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21/25/40: California has a spending problem. As State Senator Tom McClintock likes to point out, population and inflation combined have grown at a rate of 21% the past four years; revenue has grown 25%. Yet California government spending has grown 40%. The result is an unprecedented state budget deficit expected to exceed $35 billion.
- Thomas Krannawitter 5/2/03

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[3/31/04 Wednesday]

[Bill Leonard] 8:01 am [link]
Blowing Up Boxes: Governor Schwarzenegger called on all Californians, particularly state employees, to help identify those areas of state government that could be made more efficient. To accomplish this, he has created the California Performance Review (CPR) project to comprehensively examine what state government does and how it does it. CPR has four charges: Executive Branch Reorganization; Program Performance Assessment and Budgeting; Improved Services and Productivity; and Acquisition Reform.

The Governor’s guiding assumption about the Executive Branch Reorganization is clear and accurate: “The organization of California’s state government today does not facilitate rational decision- making in the public’s interest.” He speaks about the sheer number of boards, commissions, agencies and departments without clear lines of authority or responsibility, noting that they do not produce outcomes for which any elected official can be held accountable by voters. Staff is frustrated with the lack of flexibility and bureaucratic inertia, taxpayers are angry about waste and worthwhile policy goals languish. The Governor is asking the CPR staff to examine the function of each agency and board and make recommendations for consolidating or eliminating them so that a new system encourages innovation rather than stifling progress. [For more about the California Performance Review project, see] [Leonard Letter 3/30]

[3/30/04 Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 11:09 am [link]
Blame Game:
About a week after Richard Clarke thrilled Democrats nationwide by his portentous and pretentious telling of fairy tales, there's been a little reality check, courtesy of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed -- Al Qaeda's operations chief. The story can be found in the Washington Times.

According to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, more attacks were planned after 9/11 for Chicago and the West Coast, most notably the Library Tower in Los Angeles. So why did they never take place? Because Al Qaeda was stunned and immobilized by the ferocity of the U.S. response.

Is there anyone out there who thinks that the response would have been as strong with Bill Clinton or John Kerry sitting in the White House, rather than W? ANYONE? We all need to remember the days before the invasion of Afghanistan. Armchair generals were suggesting that we resort to dropping bombs and bribing Pashtuns in Afghanistan, rather than putting "boots on the ground." Liberal historians were trotted out to ruminate on the difficulties that both the British and the Russians had encountered in previous military excursions into Afghanistan -- the clear implication being that a war there was simply not winnable.

Richard Clarke represents the part of America that wants to look back and cast blame. What Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has said illustrates better than anything why it's not what happened (or didn't happen) before 9/11 that matters as much as what happened afterwards. And that's where President Bush shines.

[Shawn Steel - past chairman California GOP] 5:55 am [link]
Calling Conservative Lawyers: Remember when we first saw this press release?

Senators Boxer and Feinstein Announce Bipartisan Judicial Nomination Panel May 22, 2001
Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer today announced an agreement with the White House establishing a Judicial Advisory Committee responsible for recommending nominations to fill vacancies in the four Federal district courts in California.
The Judicial Advisory Committee will be comprised of four six-member subcommittees – one for each judicial district in the state. Each subcommittee will have one member selected by Senator Boxer, one selected by Senator Feinstein and one jointly by both Senators along with three members named by Gerald Parsky, President Bush’s State Chair for judicial appointments. “It is my hope that this Committee can bring forward the best and most qualified candidates for the federal bench and provide a bipartisan balance that can lead to speedy approval by the Senate. I thank Senator Boxer, President Bush and Mr. Parsky for the cooperative spirit they have shown in this effort,” Senator Feinstein said.

Well things haven’t gone well with this Bi-Partisan committee. Boxer particularly. She serves as the leading leftist opposing the President by filibustering his judicial nominees. There is a solution. Remove Boxer. That’s why I am seeking attorneys to network in support of our best chance to cure the Boxer problem. If you are interested in learning more about Attorneys for Bill Jones for Senate, let me hear from you real soon.

[3/29/04 Monday]

[Chuck DeVore - columnist] 5:09 am [link]
Big protest planned in Taiwan, China ratchets up rhetoric: On Friday, Taiwan's election commission certified the island nation's razor-thin presidential election of incumbent President Chen Shui-bian. Opposition protesters immediately trashed the election commission's headquarters.

The pro-China leaning opposition plans on holding a 500,000 person protest rally on Saturday in the capital, Taipei, to dispute the election results. The Taiwanese government is worried that criminal elements (a code phrase for Chinese sleeper agents) may provoke violence. This, of course, would give China ample justification to invade in the wake of Beijing's statement that "The mainland side will not look on unconcerned should the post-election situation in Taiwan go out of control, leading to social turmoil, endangering lives and property of Taiwan compatriots and affecting stability across the Taiwan straits."

Just as Hitler did with Austria in 1937 and with Czechoslovakia in 1938, the Chinese leadership in Beijing is preparing the pretext for violent intervention in Taiwan. One of Hitler's excuses to intervene was the need to protect Germans where ever they happened to live. Beijing's rhetoric is hauntingly familiar to any student of history with references to "social turmoil" "endangered lives" and "compatriots" (the latter phrase linking Taiwanese citizens with the Chinese people). Taiwan even has its own Seyss-Inquart in waiting (the Austrian Nazi who took leadership of Austria as the Germans invaded in 1937) in Nationalist Party Chairman Lien Chan, the man who lost the election and continues to whip up protests.

Taiwan's maturing democracy is vitally important to America and its allies in Asia. Allowing Beijing free-reign to crush this vibrant democracy would not be in American's interests. Conversely, a free Taiwan points the way for the Chinese people showing them that they too can have freedom.

[3/26/04 Friday]

[Bill Leonard] 6:18 am [link]
Keeping the Lawyers Comfy: The Auditor General rightly criticized the Department of Corrections last week for a lousy report on the future of death row at San Quentin prison. The work was so sloppy that a proper analysis could not be rendered. The untold story is that the Department of Corrections is under tremendous pressure to keep death row where it is. Given the crowded conditions at San Quentin and the expensive housing nearby, the pressure for the status quo is not coming from the state employees at the prison, nor from the prisoners families. No, the pressure is from lawyers, and not just any lawyers. The members of the speciality bar that defend death row prisoners all live in the Bay area and all would be disrupted if the death chamber was moved to a less crowded and more secure location in California. For more than a decade now this threatened disruption of lifestyle of a few dozen lawyers has kept the state from making needed changes. [Leonard 3/25]

[3/25/04 Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:03 am [link]
Non-Partisan? Sure. In the midst of all his self-contradictory testimony, Richard Clarke did actually do one thing with which I agree: He pledged that he would not accept any post in a Kerry Administration. Perhaps we should let him set the example for the rest of the commission -- at least in that regard. If everyone is so worried about conflicts of interest (concerned enough to drum out Henry Kissinger, for example), shouldn't we ask all the commission members to reveal whether they would serve, if asked, in a Bush or Kerry Administration? Surely the public has the right to know if partisans on the committee -- people like Jamie Gorelick or Richard Ben-Veniste -- have ambitions that might color their interpretation of events or the handling of witnesses. An admission of interest in the post of Kerry's, say, Attorney General would not in itself be per se disqualifying; it would, however, valuable insights to the public as to why, perhaps, some members are more eager than others to draw partisan, finger-pointing conclusions about the topic of intelligence in the days before and after 9/11.

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 12:01 am [link]
Kerry Misspeaks: Well, well. The pattern of John Kerry "misspeaking" continues apace. Today, the Washington Times reports two more examples: Kerry has said that he hadn't spoken to Al Hubbard -- an anti-Vietnam War activist who lied about his service record -- since the two appeared on TV together in 1971. But the files kept on Kerry by the FBI reveal that the two were together a fair amount thereafter. Similarly, Kerry insists that he never attended the meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War where the potential assassination of US senators was discussed. According to the FBI records, that's a lie, too -- he was there. Kerry's staff says that the events happened 30 years ago and "the senator simply misspoke." Wonder why these hard facts aren't generating the media frenzy that erupted on the basis of unsubstantiated charges about President Bush's service in the National Guard?

[3/24/04 Wednesday]

[Chuck DeVore - columnist] 5:04 am [link]
China beginning to intervene in Taiwan's election aftermath: Last Saturday, March 20, after a tumultuous presidential campaign that saw the attempted assassination of Taiwan's president and vice president the day before, Taiwan's independence-leaning president won reelection by the slimmest of margins: 50.1% to 49.9%. Most observers of the island-nation thought President Chen would lose by a few percentage points.

Now the pro-China-leaning nationalist opposition is crying foul, claiming that the assassination attempt might have been staged and alleging that the vote was fraudulent (imagine the drama we had in Florida in 2000 then imagine that the military and economic strength of the U.S. and Cuba were swapped, then you could imagine the danger Taiwan is in at the moment).

According to news reports, China's official mouthpiece, the Xinhua News Agency, sided with the opposition and accused President Chen of "political fraud" and trying to "kidnap the will of the Taiwanese people."

With America busy around the world and now engaged in our own presidential campaign, China may think it can bully Taiwan into overturning its election result. Stay tuned. This is not a good development for the advancement of democracy, freedom and liberty in the world.

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 5:03 am [link]
Arnold and Cedillo on SB1160, Strategy!
All of the focus on Gil Cedillo and Arnold Schwarzenegger needs some intelligence.

There are not '12 Republicans' ready to vote for a deal.

There is no legislation to vote up or down, we are talking about talk.

I'm told any deal would have to satisfy background checks - severe - and insurance requirements, both of which are beyond compromise right now!

When the Dems sided with Arnold to repeal SB60, they did so because of fear of the initiative process. Would they now pass something that would be taken down by a similar referendum...and offer them more defeat..get real!

There are reasons for the Dems to use this strategy:

(1) The Democrats have no campaign issues for the November ballot. They can ride this issue for the Latino vote.

(2)The Dems can erode Arnold's popularity by calling him a liar after talks breakdown. Cedillo can say, "We had a deal and Arnold lied, he was pushed by the conservative Republicans." This would damage Arnold and Bush's standing in the state.

(3) The Dems want to create a 'wedge issue' for the November ballot. An issue like this can draw more Democrats to the polls since John Kerry has no polling power...just like the visit by Howard Dean...they need some passion to GOTV.

(4)This is probably the most important concept...make it seem that Arnold and Bush are 'weak' on immigration and play the conservative vote into an apathetic voting bloc. This would create some low voter turnout for the GOP, something the Dems need to fight their own!

[Nick Winter-found in the ebag] 5:02 am [link]
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher Speaks Out On Death Of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin:
"The Israeli attack focused specifically on the head of Hamas, a terrorist organization that has claimed responsibility for slaughtering innocent civilians… No one on either side of this conflict should target women, children, and the elderly… Killing a murderer like Sheikh Ahmed Yassin makes noncombatants safer because it eliminates one threat and sends a message to other killers. Sheikh Yassin had the blood of innocents on his hands, and was a danger to Israelis and Palestinians alike. Had he lived he would certainly have master-minded more killing and destruction, which would then have led to more retaliation. His death is a matter for celebration. It serves the cause of peace and security in the region." [via Shawn Steel]

[3/23/04 Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:01 am [link]
On Clarke & Kerry:
The assault on President Bush's wartime leadership continues apace, this time with former counterterrorism "czar" Richard Clarke setting out on a book tour, peddling charges that, somehow, 9/11 is the fault of the Bush Administration alone.

Had it been more truthful, and launched more intelligently, such a line of attack might have had tremendous potential to damage the President. But it won't. For one thing, Clarke can't seem to control the impulse to blame the President for everything -- and to do so in an "over the top" way that doesn't create a lot of confidence in his credibility.

Even more importantly, for President Bush to be hurt politically in a lasting way, there has to be a credible alternative . . .and John Kerry isn't it. Here's a guy who's busy cursing at his Secret Service agents when he falls down on the ski slopes of Sun Valley -- and complaining about the fact that our troops don't have enough body armor, after voting against the $87 billion appropriation that provides such safety equipment, after saying on "Face the Nation" that it would be irresponsible to vote against the self-same $87 billion. Not a (set of) position(s) that inspire -- or which suggest that Kerry would represent a viable choice for Commander in Chief.

Finally, apparently, Kerry has started to run an ad that features footage of him walking out of the jungles of Vietnam. It doesn't spring immediately to mind, but it's worth asking: Just how did he obtain this footage? He has to have asked someone to shoot it. Why would he make such a request? Of course: He was planning a political career (or to be someone "important") even back then. That realization inevitably creates a degree of distrust about all Kerry's subsequent decisions -- was he making decisions that he believed were right, or was he trying to aggrandize himself with those who could promote his political career? Finally, it makes him seem a little creepy . . . who's worrying about getting a "close-up" as they operate in a war zone? Yes, President Bush is blessed in the Democrats' choice of his opponent.

[John Mark Reynolds, columnist] 5:00 am [link]
The Daily Mirror: "F*** THE NAZIS, SAYS CHURCHILL'S PARROT" - Winston's parrot lives! Great news. If Bush had a parrot, it would curse Bin Laden. If Kerry had a parrot, it would curse Bush. That is all you need to know to decide your vote this year. [John Mak Reynolds blog]

[3/22/04 Monday]

[Bill Leonard] 8:11 am [link]
Jobs Held Hostage: Action on Workers’ Comp Reform:
It is Day 22 of Jobs Held Hostage—two weeks after the Governor’ s deadline for the Legislature to act to fix the system that is so broken it is driving jobs out of our state. The Legislature’s inability to make the needed changes in time has fueled a private effort to take the issue directly to the voters. The Workers’ Compensation Reform and Accountability Act is collecting signatures now to be placed on the November ballot. The initiative does several necessary things to improve the current situation. Most of these reforms are included in current legislation (SBX 4 3 and ABX4 1); the Legislature could save everyone a lot of time and money by simply passing these bills quickly.

The first is a common sense requirement that workers prove their injury occurred at work. Too many of us know first-hand stories of people who have been injured recreationally but who are all too eager to place the blame and burden on their employer. Further, the measure makes employers responsible only for the injury, or portion of injury, that occurred on the job. Another common sense change in the initiative is to prohibit inmates from claiming disability benefits for injuries that occur while they are in custody.

The initiative requires that injured employees and their employers agree on a physician. This alone will reduce fraud and wrongdoing on either side. Also, the Qualified Medical Evaluators involved must have an area of specialty related to the injury at hand. Any disputes about medical treatment will be resolved by medical professionals, not lawyers or bureaucrats or insurance agents. The initiative also says that the diagnosis and treatment of industrial injuries will be governed by guidelines established by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Finally, the initiative increases permanent disability benefits for the most seriously injured employees.

These changes are needed desperately if California is to restore a healthy jobs climate. Currently, our employers pay $6.33 of every $100 of payroll vs. the national average of $2.46. Additionally, workers’ comp costs have risen 136% over the last four years, with some companies experiencing premium increases of 300%. The cost for government entities and school districts has skyrocketed by as much as 55%, leaving taxpayers holding the bill and receiving less in service.

You should contact your legislators and demand action on SBX 4 3 and ABX4 1, but I also encourage you to sign the petition to place this measure on the ballot. To learn more, see [Leonard 3/19]

[3/19/04 Friday]

[Bill Leonard] 6:09 am [link]
Westly Says Angelides Discredited: State Controller Steve Westly (D) was the featured speaker at a Capitol breakfast event attended by a member of my staff. Westly started his remarks by talking about his work with Governor Schwarzenegger in passing Propositions 57 and 58. Westly said that State Treasurer Phil Angelides (D), who campaigned against the bonds, was proven wrong in his criticisms because in the aftermath of the bond’s passage, Wall Street has raised the state’s debt rating a full point. [Leonard 3/19]

[3/18/04 Thursday]

[Nick Winter] 5:11 am [link]
Wag the Kerry:
John Kerry gave a major speech on Iraq yesterday at George Washington University...

[Camera pans to podium where candidate Kerry smiles and waves to the audience. Kerry clears his throat.]

One year ago this week, American soldiers raced across the desert to Baghdad. Ten months ago, George Bush stood on an aircraft carrier and proclaimed "mission accomplished."

But today we know that the mission is not finished, hostilities have not ended, and our men and women in uniform fight on almost alone with the target squarely on their backs. Everyday, they face danger and death from suicide bombers, roadside bombers, and now ironically, from the very Iraqi police they are training.

We are still bogged down in Iraq - and the Administration stubbornly holds to failed policies that drive potential allies away. What we have seen is a steady loss of lives and mounting costs in dollars, with no end in sight.

We were misled about weapons of mass destruction. We are misled now when the costs of Iraq are not even counted in the President's budget. But having gone to war, we have a responsibility to keep and a national interest to achieve in a stable and peaceful Iraq. To leave too soon would leave behind a failed state that inevitably would become a haven for terrorists and a threat to our future, a problem for the Middle East, and a dangerous setback in the war against terror.

But the answer is not a stubborn pursuit of the same arrogant policies; the answer to failure is not more of the same. Instead we must return more effectively to the international community, and share the authority and the burdens with other nations. We need to use the tools of diplomacy as well as the tools of war. [Cue car bomb at Mount Lebanon Hotel. Cut away from Kerry and go to breaking story from Baghdad.]

[3/17/04 Wednesday]

[Joe Armendariz - columnist ] 7:09 am [link]
Terrorism Works: The decision by millions of Spaniards to take to the streets of Madrid had little to do with standing up and protesting terrorism and much to do with standing up and protesting their own government's decision to support the United States in a global-war against international terrorism. Currently, this global-war's main theater of operation is in Iraq. Where is leads, beyond the borders of Iraq, is up to the terrorists and the outlaw nation(s) that choose to support terrorism. Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar understood this simple truth. Spain's incoming Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero does not. Then again, nobody should over-estimate the astuteness of somebody who labels themselves a Socialist in the 21st century.

But we can all agree on one thing. Al Qaeda, who are almost certainly responsible for the cowardly bombings in Madrid, want Spain and the other members of the Coalition, led by the United States, to leave Iraq. Tragically, they appear to be getting their wish with respect to the new government of Spain. Indeed, for Spain and for any other nation that chooses a similar course, retreating from the fight and then appeasing the terrorists who started that fight, such a decision is an incalculable strategic mistake.

After September 11, Americans came together in a show of almost unprecedented unity. An overwhelming majority of Americans rallied around the President because we understood that nothing we did as a nation of people, or as a government, justified such an evil act of hate and cowardice on our soil. Spaniards, on the other hand, came together to demonstrate against the courage of their government. Their message sends a clear signal to terrorists far and wide; terrorism works! And that, perhaps more than anything else, explains why America and not Spain, France, Russia, Mexico or Germany, solely occupies the role of de-facto leader of the free world.

[3/16/04 Tuesday]

[Nick Winter] 5:09 am [link]
Vichy España:
With 10 coordinated bombs on trains Al Qaeda has achieved a great victory. Spain’s voters have capitulated and put “can’t we all just get along” socialists in charge of the government. The moral core of Old Europe continues to rot away. Liberal appeasers ready to negotiate and hand over the security of the free world to radical Islamists... Thank goodness we don’t have any socialist appeasers in this country... Well... We might have a few appeasers, I guess... Ted Kennedy, Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Terry McAuliffe, Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee...uh... hmm... This list could get kinda long... Hey! I guess come November we could have our own Marshall Petain in Lt. John Kerry...

[3/15/04 Monday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 12:01 pm [link]
About the Spanish elections:
The outcome is frankly disappointing, but in the short term, it endangers the United States much less than it does the rest of Europe. With the response to 9/11 and the Spanish elections, Al Qaeda has learned that if it attacks the United States, its members must learn to live in caves before they are hunted down and (hopefully) killed. If it attacks a European country, however, it gets policy changes to its liking. So if you were an Al Qaeda with limited resources, where would you concentrate? In Europe -- where you get a more immediate payoff.

Paradoxically, it may also help President Bush if Spain's new leader immediately tries to cuddle up with Germany and France, insofar as it may suggest to American voters that this behavior is a template that Kerry would follow. Spaniards were unhappy about fighting Al Qaeda (and took out their unhappiness on the conservatives) because they didn't see the fight as "theirs", but Americans have a different response; anyone who was watching television in the days around 9/11 knows that this fight is ours.

In their charming naivete, Spanish voters may not realize that bin Laden's grievances against Spain were sufficient to prompt attacks even before Spain took America's side in the war on terror -- so adapting their politics to conform to Al Qaeda's wishes may not do much to protect them at all. In his penultimate cave video, filmed apparently in the early hours of the Afghan campaign, Osama listed among his principal grievances "the tragedy of Andalusia." That refers, of course, to the end of Muslim rule in Spain in 1492. As Mark Steyn has pointed out, working at that rate, Al Qaeda will get around to punishing Spain for helping President Bush in roughly 2600.

Slovakia's presidential election is being held this May; that country also has been a staunch American ally in the war on terror. German elections take place before ours, as well -- so it will be interesting to see if Al Qaeda distinguishes between friendly German "infidels" and the unfriendly Spanish ones. European Parliament elections take place between June 10 and June 13 this year; Al Qaeda may decide that it can influence those, as well, and concentrate some of its firepower overseas.

In any case, Spain has done nothing but guarantee that more attacks will be directed toward it and the rest of Europe -- like a kid who gives up his lunch to a bully, it's more likely to get picked on the next time than a muscular kid who won't give up his lunch and beats up the would-be tormentor.

And any civilized country who thinks that its reluctance to fight in the war on terror will keep it safe is dreaming. Haven't they been paying attention? Al Qaeda's gripe isn't against the United States alone . . . it's against all modern, liberated democratic, secular governments, of which the U.S. is only the greatest and best example.

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 5:45 am [link]
The Change in Spain!
Spain's elections have just turned the country's leadership socialistic, liberal. Due to the train bombings of last week, the voters/citizens of Spain have decided that the Socialists Party should get the nod once again.

This is a huge upset for freedom, capitalism and for the United States in this war versus terrorism. Now, the terrorists know they can 'stimulate' Europe with terror attacks before elections and change the outcomes, as well as the support for those who are really fighting this "terrorism".

Remember, "terrorism" is a 'embracing a philosophy where the use of terror (i.e.) targeting civilians and not soldiers, is an acceptable and legitimate means of advancing a political cause.'

This is the war on terrorism. It is not a singular battle between Bush and OBL, Bush and Saddam or Bush and the means defeating terrorism wherever it my raise its ugly, evil serpent's head!

Today we have attacks in Greece, Spain and in Israel - not to forget the fire outside of the Kremlin in Russia after President Putin wins another election...there were threats from the Chechnya Rebels that they would plant land mines if Putin won again. We'll wait on this fire, but the others should be enough to consider today!

All-in-all, today in Spain was a HUGE victory for 'terrorism' and a loss for the people of Europe! What it means for the United States, we'll have to see in the following days. You would hope that it means a tougher line of questioning for John Kerry and a wider embrace for the leadership and activities of President Bush over the past year...but you never know in today's emotionally charged citizens and voters.

What I can point out today is the outcome in Spain:

(1) Total appeasement toward terrorism and an endorsement of such as a means to advance a political cause.

(2) The blame game works for liberals and socialists worldwide. The Socialists Party immediately 'blamed' Spain's leadership for the attacks last week, stating their relations with America and support of the war against terrorism.

(3) Run the countries foreign affairs through the United Nations who are already sympathetic to the means and goals of terrorism and terrorists (Consider the "Food for Oil" initiative created with Saddam and Iraq in 1996).

(4) Start negotiations with terrorism and terrorists, giving them a creditable position on the world stage for good.

As we ponder these the new direction of Spain with the Socialists Party victory consider my four points in reference to the Democrat candidate John Kerry - all of them have been represented by Kerry during his campaign in one way, shape or form. What we are watching in Spain could be the result in the US if we are not engaged in the differences. A new liberal, socialist party leader could take the helm and lead America into the arms of the UN and the 'deal making rooms' with terrorism. Remember, John Kerry has said that there are world leaders who support his campaign and him personally for the President's Office in November...maybe we now know who those newly 'endorsing' world leaders are for Kerry!

[3/12/04 Friday]

[Bill Leonard] 6:09 am [link]
Public Education Failing a Generation: One big challenge that public schools in California have is convincing the public that more money will result in better student performance. I do not see what they can point to that is going to make voters believe this. Forty-eight percent of freshman enrolled at CSU last year got out of California high schools without basic English skills and 40% lacked basic math skills -- and these are supposedly the good students. It is true that the high number of limited-English speaking students in California is a great challenge. Still, it is obvious that California public schools need bold change, and before they get more money, the California Teachers Association, and other education advocates, will need to offer evidence of a reform agenda that will dramatically improve student performance. Lance Izumi and the staff at the Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco released a study last fall, The California Index of Leading Education Indicators, which shows that the performance of our schools is at an intolerable level. According to the report:

From 1987 to 1995, verbal SAT scores for California public high school students dropped from 421 to 412, while those for parochial school students increased from 432 to 442.

From 1990 to 1994, the percentage of students taking first- year chemistry in California was the lowest of all states, and only Delaware and Hawaii had a lower percentage of students enrolled in second-level algebra.

California ranks near the bottom in both math and reading based on National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores, with 59 percent of California students reading below the basic level.

As many as one-third of California's high school students drop out.

In inflation-adjusted dollars, per-pupil spending in California was 60 percent higher in 1994-95, than in 1969-70. [3/9 Leonard Letter]

[3/11/04 Thursday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 7:05 am [link]
More Mainstream Hatred: America should be outraged over the hatred shared this week by the mainstream media. On Saturday, the New York Times began the mud slinging in a front page story as the paper referred to the eleventh hour delays in Iraq’s constitution as a "major embarrassment" to the Bush Administration.

So the Bush Administration is supporting a secular government in Iraq and the creation of the temporary parchment is delayed because a Muslim Ayatollah delays the process because there isn’t enough religious influence and protection in the new constitution. This is the embarrassment to the U.S.?

Isn’t it amazing, the New York Times considers it a negative to NOT include religion in the development of the New Iraq, but in America, if one political figure on the right even mentions the founding fathers and our Judea/Christian origin, the media goes sideways with outrage.

Since the actual signing has passed, what is the mainstream media saying today? By their silence the message is loud and clear!

Here we have the liberation of Iraq, no more ‘Evil Dictator’; the citizens of this sandbox will actually have a voice and a vote in the near future. They will determine their elected officials who will take their place as founding fathers of the New Iraq and create a complete constitution with new freedom for the Iraq people. But there is no celebration from the media elites in America, why?

My only conclusion is hatred. The mainstream media is watching Iraq develop a constitution as a basis of law, and that’s not the way the liberals like to see law made.

Liberals desire law to be made by rogue mayors in San Francisco, by staging massive protests in the street, by appointing activists judges, by politicians from gerrymandered districts and by apathetic attorney generals who are not forced to do their duty and enforce the laws of the state, nor the land! The mainstream media ‘hates’ the constitution, because they hate the ‘rule of law’.

Remember the confirmation hearings for Attorney General John Ashcroft – who they also hate. What was one of the MAJOR concerns from the left? Would John Ashcroft, a moral, pro-life Republican…would he uphold the constitutional laws of the land? And every time Ashcroft was questioned on this front, he responded the same, “I’m personally pro-life but I will respect our country, our constitution and the laws of our land.”

One party respects the “rule of law”, the other party likes to re-write the so-called ‘living and breathing parchment’ with rebellion…civil rebellion and constitutional rebellion!

The reason the media is silent on the Iraq constitutional process is due to the fact that they want laws created by emotions, riots and by anarchy. They would be much happier if the Grand Ayatollah would pull out the Shiites and rally in the streets for the compassion of the world and the influence of the judiciary hand of the United Nations.

The mainstream media is silent on the historical and powerful liberation of Iraq because they like countries to be developed by hierarchy within government, not by the voice of a representative republic and true democracy of its people.

After all, how would it look on the front page of the newspaper…how would the mainstream editors handle this week’s side-by-side columns of Mayor Gavin Newsome’s “heroics of anarchy and criminal behavior” over gay marriage and at the same time the  newspaper is celebrating a country's creation of liberty and freedom by ‘rule of law’.

Speaks volumes doesn’t it!

[3/10/04 Wednesday]

[Chuck McVey] 5:38 am [link]
Rock the Vote Crib: Heard the end of Michael Medved's radio show yesterday and his guest was John Vasconcellos, the author of the Let's-give-the-14-year-olds the vote. I thought I was jaded and cynical enough that I wouldn't be surprised, but found myself there when Vasconcellos said that his "emotions are (his) morality."

For those not familiar with California politics, Vasconcellos is a state Democratic Senator who in addition to spending California into oblivion was the sponsor of the California self-esteem initiative... Read it at SacBee - “Weary of diminishing voter participation in state elections, a group of lawmakers proposed a radical solution Monday: Let Californians as young as 14 cast ballots.”

[3/9/04 Tuesday]

[Bill Leonard] 5:01 am [link]
Taking the Oracle Fall:
What if you wanted to low-ball the news that your political ally was involved in corruption? Well, if you are Attorney General Bill Lockyer, you announce the indictment of a former Governor Davis staffer on election day, thus guaranteeing that all reporters are too busy with election news to cover the story. The Oracle scandal occurred in 2001. The legislative investigation took place in 2002. Now the fastest the "Justice" Department can bring an indictment is Primary Election Day 2004. I was a member of the investigating legislative committee. We interviewed Kari Dohn, who is now facing charges of altering evidence. I am convinced she was following orders. Somebody in the Davis Administration told her to do this. Yet our Attorney General finds no other evidence of crime! Why would anyone alter evidence if there is nothing to hide? By the way, the evidence she is accused of altering relates to the real question that has never been answered: What did Gray Davis know and when did he know it? [3/9 Leonard Letter]

[3/8/04 Monday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 7:14 am [link]
Bush's Use of 9-11 in TV Ads: Who owns 9-11? The answer is America! There is no special 'ownership' of this attack, America and her leaders have every right to express remembrance surrounding a day that will forever be the historical reference point of George W. Bush as the 43rd President.

Why is it that John Kerry can use Vietnam? We lost over 50,000 Americans in Vietnam. Where are the relatives of these brave soldiers and military personnel, shouldn't they be interviewed about Kerry's usage of Vietnam as a backdrop? If Kerry can use Vietnam, then President Bush can do the same as Commander and Chief over the "War Against Terrorism".

Seems that we have a new form of 'ownership' here. President isn't allowed to offer criticism of Senator Kerry's voting record due to his status of owning the veteran label during this campaign - now Bush can't talk about 9-11 because the relatives 'own' what happened on 9-11, not the country!

Remember, what happen on 9-11-01 was not an attack against the families, just New York...but against the United States of America! And this President has returned serve in this war. He has a right - we have a right - to pay respect to those who lost their lives and to this President who has defend our liberty and their honor!

[3/5/04 Friday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:49 am [link]
It’s a War, Stupid: Oh, please, the outrage over 9/11 images in the President’s campaign ads... annoying. It is truly disturbing that liberal Democrats and some 9/11 firefighters and family victims are complaining. It’s as if 9/11 were some natural disaster and the President is exploiting that disaster. It is those complainers who are the outrage.

9/11 was the defining moment of our time. The big picture is that we are engaged in a long-term war. There are millions of radical people in the world that would like to see us wiped off the face of the earth. Afghanistan and Iraq are part of that war.

The Left’s argument is always to reduce issues down to the immediate and the emotional. It is almost the height of negligence that the Democrats are railing about employment and the economy (both of chugging away just fine, thank you very much...) and distracting the voters and our leaders off the real peril. We are under attack. We’ve been infiltrated. We are fighting back. It will take will and determination.

Now that the Left has a nominee in John Kerry the most important questions should be centered around our security. Do we want a President who can lead and aggressively secure this country? Or do we want a President who is more than willing to dismantle the military while at the same time toss medals on the Capitol steps?

It ain’t the economy, stupid. It’s the war, stupid.

[3/4/04 Thursday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:45 am [link]
Don't they make a great couple? The most important legal official in the state of California doesn’t have the will, courage or common sense to do what the Attorney General of New Mexico, Patricia Madrid – a Democrat - did. She told Sandoval County officials to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples – and she sent police to back up the order. And at least one lonely New York District Attorney, Don Williams of Ulster Country, actually filed charges against New Paltz Mayor, Jason West, with 19 separate counts of illegally solemnizing marriages.

Mr. Lockyer has earned the wrath of conservatives and a recall campaign is afoot...

But Mr. Lockyer can take comfort in the companionship of fellow traveler New York’s weasely Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, who very much is in favor of gay marriage and just doesn’t see any point of issuing injunctions to stop them in New York State. Of course, like Lockyer, Spitzer wants to be governor and the Democrat party in New York has gay marriage as an official plank.

Hey, did I understand correctly that in his filing with the state Supreme Court Mr. Lockyer didn’t mention Prop 22?

Oh, well, does this matter anyway? After all, on a strategic level this is incrementalism. Activists push hard for same-sex marriage – making a lot of noise and spectacle. But – heavy sigh - they’ll settle for civil unions... And civil unions will be indistinguishable from marriage. Isn’t that what fence sitters are all saying... “I against same-sex marriage but in favor of strong civil unions?”

Incrementalism. Simple.

[3/3/04 Wednesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:19 am [link]
Tuesday’s Done: Well, it looks like Arnold's the man, Californians don't want higher taxes, and Bill Jones is going to be the person to end Barbara Boxer's "reign of ignorance" in the U.S. Senate. The initiatives that the Governor supported (Props 57 and 58) passed, while Prop 56, which would have lowered the threshold for tax increases, failed easily. Clearly, the failure of 56 is great for the overtaxed and underappreciated citizens of California. As for 57 and 58, given the legislature's well-known aversion to spending cuts, they were probably the state's best hope for solving its fiscal crisis.

On the national level, John Kerry cemented his nomination as the Democratic candidate to take on George Bush. That's good news for the country -- because he'll be easier to beat than some other candidates would have been. His condescension and pompous orations won't wear well, and the vituperative attacks of his surrogates will turn off the vast portion of the electorate that isn't rabid about its politics. Don't be spooked by the margins by which Kerry won -- or the fact that he won more primaries, more quickly, than any other candidate in modern history. The Democratic primary system this year was designed to yield a candidate quickly, yet there seems to be little genuine enthusiasm for Kerry, himself. It's almost like the Democrats engaged in a collective "mind meld" and somehow decided, based on a few bad weeks of press for President Bush, that Kerry was the best candidate, based on . . . what? Unclear, yet they all raced, like lemmings, off the Kerry cliff.

For Republicans, it's a relief to have the race settled, and Kerry as the presumptive nominee. It'll deprive the press of the excuse to air every irresponsible and hyperbolic attack against the president, and force scrutiny of Kerry and his record -- neither of which will wear well.

Overall, a super Tuesday indeed.

[John Mark Reynolds, columnist] 5:18 pm [link]
Kerry Loses! Do not take any pundit seriously who does not at this very moment understand that Kerry will lose 40 states this fall. If the pundit demures with complex theorizing, ask him to explain the following: Kerry is from Massachusetts. How does he carry the South and Mid-West? Kerry let Ted Kennedy introduce him tonight. He is from the Senate. Explain why Kerry will be the first Senator in my lifetime to win and the first person near Kennedy not to implode on a national scale. Kerry opposes the death penalty for drug king pins. Kerry would let any federal criminal live at taxpayer expense forever. Kerry wants to socialize medicine. Kerry voted against Clinton's Defense of Marriage Act. Kerry wants to turn US foreign policy over to the UN. Kerry's wife describes him as "French looking" and his foreign policy agrees. Kerry's wife. Nothing else: just let Theresa talk. Kerry is doomed.

[Streetsweeper] 5:09 am [link]
Governor RINO: Okay, so 57 & 58 passed. Good for the Governor. So, get it fixed, okay? But, you know, it’s really annoying that on Monday Mr. Schwarzenegger goes and the Leno show and says it’s "fine with me" if California law’s are changed to allow same-sex marriages. "I think those issues should be left to the state, so I have no use for a constitutional amendment or change in that at all..." Oh, great, thanks. So, that’s what it’s gonna be, huh? A guy who’ll tighten the fiscal purse strings and and at the same time sell values down the river all at the same time.

[3/2/04 Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau - editorial director] 5:01 am [link]
Super Tuesday: A Knockout, not an Upset:
As Super Tuesday approaches, John Kerry looks poised to remain in the catbird seat. He's running ahead in all ten of the states holding contests this week -- California, New York, Ohio, Massachusetts, Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Of the 2162 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination, Kerry has amassed 744 delegates -- 61 percent of those decided so far. Edwards trails a distant second with 220.

In order to avoid having this Tuesday's results seal the death warrant for his campaign, Edwards must pull off enough upsets to give him momentum in the states voting on March 9, including "delegate-rich" environments like Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, along with a host of southern states like Florida, Texas and Mississippi.

This will be a tough task. For one, fully half the Super Tuesday states host contests that are open only to Democrats. This complicates Edwards' task, as his best showings have seemed to depend on the support of both independent and Republican-crossover votes.

In Georgia -- a state that Edwards, born in South Carolina, must win -- Kerry runs ahead, but the race is closest here. Edwards' best hope rests in the fact that independents there are allowed to participate in the primary, which may boost his chances somewhat. In Maryland, another border state, Edwards has garnered the support of U.S. Rep Albert Wynn, but virtually the rest of the Democratic establishment in this very Democratic state have decided to back Kerry. In the biggest prizes of the day, California and New York, Kerry's support is almost double (or even triple) Edwards'. And clearly, Massachusetts native Kerry is well-positioned to win the five New England states at stake.

Edwards seems to be making a big play for Ohio, with its powerful trade unions and high unemployment. Edwards has sought to portray himself as more of a "fair trade" (or protectionist!) Democrat than John Kerry, who voted for NAFTA in 1993. But even so, Kerry has won the support of Ohio's retired senator, John Glenn, and currently runs far ahead; Kerry also won Michigan handily, where job loss has been even greater than in Ohio.

Even if Edwards ekes out a victory or two, it will be a major undertaking for him to shore up a campaign that seems to be running out of gas by the day. Should John Kerry sweep all ten states voting on Tuesday -- a not-impossible scenario, based on current poll numbers -- then it's all over for the Edwards campaign. And at this point, it's looking more likely that there'll be a Kerry Knockout than an Edwards Upset.

[in the ebag: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association] 5:01 am [link]
HJTA Recommendations for the March 2 Election:

PROP. 55: HJTA strongly urges a "NO" vote on this $12.3 billion state school bond. Voters just approved a $13.05 billion state school bond in November of 2002, just a little more than a year ago. HJTA believes that in these times of economic uncertainty, it would be foolish to add to the public debt.

PROP. 56: Vote "NO." >>> TAXPAYER ALERT: Defeating this measure is a must for taxpayers. Approval of Prop. 56 would open the flood gates to billions of dollars in higher state taxes. Promoters of this abysmal proposition will spend millions of dollars talking about accountability but the real purpose of Prop. 56 is to destroy Proposition 13's mandate of a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to approve new taxes. Over 100 tax increase measures totaling nearly $65 billion were introduced in the Legislature last year. If Prop. 56 had been law, virtually all would have passed.


PROP. 57: HJTA recommends a "Yes" vote. Proposition 57 is not new debt. It is a consolidation refinancing of existing Gray Davis debt. In fact, Gray Davis and a majority in the Legislature tried to force massive debt on Californians without voter approval. Governor Schwarzenegger is asking for your help on a "work out" of California's budget crisis WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. Passing Prop. 57 WILL NOT RAISE TAXES, but it will allow us to put the Gray Davis era behind us. So on Proposition 57, HJTA recommends a "yes" vote. This measure is tied to Prop. 58 below.

PROP. 58: HJTA recommends a "Yes" vote. Proposition 58 mandates a balanced budget -- NO MORE BORROWING. It does not take affect unless Prop. 57 above also passes.

Finally, HJTA asks taxpayers to review all local bonds carefully. Unlike state bonds, which are repaid by everyone through sales and income taxes, local general obligation bonds are repaid through a tax increase exclusively on property owners.

[3/1/04 Monday]

[John Mark Reynolds, columnist] 5:38 pm [link]
Media perplexion: The second most delightful thing about The Passion of the Christ, is the total incomprehension of reporters about religion in America. Note this choice jewel from the AP via

Once considered a niche film that would appeal mainly to conservative Christians, the bloody chronicle of Christ's crucifixion swelled to blockbuster proportions as Gibson rallied church groups to support it and accusations of anti-Semitism brought mainstream attention.

Does the Associated Press reporter have any idea how million conservative Christians there are? Here is clue: if every Southern Baptist in America bought your book, you would be a wealthy man. Also note that according to the reporter "mainstream" is a separate category from church groups. Quick: what does the reporter think is America's main activity on Sunday morning? A nation of media that thinks Rosie is main stream, but does not know the name of the pastor of Saddleback Church is hopeless.

Finally, the media may stop taking clerics of dying liberal denominations so seriously. For example, the last group of people to take the fatuous religious announcements of the presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church seriously work at the New York Times. All fifteen remaining Episcopalians in the United States gave up on him years ago. Why doesn't the Times call the head of the globally booming Assembly of God denomination? I shall leave it to you to decide. One can only assume that the secularists at the major media outlets are huddled about fantasizing that the crowds going to The Passion aren't all really Christian. That would prove they had been ignoring a market, despite wise economics. Perhaps, the shock might awaken a few to realize what narrow minded, parochial bigots American secularists and their liberal religious useful idiots are.

[in the ebag - Chuck McVey] 5:14 am [link]
Rosie’s Morality? "I think the actions of the president are, in my opinion, the most vile and hateful words ever spoken by a sitting president," O'Donnell, who lives in the New York City region, said on the program. "I am stunned and I'm horrified. "I find this proposed amendment very, very, very, very shocking. And immoral..." Chronicle

On Thursday, Rosie [the blushing bride] said - on Good Morning America - that Bush's marriage amendment pronouncement was "immoral." Not only was there no follow up question RE that comment, but I have not heard any commentary on this aspect of Miss. Rosie's personal philosophy.

Usually a reference to personal morality is based upon one's adherence to or belief in a religious philosophy. I'd be quite curious as to the philosophy that Miss. O'Donnell uses to determine that President Bush's support of a Constitutional amendment is "immoral."

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