It’s the eve of Friday’s Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Look to a festival of Britain and the world, with, among other things, flavorings of Shakespeare, the Beatles, and Bond.
** JERRY-RIGGING: OUT TO GET SHIT DONE AT SUNRISE. In his inimitable fashion, Governor Jerry Brown declared during Wednesday’s roll-out of his peripheral canal, er, tunnels plan to ship water from the Sacramento River to agriculture and thirsty populations to the south while protecting the Sacramento Delta, that he wants to “get shit done” as governor. By which he means pushing forward the water, renewable energy, high-speed rail.
“Analysis paralysis is not why I came back 30 years later to handle some of the same issues,” Brown declared in a Sacramento appearance with U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
He continued today with an event to start up the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, a 117-mile long project which now links solar and wind farms in the Imperial Valley with the grid in the San Diego metropolitan area.
Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined Brown at this event. Schwarzenegger started the Sunrise project in the middle of his time as governor, and fought a hard slog to get it over numerous hurdles.
Schwarzenegger presided over the groundbreaking in December 2010 and was on hand today to join Brown and a few others in flipping the large industrial switches for the transmission line.
Last night Schwarzenegger told me that it had been a long struggle getting the Sunrise project through, but very much worth it. Backed by business and labor organizations, it was opposed by a variety of mostly local groups, as frequently happens with development projects, but not the major environmental organizations.
“We worked through 11,000 pages of environmental impact report,” said Schwarzenegger, “and answered many concerns to move it through the desert. The important thing always was to move forward to bring clean energy power of wind and solar from a place where it is abundant to places which need it.”
Brown says that his job as governor is “to build for the long-term future.” Which means new infrastructure for a sustainable California, in energy, transportation, and water, infrastructure that takes advantage of new technology to avoid traps of the past.
Brown was the original champion of renewable energy and energy efficiency as governor in the 1970s and 1980s. But it is Schwarzenegger who amped up those efforts during his governorship, after backing and then expanding the renewable portfolio standard enacted by Brown’s former chief of staff, then Governor Gray Davis.
Mindful of the Olympics, the sportsman Schwarzenegger told me that in building for the future, it is “like a relay race, with one governor taking the torch from the other and handing it off to the next, always seeing the vision of the finish line.”
Like the renewable energy and conservation issues he continues to push as an advocate working with the United Nations, water and high-speed rail are two more “building for the future” issues that he shares with Brown.
Brown pushed a comprehensive water development and environmental protection program through the state legislature in 1982, only to see it shot down at the polls in a strange bedfellows referendum campaign conducted by conservative Central Valley farmers and Northern California environmentalists.
Schwarzenegger got the first big water bonds measure in nearly 30 years through the legislature in 2009. But electoral conditions had it postponed from 2010 to 2012, then to 2014, with some trimming likely. Critics says it has some pork that needs to be eliminated. One person’s pork is another’s deal maker.
Meanwhile, Brown has the new proposal to move water from one of the West’s great rivers to thirsty and growing environs to the south.
And there is high-speed rail, controversial, with major elements of the right wing, the old energy economy, and the media out to kill it as has happened elsewhere in America, but failing to do so.
Schwarzenegger, as I wrote two weeks ago, championed the project till the very end of his governorship and champions it now.
“We have to keep moving forward,” he says. “We have to stay focused on the big picture and find ways to make government more efficient and figure out how to finance the next phases of high-speed rail.”
Schwarzenegger’s predecessor as governor, Gray Davis, who played a key part in most of this as well — first renewable energy standard, first greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions law, crafted the $10 billion high-speed rail bonds measure and got it through the legislature — says there is a big spur that will ultimately trump those who oppose the Think Big agenda.
“When I worry about all the opposition to doing these important things,” he told me, “I think of China. Soon it will pass the United States as the biggest economy in the world.” (Incidentally, California is the world’s ninth largest economy.)
“In China,” Davis said, “they are building for the future, doing all these things. Renewable energy, bullet trains, water projects, they are doing it all. If we don’t keep up with our own needs, we will be overwhelmed.”
Davis praised Schwarzenegger, who defeated him in the dramatic 2003 recall election but with whom he since became friendly, for thinking big on infrastructure, noting that he had planned a big infrastructure package for his second term but that the $42 billion-plus bond measure Schwarzenegger won enactment of in the November 2006 election was much bigger than he had dared.
With California’s economy, and the job market in particular, perking up notably in the last two months, could it be time to retire the sack cloth and ashes of the past few years?
** NEW SURVEY: OBAMA MOST APPROVED BY PROFESSIONALS, LEAST APPROVED BY SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND FARMERS. A new Gallup Poll survey of President Barack Obama’s job approval by career grouping over the past quarter has some interesting insights.
His support among small business owners declined, to roughly the same level as that of farmers and fishing industry folks.
It stayed the same among professionals and rose a bit among service workers.
Small business owners were the only group in which Obama’s performance dropped over the second quarter of 2012.
These numbers don’t reflect anything that has happened lately, much less the daily/weekly dynamics of the race.
U.S. business owners’ approval of President Barack Obama fell in the second quarter of 2012 to 35%, essentially tying farmers and fishers for the lowest approval among major occupational groups. Overall, professional workers remain the most approving, at 52%. …
Across occupational groups, installation and repair workers, as well as clerical and office workers, became significantly more approving of Obama in the second quarter. Business owners were the sole group that became significantly less approving, with their second-quarter approval of 35% reflecting a decline from 41% in the first quarter. …
One of conservative Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s gaffes today in London was in forgetting the name of British Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband, with whom he had just met.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … SUNRISE IN CALIFORNIA? and THE DARK KNIGHT FALTERS AGAINST A GRITTY BOND VILLAIN (OR TWO), HIMSELF, AND US.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
Obama then met with Veteran Affairs Secretary General Eric Shinseki, former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Oval Office.
Obama and Biden then met for lunch in the Private Dining Room.
At 11:10 AM Pacific, Obama holds a Cabinet meeting in the Roosevelt Room.
At 1:45 PM Pacific, Obama and Biden meet with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in the Oval Office.
First, Romney insulted his British hosts by questioning London’s ability to host the Olympic Games, which are already underway.
The opening ceremony, which Romney will attend, is on Friday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who as head of the Conservative Party is affording Romney every courtesy, was moved to publicly rebuke the former head of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah.
“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” said Cameron, visiting Olympic Park following his meeting at 10 Downing Street with Romney. “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
Cameron of course was referring to the winter Games Romney ran in his native Utah.
London Mayor Boris Johnson, another Conservative, also rebuked Romney, saying: “London is as ready as any city has ever been in the history of the Olympic Games.”
Romney’s second gaffe was in not knowing the name of Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband, with whom he also met.
His third strike came when he said publicly that he had also met with the head of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, Sir John Sawers. The practice is that foreign leaders are not to announce that.
Syrian government forces have continued to battle opposition fighters across the country, including in Syria’s major cities. The violence has focused on the power centers of Aleppo, Damascus and Homs. The government appears to be using heavy artillery.
Before Romney arrived, an unnamed Romney advisor told the conservative London Daily Telegraph that Romney will be better in dealing with Britain because, unlike Obama, “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the advisor said of Romney. “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Syria, Iraq, AfPak, and the South China Sea.
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. The time in Manila, on the South China Sea, is fifteen hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in San Diego and Northern California.
Brown appeared early this morning in Alpine, a San Diego County community, to dedicate the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, which will now begin transmitting power from renewable energy resources — solar and wind — in inland Southern California into the grid.
It will carry more than 1000 megawatts of power from solar and wind farms in the Imperial Valley to San Diego. This is especially key with the San Onofre nuclear power plant, which has been offline for months due to problems with corroded pipes, continuing to be offline during peak energy usage in the summer.
Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who started the Sunrise project during his administration and shepherded it through much of the regulatory and developmental thicket of things, joined Brown for the dedication ceremony.
The two governors were themselves joined by federal, local, and business officials, including members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and California Public Utility Commission and the head of San Diego Gas & Electric.
As attorney general, Brown worked with Schwarzenegger in moving the project forward.
I’ll have a lot more on this.
** CHINA MOVES SWIFTLY ON NEW “CITY” ENCOMPASSING SOUTH CHINA SEA, GULF CRISIS SIMMERS. …
From my July 24th feature.
** THE DARK KNIGHT SHOOTINGS: “ALL IT TAKES IS A LITTLE PUSH.” … From my July 21st column.
** MITT WHITMAN = MEG ROMNEY. … From my July 19th column.
** CRISES CHAOTIC AND BUBBLING: THE GULF AND THE SOUTH CHINA SEA. … From my July 17th essay.
** WHY THE CLINTONS NEED OBAMA TO WIN: UNCERTAINTY AS HILLARY PUSHES THE BIG GEOPOLITICAL PIVOT. … From my July 13th essay.
** A TICKET TO RIDE: HIGH-SPEED RAIL MOVES FORWARD ON A HISTORIC (AND BUMPY) TRACK IN CALIFORNIA. … From my July 11th feature.
** 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.
** 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 $89 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $55 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 $25 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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