Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Have Primary Elections become useless?

Mac Johnson is pessimistic about the choices available to the voter.

Primary elections are rapidly becoming nothing more than vestigial ceremonies, like the vote of the Electoral College. In the guise of “sparing” the eventual winner (as if anyone knows for sure who that would be) the expense and bad press of an internal fight, party insiders now openly choose the winner of the primary for the voters. They then force out or financially strangle all those who would dare to “split the party” by competing in an actual election. Not surprisingly, party insiders are the candidates that are chosen for the voters most every time.

He points to the efforts of the Republican Party to eliminate a challenger to the worthless Lincoln Chaffee in Rhode Island.

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Right now in Rhode Island, the national Republican Party is doing everything in its power to force Republican voters to re-elect unpopular Sen. Lincoln Chaffee, by actively campaigning against his Republican primary challenger, Steve Laffey. Rather than voters using the primary to tell the leadership who to support, the leadership is using the primary to tell the voters who to support. “Orwellian” is an overused word, but it applies here.

Check out the rest of his essay here.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Leakers Beware

AJStrata thinks that the leakers are being cocky in their efforts to smear the Bush administration. He follows the trail to two Senators and thinks that the summer will find them being investigated.

Canadians Flee Socialized Medicine

Until recently Canada was the only industsrialized country that outlawed private medical treatment. Recently the Canadian Supreme Court said that private health care must be permitted and now (Katie bar the door) private clinics are springing up everywhere. Cafe Hayek has the details.

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Babe Theory Redux

You remember the Babe Theory of Political Movements as expounded by P. J. O'Rourk? If not take a minute and review this.

Now, there is a muslim pop singer who is opening a new front in the war on Islamofascism. Dr. Rusty says she is hot.

Friday, February 24, 2006

More Reasons for Social Security Reform

I don't belong to the under 30 generation but I feel for them (and the 30 to 50's as well). If Congress doesn't act, there will be hell to pay and they still won't have a government retirement.

For those of us under the age of 30, there's no reason to expect to retire at age 65. There's also no reason for us to expect to receive a meaningful Social Security check at retirement.

Willisms has this weeks Social Security Reform Post ready. Read it and communicate with your Congressmember.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Oregon Takes the Lead in Property Rights

Long a state with little regard for property rights, property owners in Oregon have struggled for years to limit the ability of government to strip value without compensation. They have tried for years through ballot measures to limit the oppression but up to this point, the courts have found their efforts inadequate.

Suddenly, things have changed.

The Closing of Civilization in Europe

Europe's current problems are entirely self-inflicted. This does not mean, however, that the result will be less catastrophic. By subverting the roots of its own Judeo-Christian culture – a process that started with the French Enlightenment – a religious and cultural vacuum was created at the heart of European civilization. The collapse of faith in its own values has, not surprisingly, led to a demographic collapse because a civilization that no longer believes in its own future also rejects procreation. Today, a new religion and culture is supplanting the old one. There is little one can do about it, but hope for a miracle.

This is the introductory paragraph from an article in the Brussels Journal. The author thinks that the victory has already been ceded by Europe. Read the rest.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Kyoto or not Kyoto

Feeling guilty that the US will not sign on to the Kyoto Protocol? Get a grip.

The signers aren't complying. 13 of the 15 have increased - not decreased- their emissions. The two fastest growing and highest polluting countries are not part of it. And it hurts the economies of the signing countries.

details the problems with the protocol and the positive program the US is embracing.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The 'Why' behind the Cartoons

Flemming Rose, the editor at Jyllands-Posten tells why he published the Mohammed cartoons which is printed in the Washington Post Sunday Edition. You may already have read it but, if not, do it now. One quote to peak your interest.

Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.

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Fraudulent Signatures on PG&E Petition

PG&E has spared no effort to challenge attempts by its Yolo customers to escape from high electricity costs and low service quality. Do these efforts include fraud? You be the judge.

Nearly one-third of the 1,600 signatures checked during a verification process turned out to be fraudulent or invalid. If that percentage stands, the number of valid signatures would be close to the minimum required to put the petition on the ballot.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Yolo Judge was for eminent domain before he was against it.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall granted a motion filed by the ranch owners to remove the land from the county's effort to take the 17,244-acre water-rich ranch by eminent domain.

Fall ruled in November that the county could use its power of eminent domain to force the ranch landowners to sell to the county. County leaders say they want to preserve the property for habitat conservation. The condemnation has been the subject of intense controversy in Yolo.

More in the Bee
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National Review Endorses Laffey

This is the first endorsement for Steve Laffey, the conservative, Republican challenger to Lincoln Chaffee for Senate in 2006.

" The worst possible outcome is only
that Rhode Islanders will trade a virtual Democrat
for a real one. "

The Chaffee campaign responds. Chaffee, through a spokesman, says that Laffey is no conservative but fails to argue that he is.

In contrast, Senator Chafee represents a winning blend of fiscal conservatism, traditional Republican values, and progressive ideals.

You judge. Anchor Rising has the details and be sure to look at the comments from Rhode Islanders.

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Red Line Saturday

Saturday in Los Angeles without once getting our car out of the hotel lot. First stop - Langers for breadfast. Now they do make breakfast at Langer's but since we had our dinner already committed and lunch not in our plans, I had to have pastrami (and it was fantastic). Chopped liver and egg for my wife, half of which I carried around for the rest of the day along with a loaf of rye bread to take back to Sacramento.
Red Line from Civic Center to Westlake/McArthur Park, then one block to Langer's. After breakfast, back to the Civic Center for MOCA and a big comic book exhibit (maybe it's art but it doesn't grab me) and the Disney Concert Hall. The Disney is a real triumph. Pictures trivialize it's impact. Even better than the facades are the interior spaces. They flow in wonderful ways. On our self-guided tour, there were hardly any people in the lobbey and circulation spaces, but you can imagine them being even more fantastic filled with people. The curved walls are designed to capture light and bring it down into the interior spaces and they work wonderfully. Even the fire exits provide spectacular panarama's of downtown LA and the hills. We couldn't see the concert hall because of a rehearsal. We will just have to get concert tickets next time. I never would have imagined that the interior structural elements are paneled with wood. The interior is warm and welcoming in contrast to the cool, reflective exterior. Disney was the high point of the day.
Back to the Civic Center station for a trip to Hollywood which still isn't ready for prime time. Probably the best thing to do there is attend a movie in one of the classic Hollywood theaters like the Egyptian, El Capitan or the Chinese.
So much for Hollywood, back to the Hollywood/Highland station to visit Universal City Walk. It's a good diversion for a few hours and now we never have to visit it again so back to the Red Line and Hollywood/Highland for dinner at Musso & Frank Grill. Classic old Hollywood ambence, an old fashioned menu and real waiters in a room that looks like it did 50 years ago.
Then back to the Red Line to the Civic Center and our hotel where we closed down the Karaoki Bar. But that's another story.

I love LA.

Can't Live without New Underwear

But we won't buy anything else.

San Francisco is a hoot. Just when you believe it can't get loonier, the City digs deep and delivers another bunch of crazies.

About 50 teachers, engineers, executives and other professionals in the Bay Area have made a vow to not buy anything new in 2006 -- except food, health and safety items and underwear.

One member had this to say:
"It's just a relief to get away from the pressure to always have new clothes, gadgets and other things we don't need," she said. "And I find that I have more money to spend on the dried cherries for my Manhattans."

Don't miss the resto of the quotes.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006


And maybe a bit of kick-ass Mexican food as well.

LA Weekend

Time for a great weekend in LA with my wife and a chance to see number one son. Flying into Bob Hope and staying in Little Tokyo, it is going to be a weekend of museums and dining... and a small matter of a couple of hours with my tax guy in Hollywood.

EPA Asbestos Story May be Inaccurate

Both El Dorado Hills weeklies (Village Life and El Dorado Hills Telegraph) report to day that recent tests ad analysis about the naturally occuring asbestos in El Dorado Hills show markedly different results from those done by the EPA suggesting that the EPA study MAY be flawed. The November R. J Lee analysis found that 63% of the "asbestos" fibers were identified incorrectly by the EPA study.

Given that the El Dorado High School District has spent $1.7 million in mitigation, the Rescue Union School District $2.7 million and the Folsom-Cordova Unified School District $5 million, this is not a trivial issue for taxpayers. When the flacks from the EPA cannot even tell what risk the community runs if their trumped-up analysis were correct, these mitigation costs are unconsionable. And the papers do not mention the increased development costs from the new County standards for dust control at construction sites which surely contribute to housing costs for the area.

Why doesn't the EPA do something useful and study what the actual risks of airborn asbestos particles. Next, they might avoid threatening local governments with possible legal action for groundless (or at least unproven) unsafe conditions.Then, finally, they might consider running good studies.

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Cartoon Riots go Digital

We are inundated with news about Muslim riots about the Danish cartoons but the folks orchestrating these riots are more sophistocated than we think. Their attacks have gone digital.

Private Enterprise - To Infinity and Beyond

While NASA fiddles around with the disasterous, deadend of the space shuttle program, private enterprise builds an elevator.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Economics Lesson for Liberals

Now that Democrats and even some of the Republicans are dumping on the oil companies for making money, it's time to take a reasoned look at the 'windfall profits' tax. It's very simple except to the economics-challenged folks that our crack education system produces.

Stephen Green explains if for you:

Let's pretend that I run two businesses. Widgets Inc enjoys sales of a million dollars per year, with net profits of a half million. At the same time, Doohickey Corporation has earnings of a billion dollars, with net profits of 20 million dollars per annum. Now let's say that you have a million dollars, and you want to start a new business to compete with me. Would you rather make widgets or doohickeys?

If you answered "Doohickeys," then you're an ignoramus, or you might be Jimmy Carter.

Read the rest.

2006 Congressional Democrat Contract With Al Qaeda

This 2006 Congressional Democrat Contract With Al Qaeda lays out what the Democrat Party promises to do if they are given majorities in Congress this fall:

As Democrat Members of the House of Representatives, and as citizens seeking to join that body, we propose not just to change current policies, but even more important, to restore the bonds of trust between the people and their elected representatives.
That is why, in this era of official evasion and posturing, we offer instead a detailed agenda for national renewal, a written commitment with no fine print. We call this our Contract With Al Qaeda”

AJStrata has the rest.

River of Light

AFter 30 years in Los Angeles, I have grown to love the beauty of the place. A big part of that beauty is the freeway system which provides freedom and mobility and some of the most spectacular interchanges ever. This piece of visual magic is the Harbor Freeway (110) at night through downtown.

HT LA Observed

Monday, February 13, 2006

Man pisser på os

We are being pissed upon

A new artivle in the Brussells Journal "The Betrayal of Denmark (and us all)" provides more background on the Danish cartoon crisis which starts like this:

A local newspaper in Jutland (ever heard of Jutland before?), a rural area of Denmark (one of Europe’s smallest nations, with a language spoken by barely 5 million people) published twelve drawings. Some were simple portraits of a man with Arab features, some poked fun at the newspaper itself, and barely a handful were caricatures of Muhammad, the prophet of the Muslims – hardly offensive by Western standards.

An new article in the Jyllands-Posten [The Jutland Post]which originally published the cartoons shows how Danes feel today:

I think it was the long departed H.C. Hansen, one of the great Danish statesmen of the last century, who – as the communists were demonstrating in front of Christiansborg [the Danish Parliament] – cast his gaze across the palace square and remarked: “I will not be pissed upon.”

Read the rest.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Anchor Rising

Chaffee must go. A Republican majority that depends on Lincoln Chaffee is no majority that can do what this country needs. Axe the wimp and the Rino fearing leadership that supports him. Anchor Rising is a Rhode Island blog stating a conservative point of view for the state. As an adopted Californian, I don't have a clue about Rhode Island politics. My closest association is a wife who got her BFA from RISD but that is ancient history. I am following the Chaffee Senate race and looking forward to front line commentary and information from Anchor Rising which I have added as a link.

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NRSC Failing The Party

Hello NRSC:
I am a native Rhode Islander (Newport) and I am appalled by the support that you are giving to Senator Chafee. What does it take to get support from you folks, total and complete disloyalty to the Republican President? Maybe the next thing you will do is send money and support to another one of President Bush's strongest supporters ------ Ted Kennedy? I have never been so totally disgusted by your fawning support and encourgement to someone as disloyal as Senator Chafee. He is a DEMOCRAT in Republican clothing.

Anchor Rising a Rhode Island blog dedicated to presenting a conservative perspective for the state. In a post expressing the frustration of Rhode Islanders about the NRSC negative ads against Steve Laffey (the more conservative challenger to Lincoln in the primary), he presents a few more comments. And today he posts Bill Frist's response to the question about spending money for Chaffee. If you still have any thoughts that Frist is the Senate leader we need, his response should disabuse you.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Yolo County Government Taking

Yolo County Supervisors want Conaway Ranch and have voted to seize the ranch by eminent domain. And what's better, they won't have to pay a dime. The Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians will front the money. These indians don't even need Abramoff to buy Yolo County. Details in Debra Saunders column.

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The Top Accomplishments of Jimmy Carter

While recovering from our worst living President's bile-filled speech at Coretta Scott King's memorial service and contemplating his son's run for a Senate seat in Nevada,it occurrs to me that some readers may be too young to know what a joke James Earl Carter was as President and what damage he has done to our country.

For those, I have one word - Iran.

IMAO has a more positive perspective.

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Lincoln over Laffey

Captain Ed checks the latest polls and finds that Laffey doesn't do as well as Chaffee agains the Democrats. That doesn't mean that he thinks the RNSC should continue to attack Laffey in the Primary.

...if the Brown momentum continues, he is likely to out-poll the dry and dull Chafee by a considerable margin in the general election, and secondly Chafee's support for the national program of the GOP is so tepid that the loss will prove rather painless anyway. Chafee voted against the confirmation of Samuel Alito, joined the Gang of 14 last year, publicly announced that he would vote against his party's nominee for the White House in 2004, and in general has been a Republican out of convenience rather than any philosophical or true political connection.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Carter for Senate

Can you say 'malaise'?
Nihilist in Golf Pants has the top 11 pieces of political advice from father to son.

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Pork got you upset?

Get a grip. Pork is just a drop in the budget bucket.

Scroll down. Way Way down.

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Wednesday Haiku

Idle moments spark
Mind-bound thoughts free-flight
Digital landing


Explosive street rage
Western freedom running scared
Mohammed image


Lobbyist Money
Partisan views cloud reform
Mother's milk curdled

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Who Knew?

Fellow Western Alliance blogger Ryan Clark Holiday has a great post on fiscal conservative Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York. This quote from a New York Times article gives the meat.

Resisting political temptation, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg proposed a $55.5 billion budget yesterday that would spend most of a $3.3 billion surplus this year not on politically popular programs, but on paying down debt and other long-term costs that threaten the city's future financial stability.

Read the rest of the post.

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The Story South Korea Doesn't Want Told

A planned musical about human rights abuses in North Korea’s Yoduk concentration camp has run into massive obstacles, not least from officials fearful of upsetting the Stalinist country. South Korean government agencies are demanding changes to the story, which they say dwells too heavily on the negative aspects of the camp [!], according to producers. Officials also allegedly invoked the National Security Law to warn producers against showing a portrait of former leader Kim Il-sung and the singing of North Korean songs in the show.

One Free Korea has background and details. It seems that South Korea will go to any lengths to avoid antagonizing their northern neighbor.

From the Asian Times, this comment,
("In the new South Korea, thuggery pays. It is here that bullies, enemies of free speech, of toleration, of democracy are being nourished in the country's so-called progressive democratization. Not only are they challenging the values of free speech and toleration, but now they are attacking the victims who seek asylum from the tyrannical regime in North Korea.").

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Healing Iraq

Interesting post and comments from an Iraqi dentist. It seems that images of Mohammed have been made throughout history without repercussions.

And he has this to say about Britain's handling of rioters.

For the life of me, I cannot understand how the British police let those demonstrators get away with it. The protestors are blasting free speech in Europe, yet they are using that same free speech to call for murder and bloodshed. I would strongly support deporting those people back to the miserable societies they originally came from.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Where's Mohammed?

Hanging around the Supreme Court building with those other lawgivers.

HT Ken

Hindsight alone is not wisdom and second-guessing is not a strategy"

Want more?

"Except for slavery, fascism, nazism, and communism, war has never solved anything."

What are we reading? These are entries in The Great Conservative Slogan contest over at BookwormRoom. Conservatives seem to have lost ground in creating pithy and engaging slogans for programs and candidates. If you are old enough you will remember "I like Ike". Something seems to have gone missing lately. Give the Bookworm some help and check out the entries.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Frightening Trend

We need to simplify our tax code. We need to do it this year.

Will Franklin has the reasons why.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Doolittle Under Attack

'Fellow Republicans' begins the full page ad in the El Dorado Hills Telegraph, the weekly newspaper covering local issues in idyllic El Dorado Hills. It continues,

' Our congressman John Doolittle's close relationship with Jack Abramoff and Tom Delay is embarrassing the good name of the GOP' Below the big print is a triangle connecting pictures of John, Jack and Tom with black arrow labeled Money, Influence and Access.

Allegations below the devils triangle list only one proven crime (that of Abramoff) and many supposedly incriminating but as yet unproven allegations of wrongdoing.

What is the point of this ad which I am sure is appearing in other local papers in Doolittle's district? I don't see any constuctive purpose. Links to Abramoff are being investsigated and we will know soon enough who has done wrong. At that time, if Doolittle is one of the wrongdoers, then I will no longer support him.

What I won't do now is automatically assume the worst. Nor will I accept the assumption that a trumped-up indictment of Delay is the same as a conviction as this ad assumes.

The ad is paid for by the Revolt of the Elders with an address in Redwood City which even a SoCal boy recognizes is not anywhere near Doolittle's district.

I don't know whether to interpret this as a Democrat dirty trick or a renegade action by a Republican challenger. It does bring to mind my recent telephone survey, however.
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Your typical Democrat Representative

Laer profiles Lynn Woolsey, the California Congresswoman who gave Cyndy her ticket to the State of the Union Address last night.

Makes you pround, yes?

Be careful when you check out the links or you will see this.

Flying Windmills

Takes windpower to a whole new level.