Today at the London Olympics, American swimmer Michael Phelps, competing in his fourth Olympiad at the ripe old age of 27, broke the career record for most Olympic medals. He now has 19, edging Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who competed in the 1950s and 1960s.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … ROMNEY’S DANGEROUS BUFFOONERY.
** QUICK HITS. California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard today received the Transportation Innovator Champion of Change award at the White House. The Obama Administration is very pleased that California is moving forward on high-speed rail after the Tea Party and lobbyists for the old energy economy succeeded in squelching bullet train projects in other states. … Speaking this morning at a union convention in Las Vegas, Richard’s boss, Governor Jerry Brown, declared his confidence that Proposition 30, his temporary tax hike for the rich and temporary sales tax hike for all, will win if the campaign properly “motivates and mobilizes” people. … The No on 30 side raised only about $10,000 by June 30th, despite a lot of noise in the press from the usual professional anti-tax/anti-government lobbyists. … Meanwhile, in more serious news, India has gone through a second day of massive blackouts, blackouts which make the momentary and limited blackouts of California’s electric power crisis in 2001 look like the after-effect of a transient storm. Fully 600 million Indians are without power right now, the result of a very inefficient power grid. That’s over half the population of the second most populous country on earth affected. The Indian grid is a complete fiasco. This is in sharp contrast to neighboring China’s heavy investment in infrastructure.
** NEW POLL: CLINTON VERY POPULAR AS HE UNDERTAKES THE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION SPEECH FOR OBAMA. A new Gallup Poll survey makes President Barack Obama’s choice of his official nominator at the Democratic national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina look very good.
Former President Bill Clinton will deliver the nominating speech in prime time the Wednesday night of the convention for the man who defeated his wife in the hard-fought race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
As Clinton prepares to do so, he is at a high point in his popularity with American voters.
66% have a favorable opinion of the former president. That ties his previous high in Gallup Poll, recorded back in January 1993 as he was inaugurated for the first time as president.
Clinton has had some real ups and downs in popularity.
He was down following his bruising 1992 Democratic nomination battle with former/future Governor Jerry Brown, who once considered Clinton — then the youngest ex-governor in modern American history — to be his gubernatorial chief of staff after future Governor Gray Davis departed for the Beverly Hills seat in the California Assembly.
But Clinton bounced back in the general election against President George Bush and after, only to fall again during the big miscues of his first presidential term; a gays in the military policy that no one liked and, of course, the debacle of national health care legislation.
Clinton recovered again, and won a sizable re-election victory against Senator Bob Dole in 1996, only to hit the skids again with the scandal of his second term.
Yet he grew popular once again, with his Clinton Foundation activities buttressing it all after he left office.
Only to fall once again, in 2008, when his attacks on Obama during the primary campaign offended many.
Now he’s back up again. As is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also has a 66% favorable rating.
Two-thirds of Americans — 66% — have a favorable opinion of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, tying his record-high favorability rating recorded at the time of his inauguration in January 1993. Clinton nearly returned to this level of popularity at two points in his second term, but has generally seen lower ratings, averaging 56% since 1993. …
Along with his record-high favorable rating, Clinton now has a near-record-low 28% unfavorable rating, according to the July 9-12 Gallup poll. The only times since 1993 that his unfavorable rating has been lower — 26% and 27% — were in January of his inaugural year. …
Clinton is viewed favorably today by most men, women, whites, and nonwhites, and across all major age groups. He also enjoys broad favorability among independents as well as Democrats. And while more Republicans view him unfavorably than favorably, it is by a relatively narrow 50% vs. 44% margin. …
In 2008, former President Bill Clinton was a crucial symbol of party unity at the Democratic National Convention as Obama sought to win over former supporters of Hillary Clinton. While not wildly popular with any key voting blocs at that time, he sent an important intra-party signal that it was time to come together around Obama.
By contrast, Clinton’s solid popularity with Americans today might help attract new support to Obama from outside the party, particularly from whites, men, seniors, and political independents — all important voting groups that Obama is struggling with in trial heats against Republican Mitt Romney.
In contrast to then Senator Barack Obama’s flawless 2008 presidential campaign tour of Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Israel, Britain, France, and Germany, there is 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s gaffe-filled tour of Britain, Israel, and Poland, which has actually heightened global tensions when not consumed in buffoonery. Romney claims that the massive Israeli edge over Palestinians is due to a superior culture, “neglecting” to mention the massive restrictions on trade exercised over the Palestinian Authority by Israel and insulting Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims in the process.
** 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 has no scheduled public events.
First Lady Michelle Obama left London last night, where she rallied the U.S. Olympic team, appeared at the various Olympic venues, where she was well-received by the British and international crowd, and met with US military personnel and their families at American bases.
She will speak at the first night of the Democratic national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
But the big news about the convention is something else.
Former President Bill Clinton will make the nominating speech for President Barack Obama.
That should put an end to any lingering notions that Clinton, who fought furiously against Obama’s nomination in 2008, wants Obama to lose this year.
Obama campaigns in swing states Ohio, Florida, and Virginia on Wednesday and Thursday.
While in Poland, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney ignored shouted questions from reporters. Asked why Romney has taken just three questions from American reporters during the entire week-long trip, traveling Romney press secretary Rick Gorka said, “Shove it.”
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 Las Vegas abd Northern California.
Brown spoke this morning at the California School Employees Association’s (CSEA) 86th annual conference at the Paris Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
Today brought word that Brown raised $6.3 million for his November revenue initiative from the first of the year through June 30th, with more than $5 million on hand at that time. Fundraising has of course continued.
Opponents have not raised an appreciable amount of money.
And that Brown has $6.1 million cash on hand in his gubernatorial campaign account.
Most of that is money left over from Brown’s smashing November 2010 win over billionaire Meg Whitman and her biggest spending non-presidential campaign in American history.
Brown has not declared his intentions regarding another term as governor, but, as readers know, I expect him to go for it.
Meanwhile, the California Department of Finance is crashing on completing a review of all the special funds in state government, of which there are some 560.
Some wild figures have been thrown around in the media regarding how much “extra” money there may be in those accounts beyond what the finance department has previously reported, but I expect the actual number to be much lower.
In any event, according a budget document I have, this is a phenomenon that dates back at least to the administration of Republican Governor Pete Wilson.
More to follow on that.
** SUNRISE IN CALIFORNIA? … From my July 26th feature.
** 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.
** 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 American womens gymnastic team lived up to their considerable hype and then some Tuesday night, routing Russia and everyone else on their way to their first Olympic title since 1996.
** 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 $87 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $53 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 $27 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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