A former board member of Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble pleaded not guilty today to federal charges accusing him of acting as “the illegal eyes and ears in the boardroom” for a billionaire hedge fund operator.
** QUICK HITS. Things appear to have calmed down today in Oakland after a wild night in the downtown area with Occupy Wall Street protesters evicted from their encampment near City Hall. A 24-year old Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq War is in critical condition after being hit in the head by what may have been a police projectile. But more clashes are expected. … The California Supreme Court today rejected Republican challenges to the Citizens Redistricting Commission’s new congressional and state senate districts, both on 7-0 votes. There’s only one Democrat on the Court. But Republican leaders say they will continue trying to mount a referendum campaign. … The money, $1 million to a party which has otherwise raised very little, is coming from Mercury Insurance chief George Joseph. … A day before he unveils an updated version of his public pension reform proposals, Governor Jerry Brown appointed a replacement for cousin Hal Brown, who is stepping down from the Marin County Board of Supervisors to battle cancer. Catherine Rice, longtime aide to Supervisor Brown, will be sworn in this weekend. Brown appointed his cousin to the board as he left office the first time in 1983, and Hal Brown has routinely won election ever since.
** STEVE JOBS: HARDLY A PERFECT PERSON, PERHAPS A PERFECT ICON. As Apple CEO Tim Cook noted again at last week’s memorial service, Steve Jobs liked to say that he modeled his business after the Beatles. So it was interesting to have been around when the Beatles broke up, i.e., when Jobs was fired in the ’80s from the company he so famously co-founded and led.
With memorials past and present and a new biography just out, Jobs is more omnipresent now than when he was among us. Perhaps that’s only fitting. While he was an imperfect person, he may be a perfect icon.
When I encountered him in the early ’80s, although it was not immediately apparent, Steve Jobs was coming to the end of his fabulous first act in life. The spectacular introduction of the Macintosh in January 1984, which proved to be as big a game changer as he and others thought at the time — just not immediately and not immediately for Apple — was followed in 1985 by the sensational ouster of Jobs.
Always a disruptive force, a key to creativity, Jobs had become, in the regretful view of many who counted, a destructive force.
Jobs was only 30 when he was fired as head of the Macintosh Division and then forced out of Apple. His brilliance had spurred game-changing developments, but had run up against the limits of his expertise. And “I don’t know” isn’t something that’s easy for a famous visionary folk hero to say.
“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
When William Gibson first started saying that, in the ’90s, I flashed back to that day in January 1984 when I was fortunate enough to be on hand for the unveiling of the Macintosh. It was Apple’s annual meeting, held at the Flint Center in Cupertino. I was there at the invitation of Regis McKenna, Jobs and Apple’s longtime public relations and marketing counsel, with whom I later worked as Jobs had his breach with Apple. (Among many other things, McKenna’s eponymous firm created the Apple logo, and masterminded the Mac launch with Jobs.) …
Speaking in Denver, President Barack Obama announced new actions to lower student loan payments Wednesday. The initiative accelerates an income-based repayment plan that reduces the maximum required payment on student loans to 10% of annual income.
** NEW POLL: RECORD LOW SUPPORT FOR HANDGUN BAN, DECLINING BACKING FOR GUN CONTROL IN GENERAL. Are people “clinging to their guns” in hard times, to borrow a line from a certain 2008 candidate for the presidency?
Or has a growing consensus simply rejected the idea that objects are inherently evil?
A new Gallup Poll indicates that it may be both.
Support for the banning of handguns, the core position of many gun control advocates, and one that has been adopted in several cities, is now at the lowest level in Gallup’s measurement of the question.
In fact, support for a handgun ban is less than half what it was at the end of the conservative 1950s.
Opposition to the ban on assault rifles is now a majority position, too.
The collapse in support for stricter gun controls appears to be across the board.
A record-low 26% of Americans favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns in the United States other than by police and other authorized people. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60% favored banning handguns. But since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years. …
The results are based on Gallup’s annual Crime poll, conducted Oct. 6-9. This year’s poll finds support for a variety of gun-control measures at historical lows, including the ban on handguns, which is Gallup’s longest continuing gun-control trend.
For the first time, Gallup finds greater opposition to than support for a ban on semiautomatic guns or assault rifles, 53% to 43%. In the initial asking of this question in 1996, the numbers were nearly reversed, with 57% for and 42% against an assault rifle ban. Congress passed such a ban in 1994, but the law expired when Congress did not act to renew it in 2004. Around the time the law expired, Americans were about evenly divided in their views. …
All key subgroups show less support for stricter gun laws, and for a ban on handguns, than they did 20 years ago. In 1991, 68% of Americans favored stricter gun laws and 43% favored a ban on handguns. Those percentages are 43% and 26%, respectively, today.
Democrats, Eastern residents, members of gun non-owning households, and women were among the few subgroups to favor a ban on handguns in 1991, but now no key subgroup has a majority in favor. …
Americans have shifted to a more pro-gun view on gun laws, particularly in recent years, with record-low support for a ban on handguns, an assault rifle ban, and stricter gun laws in general. This is the case even as high-profile incidents of gun violence continue in the United States, such as the January shootings at a meeting for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona.
Perhaps the trends are a reflection of the American public’s acceptance of guns. In 2008, Gallup found widespread agreement with the idea that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of Americans to own guns. Americans may also be moving toward more libertarian views in some areas, one example of which is greater support for legalizing marijuana use.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 9:45 AM Pacific, President Barack Obama speaks on the affordability of college at the University of Colorado’s campus in Denver. The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes. You can mute the audio 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 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.
Libya is now in the midst of a complex and challenging transition.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Colorado and Washington.
At 9:45 AM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks on college affordability at the University of Colorado – Denver Downtown Campus.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
At 10:45 AM Pacific, Obama departs Denver on Air Force One en route Joint Base Andrews.
At 1:55 PM Pacific, Obama arrives at Joint Base Andrews, where he boards Marine One.
At 2:10 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
Now that Moammar Gaddafi is dead and disposed of and the fighting has stopped, NATO will decide today when to wrap up its mission in Libya.
The end of October may see the end of the most active portions of the mission, which probably culminated in the airstrike last Friday morning that prevented a fleeing Gaddafi convoy from breaking out of Sirte.
Libya’s new leaders finally buried deposed dictator Moammar Gaddafi yesterday, in an unmarked desert grave to avoid it becoming any sort of shrine. Gaddafi’s notably decaying and stinking corpse was finally removed from public viewing in Misurata, which suffered for months under bombardment by Gaddafi regime forces.
The new Libyan government says it will investigate Gaddafi’s death.
A relatively moderate Islamist party has finished a clear first in Sunday’s vote in Tunisia, where the Arab awakening began. The once banned Ennahda party is gaining a strong plurality, with more than 40% of the seats in parliament. It will seek to form a coalition government, probably with two left-wing secular parties.
Negotiations over the Eurozone financial crisis hit a major snag yesterday, as a meeting of European Union finance ministers set for Wednesday has suddenly been called off. Another gathering of European heads of government is still on for this week.
Obama is monitoring a variety of geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab awakening, 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.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has hit Oakland, with police criticized for their tactics.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
Brown sent a letter late yesterday to the co-chairs of the state legislature’s joint committee on public employee pensions, saying he will release on Thursday an updated version of his plans.
As I indicated today in our conversations, I very much look forward to working with you and the other members of the Conference Committee in taking the necessary steps to improve our retirement systems. On Thursday, you will receive my updated pension reform proposals for review at your next hearing.
Given the paramount importance of pensions to both taxpayers and public employees, it is absolutely critical that we carefully examine our current assumptions and practices. We have to do our best to make sure that we have a system that is fair and truly sustainable over the long time horizon that our pension and health systems require.
** SIGNS: JERRY BROWN AFTER A DISAPPOINTING LEGISLATIVE YEAR. After a rather disappointing legislative year, Governor Jerry Brown is looking ahead to 2012. Brown and his appointees are digging into future economic and energy policy, the prospects for major water and high-speed rail projects, the possibility of mid-course cuts in the current state budget, and the 2012 elections. … From my October 20th essay.
** AFGHAN WAR AT 10, 9/11 AT 10+: DID OSAMA BIN WIN AFTER ALL? It’s 10 years since our Afghan War began, and ten-plus years since 9/11.
Most Americans, according to two new polls, don’t think we should be doing what we’re doing in Afghanistan, or that the war effort has been worth it. Every week, there are major fiascoes in Afghanistan. But Osama bin Laden has found his eternal rest far beneath the surface of the Arabian Sea, courtesy of the U.S. Navy SEALs. So bin Laden still lost, right?
Yes. And no. Mostly no. … From my October 7th essay.
** CALIFORNIA’S WILD RIDE: OF ARNOLD, JERRY, AND VANITIES FAIR (AND OTHERWISE). … From my October 4th essay.
** MAD MEN‘S FEAT. … From my September 28th essay.
** MEG WHITMAN TO RUN CALIFORNIA (ICON)! … From my September 22nd 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.
** PAN AMERICAN GAMES LIVE. The Pan American Games, bringing together athletes from 41 nations across North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean contesting in 36 sports, have their opening ceremony tonight in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Pan Ams run until October 30th.
You can watch the action on ESPN Deportes.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in three wars in the region, and the Arab awakening 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.
** 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.
** 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 $91 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $57 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity, and down $23 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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