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Of Politics, Sports and Sex

OK, so there won't be a LOT on here about sex, but tell the truth, that's most of the reason you entered this site, right? So, I'll slip some things in from time to time just to keep you coming...back.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Train Wreck from the fiscally disastrous Democratic Party. Wait, what?

Dow at 12,000: Obama must really be a socialist now

by Jed Lewison (

Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 08:48:03 AM PST

Remember when conservatives (yes, including you Joe Scarborough!) blamed President Obama for crashing the stock market, even though he'd only been president for about two months? Well, now, two years later, the Dow Jones has touched on 12,000 for the first time since the Bush-Republican recession.For those of you keeping score at home, the Dow closed at 7,949 on Bush's last day in office. That means it's gone up 50% since President Obama's inauguration.Clearly, that's socialism run amok...liberal thugism on the loose. Oh, for capitalism's good old days when Bush and the GOP steered it straight to the edge of oblivion.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I don't JUST like this post b/c I like to keep saying "Obamanomics" over and over, but it helps

From Sunday's NYT:
"There is a compelling case that Obamanomics has produced results. An economy that was shrinking in size and bleeding more than 700,000 jobs a month is now growing at 2.6 percent and added 1.1 million jobs last year. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, known as the stimulus, produced or saved at least 1.9 million jobs and as many as 4.7 million last year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The much-derided Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, started by George W. Bush and continued by Obama, stabilized the financial sector, and the big banks have repaid the money with interest. According to a Treasury Department report sent to Congress this month, TARP will cost taxpayers $28 billion instead of the $700 billion originally set aside. The nearly $80 billion bailout of the auto industry may cost taxpayers only $15 billion, as the restructured General Motors and Chrysler come back to life with strong sales. The stock market has surged; corporate profits are setting records."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Of wrath and rhetoric

I actually wrote most of this letter, and Andrea was kind enough to send it in.

A lot of supportive comments, which is nice to see, tho the usual right wing rhetoric-spewers are well represented by the usual 2-3 people.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So, I guess I'll just let things go at their own pace after all

I can remember with some shame that when I was a teenager, I sort of looked forward to the older generation dying off, since they represented so much that was wrong with the world. The "establishment" as we hippie-types called it. The racist, corporate, staid, stuck in their ways old white guys who would never be seen outside their house without a white shirt and tie and leather shoes, and presumably pants as well. I was sure that once they were gone, all us open-minded, progressive-thinking, tolerant kids would change the world completely for the better.

And now that I'm of that same age that I scorned and now that I represent the racist, corporate, staid, stuck in their ways old white guys, well, I pretty much still feel that way.

Thing is though, if we good guys grew up to be the bad guys, then why bother rooting for us old guys to go?

life and death and fear and joy

There are a lot of things we have been told will happen to us as we get older. There are the obvious physical things, up to and including less control of one's tongue in saying out loud things that were probably better left unsaid. Well, come to think of it, I've always had that problem, to the great detriment of me and my friends and co-workers.

But there are some things we weren't told about, or maybe that's because I'm the only one experiencing it. One example is that for the first 54 or so years of my life, I have feared death to varying degrees. And I guess I still do. But more and more I find myself not fearing death as much as I am enjoying life, and looking forward to the rest of it and all that has yet to happen to me and my awesome family. Of course, if I had a choice, I'd pretty much freeze time where we are, but I also realize that I might've said the exact same thing any of the past, well, 54 years. OK, maybe not the first 2, but once I learned to talk.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In HIgh School we used to make boner jokes, now the joke is Boehner

Matt Taibbi has a way with words that makes me gasp, makes me chortle, makes my jaw drop, like at sentences like this one:
"John Boehner is the ultimate Beltway hack, a man whose unmatched and self-serving skill at political survival has made him, after two decades in Washington, the hairy blue mold on the American congressional sandwich."

But equally amazing is his grasp and research of facts like these:

"In the Nineties, Boehner started weekly meetings with a group of lobbyists, originally known as "The Thursday Group," that helped him develop close ties to companies like Citigroup, MillerCoors, UPS, Goldman Sachs, Google and R.J. Reynolds. And what does Boehner do with these lobbyists? Well, one thing we know he does is play golf — shitloads and shitloads of golf, which he apparently likes a lot more than, well, working. "Lazy" is how one former congressional aide describes Boehner's work ethic. "Not the hardest worker," said Joe Scarborough, former congressman and current MSNBC host. Congressional sources say that Boehner likes to knock off early, and that seems to square with his record, which reveals a real passion — for the links. He once went on 180 junkets in six years, most of them golf trips, and reportedly copped to playing 100 rounds a year at a time when he was collecting a six-figure salary, paid for by the U.S. taxpayer, to serve in Congress. His political action committee spent almost $83,000 on golf events in 2009, and over the past 18 months he has run up a $67,000 tab at the Ritz-Carlton golf resort in Naples, Florida. He flew on a corporate jet 45 times between 2000 and 2007, and took at least 41 other corporate-sponsored trips in the past decade."

"Then, in the middle of the Bush years, the man who got into office thanks to Buz Lukens' child-groping was enmeshed in his own sex scandal involving minors. When the news broke in September 2006 that Rep. Mark Foley, a Republican from Florida, had been sending sexually suggestive e-mails to a 16-year-old male page, it turned out that Boehner had been sitting on the information for months. Nancy Pelosi called for an immediate investigation into the Foley scandal, but Boehner blocked the resolution. Boehner later claimed that he had told then-Speaker Dennis Hastert about the Foley incident as soon as he found out — and promptly retracted his own alibi. The ensuing scandal nearly toppled Hastert, but Boehner survived mostly unscathed."

"The Troubled Asset Relief Program — the $700 billion bailout of the absurdly irresponsible megabanks that got us into the financial crisis — is a classic example of what Boehner is all about, expressing perfectly his tenuous position vis-à-vis the hard-line anti-spending Tea Party base that thrust him into power. Boehner, who over the course of his political career has collected nearly $4 million from the finance and insurance sectors, backed TARP from the start, summoning his full rhetorical arsenal to argue for the bill."

"Of all the longtime Republican Beltway hacks who are now scrambling to find ways to throw enough sunshine on the Tea Party mob to keep their jobs, Boehner has been the most hilariously transparent. In yet another scene straight out of a screwball comedy — maybe it was an early hommage to the now-departed Leslie Nielsen — Boehner in November 2009 stood up in front of a crowd of Tea Partiers who had gathered to protest the upcoming Obamacare vote, and tried to stroke his audience by holding up a copy of the Constitution. Professing his love for the sacred document, Boehner pledged to "stand here with our Founding Fathers, who wrote in the preamble: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident.'" The crowd was silent. Boehner had confused the Constitution with the Declaration of Independence."
These are excerpt's from this week's Frank Rich's NYT column and it reminds me of many of the myths and forgotten facts of the Reagan presidency:

As the do-something lame-duck Congress’s triumphs were toted up, the White House pointedly floated the news that the president was meeting with Reagan administration veterans (David Gergen, Ken Duberstein) and taking Lou Cannon’s authoritative biography “President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime” on vacation. Reagan, of course, was also pummeled (though a bit less so) in his maiden midterms of 1982, then carried 49 states in his 1984 re-election landslide. In January 1983, Reagan’s approval rating was much worse than Obama’s — 35 percent. So was the unemployment rate (10.4 percent vs. our current 9.4 percent) as Americans struggled to recover from what was then the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
The present-day radicals donning Reagan drag, led by Sarah Palin, seem not to know, as Cannon writes, that their hero lurched “from excessive tax cuts to corrective tax increases disguised as tax reform” and “submitted eight unbalanced budgets to Congress in succession.” Reagan made no promise whatsoever of a balanced budget in the document that codified Reaganomics, his White House’s 281-page message to Congress in February 1981. The historian Gil Troy has calculated that spending on entitlement programs more than doubled on Reagan’s watch. America slid into debtor-nation status, and Americans “went from owing 16 cents for every dollar in national income in 1981” to owing 44 cents per dollar in 1988.
In a particularly instructive passage, Cannon tells of Reagan’s habit of endlessly recycling an inspirational World War II anecdote that, as the press discovered, was a movie-spawned fiction. His White House spokesman, Larry Speakes, was only half-joking when he deflected critics with the old saw “if you tell the same story five times, it’s true.”

Reagan never backed off bashing the Democrats and the 30-year Great Society “binge” for the fiscal woes of his America. Reagan got away with it because he never sounded like a whiner, and because he paired his invective with an optimism that bleached out any pettiness. A former Democrat, after all, he wisely chose F.D.R. as his political model.

Among many of these memories and reminders, Rich makes the point that "Obama is less adept at keeping his messages simple, consistent and crystal-clear".

It has surprised me how Obama's gift for communication and speechifying that drew so many of us to him in 2008 are now turned off by how unable he is to be entrance us with clarity and forthrightness on the issues of his current Presidency, such as health care, fighting against tax cuts for millionnaires, creating a bill in support of 9/11 first-responders and on and on. It is possible to be supportive and a leader on issues without demonizing the opposition, which sometimes seems to be his larger goal - to avoid upsetting anyone.

But the rest of their budget was apparently directed to improving the quality of their Vodka, so they did have that going for them

Change the word Pentagon to Kremlin and Chinese to American below, and go back 20 years to what bcame of the USSR with all their emphasis on a military buildup, and you'll understand why this story concerns me:

BEIJING — The Pentagon is stepping up investments in a range of weapons, jet fighters and technology in response to the Chinese military buildup in the Pacific, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Saturday on the eve of his visit to Beijing.

Despite billions of dollars in proposed Pentagon budget cuts that Mr. Gates announced this past week, he said that the Chinese development of its first radar-evading fighter jet, as well as an antiship ballistic missile that could hit American aircraft carriers, had persuaded him to make improvements in American weaponry a priority.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Can't wait to see how Fox spins this one

From Forbes...yes, THAT Forbes magazine:

More Small Businesses Offering Health Care To Employees Thanks To Obamacare

Jan. 6 2011

The first statistics are coming in and, to the surprise of a great many, Obamacare might just be working to bring health care to working Americans precisely as promised.

The major health insurance companies around the country are reporting a significant increase in small businesses offering health care benefits to their employees.


Because the tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working.

We certainly did not expect to see this in this economy,” said Gary Claxton, who oversees an annual survey of employer health plans for the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. “It’s surprising.”

How significant is the impact? While we won’t have full national numbers until small businesses file their 2010 tax returns this April, the anecdotal evidence is as meaningful as it is unexpected.

United Health Group, Inc., the nation’s largest health insurer, added 75,000 new customers working in businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Coventry Health Care, Inc., a large provider of health insurance to small businesses, added 115,000 new workers in 2010 representing an 8% jump.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest health insurer in the Kansas City, Mo. area, reports an astounding 58% increase in the number of small businesses purchasing coverage in their area since April, 2010-one month after the health care reform legislation became law.

“One of the biggest problems in the small-group market is affordability,” said Ron Rowe, who oversees small-group sales for the Kansas City operation for Blue Cross Blue Shied. “We looked at the tax credit and said, ‘this is perfect.”

Rowe went on to say that 38% of the businesses it is signing up had not offered health benefits before.

Whatever your particular ideology, there is simply no denying that these statistics are incredibly heartening. However, for those of you who cannot get past your opposition, even for a moment of universal good news, let’s break it down.

The primary, most enduring complaint of the opponents of the ACA has been that the law is deathly bad for small business.
Apparently, small businesses, and their employees, do not agree.

The next argument has been that the PPACA is a job killer.

If these small businesses found the new law to be so onerous, why have so many of them voluntarily taken advantage of the benefits provided in the law to give their employees these benefits? They were not mandated to do so. And to the extent that the coming mandate obligations might figure into their thinking, would you not imagine they would wait until 2014 to make a move as the rules do not go into effect until that time?

Of course, there is the nagging banter as to how Obamacare is leading us down the road to socialism.

Let it go, folks.

Private market insurance companies are experiencing significant growth because of a tax break provided by the PPACA. I may have missed the day this was discussed in economics class, but I’m pretty sure this is not a socialistic result of federal legislation.

When data like this appears, we have the opportunity to really find out who is talking smack for political benefit and who actually cares about getting affordable and available health care to America’s workers. Certainly, there will be elements of the new law that will not work out exactly as planned. That’s simply reality when it comes to any new piece of landmark legislation. But if you cannot celebrate what appears to be an important early success, you really should give some thought as to where your true interests and intents lie.

If you’re all about beating up on President Obama, you can conveniently forget this bit of data as if it never really happened. However, if your interest is to make health care available to more Americans, this should be a happy day for you – no matter what your ideological beliefs.

Change, I can believe in. This pick, I can't.

I try to look at things the Dems do and say, Well, if the R's had done that, we on the left would be really upset. And so we have this announcement today:

"January 6, 2011

Business Background Defines Chief of StaffBy ERIC LIPTON

WASHINGTON — He is a top executive at JPMorgan Chase, where he is paid as much as $5 million a year and supervises the Washington lobbying efforts of the nation’s second-largest bank. He also serves on the board of directors at Boeing, the giant military contractor, and Abbott Laboratories, the global drug company, which has billions of dollars at stake in the overhaul of the health care system.

He has been a lawyer in private practice, a bank president, a telecommunications company executive, a political strategist, a fund-raiser and campaign chief, a lobbyist for foreign corporations (he advocated on tax matters for Nestlé and a Canadian petroleum company) and now William M. Daley, the son and brother of Chicago mayors and a behind-the-scenes political player himself, will hold one of the most powerful jobs in Washington: chief of staff in the White House, where he will help decide who gets into the Oval Office and what President Obama’s Capitol Hill agenda should be."

So he is connected to the Military Industrial complex, Big Pharma, lobbyists and opposed the creation of the Consumer Protection Bureau. But here's the sentence in the NYT story that I found most upsetting: "Mr. Daley started as chairman of Chase’s Midwest operations, but by 2007 he had expanded his portfolio, joining the bank’s senior leadership team as chief of its new Office of Corporate Social Responsibility, whose most important function was to oversee the company’s global lobbying efforts."

Chase Bank's Office of Corporate Social Responsibity's "most important function" is overseeing their lobbying efforts?! I can't think of any sentence that better describes how far off track corporate america has gone.

Anyway, back to my original point, which is that if GW Bush had appointed someone with his background we on the left would be stomping mad about it. Let it be known that since President Obama appointed him...I'm still pretty damn perturbed by it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Next we'll discuss 4:3 vs 16:9

If you were explaining Television to someone for the first time and told them to watch channel 17 or 29, how would you feel explaining that they can't actually watch either of those channels on those channels?

And after spending an hour or so last nght trying to figure out how to optimize the performance on my new set (does anyone call it a TV "set" anymore?), I find myself longing for the days when the biggest adjustment was to the Horizontal Hold.


New York Times:

January 5, 2011

Journal’s Paper on ESP Expected to Prompt Outrage

One of psychology’s most respected journals has agreed to publish a paper presenting what its author describes as strong evidence for extrasensory perception, the ability to sense future events.

The decision may delight believers in so-called paranormal events, but it is already mortifying scientists. Advance copies of the paper, to be published this year in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, have circulated widely among psychological researchers in recent weeks and have generated a mixture of amusement and scorn.

When asked for their comments on how badly some of their peers had reacted, the researchers replied, "We knew they'd say that."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Friend Kristof speaketh my mind

This is such a great article that I want to post the whole thing here, something i rarely do:

December 25, 2010

The Big (Military) Taboo

We face wrenching budget cutting in the years ahead, but there’s one huge area of government spending that Democrats and Republicans alike have so far treated as sacrosanct. It’s the military/security world, and it’s time to bust that taboo. A few facts:

• The United States spends nearly as much on military power as every other country in the world combined, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It says that we spend more than six times as much as the country with the next highest budget, China.
• The United States maintains troops at more than 560 bases and other sites abroad, many of them a legacy of a world war that ended 65 years ago. Do we fear that if we pull our bases from Germany, Russia might invade?
• The intelligence community is so vast that more people have “top secret” clearance than live in Washington, D.C.
• The U.S. will spend more on the war in Afghanistan this year, adjusting for inflation, than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined.

This is the one area where elections scarcely matter. President Obama, a Democrat who symbolized new directions, requested about 6 percent more for the military this year than at the peak of the Bush administration.

“Republicans think banging the war drums wins them votes, and Democrats think if they don’t chime in, they’ll lose votes,” said Andrew Bacevich, an ex-military officer who now is a historian at Boston University. He is author of a thoughtful recent book, “Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War.”

The costs of excessive reliance on military force are not just financial, of course, as Professor Bacevich knows well. His son, Andrew Jr., an Army first lieutenant, was killed in Iraq in 2007.

Let me be clear: I’m a believer in a robust military, which is essential for backing up diplomacy. But the implication is that we need a balanced tool chest of diplomatic and military tools alike. Instead, we have a billionaire military and a pauper diplomacy. The U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service — and that’s preposterous.

What’s more, if you’re carrying an armload of hammers, every problem looks like a nail. The truth is that military power often isn’t very effective at solving modern problems, like a nuclear North Korea or an Iran that is on the nuclear path. Indeed, in an age of nationalism, our military force is often counterproductive.

After the first gulf war, the United States retained bases in Saudi Arabia on the assumption that they would enhance American security. Instead, they appear to have provoked fundamentalists like Osama bin Laden into attacking the U.S. In other words, hugely expensive bases undermined American security (and we later closed them anyway). Wouldn’t our money have been better spent helping American kids get a college education?

Paradoxically, it’s often people with experience in the military who lead the way in warning against overinvestment in arms. It was President Dwight Eisenhower who gave the strongest warning: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” And in the Obama administration, it is Defense Secretary Robert Gates who has argued that military spending on things large and small can and should expect closer, harsher scrutiny; it is Secretary Gates who has argued most eloquently for more investment in diplomacy and development aid.

American troops in Afghanistan are among the strongest advocates of investing more in schools there because they see firsthand that education fights extremism far more effectively than bombs. And here’s the trade-off: For the cost of one American soldier in Afghanistan for one year, you could build about 20 schools.

There are a few signs of hope in the air. The Simpson-Bowles deficit commission proposes cutting money for armaments, along with other spending. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a signature project, the quadrennial diplomacy and development review, which calls for more emphasis on aid and diplomacy in foreign policy.

“Leading through civilian power saves lives and money,” Mrs. Clinton noted, and she’s exactly right. The review is a great document, but we’ll see if it can be implemented — especially because House Republicans are proposing cuts in the State Department budget.

They should remind themselves that in the 21st century, our government can protect its citizens in many ways: financing research against disease, providing early childhood programs that reduce crime later, boosting support for community colleges, investing in diplomacy that prevents costly wars.

As we cut budgets, let’s remember that these steps would, on balance, do far more for the security of Americans than a military base in Germany.

shocking they would disappoint us like this

From Washinton Monthly, with comments in boldface following from today's

When House Republican leaders unveiled their Pledge to America in September, it included a pretty striking promise to voters -- if elected, the GOP majority would "roll back government spending" by "at least $100 billion in the first year alone." [...]

Monday, Republicans started slowly backing away from their $100 billion commitment. Yesterday, the pledge was effectively thrown out the window.

Many people knowledgeable about the federal budget said House Republicans could not keep their campaign promise to cut $100 billion from domestic spending in a single year. Now it appears that Republicans agree.

Now aides say that the $100 billion figure was hypothetical, and that the objective is to get annual spending for programs other than those for the military, veterans and domestic security back to the levels of 2008, before Democrats approved stimulus spending to end the recession.

Oh, I see. Republican pledges are "hypothetical" promises. The Pledge to America must have included asterisks and disclaimers in font so small, the country missed the caveats.

Of course another thing the country missed was the traditional media challenging the GOP to identify specific spending cuts rather than just providing them with a platform to peddle their collection of talking points.

Big on News Items today

News Item: Michele Bachmann Reportedly Weighing 2012 Presidential RunCan you imagine the ratings they'd get for Presidential Debates involving her and Sarah Palin? They should put it on pay-per-view - I'd pay! Or make it a game show where the viewers have to try to keep a straight face for as long as possible! Where can I send a donation to help pay for her filing fees?

I'm going to make you learn I can understand how it works

From today's Huffington Post:

"Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) seems to be a big fan of constitutional history, even if his own legislative history hasn't always lived up to that document.But an appearance on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell may have shown that such dedication was lacking in the past. On Tuesday, Goodlatte came on the program to discuss his symbolic reading, and also played up the fact that the "we have, as a part of our new rules of the House, a requirement that all bills introduced in the Congress state the basis in the Constitution -- the section of the Constitution -- upon which that introducer of the bill relies in introducing it."
O'Donnell asked Goodlatte for the current Supreme Court justice who "most reflects" his own reading of the Constitution. After Goodlatte heaped praise on Antonin Scalia and indicated that legislation should stick within the framework of the Constitution, O'Donnell pointed out that Scalia had been part of a 7-2 majority that rulled Goodlatte's own internet censorship bill unconstitutional.

The congressman told O'Donnell that he has not looked into the constitutionality of the minimum wage, despite voting to increase it.

The host pressed, "You voted for an increase in something that you don't even know has constitutional authority to exist?"
"That's correct," Goodlatte admitted."

Other than those things, we're just thrilled though

When the Obama insiders seem confused as to why we on the Left are so upset with him, maybe no example is easier to show why than this simple display of, well, pussy-ness:

"The Obama administration, reversing course, will revise a Medicare regulation to delete references to end-of-life planning as part of the annual physical examinations covered under the new health care law, administration officials said Tuesday."

Hard to find many examples where the expression "Grow a pair, willya?!" is more appropriate, unless maybe it was tax cuts for the rich...or a public option...or carbon taxes...or getting the hell out of Afghanistan...or...

And that's the way it's going to be from now on - no exceptions! Well, except this one time.

News Item from the NYT today:

Representative John A. Boehner, who on Wednesday will be sworn in as the new speaker, has made serious alterations in the rules. Members will vote on Wednesday on changes that ostensibly increase the transparency of lawmaking, but also consolidate Republican power over the budget process.

Mr. Boehner seeks to do away with large omnibus spending bills, preferring to break them into smaller bills, and to allow for more amendments on bills generally, and more extensive debate.

Members offering bills for new programs will have to explain how they will pay for them, not by raising new revenues but by finding other ways to cut costs. Each bill introduced will also have to cite the specific constitutional authority for its contents.

For the first time under the House rules, all bills will be required to be placed online. Committees will post their rules and their votes, as well as information about testifying witnesses in an effort to make public any conflicts of interest.

In an unusual grab of budgetary power, the incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee will be able to unilaterally set limits for categories of domestic spending until a budget resolution is passed this spring, as a budget enforcement measure.

Some of Mr. Boehner’s more notable proposals concern the transparency and speed with which bills are going to be considered. The Republicans are committed to making all legislation available to lawmakers, and the public, at least three days before a House vote; in large part, this is a response to the late-night revisions made to the energy bill, among others, that was decried by Republicans.

Before bills are marked up — a sacred practice that allows lawmakers to change the content of bills — three days’ notice must be given, also to stave off dark-of-night revisions.

Requiring bills to be placed online is “very, very unusual and groundbreaking,” said Muftiah McCartin, a former staff director of the House Committee on Rules.

Republicans have also pledged to have an open rule on all spending bills, which means that members of both parties will be able to offer more amendments and have more debate, which in theory would lead to more scrutiny for each government agency seeking financing.

Let the record show that I strongly agree with all these ideas. And I hope they stick to them. Nancy Pelosi said she was going to do many of the same things, but not right away, when she became Speaker. But then she told us that there were some things she wanted to get done right away before she made substantive changes. But John Boehner is going to be different.

Or is he? Read on:

A big exception will be the bill to repeal the health care law that House Republicans plan to bring up next week. That bill will not be subject to amendments, nor will Republicans have to abide by their own new rules that compel them to offset the cost of new bills that add to the deficit; the health care repeal and tax cuts are not subject to this new rule.

Representative Peter Welch, Democrat of Vermont, had hoped to propose an amendment to the health care repeal legislation to provide for an up-or-down vote on several major components of the law. The components include elimination of lifetime limits on care, coverage of individuals up to age 26 on their parents’ health care plans, the banning of discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions and free preventive care for older Americans.

Democrats are displeased.

As should everyone else be.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Economy to USA: "I resolve to have a great year!'

In some ways, this is a lame initial entry for a new year, especially after so few postings lately, but in some ways it's perfect too. From Yahoo News today:

"All positive indicators:

• A key index of activity at manufacturing firms showed that in December, America's factories expanded faster than in any month since May. Within that index, new orders and production were also up, suggesting that future months could see continuing rises.
• A Commerce Department report showed that construction spending rose by more than expected in November -- the third straight month that it has risen. The construction industry was hit hard by the housing bust but now appears to be on the rebound.
• New jobless claims recently fell to their lowest weekly level since 2008.
• And the Dow Jones, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 indexes all rose yesterday, the first trading day of the new year, continuing strong gains from late 2010."

And from the Daily Local:

INDICATOR: December Supply Managers’ Manufacturing Survey

KEY DATA: ISM (manufacturing): 57.0 (up 0.4 point); new orders: 60.9 (up 4.3 points); production: 60.7 (up 5.7 points)
IN A NUTSHELL: “Manufacturing ended the year on a positive note and the surging orders point to stronger growth ahead.”
WHAT IT MEANS: The key figure in the report was the sharp rise in new orders. The demand for manufactured goods was at the highest point since last spring.Interestingly, while both export orders and imports continued to rise, they did so less rapidly. The implication is that much of the new demand is coming from domestic activity, which is good news.The rise in orders led to a jump in production.

MARKETS AND FED POLICY IMPLICATIONS: The economy is in good shape. The manufacturing sector remains quite solid and with orders strong, there is no reason to believe that will change anytime soon.
That bodes well for future overall economic growth, which we should accelerate as we go through the first half of the year."

It's going to be a great economic year, I tell ya!