White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is expected to leave his post and return home to run for mayor of Chicago. There is one emerging glitch, however. His tenant doesn’t want to move out of his house.
** QUICK HITS. A federal appeals court today stayed a temporary injunction issued by a federal judge against human embryonic stem cell research. This will allow federal research to continue pending the outcome of the case. California presently has the world’s biggest stem cell research program, which will only grow in importance if the federal program is blocked. … Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state legislative leaders did not hold a “Big 5″ meeting today on the record late state budget impasse. Schwarzenegger wants public pension reform and Republican legislators want tax breaks for cable and oil companies. … You can watch the Jerry Brown vs. Meg Whitman gubernatorial debate from 6 to 7 PM tonight on this UC Davis web site.
** CALIFORNIA 2010: DEBATE DAY, AND A NOTABLE PUBLIC RE-EMERGENCE IN THE JERRY BROWN CAMP. Tonight, at UC Davis, is the first debate between Jerry Brown and billionaire Meg Whitman.
It may be a dramatic event tonight, or it may not. I tend to think the latter. Debates are usually over-hyped, generally by the press itself, like conventions. Yet more information will seep into the news flow, and thus into the minds of voters.
I expect Brown to do well, but I don’t expect Whitman to embarrass herself.
Both candidates are prepping for the debate, of course, with Whitman cramming to be able to speak beyond her pre-programmed soundbites. Fortunately for her, the format — the usual moderator and reporter panel — will short-circuit any extended deep debate.
Brown is prepping, too, but he participated in a lengthy ceremony this morning in the Council Room of the Governor’s Office with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, then held a press availability in the hallway outside, next to the big bear statue that Schwarzenegger installed there.
The two performed the annual ritual this morning of awarding the Medal of Valor to deserving heroes from the ranks of California’s public safety officers, with Schwarzenegger draping a medal around each recipient’s neck and Brown handing over the winner’s plaque. It was quite moving, especially since some of the tales of heroism were very hair-raising.
For their parts, Schwarzenegger and Brown heaped praise upon one another, with Schwarzenegger nearly referring to the attorney general as the governor, calling him lieutenant governor instead.
As the ceremony went on, the keen observer may have noticed a cherubic-looking man well off to Brown’s right, in a corner of the room next to the entrance to the corridor leading to Schwarzenegger’s inner sanctum. But I doubt that most knew who he was. Indeed, one of Schwarzenegger’s top aides asked me later about “this Tom Quinn fellow” who had accompanied Brown in to see Schwarzenegger prior to the ceremony.
While Brown, sounding relaxed and confident outside the Governor’s Office after the awards ceremony, spoke to the assembled reporters, saying nothing especially noteworthy but sounding reassuring, Quinn was very far off to the side, nowhere near the cameras. Then, with the questions asked and mostly answered, the press dispersing, Brown joined Quinn and the two of them got in an elevator by themselves, heading up.
Tom Quinn, who has never been mentioned in any press reports about Brown, was his first campaign manager and is probably his longest-standing advisor. Quinn connected with Brown before he ran for office, and was his campaign manager in his races for the Los Angeles Community College Board in 1969, California Secretary of State in 1970, and Governor of California in 1974.
After Brown was elected governor, Quinn became a member of his Cabinet and head of the state Air Resources Board. Later, he returned to the private sector.
Here is an interesting little profile of Quinn from Tom Hayden’s extremely long profile of then Governor-elect Brown, “The Mystic and the Machine: California’s Young Governor,” which appeared in the December 19th, 1974 issue of Rolling Stone:
Campaign manager Tom Quinn is not a nice guy either, though at 30 he still looks like a cherub. Denizens of the L.A. political swamps call him a “real Quinn,” in reference to his father Joe, one of the meanest political figures of the Sixties. Joe was Mayor Sam Yorty’s deputy, a hatchet man who seems to have passed on certain skills to son Tom. He also purchased the prosperous City News Service which employed his son until young Tom started the fast-growing Radio News West. In those days, the late Sixties, Tom hooked up with reporters Doug Faigen and Llew Werner who finally ended up with him as the Brown press men.
College education at Northwestern plus some affluence and his youth make Tom Quinn far more liberal and affable than his old man. He is to the soft world of the media what Maullin is to the hard world of the computer. And further, the media environment in which he was raised is to Quinn clearly what jungles are to the guerrilla. He knows how to package a story with the right emphasis and timing, and did so repeatedly for Brown when he was secretary of state.
The media for Quinn is virtually a new context of politics, transcending the old framework of interest groups. While accepting the existence of the Democratic party, like most Brown people, he privately thinks very little of its internal structure. “All you need is money and media, and you go right over their heads. The party’s irrelevant.”
While Quinn is more or less free of the muck of party politics, the context in which he moves is ominous for the future. The ward office is replaced by the television studio, the backroom by the makeup chamber, stumping by television ads. Little of it is subject to public control, and it can utilize a whole range of images and stimuli never available in old-time politics. It is a political marketplace in which “the people” are inevitably defined as consumers who are alternately studied and aroused.
Not that Quinn is merely an ad man. He is sensitive to questions of the war, the farmworkers, political reform. It was he who skillfully ferreted out the proof that Frank DeMarco had back-dated Nixon’s documents. It is not a question of the sensitivity of a few select individuals, however, but of the political process they evolve. It is not the old process of constituency groups nor the new one of “citizen action” that a Tom Quinn represents, so much as the public relations world of “impressions.” It is the artificial reality of neat daily press releases, brief television spots, instant rebuttals timed for deadlines, positions prepared for effect, all arising not from Jesuit meditation but keen promotional instincts.
Before embarking yesterday on his cross-country economic revival tour, President Barack Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act, which he and Senate Democrats finally got through after breaking a Republican filibuster.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
Obama has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings.
At 9 AM Pacific, Obama meets with an Albuquerque family at a private residence.
At 9:15 AM Pacific, Obama holds a discussion on the economy.
At 11:20 AM Pacific, Obama departs Albuquerque, New Mexico on Air Force One en route to Madison, Wisconsin.
At 1:35 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Madison, Wisconsin.
At 2:30 PM Pacific, Obama attends a Democratic National Committee finance reception at the Concourse Hotel in Madison.
At 4 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC rally at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, a veteran liberal, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic nominee for governor, are in tough election fights.
At 5:20 PM Pacific, Obama departs Madison, Wisconsin on Air Force One en route to Des Moines, Iowa.
At 6:15 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Des Moines, Iowa.
For his part, Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a DNC rally at Pennsylvania State University this afternoon, then does a fundraiser in New York City for Illinois Senatorial candidate Alexi Giannoulias.
Obama is also monitoring geopolitical crises in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq.
The governance situation in Iraq remains unresolved more than six months after national parliamentary elections.
Current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is attempting to hold on to power, having quashed a potential coalition government which did not include him in the premiership. But former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, whose secular Sunni party finished an unexpected first in the March parliamentary elections, vows that Maliki will not be elected again as prime minister. The maneuvering has become as stale as trench warfare in World War I.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger discussed the 50th anniversary of the California Medal of Valor in these remarks last December.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Los Angeles and Sacramento today.
He and Attorney General Jerry Brown present the Medal of Valor, California’s highest award for acts of heroism by public safety officers, to 10 officers from around the state this morning in the Governor’s Council Room.
The event with Schwarzenegger and Brown will be webcast live at 10:30 AM on www.gov.ca.gov.
Brown takes part in a debate tonight with billionaire Republican Meg Whitman from 6 to 7 PM at the University of California at Davis, roughly 15 miles from the State Capitol.
You can watch the debate on this UC Davis web site … http://debate.ucdavis.edu/.
Schwarzenegger will also hold private talks today.
He hopes to lock down and flesh out what his office calls a framework agreement for a new state budget.
Reports indicate that a corporate tax break granted last year would be postponed for a few years and $8 billion in cuts would be adopted.
September 17th broke the all-time record for the longest that the state Legislature has gone without passing a budget.
… THE CALIFORNIA AS FIRST “FAILED STATE” DEBATE: SCHWARZENEGGER, DAVIS, WHITMAN, AND JERRY BROWN. … From my March 2nd column.
Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate in fall 2008, prior to the global economic meltdown, with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included. You can listen to my video webchat last year with Schwarzenegger here. It covers most of the major issues and also reveals his cameo in the latest Terminator movie.
** WHY ON EARTH WOULD JERRY BROWN WANT TO BE GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA? Why on earth would Jerry Brown want to be governor of California?
Back on that zany ’60s TV series The Wild Wild West, the two agents discovered that the governor of California was an impostor, installed by an art collector out to steal state money in order to buy the Mona Lisa. Hey, there’ve certainly been worse reasons to pursue the governorship of the not so Golden State.
But even though Jerry Brown is an aficionado of Leonardo da Vinci, we know that can’t be his motivation. The state government simply doesn’t have the money.
So why does Brown, who’s taking a lead in the latest polling over billionaire Meg Whitman, whom he finally debates for the first time on Tuesday night, his Zen rope-a-dope strategy beginning to pay off, want to be governor (again)?
Perhaps it’s the implacably intractable forces he’s likely to deal with. Brown has pledged to convene talks for the next state budget within 10 days of the November election. Which only makes sense, since the current state budget still hasn’t been enacted. After all, there’s nothing quite like banging your head against a wall.
Gray Davis was unable to govern as soon as he won re-election against Bill Simon in 2002. Davis, who I’ve known for decades, is happier now than he was as governor.
Arnold Schwarzenegger had a longer run, but lately has been hemmed in by the same dynamics that hamstrung Davis.
A few years ago, when it became evident that Brown — California’s attorney general, a former two-term governor of the state, two-term mayor of gritty Oakland, and two-time runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination — was seriously contemplating a return to the office he held as a young man in the 1970s and early 1980s, I asked him why he wanted to return to what I rather indecorously described as the clown show. … From my September 27th essay.
** OBAMA STRUGGLES WITH FEAR OF “THIRD WORLD AMERICA” AMIDST MEDIA AND BANDWIDTH CHALLENGES. Less than six weeks before crucial national mid-term elections, Barack Obama, the wide bandwidth president dealing with the narrow bandwidth media, is in a real quandary. He’s enacted one of the most sweeping agendas in recent memory, but gets relatively little credit for himself and, more importantly at the moment, his Democratic allies. Indeed, many worry that the nation is sliding into what Arianna Huffington in her latest book calls Third World America. …
When Obama and his team took office, America was poised at the edge of the abyss. We’ve pulled back from that precipice, but the recovery is sluggish at best, the mood sour, and Obama gets precious little credit for helping avert an economic apocalypse.
In addition to whatever deficiencies exist in his policies, Obama suffers from pursuing a very wide bandwidth presidency in an era with a very shallow, ADD-oriented, media culture. … From my September 23rd column.
** MAD MEN: “THE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS” REVOLVE AROUND THE NOT SO BEAUTIFUL MEN AND THE NOT SO BEAUTIFUL BIZ. … From my September 20th essay.
** EXPENDABLE ARNOLD: WHAT’S AHEAD FOR SCHWARZENEGGER? Arnold Schwarzenegger was back from his last big trip to Asia as governor of California and sounded pretty sick. But he powered through a Friday appearance giving out the annual awards of his Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport. The overall numbers for the program were pretty impressive, with big increases in fitness activity levels for California schoolkids.
Still, another set of new numbers may have more bearing on Schwarzenegger’s future. Then there’s the usual state budget stalemate and the fights over the fate of the landmark climate change program Schwarzenegger helped enact and whether Jerry Brown or billionaire Republican Meg Whitman — now the biggest spending candidate in American history — will succeed him as governor. … From my September 18th column.
** BILL CLINTON HEARTS JERRY BROWN! (AND OTHER TALES OF INTRIGUE) … From my September 16th feature.
** JERRY BROWN’S OFF TO A ROLLICKING START AGAINST BILLIONAIRE MEG WHITMAN. … From my September 11th feature.
** GARY HART’S NEW MEMOIR SHOWS THE CONTINUITY IN CONTEMPORARY HISTORY. … From my September 9th essay.
** MAD MEN: “THE SUITCASE” IS TOUGHER THAN SONNY LISTON. … From my September 6th essay.
** ENTER THE MOONBEAM. … From my September 3rd feature.
** MAD MEN MAKES THE ALL-TIME TELEVISION PANTHEON, AND UNSPOOLS ANOTHER FINE EPISODE. … From my September 1st essay.
** HARSH REALM: THE MEG WHITMAN PROGRAM FOR FUTURE CALIFORNIA. … From my August 30th feature.
** 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.
** 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 $77 per barrel.
This is up about $43 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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