President Barack Obama, after touring a new solar photovoltaic array at Nellis Air Force Base today outside Las Vegas, discussed his economic recovery program.
** QUICK HITS. There are signs that North Korea is looking for a naval incident with South Korea. It’s pursued two such deadly encounters in recent years. The US has two aircraft carrier strike groups, USS George Washington and USS John Stennis, in the Western Pacific, but only one, the Washington group, that is reportedly currently in the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula. … President Barack Obama is expected to raise over $3 million tonight for the Democratic National Committee at the Beverly Hilton. It’s his first fundraiser in California since winning the presidency. … Ex-eBay CEO and Republican campaign official Meg Whitman will have her campaign for governor of California endorsed by John McCain on Friday. McCain, for whom Whitman served as national campaign co-chair, lost California by 24 points to Obama. … Former California Senate leader Don Perata was cleared today after a five-year investigation by the US Justice Department. No charges were ever filed against Perata, who spent a fortune defending himself against an amorphous cloud of allegations. Perata must now be rated the favorite to replace incumbent Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums in next year’s election.
** GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER. At the big DNC fundraiser tonight in LA, President Barack Obama will be joined by America’s newest Democratic Senator, Arlen Specter. The former Pennsylvania Republican makes his debut at a Democratic function. Obama is working on short-circuiting a 2010 primary challenge to Specter, who has actually pretty much a Democratic party line after some early comments suggesting otherwise following his dramatic party switch. Co-chairs of the event include Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen, Ron Burkle, Casey Wasserman, John Emerson (who was my best man), Nicole Avant, and Ari Emanuel (Rahm Emanuel’s hyper agent brother).
** FROM THE TWITTER CULTURE: NEWT TWEETS THAT SOTOMAYOR IS RACIST. Here’s what former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, somewhat inexplicably back on the national stage in a big way, just said about Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.
Who says you can’t do important things, such as self-immolation, in 140 characters or less?
** GALLUP POLL: MOST AMERICANS OPPOSE GAY MARRIAGE. A Gallup Poll taken in early May shows same-sex marriage still widely opposed by most Americans. It’s 40% in favor, and 57% opposed.
This is why opportunities on this issue can’t be squandered by narcissism and bone-headed moves, as occurred last year in California around the Proposition 8 campaign.
Gay marriage is favored by 55% of Democrats, 45% of independents, and 20% of Republicans.
A separate question in the poll found close to half of Americans, 48%, saying that allowing legal same-sex marriages would change society for the worse. That is more than three times the 13% who believe legal gay marriage would change society for the better. The remaining 38% say it would have no effect on society or do not have an opinion on the matter.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and Iowa, and will be legal in Vermont this fall.
But a move to legalize it in liberal New York has stalled in the state Senate after passing in the Assembly. A recent poll there found opinion evenly split, 46% for and 46% against.
However, views on gays in the military have undergone a major shift since 1993, when 43% were in favor.
Today, the latest USA Today/Gallup poll finds 69% of Americans in favor of military service by openly gay men and lesbians. While the Clinton-era policy remains in place, President Obama promised during the campaign to change it.
North Korea, which set off an underwhelming underground nuclear test blast on Memorial Day, has reportedly re-started its weapons-grade nuclear plant and launched yet another short-range missile, threatening military action against South Korea.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in the West today.
He spends most of the day in Nevada, which he took out of the Republican presidential column last November. In addition to boosting his own agenda, he’s helping Senator Harry Reid.
Then Obama comes to California, where he has the first LA fundraiser of his presidency.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden delivers the commencement address at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Obama receives his daily intelligence and economic briefings this morning in Las Vegas.
It is not believed that he will be visiting Area 51.
At 11 AM Pacific, he and Senator Harry Reid tour the solar photovoltaic array at Nellis Air Force Base.
At 11:40 AM, Obama delivers remarks on Nevada projects included in his economic recovery program at the Thunderbird Hangar at Nellis Air Force Base.
At 12:30 PM Pacific, Obama departs Las Vegas on Air Force One en route to Los Angeles.
At 1:35 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Los Angeles.
At 7:05 PM Pacific, Obama attends the Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Senate Majority Leader Reid is down in the Nevada polls in the run-up to his re-election campaign next year. Obama was on hand last night at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas to add to his warchest and further dissuade any serious Republican opposition.
Nevada Republicans are in disarray, with Governor Jim Gibbons in the midst of various scandals, and have yet to produce a significant challenger to Reid.
Obama is also monitoring a few geopolitical crises.
The Pakistani Army offensive against the Taliban, urged by Obama, is continuing, with more signs that Taliban forces are being disrupted and driven back in various places. There is house-to-house fighting underway in at least one city.
In retaliation, Taliban operatives killed scores of people in a major terrorist bombing in Lahore.
North Korea set off what appears to have been an underwhelming nuclear device on Monday, prompting international condemnation. Obama put out a statement in the middle of the night on the move. And the UN Security Council, meeting in emergency session, thoroughly denounced it.
The Hermit State has launched several short-range missiles since then, further inflaming the situation. The missiles reportedly had a range of about 80 miles. North Korea has placed its forces along the border with South Korea on full alert, and threatens that any attempt to interdict any of its vessels to check for weapons of mass destruction will be considered an act of war.
Aside from, once again, getting more attention, it’s not clear what the North Korean leadership is trying to do.
Protests up and down the Golden State have greeted the California Supreme Court’s decision upholding Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative.
** THE AVOIDABLE TRAGEDY OF CALIFORNIA’S PROP 8. The California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8, last November’s successful initiative against same-sex marriage is all the more tragic in that the initiative never should have passed in the first place. …
The right to same-sex marriage will, in the end, win out. It’s the getting there that is messy. And it need not have been as messy as the passage of Prop 8, and its expected upholding by the California Supreme Court, has made it. …
Gay marriage opponents got a huge gift immediately from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s comments. Newsom had enraged top national Democrats, including Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, by unilaterally declaring same-sex marriage lawful in San Francisco in the midst of the 2004 presidential race. Though it was a move that was predictably easily overturned, national Republican strategists credited the furor it caused with playing a propulsive role in turning out huge numbers of fundamentalist voters in Ohio, the lynchpin of George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election. …
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger discussed the same-sex marriage situation last night on The Tonight Show.
UPDATE: SCHWARZENEGGER’S MORNING “HYDROGEN HIGHWAY” EVENT WILL NOT BE WEBCAST.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger tours a hydrogen fuel facility at a Shell service station in West Los Angeles near the 405 freeway this morning and holds a press conference. He will then briefly join Hydrogen Road Tour 2009, an annual road rally up the West Coast that highlights advances in fuel cell technology. The road rally began on Monday in San Diego and ends on June 3rd in Vancouver, British Columbia. Schwarzenegger has created a network of 26 hydrogen fueling stations to form a nascent “Hydrogen Highway.”
At 2 PM, Schwarzenegger will take part in a text-based online chat called the Digg Dialogg. The interview session with Nicole Lapin of CNN will consist of Schwarzenegger answering the most popular questions submitted by the Digg online community.
Last night, Schwarzenegger was one of host Jay Leno’s final guests on The Tonight Show. Leno’s long tenure there ends this week, and he’s having his favorite guests on as part of the farewell. In a “surprise” move, Schwarzenegger declared his candidacy for governor on The Tonight Show in August 2003, and was elected in a 17-point landslide two months later.
While on the show, Schwarzenegger declared that the ban on same-sex marriage upheld yesterday by the California Supreme Court should and will be overturned in the next few years.
** OBAMA’S NEW CALIFORNIA-BASED CLIMATE POLICY: SIX KEY THINGS TO KNOW. When President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that he is making California’s standard for vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions the new national standard, he accomplished a number of things. … From my May 20th column.
** 24 AND THE TORTUOUS POLITICS OF TORTURE. The longtime hit TV series 24 has just wrapped a tumultuous seventh season in the midst of national debate about the past national policy of interrogation by torture of terror suspects. And, while 24 returned to past form as a crackling thriller, it’s done it in the midst of presenting a running debate about torture, mostly coming down on the side of torture.
Which, in its way, is appalling. There’s one thing, though. Torture may be more popular than many of us would like to think. … From my May 18th column.
** ANGELS AND DEMONS AND RELIGIOUS POLITICS. The sequel to one of the most controversial movies in recent memory is opening this weekend. And the collective response is a mild “hmm.” … From my May 15th column.
** WHAT DOES OBAMA’S AFGHAN COMMAND CHANGE MEAN? For the first such change in wartime since Harry Truman replaced General Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War in 1951, Barack Obama is replacing General David McKiernan in Afghanistan. Obama is moving both to change a stalemated war in Afghanistan and to scale back expectations there. … From my May 13th column.
** THE HYPE FLU’S BIG FADE. Remember that big, dangerous swine flu threat that the cable culture was going on about round the clock, still scaring the sweat out of people a week ago? Why, it’s going to … er, never mind.
It was all very breathless and alarming. … From my May 11th column.
** STAR TREK‘S NEW COMING-OF-AGE SAGA FOR GENERATION O. Let’s get the straight-up politics out of the way up front. Barack Obama, as he says himself, grew up on Star Trek. And both the new Spock, young Heroes TV star Zachary Quinto, and the classic Spock, Leonard Nimoy, each of whom star in the new movie, backed him for president, with Quinto campaigning around the country. … From my May 8th column.
** OBAMA’S TROUBLED AFPAK SUMMIT. … From my May 6th column.
** OBAMA’S CRISIS MANAGEMENT: OF FLU AND AFPAK. … From my May 4th column.
** THIS X DOESN’T MARK THE SPOT. WOLVERINE MISSES THE SERIES’ DEEPER THEMES. … From my May 2nd column.
** OBAMA’S DEEPENING AFPAK CRISIS. … From my April 30th column.
** OBAMA’S CALIFORNIA: ANGST AND IRONY FOR WINNING DEMOCRATS. … From my April 28th column.
** OBAMA’S EARTH DAY ENERGY DECLARATION: CALIFORNIA MAY BE THE NATIONAL MODEL HE SAYS, BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH. … From my April 23rd column.
** 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.) … From my January 19th 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.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in two wars in the region, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ 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 last fall, prior to the global economic meltdown, 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. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil is trading in the $62 to $63 per barrel range.
This is up about $29 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, due in part to some positive economic signs and in part to geopolitical jitters over Pakistan and North Korea.
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