Monday, April 13, 2009

The Weekly Strike-4/13-4/19

Good Monday morning and welcome to the Weekly Strike. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekends (I enjoyed my matzah/string bean diet). Let's get you up to date on what to expect this week in politics. Congress is out of session for one more week, so the focus again is on the President.

THE WHITE HOUSE: The White House has a very busy week, mostly focused on the economy. Today, the President starts with the White House Easter Egg hunt (why do they do this on a Monday?). The Presidency is amazing, isn't it? One day you're saving an American from a pirate attack, and the next you're taking pictures with giant bunnies on the White House lawn. The President then will give a speech on implementation of the economic recovery package. Obama will be accompanied by Vice President Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The great Chuck Todd of MSNBC said that this speech will be somewhat of a victory lap. The $48 billion appropriated is apparently under budget, meaning that states will be able to start some new projects. Todd pointed out that the administration wants some tangible results to highlight, and in this case, it will be the 2,000th transportation project to receive funding under the recovery act. The Big Picture says he hopes the speech will be entitled, "Jobs, Baby, Jobs." I concur.

Tomorrow, the President first welcomes the 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies to the White House. You have to think that players like Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer are probably Republicans (just a wild guess), so we may see some slightly awkward moments. More importantly, the President is expected to give a major speech on what they see as the "new normal" in the economy. This speech could be talking about a whole variety of things, but my guess is that it centers around changing our economic structure away from the "bubble" dynamic of the past couple of decades. I don't know how much they'll build up this speech, but this could turn out to be a major stuff. Nothing is quite as ambitious as trying to change the entire base of the U.S. economy.

The President travels to Mexico City later to talk drug cartels and other topics with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. He then flies to Trinidad for the "Summit of the Americas." Either before or during this trip, the President will make a major announcement on a new U.S. policy towards Cuba. Obama is expected to say that the U.S. is willing to ease relations with Cuba, but the country first must take steps toward democratization before being fully welcome into the Western Hemisphere's political and economic community. I'll be interested to hear what the major anti-Castro members of Congress have to say about this, like Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mel Martinez (R-FL). Polling seems to indicate that the American public is open to new relations with Cuba. The President returns to the U.S. next Sunday.

No word yet on when he'll sign the public service bill, but he may be waiting until members of Congress return from their recess so that more of them can attend the signing ceremony.

ELECTIONS: In the razor-thin race in New York's 20th District, Democrat Scott Murphy leads Jim Tedisco by 35 votes (out of 125,000 cast!). Paper ballots still need to be counted in Washington county (which Murphy won) and Saratoga county (the population hub of the district, which Tedisco won). So far, Murphy has done slightly better among absentee ballots than he has among votes cast on election day. About 1,000 military ballots still have to counted as well. I would say it's a total toss up at this point.

We should also find out more, potentially, about that never ending Minnesota Senate race, including whether Norm Coleman will take his case to the State Supreme Court or into the federal courts (he probably will). We'll keep you posted.

That's it for today. Please leave your comments! See you tonight for the Daily Strike!

1 comment:

  1. I visited Cuba in November, just after the election. Everywhere I went people talked about Obama, and about how certainly he would change US-Cuban policy very soon. I said that I thought policy would change, but perhaps not soon, since there were, and are, so many important issues. The announcement of the easing of restrictions for family to visit and send money surprised me only be how early in the administration it happened. My feeling is that the Cuban government does not really want the embargo to end - it will make their control over the country much harder. By using the embargo as an excuse for nearly everything that the people want and the government doesn't want them to have, the Cuban government has a perfect boogeyman. We, the US, has succeeding in creating a strong Cuban government which, by denying the population access to the world's media, keeps most cubans uniformed about changes in the world around them. It's a small island with lovely people, poor roads, and great poverty. Let's celebrate change with the Cuban people very soon!