Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Action or inaction

Pizza as a predictor?

CONGRESS GUNFIRECongress returns next week and will decide by action or inaction whether the federal government shuts down.

The White House sounded a note of optimism (which at this point is the only way to go — best to save the podium pounding for when it gets down to the wire).

“All of us agree that a government shutdown would be bad for the economy,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “We believe that a compromise can be reached. But I’m not going to speculate on a position, what position we may or may not hold down the road.”

True, nobody really wants the government to shut down. So a compromise is likely.

One indicator to watch to see whether it is close to a resolution: Lawmakers behind closed doors sending out for pizza around 9 p.m.

General Odierno gives “The Hurt Locker” friendly review

OSCARS/As the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno must have on-the-ground knowledge of the American military teams that defuse roadside bombs in Iraq.

So it seems like high praise, indeed, that he complimented the Oscar-winning movie “The Hurt Locker” for how it portrayed the sacrifices made by bomb disposal soldiers in the Iraq war.

“I think what I like about it is, it shows, first, the camaraderie that is required here, the tension, the risk that’s involved in some of the jobs that we do here,” Odierno said in an interview with PBS Newshour.

from Fan Fare:

Oscar beckons Sarah Palin … for shopping.

Palin(Reporting by Zorianna Kit)

What a difference a year makes! Last year, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was catching flak for her shopping habits during her 2008 campaign. This year, she's strolling around Hollywood's Oscar gift suites with family members having items given to her -- leopard print sandals to match her leopard print jacket, for instance.

The morning after her appearance on "The Tonight Show", and amid reports she was in Hollywood talking to TV executives about a possible TV show (see below and here on the blog), the former Alaska Governor turned up at the Silver Spoon gifting suite in West Hollywood with daughter Willow, grandson Trip and an entourage of about seven people, according to the suite's organizers.

The gifting suites, in case you don't know, are set up by merchants to promote their products during Hollywood's Oscar week when the town is filled with A-list  celebrities. The idea is to have your product photographed or in some way associated with a celebrity and, as a result, people will want to buy it. And who better to help sell a product than politician-turned-celebrity Palin?

A film classic ripe for a Washington-style update?

USA/It’s Oscar nomination day, which means some in snow-covered Washington DC — Hollywood for ugly people, if you believe the old saying — are daydreaming about what it would be like to make a blockbuster film. “Avatar” seems to have the inside track in this year’s Academy Award race, but isn’t there an old classic movie ripe for a Washington-style remake?

USA-POLITICS/BROWNHow about “Meet John Doe”? It’s a Frank Capra morality piece made in 1941, where a soda jerk can speak basic truth and a rail-riding hobo is played by Gary Cooper, the George Clooney of his day. Everybody’s scrounging for a job and a buck, they’re laying off the old pros at the local newspaper and a cigar-chomping oil magnate wants to get into politics. Barbara Stanwyck plays a hard-driving columnist who fakes a letter from a mythical “John Doe” who says he’s going to leap off the city hall roof on Christmas Eve to protest widespread corruption and the state of the world in general.

USA/But that’s all background. What makes it made-to-order for a 2010 remake is what happens when Gary Cooper a.k.a. “John Doe” speaks to a big gathering, reading remarks written by the columnist, who’s now in cahoots with the oil magnate: the crowd loves him so much they go out and form grassroots John Doe Clubs, just to be neighborly. No politicians allowed. They’re not partisan, they just want to make things a little better.