Afghan officials again complain that NATO forces have killed civilians, today charging that 17 civilians were killed in an air strike in eastern Afghanistan.
** QUICK HITS. San Francisco Giants legend Willie Mays introduced President Barack Obama at a fundraiser in the City by the Bay. … Governor Jerry Brown, who seldom attends Obama fundraisers in his state, was also on hand. … Brown noted that victories for public pension reform measures yesterday in San Jose and San Diego point up the potency of the issue.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … MAD MEN: THE ANVIL HAS LANDED and MIDWAY FROM MIDWAY: UNSUNG 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF ONE OF HISTORY’S MOST IMPORTANT BATTLES AS OBAMA TRIES “THE PACIFIC PIVOT.”
** NEW SURVEY: GALLUP SAYS (AGAIN) THAT JOB CREATION IS STEADY. A new Gallup Poll survey indicates that job creation in the US was steady in May, a period for which the US Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a report last Friday which found job growth to be stalling.
The Friday announcement turned what had been a quite good week for President Barack Obama into something of a bad one, with much of the media running wild with single datum analysis and projection, its now familiar and more than faintly hysterical pattern.
Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index was at +19 in May, compared with +20 in April and +18 in March, providing a largely steady assessment of the U.S. job creation picture over the period in which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found job creation stalling.
The results are based on interviews with 16,913 U.S. workers conducted from May 1-31 as part of Gallup Daily tracking. Gallup asks employed workers nationwide each day whether their employer is increasing, reducing, or maintaining the size of its workforce — to provide a real-time indicator of the job creation climate. While Gallup’s job creation measure does not capture the precise number of jobs that are being created or eliminated, it is a strong predictor of the direction of both U.S. jobless claims and U.S. unemployment, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The U.S. Job Creation Index score of +19 for May reflects 35% of workers nationwide saying their employers are hiring workers and expanding the size of their workforce, and 16% saying their employers are letting workers go and reducing the size of their workforce. The remaining 49% say their company is neither hiring nor firing or don’t know. These percentages are very close to what workers reported in March and April, reflecting a steady, three-month trend of workers reporting more hiring than firing compared with what Gallup found in prior months since the global economic collapse. …
Speaking today in New Delhi, where the veteran California political figure is continuing a big tour of the Asia Pacific region as part of the US geopolitical pivot, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta defended US drone strikes inside Pakistan. In the wake of the killing of Al Qaeda’s second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, Panetta made it clear that the drone strikes will continue.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … MAD MEN: THE ANVIL HAS LANDED and MIDWAY FROM MIDWAY: THE UNSUNG 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF ONE OF HISTORY’S MOST IMPORTANT BATTLES COMES AS OBAMA TRIES TO EXECUTE “THE PACIFIC PIVOT.”
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington and California.
Obama received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
He then left the White House early this morning to fly to San Francisco on Air Force One.
At 11:20 AM Pacific, Obama arrives in San Francisco, California.
At 12:20 PM Pacific, Obama attends a campaign event at Landmark Tower in San Francisco.
At 2:15 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco.
At 3:15 PM Pacific, Obama departs San Francisco on Air Force One en route to Los Angeles.
At 4:20 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Los Angeles.
At 7:15 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
At 8:55 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at the residence of Glee creator and producer Ryan Murphy in Beverly Hills.
Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, embattled due to his efforts to bust the public employee unions in the Badger State, survived yesterday’s recall election with 53% of the vote.
Obama did not get involved in the recall effort.
>Exit poll data from the hard-fought race to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gives President Barack Obama a significant edge, 51-45, over Mitt Romney in the Badger State, a key swing state in the November election.
Only 17% of Wisconsin voters say that their personal financial situations have improved over the past two years, with 44% saying it’s the same and 38% saying it’s worse. But they don’t seem to blame Obama, giving him a clear edge over Romney on the economy, 45-37.
Embattled Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker defeated a Democratic attempt to recall him last night with 53% of the vote. Democrats appear to have a slight edge in the state Senate.
Obama also has a big edge on the question of who would most help the middle class, 48-35 over Romney.
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.
** JERRY BROWN FOR PRESIDENT + 20. It was the morning after the 1992 California primary and the knocking on the bedroom door was insistent. Feeling a little groggy after a very late election night, I was slow to respond. But that didn’t stop Jerry Brown. The door opened, and he entered.
Brown had just run in the last presidential primary of his career. (Never say never, I know, but I’m not expecting another Brown presidential run, just a fourth gubernatorial term.) He said that I’d just had a phone call, from someone whose name I’m not sure I learned. Though we’d talked at his L.A. headquarters the night before, he clearly wanted to talk more and the fact that both of us were staying at his sister Kathleen’s home in the Hollywood Hills enabled that to happen.
His trademark irrepressibility was very much in evidence.
Starting from way back in the pack, the then former California governor, who had only re-entered politics a few years earlier after practicing with an L.A. law firm, studying Zen Buddhism in Kyoto, and working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, had emerged into a feisty second place behind then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. He’d run a long and grueling campaign, managed by my old friend Jodie Evans, a campaign frequently marked by sharp exchanges with the hardball Clinton crew, in a venture focused on the underside of politics and the need for reform. The Internet wasn’t a mass medium yet (I wouldn’t go on it, using a text-based browser, till the following year), but Brown, an early Internet user, fueled his campaign via an 800 number and a self-imposed contribution limit of $100.
As seen in this clip from the C-SPAN archives, I introduced Brown the weekend before his last presidential primary at the American Community Summit at Sony Pictures Studios in L.A. Brown gave a rather, well, downbeat presentation on the crisis of the cities.
But the morning after the the last primary of the race, his not infrequently dour message was replaced with an upbeat attitude.
Brown was going on to the Democratic national convention in New York City, looking to stay newsworthy and push his ideas, most of which you are hearing today, while not doing too much damage to Clinton. Not that he was fond of Clinton, but he was decidedly less fond of then President George Bush.
Brown had already begun pulling his punches. In the California primary, he decided not to run TV ads, though he had the money, and throttled back on his criticism of Clinton. The future president might well have won anyway, as he had a good head of steam and a strong campaign directed by my old Gary Hart colleague John Emerson, but Brown’s behavior certainly didn’t hurt. He just wanted to make sure he won a lot more delegates, which he did with a close second. He ended up with around 600 convention delegates, more than enough to raise a ruckus.
Of course, he might have done far better had he not sabotaged his lead in the run-up to the New York primary by announcing that he would make Jesse Jackson his running mate, something which decidedly did not fly with Jewish voters and many moderates.
Still, the Clinton camp was wary, and I reported to Brown that Warren Beatty, an old friend from the Gary Hart days and an old Brown backer who had been supportive of his 1992 candidacy but also looked favorably on Clinton, would be calling him at his San Francisco home, a classic old converted Victorian firehouse, to talk party comity.
Brown, a classic political animal — some of the most visionary conversations I’ve ever had and some of the most hardball conversations (sometimes in the same conversation) I’ve ever had have been with him — knew this race was over but was fascinated with what lay ahead.
The convention was in July, but before that was the first Earth Summit, in Rio, where Brown went about a week later. It was there that the United Nations climate change convention was established, which paved the way for the Kyoto Protocol five years later.
Brown was in his wheelhouse in Rio on renewable energy and conservation, something which hadn’t been of much interest to Clinton. Now, of course, Clinton is all over the climate issue.
And, of course, the same sort of issues remain. (There’s another Earth summit this month in Rio but, while Brown’s predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger is going, Brown won’t make it this time.)
For California’s chronic budget crisis remains, too. Much of it has been solved, but much remains. …
Jerry Brown spoke at the Democratic National Convention in New York City, winding up his runner-up campaign for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
But he is expected to be on hand when Obama arrives in San Francisco for a pair of fundraisers.
A very quiet California primary finished up today, with a once or twice too often to the well tobacco tax initiative trying to hang on in the face of a tobacco industry onslaught and a moderate revision of term limits probably heading for victory. It appears to have fallen short, 49-51, in the face of a $50 million advertising onslaught from the tobacco industry.
The tobacco tax proposal is so attenuated from the state’s chronic budget crisis — it would have spent more money on cancer research, while making cigarettes that much more expensive for low-income folks — that I simply didn’t follow it closely. I doubt that many people thought it was a needed policy.
But term limits revision passed easily, 61-39, with the undecided breaking heavily in its favor.
The term limits revision could restore greater functionality to the legislature by ending the crazy musical chairs that term limits have engendered, as well as ending the preposterous situation in which new members are not infrequently chairs of committees.
The primary, incidentally, set a new record for low turnout.
Senator Dianne Feinstein easily lapped the field with 49.5% of the vote. The endorsed Republican candidate, Elizabeth Emken trailed in the multi-candidate field with 12.5% of the vote.
The two will square off, as it were, in November.
The new open primary law championed by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and supported by Brown, showed off more of its dynamics yesterday, with a few hot local races on tap.
One result already is fewer Republican candidates signing the no-tax pledge.
But Republican rising star-turned-independent Nathan Fletcher didn’t do so well in the San Diego mayor’s race.
He finished third, with 24% of the vote. He had climbed into a tie for first after switching registration. But he was hammered as an opportunist for not doing it from the beginning.
I’ll have more on all this as we go forward.
Longtime LA Times writer Patt Morrison has an interesting Q&A with First Lady/Special Advisor Anne Gust Brown.
She has partnered closely with the governor in his political career as he moved on from mayor of Oakland to California attorney general and then returned to the governorship.
Amusingly, Morrison asks if Brown is a “Luddite,” which seemed to take Gust aback. Not surprisingly, as Brown is the first politician I know who started using e-mail, back when most people didn’t know what it was.
Still, it gives a better sense of Anne Gust Brown, whom I first met in the early ’90s when she was seeing Brown. The pair married in 2005.
** FIAT LUX, WILLARD! … From my June 1st column.
** 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.
Crowds gathered across the world yesterday to watch one of the rarest astronomical events as the planet Venus passed between the Sun and the Earth. If you missed it, too bad because it won’t happen again until 2117.
** 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 $85 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $51 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 $29 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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