Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Brown was much more energetic (someone cut off that guy's coffee intake, please) and Whitman came out of the box sounding like she was over-rehearsed.
There were 10 questions plus a closing statement (1 hr.)...
Round by round scoring, courtesy of this ringside judge...
1 - Budget: Brown
2 - Death penalty/crime: Whitman
3 - Jobs: Whitman
4- Public employee pensions/unions: Whitman
5- Experience: SPLIT
6 - Holding the line on cuts/funding for higher education: SPLIT
7- Campaign ads (misleading?): SPLIT
8- Immigration: BROWN
9 - Campaign funding (self vs. special interests): Whitman
10- Water: Whitman
My scorecard: Whitman 4, plus closing; Brown 2; SPLIT 4.
The event, held at UC Davis (not far from Sacramento), was staffed by Sacto area media. The questioning was pretty predictable and weak. At least one question was a direct jab at Whitman.
Both had funny lines. Brown, taken to task by Whitman for his own stake in the state's pension system, said that his longevity (which precludes him tapping into it until he "retires") was a plus...joking that he's "best pension buy California's ever had" since if he wins, he won't collect till 76..or even into his 80s. Whitman's most memorable line: "Putting Brown in charge of pension reform like letting Dracula run blood bank."
Tonight on the John Batchelor Show, I’ll give a quick rundown on the California gubernatorial debate between Meg Whitman (D) and Jerry Brown (D). If you don’t already know, Whitman is the former CEO of eBay (who has “invested” more than $120 million of her own money into her campaign), and Brown is the former two-term governor, three-time Democratic presidential primaries candidate, and current state attorney general. The debate, the first of three scheduled meetings between the two candidates, will be held at UC Davis. The “festivities” are scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. PDT
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Each side has been actively trying to lower expectations for their candidate's performance Tuesday night. Whitman's campaign has pointed to Brown's debate experience dating back to his days on the debate team at St. Ignatius high school in San Francisco. ‘Jerry proved his oratorical abilities by winning the Freshman Elocution and Sophomore Oratorical contests, being chosen on the Silver and Gold Medal Debates,’ reads the text under his yearbook photo. Whitman's only debates were during the Republican primary against Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.”
Most experts aren't expecting much - neither one is stellar when it comes to public oratory (these days) and both are in desperate need of charisma. One wrong word, stumble or major inaccuracy, however, could come back to haunt the candidate. The media will be, of course, looking to pounce on whomever goes off-script or can't handle the line of questioning. But since most of these affairs run according to note, little is likely to be accomplished tonight...
I’ll be on the John Batchelor Show at 9:50 p.m. PDT. Check the show's website or local listings for details...
I hope to see you there!
Monday, September 27, 2010
According to ABC News, “White House officials are preparing for Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to announce on Friday -- as Congress adjourns for recess -- that he is leaving his post to explore a run for mayor of Chicago.”
This comes as no surprise and rumors regarding Emanuel’s desire to be Boss Chicago have been floating for months. “Longtime Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's announcement earlier this month that he would not seek reelection created the opportunity that Emanuel has long been seeking,” the ABC report adds.
As the report points out, there is a great deal of wonder if this is more than typical mid-term burnout – perhaps “a larger shakeup?”
“Emanuel's departure is just of many departures the White House has faced recently, including many from the president's economic team. Last week the White House announced that National Economic Council director Larry Summers is expected to leave the administration after the mid-term elections. Earlier this month Christina Romer resigned as the chairwoman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors. And Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orzsag resigned over the summer as well,” ABC reports. (Anita Dunn, the first communications director, and Desiree Rogers, the social secretary, also resigned.)
Just the latest...
Again, it’s not unusual for administration employees to leave after a year or two – whether it’s to start collecting as lobbyists or members of corporate boards, or because they’re just plain fatigued – but it was atypical to have seen such a large segment (the economic team) leave within months of each other. Of course, these are tough times for the economy and there is a sense the president needs fresh eyes on the game.
If you listen to responses from the White House, Team Obama has been making every effort to convince the media – and voters – that there’s any meaning to all of these departures. The timing is purely coincidental, right?
"I think there's no doubt that there will be people that return to their lives and their families," White House Press Sec. Robert Gibbs told ABC, saying the current raft of resignations was the typical kind of turnover that occurs within presidential administrations. "But we've got a while before that. We've got at least two months before this election -- or about two months before this election before we get to a lot of those decisions."
But back to Emanuel.
According to Emanuel’s hometown paper, The Chicago Tribune, the foul-mouthed, aggressive “former veteran Democratic strategist and fundraiser who served three terms in the U.S. House after helping elect Mayor Richard Daley and former President Bill Clinton, made at least $320,000 for a 14-month stint [on the board] at Freddie Mac that required little effort.” (This is the same Freddie Mac whose “portfolio of bad loans helped trigger the current housing crisis” and helped drag down the economy.) “The Freddie Mac money was a small piece of the $16 million he made in a three-year interlude as an investment banker a decade ago,” the paper adds.
There’s little doubt that Emanuel, like his fellow departed are poised to clean up – again.
Orzsag, Romer and Summers will soon be cleaning up on the lecture circuit, with book deals, at think tanks and in academia (again). Emanuel, however, will outdo them all – exceeding the absolute power (in some ways) that his soon-to-be ex-boss is able to wield.
Soon, El Rahm will be the Head Honcho of Chicagoland: the Duchy of Daley; the Kingdom of Capone; and now the Empire of Emanuel.
To the victor – the lucky escapee – go the spoils.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
From the Los Angeles Times:
"A week after her rival, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, aired spots attacking her tenure as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina’s first general election ad uses campaign footage from a well-known exchange between Boxer and Army Corps of Engineers Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh at a hearing more than a year ago of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which Boxer chairs."
Boxer's exchange with the general:
"In the brief clip used by Fiorina’s team, Boxer has interrupted Walsh after he’s addressed her as ‘Ma’am’: “You know, do me a favor. Could you say ‘Senator’ instead of ‘Ma’am’? It’s just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it,” Boxer says to Walsh.
“Twenty eight years in Washington, and Barbara Boxer works hard for a title?” Fiorina says into the camera with a quick raise of her eyebrows. “I’ll really go to work — to end the arrogance in Washington.”
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
-- [President Barack] Obama told Woodward in the July interview that he didn't think about the Afghan war in the "classic" terms of the United States winning or losing. "I think about it more in terms of: Do you successfully prosecute a strategy that results in the country being stronger rather than weaker at the end?" he said.
-- The CIA created, controls and pays for a clandestine 3,000-man paramilitary army of local Afghans, known as Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams. Woodward describes these teams as elite, well-trained units that conduct highly sensitive covert operations into Pakistan as part of a stepped-up campaign against al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban havens there.
-- Obama has kept in place or expanded 14 intelligence orders, known as findings, issued by his predecessor, George W. Bush. The orders provide the legal basis for the CIA's worldwide covert operations.
-- A new capability developed by the National Security Agency has dramatically increased the speed at which intercepted communications can be turned around into useful information for intelligence analysts and covert operators. "They talk, we listen. They move, we observe. Given the opportunity, we react operationally," then-Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell explained to Obama at a briefing two days after he was elected president.
-- A classified exercise in May showed that the government was woefully unprepared to deal with a nuclear terrorist attack in the United States. The scenario involved the detonation of a small, crude nuclear weapon in Indianapolis and the simultaneous threat of a second blast in Los Angeles. Obama, in the interview with Woodward, called a nuclear attack here "a potential game changer." He said: "When I go down the list of things I have to worry about all the time, that is at the top, because that's one where you can't afford any mistakes."
-- Afghan President Hamid Karzai was diagnosed as manic depressive, according to U.S. intelligence reports. "He's on his meds, he's off his meds," Woodward quotes U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry as saying.
--By the end of the 2009 strategy review, Woodward reports, Obama concluded that no mission in Afghanistan could be successful without attacking the al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban havens operating with impunity in Pakistan's remote tribal regions. "We need to make clear to people that the cancer is in Pakistan," Obama is quoted as saying at an Oval Office meeting on Nov. 25, 2009. Creating a more secure Afghanistan is imperative, the president said, "so the cancer doesn't spread" there.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.
President Merkin Muffley: You're talking about mass murder, General, not war!
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The latest is “Restoring the Republic: A Clear, Concise, and Colorful Blueprint for America's Future” by Devin Nunes, who just happens to represent California’s 21st congressional district in the San Joaquin Valley. (Full disclosure, Nunes is a regular guest on the John Batchelor Show, which yours truly co- and guest-hosts on occasion.)
In short, “Restoring the Republic” is a wake-up call…and a prescription for what ails America. Featuring firsthand accounts and fresh anecdotes from D.C.’s halls of power, Nunes calls for a return to First Principles and common sense.
"Politicians often merely complain and demagogue instead of offering practical solutions to the problems we face," Nunes writes. "And so nothing gets done; or worse, government gets bigger, Washington grows more powerful, and still the problems grow worse. Either way, everyday people lose."
Elected to Congress in 2002 at age 29, the eight-year House veteran uses his first book to discuss issues ranging from environmentalism to foreign policy; from defense to energy policies; and the federal budget.
One example includes what he thinks it will take for America to achieve economic recovery and become less dependent on foreign energy sources, with Nunes going full-bore at the “environmental lobby.”
"Don't be fooled by their smiley-faced rhetoric about 'sustainability' and 'green jobs',” he writes. “The environmental lobby is peddling extreme, anti-prosperity, big-government socialist policies that would spike energy prices, severely limit energy supplies, kill jobs and depress the American economy for decades to come.”
In a recent piece for the website Big Government, Nunes amplifies upon the book's theme(s): “As the 2010 elections rapidly approach, the Republican leadership must put forward a credible plan that reforms entitlements, simplifies the tax code and has a real energy policy. These policy changes would result in a balanced budget, a shrinking trade deficit, repayment of the national debt and put Americans back to work. History will reward Republicans if we are honest with the American people; but first we must be honest with ourselves.”
The party – and the country – would be well-served if the leadership read (and heeded) “Restoring the Republic.”
I recommend you read it, too.
Bonus: Here is Nunes’ recent interview on the TNR network.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
"Recovery Summer" or "Summer of George?" - 'nuf said...
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Faces of Debt|