Space Shuttle Endeavour, on its last ever mission before retirement to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, docked this morning with the International Space Station. The crew, led by Navy Captain Mark Kelly — husband of wounded Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords — is on the the space station beginning to work with its crew. They are installing a spectrometer to search for anti-matter and dark matter.
** QUICK HITS. President Barack Obama will deliver his major address on the Arab awakening, the struggle with jihadism, and Middle East peace tomorrow morning in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the State Department. The event will be netcast live in its entirety at 9 AM Pacific here on New West Notes. … On Friday, Obama will go to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia to thank agency staffers for their role in the take-down of Osama bin Laden. … The U.S. Navy today named a new supply ship after legendary farm labor leader Cesar Chavez. The ship is being built by General Dynamics in San Diego. Chavez served in the Navy at the end of World War II. … There are still nearly 10,000 absentee and provisional votes to be counted in Tuesday’s closely-fought primary race to replace LA area Congresswoman Jane Harman. California Secretary of State Debra Bowen trails self-funding Republican businessman Craig Huey by 206 votes for the second slot in a July run-off with LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn. The three are bunched together at the top in the low twenties in terms of percentage. Hahn would be a prohibitive favorite over Huey. … If Bowen does not make the run-off, it will be due to lefty Marcy Winograd getting nearly 10% of the vote in a spoiler role after Bowen affirmed her support for Israel. The far left in the district will thus have handed the seat to the downtown LA machine candidate Hahn.
** CALIFORNIA 2011: A SLOW DAY (ALSO SCHWARZENEGGER’S FAULT). Calling around a bit, it seems there is remarkably little of import taking place in California’s chronically dysfunctional Capitol to solve the state’s chronic budget crisis. But people are transfixed by the latest in the Schwarzenegger/Shriver saga.
That would be transfixed as in a gloating or bemoaning sort of way, the default mode for tabloid culture.
Which obviously makes the lack of any progress the ex-governor’s fault.
Would the revelation of Schwarzenegger’s out-of-wedlock child have changed the outcome of the 2003 California recall election?
An interesting question, one which immediately puts me in mind of Robert Penn Warren’s immortal lines from All the King’s Men: “Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something.”
In other words, you should not assume that the answer to that question would be yes.
** NEW POLL: AFTER HUCKABEE, REPUBLICANS HAVE NO PRESIDENTIAL FRONTRUNNER. Now that Mike Huckabee has pulled out of the race, a new Gallup Poll survey indicates that the GOP has no real frontrunner for its presidential nomination.
True, Mitt Romney’s campaign says he raised $10 million on Monday in a dialing for dollars day with hundreds of Romney fundraisers gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center. But some of those commitments may be evanescent, some will require further follow-up, and in any event money alone does not win a race, as we saw last year, and the amount is not overwhelming.
The new Gallup Poll is one of their most abstruse offerings, providing new information only with to name ID and “positive intensity” and simply re-allocating the preference choice based on second choice responses in March and April.
I find the technique to be weird.
But, it tells us something.
With Mike Huckabee out of the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, three well-known politicians, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich, emerge as leaders in Republicans’ preferences. Republicans, however, have less intensely positive feelings about these three than they did about Huckabee. Two less well-known potential candidates, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, generate high levels of enthusiasm among Republicans who recognize them. …
The accompanying table displays potential Republican candidates’ nomination support from March and April, based on reallocating choices of those who initially supported Huckabee or Donald Trump, and Positive Intensity Scores and name recognition for the two weeks ending May 15.
Republicans’ nomination preferences at this point largely appear to reflect name identification. Palin, Gingrich, and Romney are the three best-known candidates, and they top the list of Republicans’ preferences. Romney and Palin are essentially tied; Gingrich does slightly less well even though he and Romney have nearly identical name identification.
Ron Paul and Bachmann are the only other potential candidates with name recognition above 50%. They are also next in line in terms of Republican nomination support.
The remaining six candidates Gallup tracks — Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Mitch Daniels, Cain, Jon Huntsman, and Gary Johnson — have name recognition scores of less than 50% among Republicans. Each of them has less than 5% support in the March-April reallocated trial heat. …
* Palin, Gingrich, and Romney have roughly similar favorable percentages among Republicans who recognize them.
* Palin and Gingrich generate slightly higher negatives than does Romney.
* Palin’s support is the most intense. A higher percentage of Republicans have strongly favorable opinions than is the case for the other two, giving her a slightly higher overall Positive Intensity Score despite her higher strongly unfavorable percentage.
* Gingrich and Romney have similar Positive Intensity Scores.
The overall differences in Republicans’ views of these three well-known candidates are not large. …
In advance of his major address Thursday on the Arab awakening, the struggle with jihadism, and Middle East peace, President Barack Obama met on Tuesday with King Abdullah II of Jordan.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Obama has received his daily intelligence and economic briefings and met with senior advisors in the White House.
He then went to New London, Connecticut, where he delivered the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
At 1:10 PM Pacific, Obama departs New London, Connecticut on Air Force One en route Boston, Massachusetts.
At 1:45 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Boston.
At 3:15 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event at the Boston Center for the Arts.
At 5:25 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event in a private residence in Boston.
At 6:55 PM Pacific, Obama departs Boston on Air Force One en route Andrews Air Force Base’
At 8:15 PM Pacific, Obama arrives at Andrews Air Force Base, where he boards Marine One.
At 8:30 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
For his part, Vice President Joe Biden meets with Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham at the Naval Observatory.
Obama is prepping for a major address tomorrow on the Arab awakening, the jihadist struggle, and Middle East peace at the State Department.
Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu arrives in Washington shortly.
NATO airstrikes hit Gaddafi regime targets once again last night in Tripoli.
A protest against NATO strikes against jihadist cadre in Afghanistan turned violent, with 11 people killed.
The Pakistani Taliban have issued a new message vowing revenge for the death of Osama bin Laden.
Obama is monitoring a variety of other geopolitical crises, mostly focused on the Arab uprising, AfPak, and Iraq.
War Zone Times: Libya is nine hours ahead of Pacific time, Iraq is ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Sacramento.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
On Monday, he presented the annual “May Revise” of the proposed state budget in a Capitol press conference.
See Monday’s edition for the description.
I see the Republican votes there to be had for Brown’s budget compromise and tax extension, with a subsequent public vote on the matter.
It’s not really in their interest to try to get a deal on public pension reform shoehorned into the solution to the near-term budget crisis. With widespread public concern, they are much better off using it as their own issue for an initiative, rather than taking it off the table and allowing Democrats credit.
A state spending limit, which Brown favors, is another matter.
Brown is being overshadowed at the moment by some story or other involving his predecessor.
In what looks like a significant upset, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen is running a close third in the special election to replace resigned LA Congresswoman Jane Harman, who resigned her seat to run a DC think tank on national security issues.
LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn is first with 24.9%, self-funding Republican businessman Craig Huey is second with 21.9%, and Bowen is 200 votes behind with 21.5%.
Under the new open primary initiative rules successsfully championed last year by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the top two finishers regardless of party go on to the July run-off.
Hahn ran a thoroughly mediocre campaign for lieutenant governor last year. But she will luck out in her race for Congress if Bowen ends up pipped in the primary by Huey.
** IN THE SHADOW OF BIN LADEN: THE CALIFORNIA CONNECTION. The first official to announce the death of Osama bin Laden was not President Barack Obama, it was Senator Dianne Feinstein. The Senate Intelligence Committee chair was speaking at a memorial service in Santa Monica for her longtime campaign manager, Kam Kuwata.
Feinstein says she thought that Obama was about to give his nationally televised address. Which he actually gave about an hour later. And that the memorial, filled with pols and media types, was off the record. Which of course is why her remarks were reported in the media.
But Feinstein’s premature announcement of one of the biggest stories in recent memory is only one of the California connections to the demise of the legendary founder and leader of al Qaeda, who claimed credit for ordering the 9/11 attacks on America and eluded American forces for nearly a decade. … From my May 11th feature.
** IN THE SHADOW OF BIN LADEN: REPUBLICANS AND THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE. If there was a worse week in which to hold the first Republican presidential debate, it’s hard to think of when that might be.
It’s probably poetic justice that the first Republican presidential debate took place Thursday night in the shadow of Osama bin Laden, for his very existence spurred the accomplishment of some of the right’s biggest objectives in the past decade: … From my May 7th essay.
** CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS: AN UNCERTAIN TRUMPET. … From my May 2nd feature.
** OBAMA’S BIGGEST PROBLEMS STILL LIE ABROAD. … From my April 29th essay.
** HAS CALIFORNIA’S REFORM MOMENT ARRIVED? … From my April 26th column.
** THE NON-IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY: OBAMA AND LIBYA. … From my April 21st essay.
** ASSESSING THE JERRY BROWN ASSESSMENTS (AND WHY HE WAS IN STEALTH MODE SO LONG). … From my April 18th feature.
** THE RETURN OF JERRY BROWN. … From my April 11th column.
** 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.
** 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 $98 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Energy markets are closed on the weekend.
This is up about $64 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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