Restaurants are reeling from their worst three months since 2010, as American diners spooked by higher payroll taxes cut back on eating out. Sales at casual-dining establishments fell 5.4 percent last month, after declining 0.6 percent in January and 1.6 percent in December, according to the Knapp-Track Index of monthly restaurant sales. This was the first three months of consecutive declines in almost three years
Noticeable here in Charleston where the economy is not quite as bad as it is in other places. Fear of the future is to blame, plus higher restaurant prices and smaller portions (e.g., favorite local seafood place no longer includes cole slaw with the dish, it´s now a "side"). In other restaurants food quality has definitely gone down.
One standout--our local Denny´s has improved, surprisingly better menu, competitive prices.
#4..right on about some NYC places..but there are empty spaces now where trendy , forever restaurants are no more... I think folks ( to use prezzy´s term ) are looking for known value and those places survive still.. Here in the village a lot of marginal places never bothered to come back after Sandy . the emphasis, outside of destination tourist and big event dining is Italian, Chinese , less expensive pastas and short ribs , really jacked up wine and liquor costs too ... Lines for trendy pizza and gelato joints...
Restaurants attracting fewer customers has been a fact of life long before the recent payroll tax hike kicked in, though those with safe, high paying jobs may not have noticed. As Bill O´Reilly commented, a year or two ago, during a discussion about the economy." Well, at least the restaurant business is still doing well. Why, just the other night, I gave a $20 tip to a busboy." Poor Bill hasn´t a clue how far he´s drifted from the his humble beginnings. The hotspots he and all the other elite people patronize are doing quite well; it´s the restaurants that cater to the middle class that have been taking a beating over the past 4-5 years. It´s people who have to live on some kind of a budget that cut down on dining out when their own income goes down. There is one bright spot however; even if Bill and his cohorts don´t have to live on a budget, at least our federal government is still obliged by law to write and adhere to one every year!
We´ve cut back but it wasn´t because of the payroll tax hike. In our neighborhood two of our favorite restaurants have closed, one is closed but claims they´ll reopen (doubtful) and the two that are still open have raised prices while reducing the serving size. So we haven´t dined out locally in months thanks to the horrid economy in this very blue city in this blue state.
The phrase “waving the bloody shirt” grew popular in the South as a description of Republicans’ alleged exaggeration of the crimes of the Ku Klux Klan, the paramilitary division of the Democratic party. It is an irony of history that waving the bloody shirt has in the Age of Obama become the Democrats’ primary mode of discourse. Oppose the Affordable Care Act? Racism. Like the Second Amendment? Racism. Black Barbie is on sale for half off, but white Barbie is full price? Racism. Black holes sucking the energy out of your quadrant? Why single out the black ones? Racism!
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is planning to release legislation next week that would provide legal status for six years to undocumented immigrants in the United States, he said in an interview Wednesday. Issa, an influential Republican who leads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, described the legislation as a “come-from-the-shadows” effort that would allow the government to do a full accounting of those who are in the U.S. illegally. Immigrants in this new status would be able to travel to their native country while on this temporary visa, he said.
Experts say the major problems with the Obamacare website can´t reasonably be solved before the end of 2013, and the best fix would be to start over from scratch.After assessing the website, Dave Kennedy, the CEO of information-security company Trusted Sec, estimates that about 20% of Healthcare.gov needs to be rewritten. With a whopping 500 million lines of code, according to a recent New York Times report, Kennedy believes fixing the site would probably take six months to a year. But would-be Obamacare enrollees only have until Dec. 15 to sign up for coverage starting at the beginning of 2014. Nish
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNN´s Sanjay Gupta Tuesday that, although the Obamacare website still had problems, it was merely a tool for "tech-savvy" Americans shopping for health insurance. Gupta suggested that perhaps the Obama administration should delay the individual health insurance mandate due to the difficulties for people trying to sign up. Sebelius said that the question regarding the individual mandate was not the question right now," and that the website was merely an "easy tool for people who are tech-savvy.""What I know, though, is that lots of people, and people I talk to every day, are
My fear is that having stuck it to the establishment with a defund strategy that, unfortunately, could never work, House Republicans will now turn around and do the establishment’s bidding on so-called comprehensive immigration reform. 1) The Republican leadership is going to feel pressure to do some sort of bi-partisan pivot in a misbegotten attempt to repair the party’s image, which at least for now is uniformly in the toilet in every poll. 2) The political judgment of the groups and members who favored the shutdown strategy and most strongly oppose amnesty is going to be highly suspect after defunding didn’t
A host of dignitaries from Washington to Tallahassee to Tampa Bay will be on hand to honor the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young at his memorial service Thursday. But one particularly prominent politician won´t be welcome at First Baptist Indian Rocks: Charlie Crist.Young´s widow, Beverly Young, emailed the former Republican governor and likely future Democratic gubernatorial nominee, instructing him to stay away.Charlie:This e-mail is to officially advise you that your presence at my husband´s memorial services will be unacceptable. I have watched over the years, as Bill had, your transparent attempts to manipulate the political arena. I don´t want
President Obama is "frustrated" by the disastrous launch of an online computer marketplace for Obamacare, the White House says. Here are five reasons why frustration isn´t enough. He should be frightened.1. It´s worse than his team has let on. The White House has tried to position the failed first days of Obamacare as mere "glitches" caused by the site´s popularity. An administration spokesman told the Washington Post on Sunday that the "main driver of the problem is volume." That is intentionally misleading. The White House has heard complaints from insurance companies, consumers, and health policy experts about issues embedded deeply
It’s not the GOP that President Barack Obama has to worry about in defending his botched health care rollout, it’s fellow Democrats. They voted for the law, sang its praises for three-plus years and still believe in the promise of health care reform. But now they face a conundrum: stay in lock step with Obama and risk their credibility as advocates for the law’s benefits or publicly criticize the administration for its recent problems — especially a failure to more quickly acknowledge, and rectify, the major malfunction of its Internet marketplace. It’s a particularly vexing question for Democrats worried about their
Now that the government shutdown has ended, the mainstream press has pivoted to the biggest story in the country: the Republican Party’s woes, of course. That’s what tops the front page of the Sunday New York Times and Washington Post, at any rate, lengthy feature articles in both cases. And Obamacare? Oh yeah, right, that. It’s gotta be in there somewhere. Ah, here it is. The Times has a piece on page 12 about Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Steven Beshear, and his plucky campaign to convince a deep-dyed red state that Obamacare works. Beshear’s not up for re-election. In part for
Ann and Rodger Lenhardt were in for a jolt when they received their notice from Blue Cross Blue Shield recently. It said their monthly health insurance cost would triple – to $859.42 a month – next year. Under closer inspection, however, the Lenhardts discovered a different story: By switching policies and taking advantage of federal subsidies, they will be able to offset most of their monthly premium costs, giving the farming couple highly discounted insurance. About 160,000 Blue Cross customers in North Carolina have been receiving such insurance notices in recent weeks, prompting widespread anxiety among insurance customers who fear they’ll be
The question was about dogs, the snarling kind that chase letter carriers in comic strips, but David DiPalermo came up with a more interesting answer about the menaces of a mail route. “I’ve walked down a path to someone’s house and run into a rattlesnake,” he said. “And I have had scorpions in a mailbox. I actually get to see a lot of wildlife out here.” DiPalermo’s “out here” hugs the edges of long, mostly straight, partly unpaved roads west of the Tucson Mountains and along the edges of Saguaro National Park, a patch of rural Pima County the U.S. Postal
An official with the Health and Human Services Department said Friday that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is not available to attend a congressional hearing next week on the Obamacare website glitches. "Given that the government was shut down until today, we were given a very short timeline to respond to this request," the official added.Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan) of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which is holding next week´s hearing, Thursday blasted the Secretary for "rejecting" the committee´s invitation. "Secretary Sebelius had time for Jon Stewart, and we expect her to have time for Congress," he said in a
Sen. John McCain’s daughter says that her father is “depressed” and “frustrated” with the impact the “hyper-conservative wing of the party” is having on national politics, including on the recent government shutdown. “We’re both frustrated with the idea that only the hyper-conservative wing of the party is going to represent the masses,” Meghan McCain said in a joint interview with ABC and Yahoo News. Ms. McCain, who has her own reality show “Raising McCain,” said the last time she can remember her father was so depressed about the state of politics was after his failed 2008 presidential bid. “He is
First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the no-bid contract to build the failed Obamacare website. Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company. Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.
New York voters, in all their wisdom, are on the verge of electing a Left-wing extremist named Bill de Blasio. Recent polls by the firm Penn Schoen Berland show that de Blasio maintains a commanding lead, which he’s enjoyed for quite some time. What a shame. New York City is one of the most important economies in the United States, and it will certainly suffer under this man’s vague and childish populism.[Snip] Earlier this year, we learned that in his youth (described by the New York Times, of course, as “idealist”) de Blasio was an ardent supporter of the Sandinistas
The Healthcare.gov debacle has been thoroughly dissected so far by America´s best health journalists and policy analysts. To be sure, every major rollout of a new or changed social policy, including Medicare itself, is rough and takes weeks or months to resolve. (Snip) It is the larger failure of public administration that has been endemic in the Obama White House, and is probably the president´s most significant weakness. The first clues to this problem came during the transition in 2008. George W. Bush and his chief of staff, Josh Bolten, offered exemplary assistance to the incoming Obama team—but many of the
President Obama blasted GOP opponents of his healthcare law as hypocrites after Republicans expressed concerns about the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov. In his weekly address, Obama suggested that the GOP´s focus on the issue was in bad faith because Republicans have pushed for years to repeal, defund or dismantle ObamaCare. Republicans "spent the last few years so obsessed with denying … people access to health insurance that they just shut down the government and threatened default over it," Obama said. "It´s well past the time for folks to stop rooting for [the law´s] failure." Obama´s comments come after a tough
HOUSTON, — President Obama’s legacy may include a stake in the heart of a cherished dream of the progressive left: complete government control of healthcare in America. Obama has always wanted a single-payer, government-run healthcare system, and he set out a complicated but achievable path to get to that goal through Obamacare. The eventual failure of Obamacare would set the stage for single-payer healthcare. Unfortunately for him, he designed Obamacare to fail in the wrong ways at the wrong times, making it harder, not easier to achieve his goal of completely socialized healthcare. If Obamacare dies an early and spectacular failure, it will
Just how bad was the shutdown for America´s image on the world stage? So bad, says Secretary of State John Kerry, that foreign officials joked about buying him meals. "I have seen how our allies, our partners and those who wish to challenge us or to do us harm are all sizing us up every day," Kerry said at an event hosted by Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. "What we do in Washington matters deeply…that´s why a self-inflicted wound like the shutdown can never happen again." Kerry added that the shutdown delayed security aid to Israel. "The dysfunction and
WASHINGTON — Whether miffed over spying revelations or feeling sold out by U.S. moves in the Middle East, some of the United States’ closest allies are so upset that the Obama administration has gone into damage-control mode to ensure the rifts don’t widen and threaten critical partnerships. The quarrels differ in their causes and degrees of seriousness. As a whole, however, they pose a new foreign policy headache for an administration whose overseas track record is seen in many quarters at home and abroad as reactive and lacking direction. In Europe and the Middle East, rifts that once would’ve been quietly smoothed
Shepard Smith, the endlessly endearing (and easily angered) Fox News anchor, has likened the right-wing channel to a “family,” with president Roger Ailes as its domineering father. Which makes it only slightly awkward that in early 2012, the 49-year-old anchor started courting an attractive young production assistant who worked under him on Fox Report With Shepard Smith. Now they are a couple. Gawker has learned that Smith is dating a 26-year-old Penn State grad and Fox Business producer named Giovanni “Gio” Graziano. According to multiple sources with knowledge of their relationship, the couple met sometime after Graziano started working at Fox
Sarah Palin found a novel way to turn down an interview request from Piers Morgan on Friday, posting a picture on Facebook of a bear she had shot dead and a note saying she was busy. The former Alaska governor thanked chat show host Morgan for inviting her on his ´shambolic show´ but added she was ´kind of busy right now´. The Facebook message, which had been liked by nearly 3,000 of Palin´s supporters within two hours of it being posted, is part of an online spat between the pair after Morgan poked fun at her intellect. Earlier in the
McDonalds will end its 40-year, ketchup-based relationship with Heinz, the company announced on Friday, because Heinz´s new CEO, Bernardo Hees, is the former CEO of Burger King. He´s also still on Burger King´s board of directors. Now McDonalds is currently looking for a new ketchup maker to partner with once it phases Heinz out of its stores. Heinz supplies ketchup to both McDonalds (for now!) and Burger King, and to Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A. For McDonalds, at least, it seems that the new Burger King connection at Heinz was one step too far. McDonalds has taken a stand on ketchup. Except most
President Barack Obama--who oversees both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security--said in a speech at the White House on Thursday that it does not make sense to have 11 million people in the United States “illegally.” The president said that the people "illegally" in the United States need to be given an “incentive” to stay here and become what he called “legalized citizens.” “It doesn’t make sense to have 11 million people who are in this country illegally without any incentive or any way for them to come out of the shadows, get right with the law,