President Barack Obama appeared this afternoon in a town hall at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California.
** FACEBOOK FRIENDS OBAMA. President Barack Obama’s town hall appearance today at Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley went off without a hitch. The event was moderated by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year old multi-billionaire who still looked like a teen despite wearing a jacket and tie. (A loosened tie, that is, with jeans and white sneakers.) Obama took credit for getting him to start wearing a tie, but I’d seen him in one before he had dinner with Obama and other tech titans in February.
Questions for Obama came from the in-house crowd, as well as from Facebook users around the world. But because the president gives what might be described as expansive answers, not all that many were actually posed in the event, which was netcast live here on New West Notes.
It was a good opportunity for Obama to get his message out, with Facebook clearly in his corner, with the world’s premiere social networking outfit not only hosting him but also shorter sessions with White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Obama described Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s highly controversial fiscal plan, which passed the Republican-controlled House last week, as “radical” but “not courageous.”
Ryan and his cohorts, he said, “wants to change our social compact in a pretty fundamental way.”
“Their basic view is that no matter how successful I am, no matter how much I’ve taken from this country, that somehow I have no obligation to people who are less fortunate than me, and I have no obligation to future generations,” Obama said. “I guess you could call that bold. I would call it short-sighted. Nothing is easier than solving a problem on the backs of people who are poor, who don’t have lobbyists, who don’t have clout.”
Obama also talked up technological innovation and education as keys to America’s global economic competitiveness.
Among those also on hand were Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and state Controller John Chiang.
Outside were expected protesters from Code Pink, who imagine that Obama is to Libya what Bush was to Iraq.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 1:45 PM Pacific, President Barack Obama holds a town hall at Facebook Headquarters in Palo Alto, California. The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes. You can mute the sound during set-up by clicking on the pause button.
** LIVE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.
With massive geopolitical events swirling and the 2012 presidential race unfolding, the White House is increasingly a pivot point for the day’s events. Live streaming of key presidential events is now available as a matter of course here on New West Notes. You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
NWN will continue to present other live webcasts in full streaming mode, as it did with the Ronald Reagan Centennial events from the Reagan Library, as they emerge and are technically available and as significance dictates.
** JERRY BROWN SCHEDULE UPDATE: In the ever emerging schedule of Governor Jerry Brown, he will speak tonight at the California State Sheriffs Association dinner at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. Which is quite nearby President Barack Obama’s second fundraiser of the evening.
Tomorrow morning he will see Obama at his breakfast fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco before going down to Southern California for an event in Santa Clarita.
** NEW SURVEY: WELCOME TO TINDERBOX WORLD. A new Gallup Poll survey of countries around the world makes it clear why what I call the geopolitical risk premium can upset a still gathering recovery from the great global recession.
To be clear about the equation, which I’ve written about before but some may forget, heightened geopolitical risk, especially in the vicinity of oil-producing/oil-transiting areas leads to higher oil prices. Higher oil prices cut into the recovery, or end it.
The Gallup survey reveals enormous disparities in how people view their lives and whether or not they are “thriving.” Denmark ranks highest on the scale, followed closely by Sweden and Canada. America ranks 12th, trailing behind not only the top three countries on the scale but also Australia, Finland, Venezuela, Israel, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Panama.
Clearly there is a substantial degree of subjectivity and relativity in people’s perceptions of whether or not they are thriving in life. Expectations in America are quite high, and have been dashed of late.
Just below America are Austria, Costa Rica, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, Qatar, and Mexico.
That’s the entirety of the nations which have majority populations viewing themselves as “thriving.”
Now click through and look at the list of nations where less than 25% of the population believe themselves to be thriving. Among other things, it tracks quite nicely with nations currently involved in the Arab uprising.
Gallup’s global wellbeing surveys in 2010 reveal that a median of 21% across 124 countries were “thriving” last year, based on how people rated their lives at the current time and their expectations for the next five years. This is unchanged from a median of 21% in 2009. The percentage rating their lives well enough to be considered thriving ranged from a high of 72% in Denmark to a low of 1% in Chad. …
Gallup classifies respondents’ wellbeing as “thriving,” “struggling,” or “suffering,” according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10 based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. People are considered thriving if they rate their current lives a 7 or higher and their lives in five years an 8 or higher.
Majorities of residents in 19 countries — mostly in Europe and the Americas — rated their lives well enough to be classified this way. Denmark, along with Sweden (69%) and Canada (69%), led the list, which is largely dominated by more developed and wealthier nations, as expected given the links between wellbeing and GDP. The U.S. falls somewhat near the middle of the pack, with 59% of Americans thriving. …
Outside of this group, much of the world was not doing nearly as well. In 67 countries, less than 25% of people were thriving. Countries on this list hailed from all regions, but thriving was generally lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. The median thriving percentage in this region was 8%. No country in sub-Saharan Africa had a thriving percentage higher than 19%, underscoring the entire region’s development challenges. …
A median of 20% in the Middle East and North Africa region were thriving. Nearly two in three (63%) were thriving in Israel — the highest score in the region — as were more than half of respondents in the relatively wealthy United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Small minorities — one in seven or fewer — were thriving in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, and Morocco, which provides some evidence of the underlying discontent that bubbled over in late 2010 and early 2011. …
President Barack Obama held a town hall yesterday at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Virginia.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … THE NON-IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY: OBAMA AND LIBYA.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington and California.
Obama has received the daily intelligence and economic briefing and met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
He then left the White House, departing Andrews Air Force Base on Air Force One en route to San Francisco.
At 1:30 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in San Francisco, California.
At 1:45 PM Pacific, Obama participates in a Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity town hall hosted by Facebook to discuss his approach to bringing down the deficit at Facebook Headquarters in Palo Alto.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
At 6:15 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event at a private residence in San Francisco.
At 8:30 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco.
The Libyan War remains at evident stalemate, with US air assets playing a supporting but not leading role, amidst widespread complaints about the lack of effectiveness of other NATO forces in suppressing the forces of longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi.
The European Union’s idea of sending 1000 troops to aid in the humanitarian mission has been rejected by the Gaddafi regime and been met with a cold shoulder by the United Nations.
The UN human rights commissioner, however, says he believes that Gaddafi forces are committing war crimes in Libya.
Yesterday, Britain announced that it would send military advisors to assist the Libyan rebels. Italy also said something much the same late in the day.
Today France announced that it will send a contingent of military advisors to Libya.
These troops are all reportedly coming in small numbers; we’re talking dozens. Of course, the Vietnam War began with the insertion of small numbers of military advisors.
Meanwhile, European Union and Gulf Cooperation Council leaders continue to express support for the Transitional National Council in Benghazi as Libya’s emerging leadership, though to date only France, Italy, and Qatar have formally recognized it as the Libyan government.
Massive demonstrations continued today in American-allied Yemen, but its longtime president refuses to step down even as opposition leaders are meeting with Gulf Arab leaders to concoct a way of getting him to step down.
France is joining Britain now in sending teams of military advisors to assist the Libyan rebels.
Obama is also monitoring other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab uprising, AfPak, and Iraq.
War Zone Times: The time in Libya is nine hours ahead of Pacific time; the time in Iraq is ten hours ahead of Pacific time; and the time in Afghanistan is eleven-and-a-half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California today.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
With half of the state’s budget deficit eliminated, but the other half stuck in impasse, the state Legislature is off on its 10-day spring break.
Brown continues working on the California state government’s chronic budget crisis and his nascent administration.
** ASSESSING THE JERRY BROWN ASSESSMENTS (AND WHY HE WAS IN STEALTH MODE SO LONG). Jerry Brown is now 15 weeks into his new/renewed governorship. How were the assessments at his 100-day mark? And, oh yeah, why was he in stealth mode for so long, eschewing virtually all public appearances for months in favor of behind-the-scenes negotiations? …
Brown gets top marks from most for having eliminated half the state’s bulging $26 billion budget deficit, largely through steep budget cuts. And he gets widespread kudos for bringing a new spirit — hmm, that could be a slogan — of constant engagement with state legislators from both parties.
Brown’s predecessors weren’t exactly keen on hanging with the legislature. Republican legislators famously wore name tags to a meeting with Schwarzenegger a couple of years back. …
The reality is that Jerry Brown is his own chief of staff, his own chief strategist, his own communications director, his own media director, his own chief negotiator, etc. …
Some believe he’s trying to set up a contrast with Schwarzenegger, who traveled in motorcades and had a fairly large staff. And certainly there is an element of calculation to what Brown does. He is, after all, a politician.
But the deeper reality is that this is how he operates. At least since the first time he was governor.
After his father died in 1996, the California Democratic Party held a lengthy commemorative ceremony honoring the great Democrat at its April convention in Los Angeles. … From my April 18th feature.
** MAD ABOUT MAD MEN: WILL IT MATCH WEST WING‘S MARK? Is it possible to be happy and angry at the same time? It must be, because I am. Happy that Mad Men is renewed for not one, but two more seasons, with another likely on tap. And angry that it won’t be back for nearly a year. March 2012 is a long time off. And unfortunately the terrific cast has been left in the lurch, not to mention all the other talented people who create Mad Men’s very distinctive world. …
So what was going on with Mad Men? And how is it stacking up, at least at the moment, in its quest to match The West Wing by winning a record-tying fourth straight Emmy Award as best drama? … … From my April 14th essay.
** THE RETURN OF JERRY BROWN. … From my April 11th column.
** LIBYAN WAR: NEW INTERNATIONAL “CONTACT GROUP” OFF TO A RUGGED START. … From my March 30th essay.
** CALIFORNIA’S PARTY OF NO TAKES CENTER STAGE, OR DOES IT? > … From my March 26th feature.
** OBAMA’S DIFFIDENT WAY OF WAR. … From my March 21st feature.
** IS LIBYA A TURNING POINT ON HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTIONISM? … From my March 18th essay.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** 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.
A sad note with the season premiere of Doctor Who just three days away. Actress Elisabeth Sladen has died of cancer. In the 1970s, Sladen proved to be one of the Doctor’s most popular companions. After the show began again, she returned in 2006. Her investigative journalist character then headlined a BBC spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures.
** 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 three wars in the region, and the Arab uprising underway, 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 $110 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $76 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
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