A couple weeks ago, I listed several things that Rick Santorum has said that I thought were somewhat over the top or even outrageous. A good friend of mine did not see anything wrong with any of the statements that I listed. Well, today in Lansing, Michigan Rick Santorum said, “We went into a recession in 2008 because of gasoline prices. The bubble burst in housing because people cannot pay their mortgages because they’re looking at four dollars a gallon gasoline. And look what happened, economic decline.”
Now this is simply flat-out nuts. There is no self-respecting economist in the United States who is going to sign onto this theory that gas prices caused the great recession. Here are the gas prices over the last 60 months.
According to the government, the great recession started in December of 2007. Gas prices didn’t start to rise until April or March of 2008. The timeframe is all wrong. Of course, if gas prices were truly the cause of the great recession, when gas prices fell in late 2008 and early 2009, the economy should have picked right back up immediately. That didn’t happen.
The exact cause of the great recession is a tale of complex financial tools (credit default swaps, CDO’s, synthetic CDO’s and mortgage-backed securities) and massive over-leveraging. The great recession had little or nothing to do with gas prices. I don’t know what Rick Santorum is smoking, but when I have a week off I would like to have a kilo of it. I guess for Rick desperate times call for desperate measures. He has to win Michigan or his bid for the presidency is over.
Frankly, I find it depressing that were still talking about a woman’s right to choose in the year 2012. If you don’t want an abortion, then don’t get one. But that was somewhat clichéd. As a matter fact, everything has been said on the abortion debate over the last 40 years. There’s nothing new. The only thing that is new is the ferocity with which the Republicans continue to attack a woman’s right. In Mississippi, the personhood bill, which was previously defeated, has been reintroduced. In Virginia, the House has decided that a woman needs to have a transvaginal ultrasound and has to look at the pictures before she can have an abortion. A vote on this bill has been delayed secondary to protests but I guarantee you it’s going to happen soon. Rick Santorum, in my opinion a joke of a political candidate, has risen to prominence in part because of his staunch position on abortion, women’s rights and social issues. (Did you know that fighting pornography was his top priority, not jobs for the middle class or healthcare or any of a hundred other issues. It was the first thing listed on his issues page on his web site before it was changed yesterday.) I’m afraid that with this latest trend, somebody’s going to start arguing that all Blacks need to get back into the ship and go back to Africa. I can see it coming.
The following two charts should cause Republicans to wonder about their chances in November. Now, before the conservatives read my blog go nuts, I know that lots of things can happen between now and the election. Many of these things are completely out of the control of the White House. If Europe implodes, our economy will tank. If gas prices go through the roof which is quite possible are economy will slow to a crawl. Any downturn in the economy can spell disaster for Obama. Yet, Wall Street seems to be flourishing under Democratic president much like it did under President Clinton.
Redistricting has placed Michele Bachmann into a blue district. She is thinking about running for Congress from another district. (I truly hate the partisan politics of redistricting. Districts should be redrawn by computers and not bipartisan politicians, from either side.)
Dominique Strauss-Kahn (remember him from the IMF) can not stay out of the news. He’s been held in conjunction with a prostitution ring.
The Red Cross has been asking for a cease-fire in Syria. I wish them luck. When Syrian troops continued to fire on civilians in front of Arab League observers, I knew the civilian population was in trouble. Russia and China are going to have to apply some significant pressure in order to get Syria to back off.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Abigail Fisher. Ms. Fisher, a White American, says that she was discriminated against because of her race. This is a reverse discrimination case. This will be interesting.
Google is everywhere. Like Microsoft 20 years ago, Google is the new big kid on the block. They’ve invested in everything including Google automobile. The car will basically drive itself. I can think of nothing better for seniors and young teenagers.
From NYT: The car is a project of Google, which has been working in secret but in plain view on vehicles that can drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver.
With someone behind the wheel to take control if something goes awry and a technician in the passenger seat to monitor the navigation system, seven test cars have driven 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control. One even drove itself down Lombard Street in San Francisco, one of the steepest and curviest streets in the nation. The only accident, engineers said, was when one Google car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.
Please note that the guy taking this video is trying to DRIVE!!