Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Other Kaus

Unless you follow the Huffington Post, you may be just as surprised as I to learn that Mickey Kaus has a moonbat brother. He dismisses the recent Rasmussen Poll which says that a majority of Americans support support allowing the NSA to listen to conversations between terrorists abroad and people here because the question did not say "without a warrant". He then continues and references the warblogger Instapundit and other wingnuts.

He then proceeds to denigrate the President:

There undoubtedly is something to the point that people are happy to hear that Bush is doing anything, even somethibng illegal, to actually fight terrorism. Given the massive ineptitude of the Katrina effort, the documented disaster that is the Department of Homeland Security and the lack of any discernable security benefit from the war in Iraq, even an illegal effort could be seen as at least a sign of life.

Read the comments if you can stand it.

One sample:
Bunch of cowards you are, eager to sell your precious and hard-fought liberty because of a relatively minor tragedy.

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Happy New Year from your Electric Utility

Guess which utility is owned by its customers and which are controlled by several unaccountable state agencies.

Last week, Southern California Edison announced plans to hike electric rates about 15 percent next year, while Pacific Gas & Electric is looking at an increase of 6 percent to 7 percent.

High natural gas prices could be a major challenge for SMUD in the future. But the District expects to get through 2006 and 2007 without having to raise rates.

Details for the IOU's here.

SMUD details below:

High natural gas prices could be a major challenge for SMUD in the future. But the District expects to get through 2006 and 2007 without having to raise rates.

That was the message executive managers conveyed Tuesday evening to SMUD directors at a meeting of the Board Finance Committee. As background for discussions on staff’s proposed 2006 budget, Chief Financial Officer Jim Tracy gave a presentation on SMUD’s financial outlook through 2010.

“Our bottom line is we’re seeing some pressure from natural gas prices, but not to the same degree that other California utilities are,” Tracy said. “Through 2007, not much will happen to our net income as a result of natural gas prices, provided we have normal water years.”

SMUD already has lined up all the natural gas it will need for power generation in 2006 and 90 percent of needs for 2007.

“In 2008 to 2010, gas prices prices could be more of an issue. Right now, almost 50 percent of our energy portfolio is exposed to natural gas prices in those years,” Tracy said.

A $1 change in the price of natural gas would have a $40 million annual impact on the SMUD budget in 2008 through 2010. But the market is extremely volatile, and it is premature to draw conclusions about how natural gas prices will affect the budget after 2007, Tracy said. Staff will re-evaluate the gas price outlook a year from now.

While staff foresees no need to increase rates in the next two years, the pressure from gas prices will make it very challenging for the District to reach its financial goal of achieving 20 percent customer equity by the end of 2007. The 20 percent equity level would leave 80 percent of the District’s assets financed by debt. The Board adopted the 20 percent goal two years ago to bring SMUD in line with other companies that have an ‘A’ credit rating and ensure that SMUD can continue to borrow at reasonable interest rates.

“Our objective still is to try to reach the 20 percent level,” Tracy said. “If we continue to save $5 million to $10 million a year on non-commodity operating costs compared with the budget, and we have decent water years, we may meet the 20 percent target. We are always looking for opportunities to use our power plants and other generation and transmission assets to be more efficient than we’ve budgeted for.”

The high cost of natural gas leaves SMUD vulnerable to some eye-popping costs if winters are dry enough to sharply reduce hydroelectric output from the Upper American River Project. Dry years also could mean substantial reductions in hydro power the District buys under federal contracts. Less hydro power would force SMUD to make unplanned purchases of wholesale power, and market prices for electricity have risen because California is highly dependent on gas-fired power plants.

The District has hydro hedge contracts that act like insurance, but the “deductibles” are relatively high. The net effect is that dry winters could cost SMUD $30 million to $50 million in any given year. On the upside, wet years could result in an extra $20 million to $40 million.

Natural gas is not the only big-ticket item that will affect the budget in coming years.

SMUD’s contributions to the CalPERS retirement plan will increase by an estimated $12 million next year. And beginning in 2007, staff is planning for $18 million in annual contributions that will build a fund to cover the long-term costs of retiree medical benefits.

On the plus side, Tracy said, SMUD could save up to $22 million a year on Rancho Seco decommissioning costs, beginning in 2009.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Why is MSM Moonbatty?

Why does the MSM hate President Bush, and why do they seem to be doing everything in their power to sink him? The stock answer is "ideological bias", but it occurred to me that there's another, deeper reason. They view him as a threat to their very existence -- and they're right to do so.

Steven DenBeste says it is a power struggle.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Better All the Time

For you political junkies, it may be a shock to learn that sometimes things get better.

This list is made up not of things we hope for some day, but that are here now, improving our world and promising an even brighter tomorrow.

Here is the good news.
Young Cowboy needs to check out number 9.

It is time to say 'TREASON'

As the national security leaks increase, it is difficult to understand the thinking of the leakers. Clearly the intent is to weaken the President by suggesting that his contitutional duty to protect the country is somehow over the edge. They are clearly in denial that there is any serious threat to our country requiring extraordinary efforts to identify and stop those who want to destroy us. Otherwise, not even the most rabid Bush-haters would risk their friends and family by exposing our national security operations.

Major Mike says it is time to call a spade, a spade.
I suggest that we need to start viewing the conscious publication of known classified documents what it truly is… TREASON, and not some mythical right to “FREE” speech that comes with a magic First Amendment Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.

Jen has thought as well and some links.

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Chaffee Blocks Endangered Species Reforms

Long overdue changes to the Endangered Species Act which continues to burden landowners and raise costs for everyone have been bottled up in Committee by Lincoln Chafee. This is just one more reason to contribute to Steve Laffey, his primary challenger.

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HT Hugh

For the Cowboy's Target Practice

The Cowboy recently posted on his defiant possession of a non-EPA approved fireplace. Well here is the guy from the EPA he can blame. Just remember that these folks are from the government and they are only here to help. And it only takes 300 pages.

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said science does not support a more stringent standard than the one EPA is proposing

EPA proposes tightening its standard on fine particulates
The Environmental Protection Agency this week proposed a new standard that would tighten the daily limit for fine particulate matter (particles 2.5 microns in diameter and smaller) from power plants, cars and other sources, and would leave the annual limit on soot unchanged. EPA said it wants to reduce the daily limit on soot, which currently stands at 65 micrograms per cubic meter of air, to 35 micrograms. The annual standard-15 micrograms per cubic meter of air-would not be changed.

The agency issued the draft rule on Tuesday to meet a court-ordered deadline of midnight. The proposal was immediately attacked by environmental and health groups as too weak, while the Edison Electric Institute said it was too strong.

EPA's independent Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee recommended in June that the agency strengthen the daily standard to between 30 and 35 micrograms and reduce the annual limit to between 13 and 14 micrograms. Health and environmental groups wanted the agency to adopt an annual standard of 12 micrograms, the Associated Press reported.

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson said the scientific evidence, taken as a whole, does not support a more stringent standard than the one the agency proposed on Tuesday.

The American Lung Association estimates that 60,000 people die prematurely every year in the United States because of fine-particle pollution. The tiny particles, which are no wider than one-thirtieth of a human hair, lodge in lungs and arteries and make people more susceptible to heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases, a number of studies have concluded. More than 2,000 new studies have been published on the risks of these small particles of soot, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

EPA will take public comment on the proposal for three months and will hold public hearings on it in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The proposed rule, which is nearly 300 pages long, is posted on EPA's Web site,

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Sacramento State Administrator Bans Christmas

... and St Patrick's day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving .... *

An administrator at California State University, Sacramento has banned decorations pertaining to Christmas and the 4th of July, among other holidays, from her office because they represent "religious discrimination" and "ethnic insensitivity."

Read more from Darleen's Place.

Looks like I'm not the only one.

As I look for a state with a future. Ideally one that is both fiscally and physically beautiful, I find that I am not alone.

Successful Democratic Blogger Can't Afford Blue State

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Educators stunned by drop in adult literacy.

Perhaps it shows that education is not their highest priority. Witness the amount of money spent in California to defeat a relatively minor modification to acheiving tenure status.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

You have to have priorities

The LA City Council believes strongly in public input.....
just as long as they don't have to listen to it.

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No Brainer on ANWR Drilling

Erstwhile Californian offers thanks to Senators Boxer and Feinstein.

it is not surprising that Republicans would resort to such immoral acts of adding this piece of legislation to a must-pass Defense Bill. As we have all come to learn, Senator Frist and his cohorts will do anything they can to line their pockets with gold by rewarding their supporters with "quick money." Americans know that oil corporations would enjoy huge profits from ANWR. And we know that Senator Frist doesn't really care about helping Americans in this time of rising energy costs – Senator Frist just wants to go on more expensive vacations and dine at fancy 5-star restaurants paid for by his donors.

Of course, it should have been obvious, Frist is only after free meals in 5 star restaurants. Much better that we stay dependent on Saudi oil.

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Pollution can be our friend.

Just when we were thinking we had the global warning situation all straightened out, they start throwing curveballs. First, lets review the basics. We now know that global warming can mean cooling so we don't have to be constrained by any arbitrary standards of measurement.
Now we learn that pollution can inhibit global warming.
"It’s quite a bizarre thing, because the last thing you want to suggest to people is that it would be a good idea to have dirty air, but as far as climate change is concerned, that’s right.”

HT Tim Blair

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

NRSC Against Drilling in the Arctic

As Lincoln Chaffee votes against another Republican program, the Defense Appropriations Defense Fund which contains provisions to permit oil drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, the NRSC spends money to keep him in office. This is just one more in a string of votes against Republican Programs and the President's agenda. But apparently supporting Republicans and the President are unimportant to the NRSC.

So this is the way it looks to me. According to a NRSC spokesman, "Senator Chafee has the full support of the NRSC and is the only Republican who can keep that seat from falling into the hands of a liberal Democrat."

So if Chaffee's voting record is something the NRSC is willing to spend money to prolong by running ads agains his Republican primary challenger, then I conclude that the NRSC does not want drilling in the refuge either.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Meanwhile Deep in the Fever Swamp

John Conyers has introduced legislation to censure the President and the Fever Swamp goes ballistic.

The coalition, an alliance of over 100 grassroots organizations, has launched a new campaign called in order to support new legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers that would censure President Bush and Vice President Cheney and create a select committee to investigate the Administration's possible crimes and make recommendations regarding grounds for impeachment.

Tasmanian Enbigening

Now that we know that global warming means cooling as well, here is some good global warming news from Tasmania.
HT Tim Blair

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Shopping

My wife and I spent the afternoon Christmas shopping. We had done most of our shopping on line, so no panic. Covered most of the shops in the Roseville Mall, had a great chopped liver sandwich at Max's and returned home. It is certainly great to be out on a weekday.. and with no real intent. We just looked and picked up a few thngs that caught our fancy.

Johan Norberg

As the World Trad Organization continues to face demonstrations and orchestrated chaos wherever it hold its meetings. The litany of these demonstrations is the evils of multinational corporations and the damage to the individual (particularly the poor) from the expansion of these corporations throughout the world.

From Eric a link to a Swedish Economist who is promoting global capitalism. He visits the victom countries and has a completely different perspective. It seems that the citizens of these countries do not see those corporations as evil and favor free trade.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Future Expat Update

Since the election last month, nothing much has happened to make me rethink the necessity of leaving California to its inevitable decline and finding another state where the economy and infrastructure are functioning and not under attack by out-of-control professional politicians.
In the short span of a month, it has become clear that the California Republican Party is nothing more than a phantom. What passes for leadership of the party, having been abandoned by one movie star turned politician can think of nothing more clever than finding another.

California, as things stand, has no future until Democrat voters are forced by economics to recognize what a union controlled government can do to their lifesyle.

I posted here and here about where Californians might go to preseve the sanity and net-worth. I was thinking Oregon because of the coast and a relatively pleasant climate but this makes me wonder.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Decontaminating the world of American influence.

An idea whose time has come.

Canadian World Domination.

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Are the Iraqi's Better Off?

As the sane among us celebrate the tremendous turnout for the Iraqi elections today, I have to wonder what impairments cause an inability to recognize the difference between a tyrannical dictator and a freely elected government. Some like Erwin Chemerinsky, the lefty Duke law professor can state that the Iraqi's are worse off. And he uses the cost and deaths to support his decision. That he favors totalitarian governments is probably not a surprise if you listen to his opinion on things legal but is a clear warning about what lefty's want for us. What drives me really insane, however, are the people who tell you, when asked, that they don't know.

Blogger Conference on Laffey

Ankle Biting Pundits provides a summary of a conference call with the Club For Growth discussing the Steve Laffey primary challenge to Lincoln Chaffee. There has been some questioning of Laffey's conservative credentials because he raised taxes in Cranston as mayor. Don't jump to conclusions and check out the facts.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Dave Brubeck still going strong

I first discovered Dave Brubeck in the 60's when a life drawing course I was taking in summer school played him while we drew. The music is still timeless and captivating and now that I am living in Sacramento, I discover that he grew up on a ranch near here. I always thought he was a sophistocated city boy. American Spectator has a good read about how he is stil going strong at 85. Check it out.

Why Are Workers Earning Less Than They Used To?

It’s not hard to understand how this happened. The early 1970s witnessed an environmental awakening -- some of it visionary, but much of it myopic. Along with Earth Day and popular campaigns to promote conservation came books such as The Limits to Growth, whose computer printouts gave a scientific veneer to the text’s prophesies of economic doom and massive loss of human life from overpopulation and environmental degradation.

From TCS, the suggestion that there is actually a cost for environmental activism. Is it time to subject the assertions of environmental wnthusiasts to economic measures?

7 x 7

The Young Cowboy turned up a matrix of seven questions for which seven answers are supplied which he posted and asked other bloggers to join in the tomfoolery. So here are my responses.

Seven things to do before I die

1. Buy a beach house.

2. Retire for the second (and last) time.

3. Become independently wealthy.

4. Spoil any grandchildren my sons provide.

5. Drain the swamp in my backyard.

6. Give money to people with BIG dreams.

7. Show my wife the world.

Seven things I cannot do.

1. Pick a grocery store line.

2. Listen to John and Ken.

3. Watch TV news shows.

4. Drive the speed limit.

5. Behave.

6. Sit Still.

7. Stay away from the library.

Seven things that attract me to (people).

1. They always surprise me.

2. They can be very helpful.

3. They are always around.

4. Most are tidy.

5. You miss them when you are alone.

6. They can be entertaining.

7. They buy things.

Seven things I say most often.

1. There is no try.

2. Quelle Horror!

3. Did you miss me?

4. Are we having fun yet?

5. Why is that?

6. Are you making all the money you want?

7. What’s up, young man?

Seven Books that I love.

1. Sunset Garden Guide

2. Any by Raymond Chandler

3. Horton Hatches the Egg

4. Think and Grow Rich

5. The Magic of Thinking Big

6. Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

7. The Cash flow Quadrant.

Seven movies I watch over and over again (or would if I had time).

1. Alexander Nevsky

2. Any Thin Man

3. Key Largo

4. Strangers on a Train

5. Roshomon

6. The Road Warrior

7. American Graffiti

Seven people I want to join in.

1. Bill

2. Bat

3. Liam

4. Odograph

5. Steve

6. Jerry

7. Duane


Chaffee's Challenger

One of the problems with being financially challenged is that I am required to spend eight or more hours per day away from my family doing things somebody else wants. In return I am permitted to flow money through my account to my creditors and suppliers.
All this to explain that during most of the Hugh Hewitt show, I am otherwise occupied and I missed this, an interview with Steve Laffey who is challenging Lincoln Chaffee in the Republican Senatorial Campaign in Rhode Island. In case you are financially challenged as well, take a look now.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Tale of Two Cities

Joel Kotkin contrasts New Orleans and Houston.

New Orleans was for much of its history the Queen City of the Gulf of Mexico, the cultural, economic, and commercial center of the Caribbean basin. Until well into the twentieth century, the city was an entrepreneurial cauldron, for blacks as well as whites, providing a greater degree of freedom and opportunity than virtually anywhere in the South.

Houston, in comparison, is a newcomer. In 1920, its population was barely a third of New Orleans’s, and its role in U.S. commerce was insubstantial. Since that time, the two cities have been heading in opposite directions. New Orleans has been living off its history, while Houston tore earnestly into relentless self-improvement. Its leaders dredged its harbor, improved drainage, and constructed state of the art industrial facilities that made it the great Gulf Coast port. Houston grabbed leadership of the world’s energy industry, and quietly built the most impressive medical complex in the world. With a gritty efficiency, the city transformed itself into a major global center.

In two essays, he describes the process by which cities succeed or fail.

HT Dan Weintraub

Stop the McCainity

Says Carol Platt Liebau

Meanwhile, I have getting really torqued about having to qualify every criticism about politicians who have served in the military with a disclaimer about their service. I am happy to honor all veterans but I am a veteran too and it doesn't have a lot to do with how I live my life today, nor does it make me an expert on how to conduct a war or run a country and I don't think it works any differently for Murtha, McCain or Kerry. Neither does it, by itself, make them presidential timber.

What Jessee Jackson Couldn't Tell You.

Albert Owens
Thsai-Shai Yang
Yen-I Yang
Yee Chen Lin

The names of Tookie's victoms.

More, including links to pictures of the crimes here.

Monday, December 12, 2005

24 Years.

Now we know how long justice takes in California.

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Wall-Mart - there are two sides.

Aaron Bernstein in Business Week Online reports;
Some Uncomfortable Findings for Wal-Mart
At a gathering sponsored by the retailer, economists will present studies of the giant's economic impact -- not all with flattering results

Erik finds some studies that show the economic benefits from having Wall-Mart around

Show Lincoln Chaffee the Door

Today, the Club for Growth PAC will endorse Steve Laffey, the Republican Mayor of Cranston, R.I., in his primary challenge against Sen. Lincoln Chafee. Steve Laffey is a pro-growth, Reagan Republican. Sen. Chafee epitomizes the GOP's waning commitment to limited government and economic freedom.

Read the endorsement in the Wall Street Journal and check out Steve Laffey, an actual Republican.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Must the UN stay in Manhattan

Is it necessary for a cash-strapped organization whose mandate is to preserve world peace and fight poverty to occupy one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in one of the world's most costly cities?

An Opinion Piece in the International Herald Examiner asks.

and answers no.

HT Chicago Boyz.

The Anniversary of John Lennon's Death

The anniversary of the killing of John Lennon has brought out some blog posts on John and the Beatle legacy and roused me to comment as well. I, like many of the commenters came of age during the Beatles ascendancy and many of the early songs give me a rush when I hear them again, taking me back to the idealism and energy in the air of the eastern university where I was persuing my graduate degree in the 60's.
The early songs were fresh and the Beatles themselves were appealing, unthreatening and slightly exotic ( being, of course, British). Then they, like my generation, got full of themselves.

The innocence of the early 60's gave way to the pretentious arrogance of the late 60's. The Viet Nam war became political All of the wrongs in the worlds could be blamed on prior generations who had inexplicably made an incredible mess of the world in general and the United States in particular. No one in our generation thought it odd that the wisdom to correct all these failings should be revealed to twenty-somethings and to noone else and no one thought it odd that any means should be applied to correct the world/s wrongs. And the Beatles were right there urging us on, voicing our incoherent thoughts and making them seem so right..

It never rang true to me then, but I wanted it to be true and I carry the results of that weakness with me today in the way I lived my life, raised my sons, honored my parents and loved my wife.

I don't blame John Lennon - or any of the Beatles for what happened to my generation but I don't honor them either. And I am repulsed by their music. The sophomoric lyrics cut deep when I remember how they colored my world as a young man.

ShrinkWrapped, who was a resident at Bellvue the night John Lennon's killer was sent for observation) has a thoughtful post on this anniversary.

I will give the last word to my twenty-one year old son who ocasionally tries to help with my blog.

He said, “Who cares about John Lennon? That was forty years ago.”
And he collects the Stones.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Another Wasted Year

Social Security is a ticking time bomb and our gutless Congress has dithered and backtracked instead of taking action while there is still time to repair the situation.

Will Franklin has a seried of posts discussing the issues and consequences of inaction. In this week's post he shows the demographic tsunami.
Check out the nodomitor on the sidebar to see what delay is costing the next generation.

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Tech Central Covers the Global Warming Love-in in Montreal

Scientist learns new lessons about the realities of global warming.
As one of the very few scientists at the UN's eleventh Conference of the Parties climate meeting (COP-11), I feel like an outsider.

Global Warming is more than science. It's an ideology.

I suppose the only way to have avoided getting ourselves into this whole climate change mess was for us to have never progressed as a civilization in the first place. We could still be hunters and gatherers. Children would probably die at an early age from disease or exposure, but at least the population would not be so burdensome to the Earth. I guess we would all be much happier with a simpler existence, communing with nature, gathering berries, killing wild hares.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Willisms Deserves your vote.

Will Franklin puts together one of my favorite blogs. He uses great graphics and presents timely and usefull information about the issues conservatives care about. He deserves your read and your vote.

Too Much

New Ad Campaign weighs in.

Global Warming can mean Colder

Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter. That’s what we’re dealing with.

So says a director of Greenpeace from Montreal where it was -5 degrees centagrade.
Tim Blair on the worldwide protest against globl warming in Montreal last week.
No wonder.

But don't worry. Leonardo is taking charge.

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Internet Impairment

Are you addicted to the internet? Overwhelmed with electronic communications? It could have consequences.
Let Michael explain.

Arlen Just keeps on working.

Just when we thought Arlen Specter had forgotten his pledge to get those judges confirmed, he throws us a bone.
I signed the conference report at 9:00 p.m.," Specter said in a statement sent to CNET "They brought it to my house."

Now, can we get past Lisa Murkowski? She is one of a group of six unhappy with the current bill.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Arlen Specter still on the job.

Senator Specter is still in town and working. He had a chat with Alito and then with the press.

Mr Specter said he decided to intervene because he “hate[d] to see the nomination process handled like a political campaign”, with opponents making allegations that the nominee was – according to traditional practice – not allowed to answer directly himself.

His mind is not decided according to Specter but...............

Daily Kos is worried.

Now how about the Patriot Act?

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More Info for Future Expatriots

As I considered the likelihood that Californians will be heading for the border when our nominal control of the executive branch of state government reverts to Democrat fiscal irresponsibility, I asked where we might go to find governmental sanity and a pleasant environment.
As far as the conomy goes, Will Franklin reports that state tax rates turn out to be highly corelated with the economy and migration in and out. California, to my surprise is not among the top ten tax collectors. I suspect from the comments that we can thank Prop 13 for keeping property taxes under control. Housing prices probably more than compensate in impact on households but that is speculation on my part.

Check out your favorite state. Maybe you want to reconsider.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

NRSC Money May not help Chafee

You probably know that the NRSC is spending money to defeat challenger Stephen Laffey in the Republican primary. If you are like me, you will see this as another in the many self-destructive actions of the Senate leadership and you are refusing to contribute to their efforts.

Good news from the Club for Growth.

It seems polling indicates that the ads are not delivering the desired boost to Chaffee's campaign.

Pelosi's Bedtime Reading

Check out the details.

This is good news.

And we need some.
Mexico's Supreme Court decided that Mexico will no longer refuse to extradite criminals who face the death penalty. HT Prestopundit

Apparently even Mexico thinks that encouraging bad people to seek refuge has bad consequences.