Archive from January, 2006
10 Jan
2006
Posted in: Blog
By    1 Comment

Preaching to the Choir:

The New York Sun is reporting today that the City Council’s new speaker Christine Quinn is serious about having active debate return to the council in regards to new legislation. Her comments are a result of all 206 bills that were brought to floor since 2001 being passed and only 5 being passed without veto proof margins.

Though on the surface debate sounds good, the reason there’s no debate is because the whole council belongs to the same political thought. What is this council under Quinn going to debate over? To debate there needs to be either disagreement or you need to have someone willing to play devils advocate, something I don’t expect some liberal council member to do. Hell if they could think like a rational person and play devils advocate, they wouldn’t be a liberal.

9 Jan
2006
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

Is This Game 2 of a Doubleheader??

I missed most of the steam coming out of Chuckie Cheese Schumer’s blowhole; I’m trying to eat (and enjoy) my lunch. But, did I just hear him make a baseball analogy?? Um, excuse me, that was the analogy-du-jour beaten to death during the Roberts hearings. Dude, this is a whole different ballgame! Live in the now, man!!

Please, tell me the over-crunchiness of my bagel prevented me from hearing correctly. At least tell me the Clever Senator From NY was making a soccer or other sport analogy.

9 Jan
2006
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

Heroes, past and present

Today’s quick must-reads:

Germany proving, yet again, that when War is global, she’s on the wrong side.

Our continued prayers to Matt Long and his family.

9 Jan
2006
Posted in: Blog
By    1 Comment

Forget Richard


Who needs Richard Dawson when we’ve got Joe “Guy Smiley” Biden??

9 Jan
2006
Posted in: Blog
By    1 Comment

Alito Hearing Update 1

I’ve turned off the heater under my desk because there’s more than enough hot air coming out of the hearing coverage on CNN. (yes, still stuck w/ CNN , and only CNN, at work.) Sen. Kennedy just said, “Judge Alioto”.

My personal take so far — I had the volume on during the beginning of the hearing, while Judge Alito was introducing his family, and I couldn’t help but think that any minute Richard Dawson was going to appear to start The Family Feud. “Richard, I brought here with me today….”

Question 1, top 5 answers are on the board. We asked 100 people: What does today’s trendy, hot button political issue (“spying”) have to do with one’s ability to interpret the Constitution? Can’t they think beyond modern headlines and look at the bigger picture? (Okay, rhetorical question.)

SURVEY SAYS!

9 Jan
2006
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

The Alito Scuffle Begins

The confirmation hearings for Samuel Alito begin today, and his opponents will be doing their best to belittle his qualifications and experience in the most partisan way they know how. So, if you feel a rush of hot air during your commute to and from work, it’s not because of an unusually warm January day, it’s the Democratic blowhards on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Alito’s been given a “well qualified” rating by the American Bar Association. Of course it doesn’t mean squat to the Dems when the ABA gives its highest rating to a conservative. Patrick Leahy, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer, and their buddies plan to grill Alito on issues of privacy (abortion) and the intended reach of executive power (NSA wiretapping) in an attempt to paint him as an enemy of the Constitution. Actually, I think they’re really just sore because Alito’s actually read and understood the document. After all, is there really any reason for Senator Schumer to ask, “do you personally believe very strongly that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion?” Now, I’m no Constitutional scholar, but why would a document that had to be amended to allow women to even vote have imbedded in it a right for a woman to obtain an abortion? That just doesn’t pass the smell test.

But look at who we’re dealing with here. The anti-Bushies and the liberal Senators who were lucky enough to have their opinions solicited in the first place were against Samuel Alito before he was even nominated. I truly believe that all those press releases denouncing him and his “ultra-conservative” views were drafted and ready for circulation weeks before the president even called him. A typical screed from these lefty groups probably went something like:

“We have studied this nominee and we believe that (INSERT NAME HERE) is not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court because of his ultra-conservative values.”

My point being that their opinions are foreordained, which makes the whole confirmation process a bit comical. Leahy, Schumer, and Kennedy know the answers to the questions they are going to ask. And they know how they are going to vote. Basically, all we’ll get out of this is a lot of grandstanding from the Democrats and further proof that Sam Alito will make a good Supreme Court Justice.

6 Jan
2006
Posted in: Blog
By    2 Comments

American Companies Help Squelch Chinese Democracy

Whatever role America plays in the eventual and (I believe) inevitable downfall of Chinese Communism, there will be little need to stop and thank Microsoft and Yahoo for playing their part. Just this week Microsoft removed a Chinese blogger’s Web site from its service because he posted comments critical of the Chinese government. Similar actions taken by Yahoo a short time back led to the jailing of another Chinese democratic activist.

Top executives at Microsoft and Yahoo blithely state that they are merely following the laws that govern commerce (and, incidentally, the limited expression of free thought) in China. The fact that people are being jailed, persecuted, and censored for free expression apparently has no impact on them, since it has no impact on either company’s ability to make money there.

I understand the fact that international rules of commerce dictate that companies act within the laws of the countries they operate. And I am well aware that both Microsoft and Yahoo have been instrumental in spreading beneficial computer technology and information around the world. However, these facts only demonstrate the duplicity and callous behavior these companies exhibit when it comes to their dealings in China. At best, they are being used by the communists to help squelch free speech. At worst, they are partners in this anti-democracy enterprise.

Either way, attention should be paid to their actions, and a level of accountability should be called upon them.

6 Jan
2006
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

Why the MTA is no IBM:

Last week I did a post about why the American economy is so resilient. I mentioned how the reason was because of our belief in the capitalist system where we give the entrepreneur freedom to run their business without interference. I mentioned how contract disputes like the one between the MTA and TWU, which led to a strike, only slow down an economy and make it vulnerable to mediocrity. I mentioned how unions as seen in Europe are the roots of all evil when it comes to the crippling of a business and countries GDP growth.

Coincidently last night IBM one of Americas oldest and largest companies announced that it would be freezing and moving away from it current pension plan for its employees. The plan IBM was using is the same one the MTA has been desperately trying to get the TWU to concede on, a defined benefit plan. Like the MTA, IBM realizes that with an aging population, higher lifer expectancies, and lower fertility rates, a defined benefit plan (where every retiree gets a defined amount at retirement) is a recipe for big losses for the company in the future, jeopardizing its stakeholders from employees to customers to investors. This is why the MTA wanted new employees to retire at 62, so the cost to the city and its taxpayers wouldn’t be so high.

Fortunately for IBM and why American companies are so efficient is that unlike the MTA who has to beg their employees to change with the times, IBM was simply able to just say this is what we’re doing. No work stoppage, no crippling of the system and loss of revenue for it and its customers. IBM simply was able to adapt by saying they were freezing the current plan and will now be moving to a 401K based scheme simply catching up with the rest of the country.

Because of this move IBM will save $3 billion by 2010 allowing it to keep its cost low, stay competitive and not have to lay people off. Now as New Yorkers, just think of the MTA and its inability to make a similar adjustment because of the union they have to fight with and how much New Yorkers will have to pay in taxes and fare hikes in the future because they couldn’t save money like IBM.

“According to the system of natural liberty, the sovereign has only three duties to attend to … first, the duty of protecting the society from the violence and invasion of other independent societies; secondly, the duty of protecting, so far as possible, every member of the society from the injustice or oppression of every other member of it, or the duty of establishing an exact administration of justice, and thirdly, the duty of erecting and maintaining certain public works and certain public institutions, which it can never be for the interest of any individual, or small number of individuals, to erect and maintain…”

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

4 Jan
2006
Posted in: Blog
By    Comments Off

Wobblies Wobble but they don’t Fall Down:

How fitting that as New York City recently came to a halt because of a strike by the transit union, the 100-year-old Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW or Wobblies) has come back alive after being left for dead. The New York Sun is today reporting that the radical socialist union, which currently has 2,000 members in North America, has resurfaced in New York convincing workers to walk of the job on Monday at a wholesale company.

Maybe the workers (many who are illegal immigrants) were inspired by the TWU or maybe they truly believe that the IWW’s idea that the workers of the world could organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the earth, can work. Whatever it was, the obvious truth is that like the IWW of old, the new version will fall on its face.

I wonder when they say “live in harmony with earth” if they mean going back to the days of the caveman because that is how we would need to live in order not to violate any of their other principals. The truth is every invention known to man has come as a result of the greed or drive that the brilliant on this planet posses. Does the IWW believe that under their world somebody would become a brain surgeon working 12 hours a day not to mentioned all the time learning to become one only to be compensated as the same person driving a bus? No they wouldn’t. Life progresses and develops out of greed, which in the end benefits all of man, whether it is thanks to the invention of medicines or flight. Companies like Johnson & Johnson spend billions of dollars a year on research for new medicines that have allowed us to live longer for the goal of profit. Without the potential for profits companies like this wouldn’t exist and neither would the medicines.

Sure they want to take possession of the means of production, production that was already invented by somebody else who thought they would get rich off of it. If their strategy is so great why don’t they invent their own, wholesale company, restaurant, or pharmaceutical company to live in peace with earth. Why, because the brains they would need to do it would never sign on.

Wobblies, anarchists, socialists, and anti-capitalists will come, go and come again, but capitalism, the drive to be rich and selfish is what will move society forward and everyone better off.

Once again…

“Every individual is continually exerting himself to find out the most advantageous employment for whatever capital he can command. It is his own advantage, indeed, and not that of society, which he has in view. But the study of his own advantage naturally, or rather necessarily leads him to prefer that employment with is most advantageous to society.”

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations.

4 Jan
2006
Posted in: Blog
By    7 Comments

Quinn as next speaker – Time to move?

It’s no big surprise that über-liberal Christine Quinn was going to become the next speaker of the New York City Council. She had a great relationship with former speaker Gifford Miller, and has steadily risen through the Demo ranks in NYC since working for State Senator Tom Duane when he served in the City Council. But did it have to happen while I still live here?

I became aware of Quinn while managing Stephen Evans’s 2003 campaign to free the 3rd Councilmanic district from her grip. I learned then about her combative style and how she rarely lets public opinion or voter mandate stand in the way of what she wants.

I can’t picture her reign of terror as speaker being good for the city. She is rather proud of her inability to work well with others, and doesn’t seem to have much respect for voters or taxpayers in general. One of her pet issues as speaker will be to repeal term limits on City Council members which were legitimately voted in by New York City residents. Mayor Bloomberg is less than enthused with the prospect of working with her, having butted heads with her in the past.

Quinn is a lifelong servant of government. Like much of her Democrat brethren in the council, she has little experience outside the municipal bureaucracy, and therefore knows only that perpetuation of the bureaucracy will ensure her survival, public good be damned.