With five months until Election Day, Barack Obama faces a grim new reality: Republicans now believe Mitt Romney can win, and Democrats believe Obama can lose ... Last week's anemic job-creation and economic-growth data was sandwiched between two Bill Clinton specials: in one television interview, the 42nd President lauded Romney's business record as "sterling"; in another, he veered from the Obama line on the extension of Bush-era tax cuts ... The failure to unseat Wisconsin's Republican governor Scott Walker in a recall election was another bad sign for Democrats since it will rev up conservatives nationwide, including the kind of millionaires who gave big bucks to Walker's effort ... Veteran Democratic strategists from previous presidential bids and on Capitol Hill now wonder if the Obama re-election crew is working with the right message ... The White House remains on a rough political trajectory, with a potentially adverse Supreme Court decision on the Obama health care law looming, additional bad economic news from Europe coming and more worrisome polling pending ... Another danger for the President: the media freak show. Stalking that circus' center ring is Matt Drudge, whose caustic website continues to help drive the news cycle with an emphasis on negative, mocking items about Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and their wives. The latest sign of Drudge's potency: Ed Klein, the author of the virulently anti-Obama book The Amateur, was barred from major TV appearances and mostly ignored by the mainstream media, but the book's prominence on Drudge's website propelled it to the No. 1 slot on the New York Times nonfiction list.
What City Councils Are Banning in ...
New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be making the biggest splash for trying to rid the Big Apple of Big Gulps, among other sugary drinks (see Health, page 20), but other cities have their likes and dislikes too. Here's a rundown of the most recent bans:
Going, going, gone
Goodbye, medical-marijuana gardens. Washington is one of 17 states, along with the District of Columbia, that allow pot for medicinal purposes. But federal law prohibits growing it yourself. Pasco clarified the distinction on June 4.
You'll soon have to bring your own bags to supermarkets in the nation's second largest city or purchase paper ones for 10 each. Plastic bags are set to be phased out over the next 16 months at some 7,500 stores.
No more feeding the bears--or deer, raccoons, cougars or wolves. City leaders moved to make feeding or baiting wild animals illegal. There's been one too many car accidents and lots of damage from the exploding urban deer population.
"No Dragging and Sagging: Pull Up Your Pants": that's the resolution that unanimously passed on May 30 to stop teens from wearing pants that hang low and expose their underwear--what one councilwoman called "gangster-style clothing."
The city council banned car drifting--intentionally oversteering and losing traction in the rear wheels. City leaders said the motor sport is too noisy and disruptive to residential neighborhoods.
WORD OF THE WEEK