Conservative Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said today in New Mexico that his pledge to make the US energy independent by 2020 by unleashing the oil companies is not “some pie in the sky” idea. Romney’s plan depends heavily on California offshore drilling and leaves out the big hole his rollback of fuel efficiency standards would cause. It also ignores the fact that oil is a global market, meaning that it is not independent on price. Naturally, Romney ignores climate change.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … INSULAR ROMNEY STRUGGLES WITH HIS SURPRISINGLY HEARTFELT VEEP PICK AFTER STRIKING OUT INTERNATIONALLY and SPACE AND JERRY BROWN’S PLACE.
** QUICK HITS. “The show must go on,” say organizers of the next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, where an incipient hurricane is bearing down on the already windy confab. Hmm, this is becoming almost interesting enough to tune in for. Having been to many conventions, I have never had the slightest interest in attending this one. … Remember the “Ron Paul Revolution?” The revolution will not be televised. Paul will neither speak nor be nominated at the convention he and his zealous compatriots and backers insisted he would have a major role at. … A very late blooming bid to seriously alter the California Environmental Quality Act came to an end today, with action deferred until next year when it can be considered with a bit more sunlight on the matter. CEQA, as it’s known, is not infrequently abused by various interests as a means to delay and block projects without regard to overall environmental benefit. …
** NEW SURVEY: BIG DOUBTS ABOUT EDUCATION. A new Gallup Poll survey has bad news for the education community.
There are widespread doubts about all levels of education with regard to their effectiveness in preparing students for work and life.
But at least a majority believe that college graduates are prepared.
However, it is not exactly an overwhelming majority.
Americans have significant doubts that high school dropouts as well as high school graduates are adequately prepared for the working world, but close to half also believe college graduates lack this preparation. While 54% either strongly or somewhat agree that college graduates are ready for work, 17% disagree, and 29% are neutral on the question. …
While parents of school-aged children share the doubts of all Americans about the workplace readiness of high school dropouts and graduates, they are more optimistic about college graduates’ readiness than are people without children in school. Twenty percent of parents with children in public school strongly believe that higher education makes students job-ready, whereas 11% of those without school-aged children think likewise. …
Next week’s Republican National Convention in one of the world’s garden spots, Tampa, Florida, is increasingly threatened by an incipient hurricane called Isaac. Florida Governor Rick Scott, a conservative Republican, says the party is on its own on deciding whether to postpone or cancel its quadrennial presidential nominating event.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … AN INSULAR ROMNEY, STRUCK OUT ON THE GLOBAL STAGE, STRUGGLES WITH HIS SURPRISINGLY HEARTFELT VEEP PICK.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden received the daily intelligence and economic briefings this morning.
Returned from two days of campaigning in Nevada, Ohio, and New York, Obama has no scheduled public events today, attending meetings at the White House.
On Friday, he will also attend meetings at the White House.
Obama has some disappointing jobs numbers to absorb today. The ranks of those seeking unemployment assistance went up slightly by 4000 people over the past week. Hardly a disaster if more than a statistical hiccup, it is a sign of how rickety this recovery is. And a reminder why the Federal Reserve and other global central banks are looking at more stimulus activities.
Which of course flies in the face of what the Romney/Ryan ticket, focused on austerity, cuts, and tax breaks for the well-off is focused on.
But Obama is the president, whom people look to for progress.
Obama also has the bubbling crises in the Gulf, the South China Sea, and now the East China Sea to manage.
Over the longer term, the US is looking at expanding missile shield capability in the Asia Pacific, ostensibly to protect against North Korea but really a check against China’s ability to overawe as it seeks to avoid multilateral negotiation over its increasingly expansive territorial claims.
In the short term, Obama must decided on some moves to deal with China’s accelerated operations in the South China Sea, premised in part on the US being tied down in the Gulf crisis.
Obama must also deal with something of a diplomatic setback, though not one that comes as any surprise.
While the US and allies work to isolate Iran internationally as part of squelching its nuclear program, Iran will next week host the summit of the Non-Aligned Nations Movement.
High-ranking representatives of some 120 nations will gather in Tehran in what will be a clear coup for the Iranian regime.
It was Iran’s turn to host the NAM, but it comes at a fortuitous time for the ayatollahs.
And UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon will be on hand, though Israel strongly urged him not to go. But with 120 nations, over half the UN General Assembly, participating, he hardly had any choice in the matter.
What he says and does there will be most interesting, given how Iran has routinely thwarted the UN nuclear watchdog agency.
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.
NASA has finally released video of the Mars rover Curiosity landing in the Red Planet. This takes the spacecraft, directed from the Jet Propulsion Lab in LA, from the jettison of the head shield to the beginning of the final “sky crane” maneuver, last phase of the flight before touchdown on the planet’s surface.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events.
“Ad astra per aspera,” argued Brown, citing the Roman poet Virgil, author of the Aeneid, yesterday at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Brown was on hand for the Mars rover Curiosity’s first test drive on Mars and to speak to the assembled staffers at America’s deep space exploration mission headquarters.
Brown was named an honorary member of the JPL Mission Control team. He even has a nifty blue t-shirt, which the crew urged him to wear next time he addresses the state legislature.
Brown pointed out, as you might guess, that it makes little sense to stop thinking long and building for the future just because there are some budget difficulties, which, as he noted, are much worse at the federal level than they are at the state level.
Brown was especially bullish about the prospects for the California Republic as compared to the Roman Republic. Which took 700 years to collapse.
A new poll, conducted online for USC and Policy Analysis for California Education has mostly good news for Brown and his November revenue initiative. It shows Prop 30 leading by 19 points, 55-36. And rival/zombie initiative Prop 38, funded with mega-millions by heiress Molly Munger, is losing, 40-49, despite its patroness already spending millions on ads.
When a web video favoring Prop 30 is played opposite a radio ad opposing it, Prop 30 drops from a 19-point lead to, well, an 18-point lead. Which some reporters opined today shows it to be “very shaky.” Well, there’s something that’s shaky.
** RECALLING TOTAL RECALL: INTRIGUE, ULTRA-VIOLENCE, HUMOR AND WHAT ELSE THAT IS MISSING FROM THE SCHWARZENEGGER REMAKES. … From my August 17th essay.
** LONDON’S GRAND OLYMPICS, ON AND OFF THE TRACK. … From my August 13th essay.
** GORE VIDAL: REMEMBERING A BRILLIANT, CONTROVERSIAL LEGEND OF THE SORT WE DON’T FOSTER ANY MORE. … From my August 3rd essay.
** ROMNEY’S DANGEROUS BUFFOONERY. … From my August 1st essay.
** 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.
** 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 $96 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $62 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 $18 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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