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The Bear Flag League

7/31/03 [Thursday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 8:38 am - Hewitt's blog
On Boxer: On CSPAN I watched Democratic Senators Joe Biden, Russ Feingold, and Barbara Boxer call Paul Wolfowitz a liar, and parade a joint sneer towards operations in Iraq and the important role in the war there in the broader battle against terrorism. (Not one of these had apparently read Charles Krauthammer's eloquent essay on the subject last week.) Boxer was as usual especially obnoxious, as her limited intellect manifests itself in hysterical ramblings about "my people" and Queen-of-Hearts-like demands to fire people she doesn't know for crimes she can't describe besides calling them "sick." She was hyperventilating about the day's headline that game theorists at the Pentagon had considered a "future's market" on terror attacks that might have helped predict such assaults. It is a safe bet that Boxer hasn't got the mental capacity to even dimly grasp what the game theorists were trying to devise, but she wants them all fired. She is a cartoon, of course, and Wolfowitz's great patience with her unbalanced presentation and interruptions was remarkable. | The Senate needs to move decisively to the center in 2004 by shedding more Democrats. The Leahys and the Boxers have poisoned the Party in the Senate and Dean is poisoning it in the presidential campaign. We literally cannot afford to indulge such seriously off-center people.

[Streetsweeper] 7:25 am
Another Broken Promise: The SacBee reminds of this [In January, Gov. Gray Davis insisted he would not sign a budget without "substantial structural reform" to smooth out the state's volatile boom-and-bust cycles.] Well, what he's gonna sign ain't got no reforms.

[Glenn Ellmers] 7:09 am - Claremont Institute's The Remedy
Ballot Particulars: I offer a different analysis of something Dan Weintraub wrote on his blog Monday (about the decision to allow everyone to vote on second part of the recall). I thought it might generate some interesting discussion at CR. (Link here and posting text follows.) Best, Glenn | A federal judge has struck down a provision of the recall law that would have required a vote up or down on the recall before casting a ballot for a successor. Now people can abstain on the recall, but still pick a replacement. Daniel Weintraub, the indispensible columnist for the Sacramento Bee, opines in his new blog that this will have no effect one way or the other. I disagree. | Those who are strongly anti-Davis, of course, will certainly vote yes on the first question. Those who are strongly pro-Davis are much fewer. Lots of people, however, are ambivalent about the recall--whether doubting its necessity in this particular case, or just generally a bad idea and precedent. Now these voters can pass on the recall question, yet enter their preference for a replacement, "just in case." The majority of these lukewarmers probably would have voted no if they had to make a choice. So I think this change may suppress the no votes, which would hurt Davis. | Thoughts? | [Carol Platt Liebau] replies That is exactly my analysis. What this decision does is make sure that intensity of feeling matters -- and in this case, that operates on the side of the anti-Davis people.

[Reader Scott D. - From the Ebag] 7:03 am
Illegals License: I have a question for you folks. Davis says he will sign the bill letting illegal aliens get a driver's license in California. I looked at the text of the bill, and it says that an applicant can substitute a federal taxpayer ID number in lieu of a Social Security number. Because of my job, I send welfare applicants to the DMV all the time to get a California ID. They require an original birth certificate to do this (for a first ID). What kind of birth certificate is an illegal going to use? Are Mexican or other foreign birth certificates (original) accepted? As to the tax ID, anyone who is working in the US must have a social security number. So, if someone has a taxpayer ID it means they are working, and therefore must have a social security number. Sounds like someone could challenge this law on some grounds. Another possibility is to require DMV to send a list of people granted new licenses or IDs to the INS (or whatever it is called now). Isn't anybody going to challenge this stupidity? Sounds like we need a ballot initiative stating that California will grant no license, identification card, permit, or any other official document to anyone who cannot prove legal status. That's not the same as 187, as no "services" are being provided. [Streetsweeper] replies Hmm. Well, I don't know about the technicalities, but if the only way to stop this "stupidity" (you got that right) is an initiative, then that's the route... Ugh... another initiative.

[Hugh Hewitt] 6:38 am - Hewitt's blog
Dem Recall: Loretta Sanchez, who will never win the spelling bee, has called on Senator Feinstein to enter the race, and Dan speculates that these calls have a hint of organization about them. Does Loretta see herself replacing Senator Feinstein in the Upper Chamber? If Feinstein does enter and win the recall sweepstakes, her replacement has to immediately stand for election along with Barbara Boxer, in a replay of the 1992 double header in which Boxer beat Herschensohn and Feinstein beat appointed Senator John Seymour. Boxer knows it isn't good for her to allow Democrats the chance to vote for one Democratic nominee while finally unloading the embarrassment of Boxer, so she must be lobbying DiFi to stay out of the race to replace Governor Clouseau. But Loretta can see herself in the big game for sure.

7/30/03 [Wednesday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:25 am
Tipping Factor:
Now's there's a budget. What finally made the Progressives cave on no new taxes? Maybe it was getting caught last week in a little plot to stall the budget... SacBee [Then came a stumble that many considered key to pushing lawmakers into a budget deal. A group of liberal Democrats were caught discussing the potential political gain from holding up a budget and the implications of the delay on the recall race. Before the incident, observers say, Democrats may have been persuasive in their complaints that Republicans were holding up the budget to help the recall. "I think that exposed Democrats," said Assemblyman John Campbell, R-Irvine. "I think it made a difference for them."] | Oh, Kathleen: We've mentioned it before, now from Daniel Weintraub's Weblog [Connell rips budget, rules out run While everyone is busy adding names to the list of recall candidates, I've taken to crossing some off. The latest: Kathleen Connell. The former state controller seemed to fit the profile of the perfect Democratic ship-jumper: no love for Gray Davis, decent name ID, money in the bank, ambition. But I just spoke with her and she said she wouldn't be running, under any circumstances. "I want to squash that rumor," she said. "It won't be me." She did have a few choice words about the budget passed today, suggesting that it's a house of cards built on a legally and fiscally shaky foundation. "It's a budget of denial," she said.]

7/29/03 [Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 8:11 am
StoryCraft: In watching the entire recall unfold, there is one thing to remember: Success will be determined by which side is able to shape the narrative of the recall. If the election is about Gray Davis and his handling of the state, he will surely be ousted. But if Democrats are successful in portraying this recall election as less about Gray Davis than about conservative politics, channel left-wing anger at President Bush, and make this the first salvo of the 2004 campaign, residents of the Golden State may end up with three more years of Governor Gray.

[Streetsweeper] 7:25 am
What Budget?
The Assembly was (and is) locked up in chambers overnight because Speaker Herb Wesson wanted the budget passed... uh, it didn't. Dems and Reps voted against it. Trouble, trouble... in the SacBee ["This budget is a get-out-of-town-alive budget and simply rolls all the problems into the next year," said Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Northridge, who said he will not vote for the plan.] |
Not Good Enough: John Campbell - the lead guy for the Assembly Republicans didn't much like the budget the Senate sent over. Hence, stalemate. In the Register [At the center of much of the debate was Irvine Assemblyman John Campbell, the GOP point man on budget issues in the lower house. He was not ready to support the Senate's plan. "Spending goes up, not down. I continue to be concerned about next year's deficit, and they should not be counting on the car tax revenue,'' Campbell said. Campbell acknowledged that Democrats had made key concessions. But he didn't believe the budget plan fixes anything. "If we're going to meet each other, we should meet each other on something that solves the problem," Campbell said.] Oh, solving problems...novel idea... | I Need Your Votes: Sure, why not just give everybody a driver's license - take two! What does it matter anyway -- it's just used by everyone as the key identity certification by the state... Doesn't matter if you're here legally or not, because Lord Gray needs your vote. The SacBee ["You put that bill on my desk, and I will sign it in a heartbeat," Davis declared at a labor union barbecue in Los Angeles on Saturday.]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:05 am
Missed the UnSpin: Gee, missed this on Sunday from the Register [The Issue: The recall of Gov. Gray Davis. The Spin: "I'm going to lead this ship back into port," Gov. Davis said in an interview in last week's Newsweek. "It's obviously tough sailing now, but I'm going to negotiate and navigate this state through the storm and leave people better off than when I came into office in 1999." The Unspin: Our own Captain Queeg is the one who blew a $38 billion hole in the U.S.S. California's fiscal hull. Second Spin: "I really believe it's all about economics," the governor told Newsweek. "Californians are in a funky mood. California is a victim of the national economy." Second Unspin: It's way more than that. Talk of recalling then-Gov. Pete Wilson in the early 1990s went nowhere even though the economy was much worse than now and he increased taxes more than has Gov. Davis.]

7/28/03 [Monday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 7:38 am - Hewitt's blog
Recalling: I wrote about the possibility of Al Checchi joining the recall stakes race in Thursday's online edition of the Weekly Standard. The Los Angeles Times' George Skelton wrote about it in this morning's paper. That's only four days behind the new curve --not bad for the Times. I wonder if the paper will break even one story ahead of the competition. | Dan Weintraub of the Sacramento Bee is the state's go-to political reporter, and along with his colleague Dan Walters, provide the best commentary on California politics outside of my radio program and blog. Dan joins the program's cast of contributors today with what will be an almost daily segment at 3:30 devoted to the carnival, eh, I mean recall. Dan's blog is a must read --The California Insider. Bookmark it for easy reference.

[Streetsweeper] 7:15 am
Some Budget:
The SacBee reports on the budget being passed. It's ugly, very ugly. Our hero - The Shadow Governor - had this to say [Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Simi Valley, called the compromise "a rotting porch just waiting to collapse" and said it relies on what he calls the illegal rise in the car tax. McClintock and others have launched a legal challenge against the fee hike. "It does require tax increases," McClintock said of the budget.]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:05 am
Watch for the Double Standard: Issa's campaign manager Scott Taylor made a fairly obvious comment as reported in the Times ["I just have the feeling voters aren't going to embrace the first bisexual gubernatorial candidate," Taylor said of Huffington, who lives in Brentwood and is openly gay.] Of course, all hell is going to break loose because of this comment. However, do you think any clamor will result from Bob Mulholland telling radio stations that the Recall Rally on Saturday was like a KKK lynch mob? Now, whose statement is more inflammatory? Do you think anyone will call for Mulholland's resgination? Do you think Gray Davis will be asked to disavow it? Nah... this is the land of Progressives... Conservatives are evil and calling them a "KKK lynch mob" is just an accurate observation... see?

7/26/03 [Saturday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 1:08 pm
The Shadow Governor:
Took the time to watch the Recall Rally in Sacramento... Gee, whiz, Tom McClintock - the guy we call Shadow Governor - was a great. A real stemwinder and a guy who showed he not only knows how to fix things, but he has a passion for this state. A man to admire.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:38 am
Oh, Please...
The LA Times goes looking for folks who are queasy about the recall...["Gray Davis doesn't have the right stuff to lead the world's fifth-largest economy," proclaimed Savell, a salesman at a Concord auto dealership. "But I'm someone who does not believe that recalling him will help fix the problems of the state."] Well, Mr. Savell may have a good point about the unwise nature of the recall and even the initiative process...But, at this point in time, lopping off the head is a good start to fixing our problems for it will put absolute terror into the lives of the political elites who are transforming this state into what Forbes termed Sweden on the Pacific.

7/25/03 [Friday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:15 am
Budget - Not So Fast:
The Pacific Legal Foundation is primed to file suit to stop any budget deal that fianances the debt by long term bonds without a vote of the people. As Harold Johnson of PLF wrote in CRO [Politicians In Bond-Age] on June 27, the state constitution requires the vote. In a release yesterday, Johnson had this to say: [“It’s time for a constitutional reality check. The governor and key legislators are overlooking the electorate’s role in the process. Everyone-Democrat and Republican alike-is talking about deficit bonds, but no one is talking about scheduling a vote to let the people say yes or no to those bonds. But ignoring the constitutional requirements won’t make them disappear. If the final budget includes multi-year debt-financing, there must be a popular vote on the bonds-or the politicians are buying themselves a lawsuit.”] ...Well, well, we've got handy state-wide election coming up October 7, haven't we?

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:38 am
Squawk Box:
After learning of the Progressive Caucus getting caught on tape conspiring to stall the budget process even further so that the chaos would cause the voters to pass the constitutional amendment eliminating the 2/3 rule in favor of a 55% rule had this to say ["The so-called 'Budget Accountability Act' should be called the 'Blank Check Initiative' because losing the two-thirds vote would remove what little remains of fiscal discipline in California."] That's about right... that might just become the official CRO name for this Progressive end-run. | Budget Presto! Gee, Progressives get overheard plotting to derail the state, the recall gets certified and then the Times reports Wall Street got in the game [California's credit standing was lowered three grades Thursday, and two hours later Senate leaders announced that a state budget agreement had been reached and would be passed by their members on Sunday.] Gee, what about "no new taxes" didn't they understand? Calculation: From Daniel Weintraub's Weblog Do the math- Estimated, one-time cost of recall election: $30 million./ Estimated 30-year cost of Thursday's state credit rating downgrade: $1 billion./ Annualized cost of credit downgrade: $33 million.]

7/24/03 [Thursday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 7:00 am - Hewitt's Blog
Wither Checchi? In all the speculation about the California recall, the names of businessman Al Checchi and Congresswoman Jane Harmon haven't come up yet. Checchi and Harmon challenged for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1998, and Gray Davis brass-knuckled them like all of his other opponents. They went away, but they went away very unhappy. | Checchi's a brawler, with a temperament suited for a sprint (he blew up at me on the set of Life & Times, my old PBS television show, and his skin is legendarily thin), while Jane Harmon was and remains among the classiest and smartest of the Congressional Democrats. Leon Panetta, whose name has surfaced as a failsafe candidate on the lower ballot, is a nice, competent and generous fellow, bit he has no chance. Both Checchi and Harmon have tons of personal cash, and no love for Davis. This is the sort of question the Los Angeles Times should have asked and answered weeks or months ago, but that would require political reporters with a clue.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:51 am
Mad Clam:
The Angry Clam is...well, angry. In a 7/22 posting he's very upset about a Berkeley research study that finds [at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include: Fear and aggression / Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity / Uncertainty avoidance / Need for cognitive closure / Terror management] The Angry Clam carries a full press release and links to the study article. Our own Streetsweeper has a retort for opinions like those from the wise researchers at Berkeley. It goes something like "Oh yeah, Mr. big shot, liberal, can't-we-all-get-along Progressive? You think all these "Progressive" ideas are so good? This ain't progress. It ain't "Progressive" if it's going down the wrong road and you guys are going down the wrong road... and breaking the speed limit too."

7/23/03 [Wednesday]

[Hugh Hewitt] 7:25 am - Hewitt's blog
Cruz Coup: There's trouble brewing in California. Not the recall, that's the fun part. As I write in tomorrow's, it will be the political equivalent to professional wrestling's King of the Ring events. | No the trouble is that the little would-be dictator, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, is toying with the idea of playing a little game to get himself into the Chief Executive's chair. | The Los Angeles Times' story by Michael Finnegan and Allison Hoffman this morning quotes Bustamante as doubtful as to his authority to set a date for the election to fill the vacancy should Davis be recalled. Of course any gap between Davis' removal and a successor's election would leave Cruz in the comfy chair. | Incredibly, the Los Angeles Times did not gather any Republican reaction to Bustamante's trial balloon, only that of a Santa Monica lawyer specializing in election law, who quite rightly labeled Bustamante's ploy as "far-fetched." | This is what we can expect from the Times from now until recall day --spin, spin, spin from the Democratic side. Here's a handy guide for the Times: For every quote from a Democratic office-holder, include a quote from a Republican office holder. How hard can it be? | Once again the Times finds itself overshadowed in its coverage of California by articles by Rene Sanchez in the Washington Post and Charlie LeDuff in the New York Times. It is one thing for the west coast's leading newspaper to get beat like a bongo every day on east coast stories, but to get lapped in the recall, and to produce lousy, unbalanced stories with off-point headlines when the major papers are getting the goods, well that's embarrassing. | The Bustamante gambit is a big, big deal, and the headline writer couldn't figure it out, and the editor buried it. Do you suppose someone might call a team meeting at Spring Street and walk through the basics of this contest and how it will be covered?

[Streetsweeper] 7:15 am
Not so Peace-ful:
Gee, Lord Gray's finance director - and husband of a famous garbage board member - got pretty mad yesterday according to the Bee ["We need a budget! Send us a budget!" Steve Peace bellowed at Republican Assemblyman John Campbell, confronting him outside a briefing room as a GOP news conference came to a close.
Peace also delivered a broadside at several members of his own party, dismissing a group of Democrats who on Monday accidentally broadcast embarrassing comments about their political strategy for the budget as a "group of fringe Democrats having goofy conversation."] Hello, Jackie Goldberg, even your own team is calling you "fringe" and "goofy."

7/22/03 [Tuesday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:56 am
Oh, That’s Who Said It:
I heard about the dust up in the House on the TV, but I didn’t hear the name of the notorious un-PC Dem with the big mouth... Ah, thank you Washington Post [Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) introduced a resolution protesting the GOP's behavior, triggering an afternoon-long debate in which each side accused the other of debasing Congress. Democrats charged that Republicans were running "a police state," with Pelosi saying her colleagues had suffered "an indignity no member should be expected to endure." Republicans recounted indignities of their own: When Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) had told Stark to "shut up" during the committee meeting, Stark denounced him as "a little wimp. Come on, come over here and make me, I dare you. . . . You little fruitcake. You little fruitcake. I said you are a fruitcake." ] Wow! That Petey “Fruitcake” Stark is some kind of bulldog, eh? Now, if he had said “You should die, fruitcake,” maybe he’d lose his gig like Michael Savage...

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:38 am
Progressive Crisis-Making:
The Chronicle reports that an open mike let lots of folks in Sacramento clearly hear confidential Progressive strategy for bringing the state to its fiscal knees. [Members of the Assembly Democrats' progressive caucus were heard making candid, if not intemperate, statements such as one by Los Angeles Assemblyman Fabian Nunez that they may want to "precipitate a crisis" over the budget this year. That might persuade voters to lower the two-thirds vote threshold needed to pass a spending plan, he reasoned. "It seems to me if there's going to be a crisis, the crisis should be this year," Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, said during the meeting. "What you do is you show people that you can't get to this without a 55 percent vote."] Check out Hewitt's take on this today in A Progressive "Gaffe" for Fiscal Crisis

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:33 am
Trial Lawyers Protection Act:
In Litigation Lottery CRO's Carol Liebau - back in May - wrote about the supposed "reforms" to prevent trial lawyers from terrorizing small business. Given the make up of the legislature, the result was reform that is a boon to trial lawyers. Today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) describes the worst parts [After that begins a trial-lawyer wish list, starting with liberal rules for "joinder" of defendants, along with explicit authority for lawyers to sue multiple businesses without knowing which ones have actually committed a violation. Most ominous of all, the bill would overturn a March decision in which the state supreme court barred lawyers from demanding the "disgorgement" under 17200 of any and all revenue a business had earned while an infraction was in progress, as opposed to restitution for customers affected by a practice, which they are still free to seek. The difference between the two is dramatic: If you're a pizzeria owner and get sued for unfairly claiming that your pie is the best in town, restitution might consist of giving away consolatory baskets of garlic bread, but disgorgement could mean paying out all the revenue you've taken in while the slogan was printed on your boxes. It's a remedy so drastic that courts seldom impose it; its real function is usually to give lawyers the leverage to terrify defendants into settlement. To top it all, the Escutia bill would allow lawyers to steer settlement funds not paid to actual consumers to organizations that "promote justice," code for the consumer and pro-litigation groups with which the lawyers are allied.]
Ah, the cure worse than the disease. Quick, Lord Gray, get your veto pen at the ready... Sure...

7/21/03 [Monday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:33 am
I'm Insulted!
Phil Angelides is all upset because columnist George Will said our lovely state needs an Ataturk to get things straightened out...The state treasurer's family was forced out of Turkey - way back when - and he's full of upset. In the Bee [Will, reached by telephone, said Angelides should "grow up." "He's obviously having a lot of fun being indignant ... He knows full well what I meant was that California needs someone who thinks as Ataturk thought in the words from Ataturk that I quoted. If he wants to say that what I really meant was we need someone with all the ethnic hostilities that went into Ataturk's life, then he's just being silly."] Maybe Angelides should sue -- it's the Progressive thing to do... | A Heartbeat Away: Ah, the guy second in line to run the state, Cruz Bustemante was at the UC Regents meeting and didn't like the motion to raise student tuition. In the Bee [Before any regents could speak their piece on raising student fees by 30 percent, Bustamante forcefully denounced the steep boost. Then he accused UC's longtime budget guru, Larry Hershman, of lying about the bargain of a UC education when compared to other public universities. "Liar, liar, pants on fire," Bustamante bellowed. Some regents -- accustomed to more decorum -- bristled at the comment and apologized to Hershman.]

7/19/03 [Saturday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:03 am
Good, Maybe:
Will the recall pull Conservatives together? In the NY Times ["One thing the recall has done is it has made California relevant," said Bill Whalen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a former speechwriter for Mr. Wilson. "It has put us back on the map politically. It could be very good for the Republicans, or it could be very troubling."]

7/18/03 [Friday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 8:11 am
Recall Tax Grabbing? Several weeks ago, CRO ran the column Slap the Greedy Hand, about the AB 1690, which would authorize imposition of local income taxes in a complicated scheme -- the end result being a requirement that every taxing locality use half the money from the local tax to fund public safety programs. As many readers may recall, the "godfather" behind AB 1690 is the California Professional Firefighters . . . And, coincidence? That organization's president is also co-chairman of the pro-Davis group Taxpayers Against the Recall. Well, at least we know who the governor's friends are, and what they want from us.

[SharkBlog] 8:09 am
Nancy Watch: Here's what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has been saying recently: Democrats will keep fighting to transfer wealth from young working people to older, wealthier people. | We won’t give up until we delegate our sovereignty to Mexico. | Decisions on allocating the public's money should be made by unelected government employees who stand to benefit, not by the people's elected representatives. | We must support programs that lower academic standards for favored ethnic groups. | Democrats insist that Congress must not leave for its summer vacation until it gives a "tax credit" to people who don't pay taxes. [go to Sharkblog]

[Hugh Hewitt] 8:05 am
The Los Angeles Times' Rebecca Trounson reports that the University of California has banned romantic relationships between professors and students. Though I applaud the ban, it is hard to square it with the theory behind the recent Supreme Court case striking down the Texas statute on sodomy. Either adults are free to do with their private lives what they wish to do, or they are not. Opponents of the Texas law will have to scramble to come up with a defense of this policy that doesn't resurrect the idea that the state has some interest in the regulation of intimate relationships between consenting adults. [go to Hewitt's blog]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:33 am
Phil! You Ain't No Dem!
Our state Treasurer is all upset about the 2/3 budget requirement too. In the Bee ["It is my hope that the courts will act to end the tyranny of the minority - allowing California to quickly adopt a structurally balanced budget that restores our credit rating and financial credibility, and which spares our schoolchildren from harmful education cuts," Angelides said.] What's his problem? Isn't the modern Democratic Party built on the tyranny of the minority? Isn't it the Dems who say you can't fire an employee who cross dresses at work? Tyranny of the minority, indeed... he ought to know.

[Streetsweeper] 7:03 am
DiFi for Vouchers:
While her brethern in California are deaf to anything that upsets the California Teachers Association's stranglehold on education alternatives, DiFi thinks that Washington DC parents ought to have a shot at a better education for their kids. In today's Wall Street Journal - (subscription required): [California Democrat Dianne Feinstein spoke well when she told the Senate she's tired of seeing money go down the same education ratholes, that as a former big-city mayor herself she's persuaded by Mayor Anthony Williams's endorsement, and that a pilot vouchers program ought to be given a chance. Mayor Williams isn't the only local leader on board the choice train. So's the head of the D.C. School Board. When coupled with the President of the United States, that's a pretty potent lineup.]

7/17/03 [Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 7:55 am
DiFi Time? It's long been clear that Democrats will ultimately press Dianne Feinstein to return to California to serve out the rest of Gray Davis' term. It makes sense for them on several levels. First, she is by far the most popular statewide elected official, and could be trusted to put the best face possible on the increasingly distrusted and unpopular California Democrats. Second, the rest of the Democrats elected statewide would be willing to agree to hold off on running on the recall ballot if they would have the prospect of running as the heir to a popular Governor Feinstein rather than a universally-reviled Governor Davis. Finally, it's long been clear that Senator Feinstein has had a yen to be governor -- hence her race against Pete Wilson in 1990. From Feinstein's perspective, what better way to cap off a Senate career than to return home as the Democrats' savior, enjoy virtual annointment as Governor, and serve as the first female governor of America's largest state? As for her Senate seat, the sitting governor would name a replacement when she resigned, effectively letting Gray Davis keep the Senate seat for the Democrats by naming Feinstein's successor. If he could get away with it, chances are, he'd love to nominate himself for the seat and thereby postpone facing voters in any capacity until that term expired in 2006 . . . (but even Davis probably wouldn't dare to do that).

[Streetsweeper] 7:50 am
The Nevada Gambit:
Here it comes - only Lord Gray is making somebody else do the dirty work. In the Bee [State Superintendent of Education Jack O'Connell plans to ask the California Supreme Court to intervene in the state's budget standoff and ease the way for tax increases to minimize school cuts, a spokesman said late Wednesday.] Wonder if the California State Supreme Court will be as Progressively accomodating as Nevada's? Quick, page John Eastman at Claremont to file a complaint like he did in Nevada!

7/16/03 [Wednesday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:17 am
No Budget, Again: Shocking absolutely no one, the GOP blanced budget proposal was voted down yesterday. But outside a clutch of clergymen who don't want the budget "balanced on the backs of the poor" were holding a budget vigil. In the Bee [The budget stalemate is playing out against a background of competing interests. When Shan Cretin, of the Friends of the Quakers, asked for a moment of silence, a cacophony of horns began blaring. Rigs from the California Trucking Association were circling the Capitol to protest proposed California standards that they say will increase fuel costs.] Picture perfect. | No Sullivan: The Sacramento talk show host ain't running for Congress to take Doug Ose's seat. In the Bee [With Sullivan out, former Attorney General Dan Lungren and state Sen. Rico Oller remain as probable Republican candidates for the GOP-leaning 3rd Congressional District.]

7/15/03 [Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 8:59 am
Gettin' Pushy: It seems that Gray Davis is already conducting push polls in an effort to prevail in a recall fight. I was polled last night via telephone, and the questions were clearly designed to help Davis both figure out which arguments tend to turn voters against recall, and learn specifically why those favoring recall want Davis out. But most interesting were the lengthy questions containing detailed allegations about Darrell Issa having been "charged with several crimes" and which likewise disparaged other potential Republican contenders. A number of the questions also contained information designed to tout Davis' "achievements" in office; at the top of the Governor's list (and mentioned repeatedly) was the establishment of the "Amber alert." Now, "Amber alerts" are certainly good -- they combat child abduction by facilitating the distribution of immediate, up-to-date information about a kidnapped child -- but it may be a sign of just how little Davis has to brag about that the adoption of this non-controversial legislation (borrowed from Texas) is viewed as the primary jewel in his legislative crown. But then again, it wouldn't make sense for him to remind voters that government spending has increased by 40% and that he tripled the car tax, would it?

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:10 am
Reality Poll:The SacBee reports that the Field Poll shows Progressive support is slip-sliding away...{Approval for the Democratic-controlled Legislature has sunk to an all-time low, and three in four voters fear California is careening along the wrong track. Support for specific tax increases is shrinking. And, according to the Field Poll, dissatisfaction with Democratic Gov. Gray Davis continues to soar as he faces an increasingly likely recall vote. / "California is kind of an embarrassment right now," said George Blount, 44, a Republican Citrus Heights high school teacher who responded to the survey. "It's not just Gray Davis, it's also the Legislature and just huge mismanagement of the state."] Uh-huh. You'd think voters could remember this sort of thing... Oh, and there was this tidbit that ought to send chills down John Burton's spine [Meanwhile, voters said they dislike the notion of reducing the required two-thirds threshold to approve a budget, but by a 2-1 margin support a plan to freeze state spending at its current levels and tie future growth to population and inflation increases.]

7/14/03 [Monday]

[Streetsweeper] 8:56 am
Temporary Tax? There's no such thing. Hike the sales tax and it will stay hiked. In the Times [The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce announced Sunday that its members support a temporary sales tax increase as part of an overall plan to end the state's budget impasse.] Bad idea. Cut, cut first.

7/12/03 [Saturday]

[John Campbell] 8:31 am - via the ebag
Taking Responsibility: In the last few days, State Treasurer Phil Angeledes has been taking some shots at me saying that my support for the recall is hurting the state's credit rating. The State Controller has been saying similar things. And nearly every elected official in the Legislature is quick to blame President Bush for our economic problems. All of the them are probably acting as surrogates for the Governor. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Elected Democrats in this state have been telling people for years that you have no responsibility for your actions. If you can't pass a test, blame the person who gave you the test. If you don't get a job, claim discrimination for something. If you spill coffee on yourself, blame the person who sold you the coffee. And if you have been in control of a state that is falling further into economic demise while you're at the helm, find somebody to blame other than yourself. That somebody is apparently President Bush and me. While I'm flattered to be associated with President Bush, the Democrats should fess us to their mistakes. The actions they took to make us the "worst managed state" in the union are bad enough. But the failure to accept responsibility is even worse.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:51 am
The No Committee: The hardcore conservatives in the Legislature are stalwart holdouts. In the Times ["It's my 11th year in the Legislature and I have yet to vote for a budget," said Assemblyman Ray Haynes (R-Riverside). "I've never voted for one. I've got 10 'no' votes." / Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks), who has served 17 years in the Legislature since 1982, hasn't voted for a budget in more than a decade. He complains that even the budgets that fellow Republican Gov. Pete Wilson signed into law "spilled red ink from one year to the next."]

7/11/03 [Friday]

[John Campbell] 6:31 pm - via the ebag
President of Spain:
In an unusual joint legislative session yesterday, The President of Spain, Jose Maria Aznar Lopez, addressed us in the Assembly Chambers. He is on a 3 state tour (California, New Mexico and Texas) of the U.S. He was quite an impressive guy. His address was given in Spanish with concurrent translation. He spoke eloquently about the Spanish explorers who first came to California, settled it and named it and about the connections we have in art, architecture and culture. President Lopez clearly sees the United States as a country he would like Spain to emulate. Hence he is proactively building closer ties. We, of course, have much to thank theSpanish for of late since they were one of two countries (the other being Britain) which stood steadfastly by us during Operation Iraqi Freedom. When he discussed our joint fight against world terrorism during his address, he received a standing ovation. But, just in case you thought things in the California legislature might be changing, at least half of the Democrats did not stand or applaud during this. I guess that the Spanish government supports our troops and their mission, but the majority party leadership in California still does not.

[Streetsweeper] 8:56 am
Rosario Run: The SacBee notes that Rosario Marin formed an exploratory committee to go after LeBoxer's seat. Please, somebody go after that seat and send that Boxer woman home! Hey, even Jerry Brown would be a relief! | Our Children's Mentors: The Washington Post reports on Howard Dean's fire-breathing speech to a group of public servants we're supposed to trust [Howard Dean was angry. Ropy veins popped out of his neck, blood rushed to his cheeks, and his eyes, normally blue-gray, flashed black, all dilated pupils. / "The only hope Democrats have to beat this president," he said, his left fist punching the air, "is to behave like Democrats and stand up for what we believe!" / "YEAH!" the crowd cheered, standing and applauding. / "Can we afford tax cuts," Dean continued, reddening to his gray temples, "when we have the largest deficit in the history of the country?" / "NO!" the crowd shouted back. / Dean was addressing a California Teachers Association convention in Los Angeles.] Now, doesn't that make you feel great about our state's public education system? | Budget Grimble: Daniel Weintraub provides a spreadsheet that shows exactly where the Legislature's GOP wants to cut $2.7 billion of stuff to close the gap. It's at his weblog for you CPA types...

7/10/03 [Thursday]

[Glenn Ellmers] 7:56 am - via the ebag
Slash This: In May, we Angelenos got some hopeful news about our local paper. John Caroll, editor of the Los Angeles Times, circulated a memo decrying the liberal bias of his reporters and editors. [I want everyone to understand how serious I am about purging all political bias from our coverage. We may happen to live in a political atmosphere that is suffused with liberal values (and is unreflective of the nation as a whole), but we are not going to push a liberal agenda in the news pages of the Times.] Well, these things take time one supposes. Certainly Mr. Caroll still has some work to do. From today's paper: [A Senate Republican plan to close the state's $38-billion budget gap without raising taxes would significantly scale back environmental protections, slash money to education and threaten health insurance for thousands of children, according to a draft obtained by The Times.] The day we read about how the Democrats plan to "pummel Californians with onerous new taxes, while further increasing the regulatory burden--even as California leads the nation in job loss and businesses flee the state" then I will gladly sing a Caroll to the Times.

[Streetsweeper] 7:45 am
Not All Tax Hungry: See, the state's Progressive's are not so tax hungry after all. Especially when not collecting taxes fits well with a larger social agenda... In the Bee [A rule change adopted by the State Board of Equalization on Wednesday will allow domestic partners to take possession of a deceased partner's property without it being reassessed for property tax purposes. / Previously, the death of a domestic partner would trigger an automatic reassessment of the property -- occasionally costing the grieving partner their home or land. / "This is the same courtesy and benefit that is offered to married people," said Carole Migden, board chairwoman. / The rule change, passed on a 3-2 vote, could after five years cost the state $2 million or $3 million annually, according to a rough estimate from the board. California is home to some 25,000 registered domestic partners.]

7/9/03 [Wednesday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:10 am
An email yesterday from [Boomshock] who has been studying Arnold and has come to the conclusion that all we need to understand about the actor's strategic thinking is contained in his philosophy of body building... From Boomshock's blog: While Issa spends resources on the recall, and gets bombarded by Davis supporters in the process, Schwarzenegger builds his base and his momentum in relative peace. | If you've ever read any of his books, particularly The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding and Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder, such strategies should come as no surprise. First of all, in discussing the keys to winning bodybuilding competitions, Schwarzenegger has always emphasized "psychological warfare" and "the mind, the most powerful tool." As for prompting [Gary] South to reveal plans of attack, it shows Schwarzenegger's belief in the benefits of failure: [...[I]t often helps to seek out failure. Train as hard as possible, find out what your strength and endurance limitations really are. ...Once you experience failure--failure to lift a weight, to get through a workout, to place well in a contest--you will know more about yourself and can plan the next stage of your training more intelligently.] | As for why he's taking his time in deciding to run, it's all part of the Schwarzenegger approach to "peaking for a competition": [A good bodybuilder plans his competition strategy the way a successful general conducts a military campaign. You need to choose the right time and place to do battle, to be certain that your army (your physique) is well trained and ready. You need to be confident of your battle tactics, know when to attack, when to withdraw, and how to conserve ammunition (energy) so that it lasts until the end of the conflict.] | If you think Schwarzenegger doubts that these strategies have political application, think again: [In two or three years I had actually been able to change my body entirely. That told me something. If I had been able to change my body that much, I could also, through the same discipline and determination, change anything else I wanted. I could change my habits, my whole outlook on life....I can use the information and discipline I learned in bodybuilding for perfecting other aspects of my life.] Soon enough, we'll be seeing these ideas put to the political test.

[Hugh Hewitt] 7:00 am from his Wednesday column
Deadly new viruses? The movie 28 Days Later is in theaters presently, and it's pretty creepy. A rabies-like virus gets loose in London and the results aren't pretty. The film is definitely not for the squeamish, and fully deserves its "R" rating. | As I watched, however, I alternated between the standard critique of sci-fi /horror movies' decision-making – ("Don't drive into the tunnel, you dummy!") – and some flights into fancy about the various viruses that could get loose here in the United States. | After all, England's an island and can be quarantined, but if some of our home-grown viruses jump borders, we'd all be toast. Just think about the consequences of a rapid spread of: The California Virus: The infected spend, and spend, and spend and never stop spending until bankruptcy overtakes them and all credit cards are cancelled. The Gray Davis Virus: The infected stare blankly into middle space for five years and then curl up under the nearest desk.

7/8/03 [Tuesday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:56 am
Shadow Governor Speaks: The man with the best understanding of the state's budget - in our estimation - had a couple of comments to the Times about Progressive's free-wheelin' spending ["The problem is the waste of resources is endemic throughout the bureaucracies," said state Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks), who presses for a radical change in the way the state spends, such as decentralizing health and education. Rather than pick at individual programs, McClintock said in an interview, what's needed is a reform of bureaucracies "down to the DNA level" to refocus them on the services they are supposed to provide. "All programs are good or they wouldn't have been adopted in the first place," he said. The stumbling block for Republicans in the current emergency, McClintock said, is that the deep reforms they desire cannot be written into a budget. "There's no line item in the state budget that says 'waste,' " he said.] Yep... "there's no line item that says 'waste.'" Right. That's why a guy like him with the mighty veto pen would fix this mess pretty quick. Lord Gray should be paying close attention to what the Shadow Governor says...

7/7/03 [Monday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:09 am
Shameless Self Promotion: Daniel Weintraub gives the Bear Flag League a plug in yesterday's Weblog post. [Nine right-of-center California-based bloggers have started the Bear Flag League, a loosely aligned coalition of writers focusing on the Golden State, among many other topics.] Budget DOA, Duh... On Sunday night the Assembly debated the Republican budget - just for fun. And - hold on to your hats - it was defeated. Of course, people would die, children would starve and the state would slowly slip in the ocean...But the Republicans soldiered on...In the Bee [Assemblyman Ray Haynes, R-Murrieta, said that among the many opportunities for savings was the purchase by Folsom Prison of horseradish "because they wanted it with their prime rib."]

7/6/03 [Sunday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:08 am
Ronnie Knew What to Do: In the Chronicle Matt Miller pines for the wisdom of a Great Governor [The shame is that this crisis could be an opportunity to have an overdue debate on what services Californians want and how they are prepared to pay for them. In the old days, budget expert Fred Silva of the Public Policy Institute of California said, Gov. Ronald Reagan insisted that new programs be matched with revenue sources to fund them; contrary to his tax-hating image, Reagan prudently helped craft tax increases to make good ideas sustainable.] | Ose Fillers: The Bee reports that Dan Lungren, state Senator Rico Oller and talk show host Tom Sullivan are considering a run for Doug Ose's congressional seat. | UnComp: The Black Hole of worker's comp insurance is waiting to swallow up the Legislature. In the Bee [California insurance companies lost $3.4 billion on workers' comp claims in 2002, according to a report released last week by the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California. More disturbing, insurers face a $12.7 billion shortfall in the reserves they must set aside to make future payments on current claims.]

7/4/03 [Friday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 10:15 am
Bear Flag League:
A blogging community of conservative California bloggers has launched today. Click on the flag above for a list of the founding members. The official announcement was posted this morning at CalBlog -

The Bear Flag League Launch Announcement
Posted by Justene Adamec at July 4, 2003 09:31 am
July 04, 2003
HERE WE GO! Today is the 153rd anniversary of California's admission to the United States. On this auspicious occasion, I am thrilled to announce the formation and launch of the Bear Flag League, a loosely aligned group of right-leaning blogs based here in the home of the Bear Flag state. | We have no rules. We have no plans. We have just banded together to see where the synergy takes us. Come along for the ride.

[Ken Masugi] 9:45 am [original posting at Claremont]
California to New York Times: Drop Dead! In "No Budging in California" the New York Times pontificates that the California Republicans should stop blocking the Democrats on the state budget. The Times' take: "The divided, posturing Democrats obviously deserve their share of the blame for this debacle. But Republicans cannot be absolutists about opposing taxation at this level of financial meltdown. Whatever rancor they have built up against the governor and the Democrats' liberal spending policies, they should not take it out on the public during an emergency. Californians will inevitably be hurt by the budget crisis; they don't deserve additional suffering caused by the fecklessness of their elected officials." A feckless absolutist partisan might say the Times appears to be plagiarizing Democratic propaganda. This editorial plus the burden of Gray Davis should cause Democrats to switch parties-- and more important their party line on taxes and spending. And it should stiffen the resolve of Republicans, who should distribute "No Budging in California" t-shirts, written in NY Times headline font of course.

[Ben Boychuk] 9:45 am [original posting at Claremont]
The Machines Are Revolting! Arnold Schwarzeneggar told Marines at Camp Pendleton the other day that "the only weapons of mass destruction [President Bush] is going find are in 'Terminator 3'." Although his remarks were met with jeers (So. Cal. talkshow host Mark Larson has the audio), maybe we should be grateful that Arnold is being Arnold. Personally, I think he was being more honest than he realized. "T3" is a huge bomb. The Claremont crew saw "T3" last night. Although reasonable people will disagree (Claremont's own Ken Masugi found much virtue in the film), I thought it was essentially Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, with better effects and a somewhat less upbeat ending. The great Stephen Hunter has a more charitable take. Hunter has a Pulitzer, and I don't. But I had to pay $9.25, and he didn't, so make of our conclusions what you will.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:22 am
More Budget Wounds - Unemployment Insurance:
The state's unemployment insurance fund is going under. Businesses are going to get whacked to contribute more - to the tune of 51% more - reports the Bee [The unemployment insurance fund currently stands at $2.9 billion and is "going fast," said Employment Development Department spokeswoman Suzanne Schroeder. Even with the massive rate hike, the fund will be exhausted by early next year, according to a forecast released late Thursday.] Swell. You know, some cruel person might suggest that the "generosity" of Progressive policies always leads to the same place.

7/3/03 [Thursday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:08 am
The Sky is Falling:
Progressives swooned with the release of the Republican budget plan which is supposed to going to get debate action on Sunday - so says the Bee. It's that nasty spending cuts thing that has Progressives so upset. [In fact, the cuts proposed by Assembly Republicans would only trim year-to-year spending by 4 percent, said Assemblyman John Campbell, R-Irvine, vice chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. "In the greatest fiscal crisis this or any other state has faced, is a 4 percent cut unreasonable, is that draconian, is that something that will cause disaster?" he asked. "We don't think so."] Hmm. Neither do we, John. | Dueling Progressives: Irvine's mayor, Larry Agran is made at L.A.'s mayor Jim Hahn and he says so in a Register Op-Ed called "Mayor Hahn, Butt Out." Yes, yes, it's that squabble about the El Toro airport again... Hmm, let's see what has a better ring to it - Hahn International Airport or Agran Park?

7/2/03 [Wednesday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:55 am
Shark and Scheer:
Stefan Sharkansky pulls out another weekly canard from Robert Scheer. At Sharkansky's blog [Robert "three-home" Scheer (I'll explain later) seems to be taking a summer vacation from demonizing Bush for the liberation of Iraq. In this week's column, Mr. Canard blames George W Bush for Gray Davis' $35 billion surprise budget deficit and the energy crisis that shook the state three years ago...more at Shark Blog] The Shark Blog also hosts an invaluable running tally of Scheer's canards.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:22 am
Stopping the Car Tax: Jon Coupal and anti-tax cohorts went after the car tax yesterday by filing a law suit. In the Times ["This tax is illegal," Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., said of the car tax increase, while speaking at a news conference in front of the Superior Court building in Sacramento, where he filed the lawsuit. "The power to raise a tax rests squarely in the legislative branch." Four dozen GOP legislators joined Coupal in alleging that the administration had no authority to raise the tax by an average of $158 per car.] | Oh...It's Not Marriage: AB 205 - which gives same-sex partners almost all of the rights and responsibilities of married couples is just about through the Legislature and going to head to Lord Gray's desk. In the Times ["It's not a marriage bill," Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles) assured the committee. Goldberg said the Legislature's lawyer had told her that the proposal, AB 205, would not address Proposition 22's definition of marriage.] Right. It will make Prop 22 simply irrelevant. Just what are those things that aren't going to "address" Prop 22's definition of marriage? [Those include paying spousal and child support in divorces, being responsible for one another's debts, owning property jointly and being able to claim a partner's corpse from the coroner. / Goldberg's bill would give those rights and responsibilities to homosexual couples. / As a condition of registering a domestic partnership in California, the bill also would require same-sex couples to agree to accept the jurisdiction of Superior Courts in the case of a divorce or separation of the partners. / Currently, there are no uniform rules that cover the breakup of a domestic partnership or issues related to child custody, financial support and other issues that straight divorced couples must deal with, Goldberg, a lesbian, told the committee.] Uh... now, what doesn't make it marriage? I guess I'm unclear on the concept. | Impasse? The budget is stuck, stuck, stuck... Bill Maze (R-Visalia) is caught in the Big Muddy too... Times ["I'm always hopeful, and I always believe we can move forward," Maze said. "The astonishing part to me is how Democrats are pointing fingers at us, saying we have no plan. They've controlled this house for years and have overspent continuously. And yet they stand up, look you in the face, and say, 'The problem is, we just need more money so we're going to tax you more.' I think the public is fed up with that."] When will Conservatives learn? The money belongs to the state. High taxes: good. Big spending: good. Means that government runs everything. Means that government people are Number One. See?

7/1/03 [Tuesday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:22 am
Unbudged Budget: Well, the budget vote yesterday didn't do a whole lot. The Progressives don't like the Republican plan - which didn't even get to the floor. In the Bee [But that plan won't go to the Assembly until Wednesday. Democrats said after a preliminary assessment that it would result in severe cuts likely to outrage the public, including a move to delay kindergarten for some children.] Hmm... kinda like that outrage the public part... and how dare those Republican's cut out the car tax!


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