Thursday, March 22, 2012

Last Call

History is rewritten by the winners. Here's a serious question for the assemblage: If President Obama's record is so awful, why are the Republicans so eager to rewrite the history of what he's accomplished? Greg Sargent:

Keep an eye on this one, too, because it will also be central to GOP efforts to rewrite the history of the Obama presidency. In his big Wall Street Journal Op ed piece today attacking Obama’s campaign documentary and minimizing the magnitude of the economic crisis Obama inherited, Karl Rove also claims the killing of Osama Bin Laden was no big deal.

Yeah, stop for a sec. Rewind. Play back. The crisis was minimal, so it was really President Obama's unnecessary efforts at government intervention that "created" the financial crisis and ramped up unemployment. And as far as our late former Saudi ally is concerned, well Big Dog would have made that call too, Rove says. How can this President possibly take any credit for that?

 Rove goes on to say that the President has been lying about everything: the stimulus, health care reform and his mother's battle with insurance companies and cancer, Afghanistan, Iran, and of course the death of bin Laden. But hold on, I thought the President hadn't accomplished anything, that he sat on his hands all day and campaigned for re-election for the last several years. Basic stuff is now disappearing down the memory hole, like the lies that Mitt Romney regularly tells about the President's record.

 Now we're seeing a concerted effort to define the Obama administration as the source of the financial crisis. Romney of course said yesterday that it was President Bush and his SecTreas, Hank Paulson, who "prevented another Great Depression" while the FOX News crew keeps insisting that the bank bailout was all President Obama's idea, equating the stimulus to the bailout. They're not the same. The GOP wants it to be.

They want to rewrite history to say that the financial meltdown would have been fixed by Bush except Obama came in and screwed everything up and made it worse. The fact that Bush's policies helped create the crisis in the first place is irrelevant to this President's re-election. So yes, the race is now on to define the "crisis" as only existing from January 20, 2009 and on. Sargent himself adds this:

This comical level of dissembling and mendacity is to be expected from Rove. But it’s a bit surprising that the Journal’s editors either didn’t think to check such an obviously ridiculous representation of Clinton’s quote, or worse, that they just waved Rove’s dishonesty through in the full knowledge of what Clinton had actually said.

You haven't been paying much attention to how this works much, have you Greg? Spreading mendacious dishonesty is what Karl Rove does professionally.

I've Set 'Em Correct With The Effect Of The Gas Face

The Associated Press crunches the numbers on Drill Baby Drill over the last 36 years and finds there's no correlation whatsoever between increased domestic oil production and reductions in gas prices.

A statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production by The Associated Press shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.

If more domestic oil drilling worked as politicians say, you'd now be paying about $2 a gallon for gasoline. Instead, you're paying the highest prices ever for March.

Shocking, I know.  Instead, the opposite almost appears to be true.

Sometimes prices increase as American drilling ramps up. That's what has happened in the past three years. Since February 2009, U.S. oil production has increased 15 percent when seasonally adjusted. Prices in those three years went from $2.07 per gallon to $3.58. It was a case of drilling more and paying much more.

What about when US oil production decreases?

Seasonally adjusted U.S. oil production dropped steadily from February 1986 until three years ago. But starting in March 1986, inflation-adjusted gas prices fell below the $2-a-gallon mark and stayed there for most of the rest of the 1980s and 1990s. Production between 1986 and 1999 dropped by nearly one-third. If the drill-now theory were correct, prices should have soared. Instead they went down by nearly a dollar.

So what's the cause?

Unlike natural gas or electricity, the United States alone does not have the power to change the supply-and-demand equation in the world oil market, said Christopher Knittel, a professor of energy economics at MIT. American oil production is about 11 percent of the world's output, so even if the U.S. were to increase its oil production by 50 percent — that is more than drilling in the Arctic, increased public-lands and offshore drilling, and the Canadian pipeline would provide — it would at most cut gas prices by 10 percent.

"There are not many markets where the United States can't impose its will on market outcomes," Knittel said. "This is one we can't, and it's hard for the average American to understand that and it's easy for politicians to feed off that."

So yes, Newt is lying.  Sarah Palin is lying.  Drilling won't matter a damn bit.  Now, another financial crisis, well...


The White House is apparently tired of the Ryan Plan and is not taking the Serious Centrist bait.  At all.  WH spokeman Jay Carney on Wednesday:

Among the many serious problems with the Ryan budget, Republican budget proposal, is its dramatic cuts in some of the absolutely essential programs that we need to sustain and the investments that we need to make to secure America's economic future.  Education, Pell grants is one; investments in clean energy is another.

I mean, again, it is -- you have to be aggressively and deliberately ignorant of the world economy not to know and understand that clean energy technologies are going to play a huge role in the 21st century.  You have to have severely diminished capacity to understand what drives economic growth in industrialized countries in this century if you do not understand that education is the key that unlocks the door to prosperity.  The budget proposed by Chairman Ryan and supported overwhelmingly already by Republicans suggests that those problems exist in the minds of the supporters of that plan.

Yeah.  You can take your Ryan Plan, and you can suck it.  This is the proper response to a budget that is a work of Randian fantasy fan fiction and should be dismissed out of hand as a cruel joke perpetrated on the American public.

Glad to see the White House make a smoking crater of this.  More, please.

Well Now, That's Just Spiffy Part 2

Finnish mobile phone developer Nokia has filed for a patent on a magnetic, vibrating tattoo or badge that alerts users when their phones are ringing.

According to the official patent filing, the apparatus would be able to detect a magnetic field and transfer a "perceivable stimulus" to users. The device could notify people about an incoming call, text or dead battery.

That's just cool, and a small step away from one that you plant behind your ear that is sensitive enough to play and capture your voice.

And another reason for a tattoo. Win-win-win.

Well Now, That's Just Spiffy

Imagine a military surveillance robot that looks and moves like a jellyfish and can ply the seas indefinitely by powering itself with ocean water.

A team of researchers at Virginia Tech, the University of Texas, and several other schools are working to develop just such a device.

In a paper published yesterday in the journal Smart Materials and Structures, team members outlined their recent progress on the "Robojelly" project, which is being funded by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research.

Made of a combination of silicone and various high-tech materials, the Robojelly uses oxygen and hydrogen gases in seawater to trigger a chemical reaction that causes its artificial muscles to contract. The muscular motion copies that of the moon jellyfish, which allows water into its "bell" and then closes the bell to push the water out and create a jet that moves the creature along.

I wonder why they went straight to military surveillance. I suppose it would work in a limited capacity, but my thoughts were it could help us map the ocean, scout for wrecks and history, gather tiny samples, perhaps. Unlock some of the mysteries that cover two-thirds of our planet.

But yeah, I guess there are military applications as well. It's just depressing that it is the first place they went.

Governor Etch-A-Sketch Gets Scorched

As JM Ashby notes over at Bob Cesca's place, Slick Rick has wasted zero time going after Mitt Romney's latest gaffe and he's swinging hard.

As ThinkProgress first noted this morning, Mitt Romney senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney can “restart” in the general election, should he win the GOP nomination — “almost like an Etch A Sketch.” Challenger Rick Santorum, who has sought to portray Romney as inconsistent, pounced on the statement. His campaign sent an email to reporters, calling the comments “shocking” and saying it shows Romney “will change positions.” Later, Santorum himself took up the attack, telling a crowd in Louisiana that the comment shows Romney will “say what he needs to say to win the election that is before him, and if he has to say something different, because it’s a different election and a different group of voters, he’s willing to say that too.”

And this is Romney's braintrust basically admitting that anything Mitt Romney says before he's nominated is null and void.  You don't get more cynical and jaded than that, and Santorum knows it.

Of course Mitt Romney will "change positions" after the nomination.  If he doesn't, he'll lose by even more than Santorum would as the nominee.  There's a word when you change positions and then completely deny the fact that you changed positions:  Lie.

Rachel Maddow rips into Mittens over everything Etch-A-Sketch and calls him out on those lies.

And yes, she outright calls Mitt Romney a liar.  Point blank.  Several, several times.  Because Mitt Romney is a liar who lies.  Constantly.

In the general election, he figures you're too stupid to recall he's a liar, or that the Village will give him "President Obama is just as bad!" cover.  He's counting on both.  Maddow here at least calls him on the act.  More of this, please.

William The Bloody Has A Sad

Bill Kristol is feeling blue about the red states' chances of taking over in 2012.

Watching Mitt Romney's victory speech in Illinois didn't reassure me about his chances against President Obama. (Watch it yourself to see if I'm being unfair.) Romney's remarks consisted basically of the claim that the business of America is business, that he's a businessman who understands business, and that we need "economic freedom" not for the sake of freedom but to allow business to fuel the economy. It's true that Romney will have plenty of time to improve for the general election, if, as seems likely (but still not inevitable!), he wins the nomination. But if he sticks with this core message, we'd better hope Republicans and independents are really determined to get rid of Barack Obama. 

Republicans are, frankly.  Beat Obama is all that matters to them.  But actual swing voters and independents?  They're siding with the President in increasing numbers.

Imagine that.  Bill Kristol being wrong about something.


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