Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh computer 25 years ago today at this Apple shareholders meeting on January 24, 1984.
** OBAMA TO DIRECT E.P.A. RECONSIDERATION OF CALIFORNIA’S GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS LAW. On Monday, President Barack Obama will order the US Environmental Protection to reconsider its Bush/Cheney era denial of California’s landmark tailpipe emissions law. The EPA is expected to shortly issue the customary waiver granted California for decades under the Clean Air Act to go beyond federal regulations regarding air pollution.
This move will allow not only California, but 13 other states which subsequently adopted similar laws, to move ahead with the first real moves to combat climate change. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Governor-turned-Attorney General Jerry Brown sued the Bush/Cheney Administration for its years of foot-dragging on the law, which was enacted in 2002, and for its 2007 denial of the law.
** OBAMA TODAY - SUNDAY. President Barack Obama is in the White House. He has no scheduled public events today. Vice President Joe Biden appears on the CBS program, Face The Nation. The director of Obama’s National Economic Council, former Treasury Secretary and Harvard president Larry Summers appears on Meet The Press.
Obama and his team are devising stricter regulations for the financial industry in the wake of last fall’s Wall Street meltdown and of major abuses by Wall Street executives of the first part of the federal bailout of the industyr.
Obama is also fielding criticism from congressional Republicans about his economic revival program and contemplating what sort of changes, if any, he might need to make.
Obama is dispatching his longtime confidante, White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, as his representative at Davos, the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum this week in Switzerland. Summers and National Security Advisor Jim Jones were planning to go, but Obama is holding Summers back in Washington to work on the economic revival program and General Jones for Obama’s Wednesday trip to the Pentagon to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
** “MAC IS BACK?” HEY, IT NEVER LEFT. MACINTOSH TURNS 25. Whenever John McCain and his backers would start up one of their chants in the campaign that “Mac is back,” I’d say, what the heck are they talking about? It’s never left.
So here we are, 25 years to the day since Apple launched the Macintosh computer. And the Mac, unlike my old friend John McCain, is going as strong as ever, maybe even stronger. It hasn’t taken over the world, as Steve Jobs hoped. But it’s changed the face of computing in many ways, and is doing a lot better than any other computer in this global recession.
I’m a Mac guy since the ’80s. I run what we laughingly call my operation, a one-person operation, that is, as a Mac shop. Two Apple laptops on a wireless network, with a six-year old iBook as an emergency back-up.
But it’s deeper than that. I was there in Silicon Valley 25 years ago when the Macintosh was launched by Steve Jobs.
I was working with Senator Gary Hart then, and had gotten to know his backer, Apple’s marketing and PR guru Regis McKenna (I later worked with him as assistant to the chairman at his firm). Regis, who came up with the Apple logo, told me that I really didn’t want to miss the 1984 Apple shareholders’ meeting. As usual, he was right. …
President Barack Obama discusses the economic crisis and his recovery program in his weekly video/radio address.
** OBAMA’S WEEKEND ADDRESS. We begin this year and this Administration in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action. Just this week, we saw more people file for unemployment than at any time in the last twenty-six years, and experts agree that if nothing is done, the unemployment rate could reach double digits. Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four. And we could lose a generation of potential, as more young Americans are forced to forgo college dreams or the chance to train for the jobs of the future.
In short, if we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.
That is why I have proposed an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan to immediately jumpstart job creation as well as long-term economic growth. I am pleased to say that both parties in Congress are already hard at work on this plan, and I hope to sign it into law in less than a month.
It’s a plan that will save or create three to four million jobs over the next few years, and one that recognizes both the paradox and the promise of this moment – the fact that there are millions of Americans trying to find work even as, all around the country, there’s so much work to be done. That’s why this is not just a short-term program to boost employment. It’s one that will invest in our most important priorities like energy and education; health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century.
Today I’d like to talk specifically about the progress we expect to make in each of these areas.
To accelerate the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, and biofuels over the next three years. We’ll begin to build a new electricity grid that lay down more than 3,000 miles of transmission lines to convey this new energy from coast to coast. We’ll save taxpayers $2 billion a year by making 75% of federal buildings more energy efficient, and save the average working family $350 on their energy bills by weatherizing 2.5 million homes.
To lower health care costs, cut medical errors, and improve care, we’ll computerize the nation’s health records in five years, saving billions of dollars in health care costs and countless lives. And we’ll protect health insurance for more than 8 million Americans who are in danger of losing their coverage during this economic downturn.
To ensure our children can compete and succeed in this new economy, we’ll renovate and modernize 10,000 schools, building state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries, and labs to improve learning for over five million students. We’ll invest more in Pell Grants to make college affordable for seven million more students, provide a $2,500 college tax credit to four million students, and triple the number of fellowships in science to help spur the next generation of innovation.
Finally, we will rebuild and retrofit America to meet the demands of the 21st century. That means repairing and modernizing thousands of miles of America’s roadways and providing new mass transit options for millions of Americans. It means protecting America by securing 90 major ports and creating a better communications network for local law enforcement and public safety officials in the event of an emergency. And it means expanding broadband access to millions of Americans, so businesses can compete on a level-playing field, wherever they’re located.
I know that some are skeptical about the size and scale of this recovery plan. I understand that skepticism, which is why this recovery plan must and will include unprecedented measures that will allow the American people to hold my Administration accountable for these results. We won’t just throw money at our problems – we’ll invest in what works. Instead of politicians doling out money behind a veil of secrecy, decisions about where we invest will be made public, and informed by independent experts whenever possible. We will launch an unprecedented effort to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending in our government, and every American will be able to see how and where we spend taxpayer dollars by going to a new website called recovery.gov.
No one policy or program will solve the challenges we face right now, nor will this crisis recede in a short period of time. But if we act now and act boldly; if we start rewarding hard work and responsibility once more; if we act as citizens and not partisans and begin again the work of remaking America, then I have faith that we will emerge from this trying time even stronger and more prosperous than we were before. Thanks for listening.
** OBAMA AND HIS COMMANDERS. Now we’re into one of the most fascinating parts of the new Obama Administration, President Barack Obama’s relationship with America’s military commanders. How successful will he be in working with these people, and in carrying out the shift away from the old Bush/Cheney priorities?
Next week, Obama goes to the Pentagon, for a meeting in the highly secure “Tank” with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While he’s keeping Defense Secretary Bob Gates on, we don’t yet know how many of the individual service chiefs — Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force — Obama intends to retain after their terms end. Nor do we know what his plans are for the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen. Nor do we yet know what he wants to do with the current chiefs of the US Armed Forces’ international commands.
We do know that Obama already met, on Wednesday, with one general whose job looks secure for now, Central Command chief David Petraeus, as well as JCS chief Admiral Mullen, Defense Secretary Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Obama’s national security advisor, former Marine Corps commandant and NATO commander Jim Jones. …
Petraeus, subject of a memorable MoveOn.org ad as “General Betray-us” (done by a one-time colleague of mine), appears key to all of this. …
A top Republican operator, a John McCain man who admires Petraeus, told me this the week before Obama’s inauguration: “Now America’s smartest general and America’s smartest politician get to work together.”
For all the blood-and-guts hero worship of Petraeus on the far right, he’s actually a very political general. At the dawn of his career, upon his graduation from West Point, he married the daughter of the Military Academy’s commanding general. His approach around the Iraq surge was at least as political as it was military, playing the various Iraqi factions against one another and for the US and even engaging with Iran on its interests in quelling the violence.
Petraeus arrived in Washington on the night of Obama’s inauguration, having just concluded a lengthy tour of the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia, during which he consulted with the leaders of the various former Soviet republics and with top Russian figures. … From my Friday column.
“Think different.” The Mac turns 25.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … MACINTOSH TURNS 25.
** OBAMA TODAY – SATURDAY. President Barack Obama meets with his economic team in the White House. They are going over his economic recovery program, which is going to have some some changes going through Congress.
Meanwhile, Obama is catching a break on some geopolitical crises. Not that they are necessarily “breaks,” as Obama and his emissaries have been in touch with global players for months, and at least one of the developments is directly tied to his inauguration as president.
Israel has all its troops out of the Gaza Strip. And Russia is restarting natural gas flows to Europe through Ukraine. At a cost down the line to the notion of Ukraine joining NATO. The US has an emerging set of deals to supply the troubled war in Afghanistan outside the usual supply lines through increasingly unstable Pakistan. But more work remains with Moscow to lock all that down further, especially with regard to the transit of weapons.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Los Angeles today. He has some private talks. His focus, naturally, is on the chronic California budget crisis. Schwarzenegger has no scheduled public events today.
Republican legislators, who have essentially blockaded the budget for months by publicly refusing to consider any tax hikes, seem to be getting closer to going for a budget that includes tax hikes as well as program cuts and a spending cap.
Naturally, much of California’s far right – which is doing a remarkable job of driving the state’s Republican Party deeper into permanent minority status – is going bonkers over this.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.)
As the hours count down to his inauguration, Barack Obama must be hearing the hoofbeats of history. He certainly invokes it. Indeed, he seeks to be one of its great riders.
For all the president-elect’s evocation of Abraham Lincoln — and his own description of Lincoln in “The Audacity of Hope” as both deep-seated idealist and ultra-pragmatist was more revealing of Obama’s political character than anything produced by any media outlet — fate and his own design cast what Obama says as our brand-new president alongside somewhat more contemporary figures.
Obama takes office as the 44th president of the United States at a moment of multi-faceted crisis. But it is not a moment like that of Lincoln’s inauguration. President Bush and his essentially feckless administration leave behind the worst economy since the Great Depression, an environment increasingly out of whack, two troubled, troubling, and mismanaged wars, a black eye around the globe, and a sense of fatigue from years of overwrought hysteria. Lincoln’s challenge was of a very different nature.
So the figures of comparison for Obama, his fellow riders of history if you will, are, notwithstanding his hero Lincoln, different. … From my Monday Huffington Post column.
** ANOTHER DAY: 24 AND THE AGE OF OBAMA. One of the signature TV series of the Bush/Cheney years is back. What relevance, if any, does it have in the new age of Obama? … From my January 13th column.
** CIA: THE PANETTA PICK AND THE FEINSTEIN FACTOR. President-elect Barack Obama named his top intelligence leadership team on Friday. And, as I expected, new Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein rather quickly backed down from her opposition to Leon Panetta and championing of a CIA insider for the post, of only a few days ago. The whole exercise was very instructive in old and new political dynamics. … From my January 12th column.
** CIA: PARSING THE PANETTA PICK. … From my January 6th column.
** OBAMA: VACATION’S END. … From my January 2nd Huffington Post column.
** 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. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. 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.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included.
Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. After crashing over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil closed on Friday at $46.47 per barrel. Energy markets are closed on the weekend.
This is a significant advance since the inauguration of President Barack Obama, relecting the oil market’s view that the US economy will experience a recovery under the new American administration.
The drop of $105 per barrel since the record high over the summer comes on acknowledgment that the weak US economy will cut future demand and on the easing of previous geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. It is clear that that, contrary to much chatter, neither the US nor Israel is about to launch a strike against Iran. And the Russian war with Georgia, confounding much speculation and reporting to the contrary, actually decreased the geopolitical risk premium in the oil market.
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