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Grab Bag — Christmas Version

1001394448Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year to all.

  • Some weirdness occurred in Detroit. A Nigerian man claiming to be linked to Al Qaeda tried to set off an incendiary device. It appears the man was subdued by other passengers. The plane had taken off from Amsterdam and landed safely in Detroit. Hopefully we’ll get some more information on this soon. I don’t know how a man gets on a plane with an incendiary device in the year 2009.
  • The healthcare industry is upset with the Senate healthcare bill. This can only be good for the American people. I’m liking this bill more and more.
  • Paul Krugman has a great column from the 24th — “Indulge me while I tell you a story — a near-future version of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” It begins with sad news: young Timothy Cratchit, aka Tiny Tim, is sick. And his treatment will cost far more than his parents can pay out of pocket. Fortunately, our story is set in 2014, and the Cratchits have health insurance. Not from their employer: Ebenezer Scrooge doesn’t do employee benefits. And just a few years earlier they wouldn’t have been able to buy insurance on their own because Tiny Tim has a pre-existing condition, and, anyway, the premiums would have been out of their reach.” Again, isn’t this the way it’s supposed to be in America?
  • Finally, a friend of mine sent me an article by a conservative columnist called Walter Williams. The article is titled Collusion Against Our Youth. Mr. Williams correctly points out that unemployment rate for Black teenagers is approaching 50%. He then mentions that back in 1948, before affirmative action and before a lot of the social programs that conservatives hate were enacted, the unemployment rate for Black teenagers was 9.4%. Now we have less discrimination and five times more the unemployment. He points his critical finger towards minimum wage, mandatory vacation time, Social Security and other societal ills. If we just didn’t have these burdens on business, business would be able to afford to hire more people and unemployment would be low.

Sweet! If you look at 1948 and 2009 in isolation, it is possible to come to that conclusion. Unfortunately, when you factor in everything else, the conclusion is laughable. A recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute has shown that highly profitable companies have been cutting jobs. Companies like Microsoft earned a net profit of $14.6 billion in 2009 announced the plan to lay off over 5000 employees over the next 18 months. IBM cut just under 10,000 jobs this year in spite of its profits growing over 18% compared to the previous year. Why would these profitable companies drop employees if they’re making money? The answer is simple, Wall Street wants to see increasing revenues every quarter. In order to meet those expectations, some companies are dropping employees to show an increased profit margin. This has nothing to do with whether the company’s making money or not. It has everything to do with the company making more money this quarter than it did last year this quarter. It has everything to do with the quarter to quarter mentality that Wall Street brings to the business cycle. It is clear that unemployment is unacceptably high for everyone in America. We need to address this problem with clearheaded thinking. We need to look at the interaction between Wall Street and Main Street. We need to figure out how to get these international companies to hire Americans again. It has to make business sense. Import tariffs cannot be the only answer. Scrapping the minimum wage, as Walter Williams suggests, would decrease unemployment, yes, but the employees will be working for third world wages which really will not help the situation. We want Americans who are being paid a living wage to be hired. They can then contribute to society. Their kids can go to college. Their kids can then grow up to be president.

Happy holidays to you all!

By |2009-12-26T01:22:34-04:00December 26th, 2009|Al Qaeda, Economy, Healthcare, Terrorism|Comments Off on Grab Bag — Christmas Version

Pundits and torture

Sometimes I just have sit back and take in the stupidity.  If a Democratic president had twisted the law to make torture legal, conservatives would have been seizing in Congress.  I thought the Republicans were the Law and Order party.

Steve has more:

It was pretty painful over the weekend to see/hear so many political pundits whitewash torture. To hear many of the leading conservative media voices, the problem wasn’t with the Bush administration’s illegal policies, which embarrassed the nation and undermined our national security, but rather with the Obama administration’s transparency.

While most of the nonsense came from the usual suspects (Rove, Armey, Kristol), perhaps the most striking argument came from Peggy Noonan, the Reagan speechwriter turned Wall Street Journal columnist.

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“Sometimes in life you want to just keep walking,” Noonan said, adding, “Sometimes, I think, just keep walking…. Some of life just has to be mysterious.”

It was, to be sure, one of the more ridiculous arguments of the debate. Noonan wasn’t prepared to defend the Bush administration’s abuses, but she suggested accountability is necessarily a bad idea because … well, apparently it has something to do with walking.

Today, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), after criticizing the Obama administration’s reluctance to prosecute alleged Bush-era crimes, marveled at Noonan’s absurd argument.

[T]he Senator took a swipe at some of the rationalizations for avoiding prosecution that have been voiced by Washington lawmakers and pundits.

“If you want to see just how outrageous this is, I refer you to the remarks made by Peggy Noonan this Sunday,” he said, referring to the longtime conservative columnist’s appearance on ABC’s This Week. “I frankly have never heard anything quite as disturbing as her remark that was something to the affect of: ‘well sometimes you just have to move on.'”

Of course, no one has been able to crystalize the stupidity of Washington into a bite sized nugget for us like Jon Stewart.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
We Don’t Torture
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By |2009-04-22T01:01:02-04:00April 22nd, 2009|Bush Administration, Sunday Morning Shows, Torture|Comments Off on Pundits and torture

What's going on – Morning News Roundup

Thursday morning news Roundup

  • John McCain’s campaign is looking vaguely familiar. I’ve seen this type of campaigning before…recently. It looks almost exactly like Hillary Clinton’s campaign in late April and May. The only difference is that Hillary Clinton actually found a message and John McCain has not. Yesterday, John McCain told Sean Hannity that Barack Obamalacks the experience and the knowledge, and, more importantly, the judgment…” A 72-year-old man, who is looking older by the second, picks a running mate with zero experience and is trying to play the experience card. Maybe you can explain it.
  • Dana Milbank, of the Washington Post, points out some of the confusing messages that Sarah Palin has been spewing on the campaign trail.
  • There was an interesting article published a couple days ago about Sen. John McCain’s days as an aviator. It seems that there are some questions about his judgment. The senator had three crashes early in his career before he was shot down over Vietnam. Questionable judgment. Hmmm..!
  • David Brooks, conservative columnist of the New York Times, called Sarah Palin a conservative cancer.
  • In spite of AIG executives spending hundreds of thousands of dollars at the St. Regis Hotel, the $85 billion lthat we lent AIG was not enough. The Federal Reserve has just handed out another $38 billion in cash.
  • Last night, John McCain repeated his claim that he knows how to get Osama bin Laden. If this is true, why hasn’t he told anyone? He says he knows how to fix government spending, yet I haven’t seen any plan. Is he going to make this stuff up with pixie dust?
By |2008-10-09T07:43:02-04:00October 9th, 2008|Economy, Election 2008|Comments Off on What's going on – Morning News Roundup
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