Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will unveil the Obama Administration’s plan to deal with the banks’ “toxic assets” problem on Monday, focusing on a set of public/private partnerships. Expect controversy.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … OBAMA’S RUGGED WEEK.
** OBAMA TODAY – SUNDAY. President Barack Obama is at the presidential retreat of Camp David today. He returns to the White House on Monday morning.
Obama appears tonight on the CBS News program 60 Minutes, in an already taped interview.
Obama skipped last night’s Gridiron dinner, a staple of the Beltway’s old media culture. He was the first president in decades to miss the event, choosing instead to spend the weekend with his daughters, who are on spring break from their school.
Vice President Joe Biden, who had to share the spotlight with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, appeared in his stead, reportedly bringing down the house at the formally off-the-record event by joking that the president was off contemplating Easter, a holiday which he thinks is about him.
Obama is actually contemplating his administration’s new plan to deal with the banks’ toxic assets problem, new regulations on the behavior of financial institutions, including executive compensation, and US strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE – SUNDAY. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was a hit at last night’s Gridiron dinner, formally off-the-record, with jokes about President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, bipartisanship, Rush Limbaugh, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and, naturally, himself.
The former action superstar appears today on Meet The Press, which was recorded on Friday. He and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell all promoted infrastructure investment and backed the Obama economic recovery program.
Schwarzenegger said he would be open to a gas tax increase, if passed by the voters, to pay for more transportation and other infrastructure spending.
UPDATE: Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver returned to California at mid-day.
In his weekly video/radio address, President Barack Obama discusses his town hall meetings in California and his budget priorities.
** OBAMA TODAY – SATURDAY. President Barack Obama is at Camp David, the presidential retreat, this weekend. He and First Lady Michelle Obama are there with daughters Sasha and Malia, who are in the midst of their school’s spring break.
In a break with tradition, Obama is not addressing tonight’s Gridiron Dinner. This is a longtime media institution in Washington, a formally light-hearted affair which is nonetheless off the record. Which doesn’t stop reports from seeping out, and I will have some for you.
Vice President Joe Biden is going in Obama’s stead, though he would have been there anyway.
Continuing his practice of frequently going over the heads of the Washington press corps, Obama appears Sunday night on the CBS news program 60 Minutes.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is far from the real power in the country – largely dismissed yesterday’s Obama video message to the Iranian people for the traditional Persian new year. Not enough change, says Khamenei, who was falsely reported to be dead two years ago in the far right media.
Nevertheless, Iran is participating with the US in two international conferences between now and the end of the month on Afghanistan. Outstanding issues between the US and Iran include the question of how many Taliban would participate in Afghanistan’s governance (Iran is very anti-Taliban), Iran’s power in the region, and Iran’s nuclear program.
Obama will be going over the upcoming Afghanistan strategy review this weekend at Camp David. The new US strategy for Afghanistan was to have been unveiled this week. Now it looks like next week.
President George W. Bush in his last appearance at the Gridiron dinner. This is pirated video, as the event is off the record.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE – SATURDAY. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Washington today.
Schwarzenegger is holding private meetings during the day.
Tonight he is a marquee speaker at the Gridiron Dinner, an annual institution of Washington’s old guard media.
President Obama, in a break with tradition, is skipping the affair. Vice President Joe Biden is the other major speaker of the evening. Former President Bush’s appearance at last year’s affair, minus the song, can be seen above.
The event is off the record, notwithstanding the fact that it is put on by an organization of journalists, but reports always manage to seep out and I’ll have something for you.
Yesterday, Schwarzenegger, joined by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, met with Obama for the second time in two days, this time in the White House.
Schwarzenegger, Rendell, and Bloomberg then held a press conference outside the White House to discuss their support and ideas for the Obama economic recovery plan and their Building America’s Future infrastructure investment group.
On Sunday, Schwarzenegger appears on Meet The Press with Bloomberg and Rendell.
** OBAMA’S CALIFORNIA: THE ARNOLD ALLIANCE AND MORE. President Barack Obama is back in the East after a whirlwind visit to California which pointed up his strengths and suggested some things he can do differently.
Polling shows that Obama, who crushed John McCain here last November, 61% to 37%, is the only really popular politician in California now. The state is wracked by the recession, which took hold here earlier than most other places, and hampered by a largely dysfunctional state Capitol.
As important as Obama is for California, so, too, is California for Obama. …
** CNBC CAN SEE RUSSIA FROM ITS HOUSE, AND OTHER FIN DE SIECLE FOLLIES. CNBC can see Russia from its house. It’s just one example of a fin de siecle folly, albeit one of the the most recent and dramatic.
This is clearly end-of-an-era time, but some of the old era standbys haven’t gotten the memo. Or been able to read it. …
** OUR MAN IN KABUL: BACKBITING ON THE EVE OF THE NEW OBAMA STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN. With the Obama Administration’s strategic review of the Afghanistan crisis nearly complete — the report should be out sometime next week — the Afghan government seems pretty unhappy.
And not just about the situation in the country, which is not good, with successful Taliban attacks taking place even in the capital city of Kabul.
The current government, under the Bush/Cheney Administration’s choice for president, Hamid Karzai, seems disgruntled about a likely change in direction under President Barack Obama.
Publicly, Karzai supports Obama. But some of his top officials this week undermined likely key elements in the new strategy. …
** OBAMA’S DARING TOUR D’HORIZON: THE NEW PRESIDENT ENGAGES MULTIPLE CRISES AND PROBES FOR OPPORTUNITY. In the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression, President Barack Obama is making major moves elsewhere. That doesn’t mean he’s not focused on the domestic economy; quite the contrary. To follow the conventional media, he’s doing little else. What it does mean is he pursuing a big agenda in geopolitics.
If the economic crisis were not so grave and the conventional media so insular, any one of these moves would be big news. …
** WHITHER WATCHMEN? IS THIS BIG, DARK, GEEKY, LEFTY MOVIE THE NEXT COMIC BOOK BLOCKBUSTER? … From my March 9th column.
** THE TROUBLE WITH TWITTER: WHY “TWEETS” ARE LIKE “BLIPVERTS.” … From my March 5th 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.
** 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 at $52.07 per barrel on Friday. Energy markets are closed on the weekend.
This is up about $18 a barrel, since enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, on anticipation of increased economic activity down the line, and on increased implementation of already agreed upon OPEC production cutbacks to support the price.
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