North Korea went ahead early Friday, local time, with its ballyhooed long-range missile launch, which it said was simply for purposes of launching a communication satellite for weather forecasts. But the missile broke apart not far down-range, according to the Pentagon.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … ROMNEY’S START, OBAMA’S BIGGER PROBLEMS.
** QUICK HITS. North Korea’s missile launch late today points up the reality that President Barack Obama has much bigger problems than a foolhardy Democratic consultant popping off about Ann Romney on cable chat shows. Fortunately, the missile launch appears to have failed. It may have been about consolidating the position of the new leader of the Hermit Kingdom, Kim Jong-un, who also just picked up the title of “First Secretary,” as much as anything else. Still, it was a big reminder of how uncontrollable much more consequential events can be. … The California High Speed Rail Authority board today approved the revamped business plan for Phase One of the project in a unanimous vote. … Governor Jerry Brown goes on the Ronn Owen show tomorrow morning on KGO radio in San Francisco to talk about his big issues. … You can listen at 9 AM Pacific here.
** NEW POLL: AS ROMNEY PULLS OUT HIS ETCH-A-SKETCH FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION, HE STILL MUST WIN OVER YOUNG RIGHT-WINGERS. A new Gallup Poll survey points up the pretzel logic challenges facing Mitt Romney.
He must move right and left at the same time.
“As Mitt Romney pivots his campaign to the general election, he faces the challenge of building enthusiasm and, hence, turnout among certain key groups of Republicans among whom he has done less well during the primary contests so far. These include Midwestern, young, highly religious, and conservative Republicans.” …
The agreed on ceasefire in Syria is at last underway, but there are already reports of widespread violations. The Assad regime has refused to pull back its forces.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … HOW DID THE SUDDEN FIRST WEEK OF THE GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN TURN OUT?
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
He received the intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
He then did regional TV interviews in the Diplomatic Room.
At 2 PM Pacific, Obama meets with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
A big kerfuffle in the enclosed echo chamber world of cable news politics came and went while I wasn’t paying any attention last night and this morning.
Democratic consultant Hillary Rosen, whom I’m only vaguely aware of but is evidently a lesbian feminist, criticized Ann Romney as a defender of husband’s campaign on women’s concerns saying “she’s never worked a day in her life.”
Which is true in a sense, in the sense that she married Romney right out of school and quickly became a stay at home mom and wife of a rich man. She certainly has very little in common with most Americans, especially women with any economic pressures.
But it’s not wise to criticize stay-at-home moms, even very rich ones, because, well, why bother? It’s simply not worth the trouble to indulge feminist talking points about appropriate choices for women.
There’s certainly a more intelligent way to put it than Rosen chose.
Sadly, I missed virtually all of it, but it seems to have been quite the controversy for the better part of a day, as breathlessly recounted on the Romney-boosting Politico. If you include night as part of a day, that is.
But some Republicans and their media cheerleaders are preening about Rosen’s faux pas, for having derailed Romney’s political problems with women. Well, no. I don’t think most people paid any more attention to the flap than I did, and the problems are much more fundamental than some Democrat spouting off on cable noise.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Iraq, AfPak, and North Korea.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Arabian Gulf is eleven hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is twelve and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events.
The state legislature is holding various hearings this week on his budget proposal and on his public pension reform proposal.
No action has taken place on either yet, and there are repeated signs that Democratic legislators want to hold off on Brown’s budget cuts at least until the “May revise” of his budget, at which time new numbers are applied to the situation.
But the situation, as state Controller John Chiang makes amply clear, is that revenues are running a few points below projections, as I have mentioned many times before.
The increasingly inexplicable initiative promoter, heiress Molly Munger, has just given another $2 million to her doomed income tax hike for all initiative. I believe I called this antic super-rich behavior last weekend. This will keep me looking for diplomatic adjectives for a while.
Former Governor Gray Davis is in Silicon Valley this afternoon for the groundbreaking for a major expansion of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District’s services for which he and his administration advocated from the beginning.
Senator Dianne Feinstein and former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales are among those on hand for the start of this long-in-the-works project, the biggest public works project in Silicon Valley history.
** MAD MEN‘s MASTER CLASS IN AMERICAN STUDIES ROLLS ON TO SOME MYSTERY DATES. Well, that was one of the spookier Mad Men episodes, complete with not one but two dream sequences. As always, there be some spoilers ahead discussing this episode, the aptly titled “Mystery Date.”
The horizon of the future, i.e., the later ’60s, is getting much darker, and a lot closer. New York City has slid past its peak, at which it glittered as the series began. Things increasingly don’t work, we’re seeing some people who look rather unkempt. And they’re not the hippies, because those folks have yet to arrive. …
Mad Men, the great American novel for television that doubles as a master class in American studies — advertising, arguably the quintessential American industry for its stoking of desire and aspiration, providing a perfect milieu — incorporates all this into the lives of our beloved and not infrequently benighted characters. … From my April 10th essay.
** JERRY BROWN HITS 74. California’s youngest governor since it was barely a state back in the 19th century turned 74 on Saturday. Jerry Brown, back for a third term after his fascinating two terms as governor in the 1970s and ’80s is now California’s oldest governor, with little sign of slowing down.
It’s not a surprise. Brown’s father, the legendary Governor Pat Brown, lived into his 90s and his idea of exercise, in contrast to his very fit son, was splashing around in his pool. Brown’s mother, the ever sharp Bernice Brown, also lived into her 90s. And one of the most amusing moments at Brown’s third inaugural last year — in addition to his pointedly intoning that he was of “sound mind” in taking the oath of office to run the chronically troubled Golden State — was when he made a point of introducing his 99-year old aunt. Some ambitious faces in the front rows fell at that. … From my April 7th essay.
** IS ROMNEY “INEVITABLE,” AGAIN? … From my April 5th column.
** MAD MEN: WHOSE SIDE IS TIME ON, ANYWAY? … From my April 3rd essay.
** CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS IN CRISIS: ANOTHER BIG SHOE DROPS. … From my March 29th essay.
** MAD MEN (FINALLY) RETURNS: WORTH THE WAIT? … From my March 27th essay.
** THE REAL GAME CHANGE: PALINISM’S RISE AND MODERATE REPUBLICANISM’S ECLIPSE. … From my March 23rd essay.
** CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS HAVE ONLY THEMSELVES TO BLAME. … From my March 22nd essay.
** JERRY BROWN DEALS AWAY TROUBLE ON THE LEFT. … From my March 16th 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.
A little movie called The Avengers premiered last night in Los Angeles. The film opens wide on May 4th.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in major military operations 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. 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 from the Russia Today channel. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the state-run 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 $104 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $70 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 about $10 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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