Jonathan Capehart: There was a great story in The Post yesterday that was nothing but good news for the American consumer. “Gas prices expected to fall further heading into summer” read the headline. Truth be told, the story isn’t new. Dropping pump prices have been reported on for about a month now.
Yet, what interested me most was the chart that accompanied yesterday’s story. It depicts the daily average price for regular gas over the last year, from May 2011 through May 2012. Were it a noise meter, it would also chart the volume of Republican hysteria over rising gas prices.
….. the national average gas price, which peaked at $3.91 in early April, was down to $3.64 on Memorial Day. That’s 17 cents cheaper than a year ago.
According to Politico, Republicans are still going to target the president on gas prices. But with fuel costs expected to continue their downward slide, the GOP can expect its credibility on this issue to follow suit.
Richard Adams (The Guardian): ….Last night – under the cover of darkness – the Mitt Romney campaign published what it claims to be a birth certificate for “Willard Mitt bin Romney”.
As we can plainly see, this is obviously a forgery, and Donald Trump and Sheriff Joe Arpaio need to get right on it. Here are the five key signs:
1. This is clearly not a birth certificate at all. It’s something called a “Certificate of Live Birth” – which suggests the obvious question: where is the birth certificate?
2. This is only the “short form” of the certificate and that is plainly inadequate. Why won’t Mitt Romney publish his “long form” birth certificate? What does he have to hide?
3. Notice that the “date of birth” is listed as March 12, 1947 – but the so-called “certificate” was filed on March 17, 1947. How can Mitt Romney explain this mysterious five day gap during which time he may (or may not) have been smuggled in from Canada? – the foreign country bordering on Michigan.
4. Using my computer I note that this “certificate” image is labeled: “Adobe Photoshop JPEG file”. Clear signs of a forgery?
5. “Father’s birthplace: Mexico”. Come on, do I have to paint you a picture for this one?
To be clear, none of these obvious errors, omissions and forgery are evidence that Mitt Romney was born abroad and has engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to conceal his foreign birth – we are merely asking questions. And putting words in italics for sinister effect. That’s all. Over to you, Donald.
LA Times: President Obama ruffled some feathers two years ago when he lambasted the Supreme Court for its Citizens United decision during a State of the Union speech. It was unusual for a president to criticize the justices as they sat before him.
Now, retired Justice John Paul Stevens has taken the equally unusual step of saying the president was right in challenging the court’s opinion.
Obama said the 5-4 ruling freeing corporations to spend unlimited sums on elections “reversed a century of law,” adding it would “open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.”
“In that succinct comment, the former professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago made three important and accurate observations about the Supreme Court majority’s opinion,” Stevens said in a speech Wednesday evening. “First, it did reverse a century of law; second, it did authorize unlimited election-related expenditures by America’s most powerful interests; and, third, the logic of the opinion extends to money spent by foreign entities.”
A person holds up four fingers for four more years as President Barack Obama speaks at the United Auto Workers conference in Washington, Feb. 28
… with UAW President Bob King
“I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time. You want to talk about values? Hard work: That’s a value. Looking out for one another: That’s a value. The idea that we’re all in it together and I’m my brother’s and sister’s keeper: That’s a value.”
Republic of Korea President Lee Myung-bak tips his Detroit Tigers baseball hat
President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at General Motors’ Orion Assembly Plant in Lake Orion, Michigan
President Obama is seen through a window backstage at the General Motors Lake Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Mich., Oct. 14. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama returns a salute as he gets off Air Force One at Air Force Base after a day trip to Michigan
AP: U.S. consumers stepped up their spending on retail goods in September, a hopeful sign for the sluggish economy.
They spent more on autos, clothing and furniture last month to boost retail sales 1.1 percent, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the largest gain in seven months.
Auto sales rose 3.6 percent to drive the overall increase. Still, excluding that category, sales gained a solid 0.6 percent.
The government also revised the August figures to show a 0.3 percent increase, up from its initial report of no gain.
Stocks rose after the release of the report, which is the government’s first look at consumer spending each month. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 87 points in afternoon trading. Broader indexes also rose.
A separate Commerce report showed that businesses added to their stockpiles for a 20th consecutive month in August while sales rose for a third straight month. The increase suggests businesses were confident enough in the economy to keep stocking their shelves.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood feigns being a blocking back for President Barack Obama as he arrives backstage to meet with GOP House leaders, January 2010
AP: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the most prominent Republican in President Barack Obama’s administration, accused GOP House members Friday of putting their hope for the president to fail ahead of working toward solving the nation’s problems.
Responding to a question about why it was so difficult to get big infrastructure projects built right now, LaHood told a transportation conference that “some people don’t want Obama to be successful.”
“A big percentage of the Republicans that were elected this time came here to do zero, and that’s what they’ve done,” he said. Those lawmakers, he said, have obstructed other people who are trying to get things done.
…. “Here we are almost 12 months from the election and there are some people in Congress – look there are probably 40 people, 40 Republicans, elected to the House to come here to do nothing,” Lahood said. “That’s why they felt they were elected.”
…. “When I was elected in `94 we had a very reform-minded class, 82 new people, but they came here to do something, to solve problems,” he said. “Almost always in the past when people have run for Congress, they ran for Congress on the opportunity to help solve the problems of America.”
Paul Krugman: Reading the transcript of Tuesday’s Republican debate on the economy is, for anyone who has actually been following economic events these past few years, like falling down a rabbit hole. Suddenly, you find yourself in a fantasy world where nothing looks or behaves the way it does in real life.
And since economic policy has to deal with the world we live in, not the fantasy world of the G.O.P.’s imagination, the prospect that one of these people may well be our next president is, frankly, terrifying.
…. the G.O.P. has responded to the crisis not by rethinking its dogma but by adopting an even cruder version of that dogma, becoming a caricature of itself. During the debate, the hosts played a clip of Ronald Reagan calling for increased revenue; today, no politician hoping to get anywhere in Reagan’s party would dare say such a thing.
It’s a terrible thing when an individual loses his or her grip on reality. But it’s much worse when the same thing happens to a whole political party, one that already has the power to block anything the president proposes — and which may soon control the whole government.
Greg Sargent: By now you may have heard about that 78-year-old grandmother who is fully against Ohio’s new push to roll back collective bargaining rights for public employees – but who had her words brazenly torn out of context and put into an ad advocating for the measure.
The tale has gone national. And now the story is about to get even bigger: The grandma is set to appear in a pro-union ad denouncing the anti-union forces as “desperate” for stealing her words. This will likely earn much more attention to a fight which is now being viewed nationally as yet another major referendum on whether the right will succeed in breaking labor in the industrial heartland.
Could this blunder by the anti-union forces be decisive? Labor hopes so….
Washington Post: As a result of stimulus spending and increased funding through the 2010 health-care law, the number of clinicians participating in a federal program to expand access to care in under-served communities has nearly tripled in the past three years.
About 10,000 doctors, nurses and other providers now participate in the National Health Service Corps, the highest number since the program was established in 1972….Officials estimated that the corps is serving about 10.5 million patients.