Friday, May 11, 2012

Catnip 5/11/12


So, how about that Brandon Inge, huh?


WaPo fact-checker Greg Kessler is launching a new category when it comes to campaign claims this year: "Repeat offender." What prompted this? Mitt Romney and his claims about the auto industry rescue. What else can you do, when you have present the facts over and over and refuted Romney's talking points time and time again, and Mitt still clings to his now thoroughly discredited story? Character. It matters.

J.P. Morgan Chase. $2 billion, down the drain on a bad bet on derivatives. Awaiting the new fees on my checking account. The bank still earned around $4 billion in the first quarter.

New ABC/WaPo poll out this morning finds - you guessed it! - mixed results on the issues facing America.. Obama fares far better than Mitt in popularity and personal likability, but for whatever reason, the party who crashed the economy still receives more trust on the economy. Full results here.

When it comes to gay rights, we're talking "legacy" now. "But it’s now clear that the Obama administration has quietly accumulated an impressive and unprecedented record on gay rights. Indeed, with his health-care reform bill in jeopardy of being overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by a future Congress, there’s a real possibility that his efforts for gay equality will prove to be his most enduring legacy. The history books may remember Obama for doing for gays what Lyndon Johnson did for African Americans: Leading his party across a bridge to an irrevocable position on civil rights."

Remember how Republicans were going to "repeal and replace" Obamacare? Yeah, well, don't hold your breath on the "replace" part. "Ditching a comprehensive proposal could also make it easier for Republicans to steer the public’s focus away from popular elements of the Affordable Care Act that are unlikely to make the cut in a GOP plan." What is the GOP plan? You get a tax cut if you buy your own policy. If you can't afford a policy? Too bad for you. And too bad for the entire healthcare system, because we would be back to where we started - with millions and millions of people without insurance.

The cuts to federal unemployment extended benefits kick in this weekend. Around 230,000 people lose their benefits immediately, bringing the total to nearly 400,000 for this year. "The GAO estimates that 2 million people exhausted unemployment benefits as of early 2010, and although some had spouses or accumulated assets for financial support, nearly one in five fell into poverty."

As expected, the House passed the Ryan bill that not only breaks the deal they reached on the debt ceiling last year, but protects defense spending at the expense of children, the sick and the elderly. "To do that, the committees cut food stamps, children’s health insurance and Medicaid, eliminated the Social Services Block Grant to state and local governments (which pay for Meals on Wheels, child abuse prevention and other programs) and eliminated a new fund intended to help the government liquidate failed financial giants. Of the savings, $23.5 billion came from Medicaid and children’s health care; $4.2 billion from hospitals that serve the poor and uninsured; and $33.7 billion from supplemental nutrition assistance." Priorities on display. It never passes the Senate, and the WH said "veto".

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker admits that his budget (and governance) is a divide-and-conquer strategy devised soley to bust unions and turn the cheeseheads into a red state. It's on tape and everything. Politico labels this "Armageddon in Wisconsin", pointing out that the nation's battle between the reactionaries and the progressives starts here. "It’s a proxy war, a swing-state fight that’s being closely watched — and even choreographed, to a degree — by the presidential campaigns and the party committees who are looking for clues into the November election landscape."

Jonathan Alter takes a closer look at the real division in this election, when it comes to candidates, parties and principle: "Labels such as 'conservative' and 'liberal' are worn out. 'Right-wing' doesn’t fit Romney, who describes himself as 'severely conservative' but isn’t a wing nut. 'Left-wing' is an inaccurate description of the president, whose most 'leftist' initiative -- Obamacare -- is modeled on plans proposed by those noted Bolsheviks Bob Dole and Howard Baker. A more useful distinction may be between venture capitalists and human capitalists." Emphasis mine.

The view from the cheap seats.