorite Sarah Palin arriving at Saturday night’s Alfalfa Club dinner in Washington. She evidently did not speak, but did catch an Obama gibe about the dinner crowd he’s “pallin’ around with,” a reference to her claim that the president “pals around with terrorists.”
He also spoke last night at the annual Alfalfa Club dinner, an event closed to press but much leaked, and was reportedly very amusing. Here are some excerpts:
I am seriously glad to be here tonight at the annual Alfalfa dinner. I know that many you are aware that this dinner began almost one hundred years ago as a way to celebrate the birthday of General Robert E. Lee. If he were here with us tonight, the General would be 202 years old. And very confused. …
Now, this hasn’t been reported yet, but it was actually Rahm’s idea to do the swearing-in ceremony again. Of course, for Rahm, every day is a swearing-in ceremony. …
But don’t believe what you read. Rahm Emanuel is a real sweetheart.
No, it’s true. Every week the guy takes a little time away to give back to the community. Just last week he was at a local school, teaching profanity to poor children. …
But these are the kind of negotiations you have to deal with as President. In just the first few weeks, I’ve had to engage in some of the toughest diplomacy of my life. And that was just to keep my Blackberry. I finally agreed to limit the number of people who could email me. It’s a very exclusive list. How exclusive?
Everyone look at the person sitting on your left — Now look at the person sitting on your right – None of you have my email address. …
In his weekend video/radio address, President Barack Obama discusses the economic crisis, his economic revival program, the soon-to-be-outlined rest of the Wall Street bailout, and the need for forthcoming new regulations on the financial industry.
** OBAMA TODAY – SATURDAY. President Barack Obama works on plans for increased regulation of the nation’s financial sector, epicenter of the new global economic crisis. He appears tonight at the annual dinner of the Alfalfa Club, a Washington institution formed as part of the rich, good old boys’ network which has become a media standby. Notwithstanding the fact that the event is closed to the press. Nevertheless, reports emanate widely. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin – the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and darling of the far right – will also be there, fueling exactly the dynamic that Team Obama wants.
On Sunday, Obama hosts a Super Bowl viewing party at his new pad with selected congressional attendees and friends. Obama is for the Pittsburgh Steelers – pride of the electoral Keystone State of Pennsylvania, owned for decades by a staunch Irish-Catholic Democratic family, the Rooneys – over the upstart surprise Arizona Cardinals. Who are backed by John McCain.
Obama is undoubtedly heartened by the latest news from Iraq. Saturday’s elections around the country for provincial office went off without an apparent hitch. Security was mostly provided by Iraqi forces. This is a positive sign for the idea of accelerating the withdrawal of US troops – now scheduled to be completed at the end of 2011 – back to Obama’s original campaign plan of 16 months.
Saturday’s provincial elections in Iraq came off without a hitch in a fresh sign of stability in the troubled nation.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger holds some private talks over the weekend, mostly focused on California’s chronic budget crisis. No public appearances are scheduled.
Some Republican legislators, who have essentially blockaded the budget for months by publicly refusing to consider any tax hikes, seem to be getting closer to going for a budget that includes tax hikes as well as program cuts and a spending cap.
Naturally, much of California’s far right – which is doing a remarkable job of driving the state’s Republican Party deeper into permanent minority status – is going bonkers over this.
And some liberal interest groups are striking against potential elements of a compromise. Which may mean that a deal is close.
Schwarzenegger said on Wednesday that he expects a budget deal in the next 10 days.
Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger won a victory Thursday when a superior court judge ruled against public employee unions seeking to overturn Schwarzenegger’s two day a month furlough for state workers. Schwarzenegger’s move saves $1.4 billion per year. He later announced that the furlough plan applies to state elected officials as well.
** OBAMA IN THE TANK. President Barack Obama went in the tank yesterday. For about two hours.
While most eyes were on the then impending vote in the House on Obama’s economic revival program, the new president ventured out to the Pentagon for his first meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the commanders of each of America’s armed services. Vice President Joe Biden and National Security Advisor Jim Jones came along.
They met in “the Tank,” a fabled secret meeting place better than any treehouse, for it’s supposedly impervious to all manner of surveillance. Jones had been there before, of course, as a former member of the Joint Chiefs when he was commandant of the Marine Corps.
But it was the first time for Obama. Let’s pause for a moment of silence for all those mad hatter “Manchurian Candidate” conspiracy theory promoters from the campaign as we think of Barack Hussein Obama in this holy of holies inner sanctum of America’s military establishment. Conducting the meeting at the pinnacle of the pyramid of US military command.
While more than a few gaskets may have popped out there in the far right precincts of the blogosphere and talk radio at the very thought, there might be a few on the left popping as well. … From my Thursday column.
** OBAMA AND THE CALIFORNIA WAY ON CLIMATE. President Barack Obama is choosing the California way of dealing with climate change. What this means is that major action to curtail greenhouse gases can happen faster, and without dealing with a traditional lobby-dominated Congress, with California and other states leading the way and doing the work.
Here’s how. … From my Tuesday column.
** “MAC IS BACK?” HEY, IT NEVER LEFT. MACINTOSH TURNS 25. … From my January 24th column.
** OBAMA AND HIS COMMANDERS. … From my January 23rd column.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th Huffington Post column.
** ANOTHER DAY: 24 AND THE AGE OF OBAMA. … From my January 13th column.
** CIA: THE PANETTA PICK AND THE FEINSTEIN FACTOR. … From my January 12th column.
** CIA: PARSING THE PANETTA PICK. … From my January 6th column.
** OBAMA: VACATION’S END. … From my January 2nd Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged 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, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. 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.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in two wars in the region, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial.
Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included.
Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. After crashing over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil closed on Friday at $41.68 per barrel. Energy markets are closed on the weekend.
The drop of $106 per barrel since the record high over the summer comes on acknowledgment that the weak US economy will cut future demand and on the easing of previous geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. It is clear that that, contrary to much chatter, neither the US nor Israel is about to launch a strike against Iran. And the Russian war with Georgia, confounding much speculation and reporting to the contrary, actually decreased the geopolitical risk premium in the oil market.
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