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Tags: Obama | Slammed | Offshore | Drilling | offshore oil drilling | Ted Poe | troops

Candidate Obama Slammed Offshore Oil Drilling

By    |   Sunday, 04 April 2010 04:30 PM EDT

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Candidate Obama Slammed Offshore Oil Drilling
2. Authors’ Demands on White House Called ‘a Pain’
3. Rep. Ted Poe: DHS Won’t Send More Troops to Border
4. Concerns Over Baby Boomers’ Retirement ‘Overstated’
5. Rhode Island Officials Nix Wind Farm Deal
6. We Heard: Angelina Jolie, Stephanopoulos, Harry Reid, CNN

1. Candidate Obama Slammed Offshore Oil Drilling

President Barack Obama’s decision to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling along parts of the U.S. coastline marks a sharp turnaround from the position he took during his presidential campaign.

In a statement issued on June 17, 2008, Obama attacked his Republican opponent John McCain for his call to open the nation’s coastline for oil exploration and drilling. He also charged that McCain had flip-flopped on his support of a moratorium on drilling he expressed in 2000.

"John McCain's support of the moratorium on offshore drilling during his first presidential campaign was certainly laudable, but his decision to completely change his position and tell a group of Houston oil executives exactly what they wanted to hear today was the same Washington politics that has prevented us from achieving energy independence for decades," Obama said.

"It's another example of short-term political posturing from Washington, not the long-term leadership we need to solve our dependence on oil.”

Obama also said offshore drilling would not produce any oil for at least a decade, and the effect on gasoline prices would be negligible.

Three days later, Obama said during a campaign stop in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the St. Petersburg Times: “The politics may have changed, but the facts haven’t. Offshore drilling would not lower gas prices today. It would not lower gas prices tomorrow. It would not lower gas prices this year. It would not lower gas prices five years from now.”

Nevertheless, on Wednesday Obama announced a five-year plan that includes opening up waters along portions of the U.S. mainland and Alaska for oil exploration.

“Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth and produce jobs, and keep our businesses competitive, we are going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel even as we ramp up production of new sources of renewable, homegrown energy,” he said.

“So today we’re announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration.”

Editor's Note:

2. Authors’ Demands on White House Called ‘a Pain’

A growing number of veteran journalists are readying books about Barack Obama and his administration and seeking inside information from the White House.

The blitz of upcoming books “has created complications for presidential aides, who have a country to run, and frustrations for the authors, who are clamoring for face time with their sources,” The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

“One White House official calls the mounting demands 'a pain' in the posterior, saying: ‘We try to engage when we can. No one is getting as much time as they want.’”

The Post’s Bob Woodward, who has been covering Washington politics since the Watergate era and penned four books about George W. Bush, has a book about Obama scheduled for publication in the fall.

Another Post journalist, David Maraniss — who wrote a biography of Bill Clinton — is said to be a year away from completing his family history of Obama.

Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter’s book, “The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” is due out in May.

The New York Times’ Jodi Kantor has a deal, reportedly worth seven figures, to write about the personal side of the first couple.

New Yorker Editor David Remnick’s biography, “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama,” will be published on April 6.

NBC’s Chuck Todd, who covered the 2008 campaign, is writing about the partnership between Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

New York magazine’s John Heilemann, who wrote a best-seller about the 2008 campaign, has reportedly signed a $5 million deal to write about Obama and the 2012 presidential race.

Books are also in the works from MSNBC’s Richard Wolffe, New York magazine’s Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza, and Time magazine’s Mark Halperin.

First lady Michelle Obama’s office has also been swamped with requests from journalists, but all have received the same answer, according to The Post.

Camille Johnston, Michelle’s communications director, declared: “We are not cooperating with any books on the East Wing side.”

Editor's Note:

3. Rep. Ted Poe: DHS Won’t Send More Troops to Border

Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe says the Department of Homeland Security has rebuffed calls for the additional U.S. troops that are needed to stem the escalating violence along the Mexican border.

Rep. Poe, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said on the floor of the House in March, following the killings of three people linked to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico: “The drug cartels are fighting each other and fighting law enforcement for control over the lucrative drug routes into the United States. Good people from both sides of the border are being placed in harm's way by these murderous thugs . . .

“Over a year ago, Texas Governor as is Rick Perry asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for a thousand troops at the border to help with the increasing violence and to prevent the drug cartels from entering the United States. The governor has asked for more Predator drones for increased surveillance. He was trying to head off this escalation of violence that has occurred recently.

“The help he requested has never come, and the governor's request for more troops and drones at the border has been ignored for over a year.

“In response to the murders of these Americans, Governor Perry again asked for help. He asked for surveillance planes and a thousand fresh troops at the Texas border with Mexico to help stem the violence. Secretary Napolitano said she would ‘look at’ the request, but she thinks there's already enough troops on the border.

“So Governor Perry has decided he can't wait around on the federal government, even though it's the federal government's responsibility to secure our borders. He's ordered Texas National Guard helicopters to the border to support law enforcement that is on the border already. They're trying to fight the border violence spillover into the United States . . .

“We should send more troops. The violence is getting worse every day.”

Rep. Poe concludes: “It's time to put an end to this madness, send sufficient troops to the border, and uphold the national responsibility to protect the citizens of the United States.”

Secretary Napolitano, meanwhile, asserted on March 29 that the U.S. has made “significant progress” in securing the border.

Editor's Note:

4. Concerns Over Baby Boomers’ Retirement ‘Overstated’

Dire predictions about the strain baby boomers will place on federal entitlement programs may not be so worrisome after all.

That’s the view expressed by Chris Farrell, a contributing economics editor for BusinessWeek, in an article headlined “Aging Boomers May Bring Fiscal Blessings Instead.”

The oldest of the roughly 76 million American baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are now becoming eligible for Social Security and Medicare, creating concerns over an entitlement overload.

But for the U.S. economy, “the dire forecasts may be overstated,” according to Farrell.

“The ranks of boomers expecting to kick back and retire soon are shrinking fast. A lifetime of poor savings habits — coupled with the devastating impact on retirement portfolios of two bear markets in eight years — have convinced many boomers that they'll have to put in more time at the office. This should reduce the demands on Social Security and Medicare.”

Despite high unemployment and underemployment rates that may be long-lasting, jobs might well be available for 55-plus workers, according to a set of studies cited by Farrell.

The study authors — Barry Bluestone, Dean of the Public School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, and Mark Melnik, deputy director for research at the Boston Redevelopment Authority — conclude: "Using history as our guide, we believe that the economy will recover. When it does, given the population dynamics of the very near future, it's clear that older adults will need to participate in the work force in numbers considerably larger than they do now, or the nation will be unable to fill millions of jobs between now and 2018."

Even with a weak employment growth rate, the scholars predict that 14.6 million additional nonfarm jobs will be created by 2018, most of them in the knowledge- and skill-intensive sectors including healthcare, education and government.

“The baby bust generation that followed the boomers is too small to fill those jobs,” Farrell writes, and up to 5.7 million jobs “could go begging,” assuming no major changes to immigration.

“It's hard to imagine that employers will let from 30 percent to 40 percent of these additional jobs go begging over the next decade.

“Survey after survey has shown that a majority of boomers say they want to work in their elder years. They're going to get their wish.”

And these experienced workers will continue to pay taxes on their income, Farrell concludes, “making the government debt tab easier to meet.”

Editor's Note:

5. Rhode Island Officials Nix Wind Farm Deal

Alternative energy proponents suffered a blow on Tuesday when Rhode Island’s Public Utilities Commission rejected a deal to build a wind farm in the waters off the state’s Block Island.

New Jersey-based Deepwater Wind proposed to build an eight-turbine wind farm and sell the electricity it produced to National Grid, which supplies power to Rhode Island residents.

The three-member commission voted unanimously against the agreement, saying the price of power agreed to by the two sides was too high, The Providence Journal reported.

National Grid was to pay 24.4 cents per kilowatt hour, nearly three times the price it pays for energy from fossil-fuel and nuclear plants. The price would have risen each year, so at the end of the 20-year contract, the price would have been 48.6 cents per kilowatt hour.

That would have meant “hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs to the state’s 480,000 ratepayers over two decades,” according to the Journal.

The eight-turbine project was designed as a demonstration project and precursor to a 100-turbine wind farm more than 15 miles offshore.

Jerry Elmer, an attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, said the commission “failed to factor in the benefits renewable energy projects will yield in terms of price predictability, energy independence and reduction in global warming pollution.”

But commission member Mary Bray said: “As excited as we can get about the wind project, I personally don’t think that’s commercially reasonable.”

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard . . .

THAT Angelina Jolie has followed the lead of Oprah Winfrey — who opened a school for girls in South Africa — by donating $75,000 to help build a girls’ school in Afghanistan.

Jolie made a 2008 visit to a refugee settlement in eastern Afghanistan. reported that the school, which opened in March, has eight classrooms, a well, and eight latrines.

THAT new “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos has sold his home in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood for $5.45 million.

The five-bedroom, 5,600-square-foot brick home was originally listed for $6.35 million in January, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Stephanopoulos and his wife, actress Alexandra Wentworth, recently bought a 4,500-square-foot home in East Hampton, N.Y., for $3.5 million.

“GMA” broadcasts from New York City, while Stephanopoulos’ previous ABC show, “This Week,” broadcasts from Washington.

THAT tea party candidate Jon Scott Ashjian, who is running against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada, has reportedly run into some legal problems.

Three weeks ago the Insider Report disclosed that some Republicans were suggesting that Ashjian was put in the race by the Reid camp to siphon conservative votes from the Republican candidate, a charge both Reid and Ashjian have denied.

Now the Clark County District Attorney’s office has submitted paperwork requesting Ashjian’s arrest on a charge that he wrote a bogus $5,000 check to a businessman, according to CNN.

And the Las Vegas Sun has reported that Ashjian, who owns an asphalt company, has an IRS lien on his property over back taxes that he owes.

“It’s probably time for him to start considering that his short-lived political career may well be over,” said Elizabeth Crum, a political analyst with Action News in Las Vegas.

THAT CNN’s ratings continue to plummet — the network trailed its cable news rivals in every prime-time hour in the first quarter of this year.

Larry King’s show was especially hard hit, dropping 43 percent to 771,000 nightly viewers from an average of 1.34 million last year, The New York Times reported.

Anderson Cooper’s prime-time show dropped 42 percent in viewers in the first three months of 2010.

Fox News Channel, meanwhile, enjoyed its best quarter ever in ratings, with Bill O’Reilly’s show up 28 percent from a year earlier, and Glenn Beck up 50 percent.

Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Candidate Obama Slammed Offshore Oil Drilling2. Authors Demands on White House Called a Pain 3. Rep. Ted Poe: DHS Won t Send More Troops to Border4. Concerns Over Baby Boomers Retirement Overstated 5. Rhode Island...
Obama,Slammed,Offshore,Drilling,offshore oil drilling,Ted Poe,troops,Angelina Jolie,Stephanopoulos,Harry Reid,CNN
Sunday, 04 April 2010 04:30 PM
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