In remarks to the Summit of the Americas on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, President Barack Obama proposed a fresh start, including relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
** OBAMA TODAY – SUNDAY. President Barack Obama finished up at the Summit of the Americas earlier today on the island of Trinidad and has departed Port of Spain Piarco International Airport en route to Andrews Air Force Base on Air Force One.
Earlier this morning, he participated in various summit meetings with the 30-odd heads of state in attendance, then held a news conference at the Hilton Hotel on Trinidad.
Obama noted that he has serious differences with such hemispheric leaders as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Cuban President Raul Chavez (who was not allowed to attend), and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
Ortega delivered a 50-minute stemwinder blasting the US for its past of conducting a thinly disguised proxy war in the 1980s against Ortega and the then Sandinista revolutionary movement after it ousted Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza. Asked to comment about Ortega’s speech, Obama noted only that it was very long. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would not comment on the Ortega statement, twice declaring how much she enjoyed the summit’s cultural presentation.
Obama is scheduled to land at Andrews Air Force Base at 3 PM Pacific. There he will embark aboard the Marine One helicopter and return to the White House.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE – SUNDAY. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has no public events today.
Schwarzenegger flies to Detroit later in the day. On Monday, he delivers the keynote address to the annual international conference of the society of automotive engineers. At that event, he will call for fundamental changes in automotive technology to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.
The California Republican Party executive committee voted on Saturday to oppose all six state budget compromise-related initiatives on the May 19th special elections ballot. This includes not only Prop 1A, which has a new state spending limit, budget rainy day fund, and extension of temporary tax hikes for budget balancing purposes, but also the last three inititiatives, all of which are Republican ideas. Namely, to move tax revenues out of special funds for early childhood development and mental health, as well as a cap on legislative pay during budget deficit years.
The chairman of the state party initiatives committee that urged opposition to all initiatives is a fellow named Mike Spence, head of the far right California Republican Assembly, who had some unintentionally amusing exchanges here on NWN when he alleged that then Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez was “a Marxist.”
Given that it is currently under the sway of a far right faction, the only surprise would have come had the CRP not voted to oppose the initiatives.
** THE STATE OF PLAY OF STATE OF PLAY. State of Play is a political thriller wrapped inside a journalistic thriller that works better as the latter.
It’s a good film with a strong cast that is based on a better BBC miniseries which is better cast than this American remake. Which is not the same as having a better cast.
The big bad here is a Blackwater-like security outfit called Pointcorp. In a sign of how the mighty have fallen, Blackwater already had to change its name to the faintly prepostereous Xe, so bad has its reputation become in the wake of being banned from Iraq. In a further sign, In a further sign, a Blackwater equivalent is the big bad — so far, at least — on this season of the longtime hit thriller series 24.
Which starts to get at a problem with the movie. There’s something very familiar about it, which may be inevitable as the story gets condensed into the customary thriller elements.
In the 2003 British miniseries, the big bad was an energy corporation. Which may actually be more timely than poor old Blackwater at this point, though it probably seemed very timely a few years ago when the American remake was being conceived. …
** OBAMA TODAY – SATURDAY. President Barack Obama is participating in the Summit of the Americas held in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
The time on the island of Trinidad is the same as Eastern Daylight Time.
After introductory remarks, Obama has already attended the first plenary session of the 34-nation summit and done the official picture taking with the other heads of state.
At 9:30 AM Pacific, Obama attends the summit’s working lunch.
At 11:30 AM Pacific, Obama attends the summit’s second plenary session.
At 5 PM Pacific, Obama attends the summit’s official dinner and cultural show.
Trinidad was a longtime British colony. It’s southernmost island in the Caribbean Ocean, and is just seven miles off the northeastern coast of Venezuela.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a one-time paratroop colonel who seized power in a coup, gives President Barack Obama a book about foreign exploitation of Latin America.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a darling of the far left who was notably anti-American during the Bush/Cheney years, exchanged a warm handshake and greeting with Obama yesterday and presented him with a book about Latin America, detailing, among other things, a list of grievances against Yanqui imperialism.
Chavez, a rather dictatorial figure who does nonetheless win elections in Venezuela, is probably an even more problematic character for Obama to deal with than the Castro brothers in Cuba.
In his weekend video/radio address, President Barack Obama discusses the federal budget and some ideas for new efficiencies in a budget that is nonetheless greatly expanding in the near term.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE – SATURDAY. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell hold a press conference on Saturday to announce that California is the first state in the nation to be approved for a share of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund dollars within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The press conference is at Cabrillo High School in Long Beach.
** OBAMA AND MEXICO: MANAGING INCIPIENT CHAOS. Another country, another crisis. President Barack Obama summited yesterday in Mexico City with President Felipe Calderon, pledging to help Mexico’s elected government beat back the challenge of powerful drug cartels that increasingly out-gun Mexican security forces. But Obama’s measures will only manage the incipient chaos, not end it.
Which has actually long been typical of America’s policies with regard to Mexico.
In his 1981 book “The Nine Nations of North America,” author Joel Garreau referred to the Border Patrol as “a regulatory agency.” In the sense that it was not set up to halt illegal immigration from Mexico but to manage it. To make it difficult enough to prevent an open border scenario, but not so difficult as to prevent American businesses from benefiting from the efficiencies of an influx of cheap labor, even as American social institutions struggled to provide services. …
** EARL GREY, ANYONE? A CALIFORNIA CAPITOL TEA PARTY. Before a crowd that organizers claimed was 15,000 to 20,000, but these experienced ex-advance man’s eyes saw as about 3,000, a parade of right-wing personalities used tax day to decry taxation, government, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and President Barack Obama with a rally outside California’s state Capitol in Sacramento.
The event, like other so-called tea parties around the country, was heavily promoted by the Fox News channel, right-wing talk radio hosts, and the right-wing blogosphere. …
If you are wondering what Fox News is doing organizing anti-administration rallies around the country, its obvious strategy is to aggregate all the already existing opponents of Obama into one audience. …
American freighter captain Richard Phillips, rescued last Sunday from Somali pirates by U.S. Navy Seals, arrived home yesterday in Vermont.
** OBAMA’S CRISIS MANAGEMENT: OF PIRATES AND MISSILES. Barack Obama’s management of two flashpoint crises — both relatively minor but caught up in the now typical hysteria of our media culture — gives us some good clues about his crisis management style.
The just concluded hostage crisis off the coast of Somalia and the launch early this month of a new North Korean missile showed Obama in “no drama” mode, determined to avoid distraction and continue with his core messaging strategy.
Obama actually took a lower profile public role with the more consequential of the two crises, the Somali pirate hostage crisis, than he did with the North Korean missile launch. But he seems to have spent more time behind the scenes on the crisis on which he spent the least amount of time before the cameras. …
** OBAMA’S NEW GEOPOLITICS: 10 KEY TAKEAWAYS. President Barack Obama’s just concluded big international tour is part of a major reshuffling in geopolitics. Here are 10 key takeaways from happenings in and around his trip. … From my April 9th column.
** TURKEY: NOT THE USUAL GEOPOLITICAL SANDWICH. … From April 6th column.
** RE-SETTING THE GEOPOLITICAL TABLE: HOW OBAMA’S BIG TRIP IS GOING. … From my April 3rd column.
** AFGHANISTAN: THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM? … From my March 30th column.
** PRIME TIME O: HOW THE OMNIPRESENT PRESIDENT IS DOING. … From my March 25th column.
** OBAMA’S RUGGED WEEK. … From my March 23rd column.
** OBAMA’S CALIFORNIA: THE ARNOLD ALLIANCE AND MORE. … From my March 20th column.
** CNBC CAN SEE RUSSIA FROM ITS HOUSE, AND OTHER FIN DE SIECLE FOLLIES. …From my March 16th column.
** OUR MAN IN KABUL: BACKBITING ON THE EVE OF THE NEW OBAMA STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN. … From my March 13th column.
** OBAMA’S DARING TOUR D’HORIZON: THE NEW PRESIDENT ENGAGES MULTIPLE CRISES AND PROBES FOR OPPORTUNITY. … From my March 11th 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. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil closed at $50.33 per barrel on Friday. Energy markets are closed on the weekend.
This is up about $16 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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