China Now World’s Second Largest Economy

All reactionaries are paper tigers!

We’re number one!  True, but only until about 2025 or so.  According to projections by the World Bank and Goldman Sachs, China surpassed Japan this year as the world’s second largest economy, trailing only the US.  China passed the UK and France in 2005 in terms of economic output, and it passed Germany in 2007.  There’s going to be several roadblocks to China’s growth in the coming years though, namely, its unwillingness to have a fully convertible, i.e., tradeable currency.  Also, keep in mind, that your average citizen of China earns only $3,800 a year.  Infrastructure in China is lacking as well.  A rain storm earlier this year that dumped approximately ten centimeters of rain on Guangzhou City totally submerged low lying sections of the city.  Mind you, this is one of their coastal, ‘developed’, financial centers, not part of the rural, agricultural interior of the country.  And that you can still be thrown in jail for saying something their government doesn’t like.  These are the kind of things that you can’t put a number on.  And why I’m still glad to live in this country, despite the fact that China may end up owning all of us.

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AZ Governor Brewer Not Sure Immigration Law Will Work

It won't work, but we'll pursue it relentlessly!

Well, will wonders never cease.  Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ), in a rare moment of lucidity, admitted that she wasn’t sure if the contentious new law would actually improve the border security situation: ‘Asked if she actually believes the bill would improve the security situation at the border, Brewer responded: “Well, you know, I’m not quite sure about that.”‘  You don’t say.  A Federal judge stayed the enforcement of the key provisions of the law earlier this week, citing major constitutional concerns.

Having said that, Brewer vowed to continue her fight for the constitutionally flawed law, swearing that she’ll pursue an appeal as far as she can.  Of course you will Jan.  Why wouldn’t you?  Far be it from you to do anything genuinely constructive regarding immigration, it’s best to stir up anger and disseminate disinformation.

Former Detroit Schools Chief Ordered to Stand Trial

Otis Mathis, former President of the Detroit Public School Board of Education, was ordered to stand trial for allegedly groping and fondling himself in front of former Superintendent Teresa Gueyser.  He allegedly unbuttoned his pants in front of her and suggestively touched himself.  Mathis resigned his post as Board President this past June 17th after Gueyser formally leveled charges against him, and then he attempted to rescind his resignation the following day.  And, of course, it gets worse.

Mathis, former head of the Detroit school system, is functionally illiterate

Mathis made national headlines earlier in the year for his lack of reading and writing skills.  Detroit News columnist Laura Berman published a column wherein she posted a typical example of his writing ‘style’:  ‘Do DPS control the Foundation or outside group? If an outside group control the foundation, then what is DPS Board row with selection of is director? Our we mixing DPS and None DPS row’s, and who is the watch dog?‘  Mathis struggled for over a decade to pass a basic English proficiency test from Wayne State University, holding up his graduation for that period.

Laura Berman’s position was that if the President of the Board of Education can’t really read, perhaps that might send the wrong message to the students.  You think?  I can’t imagine a place so politically dysfunctional, save Detroit, where someone WHO CAN’T READ OR WRITE is able to become the head of their PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.  Thankfully for Detroit, with Kwame gone, Mayor Dave Bing and Robert Bobb, DPS Emergency Financial Director in place, hopefully we’ll have some leaders who won’t grab at their crotch in front of staffers and who are functionally literate.  Here’s for hoping at least.


Silly Season Solidifies

I thought the bear story was going to die off after a day or so, but today in Google’s news aggregator, it was actually moved up, to 7th position.  I now fear for a Holocaust at the hands of bears.  They’re out to get us.  Oh noes!  

What strikes me as funny is the stories that Google thinks is less important than bears mauling people (three, as of yet) in Montana (the sixth least populous state in the country).  The Senate race in Florida, the Gulf oil spill, education policy, etc.  Yes, bears, we have to be vigilant against bears.

This is like a mugging making the front page of the Washington Post.  Ludicrous.  Also, this is what bears do.  Putting one down for following its instinct is childish.

Shatner interviews DC sniper?

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, openly Canadian actor William Shatner, of Star Trek/Boston Legal/Priceline ad fame, did an interview with Lee Boy Malvo, the 25 year old who was the accomplice of John Allen Muhammed, the duo convicted of  shooting 13 people, 10 of which died.  My question is this:  Why?  This entire scenario is just strange.  Maybe he dressed up in a suit, trotted out his Denny Crane persona, and did the interview.  Denny Crane!

Even more surprisingly, Shatner actually uncovered NEWS.  During the course of the interview, Malvo divulged that there were other co-conspirators involved, and that they were responsible for more shootings that they were never connected to.  Muhammed was executed last year, so it’s pretty much Malvo’s word on this one, and I’m wouldn’t trust this kid any further than I could throw him, but this whole thing is interesting.  And bizarre.

GOP Hits a New Low as the Party of No

House Republicans blocked a bill yesterday that would have allotted $7.4 billion to workers who fell ill from inhaling toxins and debris at Ground Zero yesterday.  The bill was brought to the floor under a rule that requires a 2/3 majority vote, and the vote, predictably, fell pretty much along party lines, 255 for, 159 against.  It should be noted that 12 Republicans voted for the measure.  The reason the other House Republicans cited for their opposition?  They weren’t allowed to offer the amendments (read: earmarks) for their constituents, including a ban on covering ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS with the funds.

Working in conditions like this, it's no wonder they got sick

Really, House Republicans?  Illegal immigrants?  That’s what you’re worried about?  Seriously?  How many illegal immigrants work in the New York City Police Department?  How many illegal immigrants work for the New York City Fire Department?  My guess is that if the number’s not zero, which it probably is, then it’s pretty close to it.  Based off my experiences with the NYPD and the NYFD, they run a pretty tight ship.

And as for the argument that they need to offer amendments, again, this is a tactic that they routinely inflicted on Congressional Democrats during the years they held the majority.  And, even, that’s not true.  They have been allowed to offer amendments, but they’ve been rejected.

It’s been nine years since 9/11.  This bill has languished in committees and thousands of people have been waiting for this help to arrive.  There are thousands of people who have fallen ill as a result of their efforts to help New York City recover from this tragedy.  When I first moved to New York, I worked in a law firm that represented the leaseholder of the World Trade Center, and when claims to his company would come, they would come through our law firm.  I had the chance to read briefs that outlined the same illness that these heroes were experiencing.  Shortness of breath, hardening of the lungs, certain cancers that surfaced, the list goes on and on.

And yet the GOP can’t find it in themselves to pass a bill that helps these people.  They come to New York in 2004 for their convention.  They wrap themselves in our flag.  They wrap themselves in 9/11.  They use our shared national tragedy for their own benefit, and yet, when the bill comes due, long overdue, in fact, they can’t find it in themselves to fund a program for heroes.

Attaboy

Congress is usually a pretty sedate place, but Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) wasn’t having any of it.  He accurately and correctly blasted Rep. Peter King (R-NY) for offering some lame excuses as to why House GOP members voted against the bill.  Procedural issues?  Please.  This is the most disingenuous group of people I’ve ever encountered.  It’s not the procedure.  It’s that they’re too cheap, and they don’t care.

Note to House GOP members who voted ‘NO’: with tactics like this, there’s no way in hell that you’re going to pick up the House.  And, more importantly, voting NO on helping these heroes is shameful, and it’s the wrong thing to do.

No, sir, Mayor Daley no longer dines here. He’s dead, sir.*

Da Bears

Dick Daley, Democratic Mayor of Chicago, like his father before him, has lashed out at the state of Michigan, claiming that Michigan ‘had better do something’ in response to the oil spill in the Kalamazoo River.  He went on to say that ‘Oil is worse than carp,’ referring to the invasion of Asian carp, a highly disruptive species of fish that’s infested practically the entirety of the Mississippi River, decimating native fish populations.  As of now, the Asian carp are not in the Great Lakes, but are moving towards it through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the only link between the Great Lakes and the Big Muddy.  Michigan sued the state of Illinois in Federal Court to close the canal to prevent the fish from invading Lake Michigan, and Illinois isn’t happy about it.

Newflash Dick: you can clean up oil.  Serious, expensive, but reversible.  Staging a wholesale extermination of an invasive species of fish throughout the entire Great Lakes system is impossible.

*Guess the movie that this line appeared in and you get a prize.