New York Governor David Paterson announced today that he will not seek re-election as it emerged he had intervened in a domestic violence scandal involving a close aide. Paterson is the second New York governor to go down in the past two years. And they say that California politics is dysfunctional.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … THE CALIFORNIA AS FIRST “FAILED STATE” DEBATE: SCHWARZENEGGER, DAVIS, WHITMAN, AND JERRY BROWN.
** QUICK HITS. What’s next on national health care reform following yesterday’s big Blair House summit? President Barack Obama is working it out and will have more to say next week. … Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in Washington today for meetings and speeches, said that the US doesn’t see the Iranian nuclear program as the same sort of existential threat as the Jewish state does. But that a tough new sanctions regime will be helpful. … After no small amount of huffing and puffing (and no large amount, either) during an emergency session, the California Legislature ends up sending less than 10% of the needed $20 billion in solutions to the state’s chronic budget crisis down to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Exciting. …
** WHITMAN STARTS ATTACK TV ADS AGAINST … POIZNER. Evidently billionaire Meg Whitman has stopped trying to clear the Republican primary field for governor of California. With super-rich rival Steve Poizner, the state insurance commissioner, filing his papers on Monday, the former McCain/Palin campaign co-chair and eBay CEO has four short (15-second) TV ads attacking Poizner up and running.
The move comes only a few days after Whitman rolled out her second TV ad of the campaign, a gauzy positive spot featuring various people who’ve been on her payroll, who go unidentified in the spot, extolling her virtues as a corporate executive. Now she’s going negative on a candidate who hasn’t run any advertising yet, over whom she has a large lead in primary polling.
After learning of Whitman’s new tack from a report last night on Bay Area TV station KTVU, which had received the ads to air this weekend, the Poizner campaign preemptively attacked Whitman in a press release as a liberal masqueraging as a conservative for supposedly backing Barbara Boxer and Al Gore. Whitman denies any involvment with Gore, though contemporaneous press reports have her as a Gore supporter. She could not have voted for Gore as she was not registered to vote during the 2000 presidential election.
Of course, the Whitman ads attack Poizner for much the same thing, supposedly being a liberal disguised as a conservative.
The ads, which you can view here on Whitman’s new anti-Poizner web site, cantruststeve.com, are evidently meant to be funny and memorable. They make broad charges in an arguably humorous way about Poizner.
Frankly, they looked to me like fake ads, er, web ads. But they really are on the air.
Each appears to be running by itself, they are not back-to-back, though some are apparently sandwiching an unrelated non-political spot. So what the viewer sees, amidst the cacophony of regular 30-second TV ads, is something out of the blue, gone before he or she can focus in, perhaps followed by another hitlet.
Since Poizner is not on the air, and is not really very well known, the context for these ads seems elusive.
But one thing is for sure. Nobody gets a commission on a web ad. Jai alai, anyone?
** WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL SECRETARY, CRITICIZED OVER INFAMOUS PARTY CRASHING INCIDENT AT OBAMA’S FIRST STATE DINNER, IS LEAVING. This past Thanksgiving, I wrote this column — “Heads Should Roll Over Obama State Dinner Security Breach” — about the outrageous gatecrashing incident at the then just held first White House State Dinner of the Obama Administration. I didn’t name any names, but one of the obvious folks was White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers.
Rogers had acted more as a guest than a staffer at the dinner, neglecting as it turned out to station White House staff at the first internal security checkpoint.
The proverbial decent interval has passed, and now Rogers is leaving the White House.
** NEW POLL: AMERICANS THINK MILITARY DOMINANCE WILL SLIP AWAY AND ARE BECOMING USED TO A PERMANENT WAR FOOTING. A new Gallup Poll today shows that while most believe the U.S. Armed Forces to be the premiere military power on the planet, most believe that will not be the case in 20 years.
The results also indicate that Americans are getting used to the nation being on a permanent war footing.
An overwhelming majority believes that U.S. forces will be engaged in combat in various parts of the world for the next 20 years.
The poll does not indicate, nor ask, which nation or organization is believed to be in position to match or surpass the U.S. in military power.
While 64% of Americans believe the U.S. is the No. 1 military power in the world today, many fewer (36%) believe that the U.S. will be No. 1 militarily in 20 years. At the same time, most Americans believe the U.S. will continue to have combat troops regularly involved in fighting around the world over the next two decades. …
In addition to assessing Americans’ views of the status of U.S. military strength in 20 years compared with today, the poll asked Americans about their expectations of U.S. military involvement in combat situations over the next two decades.
Given a choice between the two scenarios outlined in the question, more than two-thirds of Americans (67%) say they believe active military involvement of U.S. combat troops will be the norm over the next two decades. That’s more than twice as many as believe there will be long periods of time in which the U.S. is not actively involved in combat (30%). …
As was the case for views of U.S. military involvement in the decades ahead, there are few partisan differences in views of the U.S. military’s “No. 1″ status, either current or future.
Given the nature of these findings, it might be tempting to hypothesize that Americans’ pessimism about the nation’s military superiority is connected to their beliefs that the U.S. will be engaged in continuous combat situations over that period.
This does not, however, appear to be the case. Analysis shows that Americans who think the U.S. will be regularly involved militarily are no less likely to say that the U.S. will be No. 1 militarily in 20 years than are those who believe the U.S. will not be regularly involved in combat.
The deep divide between Democrats and Republicans was on sharp display in yesterday’s national health care reform summit.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington today.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
At 8:35 AM Pacific, Obama meets with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
At 11 AM Pacific, Obama and Biden meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.
At 1:40 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks and signs an executive order for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the East Room.
On his own, Biden meets today with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in the Roosevelt Room and then has lunch with geopolitical experts.
Yesterday was the big national health care reform summit with leading members of Congress from both parties at Blair House.
Expectations for agreement were low and the event did not fail to live down to those expectations. Which can’t have surprised Obama.
As discussed here on Monday, Obama has rolled out his version of the national health care bill, drawing heavily on the Senate bill with sweeteners through the House to be achieved through the budget reconciliation process, a majority vote procedure which circumvents the Senate filibuster.
Republican leaders rejected that approach in advance of yesterday’s high-stakes health care summit. Now Obama and Democratic congressional leaders are figuring their next moves.
As the national health care maneuvering continues, Obama is also managing geopolitical crises in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran.
The Afghan Taliban reacted to a string of setbacks today by launching another strike in the heart of Kabul. This is a classic pattern, a reminder that the group is very much alive and able to dispense death.
In Pakistan, officials are reportedly refusing to turn over recently captured Afghan Taliban leaders to Afghanistan or America. This may mean that they are in a sort of limbo, still enjoying a safe haven in Pakistan albeit one with walls and bars. Or it may mean that Pakistan is using torture to obtain intelligence information.
In Iraq, campaigning for next month’s national parliamentary elections is going forward. But without most of the Sunni candidates disqualified by one-time neocon fave rave Ahmed Chalabi, recently identified by General Ray Odierno as an agent of influence for Iran. Chalabi was the original favorite of the Bush/Cheney White House to be prime minister of Iraq following the 2003 invasion.
That would have been interesting.
The Taliban dealt with the capture of much of their leadership and the U.S.-led offensive against the stronghold city of Marjah by attacking inside the Afghan capital of Kabul. Suicide bombers struck Kabul hotels today. The blasts and ensuing gunbattles killed at least 17 people and injured dozens, many of them Indian citizens.
And in Iran, the regime is close to declaring its pro-democracy protesting opposition as agents of foreign powers. Yesterday it paraded a captured armed opposition leader before the cameras. He proclaimed that the CIA offered him a base and major funding to fight the Tehran regime.
Maneuvering around the Iranian nuclear program continues.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Los Angeles today.
At 9:30 AM, Schwarzenegger will hold a press conference to sign AB 510 by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) that will raise the requirement on net metering in California, further promoting investment by home and business owners in solar energy.
The event will take place on the roof of Macy’s in Culver City.
** SO WHO IS THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL FRONTRUNNER ANYWAY? PALIN, ROMNEY, PAUL (!) … Okay, so exactly who is the Republican presidential frontrunner now? Sarah Palin, the Tea Party darling/best-selling “author?” Mitt Romney, the moneybags ex-Massachusetts governor knocked out in the 2008 California and Florida primaries by John McCain? Mike Huckabee, the creationist talk show host who was the distant runner-up of 2008? Ron Paul, the cranky libertarian who embarrassingly actually won this past weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) over previous winner Romney? … From my February 23rd column.
** MAD MEN: THE STREAK CONTINUES. … From my February 22nd column.
** 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. … From my February 19th column.
** TONY BLAIR’S GHOST (WRITER). … 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. … 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.
** 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 is trading around $78 per barrel.
This is up about $44 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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