Goldimouse and the Three Cats [...]
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(Calculated Risk)In its first estimate for the first quarter of 2012, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday morning that real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 2.2 percent, below the 2.5 percent consensus of experts surveyed earlier this week by Bloomberg, and well below the 3 percent growth records for the fourth?and best?quarter of 2012.
The increase in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, private inventory investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from federal government spending, nonresidential fixed investment, and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.GDP gauges the total reported output of goods and services. It does not measure personal income or people's well-being.
The deceleration in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected a deceleration in private inventory investment and a downturn in nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by accelerations in PCE and in exports.
(Continue reading below the fold)
Cross posted from The Stars Hollow GazetteThe Confidence Fairy is Dead but its ghost is still haunting the halls of the European Union countries and the United States, as Herr Doktor notes:This was the month the confidence fairy died. For the past two[...]
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Some good news for a Friday morning — we rank! We’ve been ranked in the top 10 and here’s the rater’s comment:
“With the aim of bringing overlooked and neglected news and views to their readers, social worker Kiersten and nurse Ninjanurse, blog anonymously on ?Kmareka? with wit, wisdom, and a dash of humor and lightheartedness. Together, Kiersten and Ninjanurse bring together news and stories on health, the environment, the economy, and social issues as well as their thoughts and opinions based on years of professional experiences.”
Nice, huh? It’s always good to get a little positive feedback. Here’s our badge:
Last cycle we talked a lot about how the DCCC adamantly refused to even recognize the campaign against John Boehner by a valiant young progressive Democratic veteran, Justin Coussoule. They would go out of their way to invite every Democrat running for Congress to an event-- once an event in his own district-- and leave Justin out. If I ever doubted the DCCC was the enemy of progressives, I understood it after watching that campaign. It's as if they were doing all they could to protect Boehner rather than defeat him. This year we, once again see almost the same pattern we always see when it comes to Conservative Consensus posterboy Paul Ryan. The DCCC just absolutely refuses to help Rob Zerban in a race that is absolutely doable. That's pushed Blue America to lend a hand ourselves. So what about the third in the Republican trio of arch-villains?
Recently we met Virginia attorney and progressive vet, Wayne Powell. He's running a vigorous campaign against Eric Cantor, Republican Majority Leader. Cantor has been severely wounded by his interference in Republican primaries but, once again, the DCCC is taking an adamantly hands off approach. They're ignoring Wayne Powell. We added him to our ActBlue page. And I asked him to introduce himself to DWT readers.
Cantor as ?Part of the Problem? of Legal Corruption in Congress
-by Wayne Powell, Democratic candidate for Congress (VA-7)
In Eric Cantor?s section of his 2010 book entitled Young Guns includes his description of the circumstance of both major parties when he was elected in 2000, a corrupt culture where ??the illegal corruption of the process leads to members indicted and behind bars, and the legal corruption of the [political process] leads voters tossing out the incumbent party.?(Page 29, Young Guns). I intend to see that this prophesy is realized in my race to unseat Mr. Cantor this election year, since he is the epitome of the corrupt culture that he describes in his book. He is the consummate political operator, a Washington insider who has become the poster child for what?s wrong with our political system.
In a lackluster congressional career over the past dozen years, he touts two recent initiatives by which he claims bipartisanship and an effort to ?clean up? the political process, and spur job growth: the ?STOCK Act,? and the ?JOBS Act,? which neither prevents insider trading by the ?political intelligence? agents who foster insider trading on Wall Street, nor stimulate job growth, but rather reduces the very regulation on Wall Street firms which led to financial and economic disaster in 2008. Even his own party colleague Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa derided Cantor?s stripping of the requirement that political intelligence operators register and that there activities be monitored stating that by taking out that provision the ??House would fulfill Wall Street?s wishes by killing this provision.?
In the ?Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act,? Cantor claims authorship of the law that really doesn?t direct its primary focus on job growth, but on the reduction of regulations that have not be proven to hamper job growth in the first place. The possibility of fraud, and a recurrence of activities preceding the economic meltdown of 2008 is present, and the SEC chairman herself opposed the JOBS Act, stating that the Act could actually chill job growth if investors become concerned with the adequacy of protections and might make capital formation harder, not easier.
So if you wonder what it means if an insider trading bill promotes insider trading, and if a job promotion bill is really an effort to further deregulate the market, then we need to return to Cantor?s book and his statement that he had come from a ??place that believes in hard work being rewarded. I had come to a place where special interests are rewarded.? Page 29, 30, Young Guns). Well, I come from that same place, Richmond, Virginia.
I grew up as the son of a welder in the Church Hill neighborhood of Richmond, and I had to work hard out for everything I have. From 12 years old on-- nothing was ever given to me. I sought loans for my education after my father died at 51 years old, and later joined the Army, and commanded troops in the War on Terror. I built businesses and a law firm from scratch. I'm running for Congress to represent folks like my father, and my mother who survived on Social Security payments and with the help of me and my sister until she died. These are the kind of people that need our help in these tough economic times. I'm running my campaign with the same work ethic that helped me rise to the rank of Colonel in the Army and led to accomplishments in my business and professional careers. I?m running against a man who epitomizes exactly what he criticizes, a political operator who panders to special interests from the wealthiest and privileged corporate interests on Wall Street and beyond, and who has no time for his own constituents.
I'm not a politician. I am someone who believes, like most Americans, that something is drastically wrong with Congress and our country?s political system, a system where multi-national corporations and the wealthiest control too many of our elected representatives like Congressman Cantor.
There is a good reason that Cantor was dubbed the champion of the ?overdog? by his colleagues in the Virginia House of Delegates. My first Commander in the Army told me in 1974, if you?re not part of the solution, then you?re part of the problem. There?s no doubt that Cantor is part of the problem.
While I'm running to represent everyday Virginians: families struggling to make ends meet, and small business owners, Cantor is only focused on pleasing those who raise enormous sums of money for him and his Super Pacs.
My campaign will lay out a forward looking vision for Virginia's 7th district that places people first. I'm also running to reform Congress, create jobs, and to make sure every American has the opportunity to find a job. Congress is broken, and I'm running to fix it and end Congressman Cantor's culture of corruption.
To do that, I need your help. Follow my campaign on Twitter, like on me on Facebook, or sign up for email updates from my campaign.
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Fox News makes up things about project labor agreements based on Governor Brown's previous law preventing PLA bans
In a big win for workers in California, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill that would prevent local communities from banning project labor agreements. PLAs are used to set standards on construction jobs in terms of wages, work conditions, diversity, local hire rules, health care benefits and worker safety. They have been successfully used across the country to benefit both workers and contractors. Conservatives dislike them because they cut back on profiteering in the construction industry and because unions frequently negotiate for PLAs on projects they work on. Localities like San Diego have sought to ban them in an attempt to cut costs and undercut union strength and the rights of working families.
The State Building and Construction Trades of California applauded the legislation:
Governor Jerry Brown today signed Building Trades sponsored SB 829, which makes it unequivocally clear that no local governments may enact blanket prohibitions on PLAs without losing state funding for public works projects.
The bill is a follow-up to last years? SB 922, which prohibited bans on local PLAs.
But anti-union forces creatively argued that SB 922 wouldn?t apply to some charter cities. So we sponsored SB 829, to remove any trace of doubt that the law applies to all charter cities as well.
The bill passed both the Assembly and Senate on party line votes, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. It was during the Assembly floor debate that one of the Republicans, Assembly Member Shannon Grove of Bakersfield, made the outlandish claim that labor unions were ?enemies of the constitution.?
SBCTC Legislative Director Cesar Diaz said SB 829 now eliminates any lack of clarity regarding PLA bans, and makes it crystal clear that local governments must remain free to consider whether to use PLAs if they are to receive state funding for construction projects.
We must again extend a huge thank you to all of our affiliates who contacted legislators and expressed support. The successful effort to pass SB 829 is the result of your hard work and incredible unity between city officials, the environmental community, affordable housing advocates, civil rights groups, our signatory contractors, organized labor, and the Building Trades.
Oh, those wascally wascals! Several members of the higher echelons in service to TPTB have stepped into some interesting piles of goo lately, so let's start with them.[...]
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The House actually got all the way through its centerpiece item of the day, CISPA and its raft of amendments, even though yesterday's schedule said they only expected to begin consideration, which usually means they're not expecting to finish. But yes, they did wrap it up and pass it (unfortunately), and it now heads to the Senate under veto threat.
The marquee item in the Senate today was the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill, and yes, they actually managed to wrap things up and pass their big bill as well. What a day! And they confirmed another judge, as well! They're actually making reasonably good progress toward their goal of approving the agreed-upon 14 judges by early May. Unfortunately, that still puts them (and the Obama administration) way, way, way behind the 8 ball on judicial confirmations. But at least they're predictably behind.
By the way, do go below the fold today and take a look at the Senate floor wrap-up report for yesterday. Notice the gigantic list of unanimous consent approvals of non-controversial bills, and of executive appointments and military promotions. You know what that means? Yes! Recess!
Looking ahead to today:
The House was scheduled to be in for work today, and they probably planned originally to use the day to finish up CISPA. But plans changed, because the political climate changed, and now they'll be using today to take a stab at a Republican solution to the impending student loan rate increase. Yes, even after insisting that helping people with their loans was stage three socialist cancer, or whatever. Jumping in with their own bill now pretty much renders that statement from Todd Akin (R-MO-02) the stage three cancer of F-ing idiocy. I tell you, it's a wonder some of these people don't pass out forgetting to breathe.
So, whatever. They're giving their effort an hour, and then they're outta here for a week.
The Senate, on the other hand, is already gone and won't be in session. Though they did set up a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to their own student loan rate bill upon their return after the recess.
Today's floor and committee schedules appear below the fold.
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT?s daily round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here?s what we?re reading this morning, but please let us know what stories you?re following as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- An important milestone: There are now openly LGBT elected officials in all 50 states.
- U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) has introduced the Social Security Equality Act of 2012, which would ensure the Defense of Marriage Act does not prevent same-sex couples from obtaining Social Security benefits just like opposite-sex couples.
- The National Organization for Marriage is convinced Mitt Romney will uphold its pledge against marriage equality.
- NPR highlights how many conservatives are opposing North Carolina’s discriminatory Amendment One.
- The graduation speaker at a Michigan Catholic high school was uninvited because he is gay.
- Bob Jones University student Chris Peterman claims he was kicked out of the Baptist college because he was caught watching Glee off-campus.
- One gay couple has gotten married in every state where it’s legal to do so, and George Takei will narrate their story for a documentary.
- Anheuser-Busch has warned the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which it sponsors, that its fighters use of sexist and homophobic comments is inappropriate.
- In case you missed, make sure to watch this poignant marriage equality short from the UK entitled “Homecoming”:
- This week’s editorial cartoon in the Dallas Voice challenges the “Don’t Say Gay” bills proposed in Tennessee and Missouri:
The U.S. economy grew 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012, according to the latest data from the Commerce Department. The growth was lower than expected — analysts had pegged growth at 2.5 percent. Growth dropped from the last quarter of 2011, when the economy expanded 2.8 percent.