Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday Scan

Bad News For Cal. GOP

Everyone worth their political salt knows grassroots campaigning is key, so when a state party cuts its funding of its county kingpins -- the roots of the grassroots program -- you know they're in trouble. Welcome to the California Republican party:
At a regular scheduled meeting on November 16, the California Republican Party axed its counties "Executive Director" program because of the lackluster fundraising operation and the ongoing financial problems plaguing the organization. When Ron Nehring ... took over the party's chairmanship in the aftermath of the '06 election, the CRP's treasury was in red, with nearly $4 million in debt left behind by Duf Sundheim. (Red County)
The $260,000 a year program paid part of the salary of county GOP Executive Directors, whose primary job is to grow the party.

California has always been liberal, but it gave us Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan in days gone by ... make that day long gone by. With a liberal Republican in the statehouse, the conservative California GOP has lost its way; no, with this news we see that it is still losing its way and there's a way to go before the way back to strength is found.

Speaking Of Our RINO Governor

How liberal is the Republican in the California statehouse? How about this liberal, as described by Bakersfield Californian columnist Marylee Shriver:
Despite all his tough talk about securing borders and immigration reform, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last month signed AB 976, making California the first state in the union to prohibit landlords from asking tenants about their immigration status.

Talk about your dubious distinctions.

Not a single Senate or Assembly Republican voted in support of the bill, but the governor -- never one to fret over party loyalties -- signed anyway. (source)

This is a no-brainer. You have individual property rights and maintaining a semblance of respect for federal law on one side of the ledger and collapsing before the lobbyists for illegals on the other ... and Arnie sides with Big Government taking away individual rights.

Shriver, whose conservative viewpoint always makes her column a joy to read, wraps it up nicely:

... Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Industry, penned the new bill anyway, slamming [a similar] Escondido ordinance for targeting "people of color." It didn't. It targeted illegal immigrants, but such rhetoric surely grabs at the hearts of landlords who fear the threat of possible legal reprisals.

The problem now is Calderon's bill actually forbids landlords to even ask prospective tenants about their citizenship status.

"The point of asking is so landlords can protect their financial assets from someone who is more likely to flee the country," Fuller said. "This bill is a special protection to a person who does not have legal status and is breaking immigration laws."

Getting the Message ... Sort Of

Yesterday, the NYT acknowledged what I wrote about last week in my Watcher's Council winner of a post:
But the changing situation [in Iraq] suggests for the first time that the politics of the war could shift in the general election next year, particularly if the gains continue. While the Democratic candidates are continuing to assail the war — a popular position with many of the party’s primary voters — they run the risk that Republicans will use those critiques to attack the party’s nominee in the election as defeatist and lacking faith in the American military.
How do you stay defeatist and hope to win? How do you demand withdrawal without admitting that victory, even when it appears to be increasingly within reach, is not as important to you as embarrassing W?

Here's how the primary Dem Prez candidates are punting:
  • Hillary: Won't say how large or how fast a withdrawal, but she supports the concept of withdrawal. Natch.
  • Obama: Favors the withdrawal of one or two brigades a month.
  • Edwards: Favors immediate withdrawal.
So the Dems still think the way to piece peace is premature withdrawal, which may prove a poor prophylactic to electoral defeat if victory continues to grow closer in Iraq.

Unable to continue to lay the blame for failure on the military, they are now clinging to the last desperate hope that the Iraqis will fail to establish a viable government. But now that the sectarian violence is diminishing, the likelihood that the Dems will lose that last crumbing toehold of a defeatist philosophy is increasing. Not surprisingly, that hasn't changed their message any; they remain steadfastly behind defeat in Iraq.

Differing Shades of Green

Green is great -- as long as it doesn't include that iridescent light green we associate with comic book renderings of nuclear power.

Case in point. The nice deep green was recently adopted as the County colors for Ventura County in CA, as county supervisors passed a new green ordinance they hope will make Ventura the venerated green leader nationally. The ordinance requires such things as biodiesel in all city diesel-fueled equipment, environmentally safe cleaning products, retrofitting city buildings to qualify for LEED standards, and eliminating Styrofoam.

But embrace nuclear power as the only technology capable of large-scale energy generation today without significant greenhouse gas emissions? Not a chance. California GOP Assemblyman Chuck Devore found that out as he realized his proposed ballot initiative that would have streamlined the development of nuclear power plants in the state did not have the support needed to pass.

Here's part of Devore's interview with FlashReport:
With the initiative filed, we were able to do two statewide polls, following on to a statewide poll done in July by a group of nuclear power supporters out of Fresno. The Fresno poll showed the public backing nuclear power by a margin of 52-42 - encouraging, to be sure, but not enough to launch a successful statewide ballot initiative. Our follow up polls showed the same public opinion climate: slight support for nuclear power.

Further, our polling showed that when voters where given the facts on the pro-nuclear side and the arguments against nuclear power, that there was a modest improvement in support for nuclear power. This was all encouraging, but the standard rule of thumb in California initiatives is that, to be successful in the face of well-funded opposition, an initiative has to start out with support in the mid- to high-60s.

We therefore decided that the time was not yet right to push to bring an initiative lifting the nuclear ban to the ballot. Discretion is the better part of valor.
Syria Wiggles

Last week, it was the news that Syria has suddenly begun closing its border to jihad-crazed Islamists wanting to enter heaven via Baghdad. Now, a new sign that Assad's toy country is still unable to resist the gravitational pull of America's global strength:
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Syria announced Sunday that it will attend the Annapolis summit on Mideast peace, saying it would send its deputy foreign minister because the future of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights had been put on the agenda.

The official news agency, SANA, said Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad would travel to the U.S.-backed conference, a decision made "after the Syria track was added to the conference agenda," the agency said. Syria had said it will attend only if the conference discusses the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and later annexed.
Funny thing, though: The Golan Heights aren't on the agenda. The White House stated that the Golan Heights were "not specifically on the agenda" but attendees would be able to freely raise issues. So if you see Mekdad in the media coverage, look carefully to see if his tail is between his legs.

Now if we could just get Syria to pay attention to us on Lebanon ...

Why We Call It Climate Change

Greenie Watch spotted this:
If last season was one for Europe's skiers to forget, the coming months on the slopes look more propitious than in recent memory, thanks to large snowfalls in recent days.The white windfall, although confined to the northern Alps and omitting France, prompted some Swiss and Austrian resorts to open early. Heavy snow forecast for the southern Alps on Saturday and Sunday might trigger the same there, as ski operators on both sides of Europe's mountain divide strive to make up for the misery of last season, when poor conditions and abnormally high temperatures prompted widespread fears about global warming.
Of course, it was perfectly all right for the media to clang the global warming hysteria gong last year, but this year we will all be warned that a single year does not a trend make. Still, here's what Swiss meteorologist Jacques Ambuehl said about this winter thus far:
"Last week's snowfalls were certainly quite extreme. We have no record, especially at mid altitudes, of such an event in the past.

Burma 101

History News Network provides us this week with a lengthy article by Donald M. Seekins, professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Japan's Meio University on the history of repression and defiance in Burma, showing how the regime's inept demonitization program of 1988 was a mirror of its fuel price hike in 2007: Same loony ineptness, same cavalier attitude about the financial condition of the populace, same uprising, same brutal quelling of the uprising.

The piece is informative, but anything but hopeful. The best Seekins an offer in terms of resolution is:
  • Smart sanctions that target the ruling elite, not the people -- you know, prohibitions on single malt scotch, fine watches and the despots' ever-popular entertainment of choice, American porn.
  • Pressure on China, which Seekins acknowledges is likely to go nowhere.
  • More cooperation among Burma's neighbors, which Seekins sees a probably unattainable.
  • Greater prominence of Burma on the U.N. agenda, even though China and Russia will continue to veto any real progress.
In other words, barring a miracle, Burma will continue to be a hell-hole for years to come.

Risks Of Teen Binge Drinking

Finally, since the Christmas decorations are calling, it's time to draw this to a close, with a warning about teenage binge drinking.

I doubt if many C-SM readers are teenagers awakening today with binge-fired splitting hangovers, but if so, take heed. And parents, friends and relatives of teenage binge drinkers take heed as well:
Binge drinking by teens and young adults is linked with increased long-term risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, a U.S. study found.

Senior author Dr. Marcia Russell of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Berkeley, Calif., says the risk is lower in people who start drinking alcohol later in life and maintain more moderate drinking patterns.

The study, scheduled to be published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, suggests that the increased health risks were independent of the total amount of alcohol consumed over a lifetime, or whether or not people stopped or curtailed drinking as they matured. (source)

Come to think of it, I should take heed as well -- and not just because I have young daughters. I haven't touched alcohol for a decade or so, but did binge in my youth. So far, the ticker and the blood sugar are fine, though, so I hope I'm an exception to this rule ... but not as much as I wish I had been wiser in my youth.

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