Paul Ryan’s prospects are grim if he stays

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionNew reporting, first by Huffington Post’s Matt Fuller and then by Politico’s Tim Alberta and Rachel Bade, suggests Paul Ryan is on his way out of the House — perhaps leaving at some point during the current Congress, but at any rate before the next one convenes in January 2019. That leaves Ryan (and Mitch McConnell or whoever replaces him) with all of the responsibility and all of the blame for actually trying to get anything done. The chances that the House Republican leader can survive two grinding years of that are slim indeed, and surviving it with a decent reputation among conservative activists would be even more difficult. And if Ryan stays put and manages to survive that stretch?It’s possible that Trump could prevail in 2020, returning Congress to Republican control in the process.But at least for now it seems less than likely.Ryan’s job would certainly be easier if Democrats swept in 2020. On the other hand, being in the minority is rarely fun.For much of this, Ryan has only himself to blame. Suppose Democrats fall short, and Republicans retain their majority.In this scenario, Speaker Ryan would be spending most of his time and energy struggling to build a real working majority.Most of the lost seats would belong to mainstream conservatives.The proportion of anti-compromise radicals within the Republican caucus would increase, and so would the number of them Ryan would need to reach 218 on any vote.Everything except for must-pass legislation would likely grind to a halt — it’s not as if they’ve been able to do much even with their current, relatively large, majority.Ryan would probably have no choice but to beg Democrats for votes — especially for the must-pass items — which in turn gives them leverage and radicals more reasons to call Ryan a sell out.If Democrats win enough seats for a majority, it gets even worse. With unified government, the job of the House minority leader is relatively easy: Non-stop criticizing of the president,  and developing messaging bills and amendments to make the majority look bad.But divided government is different.It produces compromises that leaders from both parties generally must support.For House Republican leaders, that’s a disaster because the Freedom Caucus will surely blame them for whatever deals are made.It’s grueling enough with a normal president, but Trump makes things even more so.When Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush cut deals with Democrats, Republican leaders could shrug at unhappy members of their caucus and point towards the White House.But Trump has shown zero ability to cut deals, and an impressive aptitude for undercutting whatever his party’s leaders are doing.center_img Whether those reports turn out to be true or not, Ryan has never appeared to see power in the House as a long-term career goal.And the medium-term outlook for Republican leaders in that chamber is extremely grim.Republicans are almost certain to lose seats in 2018.That’s what almost always happens during a president’s first midterm.And given Donald Trump’s awful approval ratings and the poor results for Republicans in 2017, it’s hard to see anything but a good year for Democrats.By the same token, it’s hard to see how Paul Ryan will avoid having the worst job in Washington.Unless, of course, he quits.  Not only has he made several errors during his speakership, he’s being criticized for running an overly centralized House, just like Jim Wright and Newt Gingrich.Meanwhile, his wonky reputation with the media has suffered mightily as his bills on health care and taxes landed with few signs of political or policy mastery.Just as was the case with his old mentor Jack Kemp, Ryan’s skills remain those of an ideological propagandist, not a legislator or a congressional tactician.There’s a place for those strengths in Congress, but it’s not a great fit for the Speaker’s chair.Perhaps he won’t be there much longer.Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Shen voters saved land for generations

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThe Friends of Clifton Park Open Space wish to express our thanks to the residents of the Shenendehowa school district who voted to approve the sale of 37 acres of surplus land to the town of Clifton Park. The town now has the opportunity to engage the public in a planning process that will benefit the entire southern Saratoga County region. We look forward to this process taking shape in the near future.We also wish to thank the many supporters who devoted their time and/or financial resources to support this vote. It was the hard work of our citizens that led to this sale.There is an old Native American proverb, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” The results of the vote on Dec. 5, as well as the result last April, have preserved this land for generations.Susan BurtonRexford More from The Daily Gazette:Police: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Nisky residents lose in partisan battle

first_imgYasmine Syed, the recently elected Republican town supervisor, raised several concerns with items on the agenda of the Niskayuna Town Board’s March 27 meeting.  None of the four Democrats on the five-member town board (John Della Ratta, Denise Murphy McGraw, Bill McPartion and Lisa Nemza Weber) made any comments on anything raised by Syed. None. Yet, when the board proceeded to a vote, the four Democrats voted for each item and against Syed. Each item passed by a 4-1 vote.It’s fair to conclude that this four-member Democratic block on the town board has adopted a tactic intended to punish the Republican supervisor for having won the election. Unfortunately, town residents are also being punished. We have become collateral damage in this battle and are now no longer told why the four Democrats favor or oppose any item on which they are voting. If residents wish to again know why the Democrats are voting as they are, it seems we must vote Syed or the other four town board members out of office.Elmer F. BertschNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for Thursday, July 18

first_imgRacial disparities must be addressedThe editorial about the NYCLU’s error in our analysis regarding racial disparities in marijuana arrests fails to mention one critical fact:It was the NYCLU itself that identified the error and wasted no time in notifying both the Police Department and the media. We appreciate the problems identified in the editorial, but it remains that Schenectady, like virtually every major city in New York, continues to have astonishing racial disparities in marijuana arrests rates. The disparities are not 74 to 1, but the accurate – and undisputed — 10 to 1 disparity is deeply troubling.Our error impacted only nine of the hundreds of statistics reported, and we take full ownership of that mistake. It should not be used as a pretext for police departments to ignore the extreme racial disparities in marijuana enforcement — and the responsibility of the police department to address the issue. The fact remains that police departments across the state still have much to do to build trust in communities of color. The NYCLU has met with the Schenectady Police Department and will continue to have an open dialogue with them concerning these issues.Donna LeibermanNew York CityThe writer is executive director of the NYCLU.Kaepernick, ilk must offer up solutionsApparently, Mr. Colin Kaepernick has felt it necessary to revitalize his flagging fortunes and those of Nike footwear by hurling the “racist” thunderbolt at another American icon, namely the Betsy Ross flag.It would seem that all it takes is for one person who disagrees with or disapproves of anything from a flag to an idea is to characterize it as a “racist” one. Far too many foolish Americans then will rush in, apologize for their insensitivity, attempt to ameliorate the contrived situation, and then fail miserably in their attempts, satisfying no one.I grow weary of this apologetic attitude on the part of so many Americans and I fervently hope that this attitude will cease and desist soon. But I am doubtful that it will.In order to alleviate a flag crisis, perhaps we should all go to the store and purchase American flags before it is prohibited to possess one. Mr. Kaepernick and others like him have made a great deal of money playing a game that little boys play in the street. Yet he and his fellow malcontents have done nothing that I’m aware of to ameliorate the very real problems that they cry to the heavens about.There are real problems in this world to be dealt with; not merely expostulated on. Mr. Kaepernick’s attitudes are as shallow as his beliefs. I grow tired of Mr. Kaepernick and the other prima donnas of his ilk.Michael DeckerSchenectadyCharity gimmicks up in wake of tax lawIn December 2017, President Trump signed into law a major piece of tax legislation that focused on making corporate tax rates more globally competitive. Less noticed was the impact this new legislation would have on individual households trying to decide how much money they would give to charity.The bottom line is that to get a charitable tax deduction, I would have to give a significantly larger sum of money to any number of not-for-profits to qualify to reduce my taxes.The consequence for charities may explain the escalating competition of ‘gifts’ they are now sending to households.In the past six months, I have received unsolicited ‘gifts’ in the mail from charities that have included pens, two patriotic T-shirts, countless return address labels, a shiny nickel, a crisp dollar bill, a hand -held calculator, two tote bags and a vanity set. Seriously, I’m embarrassed. My charitable contributions have been cut in half with the new tax law. I’m feeling guilty, but not so guilty as to fall victim to their marketing strategy. So some of what I have received will go unused (some tossed).I hope that in the competitive world of charities, limits have been reached. Hold it, that front door knocking may be a rescue cat from that animal rights group.Dennis WentraubSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionSick day benefit is worth it to taxpayersTeachers who don’t use up their sick days during the school year provide their students with continued, consistent instruction which is not always the case when a substitute teacher is called in. Additionally, they don’t require the district to pay substitutes. When these classroom teachers retire, they are, by an agreement between their association and the Schenectady school district, fairly and contractually recompensed for their service and good attendance.Eleanor AronsteinSchenectadyThe writer is a retired Hyde Park high school teacher.last_img read more

Staying within the boundaries

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Boxing clever

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Quintain deal nears finale

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Everything changes

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Private, online and hi-tech: the coronavirus economy

first_imgThe coronavirus pandemic has sent stock markets into free fall and industries to the wall, however many firms enabling more private, online and tech-based living are emerging as potential winners. As hundreds of millions of people worldwide are forced to stay in their homes and not travel abroad, the businesses that are helping them to adapt could lead to long-term changes in the economy.”I think certain aspects of work and organizing will change for good through the current situation,” said Sally Maitlis, a professor of organizational behavior at Oxford University’s Said Business School.  “People will discover that they can work and communicate in ways they previously didn’t think possible, and will be forced to become more nimble with tech through having no choice to do otherwise.”Here are comparisons of several sectors that are thriving and failing in the pandemic: Home workouts vs gymsAs many gyms close their doors, fitness-lovers are turning to online classes and home workouts.Shares in US home gym equipment company Peloton surged as investors bet on increasing demand for its stationary exercise bikes and memberships to streaming online workout sessions.At one stage Peloton’s share price was up more than 50 percent from Monday’s intra-day low.  Topics : Large online retailers have seen a surge in orders as self-isolating or home-working consumers turn to their massive distribution and delivery networks to provide daily essentials.Shares in US retail giants Walmart and Amazon both tumbled as markets crashed around the world on March 16. During the week Walmart rose as much as 25 percent from its nine-month low on Monday. Amazon also recovered.”We are seeing increased online shopping and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,” Amazon said.Yet small, independent stores are suffering, said UK Federation of Small Businesses chair Mike Cherry.”These are already very difficult times for all small businesses right across the country. There are huge concerns over supply chains while on top of this footfall continues to drop. The prospect for these businesses over the coming weeks is increasingly bleak.” Private jets vs commercial planes  The airline sector has been hit hard by quarantine rules and border closures, with UK airline Flybe crashing into bankruptcy and experts predicting others will follow.  The International Air Transport Association said Thursday that up to $200 billion is needed to rescue the global industry.US airlines  have sought more than $50 billion in government assistance in recent days, with one top US official saying the outbreak poses a bigger threat to the commercial industry than the September 11 attacks.In contrast, private jet charter companies are seeing demand soar.Wealthy customers are seeking to distance themselves from the “unknown” travel histories of fellow passengers, said Daniel Tang, from Hong Kong-based charter company MayJets.US-based Paramount Business Jets has seen inquiries go “through the roof”, its chief executive Richard Zaher said.Queries have risen 400 percent and bookings are up 20-25 per cent. Teleconferences vs real world meetings With more and more people working from home to limit the virus’s spread, demand for technology that enables online group meetings, chats and collaborations has spiked.”There is such excitement around remote work that brands like Zoom have seen their stock value climb up,” Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said, referring to the teleconferencing app.At the same time, real world gatherings from sporting events to business conferences, have been postponed or cancelled, with a large question mark still lingering over the fate of this summer’s Olympic Games in Japan. Streaming vs cinemas Demand for movies to watch at home has soared so much that Netflix and YouTube are reducing the quality of their streaming in Europe — which has become the epicentre of the virus — to ease pressure on the internet.Worldwide streaming activity jumped by 20 percent last weekend, according to Bloomberg News.Traditional cinema chains, however, are facing an unprecedented drop in demand. Some have temporarily closed their doors to help contain the virus’s spread.US-listed shares in Cinemark and AMC Entertainment were both down around 60 percent on Friday from their respective highs in January and February. E-commerce giants vs independent storeslast_img read more

KSP Indosurya ‘beyond our authority’, says OJK about cooperative in default

first_imgThe Financial Services Authority (OJK) says the case of savings and loans cooperative KSP Indosurya, which has failed to repay customer funds, lies outside of its supervision.OJK spokeswoman Sekar Putih Djarot said in a statement on Sunday that the authority was in close contact with the Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry on handling the situation, as KSP Indosurya fell under the ministry’s authority. The OJK was also coordinating with the Investment Alert Task Force on handling the institution’s inability to repay customers, she said.KSP Indosurya customers reportedly came forward in February and complained that the cooperative had failed to return customer funds citing “unfavorable economic conditions” that affected its financial performance. The cooperative also said it needed to take strategic steps to improve its financial situation, according to a letter issued by KSP Indosurya to its customers on Feb. 20.“One of the strategic steps we are taking is to automatically extend timed savings that fell on Feb. 10,” KSP Indosurya wrote in the letter. The management also said that it would pay all of its obligations to its customers “when the situation improves”.The situation, however, failed to improve as KSP Indosurya filed for a debt service postponement with the Central Jakarta Commercial Court on March 6. The filing document does not provide many details, stating only that the cooperative had debts that had reached the due date, and the company could postpone debt repayment for 45 days following the court’s ruling.Former employees of the cooperative have also come forward after media reported that the cooperative was laying off a majority of its employees without severance pay. The reports said KSP Indosurya could lose up to Rp 10 trillion (US$636 million) in customer funds. Multiple efforts by The Jakarta Post to contact KSP Indosurya for clarification were to no avail.Sekar of the OJK said the cooperative was not legally related to financial holding Indosurya Group, despite the same name.“Indosurya Group is a financial conglomerate supervised by the OJK,” she said in the statement.The conglomerate consisted of PT Indosurya Inti Finance as the main entity, securities firm PT Indosurya Bersinar Sekuritas, investment management firm PT Indosurya Asset Management, life insurer PT Asuransi Jiwa Indosurya Sukses and several Bank Perkreditan Rakyat (BPR) or secondary banks.Indosurya Inti Finance spokesperson Sarastika Putri also said in February that her company was not related to the cooperative.Topics :last_img read more