Krugman and the Obama enigma

The economist is as exasperated as the rest of us:

People tend to forget how close the 2008 presidential race looked as late as August, and the immense frustration many Democrats felt with Barack Obama at the time. He seemed weirdly unwilling to drive home his case against Bush/McCain economic policies; his instinct, as people said, was apparently to go for the capillaries.


The hard-hitting and effective campaign against Romney led many people to believe that this wasn’t going to happen again. But in the first debate, there was Capillary Man once again.


I really don’t know what this is about.

The Petemobile is on its way

I can’t wait:

WASHINGTON — Billionaire private equity mogul Peter Peterson is investing millions of dollars in a new Washington-based campaign for austerity, planning to blanket the airwaves after the election to bolster the case for a “grand bargain” in Congress’ lame-duck session that would slash Medicare and Social Security spending in exchange for new tax revenue.


The new Campaign to Fix the Debt is chaired by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, and former New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican. It’s priming for lame-duck negotiations over the expirations of the payroll tax cut and the Bush tax cuts, as well as scheduled cuts to defense and non-defense spending.


Peterson’s allies aren’t waiting for the election, however. In New Hampshire, the co-chairmen of the 2010 Simpson-Bowles commission — former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson and former Clinton White House official Erskine Bowles — have endorsed incumbent Republican Rep. Charlie Bass, who supported a budget bill with many of their austerity recommendations, over progressive Democrat Annie Kuster. Bowles and Simpson have become fashionable politically, so Bass is taking full advantage of their endorsement, running full-page ads in newspapers across the state.


Kuster, who lost a squeaker to Bass in 2010, has hit back hard. “Let me be clear: I will never cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. My Tea Party opponent will,” she said in a statement.


But it will take more than Annie Kuster to stave off the coming campaign to cut federal spending. The two parties have been in budget talks for the better part of two years, and Bob Woodward’s new book, “The Price of Politics,” portrays a president obsessed with getting a “big deal.” President Barack Obama was ready before to agree to dramatic cuts, including to Social Security and Medicare, in exchange for new taxes, but Republicans ultimately refused to yield.

Fast food for ‘Biblical families’

The gay-bashing chicken man speaks:

In one of his first interviews since the controversy that surrounded his chain of restaurants, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy did not say much — but did mention his support for “Biblical families…”

Say what?

From Firedoglake:

Biblical families? Does that mean he supports…

Plural marriages – those are in the Good Book…
Incest?
Selling daughters into slavery…?

Who’s afraid of the fiscal cliff?

Kevin Drum:

Sarah Binder writes today that she doesn’t expect this year’s lame duck session of Congress to conclude a deal that will avert the “fiscal cliff” our legi-lemmings are set to march over on December 31. She has three reasons, and the first two boil down to the fact that Republicans aren’t likely to suddenly stop being crazy just because we had an election, even if Obama wins.1 I can buy that. But here’s reason #3:

Third, I’m somewhat skeptical that Democrats would have the political fortitude to go over the cliff. Democrats could have stuck to their guns in the lame duck of 2010, forcing Republicans (still in the minority) to swallow an increase in upper income tax rates as the price for extending the middle class tax cuts. That’s not the strategy Democrats chose then, and it strikes me as equally unlikely in 2012 with a GOP House majority. Going over the cliff requires Democrats to take ownership of raising taxes on the middle class at Christmas. That might be the strategically wise move for bolstering Democrats’ leverage come January. But it also strikes me as an electorally doubtful holiday gift to voters.


I’m not so sure about this. In this case, I think I’m with folks who like to refer to this event as a fiscal slope rather than a fiscal cliff. Their general point is that we don’t all suddenly pay thousands of dollars in taxes and cut billions of dollars in spending at the stroke of midnight on January 1st. This stuff all phases in over time.

I think, as always, that Kevin Drum is overly optimistic.

Take heed, fellow cynics

From Truthdig:

We can take away two lessons from the first high-profile oral argument of the Supreme Court’s new term, which began Monday. Lesson No. 1 is that the court is already a hard-right institution. Lesson No. 2 is that the re-election of President Barack Obama is more crucial than ever if the court’s movement to the right is to be slowed or possibly reversed…

Lehrer likened to replacement refs

From The Raw Story:

PBS Executive Editor Jim Lehrer was criticized in various media circles for his performance during Wednesday’s first presidential debate after losing control of the proceedings and allegedly letting Republican candidate Mitt Romney “push him around…”

Outbreak

Well, I told my doctor I wasn’t crazy about the idea of getting epidural injections for neck pain, and now, even less so:

(CNN) — A non-contagious, fungal form of meningitis has sickened 26 people in five states, killing four, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

Five additional cases were reported in Tennessee, health officials said Tuesday. The total number of cases in that state is 18.
Three cases have been reported in Virginia, two each in Florida and Maryland and one in North Carolina, the CDC said. Two people have died in Tennessee, one in Virginia and one in Maryland.

All of those infected had received steroid injections to the spine.

The Tennessee victims range in age from 49 to 89, state Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner said Wednesday. Department spokesman Woody McMillin said Tuesday 11 patients were hospitalized.

“The prime suspect for this outbreak is methylprednisolone acetate,” Dreyzehner said Wednesday.

Methylprednisolone acetate is an injectible steroid product used to treat pain and inflammation.

Dirty rotten Drudge

From ThinkProgress:

Matt Drudge continues to capture the attention of the polical media “because of his brand recognition and, in 2012, because he has a direct line to the Romney campaign.”

But Drudge has used this position to continually mislead the public and the media. Tuesday night’s “bombshell” was just one of many recent examples. Here are 10 completely fake banner stories by Drudge in 2012…

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