A look at behind the scenes preparations for a presidential visit outside the bright lights of the big city. This is ElectraTherm in Reno, Nevada before President Barack Obama’s noontime town hall there today.
** QUICK HITS. Nevada Senator John Ensign, once one of the Republican Party’s top leaders, will resign his seat tomorrow to short-circuit a Senate ethics investigation into charges that he paid people off to cover up an affair with an aide who was the wife of one of his top aides. Ensign had previously announced that he would not run for re-election next year. This gives new Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval the opportunity to appoint the leading Republican candidate, Congressman Dean Heller, to the seat, giving him a potential leg up in the likely election next year against Las Vegas Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. Heller represents all of Nevada outside Clark County. This has been shaping up as one of the biggest Senate races in the country. … Yesterday marked the 1000th supply mission through Russian airspace for the U.S./NATO mission in Afghanistan. In addition, 25,000 containers of supplies have been shipped through Russia and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. … Another edition of the Los Angeles Times/USC poll will be out this coming weekend. The poll measures how Governor Jerry Brown’s state budget plan stacks up, and assesses the performance of Brown, President Barack Obama, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and the state Legislature. It also looks at voter attitudes toward proposed state spending limits and public pension reforms.
** NEW POLL: THE BIRTHER PARTY. Well, it turns out that that poll I featured here the other day on the first-in-the-nation Iowa Republican presidential caucuses is also indicative of Republican attitudes around the country.
In the brand-new New York Times/CBS News poll, 47% of Republican voters in America say they believe that President Barack Obama is not really an American citizen because he was born in another country. Another 22% aren’t sure whether Obama is really an American.
Just 32% of Republican voters nationally correctly identify the President of the United States as having been born in the United States.
The poll also shows a pervasive malaise among Republican voters about the Republican presidential candidates. But I would say that that is among the least of the problems for this political party.
These results indicate a pervasive irrationality in Republican ranks. Is it the result of too much ingestion of toxic media? An overhang of good old-fashioned racism? Whatever the explanation, it isn’t good.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 11:50 AM Pacific, President Barack Obama takes part in a town hall at ElectraTherm, a firm which makes devices converting waste heat into power, in Reno, Nevada. The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
** 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.
Two award-winning photo-journalists, Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, were killed yesterday in the besieged Libyan city of Misurata. Hetherington was an Oscar nominee for co-directing the documentary Restrepo about the Afghan War.
** THE NON-IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY: OBAMA AND LIBYA. Newscaster: The failure of today’s pre-dawn Special Forces raid in Tripoli to catch or dispatch Moammar Gaddafi leaves the Obama Administration with a dwindling set of options on Day 32 of the Libyan War. The wily colonel had already moved from his Bab al-Azizia compound to an alternate headquarters, leaving the assault force of Navy Seals and Army Rangers little choice but to fight their way out of a trap. The Pentagon has not released casualty figures. The CIA is not commenting on the misfiring mission.
More than a month of round-the-clock air strikes and Tomahawk missile attacks have forced Gaddafi forces back from the rebel-held eastern part of Libya but have failed either to relieve the dictator’s siege of Misurata in the west or to loosen his grip on the capital. Widespread civilian casualties from the increased allied aerial bombardment have stiffened the resolve of the colonel’s supporters and spurred anti-American sentiment.
Now America’s hopes for victory turn on the amphibious units on the ships offshore, where heroic young U.S. Marines await the chance to perform their generation’s version of the second line of their famous anthem, ‘From the halls of Montezuma, To the shores of Tripoli …’
Nothing at all like this has happened, of course, though many imagined that something much like it would.
There were fantasies here and elsewhere of another Iraq or, better yet, the golden oldie, Vietnam.
But in reality, it looks, as I said at the beginning, a lot more like Kosovo. …
Despite the intervention of NATO in Libya, the humanitarian situation in Misurata is still worsening.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in California and Nevada.
Obama has received his daily intelligence and economic briefings.
At 9:40 AM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco.
At 10:35 AM Pacific, Obama departs San Francisco on Air Force One en route to Reno, Nevada.
At 11:30 AM Pacific, Obama arrives in Reno, Nevada. (I must say that it is hard to believe it takes 55 minutes for a jet aircraft to fly from San Francisco to Reno, but this is what the President’s schedule says.)
At 11:50 AM Pacific, Obama participates in a Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity town hall on the deficit, community, and economic competitiveness at ElectraTherm, Inc. in Reno.
The event will be netcast live on New West Notes.
You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
At 1:30 PM Pacific, Obama departs Reno on Air Force One en route to Los Angeles.
At 2:45 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Los Angeles.
At 5:30 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event in The Commissary at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City.
At 6:55 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event on Soundstage 30 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City.
At 7:50 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event at a private residence in Los Angeles.
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.
Yesterday brought the news of the deaths of two more journalists, these two photo-journalists killed in besieged Misurata. One was Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Tim Hetherington, whose last tweet bemoaned the unrestrained shelling of the city by Gaddafi forces and the absence of NATO air support.
Two journalists for Arab networks were previously killed by Gaddafi loyalists in Benghazi.
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.
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 the San Francisco Bay Area and the LA area today.
This morning, Brown meets with President Barack Obama at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco prior to the president’s speech at his fundraiser there.
At 1 PM, Brown will meet with educators and law enforcement at William S. Hart High School in Santa Clarita, California to discuss how the state’s budget crisis is impacting schools and public safety in Los Angeles County.
The governor will be joined by Republican state Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, who says he does not yet support Brown’s budget compromise.
Santa Clarita is an edge city, a place which has grown to nearly 200,000 in the mountainous region north of Los Angeles. During the 2003 recall campaign, I recall speaking with Arnold Schwarzenegger and him telling me that he had just had the biggest fundraiser in the history of Santa Clarita. I said that I wasn’t aware they had fundraisers there.
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.
With the season premiere of the long-running British fave Doctor Who just two days away, two fans explain 47 years of Who history in 6 minutes.
** 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 $111 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $77 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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