Thursday, May 17, 2012

Catnip 5/17/12: Escape from Alcatraz


Alcatraz from Pier 39. Looks like you could swim away, doesn't it? Check out the 1000 px.


Unleash the Biden! Joe was really good yesterday. Watch here.

The Koch brothers are mobilizing their billions to take the Republican propaganda war to the digital world. "Republican political operatives, some with deep financial backing from the billionaire Koch brothers and others, are unleashing about a half dozen major projects that take advantage of advanced database technologies to manage campaigns and target voters with personalized messages." They are doing this in secret too - the Koch name does not appear on the "annual regulatory filing" but they are the money behind the effort. 

Moderate Mitt? Not a chance. Most excellent writer Jamelle Bouie at The American Prospect points out that Mitt has not moderated his message for the general - and he is very unlikely to govern as a moderate when the people who run the Republicans (Kochs, Norquist, Rove, will insist that he follow orders. "Romney is running for president as a right-wing Republican with right-wing ideas, and it is absurd to think that he would suddenly revert to the Mitt who governed Massachusetts. Even if he wanted to, he would first have to contend with a conservative movement that sees itself as the dominant partner in this relationship." Consider yourself warned. 

The owners of the Chicago Cubs are getting ready to unleash the mother of all negative advertising campaigns against Obama, the thing that McCain wouldn't let them do, the $10 million dollar plan that will take the President down.... featuring Rev. Wright. OK, stop laughing now. And BTW, these same Tea Party Cub owners that want taxpayer dollars to fund their efforts? Good to see the rest of the world catching up to that story, but really sad that supporting the Cubs now leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Just can't do it after this nonsense.

Turns out that Republicans love Obamacare after all. "If the law is partially or fully overturned they’ll draw up bills to keep the popular, consumer-friendly portions in place — like allowing adult children to remain on parents’ health care plans until age 26, and forcing insurance companies to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Ripping these provisions from law is too politically risky, Republicans say." 

Some good economic news: Housing starts are rising, usually a leading indicator of a healthy economy. "U.S. home building grew in April, the latest sign that the recovery may be strengthening in the long-struggling market. Separately, U.S. industrial output rebounded in April, a sign of healthy demand for factory goods. Home construction increased 2.6% from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 717,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Year-over-year, starts were up nearly 30%." 

Keystone pipeline demands are quietly being dropped from the transportation bill. Republicans plan to use it as a campaign issue instead. 

The Commerce Department will decide whether to impose anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports - this would be on top of the anti-subsidy tariffs recently imposed. Chinese solar panels are being sold below cost in the US, which in turn has driven the import market up to $2.65 billion last year, from $21.3 million in 2005. While US manufacturers may rejoice at the level playing field, installers are nervous that assumed higher prices may put a damper on the market.