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Space Shuttle Endeavour awaits its Friday afternoon launch at 12:47 PM Pacific from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. You can click on the button to watch the live shot of the spacecraft on the launch pad.
** LIVE FROM CAPE CANAVERAL.
The final launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour will be netcast live on Friday here on New West Notes.
You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
This is the penultimate voyage of the space shuttle program, and of course the last flight of Endeavour, which will, following this mission to the International Space Station, find its final home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, badly wounded in a January assassination attempt in Tucson, Arizona, will be on hand Friday to watch her husband, Navy Captain Mark Kelly, skipper Endeavour as it flies into space on its final mission.
Also on hand will be President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha.
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The Royal Wedding, about which you may have heard one or two things of late, awaits its own very early morning launch, with the ceremony scheduled to begin on Friday at 3 AM Pacific.
** LIVE FROM LONDON. The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be netcast live early Friday here on New West Notes.
You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
It will all take place very, very early Friday morning. London time is eight hours ahead of Pacific time.
NWN has paid essentially no attention, aside from an occasional waggish aside, to the event until today. But if you are interested, and a great many are, well, here ’tis.
The following schedule of Royal Wedding events is in Eastern Standard Time. I repeat, this schedule is in Eastern time, three hours ahead of Pacific time. The actual ceremony will begin at 3 AM Pacific time. The schedule was provided by the British Embassy.
3:00 a.m. – 4:00 a.m. — The morning of April 29 will start with an announcement from the Queen’s office stating the titles that Prince William and Kate Middleton will take.
3:15 a.m. — General wedding guests will start showing up at Westminster Abbey. These guests will enter the church through the Great North Door.
4:50 a.m. — VIPs, such as Governors-General and Prime Ministers of Countries under the Commonwealth of England, Diplomatic Corps, and distinguished guests, arrive at Westminster Abbey. They will enter the church through the West Door.
5:10 a.m. — Prince William and best man, Prince Harry, depart Clarence House.
5:15 a.m. — Prince William and Prince Harry arrive at Westminster Abbey.
5:20 a.m. — Members of foreign royal families, including Prince Albert of Monaco and Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain, arrive at the church.
5:20 a.m. — Kate’s mother Carole Middleton and brother James Middleton, depart the Goring Hotel.
5:27 a.m. — Carole and James Middleton arrive at Westminster Abbey.
5:30 a.m. — Members of the Royal Family begin arriving at the Abbey.
5:38 a.m. — Father of the groom, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, depart Clarence House.
5:40 a.m. — Prince Andrew (uncle of the groom) and his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie; Princess Anne (aunt of the groom), and her husband; Prince Edward (uncle of the groom) and his wife, arrive at Westminster Abbey and enter church through the West Door.
5:40 a.m. — Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip depart Buckingham Palace.
5:40 a.m. — Prince William and Prince Harry will move into St. Edmunds Chapel until moments before the royal wedding begins.
5:42 a.m. — Prince Charles and Camilla arrive at the Abbey.
5:45 a.m. — Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are the last guests to arrive at Westminster Abbey.
5:48 a.m. — Kate’s bridesmaids and William’s pageboys depart the Goring Hotel.
5:51 a.m. — Kate Middleton, accompanied by her father, will depart the Goring Hotel in a 1978 Rolls-Royce from the royal state car collection and make her way to Westminster Abbey.
5:55 a.m. — Bridesmaids and pages arrive at the church.
5:58 a.m. — The bride, Kate Middleton, who will be officially be known as Catherine, and her father Michael arrive at Westminster Abbey.
6 a.m. — The ceremony begins. The service is set to last just over an hour and will include vows and a sermon delivered by the Bishop of London, private clergyman to the queen.
7:15 a.m. — Prince William and the new Princess Catherine will depart Westminster Abbey, by carriage, and process to Buckingham Palace. The carriage carrying the bride and groom will be followed by 4 other carriages carrying their bridal party, parents and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
7:30 a.m. — The Bride and Groom arrive at the Grand Entrance of Buckingham Palace.
7:40 a.m. — Members of the royal family, foreign royal families, and other reception guests begin arriving at Buckingham Palace.
8:25 a.m. — The married couple reappear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with the Queen and their families for 10 minutes.
8:30 a.m. — The Royal Air Force, where Prince William serves as a search-and-rescue pilot, will perform a flyover.
President Barack Obama today announced a major reshuffling of his national security team, including a new secretary of defense, Californian Leon Panetta, and CIA director, General David Petraeus.
** QUICK HITS. In the seesaw Libyan War, Gaddafi forces drove Libyan rebels out of a key border town they had captured near the Tunisian border, and then in turn may have just been driven out themselves. Control of the town is important for efforts to supply the rebels. … Governor Jerry Brown today canceled plans to build a new facility for Death Row inmates at famous San Quentin Prison, citing the $356 million upfront cost and $28.5 million annual debt service for a facility that would house over 60% more inmates than currently exist. …
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … OBAMA’S BIGGEST PROBLEMS STILL LIE ABROAD.
** OBAMA GETS STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR NEW NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM. For a president whose presidency is heavily dependent on managing geopolitical events — or making his way through the multi-dimensional obstacle course that is planetary politics — having a strong geopolitical team is important. President Barack Obama is getting good early feedback on changes he’s making, replacing retiring Defense Secretary Bob Gates with CIA Director Leon Panetta, moving Army General David Petraeus (who will have to retire from the Army to take the post) from the Afghan War command to the CIA directorship, bringing former Ambassador to Iraq and Pakistan Ryan Crocker, a Bush favorite, back in to be ambassador to Afghanistan and replacing Petraeus in the Afghan command with a longtime associate, Marine Lieutenant General Mike Allen.
Senate Foreign Relations Chaiman John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee who gave Obama his famous convention keynote gig, gives high praise to the appointments. So, too, does Obama’s frequent antagonist, House Speaker John Boehner, who in a statement praised Gates, Crocker and Allen and also said: “With our military engaged on multiple fronts overseas, Leon Panetta understands the importance of ensuring our men and women in uniform have all the resources they need to complete their missions. I look forward to working with him in his new role as Secretary of Defense.
“I believe General Petraeus, who deserves great credit for his leadership in both Iraq and Afghanistan, is the right person to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. He is a deep thinker, a keen strategist and a gifted leader.”
Where might Obama run into some trouble on these appointments? Over in ultra-liberal and left circles, where Petraeus is seen as a bad guy.
Is Petraeus a good choice? I’m not sure. I don’t share in the conspiracy theorizing around him, though he certainly became a favorite of the once dominant neoconservative faction in the Bush/Cheney Administration. But, like most top generals, he’s a politician. And he was also a favorite of one of Obama’s most controversial liberal advisors, NSC deputy Samantha Power.
What I wonder about him is how helpful he will be in figuring out how to keep the price of oil down, or at least under control. Because that is the ballgame.
** NEW CALIFORNIA POLL ECHOES USC/L.A. TIMES POLL IN MOST RESPECTS. I do wish that California’s public pollsters wouldn’t poll at the same time. It leaves big stretches of time in which no polling is being done, sometimes even private polling, when an election campaign is not underway.
The new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll has similar results to those we’ve just discussed in the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. There is strong support for an election on Governor Jerry Brown’s state budget compromise. There is strong support, six out of ten voters, for Brown’s blend of budget cuts and tax extensions.
There is, of course, a caveat. The individual taxes are unpopular. But all individual taxes are unpopular, at least for those who are to pay them.
One tax that is not unpopular is taxing the rich. That’s very popular.
Voters are very concerned about the impact of an all-cuts budget, especially on education, which was the focus of this particular poll.
As for Brown, his job approval rating is up somewhat from last month, with 46% approving and 32% disapproving. This tracks with Brown ending his uncharacteristic public seclusion that I’ve written about, oh, once or twice.
** NEW POLL: JOHN BOEHNER’S BIG FADE. Well, that didn’t last long. New House Speaker John Boehner has experienced a very fast fade of the new car smell. According to a new Gallup Poll, the Republican leader in the new Congress has seen a big drop in his numbers.
He’s had an especially precipitous experience with independent voters, experiencing a whopping 27-point reversal since mid-January.
Americans are just as likely to say they have an unfavorable as a favorable opinion of Speaker of the House John Boehner. This is a significant shift from January, shortly after Boehner took over as speaker, when his positive rating was nearly twice as high as his negative rating. …
Americans’ views of Boehner were closely divided in four Gallup measurements from July 2009 to October 2010, with substantial proportions not having an opinion of him in either direction. After the Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in last fall’s midterm elections, his favorable ratings rose and his unfavorable ratings declined in two successive measurements, in November and January. Now, the April 20-23 USA Today/Gallup poll finds the speaker’s ratings returning to about equally positive and negative. This is what they have been for most of his time as the top Republican in the House of Representatives, though more have an opinion of him now than did so in earlier measurements.
Since January, Boehner’s image has declined among all party groups, with proportionately greater change among independents. His favorable rating is down 10 points among independents and his unfavorable rating is up 17 points, shifting his net favorable score from +16 to -11.
Republicans are less positive toward Boehner now than in January, but still widely view him favorably. Democrats’ opinions were more negative than positive in January, but have moved further in that direction in the most recent measure.
** THE MORE THINGS CHANGE … The more things change, how does that go?
I’m getting ready to attend the California Democratic Party convention this weekend in Sacramento with a certain degree of amusement.
It’s Jerry Brown’s first state Democratic convention since he became governor of California, again. Which reminds me that I’ve attended every California Democratic convention since the last time he was governor, going from very young activist to not so young analyst.
Jerry Brown, of course, has gone from being a young governor to, ah, an eternally youthful governor, while the party’s chairman, Johnny Burton, has gone from being an entertainingly profane left/liberal party chairmn to being, wait for it, an entertainingly profane left/liberal party chairman.
Who says the Democrats don’t deliver change you can believe in?
But some things have changed since the ’70s.
I’m wondering now if I need a haircut, whereas back then I didn’t have to wonder if I needed a haircut. The governor’s not quite so concerned with that stuff as he was back then.
Speaking of hair, Burton seems to be channeling a line from an old David Crosby song, “Almost Cut My Hair.” He’s letting his freak flag fly with his choice of convention keynoter. It’s Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who I believe is the only avowed socialist in the history of the U.S. Senate. And he’s not even a registered Democrat; he’s an independent and ex-third party guy.
Hey, the election was last year. And if the California Republicans can listen to wild man ex-UN Ambassador John “Bombs Away” Bolton, not to mention the toast of Tupelo, ex-presidential candidate Haley “White Citizens Councils were a constructive force” Barbour, as they did last month, why not?
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 12:10 PM Pacific, President Barack Obama will appoint the new Secretary of Defense, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, ambassador to Afghanistan, and military commander in Afghanistan. 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 netcasts 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.
Over 200 people have been killed by tornadoes rampaging through the Southern U.S. The region hasn’t seen storms like this in 50 years. Heightened incidence of extreme weather events is consistent with the climate change scenario.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
He has received his daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
Obama then held a meeting on Libya with his national security team in the Situation Room.
At 8:45 AM Pacific, Obama meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.
At 11:05 AM Pacific, Obama meets with a group of influential Latinos from across the country, on the immigration crisis, in the Roosevelt Room.
At 12:10 PM Pacific, Obama makes a personnel announcement in the Rose Garden.
The event will be netcast live on New West Notes.
You can mute the sound by clicking on the pause button.
This is a very big announcement. Obama will announce his appointment of CIA Director Leon Panetta to be the new secretary of defense, General David Petraeus to be the new CIA director, former Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker to be the new ambassador to Afghanistan, and Marine Lieutenant General Mike Allen to be the new commander in Afghanistan. Allen will also be promoted to four-star general in the process.
At 12:45 PM Pacific, Obama meets with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli in the Oval Office.
At 1:20 PM Pacific, Obama and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli will deliver statements to the press in the Oval Office.
With Defense Secretary Bob Gates retiring at the end of June, Obama is reshuffling the upper decks of his national security team. That kicks off a major shift of mostly familiar faces.
I discussed some of the dynamics here yesterday.
In Libya, longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi has not surfaced since the air strike on his compound in Tripoli, though spokesmen say he is alive and well. NATO air strikes seem to have intensified in recent days.
Most of long besieged Misurata seems to have been cleared of Gaddafi troops, though rocket attacks and artillery shelling continue. The tribes that Gaddafi regime spokesmen said would intervene militarily against the rebels have still not emerged. That appears to have been nonsense.
The US is desperate to help maintain some semblance of a stable government in Yemen, which has become a haven for Al Qaeda.
Hamas and Fatah forged a surprise Palestinian alliance late yesterday at a meeting in Cairo and pledged elections over the next year. It’s not clear what this means with regard to the future of the Palestinian Authority. Israel has reacted with some dismay, given the unremitting hostility of Hamas toward Israel.
The Israeli/Palestinian peace process was already stalled with regard to negotiations between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, and the Hamas-run Gaza was out of the process altogether.
In Syria, demonstrations continue as does the bloody crackdown by President Hafez Assad’s regime. The US is now considering sanctions against the Syrian government.
The UN Security Council failed late Wednesday to agree on a resolution condemning the Syrian regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. Russia played a leading role in blocking the resolution, returning to its traditional position of opposing intervention in a country’s internal affairs in the wake of Libya.
Obama is monitoring several other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab uprising, AfPak, Iraq, and Japan.
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 Los Angeles and Sacramento today.
At 4:30 PM, he addresses the 112th Annual Parent Teacher Association convention at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center.
At 7 PM, he addresses the 30th Annual Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs Awards Dinner at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Brown has usually not attended this dinner of the institute founded by his father after he left the governorship.
Brown continues working on the California state government’s chronic budget crisis and his nascent administration.
Wednesday was a a largely quiet day in California politics.
** HAS CALIFORNIA’S REFORM MOMENT ARRIVED? Has California’s big reform moment arrived? It sure seems as though it should have.
Governor Jerry Brown came into office having won in a landslide over the biggest-spending non-presidential campaign in American history, that of billionaire Meg Whitman. He set about forging a compromise solution to the state’s chronic budget crisis, pairing big budget cuts with extensions of temporary taxes that many voters don’t even know they pay. He spent months getting to know the legislators of both parties and negotiating with them, with a special emphasis on Republicans who complained that they had been ignored by Brown’s predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
But he still only has half a budget deal. Even though the chronic crisis is still more glaring than before.
California state government is mired in dysfunctionality, and has been for years. The great global recession simply exacerbated the situation. It functions moderately well when times are good, though long-range planning has been most notable by its absence even then. When times are not good, well, here we are. … From my April 26th column.
** 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. … From my April 21st essay.
** ASSESSING THE JERRY BROWN ASSESSMENTS (AND WHY HE WAS IN STEALTH MODE SO LONG). … From my April 18th feature.
** MAD ABOUT MAD MEN: WILL IT MATCH WEST WING‘S MARK? … 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.
** 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.
It turns out there is some sort of royal wedding taking place tomorrow in London. And it may just be netcast live on NWN.
** 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 $113 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $79 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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