This footage shows glacier melt in Greenland. A large chunk of Greenland
has split off into a separate island.
** UPDATE: The Nunez endorsement of Clinton is confirmed by sources with the Clinton campaign.
** HILLARY CLINTON TO ANNOUNCE MAJOR CALIFORNIA ENDORSEMENT. Senator Hillary Clinton will hold a conference call tomorrow morning to unveil a major endorsement in the California presidential primary.
Word is that it will be Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.
This is not, however, confirmed by the speaker’s office or the Clinton campaign.
** EXPANDED CASINO TRIBE LOBBYING EFFORT. In addition to the multi-million dollar TV advertising campaign revealed on NWN to pass tribal gaming compacts negotiated by the Schwarzenegger Administration and swiftly approved by the state Senate, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians has a larger program underway to gain approval in the Assembly, where union interests seeking greater organizing opportunities in the casinos vow opposition. It includes targeted direct mail and robocalls into 22 Assembly districts, live phone banking into 12 Assembly districts, and precinct walking in 10 Assembly districts.
** SCHWARZENEGGER WATER PLAN VOTED DOWN BY STATE SENATE COMMITTEE. The California state Senate natural resources committee today voted down Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s water plan, which includes provisions for two dams to capture run-off from a more rapidly melting Sierra snowpack in the greenhouse era. Relations between Schwarzenegger and Senate leader Don Perata have been more strained since the late Phil Angelides for Governor campaign leaked purloined private tapes of Schwarzenegger’s conversations to the Los Angeles Times in which the governor described Perata, during a tense moment of negotiation last year on the big infrastructure bonds package, as “sick in the head.” The longstanding conventional environmentalist view, reflected in the career Senate staff structure, is anti-dam.
Said Schwarzenegger in a statement following the legislative committee defeat: “Our water infrastructure plan is critically-needed to address California’s growing water needs that include storage, conveyance and conservation. With shrinking snow packs from a changing climate, above-ground water storage will be a central part of California’s water future. It is early in the legislative process and water planning is one of the most difficult and complex issues facing California. My administration will continue to utilize all available means to push for a solution that includes surface storage, allowing California to implement a water plan to endure longer drought periods and higher flood peaks.”
The Schwarzenegger plan includes $5.9 billion in water bonds, including $4.5 billion for increased water storage, $1 billion for the Sacramento River Delta at the top of San Francisco Bay, and $450 million for conservation and restoration.
** YELTSIN FUNERAL TOMORROW. Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, architect, for better of for worse, of much of post-Soviet Russia, will have a fairly elaborate funeral ceremony tomorrow in Moscow. It comes at an intriguing moment, as an increasingly authoritarian Russia under Vladimir Putin attempts to reassert itself as a great power on the world stage. More coverage to follow. Yeltsin, unlike most recent former Russian heads of state, will be buried in a cemetery outside Moscow where Chekhov, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich are also buried.
** TILLMAN AND LYNCH TESTIFY TO WAR FAKERY. Former Army Ranger Kevin Lynch, brother of the late NFL star Pat Tillman, testified today before the House Government Oversight hearing chaired by LA Congressman Henry Waxman. He said that his brother, a native Californian who was killed in Afghanistan in a grotesque friendly fire incident, was used by the Army and the Bush Administration in death to distract from “the tortures at Abu Graib” prison in Iraq. For weeks, Pat Tillman’s death was falsely portrayed as the result of enemy action, and Tillman was posthumously awarded one of the highest decorations for valor, the Silver Star. Actually, he was shot to death by fellow Rangers as a result of ludicrous series of mistakes. Tillman, who really was a hero, had given up a big-money pro football contract after 9/11 to become a Ranger, part of America’s elite special operations forces, and served with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For her part, former Army soldier Jessica Lynch, who was captured during the invasion of Iraq, testified that heroic actions ascribed to her never took place, and that wounds said to have been inflicted by Iraqi soldiers were actually the result of an accident. The fictional version, which resulted in her being awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, resulted in much stirring media coverage and a movie-of-the-week.
** MCCAIN LEADS IN SOUTH CAROLINA POLL. A new Zogby telephone poll of South Carolina Republican voters finds John McCain holding a slender lead over Rudy Giuliani, 22% to 19%, with Fred Thompson at 11%, Mitt Romney at 10%, and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, a rumored favorite son candidate, at 8%. South Carolina is the fourth state in the presidential nomination race, following Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire.
Says Zogby: Overall, a majority of likely primary voters (69%) said they would be most likely to vote for a candidate who is generally more conservative, while one in four (26%) would prefer a more moderate candidate. Giuliani (20%), McCain (19%), Romney (11%) and Thompson (11%) lead among self-described conservatives, although a sizable percentage (27%) said they are unsure for whom they would vote. Among self-described very conservatives, Thompson (19%), McCain (18%) and Romney (15%) lead. Moderates prefer McCain at 32% support, with Giuliani at 27% and Thompson trailing in third place at 8% support.
The telephone survey of 512 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters was conducted April 16-17, 2007, and carries a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points.
Among evangelical Christians, McCain (22%) and Giuliani (16%) are out front, as Fred Thompson (10%) barely edges Romney and Sanford, who are tied at 9% support. One in four men (24%) support McCain, while 18% would vote for Giuliani, 13% for Thompson and 10% for Romney. Giuliani (20%) and McCain (19%) are the leading candidates among women, with Romney and Thompson tied for third at 10%.
Thompson enjoys the strongest intensity of support at 95%, with Giuliani at 91%, McCain at 87% and Romney trailing at 78%. Of the top four candidates, 84% of Romney supporters said it is likely they could change their minds about voting for him before the primary, compared to 81% who said the same about McCain and 74% who feel that way about Giuliani and Thompson.
While 81% said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who stands by what he or she believes in – regardless if they can win the general election – 13% said they would instead favor a candidate who can win the White House.
** SCHWARZENEGGER WEBCAST ON HEALTH CARE AT NOON. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks to the California Medical Association legislative luncheon today at noon. He will promote his comprehensive health care proposal, which has been lagging of late.
** “NO CONFIDENCE” IN GONZALES? Senate Democrats may stage a vote of no confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who turned in a disastrous performance at last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the firings of eights US attorneys.
** GREENHOUSE ISLAND. A big chunk of Greenland has split off from the whole, forming a new island. The glacier that held it to the mainland melted away. This is a dramatic development in the global pattern of increasingly melting glaciers, seen in the video above shot last year in Greenland.
Greenland, once green before an earlier ice age, is the second largest ice sheet in the world. That ice sheet is melting faster than anticipated in a 2000 report by global climate scientists. The new island, dubbed Warming Island, was discovered by Californian Dennis Schmitt who’s been going to Greenland for 40 years.
** CLINTON AND OBAMA IN SOUTH CAROLINA DEAD HEAT AS DEBATE LOOMS. With the first Democratic presidential debate coming up on Thursday in South Carolina, a new poll in that early primary state shows Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a dead heat. It’s Clinton 24%, Obama 23%, and John Edwards 16%.
The Democratic presidential field gathers Thursday night at the University of South Carolina for their first debate, following two issue forums in Nevada, before coming West for the California Democratic Party convention this coming weekend in San Diego.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. Crude oil prices have risen to the $65 to $67 per barrel range. There has been violence around oil fields in Ethiopia and Nigeria.