What follows is a short piece about the gubernatorial recall campaign in California. It’s taken from the Weekend News Items newsletter. To sign up for News Items, click here.

Is it possible that California will have a Republican governor this fall? Yes, it is. It’s not probable, but it’s possible.

This is where things stand at the moment:

Supporters of Gov. …


News Items is a collection of news stories, commentaries, analyses, essays and research reports that I think are interesting or important (or both). The items are usually 2 or 3 sentences long.

The preamble to the daily dispatch describes what News Items is about:

Three baskets: (1) World in Disarray, (2) Financialization of Everything and (3) Advances in Science and Technology. Bonus basket: Electoral politics in the US and around the world. Six days a week, not Sundays.

News Items is distributed at or around 6:45am ET, Monday through Friday, and by 9am ET on Saturdays. It will not be…


News Items “covers” three baskets: (1) World in Disarray, (2) Financialization of Everything and (3) Advances in Science and Technology. The bonus basket: Electoral politics in the US and around the world. It’s distributed mornings before 7am, six days a week, not Sundays. Contributors: Ema Schumer and Jack Ellis. That’s the News Items newsletter in a nutshell. Subscribe by clicking here.

I sent this “News Items Note” out to subscribers on 22 March of last year. …


In the Nicklaus-Palmer-Watson era, professional golfers, after playing their rounds, smoked, drank, “lay with pretty women,” never (ever) went to the gym. One of the things that Tiger Woods brought to the game was the idea that you had to be in peak physical condition to compete. Another was iron discipline. Another was discipline’s derivative — blinding focus.

At one of his five (5) Masters victories, on the first day of the tournament, his mother was waiting for him outside the locker room, there to wish him well. He looked up, saw her, but didn’t recognize her. Her feelings were…


Are we looking at Big Joe Biden? It doesn’t feel that way, when you watch the president on television. As Andrew Sullivan wrote after last year’s first presidential debate: “The age issue — however unfair — remains….In the primary debates, he managed at times to look vigorous, even sharp, to the relief of many of us. Last Tuesday, he looked … well, the word that comes to mind is simply frail. …


Ed -- I can assure you that your 4th paragraph is incorrect. Trust me on that.

There's a longer response to the rest, which I do not have time for at the moment, but it is the central question about right-wing politics and right-wing media: does the audience program the network or does the network program the audience?

I'd argue it's the former, but it's a long argument and not straightforward. So, later.

all best -je


News Items is a newsletter that “covers” four baskets: (1) World in Disarray, (2) Financialization of Everything, (3) Advances in Science and Technology. and (4) Electoral politics in the US and around the world. Six days a week, not Sundays. Commentary and analysis as well, when I think I have something to add. Below is a commentary on January 6th. You can subscribe by clicking here.

— — — — —

How close we came” has been the mainstream narrative since the storming of the Capitol on 6 January. It was the b-roll of this past week’s impeachment trial. How…


Losing a presidential election is a crushing experience. In 2004, shortly before midnight on the day of the election, it became clear that President Bush would win Ohio and thus win re-election. The networks, out of an abundance of caution, didn’t call it until later the next day. It took Senator John Kerry, the Democratic Party’s nominee, longer still to accept the outcome.

President Clinton’s former press secretary, Mike McCurry, served as the go-between for the two campaigns, “negotiating” (if you will) Mr. Kerry’s inevitable concession. Messages went back and forth. …


Here’s the headline you and I didn’t read in the aftermath of the election: “Republicans (almost) run the table, winning (almost) everything, everywhere.”

That’s what happened on Election Night. The GOP held serve in the US Senate races (and seem likely to retain control after the two run-off elections are held in Georgia in early January of next year). The GOP gained seats in the House, which had been predicted by no one (except President Trump). And here’s how Politico described the action “down ballot”:

An abysmal showing by Democrats in state legislative races on Tuesday not only denied them…


Forty-one percent.

I’ve been covering American politics for a long time and I can’t remember a number that so dramatically altered the political community’s perception of a presidential campaign as that number did, last night, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

The source of the number was The Iowa Poll, which has been the gold standard for statewide polling in the United States for decades. The number itself was the percentage of likely voters in Iowa supporting Joe Biden’s candidacy for president.

President Trump’s number was 48%, which put him ahead in the “horse race” by 7 percentage points. There was…

John Ellis

Founder and Editor, News Items. Political analyst. Founder of and contributing editor to Bird News Items. Former columnist for The Boston Globe.

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