Friday, July 27, 2012

Catnip 7/27/12: Muir Beach Overlook


The Muir Beach Overlook as the fog advances on the coast. It overtook us about 20 minutes later. The overlook is beautiful (1000 px), with trails and trees and WWII base end stations that kept an eye out for Japanese ships when SF was thought to be a target. See picture of them below.

News you can use:

The Great Recession wasn't as Great as advertised. "Real gross domestic product shrank 4.7% between late 2007 and the middle of 2009 — not the 5.1% initially estimated, the Commerce Department says. In 2009, America’s economy contracted 3.1%, much less than the earlier estimate of 3.5%." How can that be? Turns out that cash sent to the states kept the bottom from falling out, and that policy actually fueled growth in construction and other areas. Go figure.

There is a case to be made that today's GDP numbers would be better if Republicans in Congress had not blocked the Jobs Act or other economic stimulus measures. See above. We have had 12 consecutive quarters of growth, so that's something.

More on the GDP from the WH that advances the argument. "Over the last three years, the economy has expanded by 6.7 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 9.9 percent... Since the Recovery Act funds have been phasing out, however, declining State and local government activity has subtracted from GDP. Indeed, today’s report indicates that State and local government purchases have declined for 11 straight quarters, the longest streak ever recorded since the official record of quarterly data began in 1947." Translation: Red states and Republican governors cutting spending has hurt the overall economy, as was reported by The Nation early this year. More money in the original stimulus package was needed, and who insisted that be smaller?

I read the news today, oh boy, and "Mitt the Twit", the headlines read. "Do we have another Palin on our hands?" asked a popular British commentator. No, it doesn't mean a thing to voters in the swing states, but geez, how embarrassing for a country that is a supposed "world leader". Obama wins on foreign policy polling hands down, and it doesn't look like this trip is going to improve Romney's numbers.

GOP outspending Obama across the nation. Too soon? Probably not, because the billionaires have no intention of letting up. This is chump change to them. "Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his conservative allies are outspending President Obama in every swing state except Pennsylvania this week, dropping nearly $8 million more on television advertising than the incumbent, according to sources watching the TV market." And guess what, it's expected to "surge" after Labor Day.

Obama is running a positive ad during the Olympics. Interesting choice, as it is said that positive ads don't work - but perhaps a ray of light through all the mud that has been this campaign will stand out more and be the exception to the rule.

Congress is working on a six-month stopgap spending bill to avoid a shutdown fight on September 30th. No surprise there. But buried in the story is this curious detail - the GOP is refusing to address the various business tax credits that expire at the end of the year, which has the big-buck buddies that are fueling Republican campaign coffers rather nervous. Items like R & D and renewable energy breaks are on the line. "A series of Ways and Means Committee hearings this week, which included testimony from lawmakers from across the ideological spectrum, demonstrated little GOP unity over which of the more than 100 provisions should be extended, throwing into serious doubt any ability to pass a package that’s coveted by business lobbyists." Turns out the Tea Party is bad for business.

Republicans are playing cover-your-ass on the farm bill, and may agree to a one-year deal that contains drought relief so they don't have to face the pitchforks at the county fairs when they go home in August. Why the Dems don't use this bill as leverage is beyond me.

Strong summer storms are threatening the ozone layer. Throw another log on the climate change fire. So to speak.

On the subject of climate change, Big Fossil Fuel Mitt told a crowd in London last night that the EPA "has to see itself as being responsible for our air and water and not take action which can prevent us from taking advantage of the extraordinary energy resources we have, such as coal, oil, natural gas." Um, it's oil and coal and to a certain extent natural gas that are mucking up the clean air and water, dufus. In other words, Romney won't do a thing to mitigate the human element contributing to the destruction of our environment.

The Brits are vowing to run the greenest Olympic games ever, although pollution levels are high in the country and may hinder long-distance athletes and events. The UK is in the midst of a summer heat wave.

One more day until the weekend...