Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another NY Special Election That Could Surprise, Congress Reaches a New Low, Rep. Paul Ryan Helps Reach That New Low,

And Just More News that Demands Comments

Early this year New York held a special election to fill a House seat.  In a district that was solid Republican a Democrat won, in large part due to the support her opponent had expressed for the Ryan plan to save Medicare by ending it.

Now Chris Cilizza of theWashington Post reports another surprise could take place in a New York special election.  This one will be held in September in NY's 9th District to fill the seat of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D, Ny) who resigned because, well let’s not go into that.  A Sienna poll found

New York's 9th Congressional District

Republican businessman Robert Turner in striking distance of Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin, 42 percent to 48 percent, suggesting a possible upset.

The dynamics are different now, with the credit downgrade and the plunging popularity of President Obama, even a safe New York Congressional seat is in play.  Is this just another message that will not make it into the Democratic party’s in box?

Mr. Cilizza also reports that

Congress reaches new lows. Again.

which is a conclusion that every citizen would express agreement with.  It turns out that Mr. Cilizza was reporting on a poll that showed

. (Photo by Astrid Riecken/Getty Images, WP)
Citizens Reacting When Asked About Congress

Less than one in four Americans want to see Members of Congress re-elected in 2012, the lowest that numbers has been in two decades of Gallup polling and the latest sign that the election next November could see incumbents in both parties losing in droves.

The Dismal Political Economist thinks the first conclusion about the headline, which of course he interpreted as related to Congress’s performance rather than popularity was a better conclusion.  The polls do not necessarily suggest a large turnover in Congress, as most poll respondents typically excuse their own Congressman from their dislike.

More proof, as though any was needed, about the fact that Republicans are “truth challenged” on fiscal matters comes from the Washington Post’s Fact Checker.  Rep. Paul Ryan, avowed Medicare Killer developed a budget plan that was passed by the House last spring.  Mr. Ryan has gone on to say about the S&P downgrade

Rep. Ryan Showing Just How
Big His Mistatement Was

“To me, this is just more vindication of our actions. We passed a budget which, according to somebody from S&P yesterday, would have prevented this downgrade from happening in the first place.”

Checking the facts, the Fact Checker determined that

As S&P put it: “Some compromise that achieves agreement on a comprehensive budgetary consolidation program — combined with meaningful steps toward implementation by 2013 — could lead us to maintain the rating where it is.”
In other words, it was the failure of Republicans and Democrats to demonstrate they could work together that led directly to the downgrade. That is not a “vindication of our actions;” it is a repudiation.
Mr. Ryan gets three of the Fact Checker’s Pinocchio’s.  So Mr. Ryan, get back to us when you can make a true statement, would you.
The riots in England are the work of criminals, and there should be no doubt about it. 

Tom Pilston for the International Herald Tribune
Louis James, 19, who says he has
 never held a job and learned
to read only three years ago,
admitted to looting a $195 sweater.

Politicians from both the right and the left, the police and most residents of the areas hit by violence nearly unanimously describe the most recent riots as criminal and anarchic, lacking even a hint of the antigovernment, anti-austerity message that has driven many of the violent protests in other European countries.

So this is not the result of austerity programs by the Conservative government, but thieves and hoodlums taking advantage of and fomenting violence due to poor economic and social conditions in parts of Britain.

These criminals are spawned from economic conditions.

But the riots also reflect the alienation and resentment of many young people in Britain, where one million people from the ages of 16 to 24 are officially unemployed, the most since the deep recession of the mid-1980s.

In the U. S. someone somewhere in the government (who did not wish to be identified for fear of looking stupid to his peers) said Americans did not have to worry about this sort of thing because our Great Recession had mostly affected middle aged persons.  This was put forth as evidence of the superiority of the U. S. Economy compared to Europe's.

And finally, a comment on the economy that needs no comment.  Here is the cover of this week's New Yorker magazine. 

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, a New Yorker magazine
cover is usually worth, well, unless you're Bill Gates, you cannot aford it.

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