Thursday, May 31, 2012

Catnip 5/31/12: The Overlooked Star


The Bay Bridge during the Supermoon. The Bay Bridge was completed in 1936, before the Golden Gate. At the time, it was the longest span in the world. It opened up San Francisco to further development and at the same time it sealed Oakland's fate - for people just kept on going once they got here...

Back to today.

Hey, has anyone noticed that Romney really sucked as a governor? While this line of engagement may have its drawbacks, it's certainly important to point out the record. Jamelle Bouie: "If the Obama campaign can knock him from his pedestal of competence with attacks on his governorship, as well as Bain Capital, they will have undermined his image as an acceptable alternative, and dealt a huge blow to his campaign." But Bouie asks the billion dollar question: Will the mainstream press bother to make the facts something other than the usual "he said, she said" argument, with no critical evaluation of the claims being made? How is that working out so far?

Congress, still dysfunctional. "President Barack Obama asked Congress to pass bills to keep student loan interest rates from doubling, prevent domestic abuse and fund the nation’s highway system. But never underestimate Congress’s ability to fumble a can’t-miss play. Now, the slate of issues that lawmakers thought would be a cinch are stuck in a legislative morass, fitting perfectly into Obama’s election-year argument that Congress is a band of incompetents who can’t even agree on curbing domestic violence or shielding college students from ballooning loan payments." Same story; Republicans are insisting on "my way or the highway", and when bills fail, they try to score political points off the failure. SSDD.

The Commerce Department has now slapped import duties on Chinese-made wind turbine towers. Domestic producers are happy, but with the expiration of the Production Tax Credit looming, no one is going to be selling anything anyway for the time being.

Robert Reich points out what should be obvious: If you cut government spending, and cut worker's wages, you take demand out of the economy, and nobody wins. Duh. Matt Yglesias warns of a coming global recession due in no small part to Europe's austerity policy and China's slowing production, although the Chinese are about to embark on another round of stimulus spending soon. That's not necessarily a good thing.

E.J. Dionne Jr., on Wisconsin: "Walker is being challenged not because he pursued conservative policies but because Wisconsin has become the most glaring example of a new and genuinely alarming approach to politics on the right. It seeks to use incumbency to alter the rules and tilt the legal and electoral playing field decisively toward the interests of those in power." Pay attention, America. It's happening everywhere, and it will happen at the federal level if Republicans take Congress and the WH. And maybe, just maybe, you don't get to vote them out next time around.

Molly Ball at The Atlantic dissects the Wisconsin recall race and points out why the Democrats seem to be falling behind. Short answer: Money, time, and national party intensity. Republicans stepped up to the plate with assistance for Walker, and the Democrats fell into in-fighting, withheld financial assistance, and distanced themselves from the effort. They still are in striking distance though, so don't count it over yet.

Time to debunk another Romney lie, this time concerning stimulus money going to "friends and family" of Obama. H/T to Greg Sargent who cites Michael Grunwald at Time: "And it turns out that the inspector general never testified that stimulus contracts were steered to friends and family. He said his office was investigating whether stimulus contracts were steered to friends and family. So far, it hasn’t confirmed that any were." Romney's source? A rabid right-winger who writes liberal-hate books and worked for Breitbart and Palin.

Seinfeld premiered 22 years ago today. Wow.

And with that, I'm off to watch the sands of time drift away on yet another 24 hours...