Thursday, July 26, 2012

Catnip 7/26/12: Dream The Impossible Dream


Great story in the DNews about Brandon Inge and the upstart A's. Everybody is having fun, and it shows. The A's moved into second place in their division yesterday (by a mere silver of a percentage point) and are only 5 games out of first right now. Dare to dream!

So many absurdities, so little time...

Mitt Romney. Better than you. Not only is he running around America questioning whether President Obama is in over his head (and by extension, whether the voters made a competent decision when we hired him), now he has taken his smarter-than-thou act on the road and insulted the host country of the Olympics. Mittens questioned whether the security is adequate, and pondered whether or not the British are "enthused" enough for the games. "Mr Romney questioned the enthusiasm of the British public. 'Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment?' he asked. 'That's something which we only find out once the Games actually begin.' However, the presidential challenger later back-tracked on the comments at a press conference on Thursday morning." Good show, chap!

Perhaps Mitt is just disappointed that the Games didn't outsource more of the jobs and material to China, just like he did for the Salt Lake Games. "Like the uniforms in 2012 and in 2002, when Mitt Romney ran the Salt Lake Olympics much of its official memorabilia was manufactured overseas, including a 9/11 commemorative pin and another fashioned in the shape of Romney’s head." Mitt even outsourced the patron-purchased commemorative granite bricks used to build a plaza in SLC, even though there was plenty of home-grown granite nearby. "It’s extraordinary,” Romney told the paper, "but it’s cheaper to get it from China." Give Mitt a chance, and he will sell the entire country to the lowest bidder.

Alec MacGillis makes a great point about how the Romney campaign is essentially built around willfully distorting Obama's words and record, and how the MSM is not taking the time to take them to task for these blatant... well, lies. At this point, Romney's campaign boils down to "Obama sucks", while Mitt evades being definitive about his policy positions. The only question now is: Can attacks carry the duration of this contest? My guess is no. At some point, policy comparisons will be made, and it will become obvious that Romney is Bush on steriods and that Republican economic policy does not work - and if it still sells to the American public...

The impact of the auto industry. If anyone ever doubted how big the sector is and how important it is to our economy, keep in mind the Labor Department has based an employment model around the usual summer shutdowns for retooling to figure their statistics. A sharp drop in new unemployment claims this week can probably be attributed to this: "This year, automakers are carrying out fewer temporary plant shutdowns, throwing off the model the department uses to smooth the data for typical seasonal patterns." So where are we at? Probably sluggish but steady.

From Politico Pro, subscription only, the House will be taking a look at electric cars and battery development: "THINGS ARE LOOKING UP FOR EVS, Hogan will tell the subcommittee. "Plug-in electric vehicle sales continue to increase, with sales growth outpacing that of gasoline hybrid electric vehicles when they were first introduced. We expect to see this trend continue, as several new vehicle models were introduced earlier this year, providing additional choices for consumers considering electric drive vehicles." Looking forward to hearing more about this one.

House Republicans made the first move at killing America's investment in clean energy yesterday, even though the DOE has a better record at picking winners than most in the "private sector", even though the industry is creating thousands of jobs in America, even though the public wants to see us continue to invest in this area. Somewhere the Koch Brothers and all those who make money on oil are smiling.

Mike Pence is just in the starting blocks of consideration for becoming the governor in Indiana, and already he is exploiting loopholes in the law to benefit himself. Hoosiers, you've been warned. Got a feeling this guy will make Mitch Daniels look like a saint.

Gotta catch a train...