CBS: Death in the Morning

30 May 2006 |permalink | email article

It was a rare moment of raw emotion for prime-time television. On Memorial Day a visibly distraught Bob Schieffer struggled to compose himself on the CBS Evening News.

He reported the deaths of two colleagues, a cameraman and a… read full story

Memorial Day, Haditha Massacre

28 May 2006 |permalink | email article

This solemn annual tribute honoring those who have died in the service of America carries with it a poignant reminder: the number of U.S. casualties is rising both in Iraq (two CBS News personnel were killed and a third… read full story

FBI, Freezergate, Fear, Loathing

27 May 2006 |permalink | email article

Reports from the Justice Department that the nation’s top three law enforcement officials. Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales; his deputy, Paul McNulty; and FBI Director Robert Mueller, threatened to resign or risk firing rather than return documents seized from a… read full story

California: Old v. New Politics

26 May 2006 |permalink | email article

While California Democrats are focused on the tight June 6 gubernatorial primary between Phil Angelides against Steve Westly, another intensely competitive Democratic race is drawing serious interest far beyond the 12th Assembly District which includes western San Francisco… read full story

Personal Mistakes

25 May 2006 |permalink | email article

The most interesting acknowledgement in their joint news conference Thursday night was the concession by Bush and Blair that personal mistakes were made in the clumsy execution of the Iraq war.

A defensive Bush told the New York Times read full story

NFL Spends Bucks, Defers Decision

23 May 2006 |permalink | email article

Skittish NFL owners Tuesday moved nearer the goal line on whether to return professional football to the nation’s second-largest media market, deciding to spend $10 million to help Los Angeles and Anaheim with design and engineering sites at two… read full story

NFL Draft: L.A. or Anaheim

21 May 2006 |permalink | email article

A special committee of NFL owners meets today in Denver and will make a presentation to the entire membership tomorrow about returning professional football to the Loa Angeles area for the first time since 1994. The owners are expected… read full story

New U.S. Refrain: Fence Me In

20 May 2006 |permalink | email article

The lyrics of Cole Porter’s classic 1940s song, “Don’t Fence Me In,” have taken on a chilling new meaning in Bushworld. The hysterical illegal immigration debate shows no sign of resolution soon with the Senate voting to construct a… read full story

Politics: Will Text Messages Replace the Internet?

20 May 2006 |permalink | email article

Three years ago Joe Trippi, the pioneering manager of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, brought blogging to politics. In a provocative Newsweek web exclusive (5.19), the strategist, who I first met in L.A. during Walter Mondale’s ill-fated 1984 campaign,… read full story

Arnold Repays; He and Antonio Bond

18 May 2006 |permalink | email article

Arnold Schwarzenegger, still unpopular and facing reelection, is moving at flank speed to make nice with some of the Democratic-leaning constituencies he deeply angered with a special election campaign last November when all four of his reform initiatives lost.… read full story

Bush and Latinos

14 May 2006 |permalink | email article

The tardy decision by President Bush - made on a long April weekend in California - to address the festering issue of undocumented immigrants and tighter border security and controversial use of the National Guard in a nationally televised… read full story

L.A. Times Backs Angelides

14 May 2006 |permalink | email article

Sunday’s endorsement by the Los Angeles Times of Phil Angelides over Steve Westly in the June Democratic primary for governor is somewhat curious.

The editorial notes that both wealthy candidates ought to pose a formidable challenge to incumbent… read full story

Legal: Database Phone Spying?

14 May 2006 |permalink | email article

Just in. As I suspected, that snap Washington-Post-ABC News poll showing overwhelming support for last week’s revelation by USA Today that the secret National Security Agency has been collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans since… read full story

Big Brother and You

11 May 2006 |permalink | email article

W.’s cryptic statement Thursday denying that the government is “mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans” to protect them from another al Qaeda attack is a revived Republican effort to play the fear card. It may… read full story

Pat Brown, Tony Snow and stuff…

09 May 2006 |permalink | email article

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s State of the State address promised the biggest infrastructure bond package for the November ballot since the legendary gubernatorial reign of Pat Brown 45 years ago. In a rare show of bipartisanship, the governor and Democratic… read full story

Weekender: W. Meltdown and more…

06 May 2006 |permalink | email article

Administration stumbles continue. W, newly self-proclaimed at Oklahoma State University this weekend as a fellow ìcowboy,î sees his poll numbers plunge anew; signs of a divide deepen within GOP House and Senate ranks as midterms approach. Bill Fristís 100-buck gas rebate was a maximum gaffe; don’t expect the feds to investigate possible oil gouging; and forget illegal immigrant reform this year.

Voters sense the deck chairs are falling overboard and, well, itís too late for a crash attempt at rebranding. The party opposite here, like the Tories in Britain, doesnít have a real plan yet but, hey, they donít need one with lifejackets in the water. But, despite Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi’s disclosure of an activist agenda, it’s too soon for bombast.

Consider this:

Wís choice of Porter Goss was a predictable disaster for an already demoralized CIA after the incompetent George Tenet got a Congressional Medal of Freedom for telling 43. what he wanted to hear about Iraq. Reports surface of a high-ranking CIA scandal involving gambling, bribes and womenÖCan Gen. Michael Hayden, W.ís reported choice and architect of the domestic eavesdropping program, win Senate confirmation?ÖIsnít the battle for control of intelligence now between Haydenís boss, DNI John Negroponte, and the even more controversial and publicly heckled Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon?

Tricky Dick Cheney, whose poll positives near single digits, works former Soviet satellites adjoining Russia in a renewed push for democratic reforms. An outraged Moscow media views the shadow president as trying to restart the Cold War. Vladimir Putin, hosting the G8 summit in July, will push back. Didnít W. say once he looked into Vís soul and could work with him? Hint: Itís about Iran and nukes…As for Karl Rove, W’s consigliere, the hunch grows a decision is near on a possible indictment.

California: Last weekís L.A. debate between Phil Angelides and Steve Westly for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination did nothing to discourage earlier polling data that Westly is still significantly ahead and a cooler challenger for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On the day of massive L.A. immigrant rallies, the governor left the state and neither Democratic challenger issued a statement. But on Friday Schwarzenegger, a U.S. and Austrian citizen, attacked both W. and Congress for failing to enact a sensible immigration policy. Adroit, if ironic, the move by his ex-W. operatives aims to recast him as a REPUBLICRAT.

Recap: Weekís well-read previous posts zeroed on political and fiscal aspects of NFL return to L.A. area. Ownersí committee heard L.A. and Anaheim lobby for new teams. Itís now clear the league, expected to finance two stadiums, will decide on one venue before the other late this month or before yearís end. Anaheim is a less complex deal to assemble. But three committee owners who’ve lived in L.A. strongly favor a reconstructed Coliseum as a better entertainment value ñ Hollywood before Disneyland. Is it an omen?

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NFL Coin Toss: L. A. or Anaheim?

05 May 2006 |permalink | email article

An 11-member special committee of National Football League owners took a huge step forward this week in Texas to bring professional football back to the Los Angeles area after both the Rams and Raiders left in 1994. The return… read full story

NFL Decision on L.A., Anaheim Nears

01 May 2006 |permalink | email article

Is the long Kabuki dance on whether the NFL will return to the Los Angeles area after the Rams and Raiders left in 1994 about to end?

In Dallas today a special 11-member committee of owners will hear from L.A. Coliseum and Anaheim reps. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wants “another team or two,” and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will lead the lobbying effort. A final decision is expected later this month when all 32 owners huddle.

League officials have worked hard to make the possibility a reality but no source will say how the owners will vote when they meet in Denver May 23-24. Relocating one or two teams rather than expanding beyond the current 32 seems probable.

The most informed thinking is the league will take one of three actions: pick one site or both, or pick one site now and reserve another for later, or put two teams in one stadium. The ownersí thinking may be clearer after the special meeting.

While Los Angeles is regarded as the favorite, speaking to the Orange Council Business Council on April 23, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue broadly hinted that an Anaheim venue might offer a cleaner immediate land deal. A new stadium could be built in the Angel Stadium parking lot, to open play in 2009.

Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers, who covered the NFL as a reporter for years and has strong San Diego connections, wrote Sunday that Anaheimís best chances of winning league favor rest with the Chargers who will be free to make a deal to move beginning in January.

Simers suggested that the NFL might put off the Coliseum in the short term to lock up Anaheim for the Chargers. ìIf the NFL agrees to sign a lease in May and begins funding construction, building would begin after the 2007 USC football season with an NFL team opening play in the Coliseum in 2010.î

The Saints or Vikings are seen as the most likely occupants of a reconfigured stadium, which would rise within the outer walls of the historic oval.

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Phil or Steve: Who Can Beat Arnold?

01 May 2006 |permalink | email article

Phil Angelides, by winning the Democratic Party endorsement, remains alive for governor, and Steve Westlyís solid statewide poll lead hits a speed bump. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets a lucky break, aided by what ex-San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown described as a ìfamily fightî before the June 6 primary.

Winning the party endorsement is not an automatic ticket to the nomination. John Van de Kamp narrowly won it in 1990 but lost the primary to Dianne Feinstein.

Angelides, 52, a Sacramento-born liberal, faces stiff, but not impossible, odds to overtake Westly. The conventional wisdom is that a winning Democrat runs left to attract liberal voters in the primary then paddles back to the center in a general election. The state Treasurer is banking on heavy GOTV union and activist support.

But a must-read San Francisco Chronicle report Friday reveals that a generational primary shift may be unfolding between two parts of the California Democratic party - establishment and anti-establishment - with implications far beyond the state.

Bruce Cain, the respected UC Berkeley political science professor, said it appears that Westly and his campaign team ìhave recognized there really are people in the Democratic Party who are likely to turn out in the primaryî beyond traditional labor activists and advocates.

The ìThree Mísî matter in politics: money, momentum and message. Westly, the more centrist candidate, owns the first two so the decisive showdown in the next five weeks will turn on which side airs the most compelling ìvalueî ads to woo a large undecided Democratic electorate.

Angelides calls himself the most committed to Democratic values, describes himself as the ìanti-Arnoldî and implies Westly is ìArnold Liteî despite the fact he joined with the governor and top elected state Democrats to successfully pass two deficit-restructuring measures.

Westly, 49, the state Controller, who was born in Arcadia, and is described as a ìSilicon Valley Democrat,î opposes taxes as a ìlast resort.î His ubiquitous TV ads hammer home the point he is a different kind of Democrat.

A rare debate in L.A. this week may help to answer the central question before primary day ñ will Angelides, or Westly, appeal more to disillusioned moderate swing Democrats who voted for Schwarzenegger and now want him out?   

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