The death of Princess Diana is reported on BBC World News 10
years ago tonight in the Pacific time zone. She died in the early
morning hours in Paris on August 31, 1997, occasioning an
enormous wave of grief around the world.
** CALIFORNIA ELECTRIC POWER CRISIS AVERTED. Peak electric power demand in California today was 47,843 megawatts, more than one thousand megawatts below the forecast peak of 49,105 megawatts. Which in turn is well over a thousand megawatts less than the record established during last summer’s unprecedented heat storm.
** NEW IOWA POLL SHOWS EDWARDS’ INTENSE FOCUS PAYING OFF. After Democrat John Edwards spent a week in Iowa on a bus tour, the three-way tie there in the traditional first-in-the-nation state accordioned back to him. The new numbers: Edwards 29%, Hillary Clinton 24%, Barack Obama 22%, with Bill Richardson a distant fourth.
** FRED THOMPSON ANNOUNCES FOR PRESIDENT ON SEPTEMBER 6TH. Former Senator and Law & Order star Fred Thompson will announce his long-awaited candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in an Internet webcast on September 6th. He may appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Funny, I think I was at that movie premiere. He will follow that up with a five-day tour of early primary and caucus states.
** POSSIBLE CALIFORNIA POWER CUT-0FF TO BUSINESS THIS AFTERNOON. With the current heat wave greatly affecting some parts of the state, California’s grid manager may have to cut electric power to some voluntary business members of the state’s conservation corps. Perhaps some of our core enviro friends who think that energy efficiency alone will solve the power problems of a growing state — and have opposed all liquefied natural gas projects — will rethink their positions.
** MACHINISTS’ UNION BACKS HILLARY … AND HUCKABEE. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, once one of the most left-wing of all unions in the US, just issued an unusual dual endorsement for president of a frontrunning Democrat and a darkhorse Republican. The IAM endorsed New York Senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, the surprise second place finisher in this month’s Iowa Republican straw poll, on the Republican side.
The union did this after learning that one-third of their members are actually Republicans.
Clinton won the relatively small United Transportation Union endorsement earlier this week after losing the coveted International Association of Firefighters Association to Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd.
** EDWARDS WINS CARPENTERS’ UNION ENDORSEMENT. Former Senator and 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards, who has pitched his hopes to labor, won his first union endorsement of the season from the carpenters’ union.
** NO VOTE TODAY ON SCHWARZENEGGER HEALTH CARE PLAN. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez’s strategist Steve Maviglio checks in with this: “The Assembly will NOT vote on the Governor’s health care plan today. We are talking with the Governor about health care reform and making progress.” This is called a movida.
** MILITARY SPLIT ON IRAQ. Further reflecting the fact that the nation’s military leadership is not at all sure about the latest course in Iraq, General David Petraeus’s long-awaited report in mid-September on the success, or lack of same, of the “surge” in Iraq will be accompanied by other reports, both public and private — though you can bet those will be leaked — by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the chief of staff of the Army, and the head of US Central Command, of which Petraeus is a part. Those reports, by Marine General Peter Pace, Army General William Casey, and Navy Admiral William Fallon, are very likely to be less positive than whatever Petraeus comes up with.
In short, according to Pentagon sources, the military will make it clear that it is President George W. Bush’s strategy that is being pursued in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is coming out with a report that very few of the political and military targets of the latest Iraq policy are being met. Only three of 18 goals have been met, according to the investigative arm of Congress.
** TEST VOTE ON CALIFORNIA HEALTH CARE. As first reported on NWN, last week, the state Assembly is scheduled to have a test vote today on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s preferred version of universal health care reform today. The vote, triggered by Speaker Fabian Nunez, is a drill intended to demonstrate to the governor that his plan, with its various mandates and fees on businesses and medical providers (which are, of course, also businesses) has no Republican support in the Assembly. Which would be consistent with what Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines told me months ago.
So far, the dynamics around the health care and redistricting reform and water policy issues are playing out as anticipated in a column here early in the week. Something major on health care, the stickiest of the issues, remains quite possible. And what precisely that is still remains to be worked out amongst the leaders.
** CALIFORNIA POWER ALERT CONTINUES. With a heat wave striking much of the state, as discussed yesterday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is calling for more sparing use of electric power by consumers. You can track peak electric power demand in near real time via Cal ISO (California Independent System Operator).
** AL QAEDA’S AMERICAN PRISONERS STILL NOT LOCATED. American troops are now in the midst of a 108th day of searching for the remaining two US soldiers captured by Al Qaeda in an ambush south of Baghdad. They have had no luck so far. A video put out by Al Qaeda forces in Iraq claims that all three men were executed after being captured. But, with the exception of the Californian found floating in the Euphrates River, that claim can’t be confirmed. The US high command in Baghdad has revealed that ID cards for the other two American prisoners were found in an Al Qaeda safehouse on June 9th.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. After going up earlier, crude oil prices have slipped back to the $70 to $73 per barrel range on word that Iran is slowing its nuclear enrichment process.
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