Monday, May 07, 2012

Catnip 5/7/12


Reflections on Transamerica. I don't really have any, just thought this was a cool shot.

Just a bit 'o news today.

* SuperPacs. Not just for the presidential race anymore. Talking Points Memo found that all your favorites that have pumped money into the GOP primary campaigns are also running their nasty attack ads in state level races as well - and sometimes it's against their own. Of particular interest to the big money Tea Party players is removing Indiana Republican Dick Lugar from office; the Pac attack there has spent $2.5 million on the contest. All together the Super's have spent $12 million in state level races.

* And while we are on the subject of the hostage-takers, Steve Pearlstein at the WaPo notices a local example of how newly-elected Republicans on a county board in Virginia killed a much-needed infrastructure project just to stick it to the Democrats and the labor unions. Government shutdown threats, anyone? "What we’re dealing with here is yet another example of government by hijacking. If we don’t get everything we want, we’ll kill the project, we’ll close the government, we’ll put the U.S. Treasury into default... In this poisonous political atmosphere, every little disagreement becomes a test of wills that must be fought until a total victory is won. It’s not about what’s good for the country, or the state, or the county — it’s all about politics and winning."

* Remember how Arnold Schwarzenegger was a rising star in the Republican Party? Whatever happened to that? If you read the first two points, you can probably guess. "In the current climate, the extreme right wing of the party is targeting anyone who doesn't meet its strict criteria. Its new and narrow litmus test for party membership doesn't allow compromise," Schwarzenegger wrote in an op-ed column published Sunday in the Los Angeles Times. As of now, it sounds Arnold won't be back.

* Voters in Europe say "no" to austerity. Pay attention, America. And look, Krugman called this right again: "What’s wrong with the prescription of spending cuts as the remedy for Europe’s ills? One answer is that the confidence fairy doesn’t exist — that is, claims that slashing government spending would somehow encourage consumers and businesses to spend more have been overwhelmingly refuted by the experience of the past two years. So spending cuts in a depressed economy just make the depression deeper."

* While Vice President Joe Biden re-affirms his support for gay marriage, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan also lends his voice to the "aye" side, North Carolina is set to vote on a consitutional ban tomorrow. The measure would also take away the option of civil unions. Weird quirk in the polling: A majority of voters in North Carolina support gay marriage and civil unions, and a majority will vote to ban both. Go figure. Lack of information about the proposal seems to be the problem here.

* Polls, polls, polls... don't really mean a thing right now, except that they are good for watching trending lines. That being said, there are two new "battleground" state polls out today. Politico/George Washington University finds Romney up 48-47 over President Obama, and USA Today/Gallup has Obama up 47-45. Let the parsing begin...

* The Financial Times sounds the warning on expiring renewable energy credits here in America. Although renewable energy use has doubled between the years of 2006-2011 - roughly one in seven American homes being powered with renewables now - the expiring credits will bring the industry to a halt. "Most of these technologies are unable to stand on their own commercially, particularly in competition with a resurgent natural gas industry that has created a supply glut and driven prices to 10-year lows. Without a change of direction in Washington, the US renewable energy industry faces shrinking markets, business failures and tens of thousands of job cuts." Congress? Oh wait, nevermind...

 Onward. We hope.