California at the crossroads

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California freeway by Ken Lund/ Flickr/ Creative Commons

Today is a rare day when it feels like California, and Southern California in particular, is the crossroads of all things in the news.

Google, Apple and Facebook – all California companies – are at the heart of the Internet surveillance story that broke yesterday and will inevitably continue to develop in the week ahead. Coincidentally, President Barack Obama is in Silicon Valley today, where his NSA jacks are plugged in to the company computers.
The Sunnylands summit between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping starts today and highlights not only California’s role in the Internet economy, but also as a trade route for Chinese products into the United States. Sunnylands is in Rancho Mirage, a couple hours east of Los Angeles.

And before Obama heads south, he is making sure to tout California’s implementation of Obamacare, particularly in how it relates to Latinos. From the Los Angeles Times:

Obama plans to praise a multimillion-dollar partnership between the nonprofit California Endowment and major Spanish-language media outlets aimed at getting Latinos to enroll in health insurance next year. A senior administration official said this approach, which the president plans to tout in a news conference at a San Jose hotel, “could serve as a model for other states.”

Which brings us to our southern border, where the military industry that used to call SoCal home is looking to the immigration bill as a potential moneymaker as it vies for potential contracts to “secure” our border. This at a time when illegal crossings are at historic lows. But can an immigration bill pass if the military guys aren’t pushing for it? From the New York Times:

The nation’s largest military contractors, facing federal budget cuts and the withdrawals from two wars, are turning their sights to the Mexican border in the hopes of collecting some of the billions of dollars expected to be spent on tighter security if immigration legislation becomes law.

Then there’s the San Onofre nuclear power plant shutting down. It’s a historic thing for a nuclear power plant to shut down in the United States, but the company that oversees the plant, Edison International, says it’s more trouble to try to get approval to reopen the shuttered plant at this point. This comes as France is looking to put windfarms along the D-Day coast because it too wants to reduce dependence on nuclear power. Is the nuclear option no longer an option after this and Fukushima?

Welcome to California, crossroads to the world. And proof, once again, that the national and international stories our audience cares about are happening right here on our streets, in our cities, in our backyards, with our audience involved.