Rev. Jeremiah Wright surfaces tonight on Bill Moyers’ PBS show.
** SCHWARZENEGGER OPPOSES PROP 98 EMINENT DOMAIN INITIATIVE ON CALIFORNIA’S JUNE BALLOT. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has just announced his opposition to the Prop 98 eminent domain initiative on the June ballot.
“Eminent domain is an issue worth addressing,” said Schwarzenegger in his statement. “However Proposition 98 would undermine California’s ability to improve our infrastructure, including our water delivery and storage. California voters strongly support rebuilding our transportation, housing, education and water infrastructure, so it would be irresponsible to support a measure that would prevent the state from accomplishing our goals.”
The measure, championed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and other conservative groups, is opposed by a host of groups, from liberal organizations angry about its stealthy preemption of of renters rights and local rent control laws to the California Chamber of Commerce and former Republican Governor Pete Wilson. It was already lagging in recent polling.
** BEGALA SEES OBAMA VICTORY. Longtime top Clinton advisor Paul Begala, speaking at a luncheon held in New York by my old pal Patricia Duff’s group, The Common Good, said that he is “all but certain” that Barack Obama will win the Democratic presidential nomination.
Begala, a longtime fixture as a CNN analyst, is also the longtime compadre of James Carville. Who, with tensions running high, so vociferously attacked New Mexico Governor (and former Clinton Cabinet member) Bill Richardson as “Judas” for his endorsement of the freshman Illinois senator.
** RASMUSSEN NATIONAL POLL: NO PENNSYLVANIA BOUNCE. The Rasmussen national tracking poll shows Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton, 49% to 42%.
Those numbers are unchanged from the night before and, so far, there is absolutely no indication that Clinton’s victory in Pennsylvania has changed the overall dynamic of the race. These results are based upon a four-day rolling average and include two full nights of polling following the Pennsylvania Primary. These results and other data suggest that there is no “momentum” in this Primary Season. Typically, momentum results as voters learn more about a candidate who is doing well. This cycle, Hillary Clinton began the campaign as one of the best known people in the world. Democrats uneasy with her quickly settled on Obama as the chief challenger who has now become the frontrunner. As the candidates have become known, each has developed a solid core of supportive constituencies. For Obama, these included African-Americans, younger voters, more liberal Democrats, and upper-income voters. For Clinton, strength comes from White Women, older voters, more moderate Democrats, and lower-to-middle income workers.
** HERE IS THE NAVY STATEMENT ON A PERSIAN GULF INCIDENT. Released by the 5th Fleet in Bahrain regarding the incident that helped cause an upward move in oil prices. While transiting north in international waters in the Central Arabian Gulf April 24 at approximately 8 a.m. local time, Motor Vessel Westward Venture was approached by two unidentified small boats.
Following proper procedure, Westward Venture issued standard queries to the small boats via bridge-to-bridge radio, but received no response. Westward Venture then activated a flare, which also did not receive a response.
The small boats continued toward Westward Venture and the ship’s embarked security team fired warning shots. The small boats left the area. A short time later, Westward Venture received a query from a unit identifying itself as Iranian Coast Guard. It is not clear if this was one of the small boats or a separate boat. The query was routine and correct.
Westward Venture is a U.S. flagged and chartered roll-on/roll-off ship. It is a cargo ship approximately 1,000 feet long and owned by Totem Ocean Trailer Express Inc.
** NEW OIL PRICE RECORD. Crude oil just broke through the $120 per barrel barrier. The renewed upward drive in the oil price is due to the continuing weakness of the dollar against the euro, OPEC’s refusal to increase production levels, an incident in which a US cargo ship (non-military) fired warning shots at some Iranian boats, attacks by Nigerian guerillas against oil pipelines, and a big risk premium built into the price by various geopolitical crises, mostly around the Middle East.
** BIG MOVES AROUND OBAMA. Let’s see. There is the risky re-emergence of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, seen in the clip above from tonight’s PBS appearance, who speaks to the National Press Club next week.
There is an agreement between the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee to form a joint fundraising project, in which contributors to Obama also give to the DNC.
There is the launch of a 50-state voter registration drive by the Obama campaign.
The Wright Stuff is very risky indeed. The man whose outrageous comments seriously upset the Democratic frontrunner’s momentum and raised major questions about his fortunes in the general election is more than a little radioactive.
So Bill and Hillary Clinton might be pleased. Until they consider this. House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, an uncommitted superdelegate, charges them with playing the race card heavily and predicts that black voters who once revered the former president will never trust him again.
And he goes further, to say what an increasing number of observers have been saying privately. Or not so privately.
“The Clintons know she can’t win this,” says Clyburn. “But they’re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win.”
Wright appears on liberal broadcaster Bill Moyers’ show. There’s an interesting connection between the two, which I suspect will be brought out at some point.
Moyers was press secretary for then President Lyndon Johnson. Wright is a former Marine and Navy corpsman who won a commendation for attending to Johnson when he was ill. How does this square with Wright’s angry condemnations of America?
** INDIANA POLLS: STATISTICAL DEAD HEAT FOR DEMS, BUT OBAMA LEADS MCCAIN. A new poll for the Indianapolis Star finds a close race in the Hoosier State. It’s Barack Obama 41%, Hillary Clinton 38%. However, Obama leads John McCain by nine points, while Clinton is tied with the Republican. And by a 49% to 35% margin, Obama is seen as the best general election canddiate.
Another Indiana poll, for the South Bend Tribune (home of Notre Dame University), also finds a dead heat. It’s Obama 48%, Clinton 47%.
** MY NEW PODCAST. The road ahead for the Democrats post-Pennsylvania, since she mentioned Obama acquaintance Bill Ayers here is Hillary’s not-so-secret radical background (per the ultra-knowledgeable Tom Hayden), and John McCain working on getting it together.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama is in Indianapolis and Kokomo, Indiana.
Hillary Clinton is in Bloomington, Gary, and East Chicago, Indiana.
Bill Clinton is in North Bend, Oregon.
John McCain is at Arkansas Baptist College and Oklahoma City.
** SCHWARZENEGGER LIVE WEBCAST THIS MORNING. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joins U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa this morning in Los Angeles to announce federal funding for a major congestion reduction program. I suspect Schwarzenegger will have a few choice words off-camera for Peters about the administration’s back-door attempt to preempt California’s climate change laws.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Last night on The Tonight Show, while discussing climate change and the environment with his friend, host Jay Leno, the former action superstar noted that “Everybody deserves a little Hummer.”
By which he meant, presumably, a smaller and more carbon-friendly version of the Hummer SUV.
** SCHWARZENEGGER LEADS STATES IN COUNTERATTACK AGAINST BACK-DOOR PREEMPTION ATTEMPT ON GREENHOUSE GASES. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and company are mighty unhappy with the Bush White House these days after learning of language buried in a 400-plus page document about fuel efficiency standards that could preempt California’s landmark climate change laws. Former Governor-turned-Attorney General Jerry Brown was first off the mark on this early this week, with California’s U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer not far behind. Now Schwarzenegger has written to President Bush expressing his displeasure, rounding up the governors of 11 other states to join him in the process.
On Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) used a proposed rulemaking on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in an attempt to preempt our states and others across the nation that are working to control greenhouse gas emissions. States must take this action because the federal government has not adequately responded to this urgent threat.
NHTSA has no authority to preempt states from regulating greenhouse gases. Congress and two federal district courts have rejected NHTSA’s claim to such authority. Furthermore, this attack completely undermines the cooperative federalism principles embodied in the Clean Air Act, and is an end run around 40 years of precedent under that law.
Our states intend to comment on the proposed rulemaking and, if necessary, will sue NHTSA, just as California and other states have sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to ensure that states retain the right to reduce global climate change emissions. We hope that you will reconsider this rulemaking on CAFE in light of the crucial efforts undertaken by states to address greenhouse gas emissions.
The eleven other governors joining Schwarzenegger are the governors of Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel.
You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND U.S. ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Crude oil is trading again in record territory in the $119 to $120 per barrel range.
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