Saturday, June 20, 2009

Back from Vac

... and so much to write about.   Why does everything happen when we're away?

But neither sun, nor beach, nor tiki bar nor ocean view can keep us from our intellectual rounds.   We've been cogitating on the larger implications of this year's New York State budget, on the unreasonable and even off-the-wall conservative criticism of the President, on the Albany Senate farce, on the futility of political involvement, and on why having the worst public policies in the country make New York, in certain ways and for those who can afford it, a great place to live. Not to mention other high-minded insights we'll share in due course, lucky readers.

However, we'll consider one of the most timely:   ROBUTRAD, in an upcoming post.

But first, to prime the dear old cerebral cortex, a frozen daquiri seems like just the right homage to the trip just ended, and a nutritious breakfast besides.



Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hope and Change!

Sen. Pedro Espada -- New York's first Latino Senate President!

The media praise will be rolling in, right?

And all of our problems are now solved!


Fun and Games In Albany

The 30 Republicans in the New York State Senate joined forces yesterday with two dissident Democrats to retake Republican control of the chamber late in the afternoon, electing one of the dissidents, Sen. Pedro Espada, D-Bronx, as President and reinstating Sen. Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Center, as Majority Leader.

Ousted former Majority Leader Malcolm Smith is expected to challenge the move in court, although according to the New York Times report, it is not clear he has grounds to do so.

If the Senate Republicans use their new power to act like Republicans, they may have reclaimed their political future.   If they just use it to do what most of them have been doing all their Senate careers, acting like big-government Democrats and sucking up cravenly to the public employee unions, we think they've cooked their goose.   Voters will see this as a power grab for no purpose other than gaining power and will, as they should, punish the Senate Republicans without mercy at the next election.

The new majority can start by repealing the budget adopted earlier this year, with its massive spending increases.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Government Motors -- Part II

From "mark of excellence" to mark of ignorance.

We really hope we're wrong, but nationalized General Motors will fare no better than publicly-traded General Motors.

For all the hype and all the proposed restructuring, GM is stuck with the same problem that brought it to where it is today.   As a heavily unionized company facing low-cost competitors, GM can't pass along to consumers its full labor costs.   The only way left to compete on price is to continue to reduce the quality of its products.   Japan makes cars that are better, and Korea makes cars that are both better and cheaper than GM.