President Barack Obama says simply calling for more drilling is just a “bumper sticker,” not a real plan for bringing down rising gas prices. Obama says his administration’s “all-of-the-above strategy” is the “only real solution.”
** QUICK HITS. Iran, which this week refused to allow UN inspectors access, bringing their visit to a quick halt, appears to be pushing forward to expand nuclear enrichment activity deep inside another mountain fastness. … Some 70 mostly Western and Arab nations meeting Friday in Tunis, capital of Tunisia, as the Friends of Syria are expected to demand an immediate ceasefire by the Assad regime and the granting of access for the provision of humanitarian relief to besieged portions of the country. … Heiress Molly Munger hasn’t taken the hint regarding her California income tax hike for nearly all initiative to give more money to the schools, which does not poll at all well. She’s told her operatives to start gathering signatures. Remember, people seldom get paid much, if anything, to tell rich novices to save their money.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … DEBATING THE DISARRAY: THE REPUBLICANS’ SEARCH FOR CLARITY AFTER THEIR BIG DUKEAROO.
** NEW POLL: OBAMA MORE POPULAR THAN REPUBLICAN WOULD-BE RIVALS. This should not exactly be a news flash, but a new Gallup Poll reveals that President Barack Obama is viewed more favorably by voters than any of his would-be Republican opponents.
But Obama has a high unfavorable rating, too, in this very hyper-partisan environment.
Obama is 50-48 favorable/unfavorable.
In contrast, Ron Paul is 39/40, Mitt Romney is 39/47, Rick Santorum is 35/38, and Newt Gingrich is 26/61.
Gingrich, of course, has borne the brunt of attacks from Romney and Paul, as well as much of the media.
Almost all Americans have an opinion about President Obama. On the other hand, despite the high-intensity Republican nomination campaign of the past year, the percentage of Americans who know enough about the four GOP candidates to give an opinion varies widely. Eighty-seven percent are able to rate Gingrich, 86% can rate Romney, 79% Paul, and 73% Santorum.
Santorum, Obama, and Paul are essentially tied when the results are recalculated to take into account only those who give an opinion; roughly half of Americans with an opinion rate each favorably and half unfavorably. Opinions of Romney using this recalculated base skew slightly more negative, while 70% of those with an opinion of Gingrich rate him negatively. …
Violence over the burning of copies of the Quran by NATO troops at a military base in Afghanistan has spread, prompting President Barack Obama to issue an apology and the Afghan government to demand trial and punishment for those responsible. As protests over the incident continued for a third day on Thursday, the death toll of Afghan demonstrators rose to 12. And two US soldiers were killed today by an apparent Afghan soldier on a military base.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington and Florida.
Obama received the daily intelligence and economic briefings and met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
He then flew on Air Force One to Miami, Florida.
At 10:25 AM Pacific, Obama arrives in Miami.
At 10:45 AM Pacific, Obama tours the Industrial Assessment Center at the University of Miami.
At 11:25 AM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks to University of Miami students and faculty members at the University of Miami Field House.
At 1:20 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida.
At 2:55 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at a private residence.
At 4 PM Pacific, Obama departs Miami, Florida on Air Force One en route Orlando, Florida.
At 5:15 PM Pacific, Obama arrives Orlando, Florida.
At 5:55 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser in a private residence.
At 7:30 PM Pacific, Obama departs Orlando, Florida on Air Force One en route Joint Base Andrews.
Romney got good economic news this morning, with unemployment claims steady for the past week at the lowest level in four years.
No one dominated or distinguished themselves in last night’s Republican presidential debate in Mesa, Arizona, which was a nasty display on the whole marked throughout by negativity, much of it deployed against new Republican presidential frontrunner Rick Santorum by longtime favorite Mitt Romney and his libertarian sidekick, Ron Paul.
Santorum still leads Romney in Romney’s home state of Michigan, in all but one poll, and is close in Arizona. More to follow.
In a vicious but lackluster display, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum traded verbal punches about health care, spending earmarks and federal bailouts last night in what might have been the final Republican presidential debate.
As the seriously disarrayed Republican field plays out its dynamics, major geopolitical crises are unfolding.
More bad news from Afghanistan, where the US has apologized after Afghan employees at the big Bagram Air Base discovered that Korans and other Islamic religious material were being burned. The Afghan Parliament moved yesterday to require that any US personnel involved in the debacle be turned over for trial by sharia law. Failure to comply would lead to the US being denied access to the country after 2014.
Then today two US soldiers were killed by a man in Afghan Army uniform at a coalition military base in eastern Afghanistan.
The UN nuclear watchdog’s visit to Iran ended ahead of schedule on Tuesday when Tehran refused to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors any access to key nuclear facilities.
Thus further ratcheting up the crisis, and making it ever more difficult for Iran’s apologists to claim that it is not pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
The Syrian crisis has also ratcheted up with the killing of two Western journalists.
The Friends of Syria, aka the International Contact Group on Syria, will convene tomorrw in Tunisia, where the Arab Awakening began. Russia has refused to participate, and China has not yet replied.
Meanwhile, over 50 people were killed today in a series of bomb attacks across Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, which the government blames on Al Qaeda and links to next month’s scheduled Arab League summit in Baghdad.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Arabian Gulf is eleven hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is twelve and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Washington.
At 11 AM Pacific, he meets with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the Department of Education.
As first reported on Tuesday in Governors Journal, Brown is attending this year’s National Governors Association meeting in Washington, an event he skipped last year while he was heavily focused on bipartisan negotiations over California’s chronic budget crisis.
During his five-day trip, Brown will meet with President Barack Obama, top Obama Administration officials, and the California Congressional delegation.
Tonight, Brown will appear at a fundraiser for his revenue initiative hosted by lobbyists Tony Podesta, former Clinton White House chief of staff, and an old colleague of mine from Gary Hart days, Mike Stratton.
Tomorrow, he takes part in a Democratic Governors Association meeting with President Barack Obama and other top officials at the Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg.
Brown then has lunch with People’s Republic of China Ambassador to the U.S. Zhang Yesui.
Following that, he meets with State Department officials and attends the Democratic Governors Association dinner.
On Saturday, he takes part in the National Governors Association meeting.
On Sunday, Brown takes part in the Western Governors Association meeting.
Brown also appears on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Following that, he meets with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
On Sunday evening, he attends the Governors’ Dinner at the White House with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
On Monday, Brown takes part in the National Governors Association closing session, then attends a meeting with President Obama.
Following that, Brown meets with the California Congressional delegation.
** OBAMA’S CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH: ECLIPSING THE EMPIRE STATE. In the latest dramatic sign that California has supplanted New York at the premiere locale for Barack Obama’s fundraising, the Democratic president raised, according to sources, close to $8.5 million here last week on his two-day swing through the state. Even before this, it was clear that California was well ahead of New York in Obama’s fundraising operation.
It’s important to note that some issues exist with respect to Obama in New York that aren’t the case in California.
Some $4 million of last week’s haul came in three events in San Francisco, which included attendees from nearby Silicon Valley, with the rest from events in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Intriguingly, Obama’s extremely formidable California fundraising machine relies hardly at all on the state’s popular Democratic governor or on its dominant Democratic Party organization.
Instead, Obama has forged an operation largely his own, fusing his highly successful 2008 primary campaign organization with that of Hillary Clinton, building on strong potential support bases in Silicon Valley and Hollywood, fusing those with more traditional sources of funds from the professions, real estate, and finance. It’s a more variegated approach than in New York, which is heavily dependent on Wall Street. And it has flourished despite disappointing some, such as Hollywood interests who wanted to crack down on the Internet and its potential for piracy and those who worry that Obama hasn’t gone far enough on the environment, or has gone too far in Afghanistan. … From my February 21st essay.
** DRIFTING TO WAR WITH IRAN: BEWARE THE HYSTERIA. With the Republican presidential race in disarray and something of a lull in the post-”inevitable Romney” phase, there is one ongoing constant: All the conceivable nominees, at least in the current set of prospects, are pushing for war with Iran. …
Not that these warhawks have anything like a plan as to how an Iran war would, you know, work.
It might be nice to imagine that an attack could work. If one believes that Iran is developing nuclear weapons — as most experts who’ve looked at this, including the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, do — then this is serious business. Notwithstanding the futile protest of iPod-wielding students a few years back, whose fate may be shared by the initial revolutionaries of Egypt (when will we stop imagining that the people most like us represent the mainstream of another society?), Iran is a worrisome, hostile, radical fundamentalist power. One which was held neatly in check by Saddam Hussein. Who of course was removed from power at the insistence of the very people now flipping out over Iran and pushing war there.
The reality is that the US invasion of Iraq ended up empowering Iran, leading to government in Baghdad which is dominated by politicians friendly with Iran. … From my February 16th essay.
** RICKROLLED: ROMNEY WILL BE “INEVITABLE” AGAIN WHEN … … From my February 9th essay.
** NEWTONIAN MOTION, THE BIG NEVADA BUST, THE ROAD AHEAD (AND THE RISE OF RICK?). … From my February 7th essay.
** ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT SILVER: HOW NEVADA AND THE WEST GOT SHORT-CHANGED. … From my February 3rd column.
** WHAT LIGHT FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE? What light has been shed by the Florida Republican presidential primary? It’s not easy to see how Newt Gingrich wins. And it’s not hard to see how Mitt Romney falls. … From my February 2nd column.
** REPUBLICANS LOSE BIG ON REDISTRICTING GAMBLE, BROWN MOVES FORWARD. … From my January 30th essay.
** NEWTONIAN MOTION: WILL GINGRICH BLOW IT (AGAIN)? … From my January 26th 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.
A rare “solar tornado,” possibly the size of Earth with 300,000 mile per hour winds, has been caught on camera by the Solar Dynamics Observatory of NASA.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in several 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. 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 $108 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $74 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 $6 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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