President Obama’s Prepared Remarks From the Democratic National Convention

The following is the full text of President Obama’s prepared remarks for his speech on Thursday from the Democratic National Convention.

Michelle, I love you. The other night, I think the entire country saw just how lucky I am. Malia and Sasha, you make me so proud…but don’t get any ideas, you’re still going to class tomorrow. And Joe Biden, thank you for being the best Vice President I could ever hope for.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.

The first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man; a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hope – not blind optimism or wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long.

Eight years later, that hope has been tested – by the cost of war; by one of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still possible to tackle the challenges of our time.

I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe me – so am I.

But when all is said and done – when you pick up that ballot to vote – you will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peace – decisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come.

On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties.

It will be a choice between two different paths for America.

A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.

Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known; the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army; the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.

They knew they were part of something larger – a nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in the pride and success – from the corner office to the factory floor. My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their first home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story: the promise that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; that everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules – from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, DC.

I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas. And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’t; racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition; to put gas in the car or food on the table. And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savings – a tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover.

Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:

“Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.”

“Deficit too high? Try another.”

“Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”

Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it – middle-class families and small businesses. But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit. I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China. After all that we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home. We’ve been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back. We’re moving forward.

I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one. And by the way – those of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.

But know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future. I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country – goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. That’s what we can do in the next four years, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.

We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs. After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best:

We’re making things again.

I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they’d never build another American car. Today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world.

I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to America – not because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else.

I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers – goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years. And now you have a choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America. We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen. You can choose that future.

You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a day – more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.

Now you have a choice – between a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.

We’re offering a better path – a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet – because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it.

You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.

For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading. Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.

And now you have a choice – we can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school. No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money. No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home.

Government has a role in this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning, and students, you’ve got to do the work. And together, I promise you – we can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next ten years, and improve early childhood education. Help give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next ten years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America.

In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served us – because no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.

Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.

But for all the progress we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.

So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.

After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemy – and not al Qaeda – unless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work – rebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.

You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class. Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion. Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending – because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so that it’s leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people.

I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 – the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.

Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. But when Governor Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy – well, you do the math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I’m President, I never will.

I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled – all so those with the most can pay less.

And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health care – not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by turning it over to Wall Street.

This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s just the price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents.”

You know what? That’s not who we are. That’s not what this country’s about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights – rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success. We have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system – the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known.

But we also believe in something called citizenship – a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.

We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy.

We believe that a little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the founder of the next Google, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the United States – and it’s in our power to give her that chance.

We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. We don’t think government can solve all our problems. But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.

Because we understand that this democracy is ours.

We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.

So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens – you were the change.

You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who’ll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that.

You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible.

You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home; why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home.”

If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible…well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.

Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen. Only you have the power to move us forward.

I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changed – and so have I.

I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President. I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs. If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. And while I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”

But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges.

I’m hopeful because of you.

The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter – she gives me hope.

The auto worker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wife – he gives me hope.

The family business in Warroad, Minnesota that didn’t lay off a single one of their four thousand employees during this recession, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owners gave up some perks and pay – because they understood their biggest asset was the community and the workers who helped build that business – they give me hope.

And I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee. Six months ago, I would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and twenty pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face; sturdy on his new leg. And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled.

He gives me hope.

I don’t know what party these men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope.”

And if you share that faith with me – if you share that hope with me – I ask you tonight for your vote.

If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.

If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.

If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.

America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harder – but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer – but we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless these United States.

President Bill Clinton’s remarks to the Democratic National Convention

Former President Bill Clinton’s remarks to the Democratic National Convention. Clinton veered from these prepared remarks multiple times throughout his speech.

We’re here to nominate a President, and I’ve got one in mind.

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton

I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.

I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.

I want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I proudly nominate him as the standard bearer of the Democratic Party.

In Tampa, we heard a lot of talk about how the President and the Democrats don’t believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everyone to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.

The Republican narrative is that all of us who amount to anything are completely self-made. One of our greatest Democratic Chairmen, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants you to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself, but it ain’t so.

We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think “we’re all in this together” is a better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”

Who’s right? Well since 1961, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats 24. In those 52 years, our economy produced 66 million private sector jobs. What’s the jobs score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42 million!

It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.

Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats. After all, President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High and built the interstate highway system. And as governor, I worked with President Reagan on welfare reform and with President George H.W. Bush on national education goals.

I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we’ve done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.

Through my foundation, in America and around the world, I work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are focused on solving problems and seizing opportunities, not fighting each other.

When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes. Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.

One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation. He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation. He appointed a Vice President who ran against him in 2008, and trusted him to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. And Joe Biden did a great job with both. He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries. Heck, he even appointed Hillary! I’m so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they’ve done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I’m also grateful to the young men and women who serve our country in the military and to Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for supporting military families when their loved ones are overseas and for helping our veterans, when they come home bearing the wounds of war, or needing help with education, housing, and jobs.

President Obama’s record on national security is a tribute to his strength, and judgment, and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship.

He also tried to work with Congressional Republicans on Health Care, debt reduction, and jobs, but that didn’t work out so well. Probably because, as the Senate Republican leader, in a remarkable moment of candor, said two years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work, but to put President Obama out of work. Senator, I hate to break it to you, but we’re going to keep President Obama on the job!

In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President’s re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.

In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn’t say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years. You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending two trillion dollars more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids. As another President once said – there they go again.

I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators. Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month. The answer is YES.

I understand the challenge we face. I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy. Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don’t feel it.

I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.

President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.

I believe that with all my heart.

President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas, and the direction America must take to build a 21st century version of the American Dream in a nation of shared opportunities, shared prosperity and shared responsibilities.

So back to the story. In 2010, as the President’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around.

The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. But last year, the Republicans blocked the President’s jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here’s another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, Congressional Republicans zero.

Over that same period, more than more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama – the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.

The auto industry restructuring worked. It saved more than a million jobs, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country. That’s why even auto-makers that weren’t part of the deal supported it. They needed to save the suppliers too. Like I said, we’re all in this together.

Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured. Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here’s another jobs score: Obama two hundred and fifty thousand, Romney, zero.

The agreement the administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is another good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.

President Obama’s “all of the above” energy plan is helping too – the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near 20 year low and natural gas production to an all time high. Renewable energy production has also doubled.

We do need more new jobs, lots of them, but there are already more than three million jobs open and unfilled in America today, mostly because the applicants don’t have the required skills. We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology. That’s why investments in our people are more important than ever. The President has supported community colleges and employers in working together to train people for open jobs in their communities. And, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the drop-out rate so much that we’ve fallen to 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults with college degrees, his student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and even more important, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years. That means no one will have to drop-out of college for fear they can’t repay their debt, and no one will have to turn down a job, as a teacher, a police officer or a small town doctor because it doesn’t pay enough to make the debt payments. This will change the future for young Americans.

I know we’re better off because President Obama made these decisions.

That brings me to health care.

The Republicans call it Obamacare and say it’s a government takeover of health care that they’ll repeal. Are they right? Let’s look at what’s happened so far. Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80% to 85% of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion. Other insurance companies have lowered their rates to meet the requirement. More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies. Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems. Soon the insurance companies, not the government, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions. And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4%, for the first time in 50 years.

So are we all better off because President Obama fought for it and passed it? You bet we are.

There were two other attacks on the President in Tampa that deserve an answer. Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren’t making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. It’s now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.

When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama’s “biggest coldest power play” in raiding Medicare, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. You see, that 716 billion dollars is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget.

At least on this one, Governor Romney’s been consistent. He wants to repeal the savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he’s elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016. If that happens, you won’t have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.

But it gets worse. They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade. Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that’s not all. Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Downs syndrome or Autism. I don’t know how those families are going to deal with it. We can’t let it happen.

Now let’s look at the Republican charge that President Obama wants to weaken the work requirements in the welfare reform bill I signed that moved millions of people from welfare to work.

Here’s what happened. When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama Administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%. You hear that? More work. So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” Now that is true. I couldn’t have said it better myself – I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.

Let’s talk about the debt. We have to deal with it or it will deal with us. President Obama has offered a plan with 4 trillion dollars in debt reduction over a decade, with two and a half dollars of spending reductions for every one dollar of revenue increases, and tight controls on future spending. It’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.

I think the President’s plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don’t add up.

It’s supposed to be a debt reduction plan but it begins with five trillion dollars in tax cuts over a ten-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out. They say they’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code. When you ask “which loopholes and how much?,” they say “See me after the election on that.” People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic. If they stay with a 5 trillion dollar tax cut in a debt reduction plan – the – arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle class families will see their tax bill go up two thousand dollars year while people making over 3 million dollars a year get will still get a 250,000 dollar tax cut; or 2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they’ll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they’ll do what they’ve been doing for thirty plus years now – cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy. Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down.

President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, and brightens the future for our children, our families and our nation.

My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in. If you want a you’re on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a “we’re all in it together” society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote and you think its wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama. If you think the President was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama. If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama. I love our country – and I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor – to form a more perfect union.

If that’s what you believe, if that’s what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.

God Bless You – God Bless America.

Full transcript of Michelle Obama DNC speech

First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night.

Thank you so much, Elaine…we are so grateful for your family’s service and sacrifice…and we will always have your back.

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama

Over the past few years as First Lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling all across this country. And everywhere I’ve gone, in the people I’ve met, and the stories I’ve heard, I have seen the very best of the American spirit.

I have seen it in the incredible kindness and warmth that people have shown me and my family, especially our girls.

I’ve seen it in teachers in a near-bankrupt school district who vowed to keep teaching without pay.

I’ve seen it in people who become heroes at a moment’s notice, diving into harm’s way to save others…flying across the country to put out a fire…driving for hours to bail out a flooded town.

And I’ve seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families…in wounded warriors who tell me they’re not just going to walk again, they’re going to run, and they’re going to run marathons…in the young man blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan who said, simply, “…I’d give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what I have done and what I can still do.”

Every day, the people I meet inspire me…every day, they make me proud…every day they remind me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on earth.

Serving as your First Lady is an honor and a privilege…but back when we first came together four years ago, I still had some concerns about this journey we’d begun.

While I believed deeply in my husband’s vision for this country…and I was certain he would make an extraordinary President…like any mother, I was worried about what it would mean for our girls if he got that chance.

How would we keep them grounded under the glare of the national spotlight?

How would they feel being uprooted from their school, their friends, and the only home they’d ever known?

Our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys…Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at grandma’s house…and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn’t stay awake for both.

And the truth is, I loved the life we had built for our girls…I deeply loved the man I had built that life with…and I didn’t want that to change if he became President.

I loved Barack just the way he was.

You see, even though back then Barack was a Senator and a presidential candidate…to me, he was still the guy who’d picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by through a hole in the passenger side door…he was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he’d found in a dumpster, and whose only pair of decent shoes was half a size too small.

But when Barack started telling me about his family – that’s when I knew I had found a kindred spirit, someone whose values and upbringing were so much like mine.

You see, Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves.

My father was a pump operator at the city water plant, and he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when my brother and I were young.

And even as a kid, I knew there were plenty of days when he was in pain…I knew there were plenty of mornings when it was a struggle for him to simply get out of bed.

But every morning, I watched my father wake up with a smile, grab his walker, prop himself up against the bathroom sink, and slowly shave and button his uniform.

And when he returned home after a long day’s work, my brother and I would stand at the top of the stairs to our little apartment, patiently waiting to greet him…watching as he reached down to lift one leg, and then the other, to slowly climb his way into our arms.

But despite these challenges, my dad hardly ever missed a day of work…he and my mom were determined to give me and my brother the kind of education they could only dream of.

And when my brother and I finally made it to college, nearly all of our tuition came from student loans and grants. But my dad still had to pay a tiny portion of that tuition himself.

And every semester, he was determined to pay that bill right on time, even taking out loans when he fell short. He was so proud to be sending his kids to college…and he made sure we never missed a registration deadline because his check was late.

You see, for my dad, that’s what it meant to be a man.

Like so many of us, that was the measure of his success in life – being able to earn a decent living that allowed him to support his family.

And as I got to know Barack, I realized that even though he’d grown up all the way across the country, he’d been brought up just like me.

Barack was raised by a single mother who struggled to pay the bills, and by grandparents who stepped in when she needed help.

Barack’s grandmother started out as a secretary at a community bank…and she moved quickly up the ranks…but like so many women, she hit a glass ceiling.

And for years, men no more qualified than she was – men she had actually trained – were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack’s family continued to scrape by.

But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus…arriving at work before anyone else…giving her best without complaint or regret.

And she would often tell Barack, “So long as you kids do well, Bar, that’s all that really matters.”

Like so many American families, our families weren’t asking for much.

They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success or care that others had much more than they did…in fact, they admired it.

They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that, even if you don’t start out with much, if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to do, then you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids.

That’s how they raised us…that’s what we learned from their example.

We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make…that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.

We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters…that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules…and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.

We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean…and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.

Those are the values Barack and I – and so many of you – are trying to pass on to our own children.

That’s who we are.

And standing before you four years ago, I knew that I didn’t want any of that to change if Barack became President. Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.

You see, I’ve gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks like.

And I’ve seen how the issues that come across a President’s desk are always the hard ones – the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer…the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error.

And as President, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people.

But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.

So when it comes to rebuilding our economy, Barack is thinking about folks like my dad and like his grandmother. He’s thinking about the pride that comes from a hard day’s work.

That’s why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work.

That’s why he cut taxes for working families and small businesses and fought to get the auto industry back on its feet.

That’s how he brought our economy from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again – jobs you can raise a family on, good jobs right here in the United States of America.

When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president.

He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically – that’s not how he was raised – he cared that it was the right thing to do.

He did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able to afford their medicine…our kids should be able to see a doctor when they’re sick…and no one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness.

And he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care…that’s what my husband stands for.

When it comes to giving our kids the education they deserve, Barack knows that like me and like so many of you, he never could’ve attended college without financial aid.

And believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage.

We were so young, so in love, and so in debt.

That’s why Barack has fought so hard to increase student aid and keep interest rates down, because he wants every young person to fulfill their promise and be able to attend college without a mountain of debt.

So in the end, for Barack, these issues aren’t political – they’re personal.

Because Barack knows what it means when a family struggles.

He knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids.

Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it…and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.

And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you…you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.

So when people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.

He’s the same man who started his career by turning down high paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighborhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities and get folks back to work…because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.

He’s the same man who, when our girls were first born, would anxiously check their cribs every few minutes to ensure they were still breathing, proudly showing them off to everyone we knew.

That’s the man who sits down with me and our girls for dinner nearly every night, patiently answering their questions about issues in the news, and strategizing about middle school friendships.

That’s the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him.

The letter from the father struggling to pay his bills…from the woman dying of cancer whose insurance company won’t cover her care…from the young person with so much promise but so few opportunities.

I see the concern in his eyes…and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, “You won’t believe what these folks are going through, Michelle…it’s not right. We’ve got to keep working to fix this. We’ve got so much more to do.”

I see how those stories – our collection of struggles and hopes and dreams – I see how that’s what drives Barack Obama every single day.

And I didn’t think it was possible, but today, I love my husband even more than I did four years ago…even more than I did 23 years ago, when we first met.

I love that he’s never forgotten how he started.

I love that we can trust Barack to do what he says he’s going to do, even when it’s hard – especially when it’s hard.

I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as “us” and “them” – he doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above…he knows that we all love our country…and he’s always ready to listen to good ideas…he’s always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.

And I love that even in the toughest moments, when we’re all sweating it – when we’re worried that the bill won’t pass, and it seems like all is lost – Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise.

Just like his grandmother, he just keeps getting up and moving forward…with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.

And he reminds me that we are playing a long game here…and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once.

But eventually we get there, we always do.

We get there because of folks like my Dad…folks like Barack’s grandmother…men and women who said to themselves, “I may not have a chance to fulfill my dreams, but maybe my children will…maybe my grandchildren will.”

So many of us stand here tonight because of their sacrifice, and longing, and steadfast love…because time and again, they swallowed their fears and doubts and did what was hard.

So today, when the challenges we face start to seem overwhelming – or even impossible – let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation…it’s who we are as Americans…it’s how this country was built.

And if our parents and grandparents could toil and struggle for us…if they could raise beams of steel to the sky, send a man to the moon, and connect the world with the touch of a button…then surely we can keep on sacrificing and building for our own kids and grandkids.

And if so many brave men and women could wear our country’s uniform and sacrifice their lives for our most fundamental rights…then surely we can do our part as citizens of this great democracy to exercise those rights…surely, we can get to the polls and make our voices heard on Election Day.

If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time…if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.

Because in the end, more than anything else, that is the story of this country – the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle.

That is what has made my story, and Barack’s story, and so many other American stories possible. And I say all of this tonight not just as First Lady…and not just as a wife.

You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still “mom-in-chief.”

My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.

But today, I have none of those worries from four years ago about whether Barack and I were doing what’s best for our girls.

Because today, I know from experience that if I truly want to leave a better world for my daughters, and all our sons and daughters…if we want to give all our children a foundation for their dreams and opportunities worthy of their promise…if we want to give them that sense of limitless possibility – that belief that here in America, there is always something better out there if you’re willing to work for it…then we must work like never before…and we must once again come together and stand together for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward…my husband, our President, President Barack Obama.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Technology Stride: A camera that can see around corners – By Ramesh Raskar

Report Credit: CNN and Ted

Editor’s note: Ramesh Raskar is Associate Professor at MIT Media Lab and head of the Camera Culture research group. He is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2009), a recipient of the DARPA Young Faculty award, the co-author of “Spatial Augmented Reality”, and the holder of more than 50 US patents. He spoke at the TEDGlobal conference in June. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading” which it makes available through talks posted on its website.


(CNN) — A camera that can see around a corner?

I know this sounds like something in a sci-fi movie or a superhero comic, but this is a real-world technology we’ve made possible with a camera that is aware of the travel time of light, an imaging technique that can create movies of light in motion with an effective rate approaching a trillion frames per second: the speed of light.

Before I joined the MIT faculty in 2008, I had done deep research in “computational photography,” a field of new imaging techniques dramatically improving the capture and synthesis of photos. But, I knew there was more to photography than just depicting what the eye can see. I wanted to create a camera that could see beyond the line of sight. The speed of light isn’t infinite: light travels about a foot per billionth of a second.
Photography could make X-rays obsolete

If I could build a camera fast enough to analyze light at high speeds in room-sized environments, I knew we could then create cameras to solve major problems in scientific and consumer imaging, and enable completely new functionality.

I spoke to top researchers in ultrafast lasers and photonics to understand what was currently possible. When I did, most of them asked some version of: “Why? Why spend years building a camera to look around corners when no commercial application is screaming for it and no funding agency has a call for it?” In addition, it’s rare to shoot light pulses and analyze at such high speeds in large environments. Ultra-fast imaging experiments are usually limited to centimeter- or smaller-size samples.

I continued the work and in the spring of 2008, with James Davis from UC Santa Cruz, wrote a proposal that laid out the mathematical foundation and various experimental solutions for exploration.

I also began working with Media Lab graduate student Matthew Hirsch to build a prototype, hoping that we would have something to demonstrate within a few months. The grant proposal was rejected for administrative reasons (I made a paperwork error!), which meant we had to wait nearly a year to apply again. But those two years didn’t yield any meaningful results, as our lab components weren’t designed to be used the way we wanted.

After nearly three years of experimental work, the team — especially postdoctoral associate Andreas Velten and MIT professor Moungi Bawendi, many students, and several collaborators — cobbled together pieces of the puzzle and built a software program to create a first demonstration of looking around corners. Very soon afterward, we could also start creating surreal movies of light in motion.

We call this new imaging technology femto photography because we capture a segment of the image with a flashlight (in this case, a laser pulse) on for a few millionths of a billionth of a second (or a few femtoseconds) and an exposure time approaching a trillionth of a second.

Just how fast is femto photography? Think of it this way: if we took one-thousandth of a second of footage from the femto camera video output and slowed it down to the speed of 30 seconds per frame — the approximate speed of a standard TV broadcast — it would take us a lifetime to watch.

Photographers know that at very short exposures and even at the most sensitive setting for dark scenes, we will record barely any light. So what about in a trillionth of a second? We actually record and average millions of photos to get enough light, each photo made to look the same via carefully timed synchronization with the light pulse. So even if our exposure time is indeed nearly a trillionth of a second, to get sufficient light we must take an average. Thus, as of now, we can only record repeatable events, but this is not a fundamental limitation.

Unlike conventional cameras, our femto camera captures an image as one thin slice at a time of one-dimensional space using a “streak tube,” a laboratory instrument that is commonly used by chemists to study light passing through chemical samples. We then take hundreds of these narrow videos (each shot at a slightly different angle) and create a carefully synchronized, slow-motion composite of the light pulses. It takes about an hour to collect and aggregate the data (view a demonstration of a light pulse as it travels through an ordinary Coca-Cola bottle).

To see around the corner, we use femto photography to analyze scattered light. We bounce light off of visible parts into hidden parts and then measure the time and direction of returned light.

Usually the scattering of energy is considered a nuisance — whether driving in fog or poor reception from a cell phone tower — and most techniques either try to avoid it (by turning on fog lights) or reduce the impact of scattering (by selecting energy for the phone only from direct paths).

In contrast, we exploit the scattering. For the camera, a laser pulse is fired at a wall, and the impact of hitting the wall causes the particles of light to scatter. Some of the scattering particles return to the camera at different times. This is repeated about 60 times per image as the camera measures how long it takes for the light to travel back and where the particles land. An algorithm then crunches the data to reconstruct the hidden image. This technique even allows us to see a three-dimensional object such as a mock-up of running person.

As exciting as this work is, don’t look for this technology to be in practice tomorrow — we’re still years away from bringing this to market. But, we can already imagine multiple ways that it could have a significant, positive impact on our everyday lives.

By allowing us to “see” around a corner, for example, this technology added to our cars could let us know if there’s another vehicle approaching around a blind curve. It also could give us a new way to look deep inside our bodies without X-rays, or to look through a window into a burning building from a distance to see if anyone is left inside –without risking a firefighter’s life.

When I gave a TEDGlobal talk on femto photography in June, I began with a reference to Doc Edgerton, a very popular MIT professor of electrical engineering who, in 1964, wowed the world with an image of a bullet in midair, having just passed through an apple. He accomplished this by using a strobe light to freeze the action of the bullet at a millionth of a second.

What we’re talking about here — the speed of light –is a million times faster, and is opening the door to a complete rethinking of what we mean by, and can do with, photography. It is a first step toward a new world of imaging that far exceeds human ability, resynthesizing data and depicting it in ways that are within human comprehensibility.

Energy Development in Nigeria: Call for Paper

ENERGY FOR DEVELOPMENT: NIMechE CALLS FOR TECHNICAL PAPER PRESENTATION

The professionals have equal obligation to contribute to national development through their respective vocation as the government. Their technical expertise and vast experiences cannot be ignored by any serious policy makers. In your heads, lie the solutions to the varying problems ravaging the nation. Come, let us put head together and chart a way out of our energy crisis. To serious professionals in energy sector, investors, policy makers and general public:  between 17th and 19th of October 2012, Enugu is the place to be!

 

The Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NimechE), a division of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), announces its International conference ad Annual General meetings coming up in Enugu, Nigeria between 17th and 19th October 2012. This event will also mark the Silver jubilee anniversary of the institution.

The theme of this year conference is “APPROPRIATE ENERGY MIX FOR SUSTAINABLE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT”. This choice of this year theme is in response to the many challenges facing the country and especially the energy sector which has been having far reaching effect on the national economic as some industrial concerns and small and medium enterprises groan silently under the yoke of crippling and inadequate energy infrastructure, which often lead to high cost of production. Small and medium enterprises and some industrial concerns have had one disappointing story or the other over our energy challenges.

NimechE is determined to contribute into finding solution to the sector and is therefore calling on all professionals, technocrats, technologists and policy makers to participate. The event is Tagged “Coal City 2012…”

Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa is aspiring to become one of the top 20 economies in the world by year 2020. This aspiration is anchored upon many parameters affecting the nations. In energy sector, the challenges are more profound as the government and policy makers recognize the important of energy in industrial and technological development of the country. This in turn, will naturally have far reaching effect on the nation’s economy. The task ahead calls for the participation of every stakeholder in both private and public sector.

In achieving this goal, the national policy makers yearn earnestly to explore all available opportunities toward meeting the target goals of providing sustainable energy for the use of both individuals and industrial concerns.  It is upon this basis that NimechE is inviting the general public, investors, professionals and stakeholders to come forward and participate in this year International conference in Enugu. The conference aims at bringing everyone together to brainstorm, explore new opportunities and provides the way forward while also providing opportunities for them to network.

Intending contributors from academic institutions (both polytechnics and universities) are invited to submit technical papers for the event.

The sub-themes of the conference are as follow

  1.       Power Plant generation maintenance, safety and reliability issues
  2.       Bio-energy
  3.       Renewable energy sources
  4.       Energy investment and entrepreneurship
  5.       Energy planning, policy optimality and security issues
  6.       Energy issues in manufacturing industries
  7.       Energy and social issues

Intending author(s) is/are required to submit paper(s) to meet the following deadline

15 July 2012                                        submission of full papers

15 August 2012`                                submission of provisional acceptance

30 August 2012                                  submission of final corrected papers

30 September 2012                         publication of abstract and proceeding

 

Papers should be emailed to: Steve_ojobo@yahoo.com, ujamaechi@yahoo.com, nimeche1@yahoo.co.uk, engrlucasomotosho@yahoo.com,

INSTRUCTION ON THE PREPARATION OF THE MANUSCRIPT

  1. Language- English
  2. Length – 8 t0 12 pages
  3. Manuscript should be typed in 12 points, Times New Roman font on A4 paper leaving an inch margin on each side and at the top of all but the first page. The title and author information is to be centered across the first page and then a two column format is to be followed for the balance of the paper.
  4. Manuscript should be 1.5 lines spaced, with 2. 0 lie between paragraph indentations.
  5. The paper should include
    1. Title (10 words maximum)
    2. Author(s) name(s) and present address(es)
    3. Abstract (maximum 300 o words)
    4. A maximum of six key words
    5. A clearly written introduction to explain the nature of the problems, previous works, purpose and contribution of the paper
    6. An appropriate conclusion section must be included
    7. Diagram and photograph must be of high quality. Diagram and lettering must be either computer designed or digital. Photograph for diagram is acceptable but photocopies are not.
    8. References should be quoted in text with a number in sequence bracket. For example [1] and should be numbered according to the order cited in the manuscript.

 

Author(s) are requested to prepare multimedia projection format in MS-PowerPoint for all accepted papers for 10 minutes duration Maximum. A soft copy should be sent through email attachment using MS word office 2007 while final presentation should be in PDF format (preferably).

For those who are attending and not delivering papers, below is the registration fee details:

Registration                       on or before 30/08/2012                                               after 30/08/2012

Fellows                                                                20, 000                                                                  25, 000

Members,                                           15, 000                                                                  20, 000

Associates                                          10, 000                                                                  15, 000

Graduates,                                         5, 000,                                                                   5, 000

Students,                                            2, 000,                                                                   2, 000

Spouses                                               5, 000                                                                    5, 000

Non-member                                    20, 000,                                                                 25, 000

The professionals have equal obligation to contribute to national development through their respective vocation as the government. Their technical expertise and vast experiences cannot be ignored by any serious policy makers. In your heads, lie the solutions to the varying problems ravaging the nation. Come, let us put head together and chart a way out of our energy crisis. To serious professionals in energy sector, investors, policy makers and general public:  between 17th and 19th of October 2012, Enugu is the place to be!

For further enquiry contact +2348037260134, +2348033291642, +2348022059818 ………….. Or email steve_ojobo@yahoo.com, nimeche1@yahoo.co.uk

Looking forward to hosting you.

By

Isqil Najim

KNOWLEDGE UPGRADE ON EUROCODE AND THE EFFECTS OF USING OLD BRITISH STANDARD AS DESIGN GUIDANCE IN NIGERIA

Being a technical paper on the need for knowledge enhancement for Nigerian engineers

 

 

Publication:            National Development Initiative

Release date:          25th June 2012

 

By

Olugbenro Falola

MSc.(Structural Engineering, UK), B.Eng.(Ogbomoso)

Correspondence e-mail: olugbenro@structuralsolution.co.uk

Editing/Proof: Olatunji Ariyomo & Olugbenro Falola

Published by NDi

www.nd-i.org

publications@nd-i.org

25TH JUNE 2012


 

1.0      INTRODUCTION

It is over two years now that the use of British Standard has been replaced with the 58 parts of Eurocodes (March 31, 2010 – BSI, 2009). The British standard committee has made it clear since that time that all public works should be designed in accordance with the new Eurocode (BSI, 2009). They also made it known to the public that there would be no amendment or revision of the British standards (BSI, 2009) which suggests that the design code would be obsolete in the nearest future. The advantages of the Eurocode cannot be over emphasized. Numerous literatures and experience have shown that the Eurocode provides economical design than British Standard (Mostley et al., 2007, Narayanan 2010, Concrete centre, 2010). Aside this, the code is less restrictive and allows choice of safety parameters to be used by each country knowing that design and construction practices, standard and quality of materials, climatic conditions, human behaviour to structures among other factors differ from country to country.

Recent short survey has shown more than 85% of Nigerian engineers, lecturers, students and graduates with no exception of companies are not aware of this replacement and dangers associated with it (Falola, 2011). The aim of this article is to alert users of the British Standard to the effects of using the code, identify areas that need public attention in the old British Standard, enumerate the advantages of adopting the new Eurocode and suggest how we can develop the Nigeria’s indigenous code.

2.0      BENEFITS OF ADOPTING THE NEW EUROCODE

2.1 General Benefits

  • Provide a common basis for research and development.
  • Allow the preparation of common design aids and software.
  • Eurocode 2 should result in more economic structures for clients.
  • Eurocode 2 is less restrictive than British Standards.
  • Eurocode 2 is extensive and comprehensive.
  • The new Eurocodes are reputed as the most technically advanced codes in the world (Concrete Centre, 2010). 

2.2 Benefits to Companies:

  • Eligibility to design and work freely in all European countries

    Lagos: Partial Collapse Of 21-Storey Skyscraper
    Lagos: Partial Collapse Of 21-Storey Skyscraper
  • Enhance career opportunity for the company and staff.
  • Improve design competency.
  • Abreast with latest design standard.
  • Enable companies to bid for international projects especially in all EU.
  • Improve companies’ standard and quality.
  • Economical design – reduced construction cost. (Concrete Centre, 2010)

2.3       Benefits to Students & Graduates:

  • Eligibility to design and work freely in all European countries.
  • Enhance international career opportunity.
  • Improve design competency.
  • Allow academic research in higher institutions to meet current global challenges.

3.0      WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO ADOPT THE NEW EUROCODE?

It is obvious that many Nigerians will feel reluctant to adopt the new eurocode. Answers to the following questions will help to form the right judgment:

  1. Do we know the consequences of using the old British standards on the standard and quality of our academic research, design and quality of our projects?
    Do we know the flaws in BS8110?
    Do we think that our academic research in the nation’s universities will still be acceptable in the global knowledge using the old code as references?
  2. What would be the fate of our students and graduates even if engineers are reluctant to adopt new knowledge knowing that the British Standard is now obsolete?
  3. Are we working towards the development of our own code, If yes, How?
  4. Are we developing our own code from the previous code without resolving the flaws in the code?
  5. Are we developing our own codes based on non-empirical factors of the ideas of some practising engineers knowing that a code should be developed along with experimental research?
  6. Are we involving academic scholars or researchers to channel their research towards the development of our own code?
  7. Do we even have funds available for this?
    Are we developing just an aspect of the code such as design of concrete buildings?
  8. What of other areas such as highway, geotechnical, steel design, etc?
    Do we even welcome contributions from scholars towards the development of our own code knowing that nobody is an embodiment of knowledge?
  9. However the adoption of eurocode will not only answer the aforementioned questions but also provide the benefits as stated earlier.

I am not of the opinion that we should suddenly drop the old British standard but it is high time we got acquainted with new ideas. There are several systematic ways we can adopt the new eurocode rather than continue using the obsolete British Standards.

We should also have in mind that there are sections that need further clarification in the British Standards especially the BS8110. Further articles and research papers by the same author will reveal some of these in due course. In the mean time, it is of great necessity to point the art of column classification in the BS8110 to the public. Several arguments have been raised to know the specific parameters that influence column classification. The enclosed short term paper at the back of this article will further shed light upon this.

3.1      NATIONAL ANNEX AS A WAY TO DEVELOP OUR OWN CODE

Having known that the eurocode is flexible and allow each country to choose their safety parameters through what is called Country National Annex to Eurocode, the National Annex is concise and easy to develop than a whole code. It gives us the opportunity to select our own safety parameters such  as load factors, material factors, etc which are mainly dependent on our construction practices, materials standard and quality, human behaviour to structures, etc in the country – although this still requires some practical works and experimental findings. It is obvious that this huge advantage is not available in the old British Standards wherein the safety factors were mainly developed based on the design and construction practices in the United Kingdom.

Do we even know that this system was also adopted by the owner of old British Standard? The United Kingdom now uses “UK National Annex to Eurocode”. Similar procedure is in place in South Africa where they already have their own design code (SABS). The country still intends to adopt the Eurocode alongside the SABS knowing the benefits and the importance of global knowledge. This means that developing an effective “Stand Alone” design code in Nigeria might take years.

The “Nigeria National Annex to Eurocode” will not only provide us the integration to global knowledge and design practices but can also be used as a foundation for the development of our own code after extensive design practices and qualitative researches.

4.0      SAMPLE PROBLEM AND COMPUTATION

4.1 COLUMN CLASSIFICATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH BS8110 & EUROCODE 2 COMPARED

Columns are structural elements which are primarily used to provide either temporary or permanent support to compressive loads, and sometimes used to resist bending. It may be referred to as “spinal cord” of structures due to the fact that their failure may trigger the collapse of the whole structure if not properly designed. However, this poor design may be due to inappropriate guidance procedures given in the adopted design code rather incompetency of the designer alone.

The design of columns perhaps in any design code in the world is primarily based on column classification (either as short or slender). Inappropriate classification may lead to failure of the column especially when local buckling and second moment is expected to be considered in the design which will affect the anticipated design load capacity of the column. This error may be due to the adopted design code as aforementioned. It is obvious that the main essence of column classification is to know the failure types of the column. Therefore it is necessary to understand those parameters that govern such failure which in turn affects column classification.

 4.2 Research Objectives

  • To investigate column classification in accordance with BS8110 in comparison with Eurocode.

4.3 Research Significance

The results of this study will validate further applicability of the present column classification approach described in BS8110. It will also give general notice to the insisted present users of BS8110 to make adequate revision of the code where necessary or get acquainted with the latest Eurocode.

4.4 Research methods

In order to achieve the objective of this research, a critical analysis of column classification in accordance with BS8110 and Eurocode 2 were thoroughly examined. A questionnaire was also developed to examine the art of column classification in accordance with BS8110.

4.5 Terms definitions:

Short column– one in which the ultimate load capacity is dictated by the material strength and cross-section. This type of column fails by crushing of the material.

Slender column– one in which the ultimate load is influenced by material strength, cross-section as well as slenderness. This type of column can fail either by material crushing or instability (buckling) of the column.

(a)               BS 8110 approach (BSI, 1997):

According to the above design code, a column is regarded as short when both the ratios lex/h and ley/b are less than 15 and 10 for braced and unbraced respectively, otherwise is slender. Where lex and ley are the effective length in major and minor axes respectively; ‘h’ and ‘ b’ are the larger and smaller dimension of the column section respectively (BS8110, 1997). The effective length is given as:

le = β l                                                                                 (4.1)

Where lo is the clear length between end restraints and not exceeding 60 times the minimum thickness of a column according to section 3.8.1.7 of BS8110, 1997. For a cantilever column, this should not exceed:

                                                                                 (4.2)

 

The value of β depends on end conditions and lateral restraint against sideway (braced or unbraced) as shown below.

Table 2.1 Values of β for (a) Braced column and (b) Unbraced column.

  End condition at top End condition at bottom
1 2 3
1 0.75 0.80 0.90
2 0.80 0.85 0.95
3 0.90 0.95 1.00

(a)

 

 

  End condition at top End condition at bottom
1 2 3
1 1.2 1.3 1.6
2 1.3 1.5 1.8
3 1.6 1.8
4 2.2

 

 

(b)

 

 

Source: Table 3.19 and 3.20 of BS8110, Part 1(1997).  For conditions 1 to 4 see section 3.8.1.6

(b)               Eurocode approach (EN, 1992; Mosley, et al., 2007)

 

In contrast to BS8110 slenderness approach for column classification, EC2 takes into account the contribution of design ultimate axial load on the column, concrete strength, longitudinal reinforcement as well as creep effect along with aforementioned parameters when classifying a column.  In this approach, columns are classified as either short or slender by placing a limit on slenderness ratio. Columns having slenderness ratio λ not exceeding slenderness ratio limit lim) are regarded as short, otherwise as slender and second order effects must be taken into account in design (EN, 1992; Mosley, et al., 2007). The slenderness ratio of a column bent about an axis is given as:

λ =                                                               (4.3)

Where lo is the effective length, ‘i’ is the radius of gyration (uncracked section) and ‘I’ is the second moment of area of section about the axis in consideration, and ‘A’ is the cross-sectional area of the column.

For braced columns;

lo =                                                (4.4)

For unbraced columns, the larger of:

lo =                          or                                                              (4.5a)

lo =                                                                                    (4.5b)

where k1 and k2 are the relative flexibilities of the rotational restraints at ends ‘1’ and ‘2’ of the column respectively. See EC2 (EN 1992) and Mosley, et al. (2007) for further reading.

Relative flexibilities k [EC 2: 5.8.3.2 (3) – (5)]

( =   If top & bottom columns does not contribute to column rotational restraint. But if top & bottom columns contribute to column restraint, k is given as:

+ (. Refer to EC 2: 5.8.3.2 (3) for their definitions.

As previously mentioned, EC 2 places a limit on slenderness ratio and this is given as:

λlim =                                                                              (4.6)

A =  and A can be taken as 0.7 if  is not known.                (4.6.1)

B =   and B can be taken as 1.1 if ω is not known.         (4.6.2)

C = 1.7 – rm and C can be taken as 0.7 if rm is unknown.                              (4.6.3)

n =                                                                                                   (4.6.4)

ω =                                                                              (4.6.5)

Where:

   = effective creep ratio

= design yield strength of the concrete

= design compressive strength of the concrete

= total longitudinal reinforcement area

NEd = design ultimate axial load in the column and rm is the ratio of first order moments at the end of the column. Refer to EN (1992) and Mosley, et al. (2007) for proper definitions.

Therefore, for a short column, λ < λlim otherwise as slender; whereas the code does not states any specific guidance if λ lim.

4.6 Comparison between the two design codes

As aforementioned that short column fails by material crushing and this failure depends on the column geometry, properties (concrete strength), creep, reinforcement area and strength, design ultimate axial load on the column and so on. It is not understood how these factors were accounted for when classifying column as short or slender in BS8110 apart from the effective height of the column, column size, and degree of fixity at ends as well as limiting values given for slenderness ratio.

It is clearly shown from equation 4.6 on how these factors were considered in EC 2 by placing an upper limit on the slenderness ratio.

4.7 Summary of on-going results from questionnaire:

About 44.44% were civil/structural engineers, 11.11% were professors/lecturers, 11.11 % were graduates and 33.33% were students.  Approximately 80% of them have used BS8110 for column design. About 90% of the respondents agreed that short column fails by material crushing and slender column fails by either material crushing or instability (buckling). The same number agreed that the term failure will be dictated by column geometry, concrete strength, reinforcement grade and design applied load on the column. However about 77% of them did not know how these aforementioned parameters were considered in the classification of column with BS8110.

Based on the findings from several literatures, thorough comparison of the two design codes and the results from current questionnaire, this principal conclusion was drawn.

  • Column classification should also be based on design axial load, concrete strength, reinforcement grade and area, aside from slenderness ratio (which is calculated from column geometry, fixity, end conditions and side restraints). These parameters were clearly considered in Eurocode 2 & ACI 318 (American code). However it is not yet understood how BS8110 incorporated these parameters.

Conclusion

Nigerian engineers have to start from somewhere. In this age of convergence, they must adopt a technology philosophy that promotes catching up. This can be accomplished if they understand the details of research and development carried out by others before them and adapt this to suite local needs especially in the area of standard.

References & Bibliography:

a)      British Standards Institution, 1997. BS8110: 1997 Code of practice for design and construction. London: BSI.

b)      British Standards Institution, 1990. BS EN 1990: Basis of structural design. London: BSI.

c)      British Standards Institution, 1991. BS EN 1991: Actions on structures-Densities, selfweight, imposed loads for buildings. London: BSI.

d)      British Standards Institution, 1992. BS EN 1992: Design of concrete structures-General rules and rules for building. London: BSI.

e)      British Standards Institution Shop, 2009. Available at : http://shop.bsigroup.com/en/Browse-By-Subject/Eurocodes/

f)       Concrete Centre, 2010.  Available at: http://www.concretecentre.com/codes__standards/eurocodes/eurocode_2/background_to_ec2/benefits_of_eurocode_2.aspx

g)      Falola, O. O., 2011. Investigation of Column Classification Parameters Survey. kwiksurveys.com

h)      Falola, O. O., 2010. Comparison between Reinforced Solid Column and the Equivalent Hollow Column. London: University of East London.

i)        Mosley, B.  Bungey, J. & Hulse, R., 2007. Reinforced concrete design. 6th ed. China: BookPower.

j)        Narayanan, R. S, et al. eds., 2010. How to Design Concrete Structures using Eurocode 2. London: Concrete Centre.

 

The author Olugbenro Falola is a PhD student at the Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus
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An assessment of the Nigeria’s power sector reform

…an engineer’s review of Nigeria’s power sector reform with suggestions

By Olatunji Ariyomo

June 15 2012 | Sheffield, England

1.0       INTRODUCTION

A distressing fact about Nigeria’s repeated attempts to get electricity production and distribution right is that such attempts have failed repeatedly. This is despite the infusion of several billion dollars thus implying that government or the overall leadership will to fund and get result may not be the problem but the capacity of sector leadership to know the right thing to do. Put differently, it appears that what is lacking is the capacity of sector leadership to know the right strategy and path that will most efficiently produce the required results as the usual paths have significantly failed to generate envisaged results. Between 1999 and 2012, it is estimated that the country expended over $25billion (USD) on her electricity subsector of the energy industry yet production alone hovered between 2,500MW and 4,400MW at any time during this period with citizens even willing to commend government if they noticed stable electricity supply beyond 3 hours in a single day. Some have described this as an unprecedented and extraordinary expenditure to procure darkness.

Sector leadership in the context of this paper refers to the authority of the Minister of Power of the federation and any such sub-authority that derives its power directly or indirectly from the federal minister. Can current sector leadership end age-long epileptic electricity supply? Yes. Put differently however, can current sector leadership end age-long epileptic electricity supply if it continues on Nigeria’s present path to reform? No. It would take a pyrrhic victory to record an instance of yes if the current course of its reform is not altered.

2.0       THE FAULT LINE
A major fault line in the ongoing reform lies in the decision to make the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) the core of the policy thrust of government when it should ordinarily have been the reform’s obiter dictum ­– important, but not critical enough to derail or define a negative outcome for the entire agenda. Current strategy appears to put privatisation before sector liberalization, a situation akin to putting the cart before the horse. If the cart were ahead of the horse, what would drive the cart? Also, the reform’s current direction is the equivalent of making NITEL privatization the core of the policy thrust of government during the reform of the telecommunication sector. That singular error has succeeded in fortifying the position of PHCN workers and enhancing their capacity to slow down, make or even mar the entire process. This was a tactical blunder that was avoidable from a strategy point of view.

Simplified electricity distribution grid diagram
Simplified electricity distribution grid diagram

This strategic error draws strength from another technical and tactical misconception which appears to punctuate some of the responses from government’s team – that the electricity reform matrix does not perfectly mirror the telecommunication sector scenario because of the pervasive nature and present ownership structure of the national power distribution and transmission backbone required by the former. This is erroneous and only gains currency when the crucial nexus that connects both and the parallels that define the core elements that qualify as critical success factors are overlooked even when it is easy to recollect that the participating private investors at the time of telecom sector liberalization initially relied on an equally pervasive national telecommunication backbone exclusively owned by NITEL for the bulk of their call terminations which gave NITEL some business edge and cost termination advantage in those early days.

Essentially therefore, current electricity sustainability strategy suggests a flagrant disregard of the knowledge curve gained from the successful liberalization of the telecommunication sector. Again put differently, Nigeria is today experiencing energy growth penalties from lack of inherent capacity to see a nexus between her telecommunication industry and the electricity sub-sector of the energy industry which is chiefly the result of not being able to view her entire electricity sub-sector as a value system, that is, see the mobility and dynamics of the value chain inherent in the totality of electricity generation, transmission, distribution and management stream. Present resistance by sector unions and workers as well as the strategic delays purportedly engineered by entrenched ‘interests’ and the herculean tasks and politics of aggregating, positioning and empanelling new leadership for various companies so created from the unbundled PHCN are self-imposed burdens that should never have been the primary duty or concern of the government’s core reform team. One can only imagine with pity the quantum of effort, resources and energy being devoted to the management of these avoidable distractions!

The huge expenses sunk into schemes aimed at fattening and conferring the status of ‘juicy investments’ upon the 18 successor companies of PHCN to make them appealing so that they could qualify as most sought after brides on the international market could have served a better purpose if deployed as counterpart funds with reputable Greenfield investors to address the same layers of national challenge portfolio. By the time the actual dollar value pushed into the sector is factored into consideration (estimated at $16billion as at May 2007 and presently approximately put at close to $25billion), it is doubtful that returns (based on actual sales) from bids by winners of the 17 successor companies would fetch the Nigerian people a quarter of what t has been expended so far. Hence, as it is today, the myriads of explanations being lobbed at the public in explaining the rationale for increase in salaries and tariffs when the target companies are candidates for privatization would have been unnecessary even as an informed public would easily identify them as executive spins and a way to ensure that the new high tariffs make takeover more profitable for the new owners at the expense of the Nigerian people.

3.0       THREE GOOD STEPS LADEN WITH LANDMINES
Three good steps have however been taken by the present sector leadership. These are listed below:

  1. Creation of a bulk electricity trading company (BETraC)
  2. Reported decision to outsource management of national power transmission backbone to a reputable Canadian firm (Nigeria will pay agreed fees to this firm for this role).
  3. Reported empowerment of states and local governments (LGAs) to invest in production and distribution.

These could be described as the three best things that have happened since the commencement of the reform. It is however pertinent to observe that these three have again been laden with the usual in-built ‘landmines’ and ‘reform viruses’ that have come to define reform processes in Africa.

3.1 HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LANDMINES
Available reports on the bulk electricity trading company (BETraC), the contract for the management of the national power transmission backbone and the involvement of the second and third tiers of government in the sector point to the following as facts:

  1. BETraC is a government bureaucracy rather than a system driven or institution propelled initiative empowered with robust legislation to utilize transparent accounting system, settlement capabilities, and self governance structures using bilateral cooperation involving limited government but sizable private sector involvement. Unending bureaucracy with its attendant road-blocks is a crucial problem identified by this writer as an impediment to sustainable energy growth in Africa and a direct inhibitor of real private sector involvement. Maintaining this structure as part of the current reform path makes it sure booby-trap.
  2. It appears strongly that the responsibility for the management of the entire national power transmission backbone covering the 910,768 sq km of the nation’s land space is being outsourced to one single monopoly. This has corresponding impact on the reform’s capacity to act as stimulant for massive job creation, widespread private sector growth and knowledge transfer along the transmission corridor as well the potential to impede the promotion of fair consumer price. Paul K. Ogden described this as “creating a government sanctioned monopoly for a private company” (Ogden, 2009). It also does appear that rather than receiving payments from the manager, government of Nigeria would be paying the manager. This is awkward. It directly negates the entire narrative behind a private sector led electricity sub-sector while potentially leaving room for collusion and ultimately corruption.
  3. Reported empowerment of states and LGAs is superficial as it is solely within the limitation imposed by Section 14(b), Part II of the Second Schedule (Concurrent Legislative List) of the Nigerian Constitution which restricts state’s investment to “areas not covered by a national grid system within that State”.  Any strategic manoeuvring beyond this constitutional intendment without actually amending the constitution to remove restrictions imposed upon states and local governments would limit the capacity of states to be real owners of their investments, promote conflicts and open up future avenues for possible abuse which could result from socio-political differences in a nation as diverse as Nigeria. An improvement would be a model that would guarantee stronger legislative protection, fairness and sustainability for states and local governments as well as private investors. This can be accomplished by way of amendment of the extant regulation.

4.0       SUGGESTIONS
What is the guiding philosophy of the reform? Shouldn’t sector liberalization precede privatization? If yes, do we have evidence of nations that have followed similar direction to success? Can Nigeria learn any lesson from Ghana’s success despite retaining state-owned public electric utilities such as the Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG)?

What the reform intends achieving must be clear – for instance, would adding more government money qualify as privatization? If it is ultimately necessary for the reform to receive the injection of public funds in order to jump start the process, would that not be better infused as joint venture funds into enterprises sponsored wholly and primarily by internationally acclaimed Greenfield investors thereby bypassing the politics of PHCN altogether? Ordinarily the reform should be aiming at ultimately eliminating government fund while bringing in private fund, eliminating government control while promoting system driven control mechanisms, eliminating secrecy while bringing in transparency, eliminating established interest and pre-determination in order to bring in equity, fairness and spontaneity.

This writer empirically estimated Nigeria’s urgent electricity requirement to be a minimum of 55,694.50MW in order to merely get by. The nation needs more for optimum power stability. Putting the arrays of complex options required to properly govern the sector in context requires thinking outside the box as well as looking back to take advantage of what we did right in the past.

Among other considerations, the focus of government’s reform should include:

  1. Strategy for jumpstarting attainment of reform objectives. It is baloney to advance that because Nigeria has suffered electricity deprivation for 50 years, it must ultimately take another 50 years to get it right. No. A good sector reform strategy will lead to sustainable electricity that the people can begin to tangibly experience in the cities within 2 years.
  2. Strategy for technology transfer and knowledge enhancement
  3. Strategy for massive job creation (taking advantage of item number 2)
  4. Strategy for sustainability and ensuring reform cannot be truncated (robust legislation, sector leadership and masses’ support)
  5. Strategy for massive revenue generation for the people of Nigeria (government should earn payments – taxes, levies, rents etc – and not the other way round)
  6. Strategies for correcting the identified ‘landmines’ enumerated in 3.1.
  7. Strategy that would lead to the reform benefiting from contributions of professional bodies and other sector stakeholders. Sector leadership cannot be an island of knowledge. As part of wide consultation (before decisions are taken) the reform would benefit more if subject matter experts from the various professional organizations are allowed to make input. This is the tradition in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Getting Nigeria’s quest for steady electricity right requires the appropriate strategy, thorough industry expertise and objectivity. There is no such place where Nigeria’s current model of financially fattening up a moribund and non-performing government agency in order to sell it to private sector handlers does have a successful precedent as a cost effective model. It could only further promote corruption as well as serve as an opportunity for local elites to apportion national utilities among themselves under the guise of privatization.

In conclusion, Nigeria can get it right with sustainable electricity, put the years of epileptic electricity supply behind her and join the rest of the world in the pursuit of renewable energy alternative. This is however only possible if the nation is doing the right things.

Paper authored by,
Engr. Olatunji Ariyomo

Mosquitoes Bred to Be Incapable of Transmitting Malaria

ScienceDaily (June 12, 2012) — Mosquitoes bred to be unable to infect people with the malaria parasite are an attractive approach to helping curb one of the world’s most pressing public health issues, according to UC Irvine scientists.

Anthony James and colleagues from UCI and the Pasteur Institute in Paris have produced a model of theAnopheles stephensi mosquito — a major source of malaria in India and the Middle East — that impairs the development of the malaria parasite. These mosquitoes, in turn, cannot transmit the disease through their bites.

Mosquito
The Anopheles stephensi mosquito is a major vector of malaria in India and the Middle East. (Credit: Jim Gathany / Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)

“Our group has made significant advances with the creation of transgenic mosquitoes,” said James, a UCI Distinguished Professor of microbiology & molecular genetics and molecular biology & biochemistry. “But this is the first model of a malaria vector with a genetic modification that can potentially exist in wild populations and be transferred through generations without affecting their fitness.”

More than 40 percent of the world’s population lives in areas where there is a risk of contracting malaria. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 300 million to 500 million cases of malaria occur each year, and nearly 1 million people die of the disease annually — largely infants, young children and pregnant women, most of them in Africa.

James said one advantage of his group’s method is that it can be applied to the dozens of different mosquito types that harbor and transmit the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, including those in Africa. Study results appear this week in the early online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers conceived their approach through mouse studies. Mice infected with the human form of malaria create antibodies that kill the parasite. James’ team exploited the molecular components of this mouse immune-system response and engineered genes that could produce the same response in mosquitoes. In their model, antibodies are released in genetically modified mosquitoes that render the parasite harmless to others.

“We see a complete deletion of the infectious version of the malaria parasite,” said James, a member of the National Academy of Sciences. “This blocking process within the insect that carries malaria can help significantly reduce human sickness and death.”

He and his colleagues have pioneered the creation of genetically altered mosquitoes that limit the transmission of dengue fever, malaria and other vector-borne illnesses.

Alison Isaacs, Nijole Jasinskiene and Mikhail Tretiakov of UCI and Isabelle Thiery, Agnes Zettor and Catherine Bourgouin of the Pasteur Institute contributed to the study, which received support from the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases — a National Institutes of Health entity — through grant number R37 AI029746.

Story Source:

The above story is reproduced by NDi based upon a reprint by Science Daily from materials provided byUniversity of California – Irvine.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. T. Isaacs, N. Jasinskiene, M. Tretiakov, I. Thiery, A. Zettor, C. Bourgouin, A. A. James. PNAS Plus: Transgenic Anopheles stephensi coexpressing single-chain antibodies resist Plasmodium falciparum developmentProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1207738109
Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:
 APA: University of California – Irvine (2012, June 12). Mosquitoes bred to be incapable of transmitting malaria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 14, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2012/06/120612115949.htm  MLA: University of California – Irvine. “Mosquitoes bred to be incapable of transmitting malaria.”ScienceDaily, 12 Jun. 2012. Web. 14 Jun. 2012.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff