Get Your Blog Up

“This administration is populated by people who’ve spent their careers bashing government. They’re not just small-government conservatives—they’re Grover Norquist, strangle-it-in-the-bathtub conservatives. It’s a cognitive disconnect for them to be able to do something well in an arena that they have so derided and reviled all these years.”

Senator Hillary Clinton

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

At least 20 oil rigs gone

On top of the human tragedy, reports from the Coast Guard are that at least 20 oil rigs are missing:
"We have confirmed at least 20 rigs or platforms missing, either sunk or adrift, and one confirmed fire where a rig was," Petty Officer Robert Reed of the Louisiana Coast Guard told AFP.

All of the missing rigs were in the Gulf of Mexico, Reed said citing Coast Guard overflights of the area and information from oil companies.

He could not confirm the location of the blaze but said it would "eventually burn out" and no fire-fighting intervention was needed.

This may be the cause of a spate of gas shortages popping up across the nation.

That's it. I'm biking to work from now on.

Signs that high gas prices will affect the economy

The most recent Field poll shows that 40% of adults in California are cutting back on food, clothing, and entertainment to help ease the pressure on their pocketbooks caused by higher gas prices. And this was before any spikes caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Most - 58 percent - say the increase in gas prices is largely the fault of oil companies. But nearly half, 47 percent, also hold the Bush administration partly responsible, and 41 percent extend that to foreign oil-producing nations as well.

Bush sides with polluters, proposes dirtier air

This should be expected by now:
The Bush administration has drafted regulations that would ease pollution controls on older, dirtier power plants and could allow those that modernize to emit more pollution, rather than less.

The language could undercut dozens of pending state and federal lawsuits aimed at forcing coal-fired plants to cut back emissions of harmful pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, said lawyers on the cases.

The draft rules, obtained by the Washington Post from the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group, contradict the position taken by federal lawyers who have prosecuted polluting facilities in the past, and parallel industry's line of defense against those suits. The utilities, and the proposed new rules, take the position that decisions on whether a plant complies with the regulations after modernization should be based on how much pollution it could potentially emit per hour, rather than the current standard of how much it pollutes annually.

Because what we need is more pollutents and lower standards. We are America, after all.

Donate to the Red Cross

Wondering what you can do to help out?

Here's a start.

Or call 1-800-Help-Now

Life trumps bad comics

Gaggle, quite possibly the dumbest cartoon ever, leads its Aug 31st effort with this in it's opening panel:
Cindy Sheehan says we went to Iraq for oil, but the President says otherwise

I guess they had yet to see today's Winston-Salem Journal article titled, "Bush cites oil in Iraq as reason for fighting."

I'm just glad the President can finally admit it.

The practical necessity of Mark Davis?

I'm not sure I see one.

Davis writes:
We might start to develop a greater interest in them as oil prices leap ever higher, but there has never been a practical necessity for running our cars on ethanol, solar, wind or bean power.

Never been a practical necessity? How about cheaper fuel prices? How about renewable energy sources? How about lessening the enviromental damage of drilling for oil? Or the damage of burning fossil fuels? How about the impact on the health of our children?

And that's just for starters. Imagine if we as a country were not reliant on the worlds disappearing reserves of oil. Imagine if we held the patents for these fuels. Imagine the political and financial impact of such a thing.

But there's no practical necessity otherwise.

Andrew McCarthy confuses Iraq war with War on Terror

It's a common mistake.


You have got to be kidding me:
A top casino executive is calling on the Mississippi Legislature to enact emergency legislation to keep the state's coast gaming industry alive.

Does anyone really think the most pressing issue for the Mississippi Legislature is the state's coast gaming industry? Hell, who is even thinking of gambling in Mississippi right now?

I realize some will say that the gaming industry brings jobs and income, but with entire cities destroyed by Katrina, who is going to be able to work and/or gamble down there?

Seriously, how uncouth do you have to be to suggest something like this right now?

Oh yeah, this economy is booming!

As long as you are in the right tax bracket, that is:
Even with a robust economy that was adding jobs last year, the number of Americans who fell into poverty rose to 37 million _ up 1.1 million from 2003 _ according to Census Bureau figures released Tuesday.

It marks the fourth straight increase in the government's annual poverty measure.

The Census Bureau also said household income remained flat, and that the number of people without health insurance edged up by about 800,000 to 45.8 million people.

I guess one's definition of "robust" is open to debate.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The oddest referal so far

Wow. This has to be the weirdest Google link referal so far...

Believe it or not, it's not work friendly. Maybe it means something different in Spanish?

Warner declines to run for Senate

This decision is entirely Mark Warner's to make, but I can't say it makes me happy:
Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner will announce Tuesday that he will not challenge Republican U.S. Sen. George Allen's re-election next year, the state Democratic Party chairman said.

"My impression is he wants to finish his term out on a good note. Being governor of Virginia is a pretty high honor and pretty serious business and, quite frankly, I respect his decision and think he's got his priorities right," said party chairman C. Richard Cranwell.

Warner has decided to bypass a Senate run that he most likely would have won in order to focus on a White House attempt come 2008.

His decision would seem to take this race from toss up to lean Republican.

Supporting the military

California Democrats pass a bill that Republicans in the U.S. Senate just couldn't get behind:
The families of National Guard members killed in the line of duty would get a six-month suspension of loan payments under a bill sent to the governor's desk Monday.

The Senate voted 33-2 to approve Assembly amendments to the bill by Sen. Nell Soto, D-Pomona, sending it to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The measure would defer for six months principal and interest payments on financial obligations incurred by the slain Guard member or his or her spouse. The deferral also would cover service and renewal charges and any fees connected to the loan or debt.

Who supports our troops again?

Polling John Fund James Taranto

He opines on the latest poll that suggests those who have friends or loved ones serving in Iraq support the war more than those who don't:
...[T]he finding that those closer to the war are more likely to support it underscores one of the more audacious inversions of the "antiwar" movement--namely the complaint that supporters of the war are not actually fighting it themselves or "sending" their "children" to fight it.

There are two points here that would need to be addressed before I could begin to agree with Fund Taranto.

1) With a 49-47 split, this is hardly a resounding endorsement from those who have family members serving in Iraq. I would imagine that these numbers have fallen pretty steadily since the beginning of the war as well (or support in the beginning was horrible), which means almost as many families and friends are getting news from the front that disturbs them as much as those getting news that reassures.

Now, I have friends that are serving in this war. That certainly doesn't mean I'm fighting or sending my kids to fight in it as Fund Taranto suggests, though, does it? The AP would have to clean that question up even more before you can actually conclude as Fund Taranto does here.

2) I imagine, and this is pure hypothesis in my part, that some of those families believe in the war because they have to. If they don't support it, then the prospect of their friend, son, of daughter dying has little justification in their mind. I can only imagine how tough it is to go through life thinking a loved one died for no cause rather than convincing yourself they died for something worthwhile.

*UPDATE* Whoops. It's James Taranto that does the poorly named "Best of the Web," not John Fund. Corrections above.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

No shame

Leave it to Hugh Hewitt to take an impending disaster like hurricane Katrina and turn it into a political crusade against Democrats.

Here's an idea, Hugh. Why not, instead of using the potential devestation caused by Katrina to advocate potential devastation of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, you pray for the people left in the Big Easy and all those who may siffer as a result. Put the false accusations and partisanship aside for once and maybe agree that we should all hope for the best along the Gulf Coast.


Something we can all agree on

Donate to the Red Cross when you get the chance.

What's wrong with Ohio?

Apparently, 44% of Ohioans think serious ethics violations are not reason enough to have a man resign from office.

Is there any doubt now why this state went for Bush?

You mean it gets worse?

I'm sure a quick Google search will tell me, but I wonder how many times we've heard in the past (and how many more times we will hear, for that matter) that we should expect an increase in insurgent attacks as a sign of insurgent weakness in the coming months.

And why is the prospect of more death and destruction on top of the close to 1900 U.S. casualties supposed to be a comfort to America?

How about coming up with a plan to prevent this suspected surge in violence rather than just predicting it will come?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I am not alone

Earlier this month I wondered how many people in the state of California looked to put an end to the ballot initiative process.

Now I know:
Although many would just as soon forgo November's initiative fest, Californians of all ages, political persuasions, regions of the state, and racial/ethnic groups are still committed to the initiative process. Well over half (57%) say policies made by citizens' initiatives are better than those made by state lawmakers, while one-quarter (25%) say they are worse. Nevertheless, there are misgivings about how the initiative process actually works. Only one in ten residents say they are very satisfied with the way the initiative process is working in the state, while one in four say they are not satisfied (58% are somewhat satisfied). "Because Californians support the idea of making public policy at the ballot box doesn't mean they like the way the process is working," says Baldassare. "Their support for direct democracy needs to be balanced with their concerns in thinking about the future of ballot-box policymaking in the state."

I dare say that ballot initiative reform could become a powerful campaign issue in the near future.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Friday Random Ten

Back by Popular Demand edition (credit is due):
1. Telephone Thing - The Fall
2. Spit on a Stranger - Pavement
3. We Will Become Silhouettes - The Postal Service
4. Carolina - M. Ward
5. Girl - Built to Spill
6. She's Hearing Voices - Bloc Party
7. Hot(-)Fast(+)Union - Bluetip
8. Stop Talking - The Walkmen
9. Daylight 'Til Dawn - All Night Radio
10. Bad Seeds - Beat Happening


Rolling blackouts hit the state of California today.

What did current governor Arnold Schwarzenegger do the last time there were blackouts in the Golden State?

He met with Ken Lay and Mike Milken in a hotel room in L.A.:
Now, thirty-four pages of internal Enron memoranda have just come through this reporter's fax machine tell all about the tryst between Maria's husband and the corporate con men. It turns out that Schwarzenegger knowingly joined the hush-hush encounter as part of a campaign to sabotage a Davis-Bustamante plan to make Enron and other power pirates then ravaging California pay back the $9 billion in illicit profits they carried off.

Ah, memories

A tale of two Bush

Aug 24, 2005:
President Bush, rebutting critics who are calling for the U.S. to pull out of Iraq, pledged that as long as he is president “we will stay, we will fight and we will win the war on terrorism.”

Sept 2, 2004:
Lauer: You said to me a second ago, one of the things you'll lay out in your vision for the next four years is how to go about winning the war on terror. That phrase strikes me a little bit. Do you really think we can win this war on terror in the next four years?

President Bush: I have never said we can win it in four years.

Lauer: So I’m just saying can we win it? Do you see that?

President Bush: I don’t think you can win it.

I wish he'd make up his mind. What does it mean that his strategy hasn't changed with either view, though?

One week does not a trend make

At work today, when I heard that jobless claims dropped this week by 4000, I figured that someone on the right would link and claim it as a sign of a strong economy, even though the week before the number of jobless claims jumped by 8000 claims.

Anyone can take one week's numbers and suggest a trend. But it's not a good indicator at all. People tend to look at the four week moving average to look for signs of a trend. This week, that average jumped by 1,250 claims.

Saving Arnold

When someone in politics is drowning, you're supposed to toss an anvil, not a rope:
A bill giving Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger the power to change his mind and cancel the Nov. 8 special election was approved Thursday by a state Senate committee.

The measure by Assemblyman Johan Klehs, D-San Leandro, cleared the Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments Committee on a 4-2 vote. It now moves to the Appropriations Committee, the last stop before the Senate floor.

Arnold insists, however, that he has no plans to cancel the special election.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

In case you missed it

It's war:
The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group's national commander called for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war, even though they are protected by the Bill of Rights.

"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group's national convention in Honolulu.


Arnold's not as open about his fundraising as he said he would be?

Who would have thought that the guy who once claimed he wouldn't have to raise money from special interest groups would be so good at it?

California still doesn't like Arnold's initiatives

The latest release from The Public Policy Institute of California reveals that voters still don't like Arnold's proposals:
Proposition 76, Schwarzenegger's plan to impose new limits on state spending and give the governor more control over the budget, has support from just 28 percent of likely voters; 61 percent are opposed, with 11 percent uncertain.

Proposition 77, the governor's plan to take authority for drawing legislative and congressional districts away from lawmakers and give it to a panel of retired judges, has support of 34 percent of likely voters; 49 percent are opposed, with 17 percent undecided.

Voters are leaning favorably toward the governor's third initiative, Proposition 74, which would lengthen the probationary period for public school teachers. It is supported by 49 percent of likely voters, with 42 percent opposed and 9 percent undecided.

Arnold's approval ratings now sit at 34%, and it's tough to imagine an unpopular governor will rally much support.

But can someone please explain to me the benefit of teachers waiting for longer tenure and why this proposition is even moderately favored? What about the union money initiative, which Arnold has yet to back but finds favor among the voters by a 58-33 margin?

I imagine sometime soon we may hear Arnold endorse Prop 75 (the union initiative) and try and piggyback on its current popularity, since he shows no signs of calling the whole thing off.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

By definition

Apparently being convicted of ethics violations in Ohio does not make you unethical:
"Anybody that knows Bob Taft, especially those of us from Cincinnati, knows it would be very hard to find a more upstanding and ethical elected official," said state Sen. Patricia Clancy, R-Colerain Township. She doesn't want to see Taft resign or be impeached.

Chafee woes

Speculation abounds that Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey will take on incumbent Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island's upcoming primary. That speculation could cost Chafee up to a half million dollars from the RNC:
Robert Manning, the party's national committeeman in Rhode Island, has refused to allow the contribution. He says no national GOP money should be spent to help candidates until after party members have decided who they'll be.

The dispute comes as speculation builds whether Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey will challenge incumbent Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee in a primary.

While Chafee currently outpolls both his Democratic opponents, he has done much to upset Republicans in his state.

Laffey, who still has yet to declare his intentions, actually would lose to either Democrat Whitehouse or current Rhode Island Secretary of State Matt Brown, which means that Republican zeal could actually cost them a Senate seat.

Democrats can find Whitehouse's campaign site here and Matt Brown's here.

We need to win the unwinnable

I saw this and thought the same thing, too.

Iraqi oil exports come to a halt

AP (my emphesis):
Iraq’s oil exports were shut down Monday by a power cut that darkened parts of central and southern Iraq, including the country’s only functioning oil export terminals, Iraqi and foreign oil officials said.

Exports through the country’s other main route, the northern export pipeline to Turkey, have long been halted by incessant sabotage.

Iraqi officials said sabotage was also responsible for Monday’s blackout, which prevented oil from being pumped into tankers waiting at berths.

Wisconsin memories

From January 26 over at Powerline:
It is becoming increasingly clear that the Democratic Party perpetrated massive voter fraud in state after state in the 2004 election, just as it did in the 2000 election. The latest news comes from Wisconsin, where a task force has been formed to probe fraud apparently perpetrated by the Democrats in Milwaukee:

Wisconsin Journal Sentinel August 23rd, 2005:
Investigators found no evidence of fraud in nine cases of potential double voting cited this month by the state GOP, but U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic indicated Monday the ongoing investigation will likely lead to more charges.


So far, 10 felons have been charged with voting illegally. Two others have been charged with double voting. In addition to those federal cases, two were charged in Milwaukee County Circuit Court with falsifying voter registration cards. None of the cases has gone to trial.

"There still is no evidence of a widespread conspiracy," Biskupic said. "But there still is plenty of evidence of double voting and the like."

Of course it's too late now. This myth has already made the new Conservative Bloggers Fables Vol 5 (available at!) and will be made reference to repeatedly come next election cycle.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Dis-Abled Danger

Guess this puts an end to the idea that Atta was identified before 9/11, doesn't it?

There are some things I can't understand: Althouse edition

I don't want to spend a lot of time on this one, but isn't it a little cynical to say this:
Should Democrats bring back the Vietnam era anti-war imagery, with folksinging gatherings and get-out-now rhetoric? I can understand wanting to express yourself that way if that's what you feel, but you know it didn't win elections back then.

I guess, according to Althouse, everything you do should be about winning elections. Before you leave the house in the morning (or even shower before you leave) you should figure out what impact it could have on your party's chance in the elections and act accordingly. Screw what you actually believe in. Sacrifice yourself for the good of the party.

And then she goes and contradicts herself:
I hate party politics myself. People should express what they think about the war.

Well, which is it? Acting for the good of the party or expressing your values that may or may not win elections?

I would think that clearly expressing your viewpoints would be the key to winning elections. Maybe that's what Ann is trying to say? But I don't see that in anything she wrote.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Heard it all before

So the President is going on a tour to shore up support for the Iraq war. I seem to remember him doing this once before, in an effort to help his numbers before the election with little success. And I imagine we will see the same results now.

Bush's record on Iraq has been well played, and now the needle is stuck in one long continuous groove where we hear the same sounds over and over again. He has nothing new to say. And that's what the people want to hear.

If Iraq is so important, send more troops over. Find a way to raise emlistment and get as many men and women over there to fight the enemy overseas instead of in Spain London America. Make sure the troops that are over there have the right weapons and training to so the job.

What America fails to see at this point is action. There is no hint of a change in course, even though that course looks more and more deadly and has seemingly become more and more precarious to follow. And when things aren't going well, you need to make a change, one way or another.

My fellow Democrat is a stupid jerk

If the Democrats here in California can't beat a governor with a 40% approval rating because they are too busy calling each other names, I may just openly weep.

Primaries are good if they bring out ideas and positives among the party, not if the primary devolves into name calling and cheap shots. Hopefully this will be the last time I post about Westly calling Angelides this or Angelides calling Westly that.

If it's not, we may still be calling Arnold "Governor" in 2006

Friday, August 19, 2005

Arnold and the Jewish

I'm not sure what to make of this:
California Jewish groups are upset by the timing of an election to replace Chris Cox, who left Congress to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced this week the election will be held Dec. 6 with a primary on Oct. 4. The October date is also the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar.

Harvey Englander, campaign chairman for Marilyn Brewer, a Republican candidate for Cox's seat, told the Los Angeles Times scheduling an election on Rosh Hashanah is the equivalent of scheduling one on Christmas.

"It's somewhat amazing to me that the governor's office wouldn't have taken this into account," he said. "It's true people can vote by absentee ballot, and a lot will, but some won't, and this is just inappropriate."

Is this an attempt to purposefully suppress the Jewish vote? There's never a way to prove this sort of thing. But it sure is an odd coincidence.

Prayers for Harry Reid

Although it doesn't sound serious, we all wish him a speedy recovery from his minor stroke.

Laws I did not know about

Apparently joking about Rick Santorum signing a book by Dan Savage can get you arrested in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Red State:
Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) demands that U.S. troops be withdrawn from Iraq by December 31, 2006; he adds, however, that this date should be flexible, changing to meet the demands of conditions. That's an odd signal to send, and one which the opposition could tweak nicely with their actions.
Uh, there's no demand in Feingold's statement, just a suggestion that a withdrawal date might gives us something to shoot for rather than this nebulous never ending war.

For example, if I told you you needed to dig a hole in my back yard about five feet deep by tomorrow and I would give you fifty bucks, you would have specific goal to reach. If I just asked you to dig a hole, you'd have no reason to work on it and no specifications to meet. The goal is very imprecise until I give you boundaries and a timeline to try and beat it in.

And if you don't succeed? I change the rules and give you more time. Because I really want that hole.

And if you don't finish my hole, I can employ your skill on other tasks. You are tied up until I get my hole. Just like our troops are tied up and unable to address any other military concerns until we "finish" in Iraq.

There's nothing wrong with having goals people, as long as you can be honest about if and when they can be met. I'm glad someone has finally started the discussion to cement the goalpost and give us something to shoot for.


I wonder if the sentiments expressed here have anything to do with this and this?

*UPDATE* I see Ezra and Kevin blogged on this early today as well. I'm too tired from twelve hours of work to go on about this more, so I will leave those two to provide some context.

Arnold wags the dog

So says the Sacramento Bee, who sees Arnold's poorly thought out endorsement of a poorly thought out bill as mere grandstanding in an attempt to clear stories of marital infidelity off the front pages.

They also come down quite harshly on the bill itself:
Among other things, the bill would require some sex offenders to wear global positioning devices for life. (If the criminal couldn't pay for it, state taxpayers would.) The bill also would bar offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school. Current law provides for a mere quarter-mile buffer, barring sex offenders from living within 1,320 feet of schools.

Even though California has the harshest penalties for sex offenders in the country, overcrowded prisons and soaring prison costs, the bill also would lengthen sentences.

Early estimates place the cost of the tracking system alone at $500 million a year for a state already swimming in debt.

As I mentioned the other day, all of these bills have been before the legislature in one form or another previously. Arnold's stance then?

Silence. It was golden then. Too bad the shine has worn off.

California update

More bad news for Arnold:
The Federal Election Commission voted today to let members of Congress raise unlimited "soft money" donations to fight Governor Schwarzenegger's redistricting initiative.

The 6-0 decision by the commission comes in response to a request from Congressmen Howard Berman - a Democrat from North Hollywood - and John Doolittle - a Republican from Rocklin - both of whom oppose the redistricting plan.

The decision lets federal officeholders raise unlimited sums from unions, corporations and other donors to support or oppose any measure on the November special election ballot.

So if Barbara Boxer, for example, wants to go out and raise money to oppose Arnold's $45 million dollar boondoggle, she can. And hopefully, if necessary, she will.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

If they wouldn't listen then

This comes as no surprise:
The State Department warned U.S. Central Command before the invasion of Iraq of "serious planning gaps" for postwar security, according to newly declassified documents.

In a memorandum dated Feb. 7, 2003 — one month before the beginning of the Iraq war — State Department officials also wrote that "a failure to address short-term public security and humanitarian assistance concerns could result in serious human rights abuses which would undermine an otherwise successful military campaign, and our reputation internationally."

The documents were acquired by George Washington University's National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act. They were posted on the research group's Web site Wednesday and first reported by NBC News.

The February 2003 memo was written by three State Department bureau chiefs for Undersecretary Paula Dobriansky. The authors wrote, "We have raised these issues with top CENTCOM officials and General Garner." Retired Army Gen. Jay Garner was the first U.S. administrator in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

The bureau chiefs warned that there could be "serious planning gaps for post-conflict public security and humanitarian assistance between the end of the war and the beginning of reconstruction."

So if they wouldn't pay attention then, why would they change anything they are doing now?

Clinton and Bin Laden

This seems pretty thorough to me.

I'll go so far as to make a deal with you staunch W. supporters out there. I will admit that Bill Clinton probably did not do all he could to capture Osama Bin Laden if you agree that W. didn't / still hasn't either. It's a pretty fair deal.

What would be more productive, however, is to stop associating blame for Sept 11th and work together to prevent another one from happening.

State by State with Survey USA

Want state by state tracking polls that you can easily sort by gender, party affiliation, political ideology and more? Check out Survey USA's latest state by state polls for President Bush.

Bush's approval now sits at under 50% in 41 of our fifty states.

Arnold's word still worth nothing

Arnold, August 6, 2003:
"I will go to Sacramento and clean house," Schwarzenegger added. "As you know, I don't need to take any money from anybody. I have plenty of money myself. I will make the decisions for the people."

From the August 17th, 2005 Los Angeles Times:
In the quest for cash to finance his campaign for the special election he called, the governor plans to appear Friday at a Lake Tahoe fundraiser hosted by, among others, philanthropist and former junk bond king Michael Milken. From there, he is set to jet to New Jersey for a Saturday barbecue to boost his fortunes and those of New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Forrester.

Schwarzenegger will be collecting campaign money from individuals and entities that have major Capitol lobby operations and are embroiled in legislative battles.

Mortgage lender Ameriquest Capital Corp., which had been among Gov. Gray Davis' largest donors, is donating a block of 40 tickets to the Stones' concert for the governor's donors. Ameriquest has been lobbying on at least eight bills in recent weeks; the company and its principals have donated more than $1.5 million to Schwarzenegger's campaigns.

Arte Moreno, owner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, intends to co-host the baseball-game fundraiser later this month. He opposes a bill by Assemblyman Tom Umberg (D-Anaheim) that would force the Angels to revert to the team's previous name — the Anaheim Angels.

Arnold has no qualms going back on his word. From vowing not to campaign while the legislature is in session to promising schools the $2 billion they are owed, Arnold has become one of the least trustworthy guys in Sacramento. Or Boston. Or where ever he ends up campaigning for more funds.

If it will get him off the television

Pensacola businessmen are recruiting Joe Scarborough to run against Katherine Harris in Florida. I'm tempted to endorse him now just to get him off MSNBC, but I can't help but think they'd just give his spot to Harris if he won, and then we'd all be worse off.

Either way, Bill Nelson's probably going to need some help. If so inclined, you can donate here.

*UPDATE* I forgot Joe would no doubt be the first Senator to have had an aide turn up dead in his office when he served in the House.

I would think that would be a hard issue to campaign around.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Candidate Watch 2008

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin has picked 2004 vice presidential candidate John Edwards as the headline speaker for his annual steak fry next month, a Democratic strategist said.

One of the Democratic Party's biggest events, the fundraiser will provide Edwards with a chance to speak to thousands of activists as he considers another run for the party's nomination, Democratic strategist Jeff Link told The Associated Press on Tuesday.


The President:
Withdrawing our troops from Iraq prematurely would betray the Iraqi people, and would cause others to question America's commitment to spreading freedom and winning the war on terror.

I have a question, half tongue in cheek. Why don't we just say the Iraqi troops are ready, and say that this withdrawal of our troops is us putting faith in the Iraqi's ability to self govern?

Either way, this from the grieving parents of another fallen soldier seems to be the most logical thing I've heard on this war yet:
"We feel you either have to fight this war right or get out," said Rosemary Palmer, mother of Lance Cpl. Edward Schroeder II.


"Our comments are not just those of grieving parents," Schroeder said in front of the couple's home. "They are based on anger, Mr. President, not grief. Anger is an honest emotion when someone's family has been violated."

Palmer accused Bush of refusing to make changes in a war gone bad. "Whether he leads them out by putting more troops on the ground or pulling them out -- he can't just let it continue," she said.

It seems to make sense. Either put more troops on the ground and show you're serious about winning, or pull out the troops and cut your loses. But when you have to lower your sights on what you can achieve, the status quo is not the way to go.

Election redux 2004

You know, I've never given much credence to the election fraud in Ohio meme, but this certainly raises a number of questions.

Why I dislike California and their ballot initiative system

Our action hero governor has endorsed a set of bills today that, among other things, would require computer tracking of sexual molesters. All the portions of the proposed bill in one way or another have been before the legislature and failed to pass. But that won't stop the husband/wife co-sponsors of the new amalgamation. They are taking their cause to the street:
Supporters of Schwarzenegger's proposals decided to put all the changes into one bill and give the Legislature another chance. The issue will go to the ballot if they are unsuccessful this year, he said.

"We think the people of California deserve this," George Runner said. "Our thought was to give the Democrats one more shot and, if not, we've got it as an initiative."

Runner can propose bills as much as he wants, but if they can't pass the legislature, that should be it. The same with Democratic bills that get vetoed on the Governor's desk.

People aren't in the streets clamoring for a bill like this. In fact, I doubt many out side the Runner family have even thought of it. It's one guys pet project looking to score political points. If you take to the streets with a petition offering to put electronic collars on sex criminals, who's going to think about the cost of such a venture or even the need for such a thing. People are going to sign, and the bar for ballot qualification is unbelievably low out here.

Now, I have yet to read the legislation in question, but initial estimates put just the tracking system alone at $500 million a year. This is a necessary and immediate expense in a state already swimming in debt? Seriously?

The ballot initiative system here in California allows anyone with too much spare time and a walletfull of cash to push their cause. It no longer gives voice to the people, but to the wealthy and attention starved, and those who can't get their pet projects passed by lobbyists in Sacramento.

Think about the initiatives we will vote on this fall. Was anyone other than Arnold looking to extend tenure for teachers before this? Was there a groundswell of movement to silence the voices of the unions in the political process up to this point? Of course there wasn't. But now we all are being asked to make decisions on issues that the general public knows little about.

What's the point of electing a legislature to begin with?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Who needs clean air when you have a Hummer?

New York Times:
The Bush administration is expected to abandon a proposal to extend fuel economy regulations to include Hummer H2's and other huge sport utility vehicles, auto industry and other officials say.

The proposal was among a number of potential strategies outlined by the administration in 2003 to overhaul mileage requirements for light trucks - sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and minivans. It had been seen by industry officials as likely to be adopted.

But the impact of the tougher requirements would have been borne almost solely by the increasingly troubled domestic auto industry, a concern for the administration.

Tax Free weekends

Hugh Hewitt reports that Massachusetts suspended sales taxes over the weekend and saw the biggest shopping day so far, which prompts him to write:
There are many lessons in this bit of news. The first is, obviously, that people respond to pricing, and do so instantly. The second is that sales taxes are particularly of interest to consumers, and that governments would be well served to think supply-side with regards to sales tax levels.

While people do respond to pricing, as one retailer notes people respond to the idea of "screwing the government" more so. And after while, this thrill would probably wear off, leaving a net effect of less revenue for the state and more revenue for business.
"I can't believe that if I offer a 5 percent or 15 percent discount on this stuff, I have a hard time selling, and that people are eating up this discount," said Gary Hillman, manager of Rosetta Stone, a kiosk that sells language tapes in the mall. He said sales of his tapes were up 75 percent.

But that's not the issue I have. I'm left wondering, if the state cuts sales tax, where are they left to make their money? If production doesn't occur in the state and their is no taxes made on the production, where is Massachusetts making money on, for example, sales of iPods?

I ask this as a serious question, and I hope a econominded blogger can come by and straighten this out. While personal spending would see a momentary boost (no doubt from people refinancing their houses), where would state governments see a big increase in revenue?

Here I dreamt I was an economist

MaxSpeak sums up the latest CBO report and makes it sound not as rosy as Republicans would have you believe. Go have a read and see the real impact of the Bush tax cuts.

Footing the bill

What's worse than calling a frivolous $45 million dollar special election? Not paying for it.

As of now, Arnold's not spending state money on his boondoggle, instead forcing local communities to foot the bill instead of hiring more cops or fixing local roads, only with the promise that he will pay them back.

Of course, we all know what happened the last time Arnold made a promise, don't we.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Smells like Democracy

It's brewing in Iraq:
Iraqi leaders remained deadlocked Sunday over major issues in the country's new constitution, raising the possibility they would fail to meet the Monday deadline and push the country toward a political crisis.

With several questions unresolved, Shiite leaders said Sunday that they were considering asking the National Assembly to approve the document without the agreement of the country's Sunni leaders. Such a move would probably provoke the Sunnis, whose participation in the political process is seen as crucial in the effort to marginalize the Sunni-dominated guerrilla insurgency.

Shiite and Kurdish leaders said they were also considering giving themselves more time to reach a deal, though it was by no means certain that they could without amending the interim constitution, the law currently in force. That would require a three-fourths majority of the 275-member National Assembly.

If the deadline is not met nor the interim constitution successfully amended, the law appears to require dissolving the National Assembly and holding new elections. Shiite and Kurdish leaders said late Sunday that they were discussing that possibility, but said that they hoped to avoid it.

Upsetting the Sunni population would be very bad for the country. And dissolving the National Assembly isn't going to fair much better. Look for an extension to be passed.

Iraqi Parliament OKs Constitution Delay


Hugh Hewitt tries to compare the odds on favorite right winger winning a primary in a right leaning district in California to Democrat Paul Hackett's strong showing in a strongly right district in Ohio:
When [John] Campbell sweeps in, will the MSM see in this special election growing support for W and the GWOT?

Uh, Hugh, the situations are entirely different. A Republican winning a formerly Republican seat is not "growing support," it's status quo. If anything, it would show that Republicans want to vote farther to the right Campbell's pro abortion primary opponent. But little else.

And with everything else these days, there seems to be a blog with a focus on California's 48th district primary. Check out the Political Dogfight to keep up to date.

Farm workin'

I'm not sure what to make of this article other than it shows the thorny nature of the immigration issues that face our nation today. While I'm certain that the farmers in the Central Valley love cheap labor, you probably enjoy the cheaper produce prices that result from it as well.

And I'm not looking to defend the practice by any means. But it is possible to sympathize both with small farmers and illegal immigrants at the same time.

Life caps

Look, there's nothing wrong with tax caps, as long as they work. But it sounds like the one in Colorado has outlived its welcome:
...the Bell Policy Center in Denver, an opponent of the law, found sharp reductions in immunizations, mental health services and inspections of day care centers, along with an increase in substandard roads and uninsured children. The center also blamed the cap for reducing access to higher education. "We're taking away the opportunity for people to better their lives," said Wade Buchanan, the center's president.

Here's the thing. Say you are on a budget that grows only with inflation. Everything is tight, but you manage to spend all your money on food, clothes, utilites, etc, with nothing left over. How do you spend money upgrading things once they wear out? For example, if you don't own a computer in this house, how would you ever afford one? What about internet access? You couldn't without cutting funding for clothes for your children. Or taking food from their mouth.

Now you could argue that the house doesn't really need a computer, or access to the internet, but that's one perk that hundreds of other houses have that you do not. Their children can learn at home on line while yours must rely on encyclopedias you inherented ten years ago. So they fall behind in school.

The point is, without allowing for new investment and capital, there is very little room for improvement in your quality of life.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Hazing Rush Limbaugh

Remember the outrage that occurred when Rush Limbaugh compared the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib to fraternity hazing?

When Rush is right, he's right:
A judge raised the possibility that four fraternity members could be charged with torture in the death of a 21-year-old pledge, comparing the alleged hazing death to the torture of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers.

Butte County Superior Court Judge Robert Glusman said Friday that a summary of facts in the legal motions filed by attorneys appeared to support that charge, which would carry a potential life sentence.


The four members of the now-defunct Chi Tau house at Chico State University are currently charged with involuntary manslaughter and hazing, which carry a maximum of four years in prison if convicted.

They are accused of forcing Matthew Carrington, 21, to drink large amounts of water while performing calisthenics in the frigid basement as part of initiation rite on Feb. 2. Carrington collapsed and died of heart failure due to water intoxication.

Lowered expectations

The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

Hoplessly optimistic

The Cincinnati Reds are only 9 games out of a playoff spot.

Who would've thunk it?

Irony kills

I'm sure I won't be the only one to point out the irony behind this one:
U.S. troops raiding a warehouse in the northern city of Mosul uncovered a suspected chemical weapons factory containing 1,500 gallons of chemicals believed destined for attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces and civilians, military officials said Saturday.

Monday's early morning raid found 11 precursor agents, "some of them quite dangerous by themselves," a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Steven A. Boylan, said in Baghdad.


Boylan said the suspected lab was new, dating from some time after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Bush administration cited evidence that Saddam Hussein's government was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for the invasion. No such weapons or factories were found.

We can only hope they had yet to make any chemical weapons (if indeed this was a chemical lab)to use on our troops and that this is the only facility that's been built so far.

So the discovery that we've made the country less safe will no doubt become the latest arguement for us to stay.


Friday, August 12, 2005

"[A]n evil, adult version of Schoolhouse Rock"

If you aren't discouraged about government yet, go read about the month Matt Taibbi spent with Bernie Sanders (I-VT) learning about how our government really works. It's enough to make you drink...

...more heavily.

Arnold gets a win?

The State Supreme Court has ruled that Arnold's redistricting measure can appear on the $45 million dollar special election this fall, but may revisit the ruling if the initiative passes:
The brief order, issued by a 4-2 vote, ends a month-long legal battle between supporters of the initiative, Proposition 77, and Attorney General Bill Lockyer. The attorney general had won two rounds in lower courts. Those judges accepted his argument that the measure should not be voted on in November because its backers had violated election law in the way they got the measure on the ballot.

The Supreme Court overturned those lower-court decisions. But it left open the possibility that the election-law violations could still sink the ballot measure. If the voters approve the measure, the justices said, they might then review the legal issues to determine if it is valid.

So while Arnold's initiative is back on the ballot a) it still lags horribly in the polls and b) it may be overturned in the future. Doesn't sound like much of a victory to me.

Had the ballot measure been kept out of the fall election, Arnold would have been forced to display actual leadership and work with the legislature to change the system. This would have actually brought up Arnold's numbers because he would be both demonstrating his ability to govern and his ability to get what he wants.

Instead he's back behind the eight ball shilling for an unpopular measure in an unpopular special election. So while some may see this as a major victory for Arnold, it will instead be another lead weight to drag him down.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


If you have any doubts that the attempts to change the nature of redistricting is purely political, take a look at Republican repsonse to the same attempts occuring in one of their stronghold states, Ohio:
Jason Mauk, political director of the Ohio Republican Party, said the party had not taken a formal position on the amendments, but would undoubtedly work to defeat them.

"Quite frankly, the Democrats have failed to run competitive candidates in this state for two decades now and suddenly they are seeking to manipulate the Constitution because they have been impotent as a political party," Mr. Mauk said in an interview.

A former Republican president of the Ohio Senate, Richard Finan, last week filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court pre-emptively challenging the petitions because they did not identify the passages that would be deleted from the Constitution.

So while changing the way districts are drawn up in California is good for the people, doing the same thing in Ohio is going against the will of the people.

Arnold's follies

This can't make Arnold happy at all.

Neither can this.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

If you weren't so dumb, you'd make more money

That's what our Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said today:
"The idea there is to explore the things that produce broad-based prosperity," he said of the meeting's purpose. "One of the things we know is that less educated people have seen their incomes and wages grow more slowly. That's what the numbers tell us.

"So that points you in the direction of greater emphasis on education," he told reporters, adding that savings rates among low-income Americans are also lagging.

Savings is at an all time low. And no one other than business is feeling the growth. That's why so many average Americans feel so dissatisifed with the economy today.

Of course, Republicans see nothing wrong with that and feel the economy is doing well.

So ask youself which side you're on.

What's wrong with Texas Republicans?

Low-income households will soon pay 10 percent more for electricity because budget writers raided a discount program for the poor to help balance the state budget.

Monday the Texas Public Utility Commission began sending out 391,000 letters to low-income Texans, including the elderly and disabled, telling them the days of discounts are over.

"The electric low-income discount program, also called LITE-UP Texas, has been discontinued due to lack of funding. Your electric bill discounts will end after your August bill," the letter said.

Roughly 115,000 households in the greater Houston-Galveston area will lose the discount, up to about $17 monthly or about $200 a year.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I'm going back to skool

The problem with resolutions like this passing is that it presupposes a liberal bias in the classroom, one that is simply not there. And while the rest of us spent long hours studying and editing to make cognitive arguments and coherent sentences, the rest of the student body can now shout bias whenever a professor suggests that two and two does not equal five.

Note, too, that the article quotes only conservatives who are not in college and claim that students are being discriminated against. No actual students who make the claim, no investigation, no voices from the dissent. Just good old fashion liberal media.

Maybe I should claim that I'm a new born Republican and head to grad school. A PhD will never get easier if this goes through. Thank goodness for the dumbing down of America.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Off the deep end

I know I shouldn't:
In all of human history there is nothing quite as disgusting as the UN's Oil for Food scandal...

Alright, I'll bite. I would have thought that 9/11 would be more disgusting. The holocaust is another. The Backstreet Boys reuniting is right up there, too.

But apparently Oil for Food is the most disgusting thing in human history to the right. Go figure.

Oh, and there's this:
...the French, Russian and German governments also appear to have been hip-deep in it. Personally, if I were President of the United States I would have withdrawn from the UN over the issue - it is a taint upon American honor to be associated with the UN.

A taint upon American honor, huh?
Documents obtained by CNN reveal the United States knew about, and even condoned, embargo-breaking oil sales by Saddam Hussein's regime, and did so to shore up alliances with Iraq's neighbors.

The oil trade with countries such as Turkey and Jordan appears to have been an open secret inside the U.S. government and the United Nations for years.

CIA analyst Charles A. Duelfer's report on Iraq's weapons programs included lists of governments, political parties, companies and individuals from at least 44 nations who received vouchers to buy oil -- both legally and otherwise -- from the Iraqi government during Saddam Hussein's reign.

The names on the politically explosive list are French, Russian, Chinese, Canadian and Japanese; if Duelfer had had his way, U.S. companies and individuals would have been included, too.

But he was overruled by CIA lawyers. The report instead lists some voucher recipients only as "U.S. person" and "U.S. company," explaining in a footnote that disclosure was barred by the 1974 Privacy Act and "other applicable law."

Seems the U.S. had waded pretty far in as well. Of course, that's unimportant to the right, who simply want to vilify the U.N. and others who stood up against Bush and his invasion of Iraq by claiming it's worse than the holocaust.

Let me state, for the record, that I don't support the actions that occurred during the Oil for Food mess. But I also don't support blaming others for a mess that we are partly responsible for making, and using that a call to demonize the U.N. and countries that disagreed with the President on whether to invade Iraq.

Following Arnold

The governorship is pretty much the Democrats to lose barring another run by Schwarzenegger, which is no doubt why Republicans are putting pressure on Arnold to announce his intentions sooner than not. Of course, Arnold is more than likely waiting to see the outcome of his so far bungling attempts at a special election to make his decision.

But I dare say that Arnold's power would be bigger outside of California than in it. His popularity here lags because his work as a governor has been about as good as his acting. But outside the state he is still a movie star, and he can fund raise as such without limit. He can drive the Republican agenda in more Republican states. But while California loves their movie stars, they love their liberalism even more.

And the GOP doesn't stand to lose that much, either. The budget problems will continue for years to come unless someone is brave enough to tell the voters that the initiatives they've voted for are bad for the state. And until then, Darrel Issa (oops! Meant Ted Costa and his redistricting initiative currently tied up in the courts. - ed) can bankroll all the initiatives he wants to and claim the public demands them. Thanks to the initiative process, no one is out of power in Sacramento. Not anymore.

But I'll vote for a guy that can put an end to this initiative process. And I'd be interested to know how many people here in the state would follow.

Peter Jennings passes away

Condolences to his family and friends.

We let Bin Laden slip away

How could President Bush's numbers on honesty and trustworthiness be slipping?

I have no idea:
During the 2004 presidential campaign, George W. Bush and John Kerry battled about whether Osama bin Laden had escaped from Tora Bora in the final days of the war in Afghanistan. Bush, Kerry charged, "didn't choose to use American forces to hunt down and kill" the leader of Al Qaeda. The president called his opponent's allegation "the worst kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking." Bush asserted that U.S. commanders on the ground did not know if bin Laden was at the mountain hideaway along the Afghan border.

But in a forthcoming book, the CIA field commander for the agency's Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders did know that bin Laden was among the hundreds of fleeing Qaeda and Taliban members. Berntsen says he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora—intelligence operatives had tracked him—and could have been caught. "He was there," Berntsen tells NEWSWEEK.

Perhaps Bush's defense was that he was talking about a different Bin Laden?

What have you done for me lately?

Think anyone pointed out to Ken Melhman that Ike hasn't been president for more than forty years after he said this:
Republicans, not Democrats, are the party of Abraham Lincoln, he reminds audiences. It was Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, who invited black leader Booker T. Washington to the White House, enflaming racial passions coast to coast. Dwight D. Eisenhower, another Republican, sent federal troops into Little Rock to enforce school integration.

Might I suggest a slogan:
The Republican party: Doing little worth mentioning for blacks since 1960.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Stuck in the middle

A thought to ponder as we debate whether we should be moving toward more social conservatism. The number one Republican in the US Senate just endorsed stem cell research and the number three Republican in the Senate just backed off his previous support for intelligent design.

This would indicate to me that these two politicians, one of whom is running for president and the other who is trying to keep his seat in a swing state, have seen numbers that indicate the religious right is hurting their chances. They are sistah sojah-ing like madmen pretty damn early in the game.

Look, that's all well and good. And I agree to a point with the sojah analysis. But the right is still the right. Dobson and company aren't going to come running to the Democrat's side anytime soon. And that's fine with me. But when it comes to Frist vs. Democrat A or Santorum vs. Democrat C, nine times out of ten the religous right is going to pull the lever for the guy with an R next to his name. Santorum and Frist know that. Those votes are in the bag.

That is, of course, if they come out and vote. And if the GOP can't prop up their guy, they will demonize the hell out of ours. So what if Frist endorses stem cells. He was still willing to diagnosis Terri Schiavo from across the country. Santorum can think what he wants of intelligent design. He still hates the gays.

So while, as Digby suggests, we are still closer to the middle than most Republicans are, Democrats should be sure to continue to paint their opponents outside the lines as much as possible. Because, as Bill Clinton can attest, those sojah moments can really pay off.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Am I the only one who finds it a little disingenuous for our President to talk about the "grim reminders" of war right before he goes on the longest presidential vacation in almost 40 years?

We want half our stuff back, too

Is this punishment for Bill Frist coming out in favor of the Stem Cell Bill? Justice Sunday II, the sequal (which is never as good as the first) is scheduled to take place in Frist's own back yard. But he's not invited:
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said Tuesday on the group's Web site that Frist's recently announced stem cell stance "reflects an unwise and unnecessary choice both for public policy and for respecting the dignity of human life." Perkins also has been annoyed with Frist for allowing a compromise on President Bush's judicial nominations.

One face that will be there? Tom Delay.
DeLay's planned appearance adds the imprimatur of a top Republican elected official to the event, which seeks to call attention to what its organizers say is the Supreme Court's hostility to Christianity and traditional families in its decisions about abortion, homosexuality and government support of religion. It will be broadcast to churches and Christian television stations, and distributed as a video.

Perkins, the program's principal organizer, called DeLay "a natural fit" with the program. "He has been very outspoken on the need for addressing the issue of judicial activism," Perkins said.

I guess you could call threatening the well being of judges outspoken.


Arnold campaigned for Governor on the idea that he'd clean up the capitol. Turns out his aides are the ones cleaning up:
Three of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's key administration staffers are being paid as campaign consultants on the side, an arrangement that raises a new round of ethical questions for a Republican who campaigned on cleaning up Sacramento.

The conduct is not illegal as long as the work is not done on state time or with taxpayer resources, but it stands in stark contrast with the policies of former Gov. Gray Davis, who barred staffers from working for taxpayers and campaign committees simultaneously.

While not illegal, it does make one wonder if these consultants get special treatment from the governor, or if they put the wishes of themselves over the people when it comes to their dealings with Arnold's administration. Clearly certain laws and rules that may benefit the people may not benefit the respective campaigns these folks are working on. So which hat do they wear when they are doing the people's work?

Arnold said he was going to clean up Sacramento and put an end to special influences in government. Since then he's raised record money, took a sweetheart deal from body building supplements, and now allows consultants to work in his own office.

Makes sense to me.


A roadside bomb blast killed 14 Marines and a civilian interpreter Wednesday as they rode in a vehicle near Haditha, Iraq, U.S. military officials said.

The military said the bomb struck the amphibious assault vehicle about 1 mile (about 2 kilometers) south of Haditha, a city along the Euphrates River about 135 miles (217 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad. The military said one Marine was wounded.

The 14 Marines belonged to the same Ohio-based battalion as six Marines who were killed in the region on Monday, according to The Associated Press.

The six sniper team members were killed in a firefight near Haditha. A suicide car bomb killed a seventh Marine Monday in nearby Hit.

The number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war stands at 1,820, according to U.S. military reports.

Arnold's to blame

Forget all this talk that the legislature can stop California's upcoming special election. The ball's clearly in Arnold's court:
An analysis released today by the nonpartisan California legislative counsel says Governor Arnold Schwarznegger has the authority to cancel the November Eighth special election.


According to Deputy Legislative Counsel Christopher Dawson, the governor and not the Legislature, has sole authority to rescind a proclamation calling for a special election.

Hang this one around Arnold's neck, folks, and make him wear it well into the next election cycle.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The GM effect

Durable good inventories falling is usually a good sign of pending production, and after five years of the Bush economy, it's about time. But I have a question for those on the more economic side of things. Joe Richter writes:
Stocks of unsold vehicles at General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, dropped to a 48-day supply on July 1 from 73 days a month earlier, when the Detroit-based company started an employee-discount program, according to trade publication Automotive News. A 60-day supply is considered normal.

Which is good, in that automobile manufacturing will be ramped up, which will increase need for supplies, etc. But the special incentive plan is over. GM made little money on the deal and now will have to spend more money on manufacturing.

So overall, this would be a net negative for GM, right? And the net effect on the economy will be a small boomlet until GM gets back to too many cars and no one to buy them. So in a few months all the industrial growth will come to a halt as the status quo is reached once again.

Is that too simplistic, or the general effect of the GM discount plan?

Fund loves Arnold

John Fund offers Arnold the advice you would expect in his latest Opinion Journal piece, suggesting the Governor stand and fight for his ballot initiatives. He ends with the following:
As perilous as his political situation looks, Mr. Schwarzenegger overcame much longer odds in pulling off his 2003 recall victory by appealing directly to the people.

And the battle is worth having. Even if he lost one or more of the initiatives on the ballot this November it wouldn't be as damaging as losing the belief his core voters have that he is a strong leader who is fighting for what he says he believes in.

Uh, what recall election did Fund watch? Arnold was never really a longshot in 2003, but rather the odds on favorite.

The problem now that faces Arnold is not losing his "core voters," but the fact that he's lost the support of more than 60% of the state. "Core voters" aren't going to get Arnold elected again, and his support of a measure stopping political use of union dues will only bring out even more well-financed guns against him. It's big government intervention that most Republicans should frown on, but since it attacks the powers of the union, in this case it's alright.

One final thought. Arnold should do not what's best for himself politically, but rather what's best for the state in general. That would actually turn Arnold's numbers around.