News Corp mogul and Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, testifying in London, admits a corporate cover-up but claims he was misled over the phone hacking scandal that has been growing and shaking his media empire for the past year.
** JERRY-RIGGING: WITH PLANS IN THE AIR, OFF TO WASHINGTON. Governor Jerry Brown is off to Washington for a round of meetings and weekend appearances on CBS’s Face the Nation and the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, where I believe he and First Lady/Special Counsel Anne Gust Brown will be at the Newsweek table. (Along with General David Petraeus and actress Reese Witherspoon.)
While Brown is not exactly Arnold-like in his round of public appearances, or even Jerry-like in this incarnation of himself, he is getting out and about more than he did last year. After skipping appearances in the East during 2011, this will be his second trip of the year to Washington.
He was there in February around the National Governors Association conference.
It will also be a good opportunity to articulate what he’s doing as governor of California to a national and international audience.
Brown did appear on NBC’s Meet the Press in February, but with the governors association in town, unavoidably ended up being paired opposite controversial Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
While Brown prepares to fly the Bear Flag in the Beltway, he does so after releasing some big new plans this week, notably in regard to downsizing the state prison system and rightsizing energy consumption in state buildings.
Brown’s prison plan would cut general fund spending from 11.1% of the total to 7.5%. It would also cut $4.1 billion in authorized bond spending for prison construction, saving $2.2 billion in operating costs and debt service.
The moves are being made not only to cut costs in California’s still strapped state budget, but to meet federal court demands to reduce over-crowding.
Brown’s executive order on energy use in state buildings will cast such buildings even more in the role of providing the green model.
Among the goals Brown sets in the order:
– By 2020, 50 percent of al l new state buildings will be zero net energy facilities — that means they will be carbon neutral. By 2025, all new state buildings will need to hit the zero net mark.
– By 2018, all state facilities will have to reduce the power they buy off the grid — that is from utilities — by 20 percent compared to a 2003 baseline. Non-building related energy purchases will also have to cut 20 percent from 2003.
– All state agencies will need to take actions to cut their greenhouse gas emissions at least 10 percent by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020, compared to a 2010 baseline.
– Any proposed new state building or major renovation of existing facilities larger than 10,000 square feet will need to generate its power onsite using solar photovoltaic, solar thermal or wind power generation, along with clean back-up power supplies, if economically feasible.
– Any new state buildings, major renovations to existing facilties or build-to-suit leases larger than 10,000 square feet will have to obtain LEED Silver certification or higher.
Meanwhile, Brown and his forces keep pushing on his compromise November revenue initiative, steaming toward qualification.
Brown, as readers know, was prompted to join forces with a left/labor coalition pushing a steeply progressive “millionaire’s tax.” As a result, his ballot initiative got more progressive in terms of the impact on income taxes and reduced the amount of revenue coming from what is now only a quarter-cent sales tax.
As a result, backing for the new Brown initiative jumped from what had been for the original Brown initiative, as the USC/Los Angeles Times poll, conducted by top national Republican and Democratic pollsters, clearly showed.
At 64% support, it looks very good for Brown and allies. And major institutional opposition is not emerging so far.
Now there is a new Public Policy Institute of California poll (which was actually taken during the first week of April) showing only 54% support for the initiative, with 39% opposed. The problem isn’t with higher taxes on the wealthy, it’s with a sales tax hike for all.
However, this poll poses the question on Brown’s initiative using a question leading with the same formal title and summary it used before, when it got essentially the same results.
This poll is not a problem for Brown’s initiative. But other initiatives moving on to the ballot — by which I do not mean heiress Molly Munger’s zombie tax hike (opposed by nearly 60% in this latest poll, as in other polling) — may be problematic.
Initiatives to abolish the death penalty and alter the state’s three-strikes and you’re out sentencing law will challenge Brown’s ability to stay focused on his measure.
** NEW POLL: HUGE LEAD FOR OBAMA WITH YOUNG VOTERS, BUT TURNOUT IS THE KEY. A new Gallup Poll survey shows that voters aged 18 to 29 give President Barack Obama a huge edge over his presumptive Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
But the trick will be getting them to turn out.
Which explains Obama’s big push over the past week on college loans.
Obama leads Romney among voters aged 18 to 29 by a whopping 64% to 29%.
Obama actually leads in all age groups up to the age of 65, at which point Romney takes a significant lead.
Here are the numbers:
18-29: Obama, 64-29.
30-49: Obama, 49-44.
50-64: Obama 48-44.
65-on: Romney, 52-40.
President Obama this week made an explicit effort to shore up his support among young voters, embarking on a “college tour” of campuses in North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa. Obama called on Congress to pass legislation that would keep the interest rates on student loans from doubling this summer, as they are scheduled to do under current law. Romney, in a rare instance of agreement with Obama, also came out in support of Congress’ taking this action, marking his own effort to gain support among the youth vote.
It’s clear at this point that Obama maintains the decisive edge when young voters are asked whom they support for president, as he did in 2008. Voters aged 18 to 29 in Gallup’s most recent five-day average, April 20-24, support Obama over Romney by 35 percentage points, 64% to 29%, and — compared with older age groups — have been disproportionately supportive of Obama since Gallup’s tracking began on April 11, albeit by differing margins. Obama’s lead is five and four percentage points, respectively, among those 30 to 49 and 50 to 64, while Romney leads by 12 points among those 65 and older. Overall, for the April 20-24 five-day period, Obama leads by six points, 49% to 43%.
The practical value of Obama’s broad support among young voters is lessened by the fact that only six in 10 of these voters say they are registered to vote, and that fewer than six in 10 who are registered say they will definitely vote in November’s election. By way of contrast, Romney’s relatively strong support among voters 65 and older is more politically potent; these older voters are well above average in their voter registration percentage, and are most likely of any age group to say they will definitely vote in November’s election. …
Vice President Joe Biden today, citing the success in Libya and other issues, has issued a strong defense of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy record and suggested that Republican Mitt Romney doesn’t understand the role of contemporary commander in chief.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
He has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings and met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
At 1:30 PM Pacific, Obama meets with Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office.
Obama completed a multi-state tour focusing on college assistance issues yesterday afternoon.
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 and en route to Washington, DC.
Last night, he spoke at the U.S. Green Building Council Reception at the EPA Building in Sacramento.
At 10:30 AM, Brown speaks at a press conference at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacramento in Sacramento hosted by PICO California as they announce their “Land of Opportunity” initiative to mobilize voters to vote their values and shape the future of California. He will be joined by some 200 multi-faith clergy leaders at the event.
Later today, Brown travels to Washington to attend this Saturday’s White House Correspondents Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton.
On Sunday, he will appear on the CBS News program Face the Nation for a one-on-one interview with host Bob Schieffer.
** 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. …
From my April 24th essay.
Hundreds of schools in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, a major center between Kabul and Kandahar, have been forced to close because of threats from the Taliban.
** 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. … 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.
** 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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