Monday, October 29, 2012

Storm's A Comin'


The Pacific, where things are a little calmer today....

Some stories you might like:

Mitt Romney In GOP Debate: Shut Down FEMA, Send Responsibility To The States A Romney official reaffirmed the former governor's position Sunday evening in an email. "Gov. Romney wants to ensure states, who are the first responders and are in the best position to aid impacted individuals and communities, have the resources and assistance they need to cope with natural disasters," the Romney official said. (with video from debate)

Sargent: "There’s another nugget here worth highlighting, though. In that appearance, Romney also suggested it would be 'even better' to send any and all responsibilities of the federal government 'to the private sector,' disaster response included. So: Romney essentially favored privatizing disaster response."

Romney Budget Cuts FEMA at least 34%: More prosaically, though the Romney campaign was understandably circumspect over the weekend about his spending plans the fact is that his overall budget requires sharp cuts in everything. The central issue is that Romney wants to cap government spending at 20 percent of GDP while boosting military spending to 4 percent of GDP and leaving Social Security harmless. That means a 34 percent across-the-board cut in other programs according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Unless, that is, Medicare is also exempted from the cuts in which case you'd need a 53 percent cut.

Paul Ryan Opposed New Obama-Backed Disaster Aid Regime "Ryan earlier this year tried to gut it and eliminate $10 billion a year in disaster costs when putting together the House GOP budget. But in doing so Ryan sideswiped a still-powerful Appropriations Committee that was still stinging from $19 billion in Budget Committee-induced cuts to last year's deal. Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., protested to GOP leaders and won a gentleman's agreement that the new system would stay in place, at least for this year. However, Ryan's point of view might still prevail if Mitt Romney defeats Obama in November. (from August)

Krugman: The War on Objectivity: For those new to this, Nate is a sports statistician turned political statistician, who has been maintaining a model that takes lots and lots of polling data... Well, his results look good for Obama, so it must be a cheat.... This is, of course, reminiscent of the attack on the Bureau of Labor Statistics — not to mention the attacks on climate science and much more. On the right, apparently, there is no such thing as an objective calculation. Everything must have a political motive... It means that if these people triumph, science — or any kind of scholarship — will become impossible. Everything must pass a political test; if it isn’t what the right wants to hear, the messenger is subjected to a smear campaign.

Romney still pushing Jeep-to-China lie: This is a pattern of behavior consistent with pathological dishonesty that goes far beyond the normal spin and fact-butchering of politics-as-usual. It's the kind of carefully crafted deception that has become the hallmark of Mitt Romney and his campaign. It's a serious character flaw, and if you're troubled by it when Romney is merely the Republican nominee, imagine how much worse it would be with him in the White House.

Um, maybe we don't want to do this: "Absent new action, next year the US government’s budget footprint will contract more rapidly than those of Greece, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy, all countries where post-crisis austerity measures sent protesters into the streets and growth plunging." A prediction of a 5.1% contraction of the GDP would be one of the most severe austerity programs in the world - and it would take the rest of the world down with it.

FALTERING SATELLITE PLANS COULD HURT FORECASTS: The New York Times reports: "The United States is facing a year or more without crucial satellites that provide invaluable data for predicting storm tracks, a result of years of mismanagement, lack of financing and delays in launching replacements, according to several recent official reviews. The looming gap in satellite coverage, which some experts view as almost certain within the next few years, could result in shaky forecasts about storms like Hurricane Sandy."

The ‘Frankenstorm’ in climate context: “It’s easy to say, as some climatologists have, that ‘climate change is present in every single meteorological event.’ As you’ll hear below, some climate scientists are telling me this event is precisely what you’d expect following a summer in which much of the Arctic Ocean was open water…There are several areas in which greenhouse-driven warming is thought to be a potential influence. The first is in the buildup of heat in southern surface waters.”

Romney flip-flops on the wind energy tax credit: "Romney now wants a wind-subsidy ‘phaseout.’ “The wind industry, fighting to hold onto a generous tax credit set to expire in December, has been arguing that it does not need the support forever — just a little while longer, until it can compete with fossil fuels on its own…[W]hile campaigning on Friday in Iowa, a state with a lot of wind business, Mr. Romney seemed to be opening the door to a different position -- or at least allowing himself some wiggle room should a compromise be found. ‘We will support nuclear and renewables but phase out subsidies once an industry is on its feet,’ he said, without offering more specifics. Opponents of the tax credit say the wind industry is looking for a never-ending hand-out, but some Republicans support extending the credit as long as it includes an explicit phaseout over a set number of years.”

LCV RELAUNCHES ROMNEY WIND ENERGY AD: The group is putting a fresh $850,000 into its ad from earlier this month, which features laid-off Colorado wind turbine worker Chris Maese. “I got laid off because Mitt Romney and his friends in Congress want to eliminate tax credits for the wind industry,” Maese says. “I think Mitt Romney is not in touch with the little guy. He's always been a supporter of Big Oil. He has friends that are in the Big Oil industry.”

Romney Avoids Taxes via Loophole Cutting Mormon Donations In this instance, Romney used the tax-exempt status of a charity -- the Mormon Church, according to a 2007 filing -- to defer taxes for more than 15 years. At the same time he is benefitting, the trust will probably leave the church with less than what current law requires, according to tax returns obtained by Bloomberg this month through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Efforts to cut funding for Planned Parenthood at state level fall short: “Social conservatives launched a new and sweeping effort last year to use state laws to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood. It’s not working…The approach initially seemed to pose a legitimate threat to Planned Parenthood because Medicaid is a joint state-federal program. But courts have said the states cannot deny women access to providers who meet the federal requirements to qualify for Medicaid — and Planned Parenthood does.” 

Personal Spending, Income Up In September: "Americans increased their spending in September at twice the rate their income rose, a sign of confidence in the economy. The Commerce Department said Monday that consumer spending increased 0.8 percent in September. That followed a 0.5 percent gain in August and was the best showing since February. Personal income rose 0.4 percent, an improvement from a slight 0.1 percent gain in August and the best gain since March."