Sunday, February 20, 2011

Republicans are actually serious about the deficit

Daniels and Christie light fuse under GOP lawmakers

AS CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS MULL WHETHER TO ADDRESS THE GOVERNMENT'S LONG-TERM FISCAL PROBLEMS -- HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADERS ARE BEING PUSHED BY THE 87 FRESHMEN TO DO SO, while some Senate Republicans are seeking some bipartisan accords with Democratic colleagues -- two Republican governors barrelled into Washington with the message that the lawmakers better get moving. And that congressional Republicans might do just fine politically if they do.

The two Republican governors are Mitch Daniels of Indiana, who spoke to a Conservative Political Action Committee dinner Feb. 11, and Chris Christie of New Jersey, who spoke at American Enterprise Institute (where I am a resident fellow) on Feb. 16.

In style they're a contrast. Daniels is slight, balding and spoke quietly from a carefully prepared text. Christie is large and spoke bombastically without notes. But IN SUBSTANCE THEY WERE MUCH THE SAME.

They were both mightily concerned with what Daniels called "THE RED MENACE" -- "THE DEBTS OUR NATION HAS AMASSED FOR ITSELF OVER DECADES OF INDULGENCE." He warned that "federal spending commitments now in place will bring about the leviathan state" and "the slippage of the United States into a gray parity with the other nations of this Earth."

These two could be very important over the next two years as the Republicans look for a Presidential candidate for the times.

Wis. GOP ups pressure on Dems to return and vote

WISCONSIN REPUBLICANS ON SUNDAY UPPED THE PRESSURE ON DEMOCRATS WHO FLED TO ILLINOIS TO RETURN HOME and vote on an anti-union bill, with the governor calling them obstructionists and a GOP lawmaker threatening to convene without them.

Gov. Scott Walker said the 14 minority Democrats who left Madison on Thursday were failing to do their jobs by "hiding out" in another state. And SENATE MAJORITY LEADER SCOTT FITZGERALD SAID HIS CHAMBER WOULD MEET TUESDAY TO ACT ON NON-SPENDING BILLS AND CONFIRM SOME OF THE GOVERNOR'S APPOINTEES EVEN IF THE DEMOCRATS DON'T SHOW UP - a scenario that should outrage their constituents.

Senate Democrats acknowledged that the 19 Republicans could pass any item that doesn't spend state money in their absence. The budget-repair bill they have been blocking requires a quorum of 20 senators to pass, while OTHER MEASURES REQUIRE ONLY A SIMPLE MAJORITY OF THE CHAMBER'S 33 MEMBERS.

Nonetheless, Democrats said they were standing firm in their opposition to the budget-repair bill, which would take away the right of most public employees to collectively bargain for their benefits and working conditions. Hundreds of protesters filled the Capitol for a sixth straight day, noisily calling on Walker to drop the plan they consider an assault on workers' rights.

I think this will be pretty much over by Tuesday. The Democrats will come back and the changes will be made to the state laws regarding collective bargaining by public employees. The venue will then switch to other states that will follow suit.

How Wisconsin Could Save The Democratic Party

The Wisconsin fight over the power, pay and perks of government-sector unions could end up saving the Democratic Party, but not in the way most people might expect….

….PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS HAVE BECOME THE KUDZU OF GOVERNMENT — growing fast and choking off everything else in its path.

That liberal vision of high-speed rail, renewable energy, health care for all, more money for universities? Sorry, that money is going to government workers and retirees….

….THE MOST AGGRESSIVE LOBBYING FOR PENSION REFORM IS COMING NOT FROM FISCAL CONSERVATIVES BUT FROM PROGRESSIVES, who see the logarithmic cascade of pension liability as a threat to public parks, environmental programs, and rail transit…..

This is an interesting take on what’s happening. Public employees won’t be happy, but this could be very important for the Democratic Party.

Newsweek's Evan Thomas: Obama's Budget a 'Profile in Cowardice'

EVAN THOMAS, NEWSWEEK: Only the President, only the President can break the logjam. HIS STATE OF THE UNION WAS A PROFILE IN COWARDICE. HIS BUDGET IS A PROFILE IN COWARDICE. I hope there’s a secret plan he has here to come forward to lead us, but he hasn’t shown it yet.

With friends like this, you don’t need enemies.

Does President Obama have a tin ear?


First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha are said to be on a ‘private family trip’ to Colorado for Presidents' Day Weekend.

They are staying at the upscale Sebastian Hotel on Vail Mountain, where rooms start at $650 a night and range up to more than $2,400 for multi-bedroom suites.

The trip came just days after the president tried to sell his cost-cutting budget to the American people by asking them to stay at home.....

I’m seeing in my mind Republican campaign ads where you see the vacations the Obama’s have taken while the jobless numbers are superimposed over them. The Obamas seem to be more and more like Marie Antoinette.

In House debate, pet projects euthanized


HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN A. BOEHNER, Ohio Republican, watched lawmakers vote to defund a military project that pumps millions of dollars into his district, and FORMER SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, California Democrat, saw her colleagues vote to end federal funding for a park in her San Francisco congressional district.

PRESIDENT OBAMA ALSO TOOK SOME SHOTS TO THE CHIN in the bill known as a continuing resolution — or “CR” in Capitol Hill-speak. Lawmakers opposed his environmental agenda and an overwhelming bipartisan majority vote to block his administration’s rules designed to clamp down on for-profit schools.

In the span of one week, the House probably took votes on as many big issues as it did in the entire last Congress, including the war in Afghanistan, health care, environmental regulations, the extent of federal power, and whether the Defense Department should be sponsoring NASCAR race teams

It appears the Republicans are serious. This should help lift the stock market up.

Planet could be 'unrecognizable' by 2050, experts say

A growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources could make for an "unrecognizable" world by 2050, researchers warned at a major US science conference Sunday.

The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, "with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia," said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.

To feed all those mouths, "we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000," said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

In case you are very concerned about this here’s a blast from the past (predictions made at the very first Earth Day)

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

• Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”

• Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

Science Fiction becoming science fact

The Navy just set a new world record, a test blast from a new type of laser THAT CAN SHOOT CRUISE MISSILES FROM THE SKY IN SECONDS WITH A DEADLY ACCURACY that simply doesn't exist in the military’s vast arsenal today.

And that new record moved them one step closer to proving the "holy grail" of laser guns is real.

To create incredible power requires incredible energy. After all, the more power one puts into a laser accelerator, the more powerful and precise the light beam that comes out on the other end. During a private tour of the Jefferson Lab in Newport News, VA., on Friday, SAW SCIENTISTS BLAST UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS OF POWER INTO A PROTOTYPE ACCELERATOR, PRODUCING A SUPERCHARGED ELECTRON BEAM THAT CAN BURN THROUGH 20 FEET OF STEEL PER SECOND.

I remember watching Goldfinger many years ago where Bond was left while a laser slowly cut through steel toward his body. He couldn’t survive with today’s technology.

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