A gunman opened fire on the US embassy in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo today, but no one is reported to have been killed or wounded aside from the shooter. The suspect, now in custody, is described as an Islamic fundamentalist.
** QUICK HITS. The loose-knit Occupy Wall Street forces’ Oakland affiliate is going ahead with an attempted general strike in Oakland on November 2nd. But it will be hard for there to be an actual general strike without people going, you know, on strike. Which seems very unlikely. Labor has contracts, for one thing, and seems to be going with solidarity motions in lieu of actual strikes. But there could be substantial symbolic disruption next Wednesday, which happens to be the first anniversary of the election of Oakland’s former mayor, one Jerry Brown, as governor of California. … The day before that, on Tuesday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority will unveil its revised business plan in an event at the historic California Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento, not far from the Western terminus of the Pony Express. There had been an earlier plan to unveil it at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon, which made absolutely no sense.
** SHAPES OF THINGS: BROWN CLIMATE, AND ANOTHER ROMNEY FLIP, AND FLOP. Poor Mitt Romney. He just can’t decide whether he’s coming or going.
Speaking Thursday in Pittsburgh, the ex-Massachusetts governor and leveraged buyout artist, whose career high point will be his saving of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, came down on the side of the greenhouse deniers.
“My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet,” Romney said in the speech, a clip of which was posted by the liberal blog Think Progress. “And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”
But over the summer, he said the exact opposite.
“I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course,” Romney said at a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire. “But I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that.”
Prior to that, naturally, Romney had sounded like a greenhouse skeptic.
But before that, he embraced the overwhelming view of the scientific community.
No surprise, then, that Jon Huntsman today called Romney “a perfectly-lubricated weather vane.”
A big Romney backer once told me, reassuringly, that “Mitt doesn’t really believe what he’s saying.”
To which I said, which time?
Someone who does have a consistent view of climate change is Governor Jerry Brown. He’s getting set to host a conference on climate change in mid-December in his home town of San Francisco.
His predecessor, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course hosted three big global climate summits co-sponsored with the United Nations, in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Brown’s affair looks to be on a lesser scale, perhaps more strictly focused on the effects of a changing climate upon California.
Schwarzenegger may still be filming The Last Stand over in New Mexico at that point, but there is a clear movie tie-in nonetheless.
Brown’s conference will take place at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, a wonderful facility founded just a few years after the California Gold Rush in the middle of the 19th century, which is when Brown’s ancestors came to the Golden State.
The first time Brown was governor, his administration allowed the makers of 1979′s Time After Time to film at the California Academy of Sciences.
In the story of the film, H.G. Wells, who was a favorite of Brown, actually does invent a time machine. Which, after Jack the Ripper uses it to escape capture in Victorian era London, Wells uses himself to go after the gentleman murderer, who turns out to be one of his circle of friends.
But he finds himself in then contemporary San Francisco, for the contents of his London home are on display in an H.G. Wells exhibition at, yes, the California Academy of Sciences.
Not long after, in the spring of 1980, Brown gave one of the seminal speeches of his career — which I wrote about at length in December — during his second presidential campaign.
Directed as a live television special by Francis Ford Coppola, it was entitled “The Shape of Things To Come,” named after a famous H.G. Wells novel.
While the shape of things to come remains quite coherent for Brown, its incoherence for Romney is a poor portent.
** NEW POLL: DISENGAGED NATION. One sign of a society, or a person, that is adrift is a lack of engagement.
Welcome to the US.
A new Gallup Poll reveals that more than two-thirds of Americans are disengaged from their work.
Either because they don’t like their work, they’re too distracted by a distracting media culture, or too overwhelmed by their lives.
The least likely to be engaged, seemingly paradoxically, are the highly-educated and more experienced.
Seventy-one percent of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work, meaning they are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive. That leaves nearly one-third of American workers who are “engaged,” or involved in and enthusiastic about their work and contributing to their organizations in a positive manner. This trend remained relatively stable throughout 2011. …
These findings are from a special Gallup Daily tracking series conducted on an ongoing basis since the fourth quarter of 2010 to explore American workers’ engagement levels. Gallup’s employee engagement index is based on worker responses to 12 actionable workplace elements with proven linkages to performance outcomes, including productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety, and profit. Further research shows significant linkages between engagement at work and health and wellbeing outcomes.
Gallup has also found that engaged employees are twice as likely as those who are actively disengaged to say their employer is hiring. The national engagement data reveal that businesses in the U.S. — and in turn, the U.S. economy as a whole — might not be reaching maximum worker performance because of the high percentage of not engaged and actively disengaged employees. Increasing the percentage of engaged workers in the U.S. could spur a significant amount of job growth, as detailed in Gallup’s latest book, The Coming Jobs War.
Because jobs are more complex and require employees to have higher levels of skills and knowledge, business should be concerned that the more highly educated workers are less engaged. The less engaged employees are with their work and their organization, the more likely they are to leave to an organization. Turnover can be costly, and turnover in professional roles, such as nurses or engineers, is more costly than turnover in entry-level or front-line roles. …
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now on a PR offensive, again criticized Pakistan while defending the Afghan War during Thursday testimony on Capitol Hill.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … “OUT OF CONTEXT”: HILLARY’S P.R. OFFENSIVE.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama has received the daily intelligence and economic briefing and met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
At 1 PM Pacific, Obama meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.
At 2:10 PM Pacific, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend a Diwali reception in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
The festival of lights is celebrated by Hindus and some people of other faiths around the world.
Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party has officially won 90 of the 217 seats in the parliament of the nation where the Arab awakening began. Insisting that it will respect women’s rights, it looks to form a coalition government with two left-of-center parties.
As expected, Prince Nayef was named on Thursday Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince and heir apparent to King Abdullah, who is in his late 80s. Nayef, a mere youth of 77 or so, has been the Saudi interior minister since 1975, which is when Jerry Brown was California’s governor the first time around. Nayef is against elections and opposes allowing women to drive.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the midst of a PR offensive on her diplomatic approach complete with a Time magazine cover, testified yesterday on Capitol Hill, saying that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was “taken out of context” when, just two days after her visit to Kabul, he said that he would side with Pakistan in any conflict with the US.
Moammar Gaddafi’s one-time powerhouse son, the London School of Economics-educated Seif Gaddafi, is reportedly in the southern Libyan desert. He wants to turn himself in to the International Criminal Court rather than face the mob justice which descended on his father a week ago. But he needs transport.
Closer to home, the Federal Communications Commission is launching a $4.5 billion Connect America Fund to bring the millions still off-line into the online world. The FCC says it’s time for all Americans to move “from the era of Alexander Graham Bell into the era of Steve Jobs”
Obama is monitoring a variety of other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab awakening, AfPak, and Iraq.
War Zone Times: Libya is nine hours ahead of Pacific time, Iraq is ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
A crowd of at least 1,000 people attended a vigil Thursday night in Oakland for the Iraq War veteran who suffered a fractured skull during a clash between demonstrators and police.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
Reaction is coming in to his public pension reform proposal, discussed at length here in yesterday’s edition.
Not surprisingly, labor is largely opposed and majority Democratic legislators are, let’s say, hesitant
After Tuesday night’s tumultuous confrontation with the Oakland Police Department, the East Bay portion of the loose-knit Occupy Wall Street movement voted on Wednesday night to call for a general strike in Oakland on November 2nd. Which happens to be the first anniversary of the election of one Jerry Brown, Oakland’s former mayor. (He was succeeded first by socialist former Congressman Ron Dellums, now a Washington lobbyist, and then by left-liberal Jean Quan.) The Occupy Oakland core group was to discuss the Oakland general strike last night.
While it’s highly unlikely that this group can pull off anything so monumental as an actual general strike, it can certainly get a lot of attention. I’ll report later on what is coming.
** STEVE JOBS: HARDLY A PERFECT PERSON, PERHAPS A PERFECT ICON. As Apple CEO Tim Cook noted again at last week’s memorial service, Steve Jobs liked to say that he modeled his business after the Beatles. So it was interesting to have been around when the Beatles broke up, i.e., when Jobs was fired in the ’80s from the company he so famously co-founded and led. … From my October 26th essay.
** SIGNS: JERRY BROWN AFTER A DISAPPOINTING LEGISLATIVE YEAR. After a rather disappointing legislative year, Governor Jerry Brown is looking ahead to 2012. Brown and his appointees are digging into future economic and energy policy, the prospects for major water and high-speed rail projects, the possibility of mid-course cuts in the current state budget, and the 2012 elections. … From my October 20th essay.
** AFGHAN WAR AT 10, 9/11 AT 10+: DID OSAMA BIN WIN AFTER ALL? … From my October 7th essay.
** CALIFORNIA’S WILD RIDE: OF ARNOLD, JERRY, AND VANITIES FAIR (AND OTHERWISE). … From my October 4th essay.
** MAD MEN‘S FEAT. … From my September 28th 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.
** PAN AMERICAN GAMES LIVE. The Pan American Games, bringing together athletes from 41 nations across North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean contesting in 36 sports, have their opening ceremony tonight in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Pan Ams run until October 30th.
You can watch the action on ESPN Deportes.
After a five-year delay, an Earth-observing satellite launched this morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to test new technologies aimed at improving weather forecasts and monitoring climate change.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in three wars 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. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. 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, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the 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 $93 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $59 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 $21 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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