Addressing a boisterous crowd of students at the University of Iowa, President Barack Obama continued his push for improvements in student aid.
** QUICK HITS. General Benny Gantz, chief of the general staff of the Israel Defense Forces, said today that he thinks Iran’s leaders are “very rational” and are unlikely to produce nuclear weapons. This seems to fly in the face of what the country’s current political leadership is saying. … Acceding to the inevitable, Newt Gingrich will effectively end his presidential campaign next Tuesday. He had already pulled back substantially, as previously discussed. I’ll have a “Newtonian Motion” piece coming up. … Governor Jerry Brown released another big plan in a key issue area, following on Monday’s release of a plan to cut billions from California’s corrections budget and eliminate thousands of positions. … Today saw Brown establish expansive new goals to “green” state-owned buildings, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing new energy efficiencies in design and practice, and establishing more on-site generation of green energy. … I’ll get into both these developments, and more tomorrow in a “Jerry-Rigging” piece. …
** NEW SURVEY: A BIG DIVIDING LINE BETWEEN OBAMA AND ROMNEY — RELIGIOSITY. A new Gallup Poll survey reveals what seems logical.
The more religious a voter, the more likely to be for Mitt Romney.
The less religious, the more likely to be for Barack Obama
Among the very religious, Romney is favored by a whopping 54-37.
But among the moderately religious, Obama is favored by an almost identical margin, 54-40.
And among the non-religious, Obama has an overwhelming edge, 61-30.
For Romney to win, he will have to do a lot better among non-religious voters. But that will hurt him with the hard-core religious vote, which already has serious doubts about him, not the least of which is around his Mormon religion, which is not tested in the Gallup Poll.
Or, alternatively, Romney can seek to do even better among religious voters. But that would hurt his overall positioning as he tries to move toward the center and win swing state independents.
For the purpose of this analysis, an American’s relative degree of religiousness is based on responses to two questions asking about the importance of religion in one’s life and about church attendance, yielding three specific groups:
Very religious — Religion is an important part of daily life and church/synagogue/mosque attendance occurs at least every week or almost every week. This group makes up 41% of registered voters interviewed April 19-23.
Moderately religious — All others who do not fall into the very religious or nonreligious groups but who gave valid responses on both religion questions. This group makes up 27% of registered voters.
Nonreligious — Religion is not an important part of daily life and respondents seldom or never attend church/synagogue/mosque. This group makes up 32% of registered voters.
Voters’ religiousness was a significant correlate of vote choice during the Republican presidential primary season this year, with more religious Republicans tending to vote for Rick Santorum, while less religious Republicans tilted toward Romney. Despite Romney’s troubles with highly religious Republican voters, he gets the disproportionate support from highly religious voters in the general election that Republican candidates traditionally enjoy. Very religious voters make up less than half of the electorate, however, and among all Americans, Romney is losing to Obama by a seven-point margin. …
** MAD MEN: WIBBLY-WOBBLY, TIMEY-WIMEY, TRIPPY-WIPPY (AND PEGGY OLSON IS NO DANA SCULLY). On what is actually my favorite show, as in most greatly enjoyed, Doctor Who, there is a hand-waving phrase to cover the shifty plot twists inherent in the saga of the antically enigmatic traveler through time and space known as the Doctor. “Wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey.” As in, the flux capacitor went thataway and moving right along.
To that phrase, for the latest episode of Mad Men, add trippy-wippy.
The episode shifts through time and perspective, like, oh, say, Pulp Fiction, and only one of the three stories in (not so) “Far Away Places” centers on an LSD trip.
The hairpin plot twists so evident in last week’s episode continue in this one, as does the sense of suddenly (seemingly?) impending doom. …
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Colorado, Iowa, and Washington, DC.
Obama flew this morning from Aurora, Coloardo to Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Air Force One.
Once there, he took part in a roundtable with students at the University of Iowa.
He then delivered an address at the University of Iowa on his drive to get Congress to prevent a doubling of interest rates on student loans.
At 12:30 PM Pacific, Obama departs Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Air Force One en route Washington, DC.
At 2:30 PM Pacific, Obama arrives Joint Base Andrews, where he boards Marine One.
At 2:45 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
At 3 PM Pacific, Obama attends a fundraiser at The Jefferson Hotel.
Here’s a bad sign. The UK economy has fallen back into recession. Preliminary figures show output fell for the second successive quarter. This is Britain’s first double-dip recession since the 1970s, and Prime Minister David Cameron, already troubled by his administration’s links to the Murdoch hacking scandal, is being excoriated for his austerity policies.
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 Sacramento.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
A local Sacramento judge said yesterday 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 Brown’s state budget.
Reacting yesterday to news that an initiative to abolish the death penalty has qualified for the November ballot, Brown said 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.
However, as California attorney general he pursued its implementation.
This will be a very hot issue this fall.
** 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. … From my April 24th essay.
** 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. … 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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