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[For National Issues Blogging at theOneRepublic's Blog tOR Blog]

[2/28/05 Monday]

[Nick Winter-Found in the ebag] 12:11 am [link]
Fixing Marriage in CA: Found in the ebag from Brian O'Neel - My boss, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, has introduced AB 1236. If passed, this measure would allow people - strictly of their own volition - to enter into a marital contract that enables them to reject their right to a "no fault" divorce except in certain enumerated circumstances (spousal abuse, drug abuse, etc.). To have access to this choice, the couple must undergo premarital counseling and education or must already be married for five or more years. Also, before entering into a separation agreement, the couple would have to undergo marital counseling.

During the waiting period, the couples' marital counseling must treat how minor children fare in divorce and what parents can do to ease the effects of divorce on minor children. Parents who agree to divorce will submit detailed parenting plans covering issues such as visitation, discipline, and education.

[2/25/05 Friday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:09 am [link]
Naive Republicans: I had a California Republican Congressman (nameless here) tell me that we should 'force' ALL of the prisoners in California to do the work that illegal immigrants do for the agricultural business of the Golden State.

This was in reference to the 'Guest Worker Program', something this congressman was not a fan of, and our situation of economical dependence upon illegal immigrant worker.

I ask; How can we create and pass legislation forcing our prisoners to do the work that the illegal immigrant do, when we hear about rulings like this from the US Supreme Court today?

The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that a California prison policy that temporarily segregates new or newly transferred inmates by race is constitutionally suspect and should be evaluated by the same searching judicial scrutiny that applies to other government policies that classify by race.

The 5-to-3 decision overturned an appeals court ruling that upheld the policy, defended by California officials as necessary to curb violence by gangs. In that ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit examined the segregation under the relaxed standard of review the Supreme Court generally applies to prison policies.

Sometimes we Republicans are so naive! [Hogue Blog - email:]

[2/24/05 Thursday]

[Nick Winter-Found in the ebag] 12:11 am [link]
AB 503 CalWORKs Bill of Rights? This turned up in the ebag from a source that would rather remain anonymous... I just read about Assembly member Sally Lieber's AB 503. In it she has mandated that a "CalWORKs Bill of Rights" be given to every person who applies for CalWORKs in California. She seems unaware that everything she includes in her "Bill of Rights" is already written, official policy of the CalWORKs program. I guess State policy is just not enough for her. Now she wants us to include this little wonder (in each person's "native language", of course). This is a classic example of yet another stupid, pointless mandate from the State to duplicate a service we already provide. Is there no end?

[2/23/05 Wednesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:01am [link]
Immigrant Progress and Education Notes on Education News The story of immigrant progress is set forth by Rona Marech in the SFC: "The children of immigrants to this country are wealthier, better educated and more likely to have professional jobs, own homes and live in the suburbs than their parents, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau."

Dan Walters notes the effects of immigration on schools, even as some "built-out" areas need to close schools: "[T]he Department of Finance is projecting only a quarter-million-student gain over the next decade, one-fourth of what occurred in the 1990s."

Heartening progress on learning English is noted by David Hunn in the Bakersfield Californian. The discipline and initiative shown there will be needed in Sacramento schools, which are faced with a dilemma.

Don't praise the State Superintendent of Education, Jack O'Connell, for any rise in English proficiency, warns Jill Stewart. "O'Connell has refused to credit English immersion for soaring English literacy rates."

Virulently anti-Prop. 227 Berkeley Unified is almost frozen in place. In 2001, of the 1,000 Berkeley kids who weren't native English speakers, 42 percent scored "advanced or early advanced" on English tests. Today, 45 percent do. L.A. - far more urban and poverty-riddled - has blown past leafy Berkeley.

O'Connell's silence emboldens these people. In Sacramento, legislators will soon hold education hearings aimed at dumbing-down Latino kids with a separate curriculum. The key guest speaker is an outrageous Pied Piper from the "bilingual" fiasco days, dead-wrong Canadian theorist Jim Cummins.

In Sacramento conflicting directives (and a limited budget) have forced a school district to choose which textbooks, if any, are to be purchased (Laurel Rosenhall, Sacbee). Purchase textbooks now, which must be discarded in a year, or delay their purchase (and violate a court order demanding equal educational materials)? No guessing on who helped create this dilemma-- the ACLU. "This is the problem when you trust lawyers to form education policy," said Bruce Fuller, an education professor at UC Berkeley, and co-director of Policy Analysis for California Education.

Can an immigrant also count as a black American (Jason Johnson, SFC)? Ward Connerly and Lani Guinier appear agreed on some concerns here.

Thanks to Rough & Tumble for making this summary possible. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[2/22/05 Tuesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:13 am [link]
Athene's Wisdom: Redistrict by Increasing Legislature's Size A thoughtful criticism of current redistricting proposals is offered by AtheneinCalifornia, in the Sacbee. Her take is in many ways ours:

With 150 Assembly members [instead of 80] and 50 Senators [instead of 40], the modern Legislature would reflect the founders' conception of a smaller, deliberative upper house and a larger lower house where the passions and will of the people are expressed. Assembly members would be more accountable to districts with about 230,000 constituents each, and the Legislature would benefit from new voices that are unable to compete in today's giant, high-cost districts.

She evidently favors “nesting” three assembly districts into each senatorial one. What if we doubled the size of the current legislature: 160 and 80? Then there would be more senatorial districts than congressional ones. Compact lines would still need to be drawn. Both of us still face the problem of persuading a public down on Sacramento to pay for more legislative salaries. But what if they worked part time….? As Athene (Heather Barbour) quotes the Governor: “bring me big ideas.”

UPDATE: The LA Times editorial page is beginning a series on redistricting. "We urge [the Governor] to stay his course." They begin with the 38th district, which sprawls from Pomona west to East L.A. and down below Norwalk. It lies mostly between the I-10 and the I-5. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[2/21/05 Monday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 2:42 pm [link]
Still voting NO on stem cell Prop 71: Ted Costa, and the People's Advocate, have announced a lawsuit directed toward the 'unacccountable passing' of Prop 71 (stem cell research). Ted just made the announcement on my morning show, he will be delivering the papers tomorrow to the California State Supreme Court.

The lawsuit (under the Brown Act) asks for elected official oversight and deep accountability. It also asks for any revenues from patents surrounding future research to be paid to the state and not to venture capitalists.

On the Hogue Show, we discussed the moral and financial concerns surrounding this Hollywood driven initiative during the months leading up to the election.

There was little warning before this 'thing' passed, but that was drowned out by those who wanted to pass this 'thing' to show up President Bush. Nobody seems happy about its outcome now, even Democrat Debra Ortiz.

Stay tuned for more...
[Hogue Blog - email:]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:23 am [link]
Assemblyman Bermudez: Epitome, Synecdoche, or Metaphor? Dan Walters focuses on one glaring example to draw a general conclusion about the state legislature's disfunctional arrangements:

Assemblyman Rudy Bermúdez is rightfully taking heat from political and media critics for using his position as chairman of a budget subcommittee to flog the Department of Corrections on behalf of the union that represents the department's employees.

Bermúdez is a state parole officer on unpaid leave while he serves his stint in the Legislature, as well as a member of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association - the union that, by common consent, is one of the two or three most powerful political interests in the Capitol

Walters concludes:

As the Bermúdez situation underscores, the syndrome results in a Legislature that's not only more ideologically polarized, but also increasingly composed of members who see fidelity to their sponsoring factions - the folks who secured those all-important party nominations - as their first, and sometimes only, priority. And that means we have a Legislature whose members are only tangentially interested in the state's broader issues.

Is Bermudez an epitome, a synecdoche, or a metaphor? He is a reminder. The controversy over him isn't about petty corruption, it's about the corruption of constitutonal government. The presence of a tool like Bermudez in the legislature is, incidentally, the very corruption that the original Progressive reformers fought. Indeed, the weapons of direct democracy that the Progressives devised are being revived to continue that fight, now fraught with considerably greater stakes. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[2/18/05 Friday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:02 am [link]
Victor Davis Hanson on California The eminent classicist, farmer, and historian of war in the SJM:

California's perfect storm is more complex than stereotyped Democratic wastefulness or Republican stinginess. Sales and income taxes are among the nation's highest, even as the state recovers from near bankruptcy. There are purported worker shortages throughout a government that has nevertheless grown top-heavy with well-paid state executives. The Legislature is paralyzed by regional and tribal factionalism; in the vacuum, needed laws are now made instead by ballot proposition -- sometimes ignored by the bureaucracy or often overturned by the state courts.

What is the problem? California's soft utopian dreams outdistanced hard reality. In a metaphoric sense, we were homeowners who haggled over the sheen on our beautiful wood floors but had no inkling of the rotting foundation out of sight beneath the house.

The Claremont Institute has enjoyed Victor's presence on our panels and in our publications. See The California Republic for his essay on California farming as an example of the western tradition in agriculture. My review of his essential Mexifornia is here, in our newsletter Local Liberty. Victor's great virtue is his ability to see the complexity of a problem, whether it be illegal immigration or invasion and occupation of foreign country, and cut the Gordian knot of perplexity to point toward decisive action. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[2/17/05 Thursday]

[Nick Winter-Found in the ebag] 5:12 am [link]
Found in the ebag - a poem from a reader...
Down Mexico Way
by Russ Vaughn - Rube, hick, Unsophisticated Person Laborer, Worker, Citizen

Try crossing our southern border; try going the other way,
To enter Mexico illegally for an extended, unlawful stay.
Ignore immigration quotas, all their visas and their fees,
And quietly slip their border, anytime you damn well please.
Just sneak in past the policía, ignoring Mexican laws;
You’ve a desperate need to improve your lot; you have a righteous cause.
With Evil Bush in power now, destroying your liberal order,
You’ve a right to seek asylum, to trespass their northern border.

Once there, speak English only and demand it in their schools;
Forget assimilation, make Mexicanos change their rules.
What right do these Latinos have to make you learn their lingo?
Tell those churlish
campesinos’ you’ve the right to remain a gringo.
Move right on in, live your own way, ignore their cultural norms,
And demand the use of English on all their official forms.
Free healthcare is, of course, your right; let poor “peones” pay,
For bilingual health providers throughout your border-bending stay.

Be sure to have a baby just as quickly as you can;
A citizen in the family helps legitimize your clan.
Then have another three or four, or maybe six or eight;
Don’t worry how you’ll feed them, just demand help from the state.
“ Paisanos” paying taxes may resent your reckless breeding,
And protest loudly to their states about your gringo kids they‚re feeding;
“ But it‚s just our way,” is your excuse, “Brought from our Yanquí land.”
How dare they question gringo ways they’ll never understand?

So defend your Anglo ethos; yield not your Yanquí essence;
And demand a driver‚s license to legitimize your presence.
Just so you know what you’vedone wrong in case of policía stops,
Insist the Federales must teach English to all cops.
Make Mexicans accept your ways, make them your pliant fools;
Demand a Yanquí culture course be taught in all their schools.
So what you paid no taxes; when you‚re an old gringo who will care?
File for your Seguridad Social, after all, you‚re due your share.

If all this sounds preposterous, an irrational expectation,
Dems are demanding it for Illegals now in our multicultural nation.

[2/15/05 Tuesday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:09am [link]
Placerville's Hate Speech SurfacesThe 1st Amendment is everywhere these days. From the Land Park "House on Marty Way", to Placerville and the Mayor of the city asking for a city resolution to create a 'hate free zone'.

Here is the story from News 10 Monday night...

Following a mayoral proclamation declaring Placerville a "hate-free" zone, a crowd of several hundred marchers took to city streets Sunday in a show of support. The demonstration further fueled the brewing El Dorado County controversy over homosexuality and freedom of speech rights.

More than 300 community members took part in the march. Organizers from the El Dorado County Human Rights Round Table billed the march as the largest human rights rally in the city's history.

The procession was the latest in a string of incidents triggered by the vocal emergence of a Garden Valley anti-gay group, which calls itself GayMarriageNO.

The organization, which describes itself as Christian-based, says it is "dedicated to the public advocacy of the natural family and...Opposed to homosexual marriage...and the homosexual lifestyle." It elicited controversy when a truck carrying signs touting anti-gay messages began appearing along US-50 and near county schools last October.

Marchers on Sunday said they wanted to add their voices to those opposed to the spreading of hate messages through their community.

I don't agree with a majority of this groups methods of communication, but they do have a right to free speech, right?

Compare this to the Land Park and the Pearcy's House...should we support anything close to a "Hate Speech Crime"?

Placerville has created a 'city resolution' for a 'hate speech free zone'. Who determines what is and is not, hate speech content?

Is a poster proclaiming the homosexual lifestyle as immoral hate speech?

Is a poster protesting 'same-sex marriage' and calling it a threat to the family and the future of American culture 'hate speech'?

In both the Land Park, Pearcy House effigy and this Placerville City Resolution...we are watching America grow more and more thinned skinned and the risk is our first amendment right of free speech.

Careful folks, be very careful America!
[Hogue Blog - email:]

[2/14/05 Monday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:13 am [link]
The Epidemiology of Immigration The diseases illegal immigrants bring with them are sketched in this Washington Times report by Joyce Howard Price.

In addition to a list of imported diseases that includes tuberculosis, sickle cell anemia, hepatitis B, measles and the potentially deadly parasitic disease Chagas, officials fear what could happen if the avian flu, which is flourishing among poultry in Southeast Asia, mutates so that it is capable of human-to-human transmission through casual contact.

Concludes Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, "State and local governments probably spent another $1.6 billion on top of [$4.7 billion in health expenses] providing health insurance for illegal aliens." [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:03 am [link]
Dr. Will on Schwarzenegger, M.D. George Will likes Dr. Schwarzenegger's proposed surgery for California. His conclusion: "It is quite a spectacle: An immigrant from Europe, familiar with the social sclerosis induced by that continent's statism, is toiling to inoculate this state against those ailments. Only in America."
[visit Local Liberty Blog]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:02 am [link]
Another Big-City Loser We all know California is such a cutting edge state, especially San Francisco. But yesterday Baghdad by the Bay slunk into place at the back of a long line of failed municipal lawsuits against gun manufacturers. A San Francisco state appeals court upheld a lower court ruling throwing out the city's outrageous claims that the gun companies were responsible for gun crime. Other losers in the case were San Francisco's fellow municipal plaintiffs Berkely, Sacramento, and San Mateo and Alameda counties.

Most of the losing cities have been either traditional liberal strongholds or nests of corruption--Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Atlanta. Neil Gorsuch at NRO elaborates on how liberals' reliance on litigation to drive their agenda harms not only the courts but their own viability.

But as with other forms of abusive litigation, the perpetrators won't stop trying until the law changes. And that may just finally be happening. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[2/11/05 Friday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:13 am [link]
Ramrodded Immigration Package? The House is about to pass an immigration bill that bars driver’s licenses for illegals, restricts asylum claims, and would complete a border fence. Arguments on these issues can be found by reviewing our immigration posts.

Of particular interest in this LAT story, by Mary Curtius, is this observation:

But Democrats assailed the law and the way the GOP majority bypassed committee scrutiny of the bill and brought it directly to the floor. They said that move was an indication that Republicans, flush with victories in the November election that saw them increase their majorities in the House and Senate, were not interested in compromise.

"The chairman did not hold a single hearing or a markup," said Rep. James P. McGovern (D-Mass.) "Major bills are being rushed to the floor without even a passing glance by the committee of jurisdiction."

While deliberation is essential to the passage of rational laws, the committee system is not constitutionally mandated. In fact, reliance on committees has transformed the constitutional nature of the Congress. The committee system has become identified with the whole House or Senate, and this delegation is a drastic misunderstanding of the authority behind the legislative power (for the principle involved see the case of INS v. Chadha). It is ironic, to say the least, that the liberals who created the semi-secret government of committees in order to pass their legislation should suddenly complain about a bypassing of that arrangement. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[2/10/05 Thursday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:09 am [link]
Illegal Immigration and Crime Update "Immigration - both legal and illegal - is reshaping Long Island. The 2000 census found that 154,144 Hispanic residents live in Suffolk County, up from 87,852 in 1990. While county-level figures aren't available, census figures show New York State's illegal alien population rising to 489,000 in 2000 from 357,000 in 1990." In the NY Times James Edwards notes the criticism of Long Island's Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy for responding to the crime and disruptions caused by this influx. Edwards points out the barriers on all levels of government that Levy faces.

See our previous post on Long Island's problems, which mirror the nation's.

The religious rhetoric of some of those supporting illegals has irked Edwards into responding: They are not only weak on their knowledge of Scripture but exploitative of Christian sympathies: "Congress must use a little serpently wisdom to shut down the huge threat our leaky asylum laws pose, which allow the lowest snakes on earth -- those who would fake a claim of religious persecution -- to use our laws against us for undeserved gain."

Edwards had written on these problems before in an essay for our newsletter, Local Liberty. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[2/9/05 Wednesday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 6:09am [link]
The Gov on Filling Shelley's Shoes? What about the replacement for Kevin Shelley's office Governor? [From Tuesday's interview with the Governor on my radio show.]

Eric - The people are curious, we have a vacancy in the Secretary of State's office...when will you nominate and do you have anybody in mind?

Arnold - We are having a meeting at 10 o'clock (10AM on Tuesday) this morning about this subject and we are going to debate over it and to look at it very carefully, who is the best candidate...we have five, six different names that we're looking at and I think we will make this decision today.

Eric - Much of the media is making hay about the fact of whether or not you'll spend some political capital on this nomination here...will you consider this something of a bi-partisan nomination, or will you simply say, "hey, we're just gonna get the right guy, gal for the job."?

Arnold - I think first of all we will get the right guy and, second of all it has to be someone that is, uh...has a bi-partisan philosophy. Uh, because in this job it is very important because we want to bring the integrity back and have people have faith in that office again and this is the only way we can do it is to put the right person in there.

Sounds to me like the Gov is going with the 'caretaker' nomination, saving his political gun power for another fight on another hill...thoughts?

[2/8/05 Tuesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05 am [link]
Angelides & more Pension Politics In an op-ed in the LAT, State Treasurer and wannabe Governor Phil Angelides reveals "the governor's real agenda: the California prong of a national attack on the pension funds that have stood up for corporate reform and the interests of ordinary families and investors hurt by the recent wave of corporate scandal."

Alrighty, lets get this straight—we should keep the public pensions as is, because if we change them no one will protect public employees from the likes of Enron?

Apparently, evil Republicans and big, bad businesses have once again teamed up to squelch the defenders of the little guy—the boards of multi-billion dollar public pension funds.

If the "powerful voice" of the massive public pension funds do represent the "interests of millions of families," as Angelides maintains, state worker's families must all be liberal Democrats content to let their pension money be used for political purposes.

Read more about the political agenda of public pension funds, including Angelides' soapbox grandstanding, in this excellent City Journal article.

Everyone knows Angelides is positioning himself to run for governor, and besides the free press this issue gives him, the more he establishes himself as a friend of the public unions, the more money he'll get from them for his campaign.

If you don't think politics is behind Angelides defense of the pension funds, read this editorial by Phil Yost of the Mercury News. He has some interesting quotations from Angelides recently, including "...the governor is acting like Karl Rove's robot...This is a [pension reform] proposal that looks like it was put together for the governor by a bunch of right-wing ideologues and convicted CEOs out on parole.''

California's Treasurer refutes himself—his words are an excellent example of the sort of politics that the pension funds engender.

Angelides is partly right that the Governor's reform will be supported by many who think "draining public pensions of their clout" is a good thing. This is because many people think that public unions and pensions wielding enormous power and wealth at the expense of the taxpayers is a bad thing. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[2/7/05 Monday]

[Eric Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ - Sacramento] 12:15 am [link]
Time For A Power Lift Governor The first argument after Shelley's resignation is NOT what he did (or didn't do) that was illegal and cost the tax payers million of dollars. No, the media thinks the bigger story is 'who the governor picks for nomination to fill the rest of the SOS term'.

Here we have a 'crime' committed that demands the completion of the J-LAC investigation, (actually four or five possible legal violations by Kevin Shelley), and the first thing that the Sacramento Bee wants to focus on is whether Governor Schwarzenegger, who is a Republican, should nominate a replacement who might be able to run for the official office come 2006 as an incumbent.

Uh, shouldn't this be the concern of the Democrats and not the Sacramento Bee? (Or is that the same thing?)

Shouldn't the media be concerned about the state budget impact by repaying for Shelley's misuse of the HAVA funds, the value of the California vote that has now been damaged by Shelley's lack of attention, or even the liberal's buzz word, "voter disenfranchisement" considering that Shelley has greatly impacted the process of voting in California?

No, the Bee is concerned about WHO might be the replacement and that that person might be a Republican who can operate as an incumbent for future office. Seems that this result is more concerning for the Bee than the actual investigation of the HAVA funding.

Here is the Bee this morning:

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has essentially two choices when it comes to naming a successor to fallen Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, political scientists and consultants said Saturday. One is politically safe and bipartisan - the Republican governor can mollify Democrats by selecting someone of either major political party who's seen as a caretaker, with little ambition for higher office."

Former Democrat lead in the State Senate, John Burton comments; "It's not a political test. It's a common-sense test," Burton said Saturday. "I do not believe a political choice would get through. Why would Democrats want to put a Republican into office who wants to run again?"

Burton went on to say, "this might be the wrong time for Schwarzenegger to pick another fight with legislative Democrats when he's already at odds with them over his budget proposal and the so-called reform measures he's pushing".

I say, to the winners (those who hold the majority or the legislative position of power) go the spoils.

Do we think the Democrats, if they were the minority party in Sacramento and the roles were reversed, wouldn't nominate a replacement who desired to run come 2006? Give me a break, they'd find the best possible candidate for the statewide election without consideration for the office or the fallout.

This is why the Democrat's nominated Kevin Shelley in the first place. They knew he would win in the state's majority and he was picked for future placement by the party. There are reports that some Republicans don't like the idea of picking a strong replacement with future aspirations.

Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, who requested a state audit of Shelley's office last year that contributed to his downfall, said he would prefer that a Republican replace Shelley, though he believes Democrats won't support anyone who would pursue re-election in 2006.

"I'm a realist and recognize that my Democratic colleagues are probably not going to confirm a replacement who will stand for re-election just because the power of the incumbent is so great," Cox said.

We'll have the good Senator on the show Monday morning at 7AM. We'll talk about his concerns during our time of discussion.

My advice to the governor; nominate a candidate that can run for the office (or higher office) in 2006. We win elections for the ability to have power at times like this. We win majorities so we can legislate and we win state office so we can nominate for change at a time like this.

If the Democrats balk, the Governor should use it as another example of "obstruction" by the Dems with their concern about winning elections versus fulfilling the letter of the law and providing California with a qualified candidate for the office - who can re-establish confidence with the voting process.

Use the Dems 'obstructionist' attitude against them during the budget battle. They won't move on the budget and they won't move on the vacancy in the SOS office. They are endeared to their 'special interest' and not the the direction, legalities or the citizens of this great state.

Let Governor Schwarzenegger run with that message...think the people will hear it? [Hogue Blog - email:]

[2/5/05 Saturday]

[Found in the ebag-Randy Thomasson] 7:11 am [link]
California government just got cleaner.
Yesterday, standing outside his San Francisco home, embattled California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley announced he would resign effective March 1. [Here's the Associated Press story]

Shelley's resignation comes "after months of cascading allegations that he mismanaged his office, used abusive language, misused federal funds and accepted tainted campaign contributions," reported the Sacramento Bee.

This is like a second recall. Former Governor Gray Davis was corrupt, and now another corrupt statewide official is going away. Kudos to the California Republican Assembly, which started the "Shelley Must Resign" campaign months ago, which led to both a state legislative and federal investigation. Over the last month, the majority of Democrat legislators in Sacramento have wanted Shelley out because they feared he would further tarnish the Democratic Party's image.

I remember when Kevin Shelley was a state assemblyman in 2001. As the Democrat Majority Leader, he helped push through AB 25, the omnibus "domestic partners" law undermining marriage. I remember at the end of the somewhat muted debate, Shelley stood up, wrapped his hands around the microphone, and actually commended his Democrat colleagues for passing the marriage-attacking bill, while thanking the Republicans for their "civil" tone in the debate.

The last time I saw Kevin Shelley in person, he was a Democrat assemblyman walking late into a legislative hearing at the State Capitol, where he was preparing to vote in favor of a radical homosexual-agenda bill. "It's all about hate!" he loudly pronounced, directing his comments at me and the dozens of pro-family citizens in the room.

Now, "it's all about corruption." Shelley has resigned to try to avoid testifying under oath and the real threat of penalties and prison. Yet, despite throwing in the towel, the case against Kevin Shelley may continue.

Governor Schwarzenegger will appoint a successor to complete the remaining 23 months of Shelley's four-year term. The appointment must be ratified by the Democrat-controlled State Legislature.

However, state Senate President pro Tem Don Perata this week said he could support a Republican replacement. My vote is for Keith Olberg, a straight-shooting, pro-family conservative who, in 2002, barely lost the Secretary of State race to Shelley, 46.4 to 42.3 percent.

What's the worth of an honest Secretary of State? More honest elections, and much-needed momentum in cleaning up California's dirty voter rolls, which are thick with illegal or dead voters.[Randy Thomasson]

[2/4/05 Friday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:01 am [link]
The LA Times Editorial Page The LAT editorial on the State of the Union, "The President Reloads," was not as anti-Buchananesque as the headline might indicate. But then there was the final paragraph: "The president's crowd-pleasing instinct isn't always harmless. In calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, Bush once again sought to capitalize on a certain crowd's worst instincts, hatred and intolerance. "Hatred and intolerance? Consider the LA City Council's reaction to a Claremont Institute conference on homosexual rights.

Elsewhere on the editorial page there was regular neo-conservative columnist Max Boot's praise of the SOTU. Despite his mistakes, Bush "has not lost his nerve." A nation can recover from defeats "as long as it posesses a leader who never acknowledges that he is beaten." While we have our differences with Boot on some issues, we commend his fine book, The Savage Wars of Peace.

But then there was a nasty piece by two black ministers denouncing their colleauge "minions" who were uniting against same-sex marriage. Oddly, they also denounce "biblical literalism," as that would have justified slavery, they claim. If they can't see prudence in the Bible, they can scarcely counsel it to their flocks. Note our comments on the important meeting that irks them. We should have cited Peter Wallsten's earlier article, on the Republican strategy of appealilng to its anti-slavery roots. This is commendable, as long as it keeps in mind the core issue of self-government, as elaborated on in this lengthy essay by Harry V. Jaffa. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[2/3/05 Thursday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 12:05 am [link]
"Ayn" Rhymes With "Swine": Rand Centenary Conference Opens Ayn Rand is one of the great swindles of the twentieth century. You wouldn't know this, however, from this loving account by Valerie Takahama in the OCR. Defend capitalism, heroism, and excellence. That's all to the good. The cultishness comes through in Takahama's account, but there is only a hint of the fanatical atheism (the logical mirror of her radical selfishness). Having known some of her thoughtful admirers--whose thoughtfulness largely consists in their transcendence of anything she ever wrote-- I never cease to be amazed at Randians' ferocity at defending superficial writing on philosophy and at best mediocre fiction. A poor man's Nietzsche, as one critic observed? No, that's too generous--more like a cranky Rousseau. UPDATE: See Edward Rothstein's assessment.

That a figure such as Rand could have the influence she has wielded over the popular mind and some intellectuals reveals more the poverty of the loudest voices of the competition than the profundity of her work. I refrain from noting her example. [visit Local Liberty Blog]

[2/2/05 Wednesday]

[Ken Masugi - Local Liberty Blog - Claremont Institute] 8:05 am [link]
CA's Professional Atheist Wants Anonymity for Co-Plaintiffs Michael Newdow, the village atheist who seeks to strike "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, is demanding that his co-plaintiffs "not be required to appear in court, give testimony on the stand or be named in any court documents. He doesn't even want the defendants in the case to know the plaintiffs' true names," reports Jeffrey Barker of Recordnet. Thanks to R & Tumble.

This amazing demand brings out Newdow's agenda all the more clearly: Atheism is now the privileged view in matters of religious liberty. But this isn't so amazing after all, as groups that claim themselves "discrete and insular minorities" (religious, racial, and ethnic groups and homosexuals) assert they are above the democratic (and therefore majority-driven) rule of law. Ronald Dworkin is a prime example of this view. This is radically different from the old Jeffersonian maxim of majority rule, minority rights. Edward Erler explains the difference.

Newdow's perversity was evident in a debate I witnessed at the University of Maryland last spring, just prior to oral argument of his case at the Supreme Court. He seemed surprised when I noted the presence of crosses on the Maryland State Flag. Would he urge them be removed, I asked him? He snarled back something about whether I believed this to be a Christian nation. He and his friends didn't seem to appreciate my answer that of course it is, and that's why we enjoy freedom of conscience. [visit Local Liberty Blog]


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