The Northwest Herald, Crystal Lake, Ill., on a healthy 2013 (Jan. 5) — Have you resolved this year to cut down on calories? Eat more vegetables?
Maybe you plan to start an exercise regimen, join a health club or move the laundry off that treadmill and climb back on it.
You might have resolved to butt out your last smoke, or do your last dip.
Making resolutions is the easy part.
Keeping them can be another matter altogether.
But if you’ve made one that will make you a healthier person this year, do all you can to keep it.
It’s worth doing not only for you, but for others, as well. There are demonstrated links between health and happiness; making positive lifestyle changes really can bring you a happier new year. ...
The Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y. on the 113th Congress (Jan. 5) — The transition in Congress from one of the least productive in memory to the most diverse in history is a welcome change, but one that will be but a footnote without new members agitating the old guard for action.
The previous 112th Congress was a failure of historic proportions, passing fewer bills than any in the post-World War II era. Its most noteworthy accomplishments were negative: a knock-down, drag-out in 2011 over raising the federal debt ceiling that resulted in the nation’s credit rating being lowered, and subsequent failure to resolve related budgeting issues that led to last month’s “fiscal cliff” debacle.
The 113th Congress sworn in on Jan. 3 doesn’t just boast new blood, but new perspectives. More than 100 women, 43 African-Americans, 31 Latinos, 12 Asian-Americans and seven openly gay or bisexual members are among the ranks. Religious diversity is likewise broad, including the first Buddhist senator and first Hindu representative.
All to the good, in terms of Congress looking a little more like the folks it represents. Now it must serve those folks. ...
Congress does not yet truly reflect America. It’s getting there but, as with so many other issues, the House GOP is not doing the leading.
The Anniston (Ala.) Star on calamities ahead at the fiscal cliff (Jan. 2) — Americans might be wondering if they are stuck in a Looney Toons cartoon. We technically went over the fiscal cliff at the start of 2013, but just like Daffy or the Road Runner, we’ve yet to begin our descent. We are in that part of the cartoon where the victim hovers in midair, quizzically looking around and waiting for the next calamity. ...
Our concern is that the so-called fiscal cliff we appear to have avoided is but one in a series of challenges. In other words, Americans may have crawled in midair back to safe ground, a la Daffy Duck, but there’s an ACME safe headed straight for our collective heads.
It’s expected by March that Washington will commence a fresh set of brinksmanship. This time the argument will be over raising the debt ceiling. Republicans have signaled they will not raise the debt ceiling unless they extract massive spending cuts from the Obama administration. Not this time, comes the response from the White House. Playing around with the nation defaulting on its debt isn’t something Obama is apparently willing to discuss.
These are proxy fights over a bigger ideological struggle. Should government grow or should it shrink? An even more important question is who will feel the most pain from the shrinking?
Democrats have voiced support for a stronger and smarter government. Its actions have often not matched its rhetoric. ...
The Republican side says it is dedicated to drastically shrinking government. ... A closer inspection finds the cutting is highly specific for the GOP. Cuts to the Defense Department are generally off the table. Despite the bluster of the tea partyers, very few on the GOP side want to see Medicare or Social Security on the chopping block.
Don’t expect this cartoon to end any time soon.
The Seattle Times on the FTC’s Google investigation (Jan. 6) — Anyone feeling déjà vu over the Federal Trade Commission’s Google investigation? A company with a dominant technology platform, in this case, search, was accused of exploiting its position to squash competitors.
In the 1990s, Microsoft was investigated for using its monopoly with Windows to expand its Web browser business. The ensuing trial and consent decree forced the company to change its ways.
Recently, the FTC announced a toothless settlement with Google after investigating allegations of anti-competitive practices in search and patents.
Competitors said Google promoted advertisers’ search results over the organic results in the middle of the page, which users expect to display the most commonly clicked websites. Google has a clear competitive advantage with 67 percent of search traffic, which also means it can set the rules for online advertisers.
The FTC for the most part ignored the complaints of search bias in its settlement. It failed to judge Google by the same standards in Microsoft’s antitrust case.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
The unequal application of antitrust law undermines the confidence of innovators and investors. Most important, consumers have been denied access to a fair marketplace for the most competitive businesses and services via Google’s search engine. ...
The U.S. Department of Justice should launch an investigation into Google, as it did with Microsoft in the 1990s. ...
Antitrust law must be applied equally and fairly to protect the public.
Los Angeles Times on the secretary of defense nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (Jan. 7) — In choosing former Sen. Chuck Hagel as secretary of Defense, has President Barack Obama made an “in your face” appointment, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) complains? Perhaps. Given criticism of Hagel by supporters of Israel and gay rights groups, his nomination was guaranteed to be controversial. So why did he do it? After deciding not to nominate Susan Rice as secretary of state in the face of GOP opposition, the president may have been determined not to surrender to criticism a second time.
But fascinating as the politics around the nomination may be, now that Hagel has been nominated, the only question for the Senate to decide is whether he is qualified to serve. In making that judgment, senators of both parties owe the president considerable — but not complete — deference.
We will reserve our final judgment about the Hagel nomination until after the conclusion of his Senate confirmation hearings. But there’s no question that he is a plausible candidate for secretary of defense, and the questions that have been raised about his past comments and positions so far don’t strike us as disqualifying. ...
Members of the Senate may not like all of the answers they receive. But in scrutinizing Hagel’s nomination, senators aren’t supposed to ask whether the nominee is the person they would appoint if they were president. The proper question is whether the president’s appointee is qualified for the position, ethically upright and free of extreme views. If so, the president’s choice should be confirmed — “in your face” or not.