Archive for shrinkage

Big, looming GOP "ad blast" targeting Dems ends up being one measly $30 ad

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boast

Oh those whacky, zany Republicans and their big, boasty swagger. They're so presh, so totes adorbs, so... embarrassing. Just as Chris Christie gets off on bluster and throwing his weight around [insert joke here] (only to become accused of  "alleged" involvement in a growing scandal), so goes the RNC.

They've now blustered themselves right into LaughingstockLand. Again. Shrinkage alert!

Via the Anchorage Daily News:

The Republican National Committee announced Tuesday a fresh round in an expected torrent of campaign ads targeting Sen. Mark Begich and other Democrats for their part in the "lie of the year," an assurance that people could keep existing health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The ad blast turned out to be more of a sprinkle.

In Anchorage, a single radio ad aimed at Begich was set to air on a single station ... one time [...]

The total cost to the Republican National Committee for the Anchorage radio airtime? $30.

But there's always a bright side. At least top RNC employees weren't caught exchanging incriminating emails. And then feigning innocence and pointing fingers.

Shrinkage

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Museum Donation Brings In More Than An Arm And A Leg

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Iceland Museum 2The Iceland Phallological Museum

Okay, it's Friday and I'm looking forward to my weekend to hike, party and refresh my batteries. So forgive me if I indulge my silly side with this curiosity AND accompanying video. Oh, and despite the topic, it is safe for work. Don't worry.

The story is about a one-of-a-kind museum and it's quest for their most elusive donation.

Ever have an interest in visiting Iceland? I can't say that I have and most probably this post won't have you rushing to priceline.com for airline tickets and hotel accommodations either, but it might put a little smile on your face. This courtesy of  The Daily Beast:

Iceland is home to many wonders. Volcanic mountains. The Blue Lagoon. Musical acts Björk, Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós. Four-time “World’s Strongest Man” winner Magnús Ver Magnússon. The evil ice hockey team in D2: The Mighty Ducks.

It also has the distinction of hosting the world’s only penis museum.

Wait. Back up. Run that by me again? The World's only penis museum?

I had to investigate. C'mon, guys, who hasn't wondered how they stack up against others of their species? And women, you can't say that you haven't had a certain curiosity -- I'm not saying every woman's read Fifty Shades of Grey but there's interest in sex on both sides of the aisle. On all sides of the aisle, actually, not to ignore my LGBT friends.

The Iceland Phallological Museum boasts the world’s largest display of penises—and penile parts. The collection consists of 280 specimens from 93 species, including foxes, pigs, and walruses. The biggest penis on display is that of a sperm whale, measuring 5 feet 7 inches and weighing 154 pounds—and that’s just the tip. The smallest item in the museum is the penis bone of a hamster, which measures less than 2 mm and has to be observed via microscope. There’s the penis of a Cave Bear, a species that became extinct 10,000-15,000 years ago, as well as the alleged penises of Huldufolk (Icelandic elves) and trolls.

museum displaySigurdur “Siggi” Hjartarson

They've evidently got every type and size of penis they can find except one the one they could find on any street corner around the world today. It's the human penis.

Well, I'm sure that's going to change. Someone's going to donate to the museum -- but there are some requirements. Not just any human penis will do.

Of course not--

In order to donate your penis to the museum, Siggi [museum curator and owner] has two requirements: the first is a legal document (letter of donation) signed by three witnesses, and the second is proof that the penis is a “legal length” of at least 5 inches.

Five inches? Is that erect or at rest or with shrinkage (thanks Seinfeld) after a cold, Icelandic dip in the ocean?

Lest you think there's no competition to be the first human endowment to the museum, read on.

Enter Tom Mitchell. A kooky middle-aged American who runs a horse farm in the Santa Ynez Mountains in California, Mitchell is eager to have his penis be the first one on display at the museum that he’s willing to amputate himself while he’s still alive.

“He calls his penis ‘Elmo’ and is extremely well-endowed,” boasts Siggi. Tom’s is about 7 inches in length “with a great girth.”

Okay, TMI.

So now for the "teaser" to the full length documentary about the museum and it's quest for the first human display, here's the trailer for THE FINAL MEMBER:

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Memo to GOP: Federal deficit shrinking at surprising rate, long-term debt stabilized for next decade #BlameObama

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chart budget deficit shrinks 4 year low Steve Benen Maddow Blog Oct 2012

Another Republican talking point is biting the dust in a big way. Previously I posted U.S. budget surplus biggest in 5 years; federal deficit is down 32% so far this fiscal year and Congressional Budget Office: Federal budget deficit declining; $231 billion less than 2012 #BlameObama.

Now, the Los Angeles Times has two reports that buttress those. It's good news for President Obama and America, bad news for GOP whiners and obstructionists:

The federal deficit is shrinking more quickly than expected, and the government's long-term debt has largely stabilized for the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday in a report that could strengthen the Obama administration's hand in the budget battles with congressional Republicans. [...]

The deficit projection for this year — $642 billion — is almost 25% less than the deficit the budget office had forecast as recently as February. At the new level, the annual deficit would be back to where it was before President Obama took office. It would continue to fall for the rest of Obama's tenure, the budget office now projects.  [...]

By 2015, the budget office forecasts, the deficit will fall to just over 2% of GDP, a level that most economists would consider relatively insignificant.

What?! Why, that's positively unpatriotic! Here are the reasons for the shrinkage:

1. A better economy. Let's repeat that: A better economy.

2. The rate of medical inflation is slowing down — which reduces the cost of Medicare and Medicaid.

3. Congress approved higher taxes, remember? That was when the dreaded "fiscal cliff" was the topic du jour.

I appreciated this very clear, concise explanation of the deficit and debt:

The federal deficit is the gap between what the government spends each year and its revenue, mostly taxes. The government has run a deficit almost every year for the last half-century. The federal debt represents the accumulated money that the government borrows to cover that deficit. [...]

Underscoring the political dynamic, Republicans, who trumpeted news of higher deficits during Obama's first term, fell largely silent in reaction to the new figures.

 Of course they did. They always do when their political attacks get destroyed by pesky facts.

And then there's this, also from the L.A. Times:

American families reduced their debt load in the first three months of the year by 1%, bringing it down to pre-recession levels after an uptick in the last quarter of 2012, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday.

What a scandal!

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Congressional Budget Office: Federal budget deficit declining; $231 billion less than 2012 #BlameObama

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oy

First let me share a few headlines, then I'll get into some detail. All of these are from The Hill, including the blog headline about the CBO showing a decline in the budget deficit:

So to recap: The federal budget deficit is shrinking, Mitch McConnell and his Merry Band of Loons are doing their usual obstruction dance, the White House will veto if the GOP insists on continuing their "the debt limit is just default by another name" b.s., and the likelihood of an agreement on anything in the world ever is shrinking as fast as the deficit.

Can this get any more frustrating?

Check this out, keeping the new Republican-opposed tax increase in mind:

The Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday that the federal budget deficit is declining this year compared to fiscal 2012.

For the first seven months of 2013, the deficit was $489 billion. That is $231 billion less than the budget shortfall for the comparable period last year.

The decrease is almost entirely due to revenue increases. Revenues rose $200 billion and spending decreased only $11 billion.

And McConnell continues to insist that Republicans will block an increase the debt limit if it is not attached to legislation to reduce the federal deficit. They don't want us to pay our bills. Sorry, I lost control and lapsed into a larger font. 

The White House:

"American families do not get to choose which bills to pay and which ones not to pay, and the United States Congress cannot either without putting the Nation into default for the first time in its history."

There's that. And Mitch? The federal deficit is already shrinking... Remember?

chart budget deficit shrinks 4 year low Steve Benen Maddow Blog Oct 2012

Harry Reid said, “We’ve known for years that the Tea Party has full control of the House, but now we understand they have full control of the Republican caucus here in the Senate."

Reid noted the most outspoken Republican on the issue of moving to a budget conference has been Sen. Ted Cruz (R), whom he called the “very junior senator from Texas.”

it's crazy in here

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"The fact is Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus has been inactive for several months."

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bachmann close up smaller

The fact is that Michele Bachmann is a lying, delusional crackpot who still can't pronounce the word "United" (she says "Unine-ed States"), as you can see in this video:

The entire segment is here and is not embeddable.

But that's not important now. What is important is, per Roll Call, this:

[T]he fact is Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus has been inactive for several months.

The caucus, much heralded and well-covered by the press when it was created in 2010 as a congressional conduit for the national movement of the same name, has not announced a public meeting since July, and the group’s Twitter account has been silent since September.

Their spokesman, Dan Kotman, claims they've been meeting with activists “behind the scenes” and will become more active again during the current session of Congress. He also said they've been doing a lot of listening. Theirs is not to talk, but to listen, says he. Given Bachmann's propensity for tea-babble, you could have fooled us.

Kotman also blamed redistricting. He says members have to get used to their new territories.

He should have blamed his fellow tea partiers:

In a CNN/ORC Poll published this month, 48 percent of respondents said they have an unfavorable view of the tea party movement.

Their inactivity is just as well, since nobody is paying much attention to them anyway.

tea party shrinking

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BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Budget Deficit Falls in February from Year Prior

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shrinkage smaller

Guess who this breaking news alert is from? Fox Business. But do you think that will stop conservatives and the trolls on Twitter, Facebook, the Internets, the Tee Vee and Radio Machines, and this blog from denying that this news is true?

Times up. The answer is no. They'll read the following sentence and claim it's all a lie, even though it comes straight from Fox:

The U.S. federal budget deficit came in at $203.5 billion in February, slimmer than the $231.7 billion in the same month the year before.

Yes, the budget deficit is continuing to shrink under the evil black Kenyan Muslim commie Marxist president .

chart budget deficit shrinks 4 year low Steve Benen Maddow Blog Oct 2012

We have Dwindling Deficit Disorder. And as Paul Krugman also points out, Yes, We Have To Fix The Deficit Eventually–But Not Now.

The Maddow Blog's Steve Benen:

For the record, last year, over President Obama's first four years, the deficit shrunk by about $300 billion. This year, the deficit is projected to be about $600 billion smaller than when the president took office. We are, in reality, currently seeing the fastest deficit reduction in several generations.

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CHART-- Memo to GOP: Spending cuts SHRINK the economy, undermine growth. Oh, and the U.S. added jobs in January.

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shrinkage smaller

chart spending cuts shrink economy

Via Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog.
The red columns show the economy under the Bush administration; the blue columns show the economy under the Obama administration.

For the first time in years we're seeing a slight contraction in economic growth. Here is an email alert from the New York Times from this morning:

The United States economy contracted unexpectedly in the final quarter of 2012, hurt by weaker exports, a drop in military spending and a slower buildup in inventories.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that economic output in the quarter fell at an annual rate of 0.1 percent, compared with growth at a 3.1 percent pace in the third quarter.

READ MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/business/economy/us-economy-unexpectedly-contracted-in-fourth-quarter.html?emc=na

Now before everyone panics, Steve Benen at the Maddow Blog notes that this is not necessarily evidence of a new recession, and on the whole, the report really isn't that bad.

But that won't stop Republicans from playing the Blame Obama game. Did I mention that, per a Fox Business email alert, the ADP National Employment Report shows the U.S. private sector added 192,000 jobs in January, topping estimates of 165,000?

Via Benen:

I realize the right doesn't want to hear or believe this, but when Washington spends far less -- in this case, the cuts focused on defense -- it takes capital out of the economy and undermines growth. It is, as a practical matter, a form of austerity, which hits the brakes on the economy. This is Economics 101 and yet Republicans continue to insist that it is the only policy they really care about.

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