WASHINGTON Nov 15 Strange characters, quirky
storylines and weird happenings out in Alaska.
Anyone hoping for a remake of Northern Exposure would have
been disappointed by Sarah Palin's Alaska, her new television
series that aired last night and delivered a much straighter
diet of "family adventure" and "flippin' fun."
The reality show, which drew a record five million viewers
to TLC, showed the human side of a politician who is among the
most polarizing in American politics today. It is the kind of
positive media exposure money can't buy, and got everyone
talking again this morning about whether the former vice
presidential nominee will run for the top job in 2012.
Washington Extra is not taking a position on that question.
But after watching some of the shots of Alaska, I know where we
are planning our next family vacation in 2011.
Finally, since this is Palin's day, more congratulations
are in order. Her very own word, refudiate, was awarded 2010
word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary today
and came in fourth in a similar list compiled by the Global
But a shout-out for the DC area too. Snowpocalypse
(together with Snowmaggedon), our very own winter blizzard, was
listed in a respectable seventh place in the Global Language
Washington Extra is a daily newsletter about politics and
economics in Washington, sent to subscribers by email.
To be added to the mailing list on a complimentary basis,
please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are our top stories:
Europe is next test for weakened Obama
If President Obama is not yet convinced that his
international star power has faded, his next round of
transatlantic summitry should clear up any lingering doubts.
His challenge is to reassure European partners that, despite
political weakness at home and embarrassing setbacks abroad, he
remains committed to better cooperation on issues ranging from
the war in Afghanistan to the fight against trade
Veteran US congressman walks out of ethics trial
Charles Rangel, a former chief tax writer for Congress,
abruptly walked out of his own ethics trial, saying he needed
more time to get a new lawyer. [nN15270530]
Obama sees prospect of deals on tax cuts, START
President Obama is hopeful of working out a deal with
Republicans over tax cuts and of winning ratification of a new
nuclear weapons treaty with Russia. On his way back from Asia,
Obama looked ahead to a dinner he will host on Thursday with
leaders of both parties and said he believed opposition
Republicans would "engage constructively." [nN14213068]
Liberals in U.S. Congress press on tax cuts
Liberals in the House of Representatives pressed their case
against extending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest
Americans, seeking a meeting with Nancy Pelosi on the issue.
Will Palin TV show translate into presidential run?
Sarah Palin's new television series showing her fishing for
Alaskan salmon and scaling a glacier is the kind of free media
exposure most politicians can only dream about. Will her
reality TV show translate into a Republican presidential
campaign? Or will it expose her as a publicity hound lacking
presidential gravitas? [nN15265623]
Retail sales jump, signal pick-up in growth
Retail sales posted their strongest gain in seven months
during October, adding to signs the economy was regaining
strength after hitting a soft patch in the summer. The
generally upbeat report from the Commerce Department was
tempered somewhat by news that a manufacturing gauge in New
York state fell this month to its lowest level since April
US eyes government spectrum for wireless devices
The Commerce Department recommended that some airwaves used
by federal agencies be freed up to address the burgeoning use
of wireless devices. [nN15107455]
In switch, top Senate Republican backs earmark ban
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would join
his fellow Republicans in opposing earmarks, bowing to pressure
from Tea Party activists who see the special project funding as
a prime example of out-of-control government spending.
Senate urged to quickly ratify New START treaty
Top officials pressed the Senate to ratify the New START
nuclear treaty by year's end, saying failure to act would leave
Washington with dangerously little information about the state
of Russia's atomic weapons. [nN15257308]
What we are blogging:
Jindal's not running for president, but ...
First, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says he isn't
running for president. Then out comes his prescription for
righting the national economy. Political oracle Karl Rove has
anointed Jindal as one of 10 potential GOP presidential
candidates for 2012.