President Barack Obama said the US economy is still fighting its way back to full health and is not yet growing or creating jobs fast enough, blaming high gasoline prices and headwinds from Europe’s economic crisis for the lag. “The economy is growing again but it’s not growing as fast as we want it to grow,” he told workers and supporters at a Honeywell factory in Minnesota. “Our businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months but as we learned in today’s job report, we are still not creating them as fast as we want.”
** QUICK HITS. In its pre-primary report, the California Secretary of State’s office today revealed the composition of the California electorate: 43.4% Democrat, 30.2% Republican, 21.3% independent. … As he prepares to move the first stage of the high-speed rail program through the state legislature, Governor Jerry Brown and his administration are readying legislation to make sure that there are no delays in construction. Brown and company are devising ways to limit and streamline environmental challenges to the bullet train.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … JERRY BROWN FOR PRESIDENT + 20 and FOR OBAMA, MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS AFTER IRAN AND NATO TALKS.
** JERRY-RIGGING: SETTING OUT THE TERMS OF DEBATE, AND DECISION. Much of what has happened this week in California politics, with the primary not all that interesting except in some individual district and local races, has been about setting out the terms of debate and decision around Governor Jerry Brown’s fiscal moves.
Brown got quite good news in the new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll, which finds good levels of support for Brown’s governorship and for his November revenue initiative.
It also found deep suspicion of the legislature with regard to state budget decisions.
Brown’s job approval rating among voters is 49%, disapproval is 39%. And his initiative is backed by 59%, with only 36% opposed.
However, if voters believe that the state legislature is likely to call shots on spending of the new revenue, support for the initiative drops sharply to 50%. With 42% opposed.
Put another way, if Brown is perceived as being in charge of the budget, the initiative has a 23-point lead.
But if the legislature is seen as being in charge, the initiative has only an 8-point lead.
Brown appeared on Thursday before the California State Association of Counties, where he vowed that he will get big budget cuts he is pursuing, cuts which Democratic legislative leaders have balked at so far after going along with most of Brown’s cuts last year.
Since the new revenue is essential to hold on to some essential basic programs going forward, what the poll suggests is quite clear.
The legislature needs to follow Brown’s lead. And if it doesn’t, he needs to be tough.
The USC/LAT poll also finds President Barack Obama ahead of Mitt Romney by a huge margin, 56% to 37%. That will help set up a supportive environment for Brown’s initiative, too.
While Brown is personally popular in the state, Obama is more popular.
Californians turning out to return Obama and his proactive approach to governance for another four years in the White House will be in the right frame of mind to pass Brown’s initiative.
We know from this and other polling that, even though the small quarter-cent sales tax is not popular — more taxes on the rich are popular, and only a political problem insofar as they might draw money against the initiative to try to make the case that the contributions are really to stop the sales tax hike, haha — that specific budget cuts are unpopular, too.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington, Minnesota, and Illinois.
Obama received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
He then flew on Air Force One to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
After arriving, Obama toured Honeywell’s Golden Valley facility.
He then delivered remarks there urging Congress to act on his so-called “To Do List.”
I’m not very enamored of that name.
Obama then delivered remarks at a fundraiser at Bachelor Farmer Restaurant in Minneapolis.
He then attended two smaller fundraisers at the restaurant.
At 12:20 PM Pacific, Obama departs Minneapolis, Minnesota on Air Force One en route to Chicago, Illinois.
At 1:20 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Chicago.
At 3:10 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at the Chicago Cultural Center.
At 4:25 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at a private residence in Chicago.
Obama spends the evening tonight in his very own bed at home in Chicago.
Obama got some bad news this morning, with the unemployment rate rising slightly.
This is contrary to the Gallup survey discussed here yesterday.
Only 69,000 jobs were created in May in the US according to federal statistics. More than 80,000 in the private sector, but another 13,000 jobs lost in the public sector.
But the real bombshell came in today’s New York Times report — which reads a bit like a scifi spy story — that Obama ordered increased cyber-attacks on Iran’s nuclear program, including the joint operation with Israel of deploying the Stuxnet worm which did so much damage to Tehran’s moves.
Iran is not happy about this, naturally, and the new negotiations — which have been going nowhere — may not be enhanced by the news.
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.
Republicans pounced on this morning’s news that U.S. employers created only 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year, and the unemployment rate ticked up.
** FIAT LUX, WILLARD! Amazingly, Mitt Romney has not one but two Harvard degrees. (Unfortunately for Harvard.)
On Thursday, during his California fundraising swing, Romney made a surprise, secret visit to the shuttered Fremont plant of Solyndra, the late solar firm which got a half billion in loans from the Obama Administration before going under in the face of cut-throat pricing from Chinese firms.
Trying desperately to turn attention away from attacks on his record as a corporate takeover specialist at Bain Capital, and from his close embrace of birther billionaire Donald Trump — the presumptive Republican nominee celebrated his clinching the party nomination Tuesday night at Trump’s casino on the Vegas Strip — Romney declared that Solyndra is “Obama’s Taj Mahal.”
His Taj Mahal?
Romney’s Harvard degrees are in business and law. He’s a professional man, not an intellectual. (Maybe that’s why he rips Barack Obama for being “too Harvard” when he’s spent the most time at the place. He only used the specialty libraries.)
Still, even though he is no intellectual, he should know what the Taj Mahal is before he invokes it in such a pointed yet fundamentally goofy way.
The United Nations, placing the Taj Mahal on the World Heritage List, describes it thus: “The Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”
Is Romney really saying that the shutdown Solyndra plant is an aesthetic masterpiece, one of the greatest places in the world?
Yeah, probably not.
Romney simply doesn’t know what he is saying.
No wonder Romney has aligned himself so closely with the anti-Enlightenment forces in America — birthers, evolution deniers, greenhouse deniers, anti-solar types, the drill baby drill crowd who don’t get that oil is a global market so even more drilling here won’t drop the price of gasoline, etc.
Jefferson and Franklin would roll over in their graves listening to this gabble. …
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Los Angeles and Northern California.
Early this morning, Brown appeared at the memorial service for the late Bishop H.H. Brookins at the First AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church in Los Angeles.
Brookins, who passed away at 86, was a longtime civil rights leader and political powerhouse, as well as one of the all-time characters.
Brown, appearing before county officials yesterday in Sacramento, said he is going to get billions more in budget cuts from the legislature, despite resistance from Democratic legislative leaders who keep hoping for the best, whatever that is, endlessly. The budget deadline is June 15th.
Meanwhile, a state compensation commission cut the salaries of Brown and other state constitutional officers and legislators by 5%.
Which I suspect suits Brown’s purposes.
** MAD MEN: CONTROVERSY AS JOAN LOWERS HERSELF TO RISE, PEGGY EXITS ANTICLIMACTICALLY (AND SCDP GETS ITS HALO CLIENT). … From my latest essay.
** THE NEW SPACE ERA TAKES BIG STEPS FORWARD. … From my May 30th essay.
** MAD MEN: A GREAT LEAPER FORWARD? JOAN, JAG, DON’S RETURN TO ADVERTISING (AND OTHER, ER, TREKS). … From my May 23rd review.
** A BUCKET OF WOE: JERRY BROWN’S UNSURPRISINGLY UNHAPPY BUDGET. … From my May 16th essay.
** MAD MEN: DANGER! SLIPPERY WHEN SOAPY (ESPECIALLY IN DARK SHADOWS). … From my May 15th review.
** NUCLEAR’S ONCE BRIGHT AND SHINY FUTURE BLINKS OUT. …From my May 12th 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 $83 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $49 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 $31 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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