President Barack Obama, speaking early this morning at the National Academy of Sciences, said that the swine flu outbreak is a cause for concern, but not alarm.
** “AMERICA’S SHERIFF” GETS FIVE-AND-A-HALF YEARS IN PRISON. Former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona, once a major mover in the Republican Party, was sentenced this afternoon to 66 months in prison and a $125,000 fine for witness tampering. He had been charged with conducting a systematic conspiracy to sell his office, but was acquitted on that.
Carona was a key figure in the Orange County conservative machine, close to former state Republican chairman Mike Schroeder, and long employing veteran party official and far right Flash Report publisher Jon Fleischman as his PR man. The Flash Report, which seeks to dictate hyperpartisan doctrine to Republicans, was launched while Fleischman worked on Carona’s public payroll, ostensibly published in the publicist’s spare time.
CNN talk show host Larry King dubbed Carona “America’s Sheriff” in 2002 for helping track down the murderer of a 5-year old girl.
** OBAMA VIEWED AS CHANGE AGENT, NOT TYPICAL POL. A new CBS News/New York Times poll coming out tonight shows that over two-thirds of Americans view the new president as an agent of change, rather than a typical politician.
More than two-thirds of the poll’s respondents call Mr. Obama a different kind of politician, while just 1 in 4 say he is a typical politician. When those who called him different were asked what sets him apart, most said it was more a matter of his style of governing and his personal qualities than his policies.
Majorities of Americans regardless of gender, age, race, education or income view the president as a different sort of politician. But political partisanship does come into play.
The poll was completed yesterday and will be out tonight.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … OBAMA’S AFPAK CRISIS.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … OBAMA’S CALIFORNIA: ANGST AND IRONY FOR SUCCESSFUL DEMOCRATS.
** OBAMA IS THE NATIONAL MEDIA NARRATIVE. The right-wing Washington Times has come to the conclusion that President Barack Obama does not drive the narrative, he is the narrative in the freshly fractured media environment.
As you may have gathered, I came to that conclusion months ago.
** SCHWARZENEGGER REASSURES ON SWINE FLU. In a press conference late this morning, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sought to reassure Californians about the swine flu outbreak, which has shut down public events in Mexico City.
The former action superstar noted that there are only seven confirmed cases thusfar in California, four of them in San Diego County, and all who came down with the flu have recovered.
But I will tell you, NWN is not your go-to site on swine flu. I barely know what it is.
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK.
A big week in presidential politics, though not so big in California politics.
President Barack Obama celebrates his 100th day in office on Wednesday. Oddly enough, he is having a prime time press conference – third of his young presidency – on that very day.
Things are going very well for Obama, as NWN readers have known all along, though he has many challenges.
This week his administration will be dealing with a swine flu outbreak that has shut down public events in Mexico City, the ongoing crisis with the banks, and a gigantic crisis in Pakistan, which has a huge impact on the Afghan War.
I’ll be writing a lot more about the Afghanistan/Pakistan situation, as I have right along.
Democrats are celebrating a notable win in an upstate New York congressional special election. Despite a 75,000-vote Republican registration advantage, and supposed huge inspiration amongst the right-wing base due to the activist Obama Administration, the Democrat emerged victorious in a recount for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s old House seat. And he didn’t even have to be a champion of the NRA, as she was.
Pressure will mount this week on Republican Norm Coleman, the outgoing senator from Minnesota, to concede his race to comedian Al Franken. The former Saturday Night Live star has prevailed in a couple of recounts, the latest overseen by a special judicial panel, and two-thirds of Minnesota voters now say it’s time for him to be seated. But Coleman, egged on by national Republicans, is appealing to yet another court.
In California, former Governor-turned-Attorney General Jerry Brown, with a minimal effort, easily fended off San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s weekend bid to be the star of the California Democratic Party convention. Newsom, a national co-chairman of the Hillary Clinton campaign, tried to cast himself as a California version of Obama in his longshot bid for the governorship. Despite a big, expensive effort, this son and grandson of Brown family retainers, who first gained office by appointment to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, fell short of the mark.
The 2010 California governor’s race returns this week to its customary undramatic mode.
Meanwhile, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his bipartisan allies continue mobilizing for the May 19th special election on six state budget compromise-related initiatives.
And we wait to see if the strange bedfellows opponents coalition of right-wing and left-wing antes up some serious dollars.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama spoke early this morning to the National Academy of Sciences. He talked up his administration’s sci/tech initiatives on energy, computing, and biology and discussed the swine flu outbreak.
Later this morning, he has his daily intelligence and economic briefings and meets with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
At 11 AM Pacific, Obama hosts the University of Connecticut’s women’s national collegiate basketball championship team in the White House and on the South Portico.
At 2 PM Pacific, Obama participates in a reception with various finance and environmental ministers from around the world in the Blue Room of the White House.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine looks like the first big pop culture movie of the year. The movie opens across America on Friday.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appears at the Milken Institute’s annual global conference today at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in LA.
Schwarzenegger will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Michael Milken with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman on the challenges facing states.
Schwarzenegger will do a press conference afterwards at 10:45 AM at the Beverly Hilton on moves he is making around the swine flu outbreak.
Schwarzenegger, incidentally, who told me in my Tuesday afternoon live webchat with him that he planned to appear in the forthcoming Terminator Salvation movie if it worked out technologically – he didn’t act on set – will be appearing in the film in a cameo role via the wonders of digital mapping technology. More to follow on that. You can listen to the conversation here.
** OBAMA’S EARTH DAY ENERGY DECLARATION: CALIFORNIA MAY BE THE NATIONAL MODEL HE SAYS, BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH. President Barack Obama made a big show for Earth Day of his commitment to a much greener energy future, and in the process paid a huge compliment to California for dramatically altering its energy path three decades ago. But even though California, as Obama puts it, shows the rest of America what can be done, it’s not enough.
Obama spoke after touring a wind energy equipment factory, once a Maytag washing machine factory, in Newton, Iowa. While he talked up innovation in new technologies, he noted that, in our history, increases in innovation are generally coupled with big increases in consumption. And that that can lead to disaster.
Obama framed the the development of green energy technology — which includes energy efficiency tech as well as renewable sources such as wind, solar, waves, geothermal, and biomass — as the way out of the usual false choice on the environment. …
** THE REPUBLICAN CHOICE: REACT OR MODERNIZE. It’s been a strange week for the Republican Party, with noisy events pushing the old-time religion, a speech by a prominent consultant urging a new moderation, and back-to-the-future reactions to President Barack Obama’s friendly gestures to Hugo Chavez and other critics of America.
Who will prevail? The reactors or the modernizers? …
** 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, 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. … From my April 18th column.
** 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. … From my April 17th column.
** 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. … From my April 15th column.
** 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. … From my April 13th column.
** 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 my 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.
** 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 is trading around $50 per barrel.
This is up about $16 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, due in part to some positive economic signs and in part to fresh geopolitical jitters over Pakistan.
Your posts are welcome in the Forum.