Monday, May 14, 2012

Catnip 5/14/12


Prince. 'Nuff said.

Here now the news:

Obama plays the Bain card. "The Obama campaign is going up with a hard hitting two-minute ad (two minutes! emphasis mine) in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia on GST Steel, a Kansas City company that Bain acquired a majority stake in, leading to hundreds of layoffs and at least $12 million in Bain profits. The ad is accompanied by new Web site, 'This isn’t just about attacking Romney’s wealth and character. It’s about turning Romney’s number one asset — the aura of economic competence created by his successful business career — into a liability,'" sez Greg Sargent. Yup. I'm just surprised it's happening now.

Republican obstruction, it's not just for Congress anymore. Check out what is happening in the states on the health care exchanges: "In about two dozen states across the country, the insurance marketplaces at the heart of the 2010 health-care law remain in limbo, with Republican governors or lawmakers who oppose the statute refusing to act until the Supreme Court decides its constitutionality....In states with Democratic governors, such as New Hampshire and Minnesota, it is often Republican-dominated legislatures that are causing the hold-up."

America's bridges are falling down... falling down.... falling down...:"The nation’s population is growing at a steady pace, yet infrastructure investments lag. The lifelines of commerce — roads, bridges, runways, ports — are showing their age, and in this era of fiscal austerity it may be a long time before they get rebuilt. As Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood likes to say, the nation is 'one big pothole.'" More austerity, anyone?

Birthday parties everywhere are at risk as the nation deals with a shortage of helium. Don't laugh, it's a real problem: "The United States is running out of helium. Yes, helium. Thanks, in part, to a 1996 law that has forced the government to sell off its helium reserves at bargain-bin prices, the country’s stockpile of the relatively rare and nonrenewable gas could soon dwindle... A severe helium shortage, experts say, would cause problems for large swaths of the economy, from medical scanners to welding to the manufacturing of optical fibers and LCD screens."

Wholesale prices, down: "U.S. wholesale prices declined for the first time this year, suggesting a drop in energy costs is helping to keep inflation under control. The index of producer prices, which measures how much wholesalers and manufacturers pay for goods and materials, fell a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in April from a month earlier, the Labor Department said Friday."

Minority-owned firms pay the price of government austerity. "U.S. government contracts to black-and Hispanic-owned small businesses fell last year for the first time in a decade, declining at a sharper rate than awards to all companies... Contracts to the two minority groups fell at a faster pace than all contracts, which dipped 1 percent as the U.S. government slowed spending to help reduce the federal deficit. The gap may reflect stiffer competition over a shrinking pool of revenue and the recession’s greater impact on black and Hispanic firms."

Jeffrey Toobin at the New Yorker lays the Citizens United decision at the feet of John Roberts. "In a different way, though, Citizens United is a distinctive product of the Roberts Court. The decision followed a lengthy and bitter behind-the-scenes struggle among the Justices that produced both secret unpublished opinions and a rare reargument of a case. The case, too, reflects the aggressive conservative judicial activism of the Roberts Court."

Introducing Karl Rove's Youth League. "Crossroads Generation, a new super PAC formed with the help of a handful of established GOP groups, is tapping into the economic frustrations of under-30 voters facing dim job prospects, crippling student loans or the prospect of having to move back home with their parents. Starting Monday, the PAC is launching a $50,000 social media ad campaign targeting younger voters in eight swing states, including Ohio and Virginia. Their ultimate goal: woo younger Americans to the Republican side, including some who supported Obama in 2008."

Turns out people don't like the Ryan budget. And Dems are using it to attack their GOP counterparts in congressional races, which is giving the Republicans a sad. Imagine, being called out for supporting absolutely horrible, destructive policy. Times are hard.

Off to face the week...