Friday, January 01, 2010
2) It's also going to be the year of the Tiger, which will fall on Valentine's Day. We welcome our Chinese overlords.
3) So what will be the biggest stories of 2010? Here are my picks: Afghanistan, which I think will flare up and join Pakistan and India in a regional conflict that doesn't pit nation against nation (altho there will be plenty of bickering) but establishment versus insurgencies. A loose confederation of groups including but not limited to Al Qaeda and the Taliban will form a coalition in an attempt to deconstruct borders artificially imposed by Westerners.
4) Big Story #2: the destruction of Sarah Palin's political aspirations. The floodgates have crept open. I forsee revelations with respect to her personal dealings that will make past scandals look like Kiwanis Club level corruption.
5) Big Story #3: The economy will lag until the late spring when there will be a sudden surge in activity and hiring. Altho the unemployment numbers will not fall below ten percent, the turnaround will be real and will make people give Obama credit. Also, the Democrats will lose seats in the House and Senate, meaning the second half of Obama's first term will be devoid of anything much, forcing him to focus on international issues like Afghanistan and terrorism.
6) Big Story #4: Water. The impact of global climate change and warming has found its mark in the lesser developed nations, but the drought in the Western United States will become so severe that California will ration water south of Santa Barbara, and Las Vegas will all but be evacuated.
I learned my lesson from last year about making too many predictions...I mean, really, Cuba?...so I'm going to leave those out there as the four biggest stories of the year.
But I did call eight of the ten! ;-)
7) Blue blue blue blue moon...dididididadada
8) As a Finn, I have to say I'm very impressed by this.
9) When in doubt, suck!
10) The tree did it in the arboretum with a club.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
"Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things...every one! So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, 'Liberal,' as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won't work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor." -- Matt Santos, The West Wing
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
In an affidavit, he [Johnston] says he wants the case to be open to "public scrutiny as a check against anyone's need to be overly vindictive, aggressive or malicious." He adds that he's referring not to Bristol but to her mom.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Before 2009, most Americans never heard of Sens. Ben Nelson, Max Baucus or Kent Conrad. More have heard of the Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman as a result of his Democratic vice presidential bid in 2000.
Yet now they are the movers and shakers in the Senate. Anyone who follows politics knows exactly who they are. It could not be further from 2005 when Nicholas Confessore in The New York Times wrote that "centrist Democrats today struggle with an unfriendly environment."
Throughout the Senate debate over health care, the centrists repeatedly forced the president's hand by insisting on changes to the legislation that made Obama's liberal base furious and which will constrain the impact of this legislation. Health care was the second major victory for centrists this year. They also were able to cut down the size of the economic stimulus bill back in February 2008.
Why is this small group of senators so influential and will this change? The first reason has to do with the nature of the Democratic Party. Democrats have never been as ideologically disciplined as the Republicans, and they have been less successful containing party differences.[...]
The second factor behind the new kings of the hill has to do with the sharpening of the partisan divide on Capitol Hill. The impact of growing party polarization since the 1970s has meant that winning votes from the other party is extraordinarily difficult. Except for rare moments, neither party can count on winning significant blocks of votes from the other side of the aisle.[...]
Finally, institutions matter. The U.S. now has a Senate that operates as a supermajority. The Senate now requires 60 votes on any piece of legislation given that senators are willing to use the filibuster on almost any bill. If the majority party needs 60 votes to pass a bill, and it can't win votes from the other side, a handful of moderates wield tremendous power.
The second option would be to use the power of the bully pulpit, as well as the famous but now forgotten campaign network from 2008, to go into the states of these senators and build grassroots pressure to vote with the party. Thus far, the president has been hesitant to take this path.
Monday, December 28, 2009
WUHAN, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Wuhan-Guangzhou high-speed railway with the world's fastest train journey at a 350-km-per-hour designed speed, started operation Saturday.
Two passenger trains rolled out the Wuhan Railway Station and Guangzhou North Railway Station at about 9 a.m. and reached the terminals within three hours, compared with the previous 10 and a half hours.
The service between Wuhan, a metropolis in central China, and Guangzhou City, a business hub in the southern Guangdong Province, was put into trial operation on Dec. 9, reaching a maximum speed of 394.2 km (ed. note: roughly 250 miles) per hour.