Wednesday, November 3, 2010

President of South Korea is optimistic about the trade deal with the US

President of South Korea is optimistic about the trade deal with the US
On Wednesday the South Korean President, Mr. Lee Myung-bak expressed his confidence that the United States and South Korea can square up a free trade deal which has been put on hold for quite some time.
He did not give any hint of sorting out main differences regarding autos and beef just before his meeting with the American President, Mr., Barack Obama.

Both the countries are main security allies for more than decades came to terms with negotiations in the month of April of 2007 for an important deal under which tariffs and other barriers to commerce were slashed down , The deal was signed three months later.

The pact has been hanging in the midpoint since that time as the progress got slowed by changes in government of both the nations. Other reasons for the deal not coming into effect was the global economic crisis and America's demand that South Korea should give concessions on trade involving beef and autos. The deal can't come into effect until it gets ratified by legislatures in both the US and South Korea.
Lee has stated to the reporters ahead of the Group of Twenty meeting that will happen in Seoul in the next week and where he will hold an exclusive meeting with American President that he is confident of reaching an agreement with America that would be acceptable to both the countries.

Lee further stated that both he and Obama want to get the deal settled and both the countries' trade ministers are working out on the compromises that can be made to get the deal completed.

Both Lee and Obama had promised during the G-20 meting in Canada that they will sort out their differences by the time they attend the next G-20 meeting which will be held on 11&12 November, 2010.

Establishment Begone

By Bill Wilson

As congressional Republicans bask in their historic rout of Democrats, taking the House of Representatives and closing the margin in the Senate, the survivors left in Washington, D.C. have a clear message from the American people: “You could be next.”
The fact is, nobody in the Washington establishment thought it was possible. Obama was too popular. Republicans needed to compromise in order to survive. When asked in January if Republicans could take back the House, RNC Chairman Michael Steele fatefully predicted, “Not this year.”
The American people had other ideas. Led by the tea party movement and other citizen activists, the nation’s citizenry did not wait for leadership from on-high. Instead, they took matters into their own hands and have been engaged from day one, holding their individual members of Congress accountable, participating in primaries, and recruiting friends, neighbors, and family members in an effort to take their country back.

Most of all, it is the people who have done the impossible, helping Republicans grab some 63 seats (and still counting), the most picked up by either party since 1948. The GOP did even better than in 1994, when they picked up 54 seats. The American people who made it happen deserve the lion’s share of the credit.
Now, however, they do need real leaders to stand up in Congress, individual members who will represent them against an entrenched Obama Administration seeking to protect its legislative “achievements”.
Republicans will have capable prospects with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who do deserve praise for leading the opposition during the first two dark years of the Obama presidency. It was not a foregone conclusion that Republicans would unite against the $812 billion “stimulus”, ObamaCare, the Dodd-Frank financial takeover, and the Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax. But they did, and it gave the American people confidence that they had representation — that they had a voice.

And now, more than ever, they need a House Republican majority to continue to be their voice in government. The alternative is for Republicans to now disappoint them after all the hard work the grassroots did.

With a nation too far in debt at $13.6 trillion, ObamaCare threatening to drive up health care premiums and drive Americans off of their private health plans, the EPA restricting energy consumption via carbon emissions, taxes about to automatically increase by $300 billion, and the Federal Reserve ready to fire up the printing presses one more time, congressional Republicans are going to have their hands full.

The challenges facing the nation are daunting, and cannot wait for even more reinforcements, or else they may never arrive. Before Republicans can look forward to 2012, they must focus on the here-and-now, and waste no time implementing their agenda.

It will not do to only put things on the table that have a “chance” of getting signed by Barack Obama. That’s not leadership, and it will not foster public support for the “politically safe” policies that are ultimately proposed.

First on the GOP to-do list now is to define the debate going forward. Republicans now will be able to say what the most pressing concerns are through their votes on legislation. Repealing ObamaCare, making the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent to help create jobs, rescinding the EPA’s endangerment finding, cancelling TARP and the “stimulus”, killing the Dodd-Frank unlimited bailout fund before it gets started, and auditing the Federal Reserve are things they do not need to compromise on — at all. These are items that can and should be dealt with in short order, whether support can be generated in the Senate or not.
House Republicans have an opportunity to raise the bar extraordinarily high.
Get full story here.

Stomping Ground

Stomping Ground

Permalink here.

A Look at the Map

By Rick Manning
In the wake of the 2008 elections, pundits looked at a map without a single House Republican elected to federal office from Massachusetts north. The Great Lakes from New York and Pennsylvania, through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois up to Wisconsin and Minnesota voted for Obama’s presidency giving him the electoral votes needed to win, now these same states formed the heart of the rejection of his agenda.

Republican Senate and House candidates transformed this region from a heavy blue on Tuesday night with Republicans picking up Senate seats in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, while retaining a seat in Ohio. Twenty four of the seats that the Republicans picked up in the House of Representatives came from this swath of states, and perhaps even more significantly, Republicans won at least partial control of statehouses in these redistricting battlegrounds helping them to draw legislative maps that will solidify their gains in 2012 and beyond.

James Oberstar may be the symbol of this historic defeat. The Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Oberstar represented a Minnesota district that had not been represented by a Republican in the House since 1946, until this upcoming January. This defeat in an area that gave Al Franken the votes necessary to put him in the Senate can be laid at the feet of the Obama-Pelosi agenda.

While Republicans did not gain control of the U.S. Senate, the addition of Rand Paul from Kentucky, Mike Lee from Utah, Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, Ken Johnson from Wisconsin and Florida’s Marco Rubio signals a major shift toward fiscal conservatism and Constitution-based government. If Ken Buck in Colorado survives a recount challenge in Colorado, he would also help take the Republican Senate conference to a more staunch stand against increasing federal government encroachment on the lives of our citizens.

Just two years ago, constitutionalists and fiscal conservatives were having their obituaries written by pundits and the media across the nation. Just two years later, because of local tea parties, the face of Washington, D.C. has been changed, hopefully for a long time.
Permalink here.

Did Congress Learn its Lesson?

By Rebekah Rast
The elections are over. No more ads on television, no more campaign signs and no more computerized phone calls.
A new Congress will convene in January with the heavy task of bettering the country, but for now, all is at rest in Washington, D.C., right? Wrong.

November 15th marks day one of the lame-duck session. Yes, all those members who lost their seats and who are retiring will be back, voting on big-issue items that could either further damage or begin to heal America.

One of those big-issue items is the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Rumors have been flying as to what will happen to these tax cuts in the lame-duck session, but one thing that is known is what Obama would like to see. He would like all the tax cuts extended for those who make less than $200,000 a year and married couples who file jointly and make less than $250,000 a year. On the flip side, those making more than $200,000 a year and married couples making more than $250,000 a year would see an increase in their federal income tax rates from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.

For those who think taxing the rich at a higher rate is okay because they have more money than they can spend anyway, remember that most small business owners fall into this category and small businesses employ about half of all U.S. workers. With an unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent for the past 17 months, increasing taxes on the very source that could provide more Americans with jobs is not wise.
“Letting the tax cuts expire on the wealthy nails small businesses,” says Karen Kerrigan, president and CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council).
Get full story here.

Would Money Make You Want to Date a White Man?

Would Money Make You Want to Date a White Man?
This week I was invited to participate in an event held in New York City called "8 Reasons to Address Romance" (you are free to join us this Friday at Columbia University at 6 pm). The event consists of an interesting panel with both men and women (Mark Anthony Neal, Amanda Spark, China Okasi and other interesting people), and our goal was to discuss the state of black relationships and why black families aren't staying together. I speculate that some of the drama which led to the forum was driven by an article called "8 Reasons to Date a White Man," by LaShaun Williams.

I took some issue with LaShaun's article, primarily because it felt a wee bit condescending. But they say that nearly every stereotype has some element of truth to it, and there were some parts of the article that led to the reader quietly saying "amen." One of the things that bothered me the most about the piece is when LaShaun states that white men make better dating options because they have financial security. This part of the article bothered me because it effectively states that black women should take advantage of historical white superiority and choose the descendants of those who stole our wealth for 400 years.

Black male unemployment is high, we know that. In fact, it's the highest of any other demographic in the nation, at 17.6 percent. Also, many of us in the black community do not have wealth passed on to us from our parents, mainly because the wealth gap between blacks and whites is incredibly high. While we all suffer under the thumb of this gap, a man's masculinity is typically tied directly to his ability to provide for his family. So, clowning a man because he's broke is like telling a female that she's less of a woman because she had a hysterectomy. In other words, it's simply not cool, and many of us are doing the best we can in a very difficult and trying world.

While we are a civilized and relatively advanced society, some gender roles still hold true. Men are typically expected to cough up the cash when you go on a date, and we are expected to be able to provide for our spouse and children when we are married. When you face massive unemployment, and non-existent wealth, that stress can make it difficult for any man to decide to have a family at all, since men typically see marriage and children as an added financial obligation. While most men want to provide, some of them simply cannot. This stress is simply unimaginable and literally makes a man wonder if he's worthy of being anyone's father.

So, whether LaShaun is right to say that white men might be better options because they have more money, I can't say for sure. But to compare white men and black men without considering the historical context is to miss the entire picture. Black women have a very difficult road and no one is denying that. But in order for us to work together to build families, we might want to look beyond the size of each other's bank account.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Lion King Actress Shannon Tavarez, Age 11, Loses Battle with Leukemia

Shannon Tavarez
Shannon Tavarez
I’m sad to report that the adorably sweet and feisty 11-year-old actress, Shannon Tavarez, who played Young Nala in ‘The Lion King’ on Broadway, lost her battle with acute myeloid leukemia after not being able to find a matching bone-marrow donor.

PopEater reports that Shannon’s story “drew the attention of numerous celebrities, including Alicia Keys and Rihanna, who led campaigns to find a bone-marrow match for Tavarez.”  Indeed, much of Broadway came out for the multiple bone-marrow donation drives in her honor this summer, when two of Shannon’s cast members appeared on The Wendy Williams Show to appeal for the public’s help.

According to PopEater, “Doctors were unable to find a match for a bone-marrow transplant, so as an alternative she received umbilical-cord blood treatment in August.”  I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of a fellow performer who clearly had a wonderful life ahead of her.

As you know, Shannon is not alone in her struggle with leukemia. CBS reports that at least 10,000 people joined the Bone Marrow Registry in an effort to help Shannon find a match.  According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, “an estimated 259,889 people in the United States are living with, or are in remission from, leukemia,” and “about 31 percent of cancers in children aged 0-14 years are leukemia.”  If you’d like to get swabbed to become a bone-marrow donor, visit the Bone Marrow Registry, or

Posted by carolyncastiglia

Andy Irons Passes Away at 32

With his first child due next month, surfing legend Andy Irons was found dead in a Dallas hotel room yesterday morning. He was 32.

The three-time world champion was scheduled to return home to Hawaii, but reportedly felt sick and booked the room in Texas for a night. An employee found him in bed around 10 a.m. local time.
Andy Irons
While an official cause of death has not been determined, the surfer's family released a statement saying, "[Andy] had reportedly been battling with dengue fever, a viral disease."

Meanwhile, a quantity of methadone, along with other medication, was found on a bedside table in Irons' hotel room, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Rumors of drug use have often surrounded the athlete, but surfing writer Nick Carroll says he doubted any foreign substances played a role in his death.

"Andy, at times during his life, was an energetic party boy, but he really seemed to have shrugged that off in the last year or two," Carroll said. "His wife was pregnant with their first child and she's about a month from delivery."

Kobe Bryant Would Play in 2012 Olympic Games

Kobe Bryant told the U.S. national team’s basketball coach , Mike Krzyzewski, that he would play in the 2012 Olypics if the Americans want him. “You guys want me ther, I am there, and I’m ready to defend. And then when you guys need me to put some points on the board, I’ll do that too,” Bryant said on Krzyzewski’s Sirius XM radio show when he asked Bryant about london. But unlike his colleague, Pau Gasol said that he will see how he feels after the NBA seasons before he committing to international play this summer, when his country, Spain, can try for automatic qualifying fot the Olympics.

Randy Moss had tirade slamming Vikings meal

Randy Moss’ classless actions at a recent Vikings locker-room buffet had to have embarrassed the team, which this week dumped the controversial wide receiver. Tinucci’s Restaurant and Catering, which operates out of Newport and Woodbury and has been in business since 1958, hosted a buffet for Vikings players Friday afternoon. “We had the whole buffet set up, and we had a nice spread — chicken, ribs, round of beef with a carving station, the whole deal,” Tinucci’s co-owner Gus Tinucci said Tuesday. “(Moss) he comes in, and I’m helping one of the guys and didn’t look up, and all of a sudden I heard, ‘What the (expletive) is this? I wouldn’t feed this (expletive expletive) to my (expletive) dog!’ And he’s screaming it at the top of his lungs. “He never even came through the line. He walked up toward it, looked at it, made the big stink and walked away. He didn’t eat.” Tinucci said the locker room, filled with players, got quiet. “Nobody said anything except for one (player) who said, ‘Shut the (expletive) up, Randy,’ ” he said. “If (Brett) Favre would have had a ball, he would have beaned him right in the head. Favre looked at him like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” Tinucci said nobody on coach Brad Childress’ staff was there. Tinucci said a Vikings locker room attendant in charge of the luncheon apologized to him. “He said, ‘Don’t worry about it, Gus, he’s an (expletive). He’s done this every time we’ve had food,’ ” Tinucci said. Tinucci said the other Vikings players “absolutely loved” the spread. — Pioneer Press

Transgender Man Is Playing Women’s College Basketball

Kye Alums, formerly known Kay Kay Alums will be the first publicly transgendered college athlete to play Division 1. She will start for the George Washington University woman’s team. Outsports reports:
kye alums
For the last 20 years, Kay-Kay Allums had appeared to the world as female. She was born with the anatomy that other women have. Her mom tried to dress her in only the most feminine clothes. But inside was a man waiting to burst out of the female body he was born in.
On Nov. 13, Kye Allums will introduce himself to the NCAA basketball world at the Best Buy Classic in Minneapolis in a game against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. When he steps foot on the court, Allums will be the first publicly transgender person to play NCAA Div. 1 college basketball.

As Races End, Tea Party Plans For Next Phase

Wall Street Journal:
BOWLING GREEN, Ky.—Tea-party leaders, cheering as some of their movement’s most prominent figures won U.S. Senate seats in Kentucky and Florida, said Tuesday’s elections were only the beginning of their quest to transform government.

“Things look good for tonight,” said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella group that says it has 2,800 local affiliates around the country. “No one in this movement is stopping today. This is not an endgame. This is just a beginning.”

Tea-party victors included Republican Rand Paul, who claimed the Senate seat in Kentucky, and the GOP’s Marco Rubio, who defeated former Gov. Charlie Christ and Rep. Kendrick Meek in Florida’s three-way race for Senate.

Movement losers included Christine O’Donnell, the Republican Senate candidate in Delaware, whose comments about witchcraft embarrassed some in the movement, and Republican Carl Paladino, who lost his bid for governor of New York.

Early results signaled that despite some losses, the movement was on its way to becoming a major force in Washington and on the national political landscape. Ahead is a chaotic period as the movement’s factions compete to set the agenda and influence the ranks of new members of Congress.

One of the most prominent national tea-party groups, Tea Party Patriots, announced plans for a summit of newly minted officials in two weeks while Mr. Paul said he would convene his own similar gathering as soon as possible.

In an op-ed article in Wednesday’s editions of The Wall Street Journal, major tea-party figure Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) called on newly elected officials to hew to the movement’s priorities as they decamp to Washington. “When you are in Washington, remember what the voters back home want—less government and more freedom,” wrote Mr. DeMint. “Put on your boxing gloves. The fight begins today.” (Please see page A25.)

Ms. Martin said Tea Party Patriots is finalizing plans for a summit and “orientation” Nov. 14 in Washington for all freshman members of Congress. Newly elected officials will meet “face to face” with 200 or more local tea-party coordinators from around the country, she said. Her group is working on a legislative agenda to present then. The focus: Balance the federal budget; and repeal “100 percent repeal” of the health-care overhaul.

“We’re going to talk to them about what we expect from them,” she said, “and what they can expect from us if they don’t uphold our core values.”

Across the country, tea-party activists gathered in churches, living rooms, fraternal lodges and bars awaiting the results of more than a year of grass-roots organizing. Almost uniformly they said they remained wary of everyone in Washington—including their own candidates.

In LaGrange, Ga., 65 miles south of Atlanta, the local tea-party group already was organizing a post-election letter campaign to remind new officials to not cozy up to the Republican establishment.
“Come January,” said Ellen Gilmore, a 69-year-old retired dental hygienist, “We’ll be all over them like dew in the cotton fields.”

In Kentucky, Mr. Paul, the son of libertarian icon Rep. Ron Paul (R., Texas) led his Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, 56% to 44% with 97% of Kentucky precincts reporting, according to data provided by the Associated Press.

“There is a tea-party tidal wave coming to Washington,” said Mr. Paul, a 47-year-old eye surgeon, after voting Tuesday morning at an elementary school.

“Both parties let us down,” he said. He added that, if elected, his first objective would be to secure a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.

Mr. Paul said Tuesday that he won’t compromise his positions regarding the deficit once in Washington and plans to organize his own meeting of victorious tea-party candidates to plan the best way to achieve the movement’s agenda.

In Nevada, leaders of the Tea Party Express, which poured more than $1 million into Republican Sharron Angle’s bid to unseat Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, holed up in a “war room” in a suite at the Aria casino and hotel on the Las Vegas strip.

The group endorsed Ms. Angle in April when she was polling at 5% in the Republican primary and appeared to have no shot at her party’s nomination. Tea Party Express, another prominent national tea-party group, spent heavily on advertising and assigned operatives to operate a separate campaign on Ms. Angle’s behalf during the primary.

The race now is the marquee battle for the organization, which also heavily backed Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller in Alaska and Ms. O’Donnell in Delaware.

In late polls during the campaign, Ms. Angle had inched ahead. But in the final days, Mr. Reid was getting aid from Democrats across the country for a huge get-out-the-vote effort to mobilize loyal supporters. “There’s no question this race is iconic and symbolic of the tea party movement versus the establishment,” said Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell. ” There will be many victories tonight. We just hope this will be one of those victories. The next election cycle starts tomorrow and we’ll move over to that.”

—Alexandra Berzon contributed to this article.

 Posted By Pat Dollard.

Dump Reid as majority leader.

Now that the elections have turned out as predicted, it's time for the next action. Senate Democrats need to get together and dump Harry Reid as majority leader. While it's true that the state of Nevada managed not to elect a complete lunatic to the senate, Reid's victory by 5% is not exactly a ringing endorsement - especially given the quality of his opponent.

It's clear that Reid allowed the Senate to be stymied while enjoying a near super-majority of Democrats. He will be totally ineffective with a simple majority and we can expect complete gridlock. The Senate needs a majority leader who will use his position to move forward.

To lose Feingold and Grayson, lose Pelosi as House Speaker - and then to continue to be stuck with Reid as majority leader? At least there is something that Democrats can do to make this debacle a bit better.

What Do the Election Results Mean for the Economy?

Last night’s elections ended the Democrats’ trifecta hold over the House, Senate, and White House. The last time we had voting results with a similar switch was the second half of Bill Clinton’s presidency. However, times have ‘a changed.

So, what does the Republican pick up mean for the economy? Should we truly expect fiscal discipline? Can we fix everything without new taxes?

The Republican Win is a Victory for Businesses and High Incomes

Bloomberg asserts “Republicans will use their new majority in the House to bolster their campaign to extend Bush-era tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000. They’ll also side with companies such as International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Blackstone Group LP (BX) and Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY), which have lobbied against President Barack Obama’s proposals to increase taxes on overseas profits.”

Gridlock is No Good for Stocks

All is not Goldilocks, says Nick Godt at MarketWatch. “Standard & Poor’s (MHP) cranked up its database and found that since 1900, the market performed worst in the two years after midterm elections that yielded total gridlock, with a split Congress, and best under total unity, with a unified Congress and an administration of the same party.”

The GOP will Not Help the Crashing US Dollar

Contrary to voter euphoria, the Republicans don’t have a dollar-strengthening budget in their “Pledge to America,” shows Brett Arends at WSJ. “We can probably expect skyrocketing federal deficits and maybe even a dollar crisis. The Pledge calls for trillions of dollars in tax cuts, yet offers few major plans for savings. As the free-market Cato Institute dryly noted, the 48-page document “contains more pictures of Republican members of Congress than it does evidence that the GOP is seriously prepared to cut spending.”
What are your hopes and fears for the new landscape in Washington? Let us know in the comments below …

Source: USA Today
Disclosure: No positions in companies mentioned.