Thursday morning’s 9 interesting things

1) Obama celebrates return of [union] jobs from China – He appeared at a plant making padlocks for Master Lock in the midwestern state of Wisconsin, which has recently returned around 100 jobs that were once offshore back to the United States. [...] “For the first time in 15 years, this plant is running at full capacity…. Today, you’re selling products directly to customers in China stamped with those words: “Made In America.” Obama unveiled a package of proposals in his State of the Union address last month to boost American manufacturing and create jobs. The president wants to cancel tax breaks for firms that outsource jobs, require multinational companies to pay a basic tax, and lower taxes for firms that hire workers in the United States.

2) Boehner defends payroll tax deal – House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, defended Wednesday the decision to move forward with a roughly $100 billion payroll tax cut extension that is not paid for, arguing that it was the only way to prevent a tax hike. “We were not going to allow Democrats to continue to play games and cause a tax increase for hardworking Americans,” Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill. “We made a decision to bring them to the table so that the games would stop and we would get this worked out.” || Note: And if you believe that, I have a beautiful bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

3) As Number Of Insured Americans Decreases, Affordable Care Act Will Provide More Coverage Options – The number of Americans who received health insurance from their employer dropped again in 2011, continuing a three-year decline. According to a Gallup survey, 44.6 percent were insured through their employers in 2011, compared to 45.8 percent in 2010 and 49.2 percent in 2008. And at the same time, the number of Americans without insurance has increased, growing from 14.8 percent in 2008 to 17.1 percent last year.

WHO BENEFITS? – The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes two primary mechanisms for helping people afford health coverage. Starting in 2014, people with family incomes up to 138% of the poverty level ($31,809 for a family of four and $15,415 for a single person in 2012) will generally be eligible for the Medicaid program. [...] On average, an estimated 17% of the non-elderly population nationwide would benefit from the Medicaid expansion and tax credits. In parts of Florida, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and California, 36-40% of population could benefit. In areas of Massachusetts, Hawaii, New York, and Connecticut – states that generally have high levels of employer-provided health insurance or have already implemented reforms to make insurance more accessible and affordable – 2-4% of the non-elderly could benefit from the coverage expansions in the ACA.

4) Santorum: Dems ‘look down their nose’ at Americans – The former Pennsylvania senator went on the attack against President Barack Obama and Democrats for rejecting Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) to replace the current Medicare program with a voucher scheme. “They don’t believe you can make these decisions,” Santorum told a crowd in Boise, Idaho. “They need to makes these decisions for you because if you were left to make decisions you will obviously jump off a cliff. Don’t you see how they see you? How they look down their nose at the average American — these elite snobs.”

Why Romney Can’t Stop Santorum – Then, last night, in Boise, to a very appreciative audience, Santorum produced what may be the pure crystalline essence of a politics gone utterly barking mad. (Watch the whole thing, if only to see where the standing ovations come in, and to see what prompts them. Anyway, I did, and this is not promising.) [...] You could call it “populist,” if by “populist” you mean anti-intellectual jibber-jabber that probably sounds a lot better coming from a general on a South American balcony.

6) Rombo – Rick Santorum has a new political ad where not only does he call the Romney character “Rombo,” the character shoots “mud” at a cardboard figure of Santorum. At the end of the ad, Rombo gets the “mud” all over his shirt. I get it – the guy slinging mud gets dirty himself. But do Santorum’s people “get it”? Is that mud or is it Santorum? Or could it be runny shit from a terrorized dog? This ad so completely symbolizes what the words “Romney” and “Santorum” have come to mean this election year, that’s it’s remarkable Santorum’s people created and paid for it. Watch:

5) Romney Unloads on Santorum – In all probability, Romney’s campaign against Santorum will work. What’s Santorum going to say – that Republicans always vote for the debt ceiling when there’s a Republican president, and that opposition to it is nothing but disingenuous partisan posturing that both sides used until last year, when it got out of hand and Republicans almost crashed the world economy with it? If the debt-ceiling issue became the vehicle for persuading the Republican base to nominate the least sincerely conservative candidate in the field, that would really be poetic justice for the tea party.

7) Romney tells west Mich. businessmen he’ll fight unions – “I’ve taken on union bosses before,” Romney said before hundreds at a furniture manufacturer. “I’m happy to take them on again.” [...] Romney kicked off his “welcome home rally” with a meeting with 10 business, economic and political leaders, who advised Romney of things on their wish list: less regulation, more certainty, more state power, less spending and right-to-work legislation. One business owner asked Romney to sign an executive order on Day 1 to end a provision that federal work be done by union labor. “You’ll have that,” Romney said. || Note: The King of Bain ‘kicked off’ his welcome home rally with the one percenters, promising to fight for their concerns, which in many cases includes reducing wages and benefits! 

When Romney Courted The Unions - in 2002 the former Governor was actively courting the labor vote. Romney prominently featured on his campaign website a call for union members to vote for him because he would invest in infrastructure, adjust the minimum wage annually to inflation, and have labor be a critical factor in developing the state.

8) Aggressive Anti-Union Bill On Life Support In Arizona – A Wisconsin-style anti-union bill that state Republicans aimed to push through the Arizona legislature is now on life support as state Senate Republicans have failed to come up with enough votes. [...] Still, it’s probably too early for unions in Arizona to declare victory. At least two other bills designed to restrict their impact in the state are likely to pass, the senators told the political news website.

image9) Translation challenge of the day — another Palin word salad – “Truly, it is a war on our religious liberties and that violation of conscience that he would mandate that is un-American because it violates our First Amendment in our Constitution.”  

Also, too – Now Sarah Palin is hinting around that if, you know, it comes down to, like, a brokered convention or whatever? She might be available. That is, if nobody else is into it.