Sticking the landing. Literally. Helo stunt flying is risky enough, much less in the thin air of the mountains of Afghanistan. Reportedly, no one was injured in this crash of a US Army helicopter.
** QUICK HITS. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who has been delivering a number of pointed messages on the Iran crisis, said today that the threat of an Israeli attack may be forcing Iran to hold off on deciding to proceed further on developing a nuclear weapon. He acknowledged that the US and Israel have different perspectives on when a strike might be necessary, which he attributes to greater US strike capability and hence a longer time frame for decision. He didn’t say that it might simply be a bad idea. Meanwhile, a new poll of Israeli public opinion shows strong opposition to an Israeli attack without active US military participation. Only 23% support “blue and white” aka unilateral Israeli action. … Sketchy times. Not surprisingly, Democrats continue to have a great deal of nasty fun with Mitt Romney and his top communications aide’s reference to the “Etch-A-Sketch” campaign. Fair? Unfair? How about precisely on target for the chameleon candidate? … Who’s the top American governor on Twitter? Why, it’s Jerry Brown, according to The Hill. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who naturally has more followers than Jerry, was the leader when he was in office. … And that’s the big California political news this afternoon. As it were.
** NEW POLL: KEYSTONE PIPELINE STRONGLY FAVORED. Want to know what President Barack Obama was doing talking up oil drilling in Oklahoma?
A new Gallup Poll provides a clue. The controversial pipeline project is strongly favored, by a 57% to 29% margin.
Not that most know much about it, despite more than a little media coverage, indicating the environmentalists haven’t done much of a job of publicizing concerns with the project.
The pipeline is very heavily favored by Republicans and by people in the regions through which the pipeline would pass.
This is why I wrote in December that any celebration over Obama’s denying the project was decidedly premature.
A solid majority of Americans think the U.S. government should approve of building the Keystone XL pipeline, while 29% think it should not. Republicans are almost twice as likely as Democrats to want the government to approve the oil pipeline. About half of independents also approve.
These data were collected as part of Gallup’s annual Environment survey, conducted March 8-11, 2012. The Keystone XL oil pipeline is a politically divisive project, which President Obama and the Republicans in Congress have been battling over. The proposal from TransCanada Corporation for building a pipeline to carry crude oil from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico, first made in 2005, needs approval from the U.S. president because it crosses an international border. The Republicans in Congress inserted a provision on the pipeline in the payroll tax extension bill late last year, but in January, President Obama rejected TransCanada’s permit entirely. However, the administration is allowing TransCanada to reapply for the permit it needs.
The pipeline would travel through the Midwest and the South, and Americans in those two regions are the most likely to approve of the project. Nearly 7 in 10 Midwesterners want the government to approve the building of the pipeline and 61% of those in the South do as well. There has been discussion in Washington and in the media about the potential new jobs the pipeline project would create, which may partly explain the higher support seen in those regions. Americans in the West and East are less likely to approve. …
Appearing this morning in Oklahoma, President Barack Obama defended his administration’s handling of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, saying Congress made it impossible for him to make an informed decision.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … THE REAL GAME CHANGE: PALINISM’S RISE AND MODERATE REPUBLICANISM’S ECLIPSE and CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS HAVE ONLY THEMSELVES TO BLAME.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Oklahoma, Ohio, and Washington.
Early this morning, Pacific Time, Obama delivered remarks in a pipe yard outside Cushing, Oklahoma.
He backed the building of the southern portion of what would be the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline to carry synthetic Canadian oil to Texas.
Obama then flew on Air Force One from Cushing, Oklahoma to Columbus, Ohio.
At 12:05 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Columbus, Ohio.
At 12:35 PM Pacific, Obama tours the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University.
At 1:25 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at Ohio State University.
At 2:20 PM Pacific, Obama departs Columbus, Ohio on Air Force One en route Washington.
At 3:30 PM Pacific, Obama lands at Joint Base Andrews, where he boards Marine One.
At 3:45 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
At 3:55 PM Pacific, Obama hosts a reception for Greek Independence Day in the East Room.
Obama is on his “American Energy” tour, emphasizing his commitment both to renewable energy and to sustainable oil and natural gas development.
He got some very good economic news this morning.
It seems that jobless claims are down to the lowest point since February 2008. That’s when many were fervently denying that the US was in any recession, much less the worst recession since the Great Depression, not that they will say anything like that now.
Secretary of State Hillary Afghanistan, negotiating with Afghan officials, appears to be getting closer to an ongoing status of forces agreement allowing a residual US force to remain in the country after the general withdrawal.
The Afghans are seeking veto power over night raids. They already achieved future control over the prisons.
But another picture is getting messier. The civilian lawyer for the Army sergeant accused of massacring Afghan civilians outside Kandahar, who represented serial killer Ted Bundy, says there is very little actual evidence against his client and that he intends “to put the war on trial.”
Obama is heading to South Korea this weekend for the Nuclear Security Summit. Look for a lot of talk about North Korea’s satellite launch next month — which also serves as a test for a long-range missile — in the wake of agreeing to back away from its nuclear weapons program in exchange for major food aid.
And of course, look for talk about the Iran crisis. But don’t look for US aircraft carriers, because they are off to the Arabian Gulf.
Three of them, at least, with their accompanying strike groups. They are the Enterprise, on the final deployment of a 50-year career that began with the Cuban Missile Crisis, Abraham Lincoln, and Carl Vinson.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Iraq, and AfPak.
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 Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
On Friday, as I revealed here a few weeks ago, Brown will be interviewed by the Wall Street Journal’s managing editor Robert Thomson on how California’s environmental policies are impacting the economy and driving growth, as part of the newspaper’s ECO:nomics Conference in Santa Barbara.
Some 300 business and policy leaders will be on hand to weigh risks and opportunities in markets that are impacted by the environment.
Yesterday he met with 102 year-old World War II veteran Bea Cohen in the Governor’s Office as part of celebrations honoring Women’s Military History Week. Cohen is believed to be the oldest living female World War II veteran in California and one of the oldest in the country.
A native of Buhush, Romania, she witnessed the start of World War I before immigrating to the United States as a child. When the second World War started, she worked at the Douglas Aircraft Company in Los Angeles before enlisting in the U.S. Army. As a private first class, she was assigned to Elveden, England, working in secret communications. Today she lives in Los Angeles and still attends meetings at the Veterans Home in West LA.
** JERRY BROWN DEALS AWAY TROUBLE ON THE LEFT. Governor Jerry Brown has dealt away some potential problems on the left to strengthen his chances of passing a revenue initiative in November.
Brown dealt with California’s chronic state budget crisis by making big cuts in 2011. But he couldn’t get Republicans to go along even with a public vote on extending 2009′s temporary tax hikes, and so has had to go to the ballot this year. After Brown and his allies succeeded in convincing a group of billionaires and former officeholders (the Think Long Committee) to back away from their own tax initiative plans, which would have lowered tax rates on the rich and corporations, likely muddying the electoral waters with a big money campaign even though they had little chance of success, he then had two other initiatives to deal with.
This week he dealt with the most problematic for him. I wrote early in the week on New West Notes that “Brown’s problem with the two other tax initiatives may be smaller than it appears. I’ll have more on that.” Here’s the “more on that” part. … From my March 16th column.
** MAKING SENSE OF KALEIDOSCOPIC PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. Presidential politics has gone kaleidoscopic. Between Mitt Romney’s split decision on a not so Super Tuesday for him and the big geopolitically-driven crises President Barack Obama has to manage, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Here’s a view of the forest. … From my March 7th essay.
** IMPOSSIBLE MISSIONS AND 50 YEARS OF BOND. … From my March 6th essay.
** JERRY BROWN MAKES SOME SPLASHY MOVES. … From my March 1st essay.
** THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE: IRAN, ISRAEL, AFGHANISTAN. … From my February 29th essay.
** DEBATING IN DISARRAY: SEARCHING FOR SOME CLARITY IN THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL MESS. … From my February 24th essay.
** OBAMA’S CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH: ECLIPSING THE EMPIRE STATE. … From my February 21st 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.
The Hunger Games, based on the dystopic future novel, opens tomorrow and looks set to be the next big youth smash hit.
** 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 $105 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $71 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 $9 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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