Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt and filmmaker James Cameron, director of Avatar, Titanic, and the first two Terminator films are partners in a new venture to mine asteroids.
** QUICK HITS. A local Sacramento judge said today that California State Controller John Chiang doesn’t have the authority to withhold state legislative pay for failing to pass a balanced budget, as required by law. But it’s only a “tentative ruling.” Naturally, Chiang disagrees. … The California Assembly came up with enough money from its budget savings to salvage the state Commission on the Status of Women slated by the axe by Governor Jerry Brown. … Reacting today to news that an initiative to abolish the death penalty has qualified for the November ballot, Brown said today in San Jose that he’s glad people will get a chance to vote on the issue but didn’t comment on the issue per se. Brown is a longtime opponent of the death penalty.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … MAD MEN: WIBBLY-WOBBLY, TIMEY-WIMEY, TRIPPY-WIPPY (AND PEGGY OLSON IS NO DANA SCULLY).
** HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT? ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GAUNTLET. It might just be President Hillary Clinton, after all. But what would that mean? Could she move the country forward after a tumultuous period of transition under Barack Obama?
Pulling back from the usual back-and-forth of the moment reveals the potential for historic opportunities. But it’s a rugged gauntlet getting there.
Because it’s never too early to think about the presidential race after the one going on now. Public Policy Polling came up with numbers last week for potential candidates in both parties for their respective 2016 presidential nominations. On the Democratic side, it’s Hillary Clinton in an absolute runaway over Joe Biden. On the Republican side, Chris Christie has a slight edge over Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush, assuming Mitt Romney isn’t on the ballot.
Obama is either ahead, sometimes significantly, or tied in the various 2012 polls as the two campaigns probe for opportunity and vulnerability.
I think Obama has the edge, though missteps and major crises could upend him, and the super PAC phenomenon is a problem for him with the various economic interests upset with the president, notably the old energy economy, able to cut massive checks, sometimes secretly.
Romney’s campaign reminds me quite a lot of billionaire Meg Whitman’s 2010 campaign for governor of California. Which is not exactly surprising, since her candidacy was Romney’s idea in the first place, as I reported here on the Huffington Post two years ago in “The Mitt and Meg Show: Taking Care of Business.”
That venture, the biggest spending non-presidential campaign in American history, ended in a landslide win for Jerry Brown.
Today, Hillary seems a prohibitive favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Her favorability with Democrats is an amazing 86-10. Working for Obama has certainly won the favor of his backers in their hard-fought 2008 primary battle. In the poll, she leads by an overwhelming margin. She’s at 57%, to Vice President Joe Biden at 14%, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren at 6%, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at 5%, former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold at 3%, Virginia Senator Mark Warner at 2%, and 1% apiece for Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. (Biden, a clear leader in Clinton’s absence, has a favorable/unfavorable ratio of 70-21, while Cuomo is 32-24.)
If the names polled seem rather random, they are. The future for the Democratic Party arrived early, in the form of Barack Obama. In his absence, there is something of a paucity of obvious “new generation” candidates aside from New York’s governor. Besides, with people living longer and more vigorously, why not look to an old new generation candidate? Jerry Brown, who I rather suspect will be in a historic fourth term as California’s governor in 2016, could make an intriguing choice were he so inclined. Which I tend to doubt, but one never knows.
If Romney manages to win, I expect the pressure on Hillary to run from Democrats to be enormous. With Obama’s re-election, the pressure would be less but the opportunity could be greater.
In any event, she could certainly be in a great position in 2016. Hillary has announced that she’s leaving public office after this term. But associates speculate that, after a year or so of a more restful schedule — Clinton is traveling constantly around the world as secretary of state — she could be ready to roll for the next act.
Not just to win, but to move the country forward after a tumultuous period of transition. We could complete the transition out of the Iraq mode we’re still semi-stuck in, forge ahead on the new energy economy, and dispense with the anti-government/no-tax mania that warps public discourse. …
President Barack Obama told college students at the University of North Carolina that he and his wife, Michelle, know what it’s like to owe student loans because the two of them didn’t come from wealthy families. Obama is on a tour promoting low rates for federal student loans.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington, North Carolina, and Colorado.
In the morning, Obama honored the 2012 National Teacher of the Year and finalists in an event in the East Room.
He then flew on Air Force One to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Obama then delivered remarks at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill calling on Congress to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.
At 11:20 AM Pacific, Obama sits down for an interview for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
At 12:40 PM Pacific, Obama departs Raleigh, North Carolina on Air Force One en route Colorado.
At 3:10 PM Pacific, Obama arrives at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado.
At 4:45 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks on student loans at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Reports persist, including from UN associates on the ground, that Assad regime forces harass and attack Syrian civilians as soon as UN monitors leave the area.
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.
At 9 AM, he appears at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Business Summit at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose.
He and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will discuss globalization, innovation, and the business climate
At noon, Brown appears at the annual Crime Victims’ Rights Rally on the West Steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento.
** THE PERSISTENCE OF TUNNEL VISION: ANOTHER PROBLEM FOR JERRY BROWN. Jerry Brown has a number of problems to deal with in his new/renewed governorship. One of the biggest of all is a persistent tunnel vision in California’s frequently dysfunctional political culture.
Unfortunately, it’s a problem that afflicts both political parties and most interests, as well as their adherents, acknowledged and otherwise, in the media. … From my April 19th essay.
** MAD MEN: ROUNDING SOME HAIRPIN PLOT CURVES. This week’s Mad Men offered up a much more insular episode, though the sense of decay and decline in New York which I wrote about earlier in the season is evident. The American studies social themes, aside from the trademark dissatisfaction with success and a sense of impending change, are absent. … From my April 17th essay.
** FIRST WEEK: A RAGGED START, OBAMA’S BIGGER PROBLEMS. … From my April 14th essay.
** MAD MEN‘s MASTER CLASS IN AMERICAN STUDIES ROLLS ON TO SOME MYSTERY DATES. … From my April 10th essay.
** JERRY BROWN HITS 74. … 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.
** 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 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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