When he is not starring in action movies or promoting fitness, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a bona fide wonk — and the namesake of the University of Southern California's Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy. Yes, the Schwarzenegger Institute, where the motto is "advancing policy not politics."
Mr. Schwarzenegger hosts what the campus bills as a "historic immigration forum" Tuesday. It has attracted the likes of Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Michael F. Bennet, of Colorado, co-authors of the bipartisan immigration reform bill. Also among the guests: former Mexico President Vicente Fox and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; the sessions will be moderated by Ann Compton, White House correspondent for ABC News.
"The time has come for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. This issue has been ignored for far too long. Everything I have achieved is because I emigrated to America," Mr. Schwarzenegger tells Inside the Beltway. "The USC Schwarzenegger Institute forum will heighten the debate and help Congress understand why immigration reform must be addressed."
Meanwhile, the former California governor has a new movie called "Ten" due in theaters in eight months; interestingly enough, he portrays an elite Drug Enforcement Administration task force officer doing battle with the world's "deadliest" drug cartels. Yeah, well. Mr. Schwarzenegger's big academic doings, meanwhile, will be streamed live online at priceschool.usc.edu, beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
BIG EASY BROADCASTERS
One enormous journalism dinner is over, but another is on its way. The annual Radio & TV Correspondents Association Congressional Correspondents Dinner takes up where the White House Correspondents' Dinner left off — but with enough Louisiana flourish to inspire some Mardi Gras time among the nation's most elite broadcasters. New Orleans celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse is designing a "Big Easy-inspired" affair for the 69th annual event; even with 1,500 guests, it's only half the size of the White House correspondents' dinner. But no matter.
"This year we will be creating a very different atmosphere than the same old stuffy black-tie dinner. The theme of the 2013 dinner is 'Laissez les bons temps rouler' — let the good times roll" — says John Wallace, a Fox News Channel photographer and chairman.
The dinner will be in the theatrical National Building Museum, some 10 blocks from the White House. Four New Orleans-based bands will supply the beat; there will be beads, masks, parasols, roaming jesters, plus Hurricane cocktails, beignets and chicory coffee after the main meal. Mr. Wallace notes that the afterparty area will be furnished with overstuffed purple couches and rose-colored floor lamps.
While the June event is still in the planning stages, it has one thing the White House dinner did not include.
"We'll also be crowning a king or queen of the dinner. They'll be presented with a cape, crown and jester staff, and asked to lead the crowd to the afterparty," Mr. Wallace says.
RUSH TO JUDGMENT
"Rush Limbaugh warned you about this. Second term, baby. We're changing things around here," President Obama noted in his opening joke during the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday.
This was not ignored by the talk-radio maven in the aftermath.
"It was praise. The president of the United States praising me for daring to say what actually is. First words out of his mouth," Mr. Limbaugh told his own audience on Monday.
So fiscal conservatives, tea partyers, liberty lovers and free enterprise fans have quietly disappeared from political radar? Not quite.
More than 15,500 tickets have been sold for "Free the People" in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 5, a family event "celebrating the legislative entrepreneur who pushes back against the political elite, the commercial entrepreneur who creates prosperity and jobs, and the social entrepreneur who solves problems at the local level through peaceful cooperation." Fewer than 2,000 tickets remain available.
"Activists are encouraged to buy their tickets as soon as possible at FTP2013.com," reports Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, the host organization.
THE STATE OF THE BIZ
What makes for sound state economies in America? Nimble, aggressive governors help. Fewer regulations and a receptive attitude towars scrappy small businesses also have proved to be among the best practices in recent years. Who does it best? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has ranked the best states for growth and economic performance, based on numbers.
"Booming North Dakota leads the way again in overall economic performance, owing to the confluence of its energy boom, strong agricultural economy, and perhaps surprisingly, a well-educated young workforce," notes "Enterprising States," a new study which places Texas in second place, followed by Utah, Wyoming, Virginia, Washington, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Maryland and Iowa.
See the 91-page findings, and lots more bells and whistles here: Freeenterprise.com.
POLL DU JOUR
• 70 percent of Mexicans say their country's economic ties are "good" with the U.S.
• 66 percent have positive feelings and a favorable impression of Americans.
• 61 percent would not move from Mexico to the U.S.; 47 percent say life would be "better" if they lived in the U.S.
• 56 percent blame both Mexico and the U.S. for drug violence in Mexico.
• 37 percent say their government's campaign against drug traffic is "making progress."
• 34 percent say U.S. troops should be deployed in Mexico to fight drug trafficking.
• 20 percent would move to the U.S. without an authorization, 15 percent would move with an authorization.
Source: A Pew Global Attitudes survey of 1,000 Mexicans conducted March 4 to 17 and released Monday.
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