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Time for House Republicans to put up or shut up

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

With less than a week until Republicans take over the House, their mission couldn’t be any more clear:

With Republicans in control of the House and Democrats in charge of the Senate, not much is likely to get done on the congressional front. But over at the executive branch, the race is on to control whatever isn’t already federally nailed down.

Last year, congressional Democrats gave us Obamacare against our will.

Last week, the executive branch’s elves tacked on an end-of-life planning mandate. (But no death panels here, folks. Nothing to see. Healthy people to the right; elderly and infirm to the left. Move along.)

Also last week, the Federal Communications Commission made its second lunge for the Internet, promulgating a slew of rules it clearly has no authority to make.

The Republican response to each of those massive federal power grabs has been a united and resounding, “No.” That was the correct answer.

As this coming congressional session unfolds, they’re going to have to continue giving that answer, continue telling the people why and offer wiser alternatives. That’s especially true of the House, where the Republican proposals will actually see the light of day. The House must build a record of freedom-promoting alternatives to the incremental lockdown on the public that the Obama administration is doggedly pursuing.

That’s it in a nutshell.  The campaign is over–no more ads, no more sound bites.  Time to act accordingly.  The 112th Congress is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Republican party to redeem itself.

Indian, Chinese entrepreneurs eating our lunch

December 29, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s not about whose education system is better, but basically who wants it more, “it” being the desire and capacity to spur innovations in technology which in turn help our economy:

India and China now graduate three to six times more engineers than does the United States. The quality of these engineers is, however, so poor that most are not fit to join the workforce; their system of rote learning handicaps those who do get jobs, so that it takes two to three years for them to achieve the same productivity as American graduates. As a result, significant proportions of China’s engineering graduates end up working on factory floors; Indian industry has to spend large sums of money on retraining its employees[...]

Despite this, India has built a $73 billion-per-year information technology service business and has been offering IT services of steadily increasing sophistication. Its engineering R&D industry is now a $10 billion business — a three-fold increase in four years. It develops sophisticated products for Western firms in the aerospace and automotive industries, and in telecommunications, semiconductors, consumer electronics, and medical devices. And most significantly, there are thousands of new startups that are building web technologies, clean-tech products like low-power lighting, and mobile applications.

China has built world-class universities and state-of-the-art research facilities.  [...]  The big change that has occurred in China, however, is the emergence of technology startups: thousands of them, just as in India.
The first generations of Indian startups focused on selling IT services, and the Chinese developed copycat web technologies such as Baidu, China’s Google rival, and Sina, its Twitter clone. But they are going beyond that now. They are gaining the knowledge — and developing the confidence — to create innovative products, not only for domestic markets, but also for global ones.

 

This is not to say that entrepreneurship is dead in the United States, but rather falling behind economic powers like China and India, which is definitely not a good thing.

[Hat Tip: Techmeme]

The housing double-dip is here

December 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Housing prices take a tumble:

A new bout of declining home prices is threatening to hamper the U.S. recovery, just as consumers and the overall economy have been showing signs of healing.

[...]

Home prices across 20 major metropolitan areas fell 1.3% in October from September, the third straight month-over-month drop, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index released Tuesday. Many economists expect the declines to continue into at least next spring, erasing most of the gains made since prices bottomed out in early 2009.

The housing market, which appeared poised for a recovery earlier in the year, now could be heading for a second downward drift.

“This looks like a double-dip [in housing] is pretty much on the way, if not already here,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Standard & Poor’s index committee. “Somebody who thought last year that it’s going to be straight up from here was wrong.”

[...]

Homes remain a key part of Americans’ wealth. Households held $6.4 trillion of home equity at the end of the third quarter, alongside $12.2 trillion in stocks and mutual-fund shares, according to Federal Reserve data.

Wasn’t the government supposed to put an artificial floor in the real estate market financed by taxpayer dollars implement benevolent government programs designed to reverse evil George Bush’s real estate recession?  Isn’t that what we heard incessantly from the Obama Democrats in the early days of this administration?

Yeah, about that.

Snow Day

December 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Yesterday morning, I went to get the paper and did some grocery shopping for the impending snow storm.  As I got back to my place around 11 am, the snow flurries began.  It didn’t stop until sometime early this morning. 

Here in Central Jersey, we got about 18 inches, so it came down about almost two inches an hour.  I just got in from shoveling out my car, but it was almost useless as there is a biting wind and I’d say the temperature is not getting above 30 degrees, which really doesn’t help at all.

I have no problem with snow and cold weather, but this is ridiculous.  Winter is not even a week old, and it’s already picking up where last winter left off.  Somebody pissed off the snow gods royally.

So basically, I’ve been inside since Christmas night.  It’s worth noting that the Green Bay Packers shellacked the New York Giants yesterday afternoon at Lambeau Field, or rather, the Giants beat themselves with six…SIX…turnovers.  It’s not done yet for the Packers as they finish out the season at Lambeau in what is essentially a play-off game versus the Bears.  And nobody can confuse the Giants defense with Julius Peppers and the Bears.  The playoffs begin for the Pack this Sunday.  I’m hopefully optimistic.

Packers’ playoff hopes

December 26, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s looking extremely tight, but the Packers have destiny in their own hands.  This is why I don’t take “expert” predictions in June/July for a four-month season that begins in September.

The game plan is simple for Green Bay for later today and next week–don’t lose. 

Go Pack!

House Republicans to begin 112th Congress by reading the Constitution

December 26, 2010 1 comment

Setting the tone:

“The goal, backers said, is to underscore the limited-government rules the Founders imposed on Congress – and to try to bring some of those principles back into everyday legislating.

“It stems from the debate that we’ve had for the last two years about things like the exercise of authority in a whole host of different areas by the EPA, we’ve had this debate in relation to the health care bill, the cap-and-trade legislation,” said Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, who proposed the reading. “This Congress has been very aggressive in expanding the power of the federal government, and there’s been a big backlash to that.”

Setting aside time at the beginning of the congressional session for the reading is just one of the changes to House rules that Republicans say are designed to open up the legislative process. They say the new rules also will try to bring some restraints to lawmaking after decades in which both Republican and Democratic leaders whittled away opportunities for real legislative give-and-take.

The biggest changes would make it easier to cut spending and harder to create entitlement programs, while imposing restrictions that could keep leaders from jamming massive bills onto the House floor before lawmakers have had a chance to digest them.

This is all well and good, but reading the Constitution is one thing.  Governing based on its principles is quite another. 

Voters need to keep an eye on what our representatives do in Congress, as well as what they say.   I’ve read that the Republican party is on probation in this Congress, and I agree with that. 

The Tea Party is the proverbial tail trying to wag the Republican Party dog, not the other way around.  And to paraphrase Bart Simpson, Washington D.C. is a hideous bitch goddess.  Tea Partiers in Congress are only human after all (with the exception of Congressman-elect Allen West) , and are susceptible to its free-spending and corrupt ways.  These things can happen in spite of the symbolism of reading the Constitution out loud. 

That being said, I am as cynical as they come, and I would love to be proven wrong.

[Hat Tip: Hot Air Headlines]

UPDATE.   When the House Republicans are done reading the Constitution, they may want to figure out how to fight and beat the Obama adminstration on political battles like this:

When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

More to the point of my original post, does the new House majority have the backbone to go to the mattresses on these issues? 

Ed Morrissey writes:

This is just the opening gambit of a strategy Obama will use throughout the coming year in order to achieve through regulation what a Democrat-run Congress could not deliver through legislation.  The new Republican House will have to use its power of the purse to stop this autocratic imposition of regulation, and remain vigilant in doing so on all fronts.  Let’s hope the GOP gets used to fighting this process over the next two years.

Yes, let’s hope.

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s hoping that most of you out there are not like me this Christmas Eve, and subjecting yourself to mandatory face-time with family members that will stress you out to no end. 

But it’s important to find a moment of peace sometime this evening and reflect on the reason for the season, as it were.

I’m wishing everyone who would read this blog a Merry Christmas.  Enjoy.

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