Monday, June 11, 2012

Catnip 6/11/12: Standing On Ashbury


Ever wonder what the corner of Haight and Ashbury looks like today? Here it is, as pictured during the 2012 Street Fair, bubbles and all. There's a Ben & Jerry's, retro clothing, other stores and restaurants. And it's like that for blocks; pretty cool, but in the end just a nice shopping district that takes advantage of the history of the area. The Street Fair was awesome, great food, bands, and nifty baubles - but also hot, crowded, and commercialized. Imagine my disappointment at seeing a booth for Amway.

Ahh well, what can you do. The revolution moved on long ago.

Just a spot of news:

Crisis? What crisis? Vacation! ABC News reports on the House schedule, and they don't seem so concerned about getting any work done anytime soon. "The House was off the week of May 21 and the first two days of the following week. They came back for seven work days and now they are gone again for another week. When they come back from this break, they will have eight work days before their one-week recess to celebrate July 4th. Then comes their five week August summer vacation, starting August 3 and extending through the first week of September."

But that's the GOP playbook, and even the Guardian sees it. "In the end, that might be the worst part of all – one of two major political parties in America is engaging in scorched-earth economic policies that are undercutting the economic recovery, possibly on purpose, and is forcing job-killing austerity measures on the states. And they have paid absolutely no political price for doing so." Time to make the case, Democrats.

E.J. Dionne Jr. asks the question that has always burned in my mind: Why don't the Democrats stick up for the good, job-creating aspects of government? "Let’s turn Ronald Reagan’s declaration on its head: Opposition to government isn’t the solution. Opposition to government was and remains the problem. It is past time that we affirm government’s ability to heal the economy, and its responsibility for doing so." Cheers. Let's go.

The highway bill is a prime example of how the Republicans are holding back job creation. Talks are at a standstill again, and a multi-year deal looks out of reach. What a shock.

Michigan, my Michigan. The Obama campaign is headed for the state to trumpet the success of the auto industry - not just the automakers, but the rest of the state economy as well. A "weeklong spotlight on other manufacturers, restaurants, tourist spots and firms that benefitted from the auto recovery, according to campaign," and Carl Levin kicks off the event with a presser today. Did the EPIC poll spook them? Gongwer tweets this morning that Romney will pull a "me too!" and visit the state June 19th.

Exports are dropping again, but still up overall. "U.S. exports declined in April for the first time since November, dropping $1.5 billion from March, or 0.8%, to $182.9 billion, the government said Friday. Imports also sagged, suggesting Europe's economic turmoil and slowing in China are affecting U.S. trade. In the first four months of the year, U.S. exports of goods to the 27-member European Union grew just 3.5% from the same period a year ago." But Spain fixes things, right? Right?

Romney's energy policy is all over the board - but the things he highlights spell potential catastrophe as far as fossil fuel use and climate change regulations go. "The Republican presidential candidate talks about building nuclear plants, opening up virtually every part of U.S. land and waters to oil and gas drilling, exploiting coal and stripping the EPA of much of its authority, especially when it comes to regulating greenhouse gases." So basically the Republican plan is: Use as much as the earth as we can and let it pollute our environment as we do so. To hell with job creation, and climate problems, and future generations - we want it all, right now.

Running behind this morning, so that's it for now...