Archive from November, 2006
15 Nov
2006
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Still going:

The New York Fed released its monthly Empire State manufacturing index this morning, which showed a surprise rise over last month. The index came in at 26 compared to last month’s 22. Considering analysts were expecting the index to decline, the rise shows New York is not in the dire state many are crying it to be.

The news is a bullish sign for the New York economy at a time when things appear to be topping. The question is based on the data, how is Spitzer going to be able to show he can do better? For him to make the situation of the state better then it already is, he would have to take unemployment in the State to levels never seen defying all the odds.

Good luck Eliot!

15 Nov
2006
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Is it a sign of things to come?

Yesterday Congress embarrassed America by failing to sign what should have been a slam-dunk trade bill. The bill would have recognized Vietnam with normal trade relations treatment. When a country is given favored nation status, their tariff rate declines to 4.9% from the 35% rate for non-favored nations.

The failure by Congress to pass the bill was a result of dozens of Congressmen not returning to work to vote and a hand few of states afraid of increased competition. The failure to pass the bill left Vietnam scratching it’s head and is an embarrassment for President Bush who is about to attend an economic summit in Asia.

Though I would love to point the finger at Democrats, the truth is both sides played a hand in its demise. Some Republican’s that lost their seats like John Sweeney in New York and Charles Taylor in North Carolina decided it wasn’t important to show up to work and vote.

The rest of the nays came from Congressmen who come from districts still trying to hold on to the undeveloped nation format of a manufacturing industry compared to a developed nation format of a service industry.

I was happy to see that Charlie Rangel voted to pass it as well as other liberal Democrats but American’s should be concerned of the protectionist wave that is heading at us like tsunami.

14 Nov
2006
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Fundamentalist Muslims offended again? No way!

If it’s not the Pope quoting history, it’s the Danes drawing cartoons. Radical Muslim Fundamentalists will find anything of Western origin offensive, mainly because they find everything Western offensive and they basically want us all dead.

The latest Outrage of the Week is Apple Computer’s “Apple Mecca” store on 5th Avenue near Central Park South. It’s supposedly an insult to Islam because it is called a “Mecca.”

These narrow-minded fundamentalists are offended by everything we do, yet they’re the ones cutting people’s heads off and filming it for the Internet. Hmm, methinks the madmen doth protest too much.

By the way, this post was typed on an Apple computer.

14 Nov
2006
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Should I be excited?

So Rudy announced he was going to throw his hat in the ring. Now I’m sure he thinks he has a chance to get the Republican nod, which probably came from the reception he got from his 2006 election tour of the country.

I don’t think he will ever be nominated or could even win. Does anyone really think this country is going to elect an Italian Catholic from New York? That’s pretty funny.

Anyway as much as I love the guy, I’m still upset at him for bailing on the Republican Party in New York back in 2000. I know he was ill but that didn’t stop him from going into the private sector. Just think if he stayed in the Senate race, Hillary might be nothing more then the former Presidents wife and New York would still have a Republican in a State wide seat

14 Nov
2006
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The difference:

As I continue to look back on the election another thing stands out. It’s the class and ease in which George Allen in Virginia and Conrad Burns in Montana conceded their races to their Democrat opponent despite being down by only 7,000 and 3,000 votes respectively.

It was nice NOT to see these two Republicans attempt to hold on forever, calling for recounts, claiming fraud and doing whatever possible to keep their chances alive.

History would argue that if it was the other way around and Democrats lost by those margins, they would have moved into action to claim everything under the sun.

14 Nov
2006
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Democrats should remember Thomas Jefferson and the shores of Tripoli:

Before Democrats dishonor America by cutting and running from Islamic extremists a second time (the first was Mogadishu), they should take a moment to dust off their history books and refresh their memory about another time in American history.

Back in 1801 when America was still in its infancy the Islamic nation of Tripoli and its ruler, the Bashaw Yusuf Karamanli, became the first country to declare war on America. During that time the Islamic nations in the Mediterranean prayed on shipping by pirating the goods of nations. After the capture of American ships, Thomas Jefferson and Congress sent what was our first Navy and Marines on a mission to show America would not succumb to their threats. Congress and Jefferson new like today the world was watching to see how our nation would react and it was imperative to show America couldn’t be pushed around.

The war for a time went badly as America lost one of its ships, the Philadelphia, and it’s crew of 300 to the Bashaw after it ran aground near Tripoli. Our men were tortured and put into hard labor with the only way of saving themselves was by converting to Islam. Only two converted as the rest rather die. Despite some in America calling for Jefferson to just pay tribute instead of the higher cost of a prolonged war, Jefferson knew folding would do more damage to America and its relations overseas then the cost of keeping the fight going.

Jefferson and America kept the fight going eventually forcing the Bashaw to succumb to a treaty where America would pay no tribute. The war would give America its original war heroes like Commodore Preble, Stephen Decature and William Eaton who led America’s first Marines on land in an attempt to sack the Bashaw. Eaton and his men’s legacy still live today in the Marine Hymn, with the line, “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we will fight our country’s battles on the land as on the sea.”

What America’s resolve did over those 5 years (and you think 3 years in Iraq is to long) was put America on the map and gain respect from the international powers like Britain and France who would have used a show of weakness for their own gains. Though exactly 200 years later, the times are similar. Leaving Iraq before a clear victory will give Al-Qeada, Iran, Syria and others a boost in confidence that the worlds feared superpower can be beaten and worse no longer has the resolve to fight a long prolonged battle. If you listen quietly you can hear those French surrender jokes being replaced with America throughout the Middle East.

13 Nov
2006
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Let’s reverse this trend…

The AP has an item today on how New England Republicans (fiscally conservative, socially liberal) are a dying breed. I was raised in a New England Republican family and was particularly sad to see Nancy Johnson, who represented my hometown, lose after more than 20 years in office.

It is time to reverse this trend and stop scaring the moderates away from the party. The GOP needs to stop caving to the Christian Coalition by pushing their so-called ‘moral values’ and focus on economic measures so we can prevent more moderates from fleeing the party and attract more of the swing vote in 2008 .

13 Nov
2006
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Where do they come up with this stuff?

Somebody sent it in a comment where they said so long “racist Republicans”. I would have posted it except they then cut and pasted an article the size of a college paper.

I was just wondering how many e-mails they sent to Charlie Rangel’s office for his bigoted comments about Mississippi last week?

13 Nov
2006
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So it begins: Part II

Last week Democrats went to work informing Americans that they were going to do their best to take away the one thing that insures new drug creation. Profits. This week Democrats are promising to pull a Munich, Yalta, Mogadishu or any other example of appeasement gone bad you would like to use as an example.

Over the weekend Carl Levine, the incoming Democrat chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, promised to introduce a plan to withdraw troops from Iraq in four to six months. Now I’ll concede that Iraq has not worked out as planned but for Democrats to think withdrawal is possible without a long-term consequence is preposterous. Democrats have compared Iraq to Vietnam but the difference is we pulled out of Vietnam knowing they weren’t going to come after us. Pulling out of Iraq will take the pressure off the Islamic extremists that populate the country allowing them to regroup and plan an attack closer to home if not at home.

If Americans want a preview of a what Iraq would look like if we cut and ran they should pick up a paper and read about Mogadishu. When Bill Clinton put his tail between his legs and ran because of a minor setback, Bin Ladin and the Islamic extremists that led that attack became emboldened using the withdrawal as a means to show potential recruits America was weak. The 9/11 Report, for those that still haven’t read it, spends a whole section on Mogadishu and how it was the location where the attacks on our embassies were planned. Today Mogadishu has gotten worse and extremists are in complete control of the city and are currently at war with the Somali government to get full control of the country.

Democrats should be proud of their election victory but they shouldn’t ignore the reality of the situation. For anyone to think that leaving Iraq will improve our situation in the war on terror has a lot to learn about the enemy.

10 Nov
2006
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Profits Fuel R&D and Lead to Cures

As a follow up to Nick’s post, here are some points on drug discovery and development to put things in perspective:

The average cost to develop a new drug is $802 million – $1.7 billion. Even drugs that only make it to the first phase can still easily cost the drug company over $100 million.

Most drugs that drug companies enter into clinical trials are not approved, and less and less drugs are making it to approval, and the approval rate is declining. Over 25 years, the number of drugs that entered Phase 1 trials and eventually received FDA approval has decreased from 14% to 8%. The FDA is working to increase this rate through its Critical Path Initiative, which is looking at ways to make clinical trials more efficient and determine drugs that will ultimately fail at an earlier point in the process, but it’s a government agency, so the pace of that process is exactly what you would expect. Also, there is a move to add more regulations for after a drug is approved, adding even more costs and red tape to drug development.

Most drugs are not even profitable, only 30% of drugs produce revenues that match or exceed R&D costs. Drug companies are all looking for that blockbuster drug, to get as much profit as they can before generics get onto the market – this is what fuels the huge expenditures into R&D. If Democrats take away this incentive by enacting price controls, we can expect a significant decrease in the pharmaceutical pipeline and less pharmaceutical breakthroughs.

So, the party that campaigned so hard on all the possible miracle cures they claim will come from stem cell research will try to stymie the search for lifesaving drugs. Fortunately, Democrats are not immune to lobbying by pharmaceutical companies, and this idea will likely fall to the same fate that Hillary’s national healthcare plan did in the ‘90s.