Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Scott Murphy (D): 77,344 - 50%
Jim Tedisco (R): 77,285 - 50%
% Precincts Reporting: 100%
THE RACE IS TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Note: the process going forward is that paper ballots are counted(absentee and provisional) and, if needed, a recanvass occurs. NY GOP filed suit in NY State Supreme Court today to slow down the canvass.
Over the course of my internship, I have done a lot of research on all things relating to international taxation, including reading transcripts of hearings such as the one I actually went to today. The IRS Commissioner, Douglas Shulman, said the exact same thing at today's hearing that he did at a Senate hearing on UBS two months ago. While he made very good points and was able to lay out the IRS's plan to combat such secrecy practices, I found myself wishing he had been able to say more. It has been months since the UBS case and still there seem to have been no real progress made in the plan to circumvent banking secrecy laws. The financial crisis has showed that now more than ever government agencies need to be working quickly and effectively to actually make progress in solving the problems instead of just giving the same speech over and over.
Another aspect of the hearing that I found frustrating is the fact that these hearings seem to serve no real purpose. Many members of the committee were not even present and those who participated did not ask enough follow-up questions when their initial inquiries were side-stepped. Holding hearing after hearing on the same issues won't fix the economy; maybe instead of listening to the same issues be discussed over and over again members of Congress should start taking action.
Proof of Gate's pragmatic approach comes from another article talking about how he has lobbied Congress for an increase in the State Department's budget. Gates realizes that there is no permanent military solution in Afghanistan or Iraq, and that there needs to be a civilian surge in addition to a military one. There is no way Rumsfeld (or most other cabinet members to be honest) would ever advocate for other departments to get a larger share of the funding pie. It's nice to see a realization that we are all working together to achieve the same goal, and that in order to be successful, everyone needs to be able to fully do their job.
Monday, March 30, 2009
"Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child."
"What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."
"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared.'"
"Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts."
"Mars is essentially in the same orbit . . . Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."
"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century."
"I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy -- but that could change."
"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."
"The future will be better tomorrow."
"We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world."
"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."
"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe."
"I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican."
"I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix."
"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls."
"When I have been asked during these last weeks who caused the riots and the killing in L.A., my answer has been direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame."
"Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it."
"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
"For NASA, space is still a high priority."
"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children."
"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
"[It's] time for the human race to enter the solar system."
"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."
"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."
I think this is a dangerous development for the quality of our secondary education system. Financial need should never hinder a talented individual's chances of reaching their full potential. Hopefully this increased awareness of need won't last very long; if it does we will undoubtedly see decreased standards in our education.
While updating laws to prevent unnecessary burdens makes sense, this case has troubling implications. President Bush and Congress reauthorized this section of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, so a change by the courts would override the popular will. Also, on issues related to potential discrimination, there is good reason to be cautious in rolling back reforms--consider the wide allegations of voter suppression in the 2000 and 2004 elections. Yet the makeup of the Supreme Court after President Bush's appointments has altered the court's civil rights stance notably (including a repeal of the option for racial balancing in public schools in 2007), which means this law is unlikely to survive.
I support this plan, even though my small state of Vermont would lose most of its influence in the presidential race; a system where the President is the winner of the popular vote is simply more democratic. While a post-Electoral College America would lost some of the drama of campaigning for "swing states," it would ensure that the president is elected by all the people without giving undue influence to some states over others.
In a world where connections can take you far, and one in which I'm going to a networking party in the evening, aren't you jealous too?
This opposition could prove to be a major problem for Obama, as well as for the overall global financial interests of the US in the coming months. If Obama leaves the week of Summit meetings without having achieved his goals, or at least negotiated a compromise between his goals and those of the European nations, he may be viewed as the newcomer who couldn't stand against the experience of Merkel, et al.
The Obama administration gave General Motors and Chrysler LLC failing grades Monday for their turnaround efforts and promised a sweeping overhaul of the troubled companies. The government plans to give the automakers more money, but it is also holding out the threat of a "structured bankruptcy."
Sunday, March 29, 2009
We're pretty worried about deflation right now but in the next few years we're going to see high levels of inflation as a result of this monetary policy.
I just finished reading a book about monetary policy by Milton Friedman. The theory is pretty basic: inflation arises when the supply of money grows faster than output. Heading back to Macro 102, the Phillips curve illustrated the inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment.
According to the Phillips curve, high inflation leads to low unemployment because and abundance of money means businesses can hire more people and higher inflation lubricates labor markets. Low inflation means high unemployment for the opposite reasons.
While the Phillips curve may work in the short-run, Friedman rejects it in the long run. After all, inflation takes years, not months, to develop and/or be cured. Also, people begin to expect inflation, thereby removing the positive side of and increase in nominal income.
"We have been misled by a false dichotomy: inflation or unemployment. That option is an illusion. The real option is whether we have higher unemployment as a result of higher inflation or as a temporary side effect of a cure for inflation."
I agree with this idea and I am a little worried about the next few years. As soon as we begin to pull out of this recession, the Fed is going to have to tighten interest rates like crazy to stem inflation. In turn, this could potentially create an inflationary recession.
"MoveOn.org Political Action has released radio ads asking key Democratic members of the House and Senate to support President Obama's budget. The ads tap into the populist outrage over AIG's bonuses and remind voters that the Obama budget would make AIG executives and hedge fund managers pay more in order to invest in economic recovery."
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The failed budget rollout, plus Michael Steele's numerous debacles and Eric Cantor's confession that he was watching a Britney Spears concert instead of the President's big press conference earlier in the week, make me think the Republicans need to find new leadership. NOW.
Friday, March 27, 2009
The second regulation is a proposal by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to require all car paints to meet a 20% reflectivity requirement by 2016. The idea behind this is that darker colors like black absorb more sunlight, thereby requiring more use of the air conditioning, which in turn uses more fuel. However, some people are upset about this proposal since it could effectively ban colors like black and navy blue. More info can be found here: http://wot.motortrend.com/6500391/government/no-black-cars-california-air-resources-board-proposes-shake-up-of-color-palette/index.html
Aug. 1 was the start of Clown Week in Wisconsin
September was Clean Hands Month in Nevada
Sept. 26 in Hawaii was a day of awareness for the nene, or Hawaiian goose
I suppose you can never be too aware of clean hands and geese, as long as no state funds are being spent in the process.
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Anyone want to cook dinner together? :-)
I know that on Thanksgiving the President pardons a turkey ... does he pardon a bunny on Easter Sunday?
It’s 140 characters. It’s so few characters. If you need a ghostwriter for that, I feel sorry for you.
"Say You're Staying, Mr. President" by The Economist
"Words Fail Us" by Sarah Chayes, featured in LA Times
Oh, and I would love to see the hosts and panelists of Red Eye go to Afghanistan and see for themselves how soldiers routinely operate in 6000+ elevation with 90+ pound packs, and engage in gruesome fighting with a fanatical enemy. These armchair quarterbacks disgust me.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Pretty lame under any circumstances, but given 1) the economic crisis and 2) D.C.'s lack of voting representation, I'd call this seriously uncool (yes, that's my politically accurate term for it).
The main thing to take away here, though, is that financial industry employees make more money than the free market should let them earn. That alone is a solid reason to back regulation--the usual counterarguments about "free enterprise" fall flat when it is clear that restricting businesses in this area would better approximate a free market outcome.
I'm not surprised that views about a "right direction" have taken precedence over satisfaction in the recent polls; Americans are facing tough economic times, but Obama's speeches have continued to invoke an atmosphere of hope that sustains a more forward-looking mood.
If EU countries want to maintain their relevancy, they need to prove their abilities in the international arena. This means committing to Afghanistan. You cannot claim power and importance without exercising it; no one is going to take you at your word.
This is what Burris has to say about his extravagent gravesite..
'Burris told me that it was the cemetery’s managers who persuaded him to build the mausoleum. “It was their insistence,” he said. “ ‘Because this is not so much for you, Roland.’ And I didn’t even think about people thinking about my ego. This is for young people who can see a person who had accomplishments.” '
On another note, how many of the 91,000,000 questions do you think Obama will answer during his 20 min. webchat?
'you need to be taken out one by one and shot in the head. there is a special place in hell for you pond scum'
'get the bonus, we will get your children'
... that last one was from somebody named 'Jacob the Killer'
Some of these people left their real names, email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses. The Attorney General who released these threats and the FBI will be making a few housecalls in the near future I presume...
"Suddenly, though, it doesn't seem like a time of new politics and new concerns. Many Americans are anxious -- and in some cases angry -- about a set of old issues: deficits, taxes and the national debt"
Click on the link for a thrilling article about the great Emanuel brothers.
Although I think there are way too many random holiday's already, I've never thought about the fact that a budget could create or destroy one. Maybe a holiday with a little less historical significance could be canceled instead. Personally, I think Columbus Day is somewhat outdated...