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Saturday, January 31, 2004

One of the fellas I noted from this past week's Carnival of the Vanities, The SmarterCop, gets a recipri-blogroll today. (Did I just coin a word?)

I've been using BlogMatrix's RSS feed feature to offer that to folks who want to use a news aggregator to get Considerettes, but now Blogger, using a product called Atom, can create an XML feed based on Atom's standard. While I'm not going to dump the BlogMatrix feed, the XML from Blogger will be more current, as it's updated every time I post an entry, whereas BlogMatrix takes a page snapshot about once a day. Whatever works for you. Copy the link to either and paste it into your aggregator when it asks for a feed source.

I've tried using the Atom feed with an aggregator called BottomFeeder on Linux, and it doesn't appear to read it quite properly. Some of the text is there, but not all of it. Strange. In any event, Atom has a list of Atom-enabled software that you can peruse and see what you like. (BottomFeeder's listed, so I guess it's supposed to work right. Hmmm.)

Friday, January 30, 2004

The economy grew at an annual rate of 4% in the fourth quarter (following the amazing 8.2% from the previous quarter). This is, probably, bad news for Robert Kuttner who claimed back in August,
Economic growth came in at 2.4 percent for the second quarter of 2003. That was better than expected, but it needs to hit 4 percent or higher to reduce unemployment. Bush's cheerleaders say that will happen, in well-choreographed fashion, in the election year. But will it?

As I mentioned back then, yes it will, and no "cheerleading" required. Just a good look at history.

For all the bluster by Democrats about Kay's assertion that Hussein, when the war began, had no WMDs, should that have kept us from taking out the dictator?
"All I can say is if you read the total body of intelligence in the last 12 to 15 years that flowed on Iraq, I quite frankly think it would be hard to come to a conclusion other than Iraq was a gathering, serious threat to the world with regard to WMD (weapons of mass destruction)," Kay said.

That is to say, no.

For some great modern satire, read Jack Cashill's column "Just when did John Ashcroft join the Nazi Party?" Pay special note to who voted in favor of the oft-reviled Patriot Act.

Good heavens, Website of the Day by RightWingNews? High praise indeed. Thank you very much John Hawkins.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Right Wing News has the latest update on quotes from folks who just knew that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and that they were a real threat to America. The list is staggering.

I saw that! Marcland has linked to a couple of recent posts here, so the least I could do is fix his link on the blog roll. :) He's moved recently, so if you have a bookmark on him, jump on over and update it.

James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today" today has a great synopsis of the war debate, specifically heads rolling at the BBC over their skewed coverage, misreporting of David Kay by the NY Times, and the antiwar-for-oil crowd (that is, those who were against the war because they were getting under-the-table sweetheart deals for Iraqi oil as long as Hussein was around).

Some of my favorite posts from this week's Carnival of the Vanities:
  • "Commentariat" notes why liberals don't really understand the idea of Bush's faith-based initiatives. Actually it has far less to do with them being "faith-based", and more to do with the idea that if the private sector (faith-based or otherwise) can help the poor better and more efficiently, why should we replace them with a bloated, inefficient government program?
  • A thoughtful treatment of religion v. politics by homicidalmaniak.
  • The SmarterCop fisks the Democratic presidential candidates as they react to David Kay's WMD report.
  • Those candidates could learn a few things at Libertyblog, where those erroneous conclusions could be corrected.
  • Joe Kelley, just for the sake of argument, suggests that, in line with Nashville schools doing away with the honor roll because of self-esteem issues, we should forget about voting or playing the Super Bowl or counting a blog's incoming links or successfully reaching Mars or paying anyone more money than somebody else. After all, in all those cases, somebody succeeds and somebody doesn't.
  • Walloworld has some very good insights into whether or not the Internet is becoming an echo chamber.

So do they or don't they exist?
SOFIA, Bulgaria (Reuters) - Iraqi foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari said Thursday Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction had been carefully hidden, but he was confident they could be discovered.

"I have every belief that some of these weapons could be found as we move forward," Zebari, an Iraqi Kurd, told a news conference in Sofia. "They have been hidden in certain areas. The system of hiding was very sophisticated."
Former chief U.S. weapons hunter David Kay said Wednesday "we were almost all wrong" about the issue and it was "highly unlikely that there were large stockpiles of deployed militarized chemical and biological weapons" in Iraq.

But Zebari, on a visit to Bulgaria, said: "We as Iraqis have seen Saddam Hussein develop, manufacture and use these weapons of mass destruction against us. He hasn't denied that."

Zebari was apparently referring to the use of chemical weapons by Saddam's forces against Iraqi Kurdish villages in the late 1980s.

This reiterates what I said to the E-mailer suggesting the certainty of WMDs in Iraq was "none". Zebari may be right, and we just haven't looked in the right places (it is a huge country). Kay may be right, and Saddam may have just been hoodwinked by his weapons guys. But there's no doubt that WMDs had been used in the past. That alone pushed the certainty gauge much closer to Zebari.

"Considerable Quotes" has been blogrolled by Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog, so back atcha.

My lengthy post regarding my E-mail exchange with a reader on global warming is part of this week's Carnival of the Vanities, and there's a boatload of other blogs to take a peek at while you're there.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Even given the problems in our intelligence gathering, as noted by David Kay, that caused the Clinton administration to overestimate the WMD issue in Iraq, it's nice to know that there are still a lot of folks who believe we still did the right thing in Iraq.
[Thabet Karim] Jassem was among thousands of Iraqis that had been stranded on the Kuwait-Iraq border last week over visa problems. Some 33,000 Iraqis were chosen by lottery to perform the Haj this year, the first pilgrimage for post-Saddam Iraq.

"We remained nine days at the border, it was a very miserable time for thousands," said Bakkar Rasoul, a Kurdish eye doctor from Suleimaniya. "But I am really happy that we are free and God helped us to visit Makkah."

"I and many people are thankful towards the United States because they were able to release us and we will definitely never forget. I don't think any Muslim can forget this," he said, standing by Kurdish and Iraqi flags beside the Iraqi pilgrims.

You're welcome sir. Some folks don't understand it, but I'm glad you do.

Justice Antonin Scalia was right:
Justice Antonin Scalia warned that the ruling [that struck down Texas' anti-sodomy law] would unleash a wave of challenges to state laws against "bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity."

So what's one of the results of that ruling?
Sure enough, [Brian] Barnard, a civil rights attorney, has brought a lawsuit challenging Utah's ban on polygamy. And some legal experts say the case could have a fighting chance because of the Supreme Court's gay-sex ruling.

The federal lawsuit, filed Jan. 12, involves a married couple, identified only as G. Lee Cook and D. Cook, and a woman, J. Bronson, who wanted to enter into a plural marriage but were denied a marriage license by Salt Lake County clerks.

Can you hear it; the sound of American society sliding further down that slippery slope? It's almost deafening.

What liberal media?
ABC News correspondent John Stossel, the co-anchor of 20/20, said most mainstream journalists, including those at his network, are leftists who view conservatives as "selfish and cruel" for embracing capitalism.
Before adopting a skeptical view of the government and public-interest groups, Stossel was an enterprising consumer reporter. He won 18 Emmys while exposing shady business practices. But since realizing that more regulation might not be the answer to the world's problems, Stossel said he has observed changes, and he has only won one Emmy in that time.

"Leftist thinking is just the culture that I live in and the culture the reporters who populate the mainstream media live in," he said. "Everybody just agrees - more safety regulation, gun control, higher taxes. Who could not want that? Everybody around here wants that. Anyone who disagrees is seen as not just wrong but selfish and cruel. If I try to discuss this with my peers, I get blank stares."

He added, "The press is so filled with hatred for capitalism that someone who advocates for free markets rather than government control is a conservative and a problem."

Some might say that Stossel's very existence on 20/20 proves that ABC is balanced. Not necessarily.
"ABC, God bless them, they don't always agree with me," he said, "but they let me do most of the things I want to do."

Stossel passed up the opportunity to talk about the work of other ABC News journalists, including World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings. The Media Research Center, the parent organization of, has criticized Jennings for biased reporting on the Bush administration and the Iraq war among other issues.

"I think as long as ABC is paying me," Stossel said, "they have a right to have me shut up about my opinions about what other people at ABC are doing."

One John Stossel does not balance all the other bias out. In fact, being able to count the number of conservatives or libertarians at ABC News on one hand actually proves that point.

How does this bias become media-wide?
"The reason the [New York] Times, and to a lesser extent the [Washington] Post, are so important, and they are, is because the TV and radio - all of the media - copy it sycophantically," he said. "That's how bias at the Times becomes bias in other media."

A herd mentality, but for independent thinkers like Stossel. Media objectivity? Give me a break!

Given the hot-button issue that abortion is, the pro-choice marches, and the work by NOW and others, here's an interesting question: What percentage of women believe that having an abortion generally makes a woman's life better? 60%? 40%? 25%? 16%?

Congress can sometimes reasonably investigate itself. Well, Republicans, anyway.
An aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has been put on leave during an investigation into how Republicans gained access to Democratic memos concerning opposition to President Bush's judicial nominees.

Manuel Miranda, who works for the Tennessee Republican on judicial nominations, is on leave pending the outcome of the inquiry by the Senate sergeant-at-arms, Frist spokesman Nick Smith said yesterday. In the matter under investigation, Democratic memos stored on a computer server shared by Judiciary Committee members ended up in Republican hands.

Miranda denies the allegation, but Republicans, led by Sen. Orrin Hatch, are indeed pursuing this.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

More global warming news:
Britain is likely to be plunged into an ice age within our lifetime by global warming, new research suggests.

A study, which is being taken seriously by top government scientists, has uncovered a change "of remarkable amplitude" in the circulation of the waters of the North Atlantic.


The development - described as "the largest and most dramatic oceanic change ever measured in the era of modern instruments", by the US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, which led the research - threatens to turn off the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe's weather mild.

If that happens, Britain and northern Europe are expected to switch abruptly to the climate of Labrador - which is on the same latitude - bringing a nightmare scenario where farmland turns to tundra and winter temperatures drop below -20C. The much-heralded cold snap predicted for the coming week would seem balmy by comparison.

So will this wake up us folks who are against the radical measures being put forth by environmentalists to reverse the warming trend? Before I answer that, let me show you what's hiding behind that ellipses (...) above:
Similar events in pre-history are known to have caused sudden "flips" of the climate, bringing ice ages to northern Europe within a few decades.

And later on in the article:
When the Gulf Stream abruptly turned off about 12,700 years ago, it brought about a 1,300-year cold period, known as the Younger Dryas. This froze Britain in continuous permafrost, drove summer temperatures down to 10C and winter ones to -20C, and brought icebergs as far south as Portugal. Europe could not sustain anything like its present population.

12,700 years ago, there were no cars or CFCs, yet this same phenomenon occurred. According to studies I've cited before, there's a natural cycle going on here that goes way, way back, and to suggest that there's anything man can do to reverse it is the height of arrogance (or power-grabbing, or both).

EXETER, N.H. - Wise-cracking funnyman Al Franken yesterday body-slammed a demonstrator to the ground after the man tried to shout down Gov. Howard Dean.

And why did Franken feel it necessary to do this?
Franken said he's not backing Dean but merely wanted to protect the right of people to speak freely.

Stifling free speech in the name of promoting free speech. And this guy wants a national radio show? If he's on opposite Limbaugh, is Rush allowed to jam Franken's signal?

I'm proud of the Republican Party when its members don't feel like they have to march in lockstep with the head of their party.
Republican lawmakers who generally back President Bush are not backing him on immigration. In fact, they want their leaders to know they have "serious concerns" about President Bush's proposed immigration policy.

In a letter addressed to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and several other members of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus said they won't go along with the president's plan because it "does not address the problem appropriately."

I've personally heard the "lockstep" charge myself, and news like this just goes to prove that all wrong.

Friday, January 23, 2004

I've added a Topic index in the left column to help folks look up posts of mine on particular topics. It's not perfect (Google doesn't show them all, and the specified words must be in the post), but it should help for those who see a post and want to know if I've covered it before. (Like, for example, reading a glib remark on global warming. >smile<)

I've been trading E-mails with a reader recently (not naming him for now; don't think that's particularly relevant) on the topic of global warming. He noted my glib remarks about Al Gore's global warming speech and took me to task on them. I'll admit they were rather glib, but then I noted to him that I've covered this topic more meaningfully on a number of occasions, most notably:
  • Two NY Times stories declaring that Alaska is both melting and freezing
  • The well documented Pacific Decadal Oscillation
  • The shrinking of the Antarctic ozone hole (and lack of reporting thereof)
  • The observation by the Wall Street Journal that those predicting global warming used to be predicting global cooling
  • A study noting that the claims by environmentalists (that this is the warmest weather in the past 1,000 years and that it is producing the most extreme weather, both hot and cold) are false, and that it was warmer in the Middle Ages than it is now.
  • A study reported by NASA showing that sunspot activity is a large factor in earth temperatures. My favorite line from this study is that there was such global warming in the 980s that the Vikings were able to settle the thawed-out coast of Greenland and even harvest wheat.

This reader's points boiled down to the idea that we simply have no possible way of knowing if or how global warming is going to affect us, so we should act. He compared reaction to Iraq to reaction to warming; "You can't logically conclude that war with Iraq was justified and conclude that acting to stop global warming is not. Both have the same degree of certainty - which is none." He's said that we didn't know for certain that Hussein had WMDs; "You don't know for sure that Saddam was going to somehow attack us with WMDs, or give them to terrorists, despite the events of 9/11. These were unproven risks, that no one can accurately ascertain." And yet we did go into Iraq not knowing for certain what would happen. Therefore, we should do the same for global warming.

If, by his suggestion, there is absolutely no scientific certainty that global warming is either man-made or reversible by man, yet he still wants to pass drastic legislation to "deal" with it, there's a million other theories that have no certainty either that I'm sure are waiting in the wings to get legislation passed for their pet concern. The chance of their being aliens preparing to obliterate us has the same degree of certainty - which is none.

The comparison to the war in Iraq is particularly wrong. The fact is that having used them on his own people, it is certainly not an unproven risk that Saddam would use them on foreigners intent on removing him from power. Therefore, at least logically, the concerns about the war in Iraq had a bit more than a 0% degree of certainty, to say nothing of the many Republicans and Democrats (liberals tend to forget about that) that proclaimed with differing degrees of certainty that Hussein had them.

Frankly, he had quite a number of good points to make, especially regarding the multiple personalities the Bush administration has had on this topic. He's certainly done his homework, and more so than I have, to be honest. But while he made references to the affects of global warming, I don't think the case is there to say that man is doing it and that man can reverse it. Warming may in fact be occurring. Even the studies that I cite show that it is, but those studies show that it's part of a natural process (actually, a complex combination of a number of natural processes) that man has not altered much, if at all, and hence cannot effectively, if at all, reverse.

I appreciate his acknowledging that scientists said 30 years ago that the earth was cooling, but he's quick to pass on by that and say that they think differently now, and that doesn't do much for my confidence in their predictive powers. If we'd started acting on global cooling in the 70s, what upheaval might we have caused economically only to hear them say, "Oops. Turn around; we meant to go that way"?

What would it take to change my mind? For starters, a much higher degree of certainty than "none". We've been there and I'm glad we didn't take the bait.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

The Media Research Center notes that, based on coverage from CNN, Europeans find talk about God, good and evil "scary"
[CNN reporter Walter] Rodgers, from inside a studio: "Hello, Wolf. There was a collective sigh of relief in Europe after the President's State of the Union address. Partially because this time there was no talk of new American military action anywhere, unlike two years ago when he scared Europeans with his talk about the axis of evil and unlike last year when Mr. Bush was about to unleash war on Iraq.

"Still, Europeans find the President's talk about God and good and evil very scary, so there wasn't much President Bush could say to ingratiate himself to Europeans, that is how badly he has alienated America's traditional allies and analysts here say that alienation is not going to change until Mr. Bush leaves the White House.

Honestly, if that's all it takes, then these "allies" have less feet of clay and more feet of vapor. Is it possible that this whole world, besides American conservatives, are comfortable discussing reality? Even if you don't believe in God, certainly calling evil "evil" shouldn't get folks shaking in their boots. That is, if you haven't been re-educated to think that that is no such thing as good and evil. And I would imagine the two--belief in God and acknowledging good & evil--are rather tied together more closely than many would want to admit.

Of course, the problem with a non-God-centered definition of "evil" is that evil becomes what each individual thinks it is, and thus you get 6 billion versions of the definition, some radically different than others. That doesn't make for much in the way of sanity when a body like the UN tries to gather "international support" for things, which is why they're so ineffective against (or downright friendly with) obvious evils in the world, and so quick to denounce actions taken without their consent.

Fear of evil, or even speaking of evil, only makes you all the more susceptible to it. If you won't call it what it is, you may find yourself more readily adopting it than shunning it.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Well, the buried mortar shells in Iraq thought to contain a blister agent apparently did not, according to the Iraq Survey Group and the US Dept. of Energy, although "inspectors have found evidence of WMD-related programmes.".

Yup, as Neal Boortz's analogy goes, we've raided the home of a counterfeiter and found a high-tech printing press, special paper and inks, and engraving plates for $100 bills, but darn it no actually counterfeit money. Guess he's innocent after all.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Al Gore is giving a big speech in New York on global warming today, right in the middle of record-setting cold temperatures in the northeast.
Accuweather is predicting the temperature will reach a high of a bone-rattling 14 degrees this morning - accompanied by snow and high winds - while Gore blasts the Bush administration's policy on global warming.

However, the folks from, the extremely far-left organization that appears to be taking over the Democrat party, gave a telling quote:
"We don't control the environment," said Lisa Sabori, a public-relations official for, the group sponsoring the event.

She was referring to the weather on the day of the event, but I daresay it's just as true about the weather in general. With all the mixed messages both science and the earth itself is giving us, we shouldn't be making policy based on it.
"Maybe [the speech] won't apply in New York right now, but Vice President Gore will be highlighting the effects of global warming in different parts of the world," Sabori added.

So "global warming" may not be global, and it looks like it may not be warming.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

In responding to questions about the criticism from Paul O'Neill,
"The stated policy of my administration towards Saddam Hussein was very clear. Like the previous administration, we were for regime change," Bush said.

Are the Bush haters listening? "Like the previous administration" means Clinton, thus again any criticism of Bush must include criticism of Clinton, except that when Bush said it, he meant it. Somehow to the Bush haters, meaning what you say is somehow a liability.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Will Cynthia "Bush knew about 9/11 before it happened" McKinney try to regain her U.S. House seat? Looks like it.
Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, ousted from office in a hostile 2002 Democratic primary, wants a rematch against the woman who beat her: U.S. Rep. Denise Majette (D-Ga.).

On Sunday, McKinney's father, Billy McKinney, a former state representative, confirmed his daughter's planned entry into the 2004 4th District Democratic Party primary.

There had been talk about her running as a Green Party candidate.
The outspoken former congresswoman had been courted by the Green Party to run for president, but she issued a statement Saturday turning down the third-party invitation to run.

"I have received words of encouragement from every corner of this country and from Green Party supporters beyond our shores," McKinney said in a letter to the Greens. "But in the end, a national campaign is not in the cards for me at this time."

Billy McKinney said running on the Green Party national ticket "was just too way out for Cynthia."

Y'know, if the Green Party is "too way out" even for McKinney, that really doesn't speak well for them.

Are Americans any safer since the capture of Saddam Hussein?
BAGHDAD — Attacks against coalition forces in Iraq have dropped 22% in the four weeks since Saddam Hussein's capture, military records show.

Howard Dean, time to recant yet another statement of yours.

Global Warming update: It was cold enough in Vermont to break records set in 1875. In fact records have been broken all around the northeast U.S.

I credit the Kyoto Protocol.

OK, after all the early reports of WMDs in Iraq turned out to be "fog of war" stories, I waited a bit before commenting on the chemical weapons found in Iraq recently. But preliminary lab tests have been done on them, and they do believe these shells contained "liquid blister agents".

First, can we stop with all the "Where are the WMDs?" questions? Here are a few, buried in the sand, and finding stuff like this buried amongst the huge amount of sand in Iraq is going to take time (if it isn't already in Syria).

Second, the first words in this article are "Danish and Icelandic troops". Odd words for a "unilateral" war, eh?

The Paul O'Neill revelations are becoming less so as hours pass. Instapundit this morning notes this item from The American Spectator:
What former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and other Bush administration blabbermouths failed to mention when leaking NSC documents and the like for the forthcoming book O'Neill worked on, is that the Clinton administration had many of the same documents prepared laying out plans for a Iraq post-invasion Iraq.

It goes on to say that the first George Bush prepared a lot of that for Clinton, so it's just been passed down from administration to administration. If you're going to "accuse" Dubya of having an Iraq war plan, you have to "accuse" Clinton as well, just like accusations of having 9/11 intelligence before the fact.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Ted Kennedy LIED (by the standards of his own party)! He said that the war in Iraq was cooked up in the ranch at Crawford, Texas, but now Paul O'Neill's book is revealing that Bush had started working on that plan far earlier than that:
“From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O’Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic "A" 10 days after the inauguration - eight months before Sept. 11.

So how can we believe anything coming out of Ted Kennedy's mouth anymore?

More on this later.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Not that it should need to be restated, but there are still those who keep asking Bush where Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are, so let's make the suggestion again: Ask Clinton.
Former US president Bill Clinton said in October during a visit to Portugal that he was convinced Iraq had weapons of mass destruction up until the fall of Saddam Hussein, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso said.

Emphasis mine. Clinton didn't just say it in the mid 90's. He's still saying it. Just so you know.

UPDATE: Just noticed that Instapundit has picked this up as well, and his opening line hits the nail on the head: "This seems like a blow to the 'Bush lied' crowd". Except it won't be, of course. We've know that many in the Clinton administration said this for years, but that hasn't given the Bush haters a reality check yet.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Looking through this week's Carnival of the Vanities, I came across this gem at The Smallest Minority. The question for either side of the gun control debate is "Who don't you trust?"

What liberal media? How about a media that gives almost twice as much time to the field of current Democrats than they did to the field of Republicans in 1999? How about a media that asks most of their questions from a liberal perspective, as much as almost 7 times more often? What about that liberal media?

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I've got an entry in this week's Carnival of the Vanities, but there's a whole lot more there worth reading.

(Carnival is run weekly on different blogs, and is a conglomeration of blog posts submitted by their authors. It's a way to get noticed, which is, after all, one of the main results we like to get from a blog, eh? It was started by Silflay Hraka.)

Gov. Schwarzenegger's State of the State speech needs to be incorporated into Bush's State of the Union address. Some of my favorite parts:
When individuals overspend themselves into trouble, financial counselors often tell them to consolidate their credit card balances so they can work their way out of trouble – and also tear up their credit cards.

For California, this is referring to Arnold's "California Recovery Plan"; rolling debt into a single bond, and passing a balanced budget amendment. The federal government desperately needs such a law.
These huge budget deficits are aftershocks of past financial recklessness.

What happened is this.

Over the last five years, the state's income has increased 25 percent, but spending increased by 43 percent. This was irresponsible.

The fact of the matter is that we do not have a tax crisis; we do not have a budget crisis; we have a spending crisis.

We cannot tax our way out of this problem. More taxes will destroy what we are trying to save which is jobs and revenue.

Democrats (and the mainstream press), are you listening? This is exactly the same problem Washington's having. No one (of you) ever talks about cutting spending, only about the taxation level. Look at both sides of the equation, will you?
We must make better use of the money that we spend on our schools.

My proposal gets more money into the classroom and thus increases per-pupil funding.

First, we must give local schools the power to meet the specific needs of their own communities.

We can do this by consolidating $2 billion of categorical programs and cutting the strings to Sacramento.

This will give schools the freedom to spend the money as they – not Sacramento – best see fit to serve the children.

Second, school districts are forced to spend an average of 10 to 40 percent more than necessary on non-classroom services.

We must give local schools the freedom to be more cost efficient.

Local solutions to local problems, what a concept! If it's good for California, certainly it should be good for Washington, D.C. Conservatives have been preaching this for a good long time. Not only does it mean better solutions, but less cost as well.
We cannot afford waste and fraud in any department or agency.

Every governor proposes moving boxes around to reorganize government.

I don't want to move the boxes around; I want to blow them up.

An apt analogy for the Terminator.
The executive branch of this government is a mastodon frozen in time and about as responsive.

This is not the fault of our public servants but of the system.

We have multiple departments with overlapping responsibilities. I say consolidate them.

We have boards and commissions that serve no pressing public need. I say abolish them.

We have a state purchasing program that is archaic and expensive. I say modernize it.

I plan a total review of government – its performance, its practices, its cost.

Al Gore's "Reinventing Government" bit was supposed to do this at the federal level. All he did was rearrange it. Hopefully, Arnold will do better in California, and if he does, I hope Bush will take notice.

Best laugh line:
I am a salesman by nature. And now most of my energies will go into selling California. If you can sell, if I can sell tickets to my movies like "Red Sonja" or "Last Action Hero," you know I can sell just about anything. California is the easiest sell I've ever had.

Go get 'em, Ahnold.

Nope, I just don't buy it. Bush's plan to pardon felons (read: grant legal status to illegal immigrants) if they get a job just doesn't go over well with me. And explanations from the administration aren't convincing me.
"We believe that this is an attractive program which will reduce the number of illegals here," said one official who briefed reporters in a conference call.

Well sure it will, just like pardoning all thieves will reduce the number of thieves on the books. That doesn't make what they did any better. Sorry, but all this does is cheapen the effort of those who immigrate legally, and poke more holes into our already porous borders.

This is political pandering, no doubt about it:
Bush's re-election team would like to increase Hispanic support for a second term for the president, particularly in states where they could tip the balance in his favor, such as Florida and California.

Hispanic organizations said it was about time Bush addressed the issue after campaigning in 2000 for immigration reform.

Please note that conservatives are calling a spade a spade:
Conservatives were worried. Rep. Thomas Tancredo, a Colorado Republican who leads the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, a group of 70 legislators that argues for more restrictions, said an amnesty of any kind was a "step backwards."

I just wish Democrats would be as honest about things like their motor-votor plan, or like when Gray Davis wanted to give legal drivers licenses to illegal aliens. Again, it's conservatives that'll be honest about this when their guy does it, while liberals will simply rally around theirs (Clinton's impeachment-worthy lying being the penultimate example).

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

To all the naysayers who "naysaid" that the war in Iraq would destabilize the region, here's a bit of news that would refute that:
(MENAFN) Almost all stock markets in the Arab world ended 2003 on a positive note. The Kuwait Stock Exchange, the best performing Arab stock market in 2003, closed the week on Wednesday up 1.68 percent to 4,790.20 points. The KSE closed the year up 101.6 percent.

The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) closed up 1.53 percent at 4,432.51 points. TASI, the largest in the Arab world in terms of capitalization, was also up a whopping 75.6 percent for the year. Oman's MSM gained 0.6 percent to close at 274.13 points, while NBAD was also up 0.6 percent to close at 4,501.90 points. Bahrain's BSE was up 0.5 percent on the week to close at 2,346.29 points.

To naysayers, just say "Nay".

In 2003, Chicago has the most number of murders of any city in the nation. How can this be, when Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation? Alan Gottlieb of he Second Amendment Foundation has some observations:
Gottlieb called it "remarkable" that Chicago, New York and Los Angeles have some of the nation's strictest gun laws, but even so, they still lead the nation when it comes to the number of homicides.

Gottlieb, in a press release, noted that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has made his "anti-gun philosophy" a cornerstone of his administration, to the detriment of the city.

He compared the situation in Chicago to that in Detroit, where the once-high murder rate has dropped to its lowest level in years.

"Two years ago," Gottlieb noted, "Michigan reformed its concealed carry law, and today, thousands of law-abiding citizens in Michigan are legally armed. Gosh, do you suppose there is any correlation?"

Ya' think?

When anti-war protestors have gone to Iraq, many times their minds have been changed (or opened). The experience of actually being there and better understanding the situation helps them see the error of supporting a murderous dictator. As I mentioned back in May, one protestor from "Voices in the Wilderness" wrote eloquently about his odyssey, and in March a former human shield related his own wake-up call, but there have be numerous others.

Now you can count members of Congress among those who's eyes have been opened once they see the fruits of Hussein:
In a development that has received little public attention, about a third the US Congress has been to Iraq since May - and the trips are shifting the political dynamic on Capitol Hill about the war.

Unlike during Vietnam, when congressional visits often fueled lawmakers' opposition to the war, these tours of Iraq are tending, if anything, to blunt antiwar sentiment. In many cases, they are solidifying support in Congress for the military effort.

It would be nice if folks wouldn't need such a shot of reality for reason to triumph in their mind, especially Congressmen who vote on policies and funding, but hey, if it works I say send 'em all over there.

And note, of course the phrase, "In a development that has received little public attention...". How would this come to the attention of the public? Who might be ignoring this story to instead portray Iraq as a quagmire? I hate to sound like a broken record (remember those things?) but the liberal media is indeed sounding like one themselves.

Monday, January 05, 2004

During my Christmas vacation, the terror alert level went from yellow to orange, prompting some folks to again complain that the system doesn't really help us, especially if we're just told to keep doing whatever we normally do anyway. My response would be; the terror alert system isn't for us.

By "us" I mean your average Joe/Joesephine living their daily lives, whatever that may entail. Directly, our lives are affected minimally, if at all, when the terror alert level changes. Schools don't change their schedules, we still go to work, malls are still open. They day-to-day events of life still go on.

Do you look with more suspicion at every person you pass on the street? Hopefully not. Do you cringe when you hear a plane fly overhead? Nah. So what's the point, then? If our lives don't directly change when the alert level does, why bother with it?

Because the terror alert system is for "them", and "they" indirectly affect our lives. By "them" I mean police departments, airport screeners, and anyone involved in public safety in one way or another. When the terror alert level changes, their lives do directly change. New procedures kick in and they have to become more vigilant.

But those new procedures and vigilance affect "us" indirectly. Take airport security. When the terror alert goes to orange, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport starts implementing heightened security precautions. That does affect our lives to one degree or another. What it means is that you have to plan your flying schedule around what the security precautions are going to be on a given day. How do you find out what the situation is? Well, you could call the airport, or just turn on your TV and see what the alert level is. Orange? Then you have to arrive 90 minutes before the flight. Yellow? You have a little more leeway.

So no, the terror alert system might not affect you directly, but that doesn't mean it's not useful. You may not need to know its status hour-by-hour, but when you do need to know if terrorist threats are going to affect your day, you can find out.

The short answer, then, is that the terror alert system isn't for "us", but it will certainly affect "us". And let's thank God for "them"; the folks keeping us safe, and are directly affected.

Friday, January 02, 2004

14,965. That's how many spam E-mails I received in 2003 on my work E-mail account. I'd collect them and delete them 1,000 at a time. Really a shame that such an advertising medium keeps going and going because just a few people actually respond to them. Just say "No" to spam. Even better, just completely ignore spam.

(This has been a public service announcement from "Considerettes".)

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy New Year! Well, perhaps not for those who enjoy using the (now officially oxymoronic) phrase "jobless recovery", or for those, like Mr. Robert Kuttner who thought that this whole Bush economy was tanking, even for the states, which it apparently is not.

But for the rest of you, who aren't fooled by dire predictions who's basis is purely in a partisan foundation of sand, nor by catch phrases that have no basis in reality, have a very Happy New Year. (The rest of you, get over it. >grin<)