"I wish they would only take me as I am" - Vincent Van Gogh               "How Can I believe in God when just last week I got my tounge caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?" - Woody Allen              "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake" - Henry David Thoreau              "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia" - Woody Allen            "When promulgating esoteric cogitations, eschew platitudinous ponderosities" - Mark Rowan, my father            "Up, sluggard, and waste not life, for in the grave there will be sleep enough" - Benjamin Franklin             "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." - Albert Einstein            "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence" - Ronald Reagan            "It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don't quite fully share the hell of someone close to you." - Lady Bird Johnson              "I still want to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup truck" - Howard Dean

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Venezuelan News on YouTube

RCTV, the Venezuelan TV station shut down by Dictator President Hugo Chavez is now being broadcast on YouTube.
Although the station is officially off the air, CNN's Harris Whitbeck said its news department continues to operate on reduced staffing, and the three daily hour-long installments of the newscast "El Observador" are uploaded onto YouTube by RCTV's Web department.

In addition, RCTV's Colombia-based affiliate, Caracol, has agreed to transmit the evening installment of "El Observador" over its international signal. The program, which will run at midnight, could reach about 800,000 people in Venezuela.

Although this is drastically reduced from RCTV's previous audience, its continued presence is a sign of hope for the staff.
So, how long will it take for Chavez to block YouTube from his country, and how long will it take for Colombia to shut down Caracol?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Netanyahu on the Iranian Threat

Shortly after 9/11 I read a book by Benjamin Netanyahu titled "Fighting Terrorism". Despite being copyrighted 6 years prior to the attacks of 9/11, Netanyahu made several stunningly accurate predictions about terrorism coming to the shores of America. Ever sine reading this book I have come to value his opinion very highly.

Netanyahu was recently interviewed in the Wall Street Journal regarding the growing threat of Iran. Personally, I do not envision Iran ever attacking the US. However, it is clear that they have worked against US interests and against our allies by supplying groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and by funding the insurgency in Iraq. Furthermore, Ahmedinejad's incendiary rhetoric about wiping Israel off the map is very concerning, and I imagine that Mr. Netanyahu takes this threat very seriously.

What Netanyahu has proposed, and is currently lobbying for, is economic sanctions against Iran. Admittedly, in the past I thought that this would be a futile effort. However, Mr. Netanyahu makes a strong case for this proposal, that further economic strife could lead to decreased support for Ahmedinejad.
Mr. Netanyahu proposes a third way. The Iranian regime, he argues, is economically vulnerable. He is in America to urge state and local pension funds to divest from foreign companies that do business in Iran (U.S. law already keeps American firms out).

"This could be very effective... because Iran is in desperate need of new investments for its sagging oil industry. It's curtailed its oil production by 7%, I think, in each of the last three years. It's running unemployment to a rate of close to 20%, and Ahmadinejad is continuously being criticized from rivals within the regime and outside the regime for failing to deliver on economic problems."

Divestment "could stop Iran dead in its tracks," Mr. Netanyahu argues.
This is a very intriguing possibility, as it has the potential to avoid any military confrontation with Iran--either by the US or Israel. Several states have already passed legislation to divest, and California may join the ranks. "The big prize, of course, is California, whose $247 billion pension fund is the nation's biggest."

California State Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R - San Diego) has proposed legislation (AB 221) which would divest from Iran. So far it has been received with bipartisan support, and I hope this continues as it leaves committee and reaches the Assembly floor.

Cross Posted at

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fred Thompson: Did I Miss Something?

There is so much buzz about Fred Thompson and his possible 2008 run. Prior to a few months ago, I had never really heard anyone talk about him as a political figure, and knew virtually no one who was passionate about him. So, I'm curious about where all the buzz has come from. What is it about this man that has so many people so motivated?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

You connect the dots

This week, ABC news reported that President Bush had authorized covert intelligence operation in Iran.

Today, they are reporting that Iran has uncovered US spy networks. You connect the dots

unFair to Innovation

Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) has introduced legislation that would require that online and catalog purchases be subject to a sales tax. Called the "Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act", the legislation would create a uniform tax rate that online and catalog retailers would be required to collect and dispense to the government. Personally, I'm disappointed that a Republican would support such legislation, and with Democrats in control of the Congress it's very likely that this will become law.

From my reading, the bill will serve two primary purposes. The first generally is to promote "fairness". The second is, in my opinion, for the sole purpose of increasing goverment revenue.

Regarding the so-called "fairness", I would hardly consider this legislation "fair". In fact, I would consider this proposition somewhat unfair to those who have invested in technology and have used innovation to create success--the very principals that have made America the economic leader of the world. The internet brought about great wealth and prosperity for America in the 90s as many people utilized new technology to fill new markets. I think the government should maintain policies that encourage these types of pursuits rather than stifling them. In effect, this legislation would harm those who have innovated, all in the name of government income.

In support of his legislation, Sen. Enzi states, on his website, that if "electronic commerce continues to grow as predicted, other taxes, such as income or property taxes, will have to be increased to offset the lost revenue to state and local governments." I have difficulty believing this statement, considering last month the IRS realized record tax income concomitant with decreased taxation!
So far this year, tax revenues total $1.505 trillion, an increase of 11.2 percent over the same period last year. That figure includes $383.6 billion collected in April, the largest monthly tax collection on record
Time and time again we see decreased taxation leading to economic prosperity. As a Republican I would expect Sen. Enzi to understand this.

Cross Posted at

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

22 Members of California State Senate Haven't Read the Constitution

This would appear to be the case after hearing that 22 Senators Voted to approve SB 37, an interstate compact that would allocate all of California's electoral votes to the winner of the national popular Vote. Voting was strictly along party lines, with Democrats supporting the legislation.

I have written about this several times before, expressing my concerns over this type of legislation. First and foremost is the fact that this is expressly unconstitutional. Article I, section 10 of the constitution states that no State shall enter into a compact with any other State without Congressional consent. I know of no such congressional consent, to date.

Yet, constitutionality aside, this is a bad direction for the country, and represents the willingness of California's Democrats to sacrifice State powers in favor of federalization. The Electoral College provides a crucial balance between the popular vote and the interests of each State. The electors reflect the popular vote, but also provides a means to take the interests of individual States into account--much the same way the Congress combines popular will (the House) and State will (the Senate).

Senator Migden, who authored the bill, stated in a press release that
It is astounding to me that the world’s greatest democracy does not directly elect the President by a vote of the people. A national popular vote for President will, for the first time, make every vote equal. A vote in California will be as sought after as a vote in Ohio or Florida. That is not currently the case.
Of course, we are not a democracy, rather a constitutional republic. We do not directly vote on every bill, we elect people to vote for us. Thus, a popular vote would be inconsistent with the rest of our government. Furthermore, our votes are never equal. Wyoming has about 1/70th the population of California, yet has the same number of Senators. According to the logic of Democrats in the California Senate, we should also do away with the United States Senate (and the California Senate, for that matter).

I will admit that many people do not understand why we have an electoral college, so the prospect of a popular vote may be appealing. I would, however, expect a better understanding from a State Senator. It is my opinion that each State maintain a certain level of sovereignty and autonomy. The trend to federalize every issue has eroded this view from people's minds. People now consider States little more than regions within the country. Yet, each State represents a unique entity, responsible for self-government. These 50 States are bound together to form the United States.

From the most fundamental levels, this is bad legislation. Unfortunately, virtually every Senate Democrat is willing to support this, against the constitution, against the interests of the States, and against common sense.

Cross Posted at

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Sen. Migden's Road Rage

Yesterday the SF Chronicle reported on the California Highway Patrol's investigation into a recent traffic accident involving Senator Carol Migden (D-San Francisco). The Senator was involved in a rear-end collision on Friday, when she allegedly reached for her ringing cell-phone and did not see the car slowing ahead of her. However, there appears to be more to the story. Though the accident took place in Fairfield, several motorists over 30 miles phoned in to report her erratic driving, including running one man off the road, and hitting a median on Interstate 80.
More than half a dozen motorists made emergency calls about Migden's erratic driving before the Friday accident, the CHP said. The rear-end collision in Fairfield, midway between San Francisco and Sacramento, injured a woman and her 3-year-old daughter, who were sent to the emergency room.
In her statement to police, Migden said "she did feel she brushed up against something," Williford said, although there is no mention of that in the public statement released Friday by the senator's office
Why did Sen. Migden choose not to include this information in the statement to the public? If she did run into something, not only does she have a responsibility to inform the public of it, why didn't she act like a responsible citizen and stop to see what she hit?
In a statement released by her office last week, the San Francisco Democrat said the accident happened after she took her eyes off the road while reaching for a ringing cell phone.
Last year, Migden voted for a law that takes effect in July 2008 requiring drivers to use a headset or other hands-free device when talking on a cell phone while driving.

This is a disgrace. This is just another case of a politician saying one thing, and doing the complete opposite. What is worse is that the San Francisco Democrat is going to have taxpayers pay the bill for her dangerous and destructive driving.
Because Migden said she was on state business at the time, insurance paid for by California's taxpayers will cover damages and any other costs, said Senate spokeswoman Alicia Trost. Had Migden been on her own time, her personal insurance would apply, Trost said.
If you think this is an abuse of taxpayer dollars, I urge you to contact her, as I have done.
Capitol Office
State Capitol, Room 5114
Sacramento, CA 95814
Marin/San Rafael District Office
Marin Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 425
San Rafael, CA 94903
San Francisco District Office
455 Golden Gate Ave
Suite 14800
San Francisco, CA 94102

Monday, May 21, 2007

Romney on Amnesty

One of the issues upon which my support for Governor Mitt Romney's presidential bid is his stance on immigration. Like myself, Romney has proposed an increase in the allowance of legal immigration, coupled with a strong stance against illegal immigration. He had this to say on the recent amnesty legislation:
Boston, MA - Governor Mitt Romney issued the following statement on today's U.S. Senate agreement on immigration reform:

"I strongly oppose today's bill going through the Senate. It is the wrong approach. Any legislation that allows illegal immigrants to stay in the country indefinitely, as the new 'Z-Visa' does, is a form of amnesty. That is unfair to the millions of people who have applied to legally immigrate to the U.S.

"Today's Senate agreement falls short of the actions needed to both solve our country's illegal immigration problem and also strengthen our legal immigration system. Border security and a reliable employment verification system must be our first priority."


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Is the GOP Fed Up?

That's the question Jim Gereghty is asking today.
Michael Moore ought to be a national punchline, and the Democrats ought to be still paying for having him in Carter's box at the convention. Rosie O'Donnell's talking 9/11 conspiracy theories, and the networks are falling all over themselves to sign her up long-term. Nancy Pelosi's refusing to meet with President Bush after practically snuggling Bashir Assad. The Daily Kos moonbat crap has infected the culture at large, and the Democrats' ambition vastly outweighs their sense of decenc

I think he's right. The general mood amongst Democrats is that America, Republicans, and apparently Mormons are evil. These are attitudes that fly directly in the face of what built this great country, and Republicans are tired of it.

I've long wondered why Republicans don't stand up and be fight for some respect--or at least decency. Mitt Romney was asked by Mike Wallace when he and his wife first had sex! This is ridiculous, and if I were in his shoes I would say "That's none of your damn business, Mike," and the interview would be over then and there. Instead, he laughed it off.
The GOP base is a bit like the Dem base in 2003; we want a fighter. “Michael Moore, go **** yourself” isn't exactly the inspiring rhetoric we'd like to leave in the history books, but I think it accurately represents the attitudes of the GOP base right now. I mean, really, Al Sharpton is bellowing that Mormons [or Republicans] don’t believe in God? Sharpton’s demagoguery got somebody burned to death! Why is this man taken seriously?

We go into Kosovo to save Muslims, and nobody remembers. We go into Afghanistan and free a people from the Taliban’s barbarism, and nobody gives America credit. We go into Iraq to topple a dictator, and the world thinks we’re worse than he was. We’re the first one on the scene when a tsunami levels the other half of the world and everybody still thinks we’re the bad guys. There might have been a time when the Republican base was willing to hear out someone’s thoughtful criticism of American policy, but right now, they’re sick of it
This is spot on. The vast majority of Republicans are fed up with the bile we are being fed by the media and by people like Rosie and Michael Moore. That's why when we see someone like Mitt Romney take on Al Sharpton, or Fred Thompson take on Michael Moore, it warms our hearts. We want to see a candidate who will demand some respect and decency from a party that seems to have lost both.

Do Obama and Clinton Have no Convictions?

A year ago today I thought that the worst possible thing that could happen in 2008 was to see Hillary Clinton elected. Her support of socialized medicine, her seeming tendency to engage in unscrupulous acts (whitewater, stealing from the white house, etc..), her opportunistic nature, they way her opinion is base on political expedience not moral conviction. These factors formed the basis of my opposition to her, recognizing that she was not capable of leading the country, and not capable of providing any useful ideas to help America. Unfortunately now I recognize that the election of Barack Obama would be just as bad, if not worse.

Today, Senator, and Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama chose to vote in support of cutting off funds for our troops in harms way, not because he thought it was the right thing to do, but rather to send a message. In a statement issued yesterday, the opportunistic candidate said he would vote for a bill to cut off funding,
not because I believe either is the best answer, but because I want to send a strong statement to the Iraqi government, the president and my Republican colleagues that it's long past time to change course.
Fortunately, the bill did not pass, falling with a vote of 67-29 against, though Senators Obama and Clinton were amongst it's supporters.

I think it is disgraceful that anyone, let alone a man who wants to be our chief executive and commander in chief, would choose to dishonor our military, and issue such a vote only for political gain. If Mr. Obama does not support this bill, he should not vote for it. If they do not support this bill, then they should stop playing political games, stop speaking ill of the situation, and step up to help us win this war.

The actions of these two "honorable" Senators only demonstrate a willingness to exploit our troops for personal political gain--a trait I certainly hope never makes it to the oval office.

Cross-Posted at

Monday, May 14, 2007

Stephanopoulos: Racists are Republicans

On Sunday's episode of This Week, George Stephanopoulos stated that "anyone who's not going to vote for Barack Obama because he is black isn't going to vote for a Democrat anyway". These are strong words, implying that no democrats are racists, and that only Republicans would deny votes based upon race. This echoes a very similar statement made by Obama himself, who said "Are some voters not going to vote for me because I’m African-American? Those are the same voters who probably wouldn’t vote for me because of my politics". As I discussed before, this implies that all racists are Republicans, and in turn that Republicans are racist in nature. While it is true that there are racist Republicans, there are also racist Democrats (one is a Senator), racist Independents, racist Green party members.

Suffice it to say that I have plenty of reasons not to vote for Obama, and none of them are the color of his skin. Rather, it is his stance on many issues: abortion on demand, minimum wage increases, Socialized health care, increased taxes, and abandoning Iraq, among others.

Furthermore, as I mentioned last week, "white-flight" is more pronounced amongst Democrats than Republicans.
White Republicans nationally are 25 percentage points more likely on average to vote for the Democratic senatorial candidate when the GOP hopeful is black
But racially motivated crossover voting is not just a Republican phenomenon. Democrats also desert their party when its candidate is black, Washington found. In House races, white Democrats are 38 percentage points less likely to vote Democratic if their candidate is black
While it may score some political points for Obama and Stephanopoulos to make such assertions about Republicans being racists, the facts tell a different story. From my perspective, race and religion are only issues insofar as people allow them to be, and it's a shame that so many people - Obama included - choose to make this an issue.

Cross Posted at

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bartlett's Misguided support of Hillary

In two recent articles for the National Review, Bruce Bartlett recommended that conservatives pledge their support for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming primaries. His rationale is that the Republicans do not stand a chance in the 2008 election, and conservatives should thus focus on ensuring that the most conservative Democrat receive the Democratic nomination. "To right-wingers willing to look beneath what probably sounds to them like the same identical views of the Democratic candidates, it is pretty clear that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative", he says. Saying that "Hillary Clinton is the most conservative" is like saying that Cindy Sheehan is the most attractive amongst herself, Helen Thomas, and Madeleine Albright.

In principle I would not necessarily disagree with his stance. It may be wiser to promote the most liberal democrat, in hopes that this would dissuade moderates towards the Republican candidate in the general election. However, such tactics are only relevant if you believe that the election has already been won by the Democrats. I do not believe this is the case.

While Democrats do have a great deal of momentum, and while the Republicans are "on the ropes", to a certain degree, the two primary Democratic candidates have severe disadvantages: Hillary is a woman and Obama is black. Traditionally women do not vote for women, and "white flight" is a very major factor for black Democrat candidates.
Democrats...desert their party when its candidate is black... In House races, white Democrats are 38 percentage points less likely to vote Democratic if their candidate is black
If Obama were to get the Democratic nod, it could mean a great flight of white Democrats towards a white Republican candidate.

Bartlett goes on to state,
Republicans should remember that they just barely won the White House in 2000 and 2004 against very poor Democratic candidates and with the party strongly united behind George W. Bush. I just don’t see that happening again next year.

The Republicans are not going to be as united, and it is almost a certainty that the Democrats will run a better campaign in 2008. I think all three of the Democrats within striking distance of the nomination will be better candidates than Al Gore or John Kerry
. In 2000 Republicans were hardly united behind George Bush. John McCain had a great deal of support in the primaries. Nonetheless, Bush managed to beat the incumbent Vice President. In 2004 Bush beat Kerry despite a fairly weak approval rating. There is no reason to conclude that the 2008 Republican nominee will experience less support than Bush has had in either 2000 or 2004. The nominee will likely experience greater support.

Frankly, Bartlett is wrong on throwing in the towel. With well over a year before the election it is simply too soon to make any predictions, and certainly too soon to give up on those candidates who will continue to fight the war on terror.

Cross Posted at California Conservative

Friday, May 04, 2007

Best Answer of the night: Guiliani

Unfortunately I was unable to watch the GOP debate last night. I was really interested in learning more about the second tier candidates (Huckabee, Hunter, Thompson), as well as seeing Romney, McCain, and Giuliani go head-to-head-to-head. However, there has been extensive radio/television/print coverage of the event for me to peruse.

What seems to be the major highlight of the night is that Giuliani broke from the pack when it came to abortion. While the other nine candidates said they would like the Supreme Court to overturn Roe V. Wade, Giuliani did not. Most media outlets are saying that he simply supported the right-to-choose, but this is not the whole story. While it is somewhat disappointing that he does not have strong political convictions (despite his apparent personal convictions) against abortion, what I find to be more important is what he said about states' rights.
I believe that the Hyde amendment should remain the law. States should make their decision. Some states decide to do it, most states decide not to do it. And I think that's the appropriate way to have this decided.
The importance of states' rights seems to be lost amongst modern conservatives, though it remains very important to me. It represents the decision to maintain control at local levels rather than a big national behemoth government.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Blame the Republicans

I'm flabbergasted. Not long ago I posted about Senator Feinstein's Ethics Scandal over at California Conservative. Texas Rainmaker is blogging about it, too.

In short, Feinstein was the head of the Military Construction appropriations committee. In that position she received information that told her what contracts her husbands company was pursuing. Over the course of her tenure she voted to send billions of dollars to her husband's company, greatly enriching herself in the process.

In following up on the story, I came across this message board, linking to my original California Conservative post. Take a look at the screen shot below, and take special note of the first comment.
You need to remember just one tiny little thing - regardless of whether or not Feinstein has done anything wrong -

The REPUBLICANS were in control of Congress for twelve years - that would be 1994 to 2006.

That means that if ANYONE was allowing Feinstein to "maneuver, act with impunity", it was the Republicans because they had the majority and they had 10 years to do something about any improper activity on her part.

But they didn't, did they? Maybe she was doing some "pilfering" WITH some Republicans. That might explain why the Republicans never did anything about it.

So, according to bubba2, Feinstein using insider information to steer billions of dollars in military appropriations towards her husband's company is the fault of Republicans? At all costs, no matter the circumstances, blame the republicans. I suppose it is this type of blind support from her constituents that has allowed her to do this.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Oakland Immigration Rally

Working in Downtown Oakland today, I had a front row seat to the "immigration" rally that took place at the Federal building. Much like last year's rallies, it was predominantly a pro-illegal demonstration, with demonstrators carrying mexican flags, and signs decreeing such things as "Amnesty NOW", "Stop the ICE raids", and "Today we walk, tomorrow we vote". About half the signs were in spanish, and most of the chants were too.

Mexican flags were abundant during the rally
I only had my Sony Clie to snap photos, so I will have to upload them later.
**UPDATE** New pictures uploaded

This speaks for itself

This sign reads "Amnistia Ahora" in large print. In small print at the bottom (difficult to read) is "International Socialist Org". Happy May Day

More Mexican Flags....they were everywhere.