Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Catnip 5/16/12


American White Pelican at Lake Merritt.

Oh, there is news...

The House GOP threatens to takes the country hostage once again. Why? It works. They got what they wanted the first time, so of course they will do it again. Ezra: "They also drove President Obama's approval ratings beneath 40 percent. And while I'm not one who thinks Republicans intentionally tank the economy to undermine Obama, there's little doubt that the effect of the debt-ceiling debacle was to set back the recovery, brightening Republican prospects and darkening Democratic ones. The fact is that it's easier to be sanguine about economic showdowns when you're not the ones in charge." The House also announced (again?) they will fast-track the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Deficit? What deficit?

Senate Republicans will be wasting more of the taxpayer's time today, holding debate and votes on budgets that will go nowhere. "A fifth budget measure up for a vote, from Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), is based on President Obama's budget and is seen as an attempt to embarrass the White House...'They are really, really absurd,' (Harry Reid) said. Reid claimed that one plan makes $7 trillion in accounting errors."

Barbara Boxer "goes there" and accuses Republicans of trying to deliberately tank the economy to help Romney. From a MSNBC appearance, rough transcript, here's the Senator from Cailfornia: "And, you know, it's interesting that they're setting up a big fight, McConnell and Boehner, making it a crisis when it isn't a crisis and demanding more cuts when they didn't live up to the cuts they agreed to. Because they want to create a crisis so maybe say, oh, my goodness, maybe if we change everything, things will be better. Maybe we need a different president." Um, yup, that about covers it.

Need help with your mortgage? Too bad, your state may have used that money to plug its budget deficit. This could be Exhibit A of why simply handing the states a bunch of money in the form of block grants is a bad idea. "In a budget proposed this week, California joined more than a dozen states that want to help close gaping shortfalls using money paid by the nation’s biggest banks and earmarked for foreclosure prevention, investigations of financial fraud and blunting the ill effects of the housing crisis."

Correction: The Eurozone is not in a recession. Germany saved their bacon. But the rest...

US energy independence, it's closer than you think. "The U.S. Energy Information Agency says U.S. oil imports will drop 20% by 2025. Oil giant BP projects the U.S. will get 94% of its energy domestically by 2030, up from 77% now, as oil imports fall by half... In practical terms, more energy independence could mean 3.6 million new jobs, enough to cut unemployment by two percentage points, Citigroup argues."

Jonathan Chait, on Romney's budget speech yesterday: "It’s hard to wrap your arms around Romney’s argument, because it’s an amalgamation of free-floating conservative rage and anxiety, completely untethered to any facts, as agreed upon by the relevant experts." The AP agrees on "the facts" issue. While we may laugh, this is actually setting a very dangerous precedent. Steve Benen at the Maddow Blog has been chronicling Mitt's mendacity this whole campaign; how many journalists have to say that this man is flat-out lying with every breath he takes until people understand he's not worthy of the office he seeks?

Rove's Crossroads SuperPac is going on the air with a massive $25 million ad buy. "The ad will air in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. First wave: $8 million, starting today and total of $25 million for the month." A wrinkle in the plans: The courts may force disclosure on secret donors soon.

The Club for Growth released its Tea Party scorecard on the freshmen in the House, and found that most are just not up to the task of destroying the country as we know it. Such a pity. "The conservative Club for Growth on Tuesday released a detailed scorecard for freshmen House Republicans. The Club argues that despite Tea Party rhetoric, many of the 87 member freshman class are not conservative enough." Who headed the list at 100%? That would be Michigan's own Justin Amash from the moderate and even blue-leaning CD-03. Hmmmm. Seems a decent challenger could make some headway there...

(Too angry to talk about Roy Schmidt. Hope the voters show him the door. That is all.)

Tweet of the morning reveals the mixed messages the GOP must send on the economy: Things are great! in the states where Republicans took over in '10, but things are bad! everywhere. Huh? NBC's Mark Murray: "Conflicting GOP economic messaging: RGA press release for Scott Walker touts, "Wisconsin added 20,000+ jobs last year" Off to the races...