Finishing his Western campaign swing today in Reno, Nevada, President Barack Obama called for a new refinancing program that will allow all underwater homeowners to refinance, regardless of whether the mortgage is government-backed.
** QUICK HITS. Look for a very rugged California state budget from Governor Jerry Brown in the annual “May revise” release on Monday. Brown has been warning for months about the need for more cuts, and the legislature has refused. (As I have mentioned, oh, 50 or 60 times.) Now the situation is, all too predictably, worse. … Brown and his allies turned in about twice as many signatures as needed yesterday to qualify his November revenue initiative, and about twice as many as turned in by heiress Molly Munger’s minions for her income tax hike-for nearly all boost for schools. But many of those signatures will be invalid, as they always are, which accounts for the overage. … There’s a lot of confusion about the ballyhooed NATO Summit in Chicago, set to begin in little more than a week. More to follow. … Meanwhile, Israel’s surprise new national unity government is sparking talk of a potentially imminent attack on Iran. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer is on it in a new column in the Washington Post called “Echoes of ’67: Israel Unites.” Except, well, Israel is not uniting. Major figures from the nation’s security establishment have recently blasted the idea.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … NUCLEAR’S BRIGHT AND SHINY FUTURE IS BLINKING OUT.
** NEW POLL: AMERICANS BACK OBAMA’S ENDORSEMENT OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE BY SIX PERCENT. A new Gallup Poll survey has some good news for President Barack Obama.
By a 51% to 45% margin, his endorsement of same-sex marriage is approved.
Democrats back Obama’s move, 71-25. And so most independents, 53-44.
But Republicans, by a 74-23 margin, are even more opposed than Democrats are supportive.
Most, of course, say they won’t be swayed by Obama’s move. And of those who will, more say they are swayed to vote against Obama.
A closer look will reveal that those people were already staunchly anti-Obama.
What it may mean is that same-sex marriage is more important to the base of the Republican Party than it is to the Democratic Party base.
Or it may mean that the people who hate Obama and hate gay marriage are especially vehement in presenting their views.
Having no little experience with these folks, I tend to think the latter.
A majority of Americans, 60%, say President Barack Obama’s newly announced support for same-sex marriage will make no difference to their vote. Twice as many say it will make them less likely to vote for Obama as say more likely, though roughly half of the “less likely” group are Republicans who probably would not support Obama anyway. …
** NEW SURVEY: “EMOTIONAL HEALTH” REACHES FOUR-YEAR HIGH. The economic recovery is certainly wobbly enough, but a new Gallup Poll survey indicates that Americans’ emotional health is at its highest since Gallup started measuring it in January 2008.
It’s up especially since reaching a low ebb in September 2011.
That happened to coincide with the period after the meltdown of governance in Washington over raising the federal debt ceiling.
Americans’ emotional heath improved in April and, by a slight margin, is now higher than it has been in any month since Gallup and Healthways started tracking it in January 2008. Gallup’s U.S. Emotional Health Index score was 79.9 last month, slightly above the previous high of 79.8 recorded in March 2008 and May 2010. Americans’ emotional health has generally been improving since September, when it dropped to its lowest level in more than three years (78.3). …
Americans score better on all 10 of the Emotional Health Index measures in April than they did at the low point in September. The percentage of Americans who did not “worry a lot of the day yesterday” has improved the most. In April, 68.9% of Americans said they did not experience worry a lot of the previous day, up from 66.1% in September. Similarly, the percentage of Americans who said they did not experience stress was 59.9% in April, up from 57.6% in September.
Self-reported “enjoyment” has also increased. The percentage who said they experienced enjoyment a lot of the previous day rose to 85.6% in April, up from the three-year low of 83.0% in September. …
JPMorgan Chase, the biggest US bank in terms of assets, shocked global markets by revealing a trading loss of over two billion dollars, and acknowledging there could be another billion lost. It admitted there had been “errors” and “bad judgement” while it was attempting to protect itself against losses through a process known as hedging. The incident is particularly embarrassing because JPMorgan Chase’s boss, Jamie Dimon, has been strongly critical of the so-called Volcker rule which would limit such risky trading by big banks.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in California, Nevada, and Washington, DC.
Obama flew this morning from Los Angeles to Reno, Nevada on Air Force One.
After arriving in Reno, Obama met with a local family at a private residence.
He then delivered remarks at a private residence pushing Congress to enact his agenda, his so-called “To Do List.”
Which, naturally, they mostly will not do. Which is the point.
Obama placed a special emphasis on mortgage relief in Reno. Nevada has been very hard hit by the housing finance crisis.
At 1 PM Pacific, Obama departs Reno an Air Force One en route Joint Base Andrews.
At 5:10 PM Pacific, Obama arrives at Joint Base Andrews, where he boards Marine One.
At 5:25 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
Obama is riding high after what may be the biggest fundraiser in presidential campaign history.
That was Thursday night at the Studio City home of George Clooney. The event raised $6 million on-site for the Obama Victory Fund, with another $9 million coming in online for a raffle for four lucky winners to hang with Obama and Clooney.
According to a source who was present, Clooney quipped: “Well, we have Iron Man, Spiderman, and Batman present tonight, so the Secret Service gets the night off.”
Clooney was referring to Robert Downey, Jr., Tobey Maguire, and himself. (Clooney played Batman in the last movie in the series before the Christopher Nolan reboot with Christian Bale. Some guy named Arnold Schwarzenegger portrayed his nemesis.)
More to follow on this event.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney, campaigning today in North Carolina and trying to get past revelations of his past as a prep school bully, had nothing to say about gay marriage. And he had nothing to say about the revelation of billions in trading losses from America’s biggest bank, JPMorgan Chase.
Like the bank’s CEO, Romney opposes new regulation of the sort of trades that led to the losses.
Instead, Romney kept his head down and stuck to his generic message claiming he would be a better manager of the economy than Obama.
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 ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
President Barack Obama was hosted Thursday night at the Studio City home of George Clooney. The event raised $6 million on-site for the Obama Victory Fund, with another $9 million coming in online for a raffle for four lucky winners to hang with Obama and Clooney.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He was not at last night’s big fundraiser for President Barack Obama in Los Angeles.
At 8 PM, Brown will attend the Asia Society Northern California’s 9th Annual Dinner at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco where he will be honored for his longstanding work to strengthen California’s relationship with Asia.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in Sacramento yesterday to meet with Brown and other California leaders, told legislative leaders that it is getting to be time to move forward on high-speed rail. LaHood urged the legislature to approve funds in June to start building the project this year or early next year, rather than put off a vote till September, the customary manana attitude.
Legislators hoping for Facebook’s IPO to stave off, at least on a one-time basis, cuts Brown has been pushing since January are getting some bad news.
Institutional investors are less impressed than many expected by Facebook’s prospects for future growth.
I’m no Facebook fan, so it doesn’t surprise here.
** MAD MEN: REJECTING ADVERTISING, OR, DON DRAPER MEETS ACID ROCK, POP BUDDHISM, AND AN INDEPENDENT WIFE. … From my May 8th essay.
** THE CURIOUS CHEN CRISIS SPOTLIGHTS OUR BIG CHINA CONUNDRUM. … From my May 4th essay.
** MAD MEN: TO THE MOON! (AND CRASHING BACK AGAIN). … From my May 1st essay.
** SEALED UP, BUT NOT SEALED OVER: THE OSAMA BIN LADEN RAID AT 1. … From my May 1st essay.
** BACK ON THE NATIONAL STAGE? JERRY BROWN BRINGS AN INCOMPLETE STORY. … From my April 28th essay.
** MAD MEN: WIBBLY-WOBBLY, TIMEY-WIMEY, TRIPPY-WIPPY (AND PEGGY OLSON IS NO DANA SCULLY). … From my April 24th essay.
** HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT? ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GAUNTLET. … 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.
** 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 $96 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $62 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 $18 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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