December 26th, 2010
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(CNN) -- A powerful storm system that prompted blizzard warnings in New York City and Boston is set to cause major travel headaches at the end of the holiday weekend.
The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the New York metropolitan area effective 6 a.m. Sunday to 6 p.m. Monday. The area includes Newark, New Jersey; New York; and the Long Island and Connecticut coasts.
Forecasters predict between 11 to 16 inches of snow in much of that region, bringing visibility to near zero at times. Sustained winds as strong as 30 mph could hit Sunday night, with gusts up to 55 mph in parts of central
and eastern Long Island.
And starting at noon Sunday and extending through 6 p.m. Monday, another blizzard warning will be in effect for all of Rhode Island and most of eastern Massachusetts. Parts of that region could see as much as 20 inches of snow, with strong winds contributing to "extremely dangerous" travel conditions, the National Weather Service said.
"Widespread power outages are expected during the height of the storm Sunday night from both the strong winds knocking down power lines and the weight of the heavy snow," the weather agency said. "Shoveling should not be done by anyone with heart conditions."
The weather service also issued a blizzard watch from Sunday evening through Monday afternoon for coastal New Hampshire and Maine, up to the Canadian border.
All this could put a wrench in thousands of travel plans.
Continental Airlines, which is partnered with United Airlines, has canceled about 250 domestic mainline and regional departures for Sunday, spokesman Andrew J. Ferraro said.
American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Sanderson said that the airline expected minimal delays through Sunday morning, but that it plans to cancel flights in and out of several key East Coast airports starting in the afternoon.
Delta Air Lines had canceled approximately 500 Christmas Day flights -- including roughly 300 in and out of Atlanta -- in an attempt to get ahead of the storm, Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant said.
The carrier expects to have a better handle of how many cancellations will be needed on Sunday morning, "once we've worked through the schedule," spokesman Kent Landers said.
Delta, Continental, United, American and AirTran Airways are among the carriers waiving penalties for travelers who have to reschedule their trips over the weekend.
While specific information varies by carrier, most are offering penalty waivers for passengers traveling on December 26 and 27 at airports from North Carolina to Boston and beyond. Affected customers are being urged to contact the relevant airline either by phone or online.
Forecasters warned of icy driving conditions across much of the East. Much of the precipitation will fall along the Interstate 95 corridor and near the Atlantic coast.
On Saturday night, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced the city was preparing for a significant snow storm with an expected accumulation of eight to 12 inches and winds of 20 to 40 mph, according to a statement from his office.
"We are anticipating the declaration of a snow emergency by early afternoon" Sunday, the statement said. The mayor urged residents to make any necessary travel early in the day.
CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider said the system is a Nor'easter, which gets its name from the continuously strong northeasterly winds blowing in from the ocean ahead of the storm and over the coastal areas.
CNN's Nick Valencia and Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.
December 25th, 2010
By Barry Secrest
By Barry Secrest
Government, the final frontier, these are the voyages of the 111th Congress. It's four year mission (almost), to explore strange new authoritarian rules, to seek out new strife and new Totalitarian civilizations, to boldly go where no US Government has gone before....(que music)...
The White House recently announced that Rock Star Jon Bon Jovi had been appointed to Obama's Community Solutions program. Bon Jovi responded by saying that he was "honored to have been selected by the President to serve on the newly created White House Council for community solutions." To which we must point out--only the ever brilliant Obama could actually choose a Star best known for a song called "Living On A Prayer" to represent his economically clueless Administration...
December 25th, 2010
December 25th, 2010
China’s double-digit economic growth over the past thirty years has been breathtaking. Growth has limits, however, and China may soon be reaching them. With worldwide recession, and inflation coming to the yuan, a slowdown in China’s growth is increasingly probable. If China experiences any let up in growth, the nation’s internal stability becomes a concern. The modern western trait of rising expectations has set in with the populace. By their sheer numbers, any setback in the standard of living could ominously jeopardize the nation’s political and economic structure—and affect us as well.
Beijing has established, over the years, an integrated economy with surrounding Asian nations equal in size to that of the United States. They have the technological and financial advantages of a modern economy, and with their huge population, the cost advantages of a developing one.
One-child policy, Oil, Raw Materials
But China has problems too. Part of their insecurity stems from a dependence on foreign sources for raw materials. China imports about half its oil, for example, and the vast majority of that comes from tankers that pass through the strategic chokepoint at the Strait of Malacca near Singapore. And to reach Africa or the Persian Gulf, they must cross a vast Indian Ocean heavily patrolled by the U.S. and Indian warships.
And then there is the one-child policy adopted in the 1970s. The policy has resulted in an inherently unstable demographic of 125 men for every 100 women of childbearing age. Moreover, China is aging faster than almost any country on Earth. By 2030, about the time China’s economy is projected to surpass the U.S., their population will begin to decline.
A massive wealth disparity also exists between China’s coastal populations and its poorer interior regions. With the vast majority of China’s population living in the eastern-third of the country near the coast, the other two-thirds of the country is relatively unpopulated.
About 17 million people annually migrate from the country to the cities. Beijing is hoping to limit that flow by taxing and shifting resources away from wealthier coastal regions and giving it to the interior regions without meeting great resistance from either.
When economic growth inevitably slows, however, conflicts will arise and competing factions could emerge with some calling for a strong central government that imposes a heavy-handed order, and others calling for a more free decentralized government. How this struggle will play out is uncertain. In the end, China may remain formally united, but its power could be distributed among its regions much as it was before Mao.
China’s immediate problem, however, is inflation
China’s immediate problem, however, is inflation. A succession of wage increases has occurred this past year for factory workers. That, along with a rise in commodity prices, could bring a spiraling inflation where higher wages and prices feed off each other. The threat of inflation is forcing their central bank to begin cooling the economy. Beijing is already contemplating price controls for some consumer staples, and particularly for food items. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that China’s “consumer price index’s spike to 4.4% on-year in October was mostly due to a 10.1% on-year rise in food prices.”
By keeping the yuan artificially weak against other currencies, Beijing may have allowed its economy to overheat, and has contributed to trade imbalances and global recession. The fading value of the euro has compounded the problem. In preventing the yuan from fully appreciating, China has accumulated $2.6 trillion in foreign-currency reserves, mostly in dollar-denominated assets.
Although Beijing has recently decided to allow the yuan to strengthen, it has much further to go to reach fair value with the dollar. Ending trade and monetary imbalances, and the global recession, is unlikely unless the yuan is allowed to rise freely. Allowing the yuan to rise, however, would slow China’s economy still further. Such a policy would be mostly for the benefit of other nations, and is therefore very improbable.
History suggests that China will continue to act in its own best interest by maintaining trade advantages
History suggests that China will continue to act in its own best interest by maintaining trade advantages. This, in turn, allows them to keep their people employed, and to grow their economy and their military. They have little for error. With 1.3 billion mouths to feed, and food prices rising, no one knows when some chance incident might trigger another Tiananmen Square type bloodletting, a Chinese selloff in the U.S. Bond market, or a showdown over Taiwan.
We cannot assume Chinese and American interests are the same. For policy makers in Washington, China’s ravenous appetite for raw materials and our growing indebtedness to them are worrisome. We must be open to the possibility that our current approach is not working, and is strengthening a regime that represses its people and threatens other nations.
In a world of sovereign debt defaults, currency devaluations and quantitative easing, China’s goal is to protect its economy. In doing so, however, they could be destabilizing the world economy, and causing an aggressive competition for resources. We too will feel the economic effects of their actions. It is inescapable.
The United States must undoubtedly begin the difficult process of reducing its budget and foreign trade deficits. So far, few in Washington have shown a genuine will to address these issues. That must change. With China’s inherent instability, a wise and measured policy approach by Washington will be required for the good of both nations.
No easy answers exist for either country.
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That cold Christmas Eve, Jaybird leaned on the porch rail, looking across land he had worked for seventy years. In moon-blanched stillness, the stubble-strewn fields were taking their winter rest....
No stand up comedian could ever trump Barry-Soetoro-posing-as-Barack-Obama on his way to Hawaii. He (mercifully) won’t be back in D.C. until January 1. But his parting shot to the masses hoping for relief from the brutal boot of Marxism, is that recent weeks marked a `Season of Progress’....
Whenever I think about Christmas I find myself trying desperately, eyes crushed shut, while fighting to remember how it was when I was a child. The anticipation pushed me through snow and past slush. Expectation and hope for the one present I wanted Santa Claus to place beneath the tree propelled me....
December 25th, 2010
By Barry Secrest
My how things change...
The fallout from Wikileaks continues to wow the world at how clueless the US Government has "suddenly" become, the Liberals have taken up the chant formerly of the Tea Party, now directed at the President, that chant rather miraculously being-- "just say no"-- and a mightily chagrined Conservative Charles Krauthammer is now being called "brilliant" by the likes of lefty Bill Clinton himself. (Um...say it ain't so, Chuck. You were our hero!) Even while that same Bill Clinton has stepped into the fray and even taken center-podium to actually endeavor to deflect criticism away from a besieged Obama. Potus Fellatious actually on stage with Potus Narcissistus himself and the Ex-Potus takes center stage! Say what? All True. You just can't make this stuff up...
So, what would our initial surmization of all this be? Well...only Barack Hussein Obama can so terribly screw things up that he can actually engineer the presumptively impossible situation of having both the right and the left and even the center 'spitting nails' angry at him...and all of that's just for starters. If this guy didn't have the anti-American, anti-Constitutional, Socialist de-organizing history that he had, it would almost be enough to make even right-wing, Anarchistic Radicals feel sympathy for the man.
You see, bi-partisan headway had seemingly been made in Washington, regarding a number of budgetary and taxation-centered issues, for the first time in several years. The President, a number of Democrats, and the Republican Leadership, for ostensibly the first time in this Administration's history, actually got together and hammered out a deal which everyone agreed they could agree with. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the "everyone" was apparently, if not comically, limited to those few Politicos who were actually in the room. It would seem that the President never got the memo of what ass-u-me diagrammed out actually means.
That Hot Dog Congressgoiter Person....Thingy
The "original" agreement was for the Democrats to get their desired extension of unemployment benefits for 13 months along with a 2% payroll tax cut (for employees only), while the Republicans would keep the same taxation rates as have been in place for the past nine years, rather than a tax increase for all Americans. In addition, the Death tax would be reinstated from its current level of 0% to a level of 35% for any inheritance greater than $5 million, and Obama would get his START treaty ratified. It appeared to be a workable solution for all, that is, until the Press and the Radical Liberals got involved, and that's when things always tend to get interesting, if not chaotic.
Upon word of the deal having been made, the shrieking and the flailing of arms from the Chicken Littles of the Left, soon began in earnest, as word spread quickly through the formerly vaunted Halls of the Hill. Each of the "as of now outed Marxists," having learned of what the Lame Duck Democrats would be expected to pass, were well beyond shocked, to put it mildly. The cries of liberal angst and defiance were deafening. Oh, what hath thou wrought, Mr. President?
Liberally extreme Congressman Anthony Weiner was one of the first to loosen the ululating wail of discord that had previously been reserved for those of the Right or those who are right--(which is virtually always interchangeable ).
Weiner, who even now manages to retain the look of one of those geeky, be-pimpled, goiter honkies many of us used to defend on the school bus, stated that "the President does not see the value of offense." Now, this statement from Weiner would be the first among many yet to come. In fact, so profligate are the noxious liberal utterings from the man, we half expect him to also break into a tearful admonition that he is not a lesbian despite all appearances to the contrary, while we would all sit in a startled cloud of flagging disbelief. But to say that the President does not see "the value of offense" would be one of the most egregious understatements of the year, since better than half the country have remained consistently offended by the man for over two long years now.
You see, for the longest time, "normal" Americans have been treated to cheeky liberals telling them, not only how they should live but also how things have grown oh so terribly uncivil, and that the Republicans and Conservatives should learn to compromise. They have been told that the GOP was the Party of "NO" as if t'were a sin, and that age-old saying "Conservatives are oh SO mean and combative." And let us not forget the now antiqued stand-by--The Tea Party is a Racist movement--due to its completely disagreeing with Obama--and on and on ad nauseum. Now, the President, seeing perhaps his last and only chance at getting some meaningful give before the new Congress begins administering some long overdue take, and Kaboom! Obama's own party actually begins carpet-bombing the man with rapid-fire F-bombs of all things. In fact, the internecine use of the F-word against Obama has become so extensive among the Democrats, there are even unverified rumors that the President might now alter his START treaty to include domestic F-bomb exclamatory limitations in addition to nuclear bombs, no doubt to be reinforced by the FCC which will dutifully classify verbal offensiveness as regulatable under the premise that sound travels through the air in waves.
The Vice-Versa Dichotomy: Explanations For A Confused Heartland
But as the shoe switches to the other foot, and when the opportunity finally comes for everyone to compromise for the "seeming" good of the Nation--Katie bar the door! The weeping and the gnashing of teeth by the Liberals has actually left us all sorely in need of some very high-end ear plugs. The President was finally compelled, as a result of the election, to do the one thing that all of the Liberals have been demanding from the Republicans since day one, that being to compromise. Obama, who never seems to have met a tax increase or a spending program that he didn't absolutely adore, was forced to do that one particular thing that the Republicans have actually been unable to do, that being negotiate and come up with workable solutions. Up to this point, compromise has never even been an option to the haggard Republicans, since the power of numbers have always been on the side of the Democrats.
But now the time for compromise arrived and the results of the artful capitulation actually allowed normal Americans to see what the Liberals are ultimately all about. The truth is often painfully ugly to see, is it not? Even for those who are of the center-left. As a result of all of this, most Americans and certainly a large proportion of the populace are in a state of total confusion at this point. In fact, even members of the Liberal Media have stated how peculiar things have become all of a sudden with Obama being turned upon so quickly and so rabidly that virtually no one could see it coming. Most of those even in the Conservative Media simply cannot seem to get a handle on why Obama caved into (read: compromised with) the Republicans, but the answer to us, while it may seem a bit meandering, is the most practical so far-- despite being not so very simple.
The "Get The Most You Can While You Can" Theory
(Point #1) The new Congress is due to be seated in January, and this new Congress has begun to take on the look of a defacto Republican majority in not just the House, but in the Senate, as well. It is a fact that, due to the Democratic massacre in November, a number of moderate Democrats in the Senate will be voting as Conservatives on a great many issues, not the least of which are the fiscally directed ones. If Obama were to put off the taxation question until the new Congress is seated and then begin talks, he would have been placed in a far worse position than before, even while being the Chief Executive responsible for every single American to be walloped by a tax increase in the deepest and darkest recession in this Country's history. After the healthcare debacle and the ongoing economic situation, his political capital would be worth less than a wooden nickle.
The Question Of Obama Moderating Versus Obama Pragmaticizing
(Point#2) Many have indicated this particular compromise by Obama to be his lurch to the center. However, when we take Point#1 into account, we can begin to see something else at play. Obama, in fact, probably made the best liberal decision that he could under the circumstances. He certainly does not want his systemic voting base to be hit with a tax increase of 50% (from 10% to 15%) nor does he want a large sub-sector of the population to undergo the ravages of his repeatedly failed non-economic efforts by losing their unemployment. Obama has also had a terrible desire for an easy foreign policy victory that, so far, has evaded him--which he could win with the START treaty. Obama does want to tax those who are of the wealthiest, but not enough to also tax the lowest of income earners, which would, at least in part, explain his decision-making process. To those who say, well they have a majority now, why not push it through, the answer to that is quite simple. The Senate has already been dynamically changed. even before the January seating, and no piece of legislation will make it through, if meaningfully stood against, by January 1st.
The Top Down, Bottom Up, Inside-Out Reason For Liberal Angst At Obama
(Point#3) The reason for the Democratic angst is a bit harder to get a grip on, but when looked at from a certain point of view, makes a good deal of sense. First, remember that a large number of moderate Democrats were voted out. The most strident voices against Obama, at this point, have been from the extreme liberals. Nancy Pelosi even indicated that she would not bring Obama's tax agreement to a vote. "Quirog" from the planet "Greazidom" (Harry Reid) "looked as if someone had shot his dog." The reasons for the Liberal's anger is rooted within the Progressive's bible, Alinsky's "Rules For Radicals," and essentially speaks to why the liberal mindset is one of de-evolution at best. Class warfare, if anyone has noticed, has rapidy become the bellwether issue for Liberals and Progressives. As anyone who watches or reads Glenn Beck knows, the incessant theme of a Marxist-style revolution is one of constantly pushing for the top down, bottom up, inside out theory which actually plays quite beautifully into the reason for the current anger of the liberals at Obama in their desire to take it to the wealthy and to do so very hard, even against the strategery of their anointed one.
Pick The Target, Freeze It, Personalize It, Polarize It, Cut Off Support, Isolate It From Sympathy; Attack The Wealthy
(Point#4) The one thing to remember is simply this: When ostracizing a particular group for vilification, the first thing that one must do is to skew public opinion against that group by both freezing and polarizing public opinion against it. This is the bottom-up effect of Beck's theory which Marxist Van Jones has constantly put forth among other Progressive Groups. Socialists and their closest cousins, the Liberals, have always hated the ultra-successful at the top, even while many are actually a part of them. By hitting the wealthy with heavy taxation, the redistributive goals, which are at least a part of their plan, can more easily be met, while identifying a specific group in what is ultimately a severe form of economic discrimination.
(Point#5) Rush Limbaugh recently made note of an increasing number of wealthy Capitalists actually moving away from the US, some temporarily, due to the anti-business and anti-wealth furor which is developing within America. We have also seen a number of these most wealthy actually giving up large amounts of their holdings to charity and otherwise. So, why is this? It's simply the beginning of the class warfare that virtually any hardcore Progressive, who wishes to defeat, free-market Capitalism, is moving towards. Remember, the singular reason that the Founders did not, in any way, desire a true Democracy is simply because a rule by majority will lead to ultimate tyranny each and every single time. What we may be seeing at present is this, the Socialist wing of the Democratic Party, using actual tyrannical concepts to go after those who are among the most wealthy. As with every Authoritarian regime, however, once the most wealthy have gotten their due in the form of confiscatory taxation, which group is next? Which arbitrary line will be drawn and who might it be drawn against?
The thing to remember within all of this is that when the original premise was begun concerning extending the tax-cuts which, once again, would mean that the taxation rates remain unchanged, the agreement was considered to be...just barely Ok by many Conservatives. However, now we have seen that both the Senate and the House have made severe alterations to the the bill by way of earmarks. Bouncing back to Charles Krauthammer's heretofore brilliant emanations, Krauthammer states that the bill is a swindle, but that the Republicans have no way to walk the bill back. To this we would say pish-posh! The Republicans can easily now reject this bill and certainly should on the basis of the huge amounts of pork that have been added to it. In fact, the Republicans will , as of now, have no choice but to reject it--as the bill has been loaded down with spending measures that have inflated it grossly and will actually increased our spending as a result.
The Laffer Editorial Revisited
One of the main points of not increasing taxes is to get the economy moving in a sustained way. But, in keeping the existing taxation rate, while adding more spending for various earmarks, is certainly not the way to go about the business of deferring to the people who spoke very loudly this past election on both spending and taxes.
The other thing to remember is simply this: When economist Arthur Laffer, one of the architects of the Reagan economic revolution, wrote what is now referred to as the Laffer Editorial back in June of this year, Conservatives went wild with excitement. The editorial spoke to exactly what America needs in order for her to bulldoze her way back into economic prosperity. Flash forward to now and we actually have heard Obama essentially reading from certain parts of Laffer's editorial, especially the part about a double-dip recession if we fail to extend the cuts. The ironic part of all of this is simply that Laffer's Reagan Economics seems to be in complete and total opposition to the Obamanomics we have been suffering thought for the past two years.
If the Republicans and perhaps even the clueless Democrats wait until Congress is reseated in January to extend the current tax rates, the Republicans will be able to renegotiate the tax bill, cutting out all of the pork and a number of the extras, and maybe even make some additions which will serve to actually stimulate the private sector, for a change, instead of just the disproportionate public sector.
Would that be Change that We Can Believe In... For A Change?
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