Thursday, August 25, 2005

Say Good Night, Ahnold

[[M I S C.]] * California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just can’t seem to get a break these days. First, he was hit by revelations of a scandal involving “hush-money” payments to a woman who allegedly had a seven-year relationship with Schwarzenegger during his marriage to NBC-TV newswoman Maria Shriver. Now he’s contending with a poll that shows “Californians are rejecting [his] initiatives on the November special election ballot and giving him dismal marks for job performance.” This survey, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, found that only 34 percent of respondents approve of the way Schwarzenegger has carried out his job--a 31 percent decline since last year, according to the Los Angeles Times. The guv shrugs off this bad news as unsurprising, and endeavors to explain it away as the result both of his having put forward a “controversial agenda” and attack ads directed at him by labor unions. During a radio interview on Wednesday, Schwarzenegger said, “I had a choice a year ago: Do I want to continue enjoying my 70 percent popularity rating and keep quiet and not create the reforms we need and not rattle the cage and upset the status quo, or do I really want to keep my promise?” Schwarzenegger has endorsed three initiatives set to appear on California’s expensive November 8 special election ballot, having to do with extending probationary periods for teachers, limiting state spending, and changing the way legislative districts are drawn. He is hoping that his backing not only helps move those initiatives into law, but that his popularity will be enhanced by their passage. (Installed in office by a recall election in 2004, he’s up for re-election in 2006.) But all three of his favored ballot initiatives are lagging behind in the new Public Policy Institute poll.

If the bodybuilder-turned-politician can see any bright spot in this survey, it’s that he isn’t the only officeholder to be given thumbs down by the voters. Fellow Republican George W. Bush won only a slightly higher job-performance rating than Schwarzenegger--38 percent--while the Democratic-led California legislature won approval from only 27 percent of those surveyed.

* * *
Even more beleaguered than Schwarzenegger is another Republican, the mayor of Spokane, Washington. Jim West, a former influential state legislator who was elected to lead eastern Washington’s largest city in 2003, is charged with using his “positions of public trust--as a sheriff's deputy, Boy Scout leader, and powerful politician--to develop sexual relationships with boys and young men.” Further, an investigation by The Spokesman-Review newspaper “has revealed that 17 months after leaving the state Legislature, West has used the trappings of the mayor’s office to entice and influence young men he met on a gay Web site.” (For full coverage of this scandal, click here.) All of this is made more interesting by the fact that West was known in the Washington Legislature for his anti-gay agenda. He voted in favor of a bill that would have barred gays and lesbians from working in schools or daycare centers, and in 1995, he advocated impeaching then-Governor Mike Lowry, a Democrat, for alleged sexual harassment.

On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court ruled that Spokane mother Shannon Sullivan can begin collecting the 12,567 petition signatures she needs in order to get a vote recalling West onto this coming November’s ballot. As the Associated Press reports, “The recall petition alleges that West used his elected office for personal gain--specifically, that he wrote a recommendation letter to help someone he believed to be an 18-year-old man get a City Hall internship.” In fact, explains The Spokesman-Review, that “‘student’ was a computer expert hired by [the paper] to confirm the story of a real 18-year-old Spokane man who said he’d met the then-53-year-old mayor in an online chat room. The young man told the newspaper that he and West had gone on a date and had consensual sex.”

West had previously been asked by both the Spokane City Council and the Washington Republican Party to resign his office, but the mayor has so far resisted all such entreaties. “Everyone makes mistakes,” he told the press in June.

* * *
All of the negative publicity surrounding Bush’s record-setting vacation at his Crawford, Texas, estate seems finally to be getting to the White House. In a story speculating on whether the prez would have time to visit Southern California early next week, the San Bernadino Sun quotes White House spokesman David Almacy as contending, “the reason that Bush is in Crawford, Texas, is due to the renovation of the West Wing of the White House. ‘He’s operating on a full schedule; he’s just doing it from the ranch instead of from the White House,’ Almacy said. ‘The only week he had officially off was this last week.’” What sounds, though, like just another lame explanation for Bush’s five-week absence from Washington, D.C, actually appears to have some basis. A Washington Times story from last March tells of a project--“expected to start in August, when President Bush often retreats to his Texas ranch for several weeks”--to renovate the press briefing room and work area in the West Wing. The Times reported that “one Bush administration official said all work areas for networks, newspapers, and wire services could be affected. The tiny briefing room, with its 48 theater-style seats, may also get a major facelift, which could include installing robotic cameras and wiring each seat with individual microphones.” Given the confrontational attitude some reporters have exhibited toward the Bush administration of late, they’ll be lucky not to have their chairs wired also with electrical current, with a switch at the spokesperson’s podium.

READ MORE:I Invaded the White House Press Corps,” by Cintra Wilson (Salon).

* * *
As if the situation in Iraq didn’t look confused enough already, the Financial Times reports that, regardless of Bush’s recent dismissal of “rumors” regarding significant withdrawals of soldiers from Saddam Hussein’s homeland in 2006, “The U.S. is expected to pull significant numbers of troops out of Iraq in the next 12 months in spite of the continuing violence.” Major General Douglas Lute, director of operations at U.S. Central Command, tells the FT that these departures are designed “to put the burden of defending Iraq on Iraqi forces.” Lute explains: “We believe at some point, in order to break this dependence on the ... coalition, you simply have to back off and let the Iraqis step forward. You have to undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq. It’s very difficult to do that when you have 150,000-plus, largely western, foreign troops occupying the country.” Lute insists that reducing troops levels in Iraq just ahead of the U.S. midterm elections--elections that may be decided on the basis of public approval of Bush’s war--is not politically motivated.

READ MORE:Exiting Iraq,” by Tom Hayden (In These Times); “Bush’s Option to Escalate the War in Iraq,” by Norman Solomon (AlterNet); “First Step? Admit There’s a Problem,” by E.J. Dionne Jr. (The Washington Post).

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

36 executed bodies found in Iraq
AFP Photo: An Iraqi grieves outside the emergency room of the general hospital in Baquba.
Hey, you have a cracking blog here! I will definitely return for another look ! I have a latest cholesterol medications site. It certainly addresses a lot that matches latest cholesterol medications subjects. If you have got the opportunity, kindly come and check it out.

Anonymous said...

Your Blog is good . Click to my site if you've time Wedding Photography Northampton It's about locally based Wedding Photography Northampton

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great If you a health issue, I'm sure you'd be interested in Diabetes Stop the issue with Diabetes

Anonymous said...

Hi! Just giving a shout out to all good bloggers out there. Keep up the good writing work.

I've got a alternative depression treatment site.

It's all related to alternative depression treatment, so if that's something you're looking for, feel free to visit.

Anonymous said...

Skype Offers IM Tool for Integration
Skype Offers IM Tool for Integration Date: 8/25/2005 -- Internet telephone provider Skype announced on Wednesday it is allowing its IM client, Skype Instant Messaging to be incorporated into Web sites and other ...
I was just playing with blogger and I found your blog. I took a quick look around and it seems pretty interesting. I'd love some feedback on my forex trade signals site. It's brand new so I'd love to hear any feedback you might have. It's basically dedicated to giving out some forex trade signals tips. Maybe you or someone you know might find it usefull. Thanks, Roger.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great blog you've put together here! I've went ahead and bookmarked it for future reference. Hope that's okay with you. ;-)

I have a Effective Weight Loss Pills website. It's pretty much all about Effective Weight Loss Pills information.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

Anonymous said...

Ran across your Blog and enjoyed the way you put it together. A little on the light side, with serious content. I've been trying to acheive the same with mine VietNam, but to me it's a dismal failure.Trying to but in words like, effects of agent orange seems to confuse the issue. If you ever see it, feel free to critique. Only way I'm going to learn. ---Jack---

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great If you a health issue, I'm sure you'd be interested in glyco flex dog Stop the issue with glyco flex dog

Anonymous said...

You are making good job!
Keep up the super articles!

buy cialis

Brian Hunter said...

Nice page. Enjoyable read. In turn, you may find my own internet lead generation site interesting. It deals fully with internet lead generation issues. Kind regards.

Peer van den Boomen said...

Hey, you have a cracking blog here! I will definitely return for another look ! I have a ... site

Your Blog is good . Click to my site if you've time

Your blog is great If you a health issue, I'm sure you'd be interested in ...

Hi! Just giving a shout out to all good bloggers out there. Keep up the good writing work.
I've got a alternative ... site.

Wow, what a great blog you've put together here! I've went ahead and bookmarked it for future reference. Hope that's okay with you. ;-)

Wow, what a great blog you've put together here! I've went ahead and bookmarked it for future reference. Hope that's okay with you. ;-)
I have a ... website.

And so on, and so on. Isn't it very depressing to have these sort of comments?