Despite mounting frustrations with its many failures, the top federal official overseeing the response to the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster says there’s no reason to push BP out of the way.
** QUICK HITS. Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney will play the White House on June 2nd when President Barack Obama awards the 3rd Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress. Last year’s honoree was Steve Wonder, whose “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” was an Obama campaign song. … In the GOP Senate race in California, a new KABC/SurveyUSA poll has ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina opening a very big lead over ex-Congressman Tom Campbell, 46% to 23%. Far right state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore is far back with 11%. … Caliifornia state Senate Democrats reacted to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s call for additional budget cuts today with a $5 billion tax hike package. That includes $2 billion in postponing new corporate tax breaks, a billion in extending an across-the-board income tax surcharge, and $1.2 billion in increasing the very unpopular car tax. …
** CALIFORNIA 2010: NEW WEEK, NEW AD ROTATIONS. In the vicios GOP primary for governor, billionaire Meg Whitman, trying to hold off state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, has a new TV ad in her rotation, perhaps taking the place of that defensive 60-second spot she’s had on to a certain extent. I believe the effective ad attacking Poizner as a closet liberal is staying in the rotation.
And Poizner has a new ad, too, going all in — for now — on illegal immigration with both his principal ads on that topic in the wake of last week’s denuciation of the new Arizona law by President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon last week in Washington.
Whitman, the first candidate I can recall whose candidacy is so tethered to consultants and lobbyists that she has a lobbyist in her ads, has a new spot in which her mentor, GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney (who conceived her candidacy) appears with ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. What do they say? That she’s a real “fiscal conservative.”
For his part, Poizner’s new TV ad opens with a narrator asking: “Do you want a governor that has the same position on illegal immigration as the president of Mexico?” as the faces of Whitman, Calderon, and Obama are overlaid on a border fence.
** NEW NATIONAL POLL: OPPOSITION TO GAY MARRIAGE EASES A BIT. A new national Gallup poll shows that opposition to same sex marriage has eased somewhat. But support was slightly higher a few years ago.
In California, which repealed the right to same sex marriage granted by the state Supreme Court by passing a 2008 initiative, polls show that voters are essentially split, with a slight edge to the yes side.
Opponents of legalizing same-sex marriage continue to outnumber supporters in the United States, by 53% to 44%. However, opposition is now tied for the lowest Gallup has measured. Support was slightly higher, at 46%, in 2007.
These results are based on Gallup’s Values and Beliefs Poll, which has tracked attitudes toward legal same-sex marriage annually since 2004. When Gallup first asked about the legality of gay marriage in a 1996 poll, 68% of Americans were opposed and 27% in favor.
Since that time, support has increased among the major political and ideological subgroups, though more among those on the left of the political spectrum than among those on the right. Currently, a majority of Democrats favor legal gay marriage, as do a majority of moderates and liberals, with liberals the most supportive of these groups, at 70%. …
These political differences in support for gay marriage may stem from even larger differences by religion. Americans who say religion is “very important” in their lives oppose legal same-sex marriage by 70% to 27%. In contrast, Americans who say religion is not important to them support gay marriage by just as wide a margin.
Differences on the issue are also apparent by religious affiliation. Notably, 81% of Americans who claim no religious affiliation favor legal same-sex marriage. That compares to 48% support among Catholics and 33% among Protestants (including those who identify as Christian but do not specify a particular Christian denomination). …
Over time, Americans have become more accepting of legal same-sex marriage, and a growing number of subgroups now show majority support for it. However, religious and conservative segments of the U.S. population remain largely opposed — even though their support for gay marriage has also increased in recent years. Because religious and conservative groups are larger than nonreligious and left-leaning groups in the United States, overall, more Americans remain opposed to, rather than in favor of, same-sex marriage.
President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at West Point on Saturday. He laid out a new doctrine blending civilian engagement and multilateral action with military intervention.
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK.
A big week for President Barack Obama, with travel to California and elsewhere and a focus on economic recovery, the Gulf oil disaster, finding a new national intelligence director, and geopolitics, including the Korean crisis caused by the North Korean torpedoing of a South Korean warship, the Iranian nuclear crisis, and the still unsettled Iraqi governance situation.
And in California politics, the rock ‘em, sock ‘em Republican primary to attempt to succeed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger heads toward the stretch run, with billionaire Meg Whitman trying to hold on to a lead over Steve Poizner. See my Saturday piece explaining the race, “The Empire Strikes Back,” linked below.
Meanwhile, Jerry Brown awaits the survivor. He’s raised $1 million in the past 10 days and just received a $2.25 million contribution from the California Democratic Party.
And rising ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina contines her GOP primary duel with ex-Congressman Tom Campbell for the right to take on Senator Barbara Boxer.
Obama spends Monday in Washington, overseeing the Gulf oil crisis and meeting with the prime minister of pivotal Lebanon.
On Tuesday, Obama flies to San Francisco to appear at three fundraisers for embattled Senator Barbara Boxer. He did fundraisers for her last month in Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, Obama visits Solyndra, Inc., a solar manufacturer, in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Fremont. Solyndra is a big success story for the economic recovery act. He then flies back to Washington.
On Thursday, Obama welcomes the national collegiate basketball champions from Duke University and hosts the first White House reception for Jewish American Heritage Month.
Obama’s special Mideast envoy, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, is trying now to play shuttle diplomat between Israel and the Palestinians.
Obama’s schedule, as it frequently is, is rather vague toward the end of the week, allowing flexibility to deal with breaking or impending events. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do something high profile around the Gulf oil disaster.
BP’s estimates of the spill continue to be proven wrong and its efforts to end the spill continue to fall far short. Meanwhile, oil is washing ashore and even conservative Gulf Coast politicians are hopping mad.
South Korea has struck back at the North over the sinking of its Cheonan warship in March. President Lee Myung-bak and his government announced measures aimed at crippling Pyongyang.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington today.
Obama has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
He then attended a reception for the Federal Judge Association before returning to the Oval Office to meet with senior advisors.
At 9 AM Pacific, Obama participates in the daily briefing call with Gulf Coast Governors on the BP oil spill.
BP is proving to be far less than capable in handling its Gulf oil disaster, and demands are rising for the federal government to take over the effort. Not that the federal government is any better at this sort of thing.
Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen will join White House press secretary Robert Gibbs in deliverthe daily briefing for the press.
At 11:30 AM Pacific, Obama welcomes Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon to the White House.
At 1 PM Pacific, Obama hosts a reception to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
At 1:30 PM Pacific, Obama meets with Secretary of Defense Bob Gates in the Oval Office.
For his part, Vice President Joe Biden attends an event for his ailing son, Attorney General Beau Biden, in Philadelphia. The younger Biden has been released from the hospital after suffering a minor stroke.
FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Los Angeles and Sacramento today.
At 2:45 PM, Schwarzenegger views a Mitsubishi electric vehicle in Capitol Park and holds a press availability.
He holds private talks in and around the Capitol.
… THE CALIFORNIA AS FIRST “FAILED STATE” DEBATE: SCHWARZENEGGER, DAVIS, WHITMAN, AND JERRY BROWN. … From my March 2nd column.
Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate in fall 2008, prior to the global economic meltdown, with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included. You can listen to my video webchat last spring with Schwarzenegger here.
** THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: BILLIONAIRE MEG WHITMAN BATTLES BACK IN THE CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR’S RACE. After finally losing nearly all her lead last week in the Republican primary to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California, billionaire Meg Whitman is battling back against super-rich state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, whom she led a few months ago by a whopping 50 points. She has a lead again, but it’s only about a fifth what it was, and less than her campaign claims. With little more than two weeks to go till the primary, with over a third of the voters still undecided, she’s in a precarious position.
Before delving again into the particulars of this race, let’s pause a moment in wonderment at this spectacle before us. (And yes, this weekend is the 30th anniversary of the launch of a little movie called The Empire Strikes Back.)
Whitman is really showing us the possible future of oligarchic politics if she survives this far more difficult than expected primary and then manages to pull out a victory against Jerry Brown, who’s barely spent a dime so far, in the fall. It’s a possible future of unlimited spending and unlimited spin. Which is also, paradoxically, the problem with her candidacy. … From my May 22nd column.
** AFTER THE AFGHAN SUMMIT: FIVE KEY THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT OBAMA’S PROBLEMATIC PLANS. Now that the pomp and circumstance of last week’s Washington summit between the Obama Administration and Afghan President Hamid Karzai has faded, what is the state of things?
Not very good. Really, not very good at all.
With the much telegraphed U.S., NATO, and Afghan offensive in Kandahar Province — heartland of the Taliban since the movement’s mid-1990s inception in the midst of Afghanistan’s lengthy post-Soviet chaos — on tap for June, the Taliban aren’t exactly cowering in their caves waiting to lose. In fact, they say they’re launching their own offensive.
A sad milestone was reached on Tuesday. With a morning suicide attack against a U.S. military convoy in Kabul, the 1000th American has been killed in action in Afghanistan. … From my May 19th column.
** MEG WHITMAN’S WILD WEEK THAT WAS. Is billionaire Meg Whitman having fun yet? She’s certainly had a careening week in her once seeming juggernaut of a bid to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California.
In any car race, the worst moment is not when the trailing car pulls up in the rear view mirror, it’s when you can no longer see it in the rear view mirror. That’s because it’s alongside.
I’ve been reporting for weeks on her steep slide in private polling on her Republican primary race against super-rich state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who was once dismissed by nearly all as a hapless speed bump in the race. That culminated here on the Huffington Post in “Meg Whitman’s Titanic Campaign for Governor of California.”
After a lot of denial of the truth by her chief strategist Mike Murphy and others in the well-paid Whitman camp, this week they had to face facts. This week began with a stark bit of reality. … From my May 15th column.
** IRON MAN‘S POST-MODERN HOWARD HUGHES IS BACK AND CONFUSED. … From my May 13th essay.
** MEG WHITMAN’S TITANIC CAMPAIGN FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA. … From my May 7th column.
** “GOLDMEG SACHS WHITMAN” ROILS THE CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR’S RACE. … From my May 3rd column.
** IS OBAMA FINALLY PIVOTING TO THE ECONOMY? … From my April 29th column.
** PUNDITS, BLOGGERS, ACTIVIST LEADERS THINKING OF RUNNING FOR HIGH OFFICE? THINK AGAIN. … From my April 27th column.
** CALIFORNIA STORY: BROWN, BOXER, AND (UN)CONVENTION(AL) POLITICS. … From my April 21st essay.
** JERRY BROWN’S LONG AND WINDING ROAD. … From my April 15th column.
** HOW JERRY BROWN CLEARED THE DEMOCRATIC FIELD FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA. … From my December 9th, 2009 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, 2009 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 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, 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.
** 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, 2008, crude oil is trading around $70 per barrel.
This is up about $36 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
However, it is down one-fifth from just three weeks ago. European economic activity is slowing again, there are still major worries about the Greek bail-out, and American inventory is increasing.
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