House Republicans voted today to repeal President Barack Obama’s national health care program, upheld just last week by the U.S. Supreme Court. The measure goes nowhere in the Senate, of course.
** QUICK HITS. The US Navy is moving many Sea Fox underwater drones to the Gulf to find and destroy mines in case Iran makes good on its recently repeated threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most critical choke point in terms of oil supply. This is part of a build-up of naval, air, and ground forces in the region as nuclear negotiations flounder and the Iran crisis continues. … Far right radio talker Rush Limbaugh told his dittoheads today that Mitt Romney was booed at the NAACP convention this morning in Houston because he is white. I do think that Romney wanted to get booed. … Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be featured on Thursday at the annual Comic Con pop culture convention at the San Diego Convention Center. He will be there with Sylvester Stallone and other stars of The Expendables 2, which opens on August 17th.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … A TICKET TO RIDE: HIGH-SPEED RAIL MOVES FORWARD ON AN HISTORIC (AND BUMPY) TRACK IN CALIFORNIA and WHY THE CLINTONS NEED OBAMA TO WIN.
** JERRY-RIGGING: HOMEOWNERS BILL OF RIGHTS AND FURLOUGHS FOR ALL STATE WORKERS. Governor Jerry Brown today ranged up the length of the state with state Attorney General Kamala Harris, lauding and signing into law her legislation to give homeowners new rights in dealing with mortgage lenders.
The new law will help homeowners avert foreclosure by stopping “dual track” foreclosures in which a lender continues foreclosure while reviewing application for loan modification; creates one point of contact for a homeowner pursuing modification; expands required notice to borrowers; allows injunctions against foreclosures and permits civil penalties.
“Californians should not have to suffer the abusive tactics of those who would push foreclosure behind the back of an unsuspecting homeowner,” said Brown. “These new rules make the foreclosure process more transparent so that loan servicers cannot promise one thing while doing the exact opposite.”
For her part, Harris said that “The California Homeowner Bill of Rights will give struggling homeowners a fighting shot to keep their home.” According to her, the new rules, which go in effect next January, “will make the mortgage and foreclosure process more fair and transparent, which will benefit homeowners, their community, and the housing market as a whole.”
Brown also made a big move on another, unrelated front, dealing with a couple of public employee unions which had dragged their heels on joining others in agreement with his request for furloughs.
Today he furloughed all state workers whose unions had not previously agreed to the move to achieve his promised 5% pay cuts. Which will certainly aid the credibility of his November revenue initiative.
Ironically, many Democrats had hated the furlough approach, which Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger employed.
But when the unions balked at a four-day work week, the only other alternative, as Brown informed them, was lay-offs.
So we are back to furloughs.
** NEW SURVEY: AMERICANS’ LIFE RATINGS LEVEL OFF, BECAUSE REPUBLICANS EXPECTATIONS ARE DOWN. A new Gallup Poll survey, which is rather psychological in nature, has Americans rating how their lives are going.
The trend line had been up for the past three months.
But it leveled off in the latest survey, because Republican ratings of their lives have suddenly gone down markedly.
Meanwhile, Democratic life ratings continued to improve.
Which is all a little odd, since Republicans tend to be more affluent than Democrats.
If Republicans really expect Mitt Romney to be the next president, wouldn’t they be feeling better about life?
Or are they remembering that they have to be unhappier while Barack Obama is still president.
Or … is this just another pollster psycho-babble category?
Americans’ life ratings leveled off in June, after inching up for three consecutive months. The U.S. Life Evaluation Index score edged down to 50.3 in June, similar to the 50.5 in May. …
Americans’ life ratings, which Gallup and Healthways began tracking daily in January 2008, started steadily improving in March, at about the same time that Americans’ economic confidence and satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. began to improve. But, Americans’ economic confidence retreated in June from May’s improved level and U.S. satisfaction dropped slightly, as life ratings leveled off.
The most significant changes in the index since Gallup began tracking in 2008 were the severe drop in 2008 leading to the all-time low of 37.3 in February 2009, and the drop early last fall, coinciding with the looming debt ceiling deadline that was settled at the last minute.
The Life Evaluation Index, part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, classifies Americans as “thriving,” “struggling,” or “suffering” according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10 based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. The overall Life Evaluation Index score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of suffering Americans from the percentage of thriving Americans.
The gap between Democrats’ and Republicans’ life ratings has widened considerably since Democrats’ life ratings began surpassing Republicans’ in February 2012. Democrats’ Life Evaluation Index score was 55.7 in June, higher than Republicans’ 49.5, and independents’ 46.9. …
Seeking to reach out beyond his base, conservative Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney, speaking at the NAACP national convention this morning in Houston, was roundly booed when he discussed his plan to repeal President Barack Obama’s national health care program. The law was modeled on the Massachusetts program pushed by, of course, Romney during a different guise of his career.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … A TICKET TO RIDE: HIGH-SPEED RAIL MOVES FORWARD (ON A BUMPY TRACK) IN CALIFORNIA and WHY THE CLINTONS NEED OBAMA TO WIN.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington and today.
Obama received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
At 9 AM Pacific, Obama meets with Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner in the Oval Office.
At 11:15 AM Pacific, Obama meets with Congressional Democratic leaders in the Oval Office.
Speaking yesterday in Hanoi as part of her own “Pacific Pivot” tour, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton alternated between lauding improvements and prospects in US-Vietnam trade and investment and chastising the Communist regime to democratize and respect human rights.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Vietnam last month, touring the former US Navy base at Cam Ranh Bay. After capturing it from us in the Vietnam War, Hanoi is now allowing US ships to dock there.
Currently, those Navy vessels are non-combatant ships. The US is negotiating for the right to berth combat ships at Cam Ranh Bay. The Vietnamese appear at least somewhat amenable. Looks for an arms and technology deal.
The veteran California political figure Panetta was the first US defense secretary to visit Vietnam since the US defeat in 1975.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Syria, Iraq, and AfPak.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Arabian Gulf is ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Los Angeles and San Francisco today.
At 10 AM, he will be joined by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris to sign the California Homeowner Bill of Rights (AB 278 and SB 900) at the Ronald Reagan State Building in downtown Los Angeles.
At 2 PM, Brown and Harris will repeat that event at the State Building in downtown San Francisco.
While heiress Molly Munger decided not to use her father’s law firm to try to appeal Monday’s court decision rejecting her attempt to block Brown’s November revenue initiative from topping the ballot, her allies in the unsuccessful lawsuit at the right-wing Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association are trying to get a state appellate court justice to overturn the ruling.
I doubt that Brown is terribly concerned.
Each is described there.
** DARK KNIGHTS, AVENGERS, BONDING RETRO ACTION HEROES: HOW LONG WILL THE SUPERHERO PHENOMENON LAST? … From my July 7th essay.
** FOUNDED IN ENLIGHTENMENT, AMERICA FACES IGNORANCE AND CONFUSION AS THE CHALLENGES GROW EVER MORE COMPLEX. … From my July 2nd essay.
** THE “MOMENTARY MEDIA” STRIKES: EPIC FAILS BY CNN AND FOX NEWS HIGHLIGHT DYSFUNCTIONALITY. … From my June 28th column.
** THE “SLOW BORING OF HARD BOARDS” IN AN ERA OF LIMITS. … From my June 27th essay.
Russia, which has been joined by China in blocking aggressive UN Security Council on the Syrian crisis, says it has a new plan for transition. But has it changed its fundamental stance?
** A RUGGED TIME FOR OBAMA’S BIG GEOPOLITICAL PIVOT. … From my June 22nd essay.
** THE “FAIR SHOT” VS. THE “TO DO LIST” — A BIG REVEALING BLAH IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE. … From my June 20th column.
** THE ENLIGHTENMENT DIVIDES AMERICAN POLITICS. … From my June 16th essay.
** LOOKING FORWARD FROM MAD MEN‘S MEANDERING SEASON 5: YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (ONE CAN ONLY HOPE) … From my June 13th 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.
** 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 $86 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $52 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 $28 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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