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Sunday, August 31, 2003
Speaking of Kerry

By Steven Taylor @ 9:16 pm

Back to Kerry and his MTP interview today. Did anyone else notice that he is now trying the “angry” thing? Indeed, he noted that he was “angry” at the Bush adminstration (feeling a little pressure from angryman Dean?). And his claim that the reason that he is running is because he is angry at the President’s execution of the war comes across as disingenuous at best, as he was clearly running well before it was clear how the war and post-war period was going to play out.

And I love this sort of thing (Dean made a similar claim a while back):

When challenged by moderator Tim Russert on the incompatibility of funding new programs in the face of a still-spiraling deficit, Kerry was upbeat.

Im going to cut the deficit in half in the first four years, he said. Im going to do exactly what Bill Clinton did. And if you liked the economy under Bill Clinton, America, youre going to love it under John Kerry.

Again, I ask, what exactly did Clinton do to make the economy grow? Answer: be President during a boom. If it was that easy to make the economy grow, won’t all presidents make sure that the economy grew?


Kerry launches his bid for the White House amid numbers from one new poll that gives him the support of 5 percent of registered Democrats. Most voters havent started paying attention to the Democratic presidential race, according to the CBS News poll released over the Labor Day weekend the campaigns traditional starting point.

Although, granted it is still early. Although I must admit, these numbers are amazing to me:

Two-thirds of voters including two-thirds of Democrats were unable to name any of the Democratic candidates for president, said the poll, released Sunday.

Further, they are a great reminder of how most of the country pays radically less attention to politics than do we political junkies.

Source: Kerry takes aim at Bush, challengers

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Will on Clark

By Steven Taylor @ 8:43 pm

Since it seems to be General Clark week here at PoliBlog, the following excerpt from George Will’s column today, George Will: Wesley Clark isn’t Dean savior, is worth a look:

Other Democrats see Clark as a solution to a problem their party has had since the McGovernite takeover in 1972, the problem of voters’ doubts about its competence regarding national security. But the fact that Clark is the kind of military man who appeals to Democrats - and that they appeal to him - helps explain why the party has that problem.

Comparisons of Clark to Dwight Eisenhower are ludicrous. Eisenhower, as well-prepared as any president for the challenges of his era, had spent three years immersed in the political complexities of coalition warfare, dealing with Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, de Gaulle and others. Clark’s claim to presidential stature derives from directing NATO’s 78 days of war at 15,000 feet over Serbia. It was the liberals’ dream war: tenuously related to U.S. security, its overriding aim, to which much was sacrificed, was to have zero U.S. fatalities.

As Clark crisscrosses the country listening for a clamor for him (“I expect to have my decision made by Sept. 19,'’ when he visits Iowa-feel the suspense), he compounds the confusion that began when he said (June 15, 2003) that on 9/11 “I got a call at my home'’ saying that when he was to appear on CNN, “You’ve got to say this is connected'’ to Iraq. “It came from the White House, it came from people around the White House. It came from all over.'’ But who exactly called Clark?

July 1: “A fellow in Canada who is part of a Middle Eastern think tank.'’ There is no such Canadian institution. Anyway, who “from the White House'’? “I’m not going to go into those sources. … People told me things in confidence that I don’t have any right to betray.'’

July 18: “No one from the White House asked me to link Saddam Hussein to Sept. 11.'’

Aug. 25: It came from “a Middle East think tank in Canada, the man who’s the brother of a very close friend of mine in Belgium. He’s very well connected to Israeli intelligence. … I haven’t changed my position. There’s no waffling on it. It’s just as clear as could be.'’

Now Clark darkly says there are “rumors” that in February “the White House” tried - well, “apparently” tried - “to get me knocked off CNN.'’ Clark still coyly refuses to say he is a Democrat but forthrightly confesses to being a “centrist.'’ As he prepares to heed the clamor for him to join the pursuit of Dean, he is earning the description National Review has given to Sen. Bob Graham: “a deranged moderate.'’

I was thinking of these quotes as well, when I posted about Clark’s chances the other day, but didn’t get into them. That kind of stuff makes one sound weird and paranoid. Not traits we tend to like in our presidents.

More important, however, Will is right about the Serbia campaign and the likelihood that it could easily translate into a claim to military genius and national security super-stardom for Clark.

A Dean-Clark ticket seems to me to be a decent possibility at this stage.

Will’s comments on Dean’s clear disdain for Bush in the first part of the column are worth a read as well.

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News of the Nine

By Steven Taylor @ 8:20 am

The NYT has a lengthy piece on the Democratic field today: Worried Democrats See Daunting ‘04 Hurdles

And hmm, where have we heard this before?

Associates of General Clark have said he has told them that he will probably join the race. But aides to most of the other candidates say he is too late to have a good shot, and they view him more as competing for a second spot on the ticket.

No doubt they say that because they are scared-or so some will argue. I will concede that there is no doubt that they would prefer to have no more candidates in this already crowded field.

However, it is noteworthy that while a lot of top Democrats are publically proclaiming their worry about who their nominee will be, and you don’t see them trying to draft Clark. This is telling.

And, I think that there is something to this:

One prominent Democrat said that while Mr. Bush was “eminently beatable,” the Democratic nominating process seemed nowhere near producing someone who could do the job. “The trouble in 2004 is not that Bush is going to be strong, but rather than we are going to be weak,” this official said.

I honestly think that the strength of the President going into the campaign is up in the air-especially since the economy appears to be going in the right direction. Further, a year is a long time. Still, I do think that it is quite true that the Democratic primary will not produce the most electable candidate.

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Yeah, Right

By Steven Taylor @ 8:06 am

Senator Kerry is on Meet the Press this morning and just said he’s not worried about the fact that Dean is up 21 points in NH. To which I say, “yeah. right.”

Now, I will say he is right to point out that it is early yet.

And Kerry will be officially announcing his presidential bid next week in South Carolina. First, I didn’t realize he had not yet announced, and second, it is interesting that he decided to make the announcement in SC, rather than at home.

Plus, as predicted, Dean is being attacked for no foreign policy experience-in this case by Kerry, rather than from the Reps.

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Saturday, August 30, 2003

By Steven Taylor @ 10:15 am

Mark Alexnder of the Federalist Society has an interesting column on the Moore situation.

I very much agree with the following:

Much of the public debate about this case has taken a wide detour around the substantive constitutional question, instead focusing on the Ten Commandments: Are they the foundation of Western law? Should they be displayed in state and local public places? Are such displays promotions of religion or history? While these are interesting questions, they are not relevant to the substance of this case.

Those content to reduce this case to a colloquy on the merits of the Ten Commandments either do not grasp the serious constitutional issue being contested, or they harbor a disingenuous motive to avoid the relevant. The latter group, well represented in the pop media, has framed this case as an insurrection led by a religious zealot and his gaggle of street preachers, thus depreciating its legal significance in order to avoid substantive and instructive discussion about our Constitution.

However, from there he goes on to make some problematic arguments, as his discussion of the 1st and 10th amendments, while interesting, leave out entirely the significance of the 14th amendment, not to mention established case law. Like it or not, agree with it or not, one cannot ignore these things.

Rather, Alexander’s argument, like one’s recently made by Alan Keyes on this topic, are predicated on the idea that we are still operating under the original federal structure that existed in the nineteenth century. We aren’t. Even if one thinks we arrived where we have wrongly, it doesn’t mitigate against the simple fact that we are where we are. Instead of taking into account the entire panoply of issues, Alexander and Keyes want to argue from their own idealized position of the way they want constitutional law to work, rather than what the reality on the ground is.

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No Love for Terry

By Steven Taylor @ 9:26 am

Robert Novak writes:

Recipients of recent money appeals by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have been puzzled by the absence of the customary signature of the party chairman, Terry McAuliffe.

Earlier DNC fund-raising letters this year were signed by former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. The latest appeal, which arrived in the mail last week, was signed by somebody whose name was new to many recipients: Josh Wachs, the DNC’s 31-year-old chief operating officer.

McAuliffe is so controversial with the Democratic rank-and-file, according to party sources, that his name may inhibit contributions. A Washington-based business speculator, McAuliffe was hand-picked for chairman by Bill and Hillary Clinton after the 2000 election, against the wishes of many DNC members.

An odd position for a DNC Chairman to be in, especially since one of McAuliffe’s fortes is supposed to be fundraising.

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Motherly Love

By Steven Taylor @ 9:17 am

It’s hard to believe that a mother who would order a male stripper for her daughter’s bachlorette party would act this way: Mom attacks daughter’s male stripper.

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Respect for Islam

By Steven Taylor @ 9:04 am

our good friend in al Qaeda: It would seem that the US military has more respect for Islam than do 4 With al-Qaida Ties Held in Iraq Blast

Iraqi police have arrested four al-Qaida-linked suspects in the bombing of Iraq’s holiest Shiite Muslim shrine, a senior police official told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The official, who said the explosion death toll had risen to 107, said the men two Iraqis and two Saudis were caught shortly after Friday’s car bombing.

The attack killed one of the most important Shiite clerics in Iraq, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, who had been cooperating with the American occupation force.

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More on Generals in Politics

By Steven Taylor @ 9:00 am

A comment by PoliBlogs resident Troll sparked some further thought on the issue of Generals seeking the presidency, specifically what would have been the likely fortunes of Colin Powell, had he sought his partys nomination in 1996 or 2000.

My most recent posts on Clark are here and here.

Powell would have had similar troubles with the Republican primary voters that Clark is likely to have with Democratic ones, while Clark is more moderate than the Democratic base, so, too, is Powell too moderate for the Republican base. If one doubts, consider that Powell is pro-choice, and pro-affirmative action, two non-starters with hardcore conservatives. Further evidence can be found in looking at the current dynamic in California, where it is likely that a large number of conservative Republicans would rather lose the governorship to Cruz Bustamante than to vote for the moderate Schwarzenegger. Additional evidence to support the contention can be easily found by observing some of the stinging criticism that Powell has received from conservative element in the Republican Party during his tenure at Secretary of State.

I do think that Powell would have fared somewhat better than I am predicting Clark will do should he enter. I think that in 1996 Powell would have had a real shot at besting Dole. For one thing, Dole was not (to say the least) a very exciting candidate, and Republicans where quite interesting in beating Clinton (and yes, Democratic voters are quite interested in besting Bush, but 2004 has Dean, 1996 had Dole-in terms of energizing voters, two rather different candidates). I think it is possible, precisely how likely is hard to judge, that there would have been enough conservatives willing to vote for Powell in 1996 for the nomination that he might have beaten Dole.

2000 is more complex. First there would have been the McCain factor-a lot of Powell-likely Republicans would also have been McCain voters. This would have split the opposition to Bush. Further, Bush was a very popular candidate with a large percentage of the Republican base. Still, it would have been more of a fight than I am predicting for Clark.

Aside from scenario-specific issues (i.e., who the other candidates are, and the timing problem Clark will have), there are two important differences between Powell and Clark that both favor Powell. The first is found in their political careers and how that translates to politics. Powell had served in political positions before, when he was Reagans National Security Advisor, but most especially as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the first Gulf War. His association with the Reagan administration was a plus with conservatives, and his high visibility in a successful, and highly televised war meant that he was a well-known figure nationally.

Indeed, Mr. Powell ranked highly in polls as a top admired Americans after his retirement in the early goings of the Clinton administration.

Clark, despite an impressive resume, and even with his exposure on CNN, simply does not have that kind of relationship with the public at large and was never the kind of public presence during his military career that Powell was. Quick! Whos the current Supreme Allied Commander Europe? Dont know? Me, neither, and that was the case for even the informed American public during most of Clarks tenure at that position. The conflicts in the Balkans raised his profile, but hardly to the degree that would come anywhere close to matching Powells during the Gulf War.

(Its General James L. Jones, Marine Corps, actually. The internet is a wonderful thing).

A second factor that highly worked in Powells favor was race. On the one hand, his race would result in some initial blunting of criticisms, given the delicate nature of racial politics in the US. Second, and in some ways more importantly, is the fact that many in the Republican Party might have been willing to overlook some of Powells moderateness to have the opportunity for the first black president to be a Republican. Such things are very difficult to measure, but I think it would have been a factor.

In terms of fanciful predictions well after the fact, I would say that Powell had a serious shot at the Republican nomination in 1996, but probably would have lost to Clinton in the election, and had a lesser shot at the nomination in 2000. He likely would have been competitive against Gore.

Powell shares a key characteristics with Clark, however, and that is that out of power partisans found (in Powells case) and find (in Clarks case) a semi-blank slate upon which to project their views. The problem with such blank slates, however, is that once the person in question starts filling in the blank spaces on their own, they inevitably disappoint someone.

Mr. Clark has had an impressive career and is, no doubt, a capable individual, but I stand by my analysis below-he wont fare well in the Democratic nomination process, and even if he managed, somehow, to be nominated his rookie-status in terms of national politics will put him at a disadvantage in running against a sitting president.

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Friday, August 29, 2003
Kerry Econ Plan

By Steven Taylor @ 3:42 pm

Ok, so Kerry Outlines Tax, Economic Proposals. But I have two key questions. One, if it is really all that easy for jobs to be created, can someone explain to me why any President wouldn’t create them like crazy? Second, if the deficit is the great monster of the day, how does Mr. Kerry propose to deal with it by maintaining a substantial part of the Bush tax cut and by promising new tax credits plus sending substantial aid to the states?

The highlights of the plan:

  • Repealing the tax cuts for those making over $200,000.
  • Payroll tax credits for companies that create jobs ahead of the the “normal pace".
  • Provide a “college opportunity tax credit” for the first $4,000 paid in tuition annually
  • Keep the middle-class oriented portions of the Bush plan.
  • Send $50 billion to the states over the next two years.

    Now, how is any of this going to guarantee new jobs?

    Of course, if Dean continues to lead Kerry in NH by 21 or more point, it will all be rather moot.

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    Golf Pledge of the Week

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:15 pm

    Next time I play, I will be smart out of the rough, and instead of trying to get it all at once, and as as result, hitting a horrible shot, I will play out to the fairway.

    I will, I will, I will.

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    • PoliBlog linked with Golf Pledge of the Week
    Slate Lets O’Reilly Speak

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:52 am

    Here’s an amusing, and telling, litany of quotation from Bill O’Reilly via Slate: Bill O’Reilly Wants You To Shut Up.

    They certainly help illustrate why he isn’t taken seriously in many quarters, and why I rarely watch his program. Indeed, if I do watch any of it, it the from channel-flipping, not from deliberately tuning in.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with More O'Reilly Blather
    Thursday, August 28, 2003
    Some People Never Learn

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:09 pm

    Rodney King sentenced to jail and treatment in DUI case

    Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by police officers sparked the Los Angeles riots of 1992, has been sentenced to drug treatment and jail for driving under the influence and reckless driving.


    Police said King raced through an intersection in Rialto at more than 100 mph on April 13 before losing control of his new SUV, striking a utility pole, crashing into a fence and hitting a house. King, 38, of Rialto, suffered a fractured pelvis and cracked ribs.

    Authorities said tests revealed he had a “significant amount” of the drug PCP in his system.


    He had several run-ins with the law in the years that followed and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and four years probation in 1999 for spousal abuse. In 2001 he pleaded no contest to indecent exposure and being under the influence of PCP and was sentenced to a year in a drug treatment center.

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    Another Comment on Clark

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:37 pm

    Comments in the post below on Clark raise the following that is worth considering as well: since the adoption of the current primary system for nominating presidential candidates (in 1972) there has been no political neophyte (defined as not holding prior elected office) able to capture a major party nomination:

    2000: Gov Bush v. VP Gore
    1996: Pres Clinton v. Sen Dole
    1992: Pres Bush v Gov Clinton
    1988: VP Bush v. Gov Dukakis
    1984: VP Mondale v. Pres Reagan
    1980: Pres Carter v. Gov Reagan
    1976: Pres Ford v. Gov Carter
    1972: Pres Nixon v. Sen McGovern

    and even before the modern primary system was established, you have to go back to 1952 (fifty years ago) and Dwight Eisenhower to find a political newcomer being nominated (and elected):

    1968: Sen McCarthy (brain fade) VP Humphrey v. VP Nixon
    1964: Pres Johnson v. Sen Goldwater
    1960: VP Nixon v. Sen Kennedy
    1956: Pres Eisenhower v. Gov Stevenson
    1952: General Eisenhower v. Gov Stevenson

    Now, before people say: “see! it was a GENERAL! It proves Clark has a significant shot!” let’s remember: being the victorious Supreme Commander of Allied Forces after World War II, and being a global hero, is a tad more impressive than being the commander of NATO who oversaw the Kosovo campaign. I am not denigrating General Clark’s career, but one has to admit, those are two rather different resumes.

    And one can keep going:

    1948: Pres Truman v. Gov. Dewey
    1944: Pres FDR v. Gov Dewey

    Then you get to 1940 and Republican nominee Wendell Wilkie, who was drafted from the business community to run against FDR. He lost.

    In 1936 and 1932 it was Gov’s v Presidents.

    In 1928 Herbert Hoover won the Presidency, despite not holding prior elected office, although he had served as Secretary of Commerce in both the Harding and Coolidge administrations and had other governmental service on his resume. He beat a Governor (Alfred Smith) in 1928, before being beaten by a Governor (FDR) in 1932.

    This historical pattern, amongst several key other reasons, is why I am of the informed opinion that Clark is a longshot at best. Ther is no denying that he has an impressive military career, but that simply isn’t enough.

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    Clark in the Wings

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:14 am

    If true, and barring some dramatic turn of events with Dean and Co., he won’t get in:

    Wesley K. Clark, the retired four-star general who has been contemplating a run for president, has told close friends that he wants to join the Democratic race and is delaying a final decision only until he feels he has a legitimate chance of winning the nomination.

    “It’s safe to say he wants to run,” said a longtime friend who has had frequent political conversations with General Clark. “But he approaches this like a military man. He wants to know, Can I win the battle? He doesn’t want to have a situation where he could embarrass himself, but I’m absolutely certain he wants to run.”

    Of course, a given potential candidate often sees his/her own chances differently than those on the outside. As I have argued before, his chances of winning the nomination are slim. And before I gets comments that say “you never know” and so forth, let’s look at some facts:

  • He has no natural consituency amongst Democratic primary voters.
  • He is waaaay behind in the money primary-how can he hope to catch up with Dean at this point, or compete with Kerry or Edwards who have personal fortunes to use, if need be?
  • He has not been battle-tested in the national spotlight. Yes, he was an analyst for CNN during the war (and provided a plethora of potential soundbite predicting the wrong outcomes early on), but he hasn’t been grilled on domestic policy issues at this point.
  • Much of the interest in him is predicated on the fact that no one knows much about him, and therefore can project whatever they want onto him.

    And, interesting:

    While General Clark has consistently maintained that he has not yet made up his mind, his friends said a major obstacle has been cleared family approval. They said his wife, Gert, who had initially expressed reservations, now favors his running.

    Source: General Is Said to Want to Join ‘04 Race

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:57 am

    There is a new collective, non-political blog in town, SportsBlog, to which I will be contributing (but haven’t yet, but, then again, I haven’t had much time the last day or so to put much up here).

    The project, which is still in its beta stage, more or less, was spearheded by Kevin Alyward of Wizbang! and Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind.

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    Wednesday, August 27, 2003
    Moore Profile

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:06 am

    CNN has an interesting profile of Roy Moore

    Something I didn’t know that surprised me:

    Moore moved to Texas where he trained as a full-contact karate fighter. He later spent several months in the Australian outback, wrangling wild cattle.

    Something I semi-knew that didn’t surprise me:

    He later served as a military policeman in Vietnam, where being a stickler for constant salutes and regulation haircuts in the midst of war almost made him a target of the men under him.

    “His policies damn near got him killed in Vietnam,” Barrey Hall, who served under Moore, told The Associated Press. “He was a strutter.”

    And, as you likely know, they moved monument.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Roy Moore: Almost Fragged
    #49 Has Left Spacedock

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:01 am

    The Carnival, installment #49, is at Creative Slips. The silver anniversary edition will at The Rhetorica Network, where your host will be Dr. Andrew Cline.

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    GeekBoy Post of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 am

    For those of you with interest in comics (and I know you’re out there-that fluffy post on the Hellblazer movie got more comments in a short period of time than practically any of my “serious” posts), there is an interesting little article in the NYT on Jack Kirby: Jack Kirby Heroes Thrive in Comic Books and Film

    My geeky observation is that while it is true that Kirby help create the X-Men, he didn’t create any of the ones cited in the piece: Storm, Colossus, Rogue or Wolverine. I mean, yeesh! Get with the program. But then again, it is the Times

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    By Steven Taylor @ 6:23 am

    Colombia’s leftist rebels unite |

    Just as momentum is building for President Alvaro Uribe’s push to end Colombia’s four-decade civil war, the country’s two main leftist rebel groups have renewed their efforts to stop him.

    The 17,000-member Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the 5,000-member National Liberation Army (ELN) publicly declared on Monday that they had joined forces in their war against the government. Until the declaration, the ELN was thought to be amenable to a possible peace deal.

    You’d think they’d grow weary of fighting a stalemate for forty years…

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    Tuesday, August 26, 2003
    Reminder: PoT #1

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:58 pm

    A reminder that entries for the Parade of Trolls #1 are due this Friday. Send me your best examples of the amusing, the annoying, and/or the perplexing, of Trollishness.

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    • Creative Slips linked with Carnival of the Vanities #49
    • Creative Slips linked with Carnival of the Vanities #49
    Econ News

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:03 pm

    The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index Rebounds in August

    The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, which had deteriorated last month, bounced back in August. The Index now stands at 81.3 (1985=100), up from 77.0 in July. The Expectations Index increased to 94.4 from 86.3. The Present Situation Index, however, declined to 61.6 from 63.0.

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    Texas Dems Can Come Home, For Now…

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:16 pm

    Lawmakers adjourn without redistricting bill

    The second special legislative session that stood at a standstill for 30 days after 11 Senate Democrats broke a quorum in their chamber by fleeing to Albuquerque, N.M., ended Tuesday without a new congressional redistricting plan.

    The fight over redistricting seemed far from over, however.

    Republican Gov. Rick Perry has indicated that he will call another session on the issue, but he has not said when it would start. Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst sent a warning to the Democrats.

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    Deficits on the Rise

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:58 pm

    Grist for the Dean mill: Estimate for ‘04 Deficit Is Increased to $480 Billion

    The federal government will run at a record $480 billion deficit in the next fiscal year, $5 billion more than the Bush administration had predicted, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said today. But the office saw the possibility of enormous deficits in the years ahead.

    On paper, at least, federal deficits could begin to decline after next year, the office said. But it said that under the most optimistic projections, they could total nearly $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years.

    But the $1.4 trillion does not take into account the cost of reconstruction in Iraq. And based on some changes that are highly probable- enactment of a prescription drug program under Medicare, for example - budget deficits could total $5 trillion over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said.

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    Numbers Game

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:50 am

    David Ignatius’ piece in today’s WaPo, Think Strategy, Not Numbers, is on target in this current debate over the number of troops. He points out that the issue less one of numbers, but of what kind of overall strategy is needed.

    Sending more troops always sounds like the right answer when the going gets tough on the battlefield. But as Vietnam showed, deploying a bigger, heavier force isn’t necessarily a wise choice. The large U.S. garrison, with all its attendant logistical needs, might simply reinforce the impression that it’s America’s war - making the enemy more aggressive, our local allies more passive and U.S. troops more vulnerable.

    Rather, he points to the need for special ops and counter-guerrilla techniques, and especially the involvement of locals.

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    Monday, August 25, 2003
    Campaign Fun in Alabama

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:08 pm

    This will only make sense to my fellow Axis of Weevil types, but I am doing some research on the current ad campaigns in Alabama from the groups oppossed to the Riley plan. One of the major funders of the main opposition TV ads is ALFA Mutual Insurance (i.e., the Alabama Farmers Association’s insurance company). They are one of the biggest interest groups in the state, and benefit from insanely low property tax rates. Yet, they have the gall to finance commercials that talk about how the Riley plan is only for “insiders"-like they are some grassroots organization.

    Of course, if you check out the anti-Riley site, there is no reference to ALFA to be found (or to the major paper companies who don’t want to pay fairer (and still quite low) property taxes).

    Amazing and hypocritical. And what is more frustrating is that there are plenty of voters who would benefit from the tax package with tax cuts (indeed, the vast majority of Alabamians would get tax cuts), but who think that the anti-Riley groups are looking out for the “little guy".

    Not to mention that the upshot of all of this is to help keep the state’s economy firmly in the 19th century.

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    With Friends Like These…

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:12 pm

    Mike Tyson Offers Empathy for NBA Star Kobe Bryant

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    By Steven Taylor @ 2:06 pm

    This is interesting, especially given that Afghanistan has become the forgotten war: Taliban fighters killed in Afghanistan

    Backed by U.S. warplanes and Special Operations troops, Afghan forces attacked Taliban fighters Monday in southeastern Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan officials said.

    Afghan officials said more than 40 Taliban fighters were killed in the attack, while the Pentagon put the death toll at 14. No U.S. or Afghan casualties were reported.

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    Commandment Fight Continues

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:13 pm

    This is a more appropriate route to take: Suit Likely in Commandments Statue Fight. However, I will curious as to see the actual legal argument. Meguesses they haven’t a leg to stand on, but we shall see:

    Attorneys prepared to ask a federal court in Mobile to block the removal of the Christian monument.

    The lawsuit on behalf of a Christian talk show host and would name as defendants the eight associate justices who last week overruled Chief Justice Roy Moore and directed that the federal court order be followed, said attorney Jim Zeigler.

    And the precise legal culpability of the 8 associate justices of the AL SC fails me.

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    I Agree With Jerry Brown

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:53 am

    Yes, it can happen-Governor Moonbeam and I agree on some stuff. Indeed, while Brown has some, shall we say, unorthodox ideas, I find him to be worthy of respect as being intellectually honest and knowledgeable about government.

    At any rate, the following quotation, as reported in WFB’s recent column is noteworthy:

    The insight of Jerry Brown warrants attention. Mr. Brown is a little screwy but very bright, and did two terms as governor. To skeptics he said: “It’s obvious Schwarzenegger is qualified. I mean, what does it take to become a governor? I’ve been there; I’ve known all the governors since Earl Warren’s time. And basically, if you have above-average intelligence, you have common sense, and you can speak in front of a camera and to a crowd, you can govern the state. I mean, after all, the governing process includes the legislature, a very competent civil service, and all sorts of rules and regulations that guide the state on its way. The whole thing about experience is a canard.”

    It is noteworthy because of the underlying general theme-that a) government is not, nor should be, the domain solely of “professionals” and b) when one elects a chief executive, one elects a team, not just one super-genius guy. Indeed, that was one of the things (amongst many) that bothered me about Al Gore, he projected this image that he could do it all, knew it all, and that he would be in command of the entire executive apparatus were he elected. Such delusions are hogwash.

    Source: ARNOLD’S HOUR?

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    This Will Please at Least One Regular Reader

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:40 am

    Swinton Up For Constantine

    Tilda Swinton is in talks to join the cast of Warner Brothers’ Constantine, a feature film based on the DC/Vertigo comic series Hellblazer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Francis Lawrence is directing the movie, which will star Keanu Reeves as John Constantine, a man who dabbles in the occult and teams with a female police officer to fight evil forces.

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    The Commandments

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:35 am

    This kind of stuff is driving me crazy:

    said Steven Hopkins, a minister from Burnet Bible Church in Texas. “Americans are being arrested for standing up for the word of God.”

    No, people will be arrested for attempting to impede the execution of a federal court order. There is nothing going on here that will result in anyone having to deny God, nor to stop people from attempting to promulgate Christianity if the monument is removed. Indeed, as a Christian, I would argue that there are far better ways to promote the cause of Christ than this.

    Roy Moore himself makes a similar argument when he says that he has the right to acknowledge God and that the federal courts are trying to take that away. This is not the case-as his capacity to acknowledge God is by no means limited to having a monument to the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Judicial Building.

    (and, coincidentally, I used to live near Burnet)

    Ten Commandments monument may be removed early this week

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    By Steven Taylor @ 6:28 am

    Wi-Fi Moves From Storeroom to Store

    Ann Marie Diogo has been a waitress for 18 years. So she was skeptical when her boss at the Royal Mile Pub in Wheaton, Md., recently replaced her paper order pad with a Toshiba palm computer that can wirelessly send her customers’ orders directly to the kitchen.

    “I was panicking,” Ms. Diogo said. “I’m not that computer savvy.” But when her faster service resulted in larger tips, she was won over. “There’s no way I’d like to go back to pen and paper,” she said.

    Better still, said the pub’s owner, Ray Morrison, who can monitor all the tables and even send complimentary drinks remotely from his Toshiba, errors in the kitchen are down and profits are up about 15 percent since the Royal Mile converted early this year to its wireless system, which is based on the increasingly popular Wi-Fi format.

    The bit about the “Shopping Buddy” that helps you find stuff in the store, or place orders at the deli counter while you do your other shopping is pretty nifty as well.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Blogging about wireless
    Sunday, August 24, 2003

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:42 pm

    I have a column in today’s Mobile Register: We, the public, are the real ‘insiders’.

    It is mostly Alabama-centric, but does deal with the general issue of representative democracy.

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    Creating Drug Standards

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:33 am

    On the one hand this, Congress Weighs Drug Comparisons, sounds reasonable. On the other, it illustrates the problem when the someone else pays for what one receives.

    And, this is also the kind of thing that HMOs have tried to do and been villified for it. (That is to say, cost/benefit analysis in terms of determing what will be paid for and what will not).

    The bottom line is that more care is managed, whether by private companies or the government, choice is curtailed.

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    A Headline to Make Tide Fans Wince

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:26 am

    Having lived in Alabama for over 5 years now, I know that this headline in NYT’s: Auburn Ranks No. 1 in Talent and Confidence is enough to make a substantial part of the state’s population have a fit.

    (Of course, many will chalk it up to a yankee plot).

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    19 Arrested in Canada

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:20 am

    I first heard about this a few days ago on Olbermann’s “Countdown” show on MSNBC, but have heard little about it since: Canada Links Arrest of 19 to Possible Terrorism Ties.

    At any rate, spooky:

    The men were detained on Aug. 14 after an investigation found that one of them was taking flying lessons at a school near an Ontario nuclear power plant.

    Officials would disclose little about the investigation, but the four-page document sketched a picture of a mysterious group of men living in apartments with only computers and mattresses. The men appeared interested in explosives and in the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station outside Toronto, according to the document.

    There had been unexplained fires in at least two of the men’s apartments, and in police monitoring, two of the men had been seen walking outside the gates of the Pickering plant at 4:15 a.m. on a day in April 2002. The men said they wanted to take a walk on a beach.

    One man was training to fly at a school whose flight paths cross over the Pickering plant, the document said. It said the men were in contact with unidentified sources who “have access to nuclear gauges” that contain small amounts of the isotope cesium 137, which can be used for making crude nuclear explosives.

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    Saturday, August 23, 2003
    You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:55 pm

    A meeting of the minds in Iowa: Kucinich, Nelson Discuss Farm Policy

    Country singer Willie Nelson hooked up with Rep. Dennis Kucinich on Saturday to help the Ohio congressman pitch his plan to help family farmers.

    For some reason, the whole concept strikes me as hilarious.

    It might also possibily be the basis for a future anti-drug campaign: “Kids, don’t smoke weed, or you might grow up to think someone like Dennis Kucinich ought to be President!”

    And, apparently, the goal is to move us back to a 19th century economy:

    “Finally, we have a guy who is standing up for the small family farmer,” Nelson said at the rally. “Agriculture, our raw materials, are what we need to take care of. There’s a way to do that, a way to make it strong again, and Dennis knows the way to do that.”

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    Broder on Riley

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:27 pm

    Those paying attention to the Alabama tax vote, may be interested in David Broder’s recent column: Conservative Governors With Tax Appeals

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    Blogging on Partisanship

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:26 pm

    I came across the following blog today: lying in ponds, which looks at the issue of partisanship. I have only skimmed, but it looks rather interesting, especially his analysis of the partisan content of columnists I am unclear on the methodology, but it is worth a look.

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    Simon Out

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:41 pm

    CNN is now confirming an AP story cited earlier today by Kevin Drum: - Simon to drop out of governor’s race

    A spokesman for Bill Simon told CNN the Republican will announce Saturday that he is dropping out of the recall race for governor of California.

    “I will confirm he will be withdrawing in the interest of the Republican Party,” the spokesman said in a telephone interview.

    Very interesting.

    Hat tip to James at OTB for mentioned the CalPundit post.

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    More Blogonuts

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:35 pm

    While less extreme than examples from earlier today, Dean has another example of someone in the Blogosphere who doesn’t know how to behave.

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    A Sign of the Time

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:21 am

    Or, at least, a quote of the times…

    Said my six-year-old while we were watching TV during the commercials:

    “Dad, could you fast forward it?”

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    What is With People?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:16 am

    I just read the following from John Lemon on some trouble he has experienced as a result of the attention he received from the CalPundit “conservatives in academics” discussion. His posts are here and here.

    The upshot: some has threatened to “out” him.

    This is ludicrous, and while not nearly as bad as what happened to Kate recently, it does make you wonder what’s up with some people. The Internet is a wonderful thing, but while it allows us to encounter interesting and thoughtful people, it also, clearly, increases the odds of running into nuts.

    John is anonymous for a variety of reasons. Yes, he has legitimate career concerns (you all can scoff at all the anti-conservative bias in academics all you want, but the truth of the matter is that there are departments where it is a reality, indeed my personal experience is that it is in the vast majority of departments in certain disciplines). Further, just by reading the content of his Blog he clearly wants the opportunity to spout off without having to worry about said sproutings being associated with his academic reputation.

    For what it is worth, I struggled with whether or not to be anonymous when I started my blog, and indeed was anonymous for a month or so. And I teach at a university where my conservative views are more considered the norm-this is rather unusual.

    In short, I say two things: give Lemon a break, and I hope that he continues to blog.

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    Happy Blogoversary

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:46 am

    James of OTB notes that yesterday was CalPundit’s one year anniversay. He also details some of Kevin’s impressive traffic stats.

    CalPunidt is on one of the better blogs out there and one of the one’s with a liberal persuation that I frequent the most.

    And, of course, he is now the official nemesis of John Lemon, another blog worth your attention.

    Take a look if you haven’t, although given the stats, the odds are that you already have.

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    Friday, August 22, 2003

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:27 pm

    Moore barred from performing duties

    Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was disqualified with pay after the Judicial Inquiry Commission filed charges against him in the Court of Civic Appeals this evening.

    Attorney General Bill Pryor, whose office will be responsible for prosecuting the case, said that the disqualification means Moore will not be allowed to perform any of his judicial duties.

    Moore’s hearing will take place before the Court of the Judiciary. A date has not been set.

    I am surprised and pleased to see the state government acting so quickly and decisively. I really thought he was going to be allowed to continue his grandstanding.

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    • The World Around You linked with Roy Moore Suspended
    More on the Academy

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:32 am

    Matthew of a Fearful Symmetry weighs in on the “conservatives in the academy” discussion. He notes the following type of experience:

    Generally speaking, my personal encounters with bias in my academic environment (among the students and faculty alike) are of the “you’re too open-minded/intelligent/tolerant/decent/nice to be right-wing” variety, which leads me to think I know how an African-American feels when he/she gets called “well-spoken.”

    I have had the same experience on numerous occassions. Students like to ask “are you a Republican or Democrat"? as I try to be fair in class and therefore normally do not do anything that might indicate my ideological predelictions. I have gotten less concerned about this in recent years, but was especially particular when I first started teaching. I have never endorsed a candidate or told students how I vote.

    Anyway, when they ask me that question about my party affiliation, I usually ask them what they think, and am generally amused by their responses. Firstly, the assumption is typically that I am a Democrat (people who guess I am a Republican tend to base that fact on how I dress, i.e., jacket and tie, rather than on anything I say). Second, many over the years have done exactly what Matthew describes: “you must be a Democrat because you are compassionate/fair minded/fair in class/nice/etc..". This is hardly punishment, per se, and different than what John Lemon is talking about, but I think it does speak to the broader issue.

    Also, I would ask, how many of you encountered faculty who were vocally in favor of a policy or policies and how often were those liberal policies (like the time I was a grader as a grad student and the prof told the class “If abortion is ever made illegal in the United States, my wife, who is a Doctor, will gladly provide one for you") and how often was it a conservative policy?

    Now, on balance I did not encounter too many instances of such behavior as an undergradaute nor as a graduate from either side, although when I did, it was typically from a liberal POV.

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    Conservatives in Academe

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 am

    Kevin Drum discovered John Lemon’s site the other day and the fun ensued. Not only did a lengthy commentary begin at CalPundit, but John responded on his site (here and here) as well (with mentions from James of OTB along the way, and another ref from Kevin here).

    The topic of conversation: conservatives in the academy and whether or not tenure is regularly denied to those with a conservative viewpoint.

    I think that that is the wrong way to go about discussing the issue, as it misses the main point, I think, and focuses on something that is very, very difficult to prove.

    Think of it like this: it is clearly the case (and can be demonstrated empirically (the AEI study was cited in the comments at CalPundit, but other studies can be found) that certain disciplines are dominated by more left/liberal thinking persons (social sciences in general, history, literature, etc.). So here’s the real question: if one is a conservative in a relative sea of liberals, one is likely to be less vocal about one’s views (and vice versa).

    So, on the tenure issue, which is already a somewhat capricious process in the first place, and one in which one is judged by one’s work and ideas, it is not surprising that the net effect is for conservatives to largely keep quiet.

    Academics can be a vindictive and territorial lot about what they think. Whole departments are full of professors at war with one another over the methodology that they use in studying their subject, let alone over the actual things that they believe. Internal wars in departments over idea is quite the norm. For example, back in the 1980s and into the 1990s, the University of Texas Government faculty did not have full faculty meetings because of conflicts between quantitative and qualitative theorist. When I was a grad student there, there were professors who actively tried to deny teaching assistantships to students who did utilize the “proper” methodologies.

    For many professors, their work is their life and they treat their objects of study and the theories they subscribe to like a religion. It is therefore not surprising that one might be punished for what one thinks. So, if one thinks that one would be denigrated in a close-door tenure review process because of one’s political views, one is likely to be quiet about them.

    Now, granted, it depends on the department, and one’s colleagues.

    Anecdotal evidence isn’t extremely valuable, I will grant. However, it was certainly my experience as a student that the faculty was predominantly liberal, and my professional experience at conferences has been the same.

    On balance, it is unfortunately true that academics can be the least tolerant of people, despite their profession.

    There is more to be said on this topic, but I will leave it at that for now.

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    Dean in the WSJ

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:32 am

    Howard Dean has a column,
    “We Can Do Better” in today’s WSJ. It’s subtitle is the rather Mondale-esque “I will begin by repealing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.” Since that means, in practical terms, a tax increase, one wonders how this will help him shed his “I am the next George McGovern” image. Further, if the following is true:

    today’s two-income families earn 75% more money than their single-income counterparts did a generation ago, but they actually have less money to spend. For many, personal bankruptcies have become the rule rather than the exception.

    then how will raising taxes help that situation?

    And while I know that the economy has been underperforming, it really hasn’t been all that bad, historically speaking, and it is showing signs of improvement, hence doom and gloom like this may not have long-term (i.e., into next year) resonance:

    The economy is going through tough times. The average American family is in trouble. The economy has been losing good jobs, and the benefits that went with them, at an astonishing rate.

    And does he think he is going to be the President in that movie Dave, where the title character just proclaims full employeement, and it happens?

    An important part of my program for a full-employment recovery

    And, yep, there will be no way that the Bush campaign will be able to paint Dean as a tax and spend liberal, no sir

    As president, my economic policies will be focused and clear. I will begin by repealing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and using the revenues that result from the repeal to address the needs of the average American, invest in the nation’s infrastructure and, through tax reform, put money in the hands of those most likely to spend it.

    The task of meeting the needs of American families begins with health care. My plan will not only insure millions of Americans who are without adequate care today, it will reduce costs for small business, states and communities-freeing up funds that can be used to grow businesses and meet other national and local priorities.

    And don’t all the folks who received tax cuts, i.e., all income tax payers, spend money?

    All flippancy aside, I really do have to wonder how this will play with the swing voters. I understand that much of the Dem base will like this message. However, while the Dean-ites can argue that Dean is “moderate", the bottom line, as a practical poitical matter, Rove and Co. will easily be able to paint this platform as a combo McGovern meets Mondale meets Hillarycare.

    Update: James of OTB more thoroughly goes to town on the Dean piece. He, too, notes the ring of Mondale.

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    Blast from the Past

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:19 am

    Cool: ‘Duck Dodgers’ can take you back in time.

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    Thursday, August 21, 2003
    Parade of Trolls

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:23 pm

    First, there was the Carvnival (current edition here, next edition here).

    Then, there was the Bonfire (current edition here).

    And now, the Parade is Coming-the Parade of Trolls.

    We extol ourselves with the CoV, we make fun ourselves with the BoV, why not make fun of the Trolls?

    Send your best and most amusing examples of trollishness to steven -at- for the Parade of Trolls #1. Deadline for entries: Friday August 29th. Please send the text of the trollishness and the permalink to the post it came from. Also, feel free to include any commentary that you feel is warranted.

    The first Parade will be out on August 30th.

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    • Hellblazer linked with Parade of Trolls
    • Silflay Hraka linked with Who's That Trip-Trapping Across My Meme?
    • Wizbang linked with Parade Of Trolls
    • The World Around You linked with Parade of Trolls
    • Last Man Dancing linked with New Contest!
    • Creative Slips linked with Carnival of the Vanities #49
    • Creative Slips linked with Carnival of the Vanities #49
    More Good Econ News

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:56 am

    Leading Indicators Up 0.4 Percent in July

    A key U.S. forecasting gauge rose in July for the fourth consecutive month, pointing to the best economic outlook since 2001, a private research firm said on Thursday.

    The Conference Board said the index of leading indicators rose 0.4 percent last month, matching expectations of Wall Street economists, after a 0.3 percent increase in June.

    “The magnitude and breadth of the rise this time enhances the likelihood that the data are signaling the beginning of a more solid recovery,” said Jade Zelnik, chief economist at RBS Greenwich Capital.

    “Another increase in August … would mark the first time that the index would have risen for five consecutive months since before the last recession, and would strongly reinforce the prospects of sustained economic expansion,” he added.

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    The Commandements’ Saga Continues

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:47 am

    Very interesting, and somewhat unexpected: Justices: Move Ten Commandments Display

    I really didn’t think that the State court would move this quickly, indeed, I was wondering if they were going to move or not (I expected some feet-dragging at the very least).

    State Supreme Court justices overruled Chief Justice Roy Moore on Thursday and directed that his Ten Commandments monument be removed from its public site in the Alabama Judicial Building.

    The senior associate justice, Gorman Houston, said the eight associate justices instructed the building’s manager to “take all steps necessary to comply … as soon as practicable.”

    And, indeed:

    The associate justices wrote that they are “bound by solemn oath to follow the law, whether they agree or disagree with it.”

    Moore’s inability to do this has been very disturbing to me. And, quite frankly, a violation of his faith, in my opinion (the whole “let your yes mean yes and your no mean no” stuff).

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    The Multiverse

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:14 am

    Heck, I learned all this by reading comic books and watching the old Star Trek.

    Although it occurs to me in reading it-it rather important if one believes in a truly infinite universe. If it is truly infinite, then logically, all combinations of matter are possible. If the the universe is finite, the whole “monkeys tryping Shakespeare” thing goes out the window. There are profound theological and cosmological implications for the accepting or rejecting of an infinite universe model.

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    Good News

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:53 am

    Chemical Ali, head of the League of Really Bad Chemists has been caught.

    Hat Tip: OTB

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    More CA Poll Numbers

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:17 am

    As I continue to note, Davis is toast:

    58 percent wanted to recall the Democrat

    Still, the Cruz-Arnie race is basically a tie (margin of error is +/- 3%), but Bustamante has faded some. This is also interesting, because these numbers can’t have captured a reaction to Arnie’s press conference yesterday, nor Bustamante’s presentation of his plan earlier this week:

    Republican actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who aired his first television commercials on Wednesday, led the survey among replacement candidates with 23 percent, with Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in second place at 18 percent.

    The poll was conducted from 8/8-8/17 and was of likely voters.

    And, I thought it was just right-wingers out to get rid of Davis?

    Among Democrats, 38 percent said they would vote today to unseat Davis, as did 60 percent of independents.

    Source: Poll: Majority Wants to Oust Calif. Governor (

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    Wednesday, August 20, 2003

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:58 pm

    This will help with the Simon/McClintock voters: Schwarzenegger Says Won’t Raise Taxes in Calif.

    Emerging from a meeting in Los Angeles with 19 business and academic leaders, Schwarzenegger laid down his economic program for the first time since declaring his candidacy in the Oct. 7 recall, sounding notes of fiscal conservatism.

    “I’m very much a believer that the people of this state have not been under-taxed,” Schwarzenegger said, flanked by former Secretary of State George Shultz and billionaire Warren Buffett. “I am in principle against taxes because I feel the people of California have been taxed enough.”

    The next set of polls should be interesting.

    And, amusing:

    “I told Warren that if he mentioned Proposition 13 one more time, he has to do 500 sit-ups,” the actor said, tossing Buffett a friendly but menacing stare.

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    The Recall Rolls On

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:25 pm

    Judge refuses to delay California recall

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    The Real Fun Begins

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:23 pm

    The Court has spoken: Supreme Court rejects Ten Commandments appeal

    The Supreme Court refused Wednesday to block the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from an Alabama judicial building, rejecting a last-minute appeal from the judge who installed the display.

    The justices said they would not be drawn, at least for now, into a dispute over whether the monument violates the Constitution’s ban on government promotion of religion.

    The high court was Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s last hope to avoid a federal judge’s midnight deadline to remove the display. It was unclear if Moore would comply. Other state officials have said the monument would be moved.

    The question becomes now, what do all the other officials do?

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    Oh, That Whacky Franken

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:05 pm

    This is rather ironic given that his new book purports to expose the “lies” of the right…

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    Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy II

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:21 am

    Hmm, while I understand the origins of the recall process were with a conservative and all that jazz, but if this was truly just Republicans out to get Davis and steal the election, he wouldn’t have anything to worry about. After all, the state is a majority Democratic state.

    I think he needs to look at his 24% approval rating before trying to further this argument:

    “When Republicans can’t win elections fair and square, they resort to this,” Davis said, citing the GOP-led impeachment of President Clinton during his second term and the off-year congressional redistricting efforts Republicans are attempting this year in Colorado and Texas.

    “I am going to fight this recall and the right-wing forces behind it. You can take that to the bank.”

    Further, it is ironic that Bustamante (you know, the Democratic Lt. Gov.) was giving his own speech the same day Davis gave his.

    Davis acknowledges faults, slams GOP

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    By Definition

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:26 am

    This is pretty much the definition of guerrilla warfare/terrorism, isn’t it? Chaos as an Anti-U.S. Strategy

    The bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad today provided grisly evidence of a new strategy by anti-American forces to depict the United States as unable to guarantee public order, as well as to frighten away relief organizations rebuilding Iraq.

    Nothing new, per se, in the grand scheme of things. The whole point of guerrilla-style tactics, especially against an occupying force, is to cause trouble because direct military confrontation won’t work.

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    Ye Olde Carnie is Here

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:14 am

    And James of OTB has it!

    (And can you tell what season he is eagerly awaiting?)

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    Tuesday, August 19, 2003
    Burn, Baby, Burn

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:00 pm

    The Bonfire of the Vanities - Week 7 is now available for your reading pleasure.

    And rumor has is that the Vainglorious Ones will be on parade sometime tonight.

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    Even More on Moore (who isn’t a Moor, btw)

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:55 pm

    For those who wish to truly delve into this story, here are some key links:

  • The Montgomery Advertiser’s complete coverage archive.
  • An interesting overview of Moore’s career and the basics of the monument.
  • The complete text of the monument.

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    More on Moore

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:40 pm

    Not surprising:

    On Monday, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson denied a request by Moore to stay the injunction that orders Moore’s Ten Commandments monument removed by midnight on Wednesday.

    And the question as to what comes next is the issue. Presumably the Judge will order a $5,000/day fine on the state and Moore will likely let the state pay it-which is a crime given the fiscal state of affairs around here.

    And this is just lovely, and indicates to me this not just about the sanctity of the Ten Commandments:

    In his order Monday, Thompson wrote that Moore twice turned down chances to ask for a stay before Aug. 5.

    This is shaping up as one of the biggest examples of political grandstanding that I have seen in some time.

    Source: Moore appeals to 11th Circuit

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    Lemon Filled Fun

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:06 pm

    John Lemon gloats at Daniel Drezner’s expense.

    Go see.

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    More on Strategic Thinking by Candidates and Voters

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:02 pm

    Debate in the comments sections of several posts below (such as here ) have inspired this response:

    Setting aside the theoretical for a moment, the plain facts of the circumstances are this: there are only two viable candidates in the process at this time: Schwarzenegger and Bustamante. Given that both poll at approximately one quarter of the electorate each, and that the nearest competitors are in the single digits, we have to declare the race essentially between these two.

    Now, things could change in the next month and half, and, indeed, the numbers will more some. However, if you are Simon, McClintock or Ueberroth (the next three Republicans in terms of poll position) you have to make a calculation: what are the odds that I can overtake my competitors, or what are the odds that my presence in the race simply helps Bustamante.

    This is a practical political question.

    As James pointed out earlier today, and as I have made reference to before (here and here), party primaries typically serve the purpose of narrowing the field. With these rules in this context, there is no narrowing (indeed, the opposite has taken place), so instead of the rules forcing winners and losers, individual candidates have to make their own decisions on staying in the race.

    And if you are Bill Simon in particular, you really have to engage in some self-examination. You can talk all day long about how well you did in 2002, but the bottom line is, if you were really that close and simply need one more shot, you would be higher than 8% or so in the polls. California has seen your stuff and it seems quite obvious that they dont what you are offering.

    Again, this is a practical issue. I personally find a lot of what Simon has to say to be appealing, but ultimately he has the same shot at being governor of California in this election as I do. McClintock is essentially in the same place-and certainly Ueberroth is.

    These individuals still are going to have to come to grips with the basic fact that they will, at some point, have to choose between helping Arnold or Cruz.

    It really is that simple.

    Now, at this point in the race I understand staying in, because Arnie may stick his rather large foot in his mouth and fall entirely from grace. I think that unlikely, but it is a reasonable gamble for these guys to take. However, in a few weeks, it will be decision time, whether they want to face up to that fact or not.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 2:24 pm

    USA Today has a interesting piece on CA recall candidate Peter Ueberroth.

    In regards to his chances in the recall election, I think it can be summed up from this quote:

    When he entered the race, ‘’my thought was, ‘It’s a generation late,’ ‘’ says Tony Quinn, editor of the California Target Book, a political journal.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 10:14 am

    Thanks to B-Town Blog Boys for linking to Poliblog.

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    OTB on Arnie

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:00 am

    James is right on the CA Republican Party’s quandry over at OTB (I mean, after all, he agrees with me).

    The bottom line is that I simply do not subscribe to the line that it is better to be “pure” in loss, rather than to compromise in victory (at least when it comes to electoral politics).

    It may make one feel better to vote for the person who is closest to one ideologically, but I still maintain that this is politically foolish if the result of that vote is to elect the opposite of one’s main choice.

    And while I am staunchly pro-life, James is right-the next governor of California is going to have zero impact on that issue.

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    More on Clark

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:43 am

    This strikes me as strained logic:

    Clark’s allies…say that money won’t be an issue because defense contractors will line up to back his bid.

    What? because he is former military man defense contractors automatically will give him money? Not to mention the fact that the current administration is rather military-spending friendly. Further, money tends not to flow immediately to late-comers until their relative standing to the other candidates works it way out, so why would dollars flow Clark’s way?

    At this point the Clark candidacy’s chance appear to me to be largely constructed on hopes, dreams and best case scenarios that aren’t grounded in much reality.

    Source: Washington Whispers Daily

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Wesley Clark
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with The Perfumed Prince Report
    Most of Us Should Be Covered…

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:23 am

    Interesting: Old Smallpox Vaccination Probably Still Protective

    More than 90% of people who received the smallpox vaccine 25 to 75 years ago show substantial immunity against vaccinia, the virus used in the vaccine, according to a report published in the August 17th online issue of Nature Medicine.


    Even decades after vaccination, most people showed significant immunity against vaccinia. If these levels of immunity are at least partially protective, then the illness and death rates as a result of an intentional smallpox outbreak would be ’substantially reduced,’ the researchers state.

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    • Absinthe & Cookies (a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet) linked with About & Around
    Headlines One Doesn’t Expect to See in a Major Paper

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:37 am

    Nonetheless, from today’s NYT: Clad in Resolve, Nude Hiker Defies the British Body Image

    Of course, August is considered a slow news month…

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    Monday, August 18, 2003
    From Out of the Shadows?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 pm

    Interesting: Schwarzenegger Ready to Debate, Plans TV Ads

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, famous on film for beating up, blowing up and gunning down opponents, said on Monday he was ready to engage in another form of combat - a political debate.

    “I intend to debate (Gov.) Gray Davis and the other major candidates on the ballot,” the Austrian-born Republican actor said in a statement.

    I think his lack of visibility in the last week has hurt him and this likely will help. Granted, he could open his mouth and stick his foot in it, but silence is its own kind of problem, as people hear what they want to hear in one’s lack of words.

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    Prop 13 Basics

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:22 pm

    Here are the basics of how Prop 13 works:

    Section 2 of Article XIIIA of the California Constitution (enacted by Proposition 13) establishes an acquisition-value assessment system. It provides that property is to be assessed at its value when acquired through a change of ownership or by new construction. Thereafter, the taxable value of property may increase annually by no more than the rate of inflation or two percent, whichever is less.

    This favors, therefore, long-term owners over new home buyers. So if you move to CA, are a first time home buyer, or want to upgrade to a new home, you may pay substantially more in property taxes than your neighbor whose house is valued exactly as much as yours.

    I understand the root cause of the taxpayer revolt in the 1970s that led to Prop 13, but clearly this distorts the fairness of the system. It seems to me that if my house and your house in the same neighborhood are valued the same, we should pay the same amount in property taxes.

    This system also effects the marketplace. There is a disincentive to sell an existing house and buy a newer or more expensive one, because one has to figure not only the increase in mortgage, but the likely substantial increase in property taxes.

    Source: Proposition 13: Love it or Hate it, its Roots Go Deep

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    • The American Mind linked with PoliBlog vs TAM on Prop. 13
    Buffet and Taxes

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:00 pm

    While it was, no doubt, the politically stupid thing to say, he was, unfortunately, correct. (Indeed, I have heard it said that the definition of a “gaffe” is when a politician accidentally speaks the truth). Because of Proposition 13, California’s property tax system is out of whack (although it is not necessarily the case that they are “too low” per se). I have thought this for years.

    For example:

    Buffett suggested the landmark initiative has warped the state’s tax system and may need reforms that include higher property taxes. Buffett said he pays $14,401 in annual property taxes on his $500,000 home in Omaha, Neb., but only $2,264 on his $4 million home in Laguna Beach.
    Proposition 13, which limits property tax hikes to no more than 2 percent a year, is considered politically untouchable in California.

    Prop 13 means that once you buy a home your rates are locked at the rate you bougth the house at, and can only rise slowly (2% a year). Now, that means if you bought a house years ago, you are stylin’, but if you buy a house now at the same value, you pay hugely more taxes. Buffet currently pays taxes on his mansion as though he owned a small condo. This is a problematic system.

    However, Prop 13 is considered sacred writ to conservatives in CA, so it is here to stay, and is dangerous to bring up in an election.

    Source: Buffett’s Tax Criticism Draws Rebukes

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    • The American Mind linked with Buffet and Prop. 13
    Simon for Bustamante!

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 am

    From the same story:

    Bill Simon, a Republican candidate for governor in California’s recall election, said yesterday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he will not withdraw from the race to help ensure a GOP victory

    So, I guess he wants Cruz to be the next Governor…

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    By Steven Taylor @ 8:22 am

    Are Clark supporters just frustrated Trekkies?

    “It’s almost like three-level chess on ‘Star Trek,’ ” said John Hlinko, co-founder of the Washington-based group. “On the one hand, he definitely is the key target constituent. On the other hand, we also fully recognize that if he is going to enter . . . we want to continue building a base of supporters.”

    Full disclosure: I know more about Trek than one really needs to, so I really can’t talk. I know exactly what the guy is talking about.

    Still, the stories on the draft Clark people have had something of a fanboy/poligeek feel to them. Of course, that may be sampling bias, as WaPo quotes the same guy in this story and the one from a couple weeks back that I blogged on.

    Source: New TV Ad Campaign Seeks To Draft Gen. Clark

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    Sunday, August 17, 2003
    New Tech

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:58 pm

    The Cranky Professor extols one of our latest technological advances.

    The post also has an interesting insight into Southern (and perhaps American) lingusitics.

    I concur with his assesments all the way ’round.

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    Blogoversary Update

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:39 pm

    Well, Friday was indeed my 6-month Blogoversary. I ended up reaching two of my three goals: my Technorati inbound links were over 100, and I surpassed 20,000 hits (indeed, I hit 21k on Friday). I was not able to get my official blogroll stats up to 66, however.

    Also, thanks to Practical Penumbra for her kind linakge, the temporary Alabama Live blog for sending lots of traffic my way based on my first Moore post, and Cincom Smalltalk Blog for linking to my Trek power solution post.

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    Bama in WaPo

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:53 pm

    Alabama has made today’s WaPo twice. There’s a (brief) story on the Ten Commandments rally, and this interesting piece on the tax package: Alabama Tied in Knots by Tax Vote. As the story demonstrated, it ain’t your Daddy’s Alabama politics.

    And this frustrate me, because I think it represents a knee-jerk reaction to tax increases without really examining the structural problems in our state:

    Now, the battle is taking on national dimensions, with conservative Republican groups in Washington mobilizing to defeat Riley’s plan.

    I believe that government is necessary, and that it has to be adequately funded to allow for certain services, amongst them being education, criminal justice, and roads. And while in my perfect world there would be more a market in the realm of K-12, I also know that that isn’t going to happen anytime soon, so you have to work with what you’ve got.

    Further, I see the ever-expanding federal share of the GDP in the form of taxation is a wholly different issue from state-level policy.

    And, indeed:

    “A Democrat couldn’t have done this,” Hubbard said. “Many say it’s like Nixon going to China.”

    Yup: like me :)

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    • The World Around You linked with Focus on Alabama in Washington Post

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:51 am

    I still think that Schwarzenegger will end up winning, but it is going to take some (dare I say?) strategery.

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    Dead Heat

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:48 am

    Not surprisingly, Arnie and Cruz are in a statistical dead heat (a 4.1% margin of error):

    The California Field Poll found 25 percent of registered voters opted for Bustamante followed by 22 percent for Schwarzenegger.

    And this situation provides a test for an axiom of politics, which is “the perfect is the enemy of the good” (at least in terms of the persepective of the Republican Party in California). At this point, the Republicans have collectively more support, but they are splitting it amongst several candidates:

    The other candidates trailed in single digits: State Sen. Tom McClintock took 9 percent; businessman Bill Simon won 8 percent; former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth received 5 percent; all three are Republicans.

    Whoever convinced Insurance Commissioner Garamendi not to run as a Democrat did their party a huge favor.

    The bottom line of electoral politics is that one has to make calculations. The best outcome of an election is for your #1 choice to be elected. However, losing is not the worst outcome. The worst outcome is to lose, and to lose to your least desired opponent. Simon and McClintock are running the serious risk of not only losing (which may be a foregone result), but losing to their worst possible outcome: losing to a Democrat.

    Source: Poll Places Bustamante In Lead to Succeed Davis

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    By Steven Taylor @ 10:34 am

    I must admit, I don’t really get this: Actor Rob Lowe to work on Schwarzenegger campaign

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    On the Lighter Side

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:02 am

    Matthew, of A Fearful Symmetry, has two amusing captions (no contest, however), for your enjoyment: here and here.

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    The Problem of Democracy

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:46 am

    This graphic, which details some polling information on the upcoming referendum in Alabama, details a key problem in US politics: people want any number of services, but are utterly unwilling to pay for them. If you look at the numbers, you see that there is a heavy percentage of oppositon to the portions of the Governor’s plan which will raise revenue, but support for the measures that will cost money (money which the state doesn’t have, and won’t if the package doesn’t pass).

    This is a time-worn problem, and certainly explains a great deal of public policy at the state, local and national levels.

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    Much Ado About Nothing (and Speaking of Populism)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:39 am

    This Ten Commandments flap is about to drive me crazy. While I value and support the Commandments themselves, I have to ask my fellow Christians a simple quesiton: how would having this momument in the State Supreme Court building actually promote the Christian faith in any substantial way?

    Similarly, I would ask those who oppose the momument, what the precise societal harm is for the monument to be there? Given that this is Alabama, it is hardly surprising that there is popular support for the monument. Perhaps those who filed the lawsuits to remove the thing should have left well enough alone, this story would have faded frm view, and the monument would gather dust and largely be ignored. And I know the legalities here-I am asking a practical question of actual harm.

    Regardless, however, as I noted earlier in the week, I find it very difficult to swallow that Chief Justice Moore believes that he has a legitimate right to oppose a court order, especially since he could have filed for a stay while he filed his appeal to the US Supreme Court. There was no need for this grandstanding.

    Further, the Alabama Supreme Court building is a secular locale, with a secular purpose.

    Also, from a purely religious point of view, it would seem to me that there are far more productive ways to use energies to promote the cause of Christianity than a rally for this monument.

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    The Glorious Past

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:59 am

    I am sitting here watching the round table section on Meet the Press and listening to Doris Kearns Goodwin and Joe Klein decry the recall at least partially in the context of when the recall was instituted that the electorate was more informed than they are now (this is the “whim” of the people, not the “will” said Klein). While it is clearly the case that voters are nowhere near as informed as they should be, it is hardly the case that we were in a Golden Age of Civic Education and Knowledge in the early 20th century. I mean, please.

    And Doris, as she always does, appealed to some far-past (and exceptional) example, noting that the image-peddlers of today couldn’t stand up to the written word of Abraham Lincoln. Well, no joke! Indeed, there are few politicans in all of US history who could stand up to the written word of Abraham LiNcoln. What a comparison!

    I do agree with Klein, however, that populism, both from the left and the right, is higly problematic.

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    Saturday, August 16, 2003
    Blog Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:25 am

    There will be no blogging until this evening, if then. I have an all day function to attend.

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    Friday, August 15, 2003
    New CA Poll Numbers

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:32 pm

    Davis continues to look toast-like:

    The statewide survey made public today shows that 58 percent of likely voters would vote to kick Davis out of office in the Oct. 7 recall election while 37 percent would vote against the recall.

    That varies from last month, when 51 percent of likely voters favored recalling Davis and 43 percent were opposed.


    The governor’s job ratings are equivalent to those Californians gave to President Richard Nixon when he was embroiled in the Watergate scandal in August 1974 and was just about to resign. At that time, 24 percent of Californians approved of Nixon’s performance in office while 70 percent disapproved.

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    Blackout Tips from Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:55 pm

    Amusing: Iraqis offer 10 tips on how to beat the heat

    My favs:

    -7: SHOWER FREQUENTLY. “I take showers all day,” said Raed Ali, 33. “Before I go up to the roof to sleep, I take a shower and I’m cooler.”


    -5: CHECK FOR BITTER-ENDERS. “They should go to the power stations and see what the problem is,” suggested Ahmed Abdul Hussein, 21. “Maybe there are followers of Saddam Hussein who are sabotaging their power stations. That’s what happens here.”


    -3: CALL IN THE IRAQIS. Some suggested the Americans ask the Iraqis how to get the power going again. “Let them take experts from Iraq,” said Alaa Hussein, 32, waiting in a long line for gas because there was no electricity for the pumps. “Our experts have a lot of experience in these matters.”

    -2: USE FOUL LANGUAGE. “When the power goes out, I curse everybody,” (I ’spect New Yorkers are familair with this one, -ed.) said Emad Helawi, a 63-year-old accountant. “I curse God. I curse Saddam Hussein. And I curse the Americans.”

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    Blackout Victim

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:39 pm

    Ironically, the Alabama Live site (a news and info site) is one of the victims of the blackout.

    Who knew that Bama’s main site was on a Yankee server! Go and figure. :-)

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    By Steven Taylor @ 11:29 am

    Bush Calls for Upgrading U.S. Electric Grid

    I had no idea that anyone would make such a bold suggestion!

    (and yes, pun intended)

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    A Theory

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:27 am

    For the conspiratorially minded amongst you, heres a theory of explanation for the black out: the Bush administration did it!

    Why, you ask? Heres why: the economy!

    The recovery still hasnt quite taken off yet, and we all know that consumer spending is the engine that drives the economy and just think of all the meat, dairy products and frozen goods that are going to spoil because of the outage. Lots, eh? Well, what are people going to have to do once the power comes back on? Replace that stuff! Yes, spend, spend, spend. Plus, we all know that you always buy more than you need when you got to the grocery store. So, before you know it, the economy will be roaring on the backs of the spoiled-food-replace of 2003.

    So, clearly, it was the CIA. I mean, come on! How else did they know for sure and so immediately that it wasnt terrorism?

    Think about it.

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    The Obvious Solution

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 am

    In listening to the news concerning the power outage, and the need to slowly put the power stations back online it occurred to me that there is a better solution!

    In the classic Star Trek episode, The Naked Time, the Enterprises engines were shut down, which was a problem because the ships orbit was decaying (seems like it was often doing that) and Scotty needed thirty minutes to do a controlled restart (much like what is happening in the northeast right now-except those nasty twentieth century tech power plants need hours). But, as Kirk pointed out to him we dont have thirty minutes!! to which Scotty, in a reply for the ages noted, I canna change the laws of physics! Of course, Mr. Spock was able to remember a theory that would allow an instantaneous restart of the engines, thus saving their hides to roam the galaxy for at least another week. Indeed, Scotty and Spock were able to do so, and the nifty side-effect of the cold restart was that the ship went back in time three days (dont ask me, I just report-you can decide).

    So, I figure they should just slam the switches on and, if they’re lucky, travel back in time at least one day, which would allow them to avoid the problem in the first place.

    So, there you go.

    Poliblog: the place for answers.

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: Fair and Balanced (Well, fair anyway) linked with NAKED POWER
    • Absinthe & Cookies (a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet) linked with A Rip In The Space Time Continum
    Thursday, August 14, 2003
    Arnie Adds to His Team

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:53 pm

    George Shultz Joins Schwarzenegger Campaign

    Arnold Schwarzenegger added more brawn to his campaign team on Thursday by announcing ex Secretary of State George Shultz would join his campaign as an economic adviser, according to the candidate’s spokesman.

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    Moore and the Commandments

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:27 pm

    Kristopher reports that Chief Justice Roy Moore is refusing to comply with a court order to remove the Ten Commandments momument from the Alabama Supreme Court building.

    This isn’t a surprise, to be sure.

    While I have already noted my religious point of view today, I have to say that Mr. Moore is in the wrong here. By dint of his office, I find it difficult to understand how he can justify to himself defying a court order. Further, this whole affair has always struck me as an unnecessary line in the sand.

    And while I don’t really see the specific harm of such a momument, I don’t see the need for this fight. It strikes me as an unnecessary waste of time, money, and energy.

    Here’s a news story on this topic.

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    Good News

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:24 pm

    Key al-Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia captured

    The White House announced Thursday the capture of a man described as al-Qaida’s chief representative and operational planner in Southeast Asia, calling his apprehension “a significant blow to the enemy.”
    He was identified as Riduan Isamuddin - also known as Hambali.

    “His capture is another important victory in the global war on terrorism and a significant blow to the enemy,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters aboard Air Force One as President Bush flew from Texas to speaking engagements in southern California.

    A senior administration official described the suspect as “one of the world’s most lethal terrorists” and said his group, Jemaah Islamiya, was linked to last year’s Bali bombing and a series of deadly church bombings in the Philippines.

    He is also a leading suspect in the JW Marriot bombing in Jakarta and a close associate of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind who was captured earlier this year.
    Hambali was captured in southeast Asia and is now in U.S. custody at an undisclosed location, officials said.

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    Fundamentalism, Rationality, and Foreign Policy

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:02 pm

    politX has an interesting post on the issue of both rationality in government and of the influence of religion (which he places in the category of the irrational). A few thoughts:

    Caveats: I am a professing Christian, and I favor rationality in government, and indeed, in daily life. I don’t see these as mutually exclusive

  • (And I not being flippant here): Since when has any government anywhere been founded wholly on rationality? When has public policy been made solely based on logic and logic alone?
  • Is there, for that matter, an agreed upon definition of a “rational” government?
  • As I have argued before (back during the Bright Wars), I do not understand why “religious” is to be contrued as a synonym for “irrational.”
  • I recognize that Alexandre is writing from both a leftist and European perspective, but in all honestly, where is the radical fundamentalism coming out of the current US government? I see a good deal of rhetoric, but aside from the “faith based” initiatives (which haven’t actually happened), how is governance in Washington truly radical?

    I can see an argument for a substantial, perhaps even radical (but I find that term too strong) departure in the realm of foreign policy, but despite the references made by the President regarding his religious views, those changes are hardly somehow “Christian,” “fundamentalist,” or “evangelical.” Yes, the President talks about “right and wrong” and “good and evil,” but he is hardly the first to do so, and such pronouncements are not limited to religious persons.

    And really, even if you think that Bush is primarily motivated by his religious views (which is, I think, a reach), do you think that Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and so forth are all part of an Evangelical Groupmind? In other words, the current war on terror paradigm can be derived from a secular point of view.

    Hat tip: OTB.

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    Bipartisan Blogging

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:32 am

    James of OTB has a list of interesting liberal bloggers to complement CalPundit’s Interesting Conservatives.

    Both are good lists, and encompass a number of blogs I frequent as well.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 10:13 am

    Amusing: Huffington Paid Little Income Tax

    Hat tip: Drudge (worth a visit for the Arianna photo)

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    Another Lemony Blog

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:55 am

    Does John Lemon know about this? Good thing John doesn’t work for Fox…he might sue! I mean, heck: look at the url!

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    Timing is Everything

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:52 am

    You know when a great time would be for a major college textbook publisher to refit their computers, and thus placing most of their e-mail system offline? That’s right: right before the start of the Fall Semester.

    Also, that would be an excellent time to hold a major trade show, so that when one calls one’s rep (because they are unavailable via e-mail) she isn’t available.

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    Recall Round-Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:40 am

    James of OTB has an excellent round-up of today’s columns on the CA recall.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Latinos and the CA Recall

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:33 am

    Kaus has some interesting numbers and analysis regarding the potential role of Latino voters in the upcoming recall election.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    The Hairy One Returns

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:28 am

    SciFi Wire reports that Chewbacca will be in the next Star Wars flick. Peter Mayhew will reprise the role.

    Now, if they can only find a plot that makes sense

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    By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 am

    And sad: Health ministry: About 3,000 die of heat-related causes in France

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    A Race to Watch

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:23 am

    It isn’t as sexy as the CA recall situation, but clearly of interest: Kentucky Gubernatorial Race Is Test for Bush on Economy

    With a tenacity that has surprised his opponent and some supporters, the Democratic candidate for governor, Attorney General Ben Chandler, has attacked Mr. Bush’s stewardship of the economy, contending that Republican policies have drained Kentucky of 56,000 jobs, aided the wealthy at the expense of the poor and helped drill a gaping hole in the state budget.

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    Mixed Econ News

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:20 am

    Wholesale Prices Rise 0.1%, Jobless Claims Edge Higher

    So, the deflation/inflation news was descent, but the jobs info is mixed (at best):

    The performance of the PPI in July matched economists’ expectations. The report may ease - but not eliminate - the Federal Reserve’s fears about the remote threat that already low inflation could keep moving lower and turn into deflation, an economically dangerous slide in prices.

    New claims for unemployment benefits last week edged up by a seasonally adjusted 2,000 to 398,000, the department said in a second report. Even with the rise, claims have been under 400,000 - a level associated with a weak labor market - for four straight weeks, a sign that the pace of layoffs is stabilizing. Claims hit a high this year of 459,000 in the middle of April.

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    Gee, Only 135?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:17 am

    Race Officially On: 135 Are Candidates in California Recall

    And, what fun:

    Even without legal challenges, which many people consider likely, state officials said it could take as long as 39 days after the vote to certify the results. The ballot will be longer than the one in 1914, when 48 ballot measures were put to the vote, state records show.

    And, more poll numbers:

    A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted over the weekend showed that 48 percent of probable voters said there was a good chance or a very good chance they would vote for Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican.

    And, knowing the LA media, it is probably wall-to-wall Arnie.

    Mr. Schwarzenegger, who has thoroughly dominated the early hustings, made another splash today when his campaign announced the addition of Warren E. Buffet, the billionaire investor.


    Most of today, the Schwarzenegger campaign statement showed no contributions in August. But late in the afternoon, that changed when Mr. Schwarzenegger donated $1 million to himself.

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    I Guess This Qualifies

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:13 am

    200 at least qualifies as “troops": About 200 U.S. Marines Land in Liberia to Back Aid Mission

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Wednesday, August 13, 2003
    Good Econ News

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:50 pm

    If this continues, jobs will follow:

    Retail sales in the U.S. continued to rise in July as consumers purchased more cars, garden supplies and clothing.

    Meanwhile, prices of imported goods rose for a second month in a row as prices of food, feeds and beverages surged.

    Retail sales rose by 1.4% last month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, following upward revisions to both June and May data.

    July sales were boosted by a 3.2% gain in automobile sales. Without autos, overall retail sales would have risen by 0.8%. Excluding gasoline and auto sales, retail sales would have risen by 0.7%, a figure economists say is a better gauge of consumer spending.

    The report was stronger than analysts expected. A Dow Jones-CNBC survey of 20 economists predicted that overall sales would rise by 1% for the month and by 0.6% if auto sales were excluded.

    Source: Breaking News: Retail Sales Surged in July

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    Davis’ Woes

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:32 pm

    California Insider (aka Daniel Weintraub of the SacBee) would seem to be on my page in regards to Davis’ chances

    With polls showing his support eroding daily, the Davis-resignation rumors are hot and heavy around the Capitol again. And the resignation question has never ceded its first-place spot atop the list of questions I get from readers. So I am going to make a confession. Knowing Davis as I do, I never thought I would say this, but today, for the first time, I started to think that it is possible he might resign before the election. His position has deteriorated horribly in the past week and it is difficult to imagine a campaign that could pull him out of his tailspin. He can’t even get the voters’ attention; how is he going to persuade them?

    Wild. Read the whole post-the part about Davis resigning as a way to get back at Bustamante is rather interesting.

    Of course, Weintraub still thinks that Davis will stay

    Do I think it will happen? No. Could it happen? For the first time, I have to say the answer is yes. But it’s still premature. Gray has not really even begun to fight.

    Hat tip: Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: Fair and Balanced linked with DAVIS' PROSPECTS
    Kos on the Recall

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:26 pm

    Kos predicts that Davis will prevail in the recall.

    However, I think his analysis ignores the current poll numbers. Further, there are a sizeable number of Democrats in favor of recall. I continue to say that Davis is gone.

    Now, there is the real possibiity that Bustamante could eventually circle the wagons around himself, but I find it unlikely. Further, it would seem that Democratic hopes of a a split of votes amongst Republican candidates appears not to be manifesting.

    Schwarzenegger does have a conservative problem, but he also appeals to many Democrats, so that may be a wash.

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: Fair and Balanced linked with DAVIS' PROSPECTS
    Open Letter to Spammers

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:01 pm

    I have tried blocking them; I have tried creating rules by which to thwart them; I now try to answer them, and ask them to knock it off.

    So as to save you all some time, and to help you choose which spam not to send me, please consider the following.

  • I dont need a deck of cards with anyones faces on them.
  • I dont need an Arnold for Governor t-shirt.
  • I dont want to claim my prize.

    I dont take stock tips from mass e-mails.

  • I dont need to meet any singles, Im happily married, for cryin out loud.
  • I DO NOT want to see your webcam.
  • NO ONE can have my bank account numbers, whether you are the grandson of the deposed Sultan of Bruneis Finance Ministers Chamber Maids cousin or not.
  • I already refinanced my house. And I dont have any credit card debt, thanks. And, while on the subject, I have PLENTY of credit cards. Nor do I need insurance.
  • I have plenty of degrees. And if I want more, I work for a University.
  • I really dont think it is any of your business as to the size and functionality of my anatomy. Although just for the record, everythings fine.
  • For that matter, I don’t want to enhance my bust size, naturally or not.
  • To Mr. Video Professor: it is annoying enough that I have to see you on TV, do you have to be in my inbox as well? That goes twice (no, make that thrice) for Mathew Lesko!
  • To the spammers who think that I will fall for e-mail addresses like Dad, Mom, Payroll and so forth: please.
  • And, YES, I am sick of junk mail. Somehow, though, I dont figure I will get any relief from a junk-mail purveyor.

    Thisll do no good, I know. But it makes me feel better.

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    • The World Around You linked with Echo Letter to Spammers
    Recall Status Link

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:57 pm

    To see the status of the recall in terms of the number of official candidates, go here: California Secretary of State - Elections & Voter Information - Statewide Potential Candidates.

    Hat tip: CalPundit.

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    #47: The Carnival

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:05 am

    Right We Are! has the 47th edition of the Blogosphere’s most well-known travelling circus.

    OTB has it next, btw.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 am

    I am not sure what is more deserving of a “No duh!", Rove for being paid to state the obvious, or the newspaper for reporting it as if this was an unknown fact:

    Karl Rove, President Bush’s top political adviser, says Florida will play a crucial role in the president’s re-election strategy next year.

    Further, my intense political science training tells me that all states with lots of electoral votes will be important in the 2004 election.

    I just thought you ought to know.


    Hat tip: Drudge.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:15 am

    Drinking coffee with part of your upper lip still somewhat numb after having a minor cavity filled is a challenge. But, I thought I would inform my coffee-loving brethern (and sistern) that I will persevere!

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    Dowd on Blogging

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:21 am

    No, she’s not responding to widespread criticitism of her in the Blogosphere, rather she makes fun of blogging Dems in today’s NYT.

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    Go Say “Hi” To Jay

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:12 am

    Jay Solo is also about to hit his Six Month Blogoversary-go say hi!

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    Tuesday, August 12, 2003
    Ya Gotta Luv It

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:55 pm

    Celebrity NIMBY-ness in action: Celebrities Protest Mass. Wind Farm.

    “Is that the wind?”

    “No, dear, just a bunch of hot air from complaining celebs…”

    Hat Tip: Asymmetrical Information.

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    Navel Gazing Update

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:42 pm

    Here’s the status of the Six-Month-Blogoversary Celebration:

  • I easily hit 20k today-thanks to all who helped with that, including Hellblazer, Wizbang, and again to Asymmetrical Information.
  • My blogroll total is at 55 (thanks to those listed below for ‘rolling me), so I still need 11 for my goal. (BTW, I will be posting all blog who link to Poliblog when this is all done.)
  • My Inbound Links via Technorati have me at 94, so only 6 more needed there. (Although it appears I somehow have to get this blog’s attention, and my linkage will be assured.)

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    • Practical Penumbra linked with Ping me, baby, ping me good....
    • Internet Ronin linked with Happy Semi-Annual Blogiversary
    More on the Fines

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:27 pm

    More info, along with my question from below, but not a helpful answer:

    Senate Republicans on Tuesday voted to begin assessing fines against their boycotting colleagues on Wednesday.

    The fine, formally proposed by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, would begin at $1,000 at 4 p.m. Wednesday. It would double to $2,000 on Thursday; $4,000 on Friday and then hit a cap of $5,000 a day as long as the boycotting members did not come back. The order specifies that money must come from their personal funds, not their campaign coffers.

    Sen. Ken Armbrister, D-Victoria, raised one question about whether the fines could be imposed without a quorum of the Senate present to consider them. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said they could be assessed and then, noting no objections, pronounced the fines approved.


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    • Practical Penumbra linked with Whew!
    Texas Has a Circus, Too

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:25 pm

    Althoiugh sans smut peddlers, porn queens, anf former child stars, it doesn’t top the CA Carny. Still, it is worth noting: Texas Republicans Vote to Fine Fugitive Democrats

    Republicans in the Texas Senate voted on Tuesday to fine 11 fugitive Democrats up to $5,000 a day each to force them to return from New Mexico to vote on a plan that would add Republican seats in the U.S. Congress.

    The Democrats angrily vowed they would not pay the fines and would remain out of state and out of the reach of Texas police, as long as necessary to stop the Republican power grab.

    The Senate vote came 16 days after the Democrats fled to Albuquerque in neighboring New Mexico to break a quorum in the state senate and stop a proposal to redraw the state’s congressional districts.

    Of course, if they don’t have a quorom, I am not sure how they can vote the fines. Perhaps it is a committee thing.

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    • Practical Penumbra linked with Whew!
    Gore: Messiah?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:10 pm

    Who knew life would’ve been so grand had Gore just won the election?

    I suppose it would be pointless to point all of this out (scroll down to the bit about the recount)? Yes, I suppose it would.

    Hat tip: OTB.

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    • Practical Penumbra linked with Whew!
    One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:05 pm

    Either US News is out of the loop, or the truly maverick news weekly.

    First, they left Howard out (although there was a feature story on him in the mag):

    And then they stiff Arnie:

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    • MediaReview linked with Which one is not like the others
    Campaign Slogan of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:07 pm

    “Finally, a governor you can get drunk with.”

    -Campaign slogan for the California gubernatorial campaign of comedian GALLAGHER, according to The Washington Post.

    Source: Yahoo! News - Notable Quotes

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    Only If He Asks Nicely

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:06 pm

    Unabomber Wants His Bomb Back

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    An Avalanche of Candidates

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:04 pm

    247 Have Filed in Calif. Governor’s Race:

    A total of 247 people have filed candidacy papers for the Oct. 7 recall election, the secretary of state said Tuesday, as county officials warned of major problems in staging the vote.

    Of those candidates, 115 have been completed for certification and the rest were being reviewed, according to the secretary of state’s Web site.

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    More on Franken’s Book

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:07 am

    This both silly and true:

    Fox claims the use of the phrase is intended to confuse the public and boost book sales.

    True in that it is intended to boost sales, silly to think it would actually confuse anyone.

    This is silly as well:

    In trying to suppress Al Franken’s book the News Corp is undermining First Amendment principles that protect all media by guaranteeing a free, open and vigorous debate of public issues,” she said.

    “The attempt to keep the public from reading Franken’s message is un-American and runs contrary to everything this country stands for.

    Even if he has to change the title, it would hardly constitute supressing his free speech or amount to keeping people from reading the book.

    Indeed, the whole thing is pretty silly.

    Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage

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    Franken’s Key to Success

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:58 am

    First it was Limbaugh, now it is Fox News (slogan)/O’Reilly (visuals)-apparently the only way Al Franken can get people to buy his books is to associate them with conservative-linked icons.

    Still, I don’t know that this was wise, or will ultimately be successful:

    Fox News Channel has sued liberal humorist Al Franken and the Penguin Group to stop them from using the phrase “fair and balanced” in the title of his upcoming book.

    Source: Fox Sues Humorist Al Franken Over Slogan

    Hat Tip: Drudge and NPR (there’s a pair)

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    Mona Reads Poliblog!

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:36 am

    I blogged (on 8/7)

    more ArnieNews means less KobeNews. The allocation of the broadcast day is, after all, a zero sum game.

    And I wrote, in the Mobile Register this Sunday:

    But the biggest bonus of all may be that with Schwarzenegger throwing his hat into the ring, we may see less Kobe Bryant news. There are, after all, only so many hours in the cable news day.

    And what Does Mona Charon say today?

    The nation owes Arnold Schwarzenegger gratitude for pushing Kobe Bryant out of the headlines for the first time in weeks.

    Case closed.

    Ok, it really wasn’t that hard an idea to come up with, but one can dream…

    She must read OTB as well, since she agrees with James on the basics of the recall:

    Still, the concept of recalling a sitting governor for anything less than moral turpitude strikes this conservative as ill-advised.

    And while I agree with her that there are a number of serious problems with CA’s recall and initiative provisions, I think she overstates how close the state is getting to full-blown direct democracy.

    Mona Charen: Schwarzenegger swaggers into the race

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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Inspiration
    It Would Be Entertaining…

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:39 am

    You know you are behind, when you are calling for a debate, and you know you are waaay behind when you call for a “series” of debates

    Simon called for a series of public debates where the candidates show voters how they plan to tackle the state’s big problems.

    And you all thought the Democratic Interest Group Tour was crowded with the Nine. Can you imagine if even a fraction of the CA candidates showed up for the debate? They’d each get about 5 seconds for their opening and closing statements combined. It would take that long for Arnold just to say his name.

    Further, a debate with just Gallagher, Arnie, Bustamante, Mary Carey, Larry Flynt, Gary Coleman, and Arianna would be quite the show.

    Source: Simon Brings Campaign To San Diego

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    I Still Say He’s Doomed

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

    I still say that the conditions aren’t favorable for Clark to enter. Indeed, the emergence of Dean as frontrunner makes it less likely that Clark would be able to find a toehold in this crowded field. Maybe he thinks he can position himself for a Veep slot, but he might could get that without running for the nomination (indeed, if he gets out on the stump and starts talking, he may damage his Veep chances, as he will have set aside the whole “General” thing for the “politician” thing).

    In the strongest signal yet that retired US Army General Wesley K. Clark, the former NATO commander, is planning to join the Democratic presidential race, Clark told volunteers last week to step up their efforts and prepare for an announcement on Labor Day.

    Source: Clark seen planning Democratic nomination bid

    Hat Tip: Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

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    Nothing is Easy in the Recall

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:23 am

    While I do understand the fact that being at the top of the ballot gives a candidate an advantage (especially with 150+ names). However, it seems to me that this system will make it more difficult for voters to find their candidate, and, more significantly, lead to longer voter times and hence lines and waiting (not that lines and waiting are foreign to Californians…).

    Ironically, this system does give an advantage to people with long names…

    Even the alphabet is getting an official makeover as part of the California recall election. Put the ABC’s out of mind. It now goes something like this (when singing, the familiar melody is still O.K.): R, W, Q, O, J, M, V, A, H, B, S, G, Z, X, N, T, C, I, E, K, U, P, D, Y, F and L.


    Using the current list of 96 qualified candidates, for example, the first name on the ballot would be David Laughing Horse Robinson, an artist from the Central Valley. He would be followed by Ned Fenton Roscoe, a Libertarian from Napa, and Daniel C. Ramirez, a Democrat from Imperial County.

    Some of the race’s biggest-name contenders would not show up until well down the roster. The actor Arnold Schwarzenegger would be in the 45th spot, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in the 43rd. Bill Simon Jr., the Republican candidate for governor last November, would be 48th, and Peter V. Ueberroth, the former baseball commissioner, 74th.

    Under the rotation system, the top name on the ballot falls to the bottom in each successive district, so that each of 80 candidates on the ballot gets the best billing in one district. So keeping with the example of the 96 candidates, Mr. Robinson would drop to No. 96 in the second assembly district, also in rural northern California, and so on.

    Source: How to Run a Recall Election: Begin by Juggling the Alphabet

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    Gracias, Otra Vez

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:38 am

    Thanks also to Notorious B.L.O.G. for blogrolling me.

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    More Recall Poll Numbers

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:47 am

    Some new poll numbers are out (in addition to the much reported Time/CNN poll): Schwarzenegger seizes early lead

    More evidence that Davis is doomed:

    72 percent, felt that the state was headed down the wrong track

    Voters tend to punish chief executives when they say things like that.

    Hat Tip: Wizbang!

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    By Steven Taylor @ 5:42 am

    My thanks to Megan for her kind post and the resultant Galt-a-lanche.

    Also, thanks to the following who blogrolled Poliblog:

  • Absinthe & Cookies
  • On the Fritz

    (only 12 more to go to reach my goal).

    And, a special thanks to James, for not linking to me.

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    • Absinthe & Cookies (a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet) linked with Just Because
    Monday, August 11, 2003
    The Math is Against Gray

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:51 pm

    Out of curiousity, I just checked the official results (warning: PDF) of the 2002 CA governor’s race.

    The numbers:

    Davis (D) 47.3%
    Simon ® 42.4%
    Gulke (AI) 1.7%
    Camejo (GRN) 5.3%
    Copeland (LIB) 2.2%
    Adam (NL) 1.1%
    Votes Not Cast in Race 3.4%

    Now, granting that one cannot extrapolate too much from these numbers (for example, Simon ain’t gonna come close to 42.4%), it does give one an idea about where Davis is starting from, and what kind of mountain he has to climb. He has to win a larger percentage of the vote in the recall than he won in the general election.

    (And, of course, one has to take into account his 20% approval ratings).

    Plus, if people do recall Davis, both Schwarzenegger and Bustamante are more attractive candidates than was Simon in ‘02.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments(4) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • The World Around You linked with California By the Numbers
    Recall Politics

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:23 pm

    While this is a reasonable argument, given the anti-politician sentiment that appears to be raging in the California electorate, such statements may actually backfire:

    Bustamante, on CNN’s American Morning, highlighted Schwarzenegger’s lack of political experience.

    I have a hard time believing that the winner will end up with this much of the vote:

    In the poll, 42 percent of respondents said there is a good or very good chance they would vote for the charismatic movie star in the October 7 recall election, while Bustamante had the next-highest rating at 22 percent. Nearly two-thirds said they would vote to recall Davis.

    I would expect Bustamante to gain some. However, it wouldn’t shock me if Davis ended up losing the recall vote by over 60%.

    And this doesn’t strike me as smart:

    Davis reiterated his argument that the recall “is an insult to the 8 million people who went to the polls last November” and will waste $70 million in badly-needed state funds.

    Because, if the polls are accurate, some of the folks who voted for Davis are now willing to recall him. So, he is potentially insulting voters whose minds he could change.

    And arguing about the cost of the recall is, as I have noted before, rather moot at this point. Granted, he is trying to get people mad so that they will vote against the recall, but I can’t see this as a winning strategy.

    Source: - Davis, Bustamante build strategies to beat Schwarzenegger

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    I’m So Vain, I Probably Think This Post is About Me

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:50 pm

    I just noticed that Friday is my 6-month blogoversary and decided to shamelessly ask for gifts. No, not money, nor books, but, like my drive for the Trifecta back for my 4th month milestone, I basically am blegging for attention. (Heck, it worked then, why not now?)

    So, what I would like is to make 20k hits by Friday morning (that shouldn’t be too hard, as I am sitting at 19,500-ish right now), and have the number of folks blogrolling me up to 66 (I am am 51 now) to commemorate my 6-month plateau.

    I would shoot for an Ecosystem goal as well, but as N.Z. Bear officially announced today-it’s broken.

    I know-Technorati has me with 85 inbound links. Let’s try for 100 by Friday.


    (By the way, while this is clearly a shameless plug for attention, I am mostly avoiding working on my syllabi for the Fall (which starts Monday). While grading is perhaps the worst part of teaching, syllabus-prep is right up there).

    Oh, and I’d trade all of the above for an Instalanche :)

    Really, since Kevin has declared this Navel-Gazing Month anyway, mine is a wholly reasonable request.

    Ok, back to work…

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    • Asymmetrical Information linked with
    • Wizbang linked with Blogging Trifecta Deux
    • Hellblazer linked with Steven is trolling for hits
    • Absinthe & Cookies (a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet) linked with Just Because
    Not Too Impressive

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:07 pm

    For this they squatted on the domain name?

    (I had tried to get in back in April, but no go).

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    And What Kind of Animal Would You Be?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:25 pm

    Hit & Run has the answer for Gray Davis.

    And, I would add, they have been a horrible football team as well…

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    What a Shame

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:09 pm

    Delaware Sen. Biden Will Not Run for White House

    Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden said on Monday he will not jump into the Democratic race for the White House in 2004, saying his campaign would be “a long shot” and he can wield the most influence in the Senate.

    “At this moment, my instincts tell me that the best way for me to work to enhance America’s national security and to fight for economic security for the middle class is to remain in the United States Senate,” Biden said in a statement.

    Translation: “I know that I would lose.”

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    41 on the Stump

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:27 am

    Somehow, I can’t see this as a negative:

    Conservatives are going nuts over reports that “41,” as former President Bush is known in the White House, will repay a favor and campaign for Arnold Schwarzenegger. “He could actually seriously damage Schwarzenegger,” a prominent righty told us. Reason: Many conservatives haven’t forgiven Bush for flip-flopping on taxes and being soft on abortion.

    And surely this will be seen as a step away from the President himself endorsing Arnie. (Even though there will be protestations to the contrary).

    And, granted: hard-core (and perhaps self-delusional in terms of who has a shot at winning) will support Simon and may eschew 41.

    Source: U.S. News: Washington Whispers

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    What is Rall Smoking?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:11 am

    I know I should know better than to read Td Rall’s columns, but I did anyway. In all honesty, this one is less annoying than most. However, this jumped out at me:

    As Democrats decide which approach to take against George W. Bush, a right-wing extremist whose agenda makes Barry Goldwater look tame by comparison, they should carefully consider recent history. A moderate nominee like Lieberman might have been a safe bet against Bush’s father, but he’s extremely unlikely to beat his radical son.

    Without getting into Rall’s “Rule of Ideological Balance,” which strikes me as dubious, I would ask, where, exactly, is the evidence tht Bush is a “right-wing extremist"?

    How about:

  • Upping steel tariffs?
  • Pushing the expansion of the reach and scope of the federal government’s role in public education?
  • Supporting the biggest increase in medicare since the Great Society (i.e., including prescription drugs)?
  • Signing the campaign finance reform bill?

    Ah, yes, GWB, radical right-winger.

    Granted, he supports tax cuts, is pro-life and his foreign policy represents a substantial departure from the recent past (but I am not sure that it qualifies as “right-wing” per se). He is conservative on many issues, but is hardly an arch-conservative. He isn’t for example, in the Reagan mold in terms of the size and scope of the federal government.

    A more reasonable assessment of Bush can be found in a recent David Broder column (commented on by OTB last week).


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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:29 am

    Thanks to The Mind Of Man for blogrolling PoliBlog.

    (Nice masthead, btw)

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    Wild Genetic Stuff

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 am

    NPR : DNA Tests Shed Light on ‘Hybrid Humans’

    DNA technology is helping scientists learn more about a rare genetic phenomenon. When two fertilized eggs fuse in the womb, they create a child with two full sets of genes, called a chimera. NPR’s David Baron reports.

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    2004 Preview

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:48 am

    Democrats Unlikely To Retake House

    Numerous Democratic strategists have become convinced in recent months that their party is unlikely to pick up the dozen seats it needs to retake the House, even in the face of a sluggish economy and mounting questions about Iraq that could be issues to use against the Republican-dominated administration.

    Analysts who have been following the early battle for control of the 435-member House say a relative lack of public anger to fuel anti-incumbent voting and a strong GOP fundraising effort underway will be difficult for Democrats to surmount.

    The biggest factor, however, is one that has thwarted Democratic hopes before and, if anything, is growing worse: Congressional redistricting has produced a remarkably small number of competitive districts nationwide. As a result, Democrats must win a huge percentage of the toss-up races to regain the House majority they lost a decade ago.

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    Cross-Border Commerce

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:05 am

    And people think we are going to halt narcotics smuggling?

    Tucked in plastic bags and Tupperware containers, an array of things — legal and illegal — cross the border every day: cooked guinea pigs (an Ecuadorean delicacy), videotapes of missed baptisms and weddings, goats baked in cactus leaves, bundles of ripe chili peppers, letters sent by those impatient with the pace of regular mail and tall stacks of totopos, 10- to 15-inch-wide tortillas.

    Actually, it is a cute little story, but does speak to the porousness of the border.

    Source: For Mom’s Cooking, 2,200 Miles Isn’t Too Far

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    Sunday, August 10, 2003
    Fun with Quizzes

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:18 pm

    I guess this’ll work (from the “Which SciFi Character are You?” quiz):

    Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

    After all, I do have a Yoda quote on my academic site.

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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Great minds...
    Sorry to Disappoint, but…

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:41 pm

    Most bloggers will find this toon amusing-especially those who do not have nude pictures of Rick Santorum, Destiny Stahl, Mary Kate and/or Ashley, or even Stripperella.

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    • Modulator linked with Doonesbury on Blogging
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Collateral Damage
    Looking for Trouble

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:34 pm

    Dean is trying to stir up a little trouble with certain blogging females.

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    Hines Passes

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:28 pm

    OTB reports on the untimely death of Greogory Hines. 57 is simply too early to die.

    I will remember Mr. Hines fondly for the simple reason that my wife and I saw White Knights on our first date. (Yes, back in the Cold War and everything).

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    Blogging Awards

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:01 pm

    Balloon Juice is running a Blogging Award Contest. Check it out and e-mail him your entries-the deadline is 8/18, so you have a week.

    Hat Tip: CalPundit

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    More Arnold Links

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:54 pm is rife with Arnie bloggings.

    Hat Tip: Begging to Differ and Southern Appeal.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 3:51 pm

    Thanks to High Desert Skeptic for linking to PoliBlog.

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    Bloggers on Arnie

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:51 pm

    Begging to Differ has an amusing round-up of the Blogosphere’s reaction to Arnie’s candidacy.

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    Rhyme Time

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:37 pm

    Here’s a poem that Bill Maher would love.

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    Candidate Spotlight

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:10 pm

    CalPundit puts the spotlight on some of the lesser known candidates for governor in CA. It is an amusing read.

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    Truth is Often More Amusing than Fiction

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:04 pm

    Berkeley breast-feeders beat lactating Aussies / Moms nurse en masse to take transpacific title, promote issue

    On the count of, “One, two, three, latch!” nearly 700 moms suckled their babes in the Berkeley Community Theatre. Although the final head count was a bit shy of the 1,130 women who brought the title home to Berkeley last year, it still, to quote the master of ceremonies, “kicked some serious Aussie booby.”

    Hat tip: Betsy’s Page.

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    Truth is Often More Amusing than Fiction

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:04 pm

    Berkeley breast-feeders beat lactating Aussies / Moms nurse en masse to take transpacific title, promote issue

    On the count of, “One, two, three, latch!” nearly 700 moms suckled their babes in the Berkeley Community Theatre. Although the final head count was a bit shy of the 1,130 women who brought the title home to Berkeley last year, it still, to quote the master of ceremonies, “kicked some serious Aussie booby.”

    Hat tip: Betsy’s Page.

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    Maher on the Recall

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:49 pm

    I saw Bill Maher on CNN sometime Saturday being interviewed about the CA recall. He went on a rant about how he was opposed to the recall because it was antithetical to what the Founding Fathers wanted, and he went on about curtailing the masses and representative republics and all that.

    Maher was right in terms of the country, writ large, but was wrong on one rather key issue: the fact that the US Constitution leaves it to the states themselves to determine how to run themselves. As such, it is not accurate to state that what a particular state does in regards to the procedures for the removal of their governmental officials ca be said to be counter to what the Founders wanted.

    He argument had such a self-righteous, Im so smart for thinking this up air to it that I felt the need to respond, even in my meager way here.

    I will say, for what its worth, that were I writing a constitution, I would almost certainly not allow for recall, or, if I did, the threshold would be far higher than Californias constitution currently requires. And I also would have a two-round ballot for the replacement, so as to avoid electing a governor with twenty or thirty percent of the vote.

    And it does seem that Maher went from being funny at one time, to simply being annoying.

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    • The Mind Of Man linked with Bill Maher On California's Recall Vote
    Early Columning Lessons

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:36 pm

    Having been trying this column thing for about four-and-a-half to five months now, I can say I have learned the following:

  • It is impossible to say everything one might want to say in 800ish word.
  • You will get feedback, and it will mostly be negative. I have had one or two e-mails that could be characterized as hate mail.
  • It is true: editors always change the title of your column. Out of 15 published columns, only one of the published titles was close to what I proposed, and none were exactly what I typed. In some cases, the title change altered, to some degree, of what I wanted to focus on.
  • A few days can be a looong time in terms of the news (I notice because the Sunday papers with which I have worked have mid-week deadlines).

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    California Bloggin’

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:52 pm

    David Weintraub, columnist for the Sacramento Bee has launched a blog called California Insider which is currently dedicated to the recall. It appears to be an excellent source of info and insight into this process.

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    The Speed of News

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:47 pm

    The funny thing is that we started last week with it clearly being the Week of Howard, and it rather abruptly became the Week of Arnie.

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    Another PoliColumn

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:51 am

    Yes, it’s two-fer day.

    From today’s Mobile Register:

    Say bye to Gray Davis, hello to Schwarzenegger


    Special to the Register

    Who says politics is boring? The state of California certainly is doing its best to keep us interested as it goes forward with the process to recall the current governor, Democrat Gray Davis.

    Read the whole thing here.

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    • Internet Ronin linked with Happy Semi-Annual Blogiversary

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:46 am

    From today’s Birmingham News:

    `Liberal problem’ keeps Dean behind Bush



    Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont and currently a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for president, is on top of the world. The media world, that is. Last week, Dean found himself on the covers of both Time and Newsweek, was the focus of a feature story in U.S. News and World Report, and was the subject of a front-page story in last Sunday’s Washington Post. As a result, there has been much discussion of Dean’s candidacy in print and over the airwaves.

    The whole thing is here.

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    Saturday, August 9, 2003
    It Just Got Harder for Arnie

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:28 pm

    If Bustamante and Garamendi had split the Dem vote, Arnie was in really good shape. I still think he is, but this puts the pressure on:

    Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, under pressure from fellow party members, dropped out two hours before the filing deadline, leaving Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante as the only prominent Democrat on the ballot. That raised party officials’ hopes of hanging onto the governor’s office if the unpopular Davis is voted out Oct. 7.

    Screws up part of my column for tomorrow, too…

    Source: Over 130 File to Run for Calif. Governor

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    By Steven Taylor @ 6:31 pm

    Thanks to new blog Incommunicado for placing PoliBlog on their list of links.

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    Time Flies

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:23 pm

    Justice Ginsburg Marks 10 Years on Bench

    She is also older than I was thinking (she’s 70).

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    Another Card in the Deck

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:32 pm

    U.S. Says It Holds Former Iraqi Interior Minister:

    “Mahmoud Diyab al-Ahmed, number 29 on the coalition’s list of most wanted government officials, is now under custody of coalition forces,” Central Command said in a statement.

    “The former Iraqi Minister of Interior surrendered to coalition forces yesterday.”

    The U.S. military had announced his capture in July, but on Saturday said that had been an error.

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    Hewitt on Arnold

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:23 am has a good list of reasons for Cons to support Arnold. There are no permalinks, so you will have to scroll down.

    I tend to agree. On balance, Conservatives have to accept the fact the CA is a moderate-to-liberal state, and, therefore, for Reps to be successful they can’t be hard-core Cons. It is better to have moderate Reps in power, than to have liberal Dems, if one is a conservative.

    Remember: the enemy of the good is the perfect.

    Hat tip: Andrew Stuttaford @ NRO.

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    Recall News Sources

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:13 am

    WaPo has its own California Recall news page to go along with aforementioned the Mercury News’ page, and oft-cited in the Blogosphere SacBee’s recall page.

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    Looking Under Rocks

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:06 am

    While on the one hadm I understand the visceral reaction to this: Meetings With Iran-Contra Arms Dealer Confirmed, on the other, fighting the War on Terror does require dealing with unsavory (and often untrustworthy) individuals.

    Isn’t that part of what “connecting the dots” is all about?

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    Even the Rcovery is Weird

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:43 am

    Ragged Recovery Dogs Wall Street’s Summer:

    The stock market this year has acted like it has in past economic recoveries - shooting higher in anticipation of a sharp rebound. But this time, the economy isn’t behaving the same and that’s giving investors pause.

    “It’s looking more like a long, drawn-out recovery,” said Chuck Hill, director of research at Thomson First Call.

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    Buckley, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Constitution

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:41 am

    W. F. Buckley’s current column on the legal and constitutional context of the same-sex marriage debate is worth a read. He rightly points out the significance of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the the US Constitution, and its role in the fight that is looming on this topic.

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    Speaking of Money…

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:36 am

    Interesting-especially Davis’ status vis-a-vis fundraising.

    The election to recall California Gov. Gray Davis (D) and the battle to replace him will trigger a torrent of political spending that will probably exceed $50 million, with Indian tribes, wealthy Republicans, unions and other Democratic groups planning major, independent expenditure campaigns.

    There is no legal limit on contributions to such independent campaigns in California, and the vast bulk of the money will go for television commercials, traditionally the most effective way of communicating with voters in the nation’s biggest state.

    Davis is not limited, either, on what he can raise from a single contributor because under the law, he is technically not a candidate. He expects to spend $15 million to $20 million in his bid to defeat the recall initiative and save his job, one adviser said.

    Film star Arnold Schwarzenegger, running as a Republican, is likely to match Davis dollar-for-dollar. Those running to replace Davis can accept no more than $21,200 in contributions from any individual, company or union, but Schwarzenegger, who makes more than $20 million a movie, will be free to dip into his personal fortune to fund the bulk of his campaign - and he has said he will.

    Source: Calif. Recall To Trigger Money Race

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    Friday, August 8, 2003
    Money Man

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:32 pm

    But I thought that the Democratic Party was the party of the little guy and that the Reps had all the filthy, stinking rich donors. Plus, isn’t money in politics bad?

    I am so confused.

    Making a major foray into partisan politics, multibillionaire George Soros is committing $10 million to a new Democratic-leaning group aimed at defeating President Bush next year.

    Soros, who in the past has donated on a smaller scale to Democratic candidates and the party, pledged the money to a political action committee called America Coming Together, spokesman Michael Vachon said Friday.

    The group plans a $75 million effort to defeat Bush and “elect progressive officials at every level in 2004,” targeting 17 key states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

    Source: Billionaire Commits $10M to Defeat Bush

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    Kurt Who?

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:31 pm

    My main quesiton is: who many voters in the CA care about Arnie’s position on Waldheim, and, for that matter, how many have any idea who he is?

    Here’s a question Jay Leno forgot to ask Arnold Schwarzenegger when he announced his candidacy for governor of California on last night’s Tonight Show: “Will you renounce your support for Kurt Waldheim?”

    Source: Arnold’s Nazi Problem - Why won’t he repudiate Kurt Waldheim? By Timothy Noah

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    The Shirley Temple Endorsement

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:51 pm

    Arnie’s a shoe-in now:

    Shirley Temple Black, America’s most beloved Hollywood star of the 1930s and 1940s, also gave her backing to a man who has appeared in violent action films such as the “Terminator” series.

    “I think he’s an outstanding candidate,” Black, who ran for Congress in California in 1967 but lost, said in an interview with Reuters.

    Source: Schwarzenegger Looms Large as Ballot Takes Shape

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    By Steven Taylor @ 2:46 pm

    Thanks to All Day Permanent Red: The Annex for linking to Poliblog for its new TypePad locale.

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    The Trouble With Bishop Robinson

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:35 pm

    I have refrained from commenting on the Gene V. Robinson’s promotion to Bishop in the Espiscopal Church, but James of OTB, hits the nail on the head as to what bothers me the most about the whole situation: and that is that the most important thing seems to be Mr. Robinson’s sexual and emotional desires.

    It was more important than honoring the vows he made to his wife.

    It was more important than staying in the same home with his children.

    It was clearly more important than the stability of his church.

    And now, as James points out, it seems to be more important than promoting the views and values of his religion.

    Rather, all these thing have taken a back seat (at best) to his homosexuality.

    It is not for me to tell him how to live (and hence my silence on this issue) and similarly, I am not an Episcopalian, so figure they have the right to their own internal business (although I admit to problems with their interpretations of the Bible, but that’s a different discussion). However, after a while one does wonder what is the most important issue here.

    Theoretically, a minister is supposed to sacrifice for the church, not the other way around. Indeed, the reason for celibacy in the Catholic priesthood is, in fact, to make the priest’s sexual and personal needs subservient to the church and service to God.

    The situation in the Episcopal Church currently appears to be the other way around.

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    Peter Who?

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:20 pm

    Ok, while I known who Ueberroth is, I honeslty can remember what he looks like. So going to “toe-totoe with Scwartzenegger in terms of fame"? I think not.

    Plus, I still maintain that running as a caretaker to just fill out Davis’ term is a non-starter

    Ueberroth, a Republican, was considering announcing his plans today to run as an independent candidate who could bridge the partisan divide in Sacramento and said he would only serve for the three-year balance of Davis’ term.

    Ueberroth adviser Dan Schnur said that if Ueberroth entered the race, he would focus on bridging partisan divides, and he noted that the former Time magazine “Man of the Year” could go toe-to-toe with Schwarzenegger in terms of fame.

    “It’s a different kind of star power,” Schnur said of Ueberroth’s reputation. “Ueberroth is hoping to improve Sacramento’s focus from political to economic growth and job creation.”

    Key Democrats enter as party unity shatters

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    Keep Davis, But Elect Me!!

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:16 pm

    While I understand the circumstances that drove Bustamante into the race, but this kind of tryng to have it both ways strikes me as problematic:

    Bustamante unveiled his campaign theme - “No on recall, Yes on Bustamante” - and said he still opposes the drive against Davis. But he added it was time to face the reality that the party could soon lose the Governor’s Office.

    Source: Key Democrats enter as party unity shatters

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Time is on Arnie’s Side

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:10 pm

    I disagree with John Fund as to the signifinance of timing in the CA recall:

    With 60 days before the Oct. 7 recall election, Mr. Schwarzenegger’s brilliant political tease has cost him valuable time in what will have to be a blitzkrieg campaign.

    I think given the institutional parameters (i.e., the plurality winner in a large field of candidates) that a short campaign favors a candidate who has huge name-recognition and deep pockets.

    No one in the race has as muh name recognition or deeper pockets than Arnie.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments(6) | Trackbacks (0)
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    The Commentariat on Arnold

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:42 pm

    I have been away from the computer all morning, so am just now catching up. For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, James of OTB has a great summary of numerous columns on the Schwarzenegger candidacy.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Thursday, August 7, 2003
    Back to Dean for a Minute…

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:17 pm

    Slate has an amusing piece comparing Dean to practially every candidate for president in the past 100 years. Ok not quite, but close.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Two Months It Is

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:16 pm

    Davis will get no respite from the recall, and Arnie’s opponents have to figure out a way to raise money and their profiles in a scant two months.

    Hat tip: OTB.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Huffington Endorses Arnie

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:44 pm

    Michael, that is:

    Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger picked up a quick endorsement from former GOP congressman Michael Huffington, who had considered running himself. Huffington’s ex-wife, independent political commentator Arianna Huffington, declared her candidacy Wednesday.

    “Arnold is a charismatic leader who would be able to work with all segments of the California political spectrum, and our state needs a uniter right now,” Michael Huffington said in a statement Thursday.

    If the Republicans consolidate around Arnie, and especially if Garamendi runs along with Bustamante, then Arnie will be sitting pretty.

    Source: Schwarzenegger, 2 Dems Enter Calif. Race

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    Confirmation: Issa is Out

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:41 pm

    Issa Backs Out Of Recall Election

    Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, who helped bankroll the Davis recall effort, says he’s decided not to run for governor of California.

    Issa made the surprise announcement in front of the San Diego Registrar of Voters office around 12:30 p.m. Many supporters thought he was planning to make his candidacy official by turning in the proper papers.

    He said he could not leave behind his work in Congress, where he could continue to work for “uniting the people of the Middle East.”

    He did say he would continue to remain involved in the recall effort against Gov. Gray Davis

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    Issa to Drop Out?

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:37 pm

    Michael Medved is reporting that Congressman Darrell Issa has decided to quite the race for Governor. if true, that significantly bolsters Arnie’s chances, as Issa’s votes are almost certainly going to go to his way.

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    More Fun With Computers

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:33 pm

    Yesterday I noted that “Schwarzenegger” is in the Word for XP spellchecker. I just discovered that “Bustamante” isn’t.

    I think this spells doom for the Lt. Gov.’s candidacy.

    (Note: Feinstein is in the dictionary as well-it appears she may have pulled out too soon!)

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    The Race Gets Even More Interesting…

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:59 pm

    A new entrant gets Wal-Mart’s endorsement.

    Hat Tip: Calpundit.

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    Slow News Month?

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:56 pm

    To answer Kevin Drum’s question, the answer is “Yes.”

    But the good news is that more ArnieNews means less KobeNews. The allocation of the broadcast day is, after all, a zero sum game.

    Hat tip: OTB.

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    Drudge Fudge

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:50 pm

    Kevin of Wizbang noted that Drudge dropped the ball on Arnie (as I noted as well).

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    • Wizbang linked with Drudge Flip Flop
    And So it Begins…

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:43 pm

    Democrat Unity Crumbles After Arnie’s Blockbuster

    Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, ostensibly Davis’s deputy and the No. 2 state official, scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning to announce he will run in the recall, casting aside assurances that he would not seek the state’s top office.


    Bustamante’s breaking of the taboo on a run now opens the way for mainstream Democrats to run. The state’s Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, a Democrat, also scheduled a news conference for Thursday to announce a run.

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    What?! Arnie’s not a Hardcore Conservative?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:24 am

    Limbaugh is currently roasting Schwarzenegger because he said a number of not-so-conservative things yesterday. And, hence, Arnie really isn’t a conservative.

    To which I say: well, no kidding.

    He is moderate, and that is no surprise. But, of course, to win CA, being moderate is probably useful.

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    Recall Central

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:12 am

    I came across this via the Mercury News. It looks like the best single site for news on this topic.

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    • Wizbang linked with More Recall Dirt
    • From Behind the Wall of Sleep linked with Keeping Up
    More on the Recall

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:40 am

    Internet Ronin thinks that the Democrats to watch in CA are AG Bill Locker and Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi.

    And he is right about Simon (if he runs) and Issa splitting the conservative vote. However, I don’t think that that is good news for Simon, rather it is good news for Arnie. Arnie may have some trouble with the staunch conservatives in CA, and if Issa and Simon split those votes, then that will dilute their significance.

    And I think this is correct:

    The Republican base continues to be energized while the Democratic base is increasingly demoralized. This does not bode well for a large liberal turnout,

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    Democrats Looking for a Candidate

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:32 am

    Interesting. I am not sure, aside from DiFi, who the Democrats can get who will have a solid chance. Panetta might actually make a decent governor, but he is hardly exciting, and I have a hard time hs could win with the slogan: “Vote for Me, I’d Make a Great Caretaker!”

    California House Democrats, in a conference call Wednesday, agreed to find a Democrat to enter the contest, according to a source familiar with the call.

    The group, which included most of the 33 Democrats who represent California in Washington, were divided between Bustamante and former Monterey Rep. Leon Panetta as their top choice, the source said.

    Panetta has privately told Democrats he would be willing to run and serve as a caretaker, until the next general election, in 2006, the source said.

    Also interesting:

    Whether Riordan joins the campaign, however, is in doubt in light of Schwarzenegger’s candidacy. The two are friends and Riordan had said he would become a candidate only if Schwarzenegger opted out.

    There were reports Wednesday that Riordan was surprised and upset at Schwarzenegger’s decision because the former mayor had lined up a political staff and prepared a campaign - thinking the actor was out of the race.

    I would’ve expected that Schwazenegger would have consulted with Riordan. Maybe he did. I suspect that wil all clear up shortly.

    And it looks like Issa is definitely running:

    Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista (San Diego County), said he would turn in his nomination papers this afternoon in San Diego.

    “Despite the late date, I am pleased to have Arnold in the campaign to help me recall Gray Davis,” said Issa, who spent $1.7 million of his own money to put the recall on the ballot.

    The onyl wildcards to me are if Bill Simon also runs, and whether the Democrats can find a true challenger to face Arnie.

    Otherwise it will be Arnie v. Issa v. Simon v. the Side Show candidates.

    Soure: Schwarzenegger steals recall scene / ACTOR’S ANNOUNCEMENT DRAWS IN DEMOCRAT BUSTAMANTE / PLOT TWIST: Hollywood star in race to replace Gov. Davis

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    Favorite Arnold Story

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:22 am

    I remember seeing Schwarzenegger on Lettermans old Late Night show on NBCit had to have been over twenty years ago. It may have been Arnies first appearance with Dave, in fact. I found the following exchange rather amusing at the time, and still do to this day:

    Letterman asked Arnold what Schwarzengger meant in German.

    Arnie: It means black plowman.

    Dave: So, how do the Kennedys feel about having a black plowman in the family?

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    What!? Two Pieces of Good News?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:14 am

    U.S. Productivity Soars as Jobless Claims Drop:

    America’s business productivity soared in the second quarter of 2003 and new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a six-month low last week, a double dose of good news as the economy tries to get back to full throttle.

    Productivity - the amount that an employee produces per hour of work - grew at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the April to June quarter, the best showing since the third quarter of 2002, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That marked an improvement from the 2.1 percent growth rate in productivity posted in the first three months of this year.

    In a second report from the department, new applications for jobless benefits fell by a seasonally adjusted 3,000 to a six-month low of 390,000 for the work week ending Aug. 2. It marked the third week in a row that claims were below 400,000, a level associated with a weak job market. This suggest the pace of layoffs is stabilizing. Claims hit a high this year of 459,000 during the work week that ended April 19.

    Could it finally be the beginning of the end of the Weird Economy?

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    Leno Got it Right

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:08 am

    Remarkably, Leno got it right, as he noted in his interview with Schwarzenegger that the race ahead really wasn’t Arnie v. Gray.

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    Wednesday, August 6, 2003
    Fun With Computers

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 pm

    Amusingly, “Schwarzenegger” is in the Word for XP’s spellcheck dictionary.

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    Ways Not to Think About this Race

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:45 pm

    I have been watching a little bit of the Arnie is Running coverage and have already noted an error in the way a lot of people are talking about the race. Many are discussing the race as if it was Arnie v. Gray, but it isnt. Yes, in the sense that a popular alternative exists in the list of replacements enhances the chances that Davis will be recalled, it is Arnie v. Gray, because an attractive alternative may enhance more voters to vote to recall Davis. And certainly, the Davis camp will campaign against whomever the prohibitive favorite is on the list, but the bottom line is the recall is first Davis v. Davis, and then it is the list of replacements versus themselves (i.e., Schwarzenegger v. the field).

    Quite frankly, it seems to me that it is a foregone conclusion that Davis is going to be recalled. The only question is: who will replace him? Even if Davis successfully convinces the voters of California that Schwarzenegger is the wrong guy to be governor, that still doesnt mean that Davis will save his job.

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    • Internet Ronin linked with Watch the Attorney General

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:36 pm

    I really, really thought he wasn’t going to run. Drudge got this one wrong (he predicted that Arnie would bow out and introduce Riordan on the Tonight Show as the “next governor of California…").

    Anyway, as you all now know, Arnie is The Running Man.

    I must confess, that while I have my doubts about a newbie taking this job at this time, it does make the race more interesting.

    I also think it utterly dooms Gray Davis.

    As I argued last month, in a crowded field and only needing a plurality to win, name recognition is going to be huge.

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    OK, Not Good

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:33 pm

    I excused Edwards for missing one tax payment, but this is a bit ridiculous:

    Presidential hopeful John Edwards has a history of late payment of his property taxes, with records showing delinquent payments nine times over the past decade.

    One would think that one would be a bit more responsible as a US Senator. Or hire a better business manager.

    Source: :Edwards late on property tax payments

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    Yglesias on Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:36 pm

    Matthew Yglesias makes a legit point regarding Dean and the gay marriage issue. Dean’s answer to Larry King’s questions on this topic were similar to what he said on Meet the Press a month or so ago. In both cases he was vague on his exact personal views on the issue.

    Bottom line: being the governor who signed the only civil union legislation in the country (and the candidate who has a reputation for “straight talk"-no pun intended), Dean needs to produce a better and more forthright answer as to his personal views on gay marriage.

    Hat tip: naw.

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    Poor Edwards

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:08 pm

    Ya know, once you are worth between $12 and $30 million, one would think these kinds of claims would lose their cache:

    Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards planned to hit the airwaves Wednesday with his first round of television commercials in Iowa and New Hampshire.


    “My grandmother came from a family of sharecroppers,” Edwards says in one ad. “My father worked in a cotton mill all his life, and I helped out in the summers.”

    The spots also make the point that “George
    Bush, he comes from a very different place.”

    This reminds me of this oldie but goodie.

    And for what it’s worth: my maternal grandparents were both born into poverty, and my paternal ones come from working class families. Does my blog now have more moral authority?

    Source: Edwards to push campaign ads in 2 states

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    By Steven Taylor @ 12:53 pm

    While technically correct, and I do not wish to downplay the risk that these individuals are facing, but somehow the headline (which I have seen various places) “US Troops in Liberia” seems a bit overblown for the deployment of seven marines, with a potential max of twenty.

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    • Tiger: Raggin’ & Rantin’ linked with not quite the shores of Tripoli
    Dreamin’ Dennis

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:23 pm

    And how does he propose to do this?

    On several occasions, Representative Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, appeared frustrated as he challenged his opponents to promise, as he did, “as my first act in office” as president to repeal the Nafta deal with Mexico and Canada, which was passed under President Bill Clinton in 1993 and was strongly opposed by union leaders. Other candidates ignored Mr. Kucinich’s entreaties as the debate moderator, Bob Edwards of National Public Radio, slid into the round of questions.

    Source: Democrats Seeking Labor’s Backing Call for More Health Benefits and Less Free Trade

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    JL on TD

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:40 am

    John Lemon doesn’t appreciate the fact that Tom Daschle’s blog is bereft of a comments function.

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    DiFi Stays in Senate

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:48 am

    I am not surprised: Feinstein Won’t Run for Calif. Governor

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    Clark in ‘04!

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:35 am

    Well, that seals it. Clark is destined to be President:

    As for the conventional wisdom that says Clark is too late to the party to raise funds and build support, co-founder Josh Margulies trots out the practiced answer: “The last time a Rhodes scholar from Arkansas announced against an incumbent named Bush who had just won a war in Iraq, he did okay. And he declared in October.”

    Ya gotta luv logic like that.

    And is the “Draft Clark” movement as pathetic as the article makes it sound, or is the author trying to be cutesy?

    I am going with pathetic.

    He promises a toast to Wesley at 8:04 p.m. - “that’s 20:04 in military time, 2004, get it?” - and an auction of dinner for two, which consists of MREs, a Draft Wesley mug and a dessert of Clark bars. “Do you know how hard it is to find Clark bars?” muses Hlinko. “My cousin spent the entire day online, and he finally found a distributor in Pittsburgh.” Apparently, they speculate, Clark bars have been eclipsed by Butterfingers. This may be because they taste like “chocolate-covered barley,” says Hlinko.

    Gen. Clark’s Backers, Brewing Up a Draft

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    Tuesday, August 5, 2003
    Service Sector Surges

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:24 pm

    More good econ news: U.S. Service Sector Expands to Record High

    The giant U.S. service sector raced ahead in July at its fastest clip on record, expanding for a fourth straight month and beating market expectations, a report showed on Tuesday.

    As the economy seemed to edge closer to a full-throttle recovery, the Institute for Supply Management said its index of non-manufacturing activity surged in July to 65.1. It was the highest level since the survey was first conducted in July 1997, and well above June’s 60.6.

    A reading above 50 denotes growth in the vast industry, which encompasses everything from restaurants and retail stores to banks and tourism, and comprises about 80 percent of the U.S. economy. A figure below 50 indicates contraction.

    Hat Tip:CalPundit

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    By Steven Taylor @ 12:45 pm

    A classic ad via Common Sense and Wonder.

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    Dean as Frontrunner

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:41 pm

    As of right now, I think that it is fair to declare Howard Dean the frontrunner in the Democratic primary process. Here’s why:

  • The storyline in the early debates was Kerry v. Dean.
  • As noted earlier today, Lieberman is trying to make it him v. Dean.
  • In the money race, the issue is Dean and his internet fundraising (although he is still third in money raised, behind Kerry and Edwards).
  • According to the Des Moines Register Dean leads Gephardt in the polls 23 to 21 (granted, that is a statistical tie). However, this makes the story in Iowa as Gephardt v. Dean.
  • In New Hampshire, it is shaping up as Kerry v. Dean.
  • And while Dean is well behind in South Carolina, if he wins Iowa and/or New Hampshire, SC will immediately become Lieberman v. Dean.

    It is early yet, to be sure, but given that each of the stories of above have only one common denominator, and this is the word “Dean,” I would say that he is currently the frontrunner.

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    A Blast from the Past

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:58 am

    Kevin of Wizbang has an amusing balst from the past at his site.

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    “The” OC?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:06 am

    Tonight, FOX premieres a show called “The OC” set in Orange County, CA (actually, I think it is set in Newport Beach, to be specific). I guess having gotten all the mileage they could out of LA-based soap operas, they decided to move south…

    Anyway, while I have not intention of watching, I have seen the commercials over and over again and something is bugging me: The OC? I lived in Orange County for six years, my wife’s family and part of mine still lives in OC, and yet I have never heard it referred to as “The” OC, just “OC". So, what’s up with that?

    OK, minor in the grand scheme of things, but what are blogs for if not some inanity?

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:13 am

    Thanks to Hellblazer for permalinking to Poliblog.

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    Catholic, Pryor, Abortion and Such

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:03 am

    James of OTB has a good round-up of some of today’s op/eds on the issue of anti-Catholic flap vis-a-vis the nomination of Bill Pryor.

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    Yet Another of Dean’s Problems

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:56 am

    Yesterday I noted Deans’s problem in the South, and with the Security Issue. Today, it’s the “Mr. Liberal” Problem (which I dealt with some here yesterday as well).

    And while I concur with many of his supporters that he isn’t the arch-liberal that he has been painted as (although, he is pretty liberal on many issues), it is still the case that he is perceived as an anti-war arch-liberal, and he is now being painted as a tax-and-spend liberal by Lieberman:

    Staking out the political center, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut warned today that nominating Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, as the Democrat to face President Bush in 2004 would be “a ticket to nowhere.”

    During an appearance here at the National Press Club, Mr. Lieberman was asked about the increased attention in the news to Dr. Dean. Mr. Lieberman said: “A candidate who was opposed to the war against Saddam, who has called for the repeal of all of the Bush tax cuts-which would result in an increase in taxes on the middle class- I believe will not offer the kind of leadership America needs to meet the challenges that we face today.”

    Even if Dean plans to eventually make a move towards the center, he is going to have quite the uphill battle.

    And, ultimately, on issue of taxes, abortion, health care and forign policy, Dean is pretty liberal, even if he isn’t the second coming of George McGovern.

    Source: Lieberman Denounces Tilt to Left

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    Mortgage Rates on the Rise

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:36 am

    First, this could be bad economic news-insofar as rates have bottomed out and are now on the uptick, which could slow home buying and refinancing. However, I would note that they are hardly soaring. I would guess that there will still be at least a final flurry of refinancing and purchasing, as those who were waiting to refi, or waiting to buy, on the hopes that the rates wold continue to tumble, will jump now before the rates go up any further. Whether this is going to be a long-term problem is predicated on the health of the rest of economy. Clearly, low mortgage rates and such could not persist forever.

    If cheap mortgages have kept the economy afloat, the economy may have just sprung a leak.
    A little more than a month after the Federal Reserve reduced its overnight lending rate to just 1 percent, mortgage rates have shot up as investors have soured on the bond market-in part because of confusion about the Fed’s intentions in managing the economy.

    Second, this all goes to show how such thing are relative, as even with the upward swing in rates, they are still near historic lows. Of course, since I refi’d at 4.5%, I guess it is easy for me to be relaxed about the whole thing.


    Rising interest rates also affect the Federal government’s growing budget deficit, which the Bush administration expects to reach $455 billion this year.

    Though many economists contend that big government deficits eventually lead to higher interest rates as the government begins to crowd the markets with its huge borrowing needs, most analysts say the recent surge in interest rates is not a result of the newest news on deficits.

    Analysts say the increase in this year’s expected deficit is tiny compared with the total credit market, and they note that investors were already expecting this year’s deficit to exceed $300 billion.

    And, an amazing stat:

    the nation’s mortgage lenders, who are responsible for more than $5 trillion in home loans.

    The article’s discussion of how various markets and the actions of those buying and selling in those markets, affect the whole system is quite interesting.

    Source: Surge in Rates May Hurt Pillar of the Economy

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    Political Site of the Day

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 am

    Poliblog is the Political Site of the Day for today.

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    Monday, August 4, 2003
    Another of Dean’s Problems

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:07 pm

    Problem Number Two: The Security Issue.

    Granted, these are the pollsters of his partisan adversaries but still, I think that this is a legit issue:

    “A Dean nomination could again [mean] Democrats lose 49 out of 50 states,” says Clinton’s pollster, Mark Penn, who is working for Sen. Joe Lieberman’s campaign. (The 2000 vice presidential candidate is currently leading in national surveys, based mostly on name recognition.) “Dean’s antiwar image will linger and will be used against him,” predicts Jim Jordan, Kerry’s campaign manager. “This ’security mom’ thing is real. Women are even more hawk-ish than men. Until you can convince the voters that you, too, can keep the country safe, you don’t get heard on the other stuff.” Can Dean beat Bush? “Absolutely impossible,” says Jordan.

    If he gets the nod, I expect that they won’t be so categorical in their pronouncements…

    Source: The Left’s Mr. Right?

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    One of Dean’s Problems

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:56 pm

    Problem #1: The South Problem

    Merle Black, a political-science professor at Atlanta’s Emory University, says Southerners would have “no use for him at all” and predicts that many Democratic officeholders in the region would fail to campaign with him. But Black thinks the problem is more stylistic than related to his position on particular issues: “He’s a New Yorker. He’s very aggressive. For voters who are not ideological, they look at candidates and see if they think he’s a nice guy. I don’t think Dean is that nice guy.”

    Indeed, I would argue that some of his positions will harm him in the South as well. His anti-war stance won’t go over well there, nor his staunch pro-abortion postion, nor the fact that he signed the civil union legislation in Vermont. It is hard enough for a Democrat to win the south these days-and I can’t imagine Dean being the one to turn back that trend.

    Source: The Left’s Mr. Right?

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    • The Chicago Report linked with Why Texas?

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:44 pm

    My thanks also to LittleBugler for permalinking to PoliBlog.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 3:34 pm

    Thanks to naw for blogrolling Poliblog.

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    More on Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:06 pm

    I am doing some research on Dean for a column, and have found the following:

    Dean on healthcare:

    Gov. Howard Dean, the only Governor who is a doctor, signed a law here today that sets in motion a plan to give Vermont universal health care by 1995.

    Source: NYT, 5/12/192

    Dean on Welfare Reform:

    The way Gov. Howard Dean tells it, he had no choice but to leap in front of the speeding locomotive. He studied the landscape, he said, spotted no other Democrat poised to derail the GOP’s welfare-reform juggernaut and concluded that he alone must bestride the tracks.

    In an unlikely role for a little-known governor from the third-smallest state, Dean lurched from near obscurity onto the national stage two weeks ago by slamming House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and 15 GOP governors, including Gov. Weld, for privately negotiating a drastic welfare overhaul.

    “They must be smoking opium in the speaker’s office,” said Dean, who until then had kept a low profile as chairman of the National Governors’ Association.

    Source: The Boston Globe 1/28/95

    Dean said poor children whose parents were lopped from the welfare rolls would suffer.

    “When Americans elected the new majority,” Dean said, “they voted to do things in a new way, but I don’t think they voted to starve children.”

    Source: The Boston Globe 1/10/95

    And, of course, there’s the Civil Union thing, the anti-Iraq war stance, universal health care stance and his desire to raise taxes.

    I am not sure if it will be all that easy for Dean to claim the middle, to be honest.

    Wanting to balance the budget, being pro-gun and having had a recent change of heart on the death penalty in some cases isn’t likely to cut it.

    We shall see.

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    Saddam Hunt

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:45 pm

    At this rate, you’d think he’d be running out of friends. How many could the dude have at this point?

    U.S. troops hunting Saddam Hussein said on Monday they had seized two of his key followers, while a third apparently gave himself up after eluding a raid.

    U.S. Troops Grab Allies of Elusive Saddam

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    An Amusing Blast from the Past

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:33 pm

    Here’s an amusing bit of fun-poking aimed at presidential prognosticators from the 2000 race:

    Al Gore will be the next president of the United States. He is, after all, two whole inches taller than his Republican rival. And, as statisticians will tell you, the tallest guy always wins.

    Nope. George W. Bush will take the White House. He’s up against a sitting vice president. And, political scientists note, the incumbent administration’s vice president usually loses if he runs.

    Think again. It’s Gore. The economy is good, the president is popular, so the incumbent party wins. Plus, the last winner of the Rose Bowl had an animal for a mascot, and statistical models show that Democrats win in those years.

    Wait a minute. It’s Bush. Easter fell in April this year, and statisticians say that in that case, the Republicans capture the presidency.

    Hold everything. It’s too close to call. Surveys show that over the past century, more often than not, the candidate with the most letters in his last name wins. That’s four for Gore, four for Bush. Forget it, “W.” That initial won’t count here.

    Who needs campaigns, polls, issues, ideologies? Prognosticators believe they can tell you who your next commander-in-chief will be without any election-year agony - almost without any election-year, period. In an era of instant information, the presidential prognosis is more irresistible than ever.

    Of course, there are exceptions to all the truisms.

    Among them: Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford even though Carter is several inches shorter.

    Martin Van Buren and George Bush defied the vice-presidential curse.

    And the extra letters in Michael Dukakis’ name couldn’t save him from George Bush.

    But distinguished academics brandishing mathematical formulas, statistics-lovers with an eye for quirky theories, even astrologers who monitor the planets all believe they have a window into this year’s election. They know how you will vote, even if you don’t.

    Source: Gore is standing tall, while Bush is sitting pretty

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    Howard Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:17 pm

    I post this not because I am trying to be snarky-rather, I didn’t know this (if I did, I forgot it):

    Gov. Richard A. Snelling, a Republican businessman who helped guide Vermont during a tenure that spanned three decades and two national recessions, died of a heart attack yesterday at his home in Shelburne, Vt. He was 64.

    Control of Vermont’s government immediately shifted from the Republicans to the Democrats, as Lt. Gov. Howard Dean, a Democrat from Burlington, assumed the governorship by constitutional mandate.

    Dean, 42, a physician, was formally sworn in by Chief Justice Frederick Allen at the State House at 3 p.m., seven hours after Snelling’s State Police driver discovered the governor’s body near his swimming pool.

    Analysts predicted Snelling’s death would create major repercussions in state government and in Vermont’s Republican Party.

    Source: The Boston Globe, August 15,1991, page 1.

    (I came across this doing some research)

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    A Question for Nominees

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:57 pm

    Bret Marston proffers a quetion for Bill Pryor.

    Of course, it is a question that can be generalized beyond abortion: since it is unlikely that any judge (or law enforcement officer, for that matter) agrees with all the laws he/she has to enforce, why would anyone want to be a judge?

    Indeed, judges have to oversee rulings that they don’t like all the time (you think Ito liked the OJ ruling?).

    I think that the question Bret posts in some ways misses the point of what judges do-which is fulfill a key institutional element in our system. They aren’t there to legislate.

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    Good Econ News

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:51 pm

    Factory Orders Post Solid Gain in June:

    Demand for U.S. manufactured goods rose at the sharpest rate in three months in June, the government said on Monday in a report that offered the latest sign that the struggling industrial sector is on the mend.

    Factory orders rose 1.7 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted $326.0 billion after an increase of just 0.3 percent a month earlier, the Commerce Department said. It was the biggest gain since March and beat expectations on Wall Street.

    Orders for costly durable goods - items intended to last three years or more - rose 2.6 percent, their biggest increase since last July and an upward revision from the 2.1 percent gain reported a little more than a week ago. Demand for shorter-lived goods rose a much-more-modest 0.7 percent.

    The June increase in factory orders is among a number of recent signs showing activity stirring in the long-suffering manufacturing sector. The Institute for Supply Management said on Friday its manufacturing index pushed up to 51.8 in July from 49.8 in June, signaling factory-sector growth.

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    Too Funny

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:30 pm


    Check it out: Mayberry in Star Trek

    Hat Tip: OTB.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 12:08 pm

    For what it’s worth, Poliblog registered its 18,000th hit a few minutes ago.

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    Will He Stay or Will He Go?

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:04 pm

    An update on the Powell story:

    Not surprising, as I would expect denials regardless:

    Secretary of State Colin Powell and his deputy plan to step down in early 2005, The Washington Post reported on Monday, but the State Department said “there is no basis for the story.”

    Citing unnamed sources, The Post said Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage recently told national security adviser Condoleezza Rice he and Powell would leave on Jan. 21, 2005, the day after the next presidential inauguration.

    “There was no conversation between the deputy secretary and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice concerning any plans for ’stepping down,"‘ State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said in a statement.

    “There is no basis for the story,” he added. “As Secretary Powell has always said, he and Deputy Secretary Armitage serve at the pleasure of the president, and will continue to do so.”

    Source: U.S. Dismisses Report Powell Plans to Leave in 2005

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    A Bold Challenge

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:26 am

    John Lemon has a proposal for the blogosphere. Check it out.

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    Technorati Slowness

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:25 am

    Is it just me, or has the Technorati database been extremely slow of late (sometimes taking a day to record linkage)?

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    Walk this Way

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:07 am

    Amusing: : Saddam Portrait on Infantry Museum Floor

    At the National Infantry Museum here, one of its most prized paintings lies flat on the floor, covered by glass, so visitors can walk on it.
    Museum director Frank Hanner thought that the most appropriate way to display a large oil painting of Saddam Hussein brought home by U.S. troops from Iraq.

    Hanner said he’s following the lead of the former Iraqi leader, who put former President Bush’s image on the floor of a Baghdad hotel. In Islamic culture, showing someone the bottom of your foot or the sole of your shoe is a great insult.

    Ok, maybe a little childish, but amusing nonetheless (and just in its own way).

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    What?!? Demorats Don’t Like Dubya?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:05 am

    Who’da thunk it? Disdain for Bush Simmers in Democratic Strongholds

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    Bureaucrats Ain’t Dumb

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:00 am

    What? Exploiting the current interest in security in order to promote an underground visitors’ center in the Mall in DC? What? Bureaucrats using politics and PR to try and get something out of Congress?

    Imagine that.

    The most recent plan, proposed by the Park Service in 2001 and now being fleshed out by an architectural firm…

    The concept is generally imitative of the 1993 proposal, but a key difference can be found in the project’s name: It is no longer the “Washington Monument Visitors Center Plan"; it is now part of “Washington Monument Permanent Security Improvements.”

    Some critics say it’s a blatant attempt by the Park Service to slide through a pet project by invoking the name of national security.


    “As soon as you say that it’s for security, any project - however questionable - is able to move forward because everyone is afraid that one of these great monuments might be destroyed on their watches,” said Judy Scott Feldman, an art history professor at American University who chairs the National Coalition to Save Our Mall, one of several groups fighting the proposal. “But in reality, [the underground proposal] has nothing to do with security.”

    Source: Washington Monument Dispute Resurfaces

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    Fun with Recalls

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 am

    This strikes me are clearly running counter to the spirit (indeed, the letter) of the California State Constitution’s recall provision:

    Gov. Gray Davis will ask the California Supreme Court to delay his Oct. 7 recall election until March and make him a candidate to, in effect, replace himself, his attorneys said Sunday.

    Indeed, by giving the governor two ways to escape recall, it would utterly alter the nature of the process as written.

    Indeed, this is another example of trying to change the rules of the game after the game has started. It is like the Toricelli replacement lawsuit in NJ in 2002, and the attempt (indeed, the success) of the Gore campaign to win extensions and alterations of the rules for the recount in Florida, despite what the law stated.

    And you have to love the irony:

    Attorneys for the Democratic governor’s campaign committee, Californians Against the Costly Recall, told reporters in a conference call that voters who want to retain Davis would have their equal protection rights violated if he is not listed as a replacement candidate.

    So, because the recall is costing so much, let’s save some money by causing the state to incur court costs, not to mention the costs associated with extending the process. Although I will grant that delaying the process until March would save some money. However, the legal battles wil cost the state money, and these things have a way of feeding off themselves. It seems to me that at this point Davis needs to campaign, and then take his lumps, if that is how it turns out.

    And if after all of this people want to try and refine the rules, or elimnate the recall provision in the constitution, they should do so through the appropriate institutional methods.

    Davis to Sue to Delay Recall

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    The Shape of Things to Come?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am

    State Dept. Changes Seen if Bush Reelected

    Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and his deputy, Richard L. Armitage, have signaled to the White House that they intend to step down even if President Bush is reelected, setting the stage for a substantial reshaping of the administration’s national security team that has remained unchanged through the September 2001 terrorist attacks, two wars and numerous other crises.

    Armitage recently told national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that he and Powell will leave on Jan. 21, 2005, the day after the next presidential inauguration, sources familiar with the conversation said. Powell has indicated to associates that a commitment made to his wife, rather than any dismay at the administration’s foreign policy, is a key factor in his desire to limit his tenure to one presidential term.

    Interesting, and not entirely surprising, to be honest. Of course, critics of the President will discount the “personal resons” argument (and if true, this wouldn’t be the first time he has made a decision based on his wife’s wishes-he allegedly chose not to run for the presidendency as a result of Alma’s input). All of that aside, being SecState for four years is a lot of work, especially given the international climate the since 9/11.

    Between Rice and Wolfowitz, Rice strikes me, at this point, as a better choice. Of course, her confirmation hearing woul dbe a circus over the yellowcake business. Although if she does end up being the nomination (should Bush be re-elected, and should Powell resign), it would be rather ironic, given that last week many press accounts basically had her fired (for example).

    Wolfowitz would give the Democrats fits.

    And, excuse me?

    Long-shot candidates for secretary would include Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), the centrist chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee who is a strong supporter of Powell. Lugar is so respected by Democrats that his name was also floated during the Clinton administration.

    Another dark horse is former House speaker Newt Gingrich. The Georgia Republican appears to be openly campaigning for the job, arguing in speeches and in a recent Foreign Policy magazine article that the State Department under Powell has failed to adequately support Bush’s policies.

    I can think of no poorer choice for chief diplomat than Newt. Yeesh.

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    • The World Around You linked with No Newt
    Sunday, August 3, 2003
    Lemony Parenting Advice

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:49 pm

    John Lemon offers some help to those of us who have to take our three-year-olds out into polite sociey (or, at least, society).

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    More on Balancing Budgets

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:44 pm

    A comment posted below in response to my post on budgets, inspires the following.

    There are three basic ways to balance a budget (meaning without borrowing, i.e., incurring deficits):

    1) To cut spending so that it is the same as, or less than, the amount of revenue coming into the federal treasurey

    2) To raise taxes to guarantee that more revenue is coming in than is needed.

    3) For unexpectedly more revenue to come into the government via tax revenue than was planned for.

    Guess which one was the reason for the balanced budgets from 1998-2001? (hint: it isnt #1 or #2, that is to say, they werent pre-planned balanced budgets).

    Guess how hard it is to do #1? Answer: pretty hard. For one thing, the federal budget isn’t just a tally sheet with revenue and outlays. It is staggeringly complex set of documents that contain a good deal of variable costs. Even once a budget is passed, it is not 100% certain how much it will end up costing.

    Further, members of congress, of both parties like to spend money, on policies great and small. Indeed, we citizen (of both parties) like them to spend the money, too (just so long as it on our district, or related to something we believe in. That, class, is called democracy (or, at a minimum, is the direct result of allowing popularly elected legislators to make policy-they tend to have this strange need to please the voters who can take their jobs away).

    Guess how hard it is to do #2? Can we say “impossible"? I bet you can. And for two reasons: first, it is notoriously difficult to get congress to raise taxes, especially to the levels that would guarantee balanced budgets. Second, even if you raised the taxes, guess what congress would do? That’s right: they would SPEND THE MONEY. Shocking, ain’t it?

    So, despite the snarky sniping of partisans of various stripes, the bottom line is that balancing the budget isn’t as easy as it sounds, and one balance, isn’t something that any given President can do just because he wants to. Even President Clinton (who, as any President would, took credit for the balanced budgets-and I am not slamming Clinton, I sincerely mean any President would have taken credit), early on noted that while he would like a balanced budget, it could take some time to achieve. Then, unplanned by anyone, we had a balanced budget. It happened because the economy grew at a fast rate, meaning more money was coming in than we had planned to spend. It would be akin to any one of us getting an unexpected raise. At first it would seem like we had a lot

    And this is all without a discussion of mandatory and discretionary spending, the role of entitlements, or the complexities of appropriates bills and the like.

    In short, Presidents dont have as much influence over balanced budgets as they (of either party) would like to think. Indeed, they have far less influence over the overall economy than they would like to think.

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    Budget Politics

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:53 am


    That gubernatorial record could turn off some liberal true believers. Or it could allow Dean to execute a political pivot in next year’s presidential primaries. A New England governor with a budget-balancing reputation might prove useful as the primaries move south of the Mason-Dixon line. “The national role reversal is that Democrats have become the party of the balanced budget,” said Eric Davis, a Middlebury College political scientist. “Howard Dean can lay claim to that.”

    is a politcal chimera-while it is true that the last national balanced budgets were under a Democratic President (and Republican Congress, I would note), there was nothing about the policies of Clinton that led to the balanced bugdet. Rather, it was the economic boom that balanced the budget.

    And while the Democrats may crow about their past fiscal success and deride the Bush administration for “creating deficits"-it won’t be any different if after 2004 there is total Democratic control of all the budget-relevant branches of the federal government; unless the economy takes off like gangbusters, there will be deficits. They are the norm.

    I am not saying I like this fact, and I would prefer a balanced budget, but facts are facts. Plus, the structure of the federal budget, with 2/3rds of it essentially locked into mandatory spending, with legally mandated annual increases, makes balancing more difficult than it sounds.

    In short, if the Dems are the “party of the balanced budget” it is for rhetorical purposes only.

    I will grant that Dean has legitimate claim to the issue, given his succes in Vermont. Still, it is easier to balance to budget of a small state than it is to tame the beast that is the federal budget. And cowing the US Congress is quite a task.

    Source: As Governor, Dean Was Fiscal Conservative

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    Good Old Fashion Religious Tolerance

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:39 am

    Nice to know that pro-Taliban forces are respectful of their fellow muslims:

    A remote-controlled bomb exploded at the mosque last month, injuring the mullah and 24 worshippers as they knelt, hands outstretched in supplication. Two days later, a mullah, who had hung the Afghan flag in his mosque and said good Muslims support the nation’s central government, was shot to death as he sat praying, a book open in his hand. A third Kandahar mullah was attacked this week, executed outside his mosque by gunmen on a motorcycle.

    All three clerics served on a religious council that recently decreed that, contrary to pronouncements by the Taliban Islamic movement, there is no legitimate jihad, or holy war, against the central government or the foreign troops that support it.

    Source: Afghan Political Violence on the Rise

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    Friedman Nails It

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:27 am

    Friedman hits the nail on the head in today’s NYT:

    Mr. Blair knew the real and good reasons for ousting Saddam Hussein: First, he was a genocidal dictator, who aspired to acquire weapons of mass destruction even if he did not have them yet. And second, removing Saddam and building a more decent Iraq would help tilt the Middle East onto a more progressive political track and send a message to all the neighboring regimes that Western governments were not going to just sit back and let them incubate suicide bombers and religious totalitarians, whose fanaticism threatened all open societies. These were the good reasons for the war, and Mr. Blair voiced some of them aloud that day.


    So what Mr. Blair (and Mr. Bush) did was to make a war of choice — but a good choice — into a war of necessity. Because people in democracies don’t like to fight wars of choice. To make it a war of necessity, they hyped the direct threat from Iraq and highlighted flimsy intelligence suggesting that Saddam was not just a potential problem, but an immediate, undeterrable threat to the British and American mainlands. This was so, they argued, because Saddam retained hidden stocks of W.M.D.’s, in violation of U.N. resolutions, which he could deploy at any minute.

    Unless real W.M.D.’s are found in Iraq, Gulf War II will for now and for years to come be known as “the controversial Gulf War II” — and the hyped reasons for the war will obscure the still good ones. Only future historians will be able to sort out this war’s ultimate validity. It is too late or too early for the rest of us.

    It’s too late, because no one will ever know what Saddam would’ve done had Messrs Blair and Bush not acted. And it’s too early, because the good reasons for this war — to unleash a process of reform in the Arab-Muslim region that will help it embrace modernity and make it less angry and more at ease with the world — will take years to play out.

    I still think that there is a legitimate threat argument to be made/that was made. However, I have been convinced from the beginning that a deposed Saddam and a democratized/modernized Iraq will have positive long-term affects in the region, and to our own national security.

    I also know that as a primary argument, that wasn’t going to fly. Indeed, the administration originally focused on “regime change” and later shifted its focus to regime change + WMDs.

    Source: The War Over the War

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    I Don’t Think So

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:14 am

    Somehow, I’m guessing not:

    The mourners, many of whom thrived under Saddam Hussein’s brutal but patriarchal rule, asked God to judge Uday and Qusay as heroes killed in a glorious battle against a foreign invader, and draped each grave with an Iraqi flag.

    “Oh God, welcome Uday and Qusay as martyrs on the day of judgment,” a man intoned as the bodies of each were lowered into the ground. “Give them a soft place to rest in the earth, open the grave wider for them, and let each become your son.”

    Source: At Funeral for Hussein Sons, a Call for ‘Death to America’

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    I Don’t Think So

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:14 am

    Somehow, I’m guessing not:

    The mourners, many of whom thrived under Saddam Hussein’s brutal but patriarchal rule, asked God to judge Uday and Qusay as heroes killed in a glorious battle against a foreign invader, and draped each grave with an Iraqi flag.

    “Oh God, welcome Uday and Qusay as martyrs on the day of judgment,” a man intoned as the bodies of each were lowered into the ground. “Give them a soft place to rest in the earth, open the grave wider for them, and let each become your son.”

    Source: At Funeral for Hussein Sons, a Call for ‘Death to America’

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    If You’ve Got the Faculty, We’ve Got the Campus

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:10 am

    The problem:

    Amid the bounty in the desert, awash in golf courses and gated communities, the absence of a university was like a leak in the well, draining away what little youth the area had.

    The grandchildren of Palm Desert’s retirees, or the children of their maids and gardeners, would have to commute more than 120 dusty miles to the nearest university, and too few bothered to make the trip. Those who did go away rarely came back.


    The valley desperately needs to train teachers for its young and nurses for its old, two academic focal points for the new university.

    Without higher education, the area’s tremendous growth has been asymmetrical, perpetuating its reliance on tourism and inhibiting the development of other industries that seek a more specialized, professional work force. To rectify that, the university also emphasizes business, accounting and entrepreneurship.

    The solution:

    “I invited the former Cal State chancellor to come down. I think he thought it would be a private meeting between us, but I had about 75 business leaders there to greet him,” Mr. Oliphant said, chuckling over the ambush. “I told him, `What if I donated a campus to you, lock, stock and barrel? Would you furnish a staff?’ At first, he thought it was a joke. No one had ever donated a whole campus before.”

    Source: Private Gifts Bring a Public College to Town

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    Saturday, August 2, 2003
    The Second Coming of Casablanca…NOT

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:52 pm

    Drudge reports that Gigli had a disastrous opening night. Given the advance word, no shock there. But don’t despair, there is still proof that American havnen’tlost all their bad taste, as American Wedding appears to be doing fine. Check outthe numbers.

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    By Steven Taylor @ 9:45 pm

    Thanks to blog for blogrolling Poliblog.

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    War on Weeds

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:44 pm

    I have declared war on the weedpatch that is at least half of my backyard. I may have to convince the DoD that I am cultivating coca back there so that they will authorize a glyphosate dump.

    Of course, I got a head start on them already.

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    The Power of Primaries

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:29 am

    To underscore part of what I am talking about, I would reference the Democratic Primary in Texas in 1996. That year Republican Senator Phil Gramm was up for re-election and the Texas Democratic Party wanted to field a strong candidate to hopefully unseat Gramm. The party elites actively recruited US Rep John Bryant to run in the primary. One his challengers for the nomination was a High School teacher named Victor Morales. Morales, sans political experience, sans much money, sans party support, won a plurality of the vote in the 1996 primary, and went on to beat Bryant in a head-to-head run-off.

    The party elite did not support Morales, but the voters preferred him. Oddly enough, he won the nomination (although Gramm did soundly beat him in the general election).

    Some related stories:

  • AllPolitics - A Texas Upset? - Apr. 8, 1996
  • The Austin Chronicle Politics: Capitol Chronicle

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    Caveat on Duvergers Rule

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:09 am

    As I pointed out below, single-member districts with plurality winners tend to produce two party systems. There are some exceptions, as Chris noted on his blog yesterday. The UK has essentially the same electoral system as the US, but they have a number of smaller parties that do win seats to the House of Commons. This is owing, primarily, to regional parties that can win limited seats in their local constituencies. However, on balance, the system still has two dominant parties (indeed, it is often referred to as a two and a half party system).

    It is not inconceivable that in the US regional parties could emerge, and indeed, third parties have been moderately (to overstate a bit) successful in Alaska (as Jeff notes in his comments to this post), where there is a very distinct political sub-culture.

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    Harm Reduction

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:42 am


    In the past year, Canada has drastically shifted its approach to dealing with drug users, going from punishing them to instituting the policy of harm reduction. This program makes sure junkies are safe while they are shooting up instead of sending them to jail.

    I am no big fan of the US’s current approach to counter-narcotics, but am not sure this is the way to go, either. Especially since it is a half-step at best, creating a haven for use, but maintaining it in the context of drugs remaining illegal. If you are going to legalize and provide treatment, then do so.

    And my opposition to current policies of the US are based on their lack of effectiveness. Ultimately we spend billions and only put a dent in the drug flow, and I do think that criminalization promotes guerrilla violence in Colombia and gang violence in the US-and does so without any solution to the problem in site.

    All of that aside, what a pathetic lifestyle:

    “Before I knew about this room, I used to go outside and shoot in the back alleys,” Veenstra says. She ties a blue rubber tube around her left arm and pulls it tight with her teeth. She takes a clean syringe and draws up the liquefied drug, sucking it through sterile cotton, hoping the cotton will capture the impurities in the addictive stimulant, made of substances she is unsure of - her crystal meth could be cut with drain cleaner, baby laxatives or asbestos.


    “Most users are trying to hide the hurt,” she says. Her mother, she says, left when she was 6 months old. Reared by her father, she ran away at 10 and never looked back. She met a guy named Paul who asked if she was hungry, and he took her back to his house.

    “He was a heroin addict. He did a hit. He was all happy. He was nodding out,” Veenstra says. She wanted to be just like Paul. “I’ve been using since I was 10. I lied to my first heroin dealer. I told him I already used.”

    Heroin was her mother for 30 years, she says, adding that she has no guilt for being a junkie.

    I have to admit, getting into such a lifestyle is mystifying to me.

    Source: With Injection Sites, Canadian Drug Policy Seeks a Fix

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    Friday, August 1, 2003
    Duverger’s Law

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:22 pm

    One of the basic reaons that we have two large parties is that single-member district system that award seats based on pluralities tend to promote large, catch-all parties. This is the essence of “Duverger’s Law".

    For those interested in this issue of electoral systems promoting particular types of party systems, I would cite the following sites:

  • Wikipedia entry on Duverger’s Law.
  • A Theory of Democratic Politics, 6
  • Emerging Ideas - DMS

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    • Outside the Beltway linked with Third Parties
    • linked with Nader announces
    • Signifying Nothing linked with Ralph's run
    A Very Open Party System

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:13 pm

    In the comments sections of the following posts below (this one and this one), a debate has erupted, primarily with Jeff Trigg (a/k/a Trigger) of Random Acts of Kindness. The issue at hand is the degree to which ours is a limited democracy unduly controlled by the Republican and Democratic parties.

    My response is that this is simply not the case. Rather, our political culture, along with the basics of our electoral system, creates the basic conditions for a strong two-party system that has little room for third party success.


  • There are cases where ballot-access has been unduly restrictive (and not always for third party candidates McCains travails in NY for the Republican primary in 2000 comes to mind).
  • There are too many safe districts in US House races, which is the result of many factors, including the clear power of incumbency, districting that favors a given party/candidate, and the poor nature of opposition in many cases.
  • While choice is good, it is not necessarily a good in and of itself. So it is not, ipso facto, the case that having more parties/candidates is a good thing.

    There is an argument, especially amongst adherents to third parties, that the main problem here is that the lack of exposure for third parties, and if they only had a fair shot, then they could compete. This is simply not the case. When we look even at successful third party candidates, such as Ross Perot, what do we find? In 1992 Perot, who hardly lacked for exposure, won only about 19% of the vote, and in 1996 he won a mere 9%. Jesse Ventura, a rare third-party winner, won with only 37% of the vote. Normally the results are more like Ralph Naders 2% of the vote in 2000.

    The bottom line is that to win, you have to maximize votes. As a political party, the only way to maximize votes is appeal to a large number of voters, which requires building a coalition of many groups. If one appeals to only one group, then one isnt going to get many votes. Most third parties appeal to a narrow set of interests, either to a very narrow selection of policy topics, or to an unpopular ideological perspective.

    And further, as I noted in the comments section below, the party primary process for the Dems and Reps actually are very porous. There are no ideological tests to run in either primary, indeed, there is no control over the usage of the party labels, i.e., the DNC cant tell you: you cant be a Democrat (if no, Lyndon LaRouche wouldve been give the boot a long time ago, and the Reps wouldve given David Duke the boot as well).

    As the Ron Paul example that I cited illustrates, the better way to win office is to go the major-party primary route. In 1996 Ron Paul, who had been a Republican member of congress, and later the Libertarians presidential nominee, decided to attempt a return to the House. Had he run as Libertarian, he would have lost. Instead, he challenged for the Republican nomination, and won the seat. He didnt change his political views, he simply took the strategically smart route to office.

    The basic goal in the primary is to convince voters not party elites, that you ought to be the partys nominee. If there is sufficient support for your candidacy, you will get on the ballot. What could be more democratic (as in rule by the people) than that?

    Further, I would point out that the successful third party candidates, like Ventura or Perot, hardly represent radically different policies or ideas-either could exist in one of the mainline parties. As I noted in the comments that started this thread, Perot’s positions in 92 and 96 could easily have placed him in the moderate wing of either of the two major parties and I do think he could’ve won the Democratc Party Primary in 1992, and likely won the presidency. Now, exactly what difference would it have meant to who Perot was, or what he would ave said, if instead of “Independent” after his name, he had “Democrat"? Answer: none, except he would have had a real shot at winning.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Open primaries + Duverger's law = Fun

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:34 pm

    San Diego’s KOGO-AM is reporting that this: Arson suspected in massive fire could be a case of ecoterrorism. A banner was found nearby: “you build it, we burn it.” Damage is being estimated at least $50 million.


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    The Circus Sideshow Grows

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:15 pm

    Hustler Publisher Files in Calif. Recall

    Porn king Larry Flynt wants to rule California.

    The Hustler magazine publisher has filed initial paperwork to run in the gubernatorial recall election and says he may spend a large amount of his own money if people take his candidacy seriously.

    I guess he’ll save his money, then.

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    The Murkiness of Rape Laws

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:44 am

    Dahlia Lithwick (a senior editor at Slate) has an interesting piece on the ambiguity of rape/sexual assualt laws at MSNBC. The conclusory paragraph highlights the essential problem in this particular area of the law:

    We have reformed, rewritten, and rejiggered rape law, but it is still fundamentally not “fair” in the sense of providing any real legal certainty. In the end — and unless Bryant’s accuser has some shocking physical evidence — it is still her word against his. Unless we legislate mandatory threesomes, or start videotaping trysts the way some police departments now videotape criminal interrogations, what happens between two horizontal people in the dark is ultimately unknowable. While it is true that some women lie, and it is also true that some men are sexual monsters, it is not at all true that the hodgepodge that is modern rape law can discern which is which.

    Source: She said, he said?

    Hat Tip: Dean Esmay

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    Oh, The Hardship of it All…

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:30 am

    Perhaps we should take up a collection?

    As 11 Democratic state senators from Texas fled here to New Mexico on Monday to deny their Republican counterparts a quorum, their priorities had more to do with staving off a Republican redistricting effort than with basic personal needs.

    One senator forgot his belt. Another had to leave a newborn daughter. A third left his two dogs unfed until a girlfriend came to the rescue.
    Such is the life of political fugitives.

    And you certainly hate to see this:

    “We had to make a Wal-Mart run,” Mr. Cook said, “because one of the senators’ pants were falling down…”

    I mean, heck, where do they think they are? The Kennedy family compound?

    And, my heart doth bleed:

    He and the other senators, who earn $600 a month for what is basically a part-time job, are paying their own way in Albuquerque, where their hotel rooms average $115. All said that while in New Mexico they were refusing per diem payments, which run $1,700 a month.

    Source: On the Lam, Texas Democrats Rough It

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    Football is in the Air

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:08 am

    It’s here, the the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Top 25 preseason poll:

    Oklahoma, which hasn’t been ranked as the preseason No. 1 in any poll since 1987, earned 29 first-place votes to edge Ohio State (28 first place votes) and No. 3 Miami (five). Texas and Kansas State round out the top five, marking the first time in the history of the coaches’ poll that three teams from the same conference are ranked in the top five.

    Whaddya know, three Big XII teams in the Top Five. And Texas at 4.


    Let the debate begin as we wait for an actual game!

    (Here’s the actual list)

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    • The World Around You linked with Purdue Begins Season at #22
    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Truth in Advertising
    The Changing Face of France

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:04 am

    Interesting, in terms of what it says about demographics changes in France:

    Since the French Revolution, she has been the idealized embodiment of freedom, a supposedly immortal figure that nevertheless gets a new look every once in a while.

    “Marianne” has been modeled on actresses like the sultry Brigitte Bardot and the coolly beautiful Catherine Deneuve, and on supermodels like Ins de la Fressange and Laetitia Casta, the current incarnation.

    In 1830, Eugne Delacroix painted her bare-breasted, a rifle in one hand, the French flag in the other, as she led a crowd on the barricades.

    But the face of France is changing. This month, 13 women, eight of them North African Muslim and African immigrants or the children of immigrants, were chosen to reflect the country’s ideal face, or faces.

    And is this a classy title, or what?

    Making Marianne ethnic, working class and real is a project of Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores nor Doormats), a movement evolving from a 1989 national federation dedicated to addressing the problems of the underclass women of the tough, immigrant suburbs.

    Perhaps it loses something in the translation :)

    Source: Back to Barricades: Liberty, Equality, Sisterhood

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    Job News Not Good

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:59 am

    Granted, employeement tends to be a lagging indicator, but still:

    The nation’s unemployment rate declined to 6.2 percent in July as nearly half a million discouraged Americans stopped looking for a job. Payrolls were cut for the sixth month in a row, suggesting that businesses remain cautious and want to keep work forces leans despite budding signs of an economic revival.

    The Labor Department’s report Friday pained a picture of a job market that remains stubbornly sluggish and continues to frustrate people looking for work. The economy lost 44,000 jobs in July. While that’s an improvement from the 72,000 shed in June, economists were hoping that positions would actually be added. They were forecasting payrolls to go up by around 10,000.

    Although the jobless rate dipped to a two-month low of 6.2 percent from a nine-year high of 6.4 percent in June, much of decline’s July represented the exodus of 470,000 discouraged people who abandoned job searches because they believed no jobs were available.

    Source: Jobless Rate Falls to 6.2%, but Payrolls Slump

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