Fox News and talk radio raver Glenn Beck delivered the keynote address at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington yesterday. Here he gives a new spin on the Statue of Liberty, claiming that the statue and the Emma Lazarus poem associated with it is not so much a welcome to immigrants as it is a boast about America’s superiority over Europe. Actually, the statue was a gift to America from France, a symbol from one new republic shaking off monarchy to a more established republic. And the poem, which was only attached to the statue years after its completion, is a paean to America’s welcoming nature.
** OBAMA TODAY – SUNDAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington today.
Obama has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
At 4:10 PM Pacific, he and First Lady Michelle Obama host the Governors Ball at the White House.
The event honors the governors of the nation’s 50 states, who are in Washington for the National Governos Association meeting.
Obama is monitoring geopolitical crises in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran.
In Afghanistan, the allied offensive in the southern Afghanistan Taliban stronghold of Marjah continues slowly, so as to avoid civilian casualties.
In Pakistan, government officials say they will build their own generation of drone aircraft and missiles to take on jihadist elements.
In Iraq, a leading Sunni party is boycotting next month’s national parliamentary elections in the wake of the banning of hundreds of Sunni candidates for supposed past ties to Saddam Hussein.
In Iran, government officlals are coming up with yet another version of having uranium enriched abroad, without shipping out the uranium already in place.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE – SUNDAY. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Washington today.
At 12 noon Pacific, he chairs the National Governors Association Economic Development and Commerce Committee meeting at the J.W. Marriott Hotel. The meeting will focus on infrastructure investment and transportation.
At 4:10 PM Pacific, he attends the Governors Ball at the White House, hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
He appears today on ABC’s This Week, accompanied by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. The show airs at various times around the country. With New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, they co-chair Building America’s Future, a group pushing for more infrastructure investment.
On the show, Schwarzenegger says that the worst is over with the economy and that it is slowly recovering.
He also rips Republicans, who trash the economic recovery act and show up at ribbon cutting ceremonies eager to take credit for specific projects.
In his weekend video/radio address, President Barack Obama, using the shockingly high rate hike by Anthem Blue Cross rolled out in California as a prime example, points to huge premium hikes from health insurance companies already making massive profits as further proof of the need for reform. Looking ahead to the bipartisan meeting with congressional leaders on February 25th, he urges a negotiation in good faith.
** OBAMA TODAY – SATURDAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington today.
He has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office
He has no scheduled public events.
Obama is monitoring the U.S. led offensive against the Taliban stronghold of Marjah in southern Afghanistan and the percolating crisis around Iran’s nuclear program. The Obama Administration is working on international support for a new round of sanctions against the Iranian regime unless it relents.
In a positive sign in the Marjah offensive, some 200 Afghan police were helicoptered into the city today to help keep order in its secured portions.
The offensive has been underway for a week, and has many days to go. The U.S., British, Canadian, and Afghan forces involved are taking care to avoid civilian casualties, as an Afghan civilian infrastructure management team is waiting to be airlifted in and it will need popular support for the operation to be successful.
Obama is also confronted with a problem in his appointee as the new special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a 57-nation group of Islamic nations.
Rashad Hussain, the 31-year old deputy associate White House counsel Obama named as special envoy, has had to walk back some intemperate statements he made as a law student in 2004 about Bush/Cheney Administration prosecutions of domestic terror suspects.
On Thursday in the Oregon State Capitol, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski for the signing of a hard-won agreement on Klamath River water and fisheries.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE – SATURDAY. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Washington today.
He has no scheduled public events.
He is in Washington for the National Governors Association meeting.
Schwarzenegger appears on ABC’s This Week on Sunday. He and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell will talk up their Building America’s Future project, promoting infrastructure investment.
In 2006, Schwarzenegger secured the passage of the biggest infrastructure program in California since the 1960s heyday of the late Governor Pat Brown.
On Monday, Schwarzenegger meets with President Barack Obama, both as part of the NGA and individually with the president in the Oval Office.
Meanwhile, back in California, the super-rich Republicans who are trying to succeed Schwarzenegger as governor — billionaire Meg Whitman and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner — will try to conform a little more closely to the Scott Brown template for appealing to a mostly Democratic state. It’s pretty amusing.
They will do this at Southern California’s Fontana Speedway, where the Nascar circuit has lighted for the weekend.
Whitman will wave the green flag on today’s junior varsity race.
Poizner will ride in the pace car in Sunday’s main event.
Unlike Whitman, who famously posed with a horse last year, and Poizner, Schwarzenegger is no stranger to auto racing. In fact, he’s a racing enthusiast. He’s been to Fontana many times.
Attorney General Jerry Brown was invited also, but is leaving the blue collar posturing to the super-rich candidates.
** THE BIGGEST SPENDING RACE IN AMERICA IS UNDERWAY! (WELL, SORT OF.) The biggest spending race in America is fully underway! Or not.
That would be the California governor’s race. With billionaire Meg Whitman, the ex-eBay CEO and national co-chair of the McCain/Palin campaign, spending like a Russian oligarch, it’s inevitable that this will be the most expensive race in the country. But aside from Whitman blanketing the state for months with her robotic ads, it’s not there yet.
Her trailing Republican primary rival, super-rich state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, figuring that the primary election is in June, is sitting on a near $20 million campaign warchest. He hasn’t come close to running an ad. State Attorney General Jerry Brown, the storied maverick Democrat who won his party’s nomination by quietly clearing the field last year, is sitting on the $13 million he’s raised. And Democratic independent expenditure committees, launched with a flourish last week — complete with press reports of $40 million in advertising about to be unleashed against Whitman — are, in reality, still getting organized.
Which hasn’t stopped the Whitman campaign — trailing Brown, used to trying to control everything and, faced with a much diminished state press corps, used to getting away with it — from looking rather rattled. For one thing, the aloof former Goldman Sachs board member, no doubt painfully aware that super-rich business people are not exactly wildly popular and that she in no way fits the Scott Brown profile for success in a largely Democratic state, is going to a Nascar race to show her common touch. For another, her operatives reacted to the ballyhooed emergence of what are actually nascent Democratic committees as though they’d been jabbed by a hot poker. …
** TONY BLAIR’S GHOST (WRITER). Roman Polanski’s new film, The Ghost Writer, had its world premiere on Friday at the Berlin Film Festival and is getting good early reviews. Count it as more bad news for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Blair complained last week on Fox News — a few days before the film premiered, in fact — that his widely panned January appearance in London before the Chilcot Inquiry into the origins of the Iraq War stirred up so much negativity because people are hungry for conspiracy involving him.
If that is so, this is the movie. … From my February 16th column.
** THE MACHINATIONS OF MEG WHITMAN: BEHIND HER ATTEMPTS TO ELIMINATE COMPETITION AND HER WHOPPER ABOUT HOW LONG SHE’S LIVED IN CALIFORNIA. In her spend-whatever-it-takes bid to jump from being a billionaire ex-CEO to the governorship of California, Republican Meg Whitman presents herself and her ideas in very simple, straightforward terms. The reality behind the facade, as we see from her attempts to avoid a primary contest and duck debates and the press, as well as her false claim about herself in her introductory TV ad, is different. … From my February 10th column.
** LOST IN LOST. … From my February 4th essay.
** SELLING MEG WHITMAN: GLITCHES EMERGE IN THE BILLIONAIRE’S PLAN TO ACQUIRE THE CALIFORNIA GOVERNORSHIP. What would Don Draper do? … From my February 2nd column.
** WHAT A DIFFERENCE TWO MONTHS MAKES AS THE FATE OF OBAMA’S PRESIDENCY PLAYS OUT FAR FROM WASHINGTON. … From my January 29th column.
** MAD MEN SWEEPS THE LATEST AWARDS AND LOSES A KEY CHARACTER. … From my January 27th column.
** SCOTT BROWN NEED NOT APPLY: CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS IN THE POST-ARNOLD ERA. … From my January 26th column.
** WHAT SCOTT BROWN KNEW IN 2010 AND BARACK OBAMA KNEW IN 2008. … From my January 22nd column.
** 24 NATION.… From my January 19th column.
** HOW JERRY BROWN CLEARED THE DEMOCRATIC FIELD FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA. … From my December 9th 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, 2009 Huffington Post column.
** HELP FOR HAITI.
** 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 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. 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.
** 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, 2008, crude oil closed on Friday at $79.81 per barrel. Energy markets are closed on the weekend.
This is up about $46 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
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