Wednesday, November 30, 2005

South Park to Iraq?

Former CIA Director James Woosley and his family have an interesting suggestion. The US government should encourage Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame to make more movies denigrating leaders in the Middle East.

Woosley actually testified before the Senate suggesting this (so he is not totally kidding).
Recently one of us was testifying on Iran before a Senate Committee and was asked, in effect, what steps short of force might help undercut the authority of Iran’s hideous government. The response — see if you can encourage the creators of South Park to go after Ahmadinejad and Khamenei they way they went after Kim Jong Il in Team America: World Police — produced an interesting reaction. The younger Senate staffers, reporters, and members of the audience giggled and grinned wickedly. Everyone over 40 looked absolutely clueless. Definitely the right demographics.

They feel that the humor and satire can actually do a lot of good, particularly among the young people of the region. An interesting read indeed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Wow, This is Offensive

Texas Surpreme Court Endorses School Choice

In today's Wall Street Journal there is an editorial on how the Texas Surpreme Court rejected a statewide property tax to fund education. But it went farther than that when it said that "more money does not guarantee better schools or more educated students." Of course, this is in Texas, those right-wing whackos. Here is some additional ammunition to support vouchers:
The Texas Public Policy Foundation, which provided much of the academic research for the court, looked at the Edgewood school district in San Antonio, where donors started a privately financed voucher program. The results indicate that not only have the kids with the vouchers benefited, but so have kids in the public schools that are now forced to compete for students

My emphasis added. Wow, so when teachers think their jobs could be in jeopardy they perform better? What a revelation! I think I remember hearding something on this, maybe in econ 101... was it called competition? While the court suggests that school choice could be a great solution, it does not impose it. In true judicial conservatism, they specifically say that policy decisions are up to the legislature. According to the article, this flys in stark contrast to other courts who have ordered tax hikes to increase school funding.

In one of the most notorious cases, in Kansas City, Missouri in the 1980s, a judge issued an edict requiring a $1 billion tax hike to help the failing inner-city schools. This raised expenditures to about $14,000 per student, or double the national average, but test scores continued to decline. Even the judge later admitted that he had blundered.

Watch for NEA reaction.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

McCain Exposed...

Well, only somewhat and in mostly positive light. This is actually one of the best articles on the Senator that I have seen, and truly gets to some of the questions that really are churning in our heads. Who is John McCain and what exactly are his policies?

Stephen Moore (formerly of the Club For Growth) attempts to find out. I come away with mixed feelings, to say the least (I think that is also the case for Moore). I'll post some of the highlights, but I strongly suggest taking a look at the entire article.
When I ask Mr. McCain if he's a conservative, he seems slightly agitated at having to defend his credentials in this way. "Hell yes, I'm a conservative. When it comes to a strong defense and smaller government, I'm as conservative it gets. Look at my National Taxpayers Union rating. I'm near 100% every year." (I do. He is.) Then he fumes: "I'm so disgusted with the way my party is wasting money. It's an embarrassment."

Can't go wrong there, I think he is sure to cut government waste.
Mr. McCain has shrewdly tapped into the rage that conservatives are feeling over President Bush's $800 billion Medicare drug bill (which he voted against), the highway bill with its 6,000 earmarked white-elephant projects (which he also voted against), and the infamous $500 million Alaska Bridge to Nowhere (which he led the crusade to defund).

These are certainly bold stances which are opposed to the policy of current leadership.
Yet Mr. McCain holds the most eclectic set of economic policy positions of any politician I've ever met. He seems to defy political typecasting, reveling in the role of maverick. He voted against the Bush tax cuts ("Way too tilted to the rich"), while supporting antigrowth initiatives to combat global warming ("Climate change is just a huge problem that really needs to be confronted"), and is the lead sponsor--with Sen. Ted Kennedy--of a guest worker program to allow immigrants to enter the country legally.

Here is where I get uncomfortable. I'll discuss this a bit further below. The immigration stance is a good one (I think) but could get him in trouble during red state primaries.
On the other hand, he's a fierce defender of free trade and a champion of school choice. "The day that members of Congress will send their kids to the public schools in Washington, D.C., is the day I'll know we've fixed education in America." Then he asks: "How can my colleagues say they are against vouchers or charter schools when they won't send their own kids to the schools in the town where we work?"

This speaks for itself.
On a broader range of economic issues, though, Mr. McCain readily departs from Reaganomics. His philosophy is best described as a work in progress. He is refreshingly blunt when he tell me: "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated." OK, so who does he turn to for advice? His answer is reassuring. His foremost economic guru is former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm (who would almost certainly be Treasury secretary in a McCain administration). He's also friendly with the godfather of supply-side economics, Arthur Laffer.

This offers some hope for perhaps shifts in his stances on the tax cuts (whereas in many other policy areas he seems to have firm stances).

I think Moore missed out on a good question, if we cut government spending and balance (or at least come close to) the budget would you restore Bush's tax cuts? Under which circumstances would you or would you not restore them? Would this merely be a shift in the progressivity of the rates?

Moore also did not address Social Security reform, but McCain was actually going across the country with Bush (before he abandoned the issue) so we know where he stands on that issue.

Moore largely focused on economics (which was the point) but I think McCain's stances on Iraq and the War on Terror are very clear and his credentials here are excellent, he really has only differed on the torture issue, but I think he is largely right here. If nothing else, I think he has been the most eloquent in his arguments against cutting and running.

As Moore says, McCain's platform will be that of government reform and Lord knows we need reform. At the moment my heart and mind want anything but another big-government conservative in 08. My two biggest issues are probably cutting government spending and the war on terrorism, McCain shines at both. I feel that he is as close to a sure-thing on so many issues that having someone who is a bit weak on taxes might be worthwhile. McCain will also have the best chance in 08, particularly if our party is still weak. We still have more to learn, but I think I a bit more warm to a McCain candidacy in 08.

More Boehner News From Novak

I kinda get the feeling that Novak wants this to happen as he is the one who consistently mentions Boehner and his possible leadership hopes.

WASHINGTON -- There is no doubt Rep. John Boehner of Ohio is quietly enlisting support from fellow House Republicans to elect him as majority leader in January. The question is whether Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York also is campaigning to be majority whip.
Reports of a Boehner-Reynolds ticket have circulated in Washington, but Reynolds vigorously denies it. If he does run for whip, Reynolds would be accused of cutting and running from his duties as House Republican campaign chairman because of the difficult 2006 midterm election ahead.
A special election in January would mean House Republicans have given up on Tom DeLay getting rid of his criminal indictment in Texas in time to resume the majority leader's chair in this session of Congress. Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri has been acting leader.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The NEA

From Novak last week, I'll let it speak for itself:
REDS AT NEA

The District of Columbia cell of the Communist Party USA has been revealed
as holding a monthly luncheon in the cafeteria of the National Education
Association (NEA), without the sponsorship but not with the disapproval of the
huge, politically powerful schoolteachers union.

The Communist meetings were reported by Chris Peterson in the Washington
City Paper edition of Nov. 11-17. A lawyer attending the September meeting
bolted from the cafeteria when he learned a reporter was present.

"We had no knowledge of this," NEA spokeswoman Denise Cardinal told this
column, "because the NEA does not screen the patrons of our cafeteria or listen
in on conversations. It's open to the public."


Monday, November 21, 2005

Owned.


I think it is safe to say that Tressel is owning Carr. How much longer will Michigan tolerate this? I'd say he definitley has next year, but that is it if he loses again.

On another note, how does one stop the Colts? My best bet: pray for Peyton to get sick.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Coward??

I appreciate Gene coming out and supporting our troops, but once again she shows why she should not be a US Congressman. Having an opinion does not make you a coward. This man served 35+ years in the US marine Corp. He served in Vietnam. I don't like his opinion on Iraq, but she takes a great move by the Republican Party and nearly makes it backfire by calling a respected military leader a coward. Last time I checked she has never warn a uniform, or been shot at while protecting our country.

This might just because of my feelings about Gene, what do you all think?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Prediction: 35-21

Ohio State over Michigan.

Go Bucks!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Woody on the rivalry...

"How did our great rivalry get started? Well, the real fight started back in 1836 when Andrew Jackson, that wily old cuss, took Toledo away from that state up north and gave it to us."

I think Steve will like this

column from George Will. Are we going to see a battle between the social conservatives and small government conservatives? It seems possible-but would certainly seriously weaken the part in the short-term. Of note:
In 1991, the 546 pork projects in the 13 appropriation bills cost $3.1
billion. In 2005, the 13,997 pork projects cost $27.3 billion for things like
improving the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio (Packard, an automobile
brand, died in 1958).

Washington subsidizes the cost of water to encourage farmers to produce
surpluses that trigger a gusher of government spending to support prices. It is
almost comforting that $2 billion is spent each year paying farmers not to
produce. Farm subsidies, most of which go to agribusinesses and affluent
farmers, are just part of the $60 billion in corporate welfare that dwarfs the
$29 billion budget of the Department of Homeland Security.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

RINO/Bridge Update

So it looks like the bridge might not be be build.

Great, but Alaska still gets to keep the money. So now we are just giving Alaska money for no reason. I don't know which is worse - at least with the bridge we could easily point out how ridiculous it was to the American people.

Still searching for a domestic reason to vote Republican....

(PS- the article from the first post was actually from Oct, not Nov)

I don't particularly like punk

But I would pay to see this band based soley on their name. The Dead Shembechlers.

Bridge to Nowhere: RINOs in the Senate

An amendment yesterday was introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla, to halt funding of the bridge to nowhere in Alaska to pay for a bridge in NO. The REPUBLICAN Senate rejected this Amendment, 82-15.

I am livid right now - this is pathetic. If we cannot even cut funding for two bridges worth half a billion dollars, how can we ever cut spending on more difficult decisions?

I HOPE THE REPUBLICANS LOSE THE SENATE IN 2006.

I'm serious. The Democrats would be better at holding down spending if we had a R as president. They don't deserve to be in office. It would serve as a wakeup call to all the R's in office that they better shape up if they want to keep their jobs. What is the point of being a Republican on domestic issues anymore? Everyday I see another reason to not vote for them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

If I am ever put in a nursing home,

please let it be this one. The Guinness signs do promote the wonderful beverage as good for one's health. (Via Andrew Sullivan).

Boehner Speculation Continues...

The highlight from Novak's column:

Last Wednesday, leaders of conservative and moderate factions in the House
Republican conference sat down to discuss a joint call for new leadership elections. No agreement was reached, and the events of the next 24 hours destroyed the budding coalition while exposing the ineffectiveness of current leaders. Abandonment of oil drilling in the Arctic failed to appease the moderate bloc, and the leaders pulled down the budget-cutting bill late Thursday.

Demands for new leaders are aimed at Rep. Roy Blunt, the elected House majority whip and acting majority leader. But critics who want Blunt replaced by Rep. John Boehner concede they have no solution for a malady that afflicts the Republican Party in the Senate as well as in the House. At the very hour that a handful of House Republican moderates torpedoed the budget bill, one Senate moderate stalled tax legislation in the Senate Finance Committee.

24-24-2

Significant numbers. The Ohio State-Michigan series over the past 50 years, after last year's 37-21 domination by Ohio State. It is still amazing how often the Big 10 title comes down to this game. I think Michigan even has a chance for a share (if a lot of crazy shit happens first).

Alito's Job Application...

No, seriously. It is from the 1980s though. His essay sounds like something Steve would write. It is cool to look at the app for Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Interesting stuff...

I am curious as to what others think about this article. It has some really interesting stuff that generally I would disagree with but doesn't sound to bad. Warning to Steve: It mentions the word "subsidies" quite a bit.

As a quick overview, the article begins by talking about the current problems with the GOP base with some interesting insight and how it has contributed to much of our current domestic political mess-this leads to three possible paths for the future.

1) To continue the current path (the one that has given us failed SS reform coupled with big-spending projects (basically compassionate conservatism).
2) Return to a pure form of conservatism that will likely lead to at least a temporary loss of power

or

3) "The third possibility--and the best, both for the party and the country as a whole--would be to take the "big-government conservatism" vision that George W. Bush and Karl Rove have hinted at but failed to develop, and give it coherence and sustainability. This wouldn't mean an abandonment of small-government objectives, but it would mean recognizing that these objectives--individual initiative, social mobility, economic freedom--seem to be slipping away from many less-well-off Americans, and that serving the interests of these voters means talking about economic insecurity as well as about self-reliance. "

The authors argue for the 3rd possibility and suggest some interesting policies. In short:

-Various changes to the tax code that would strength the two-family household and encourage having children
-economic incentives to raise your children for a few years (even a possible Montgomery GI Bill for stay at home moms and dads)
-Mandatory catastrophic health care for all coupled with free-market reforms across the board. The authors correctly label the current health care system as, "current hodgepodge of command-and-control and laissez-faire." The result is a health care system that really isn't consumer-oriented. They hope to remove health care responsibilities from the employer.
-More welfare reform-wage subsidies for low income full-time workers to give them a leg up and out of poverty while stripping those that can work but choose not to of their subsidies
-Cutting all income taxes to families making 100,000 or less (or individuals making 50,000)...a 25% rate for those above and a possible consumption tax.

It is a lengthy article but worth a read. While some of these proposals might sound like they go against our principles I think they are worth considering. For instance-if we don't do something about health care soon-we will indeed end up with universal health care that will certainly last at least a generation. Perhaps getting out ahead of liberals on some of these issues might be expedient?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Predictions??

Bloomber in a landslide.
Corzine edges Forrester in NJ (this was a tight/dirty race)
Mallory edges Pepper (probably less a prediction and more of a hope)
Kilgore pulls out in the win in VA
The issues go down in Ohio

any others?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Breaking News

This just in...

From sources in France:

The government in France has fleed the country. They have now set up shop in London, England. Their press release states that the government was 'unable to fully assess the situation and contain the rioters'. With this bold move, Chirac is expected to ask Blair and several other EU leaders to help restore order. What I find most interesting is that the French weren't even able to hold to hold their ground longer than they did in WWII.

Seriously, this didn't happen. But the government is holding on by a thin, thin thread. With large populations of un-assimilated Muslims across the EU, there could be widespread violence within the month. The governments in Western Europe have no idea what to do with these people who just want to destroy them.

The French thought they were getting a free pass when they stayed out of Iraq and attacked the US. The only thing that resulted from the appeasement was the truth. Now everyone knows that they are weak, that they will appease and let the aggressor take control.

Some things never change, do they?

Elections 2005

Hi everyone...I was talking to my mom about the elections tomorrow (she was complaining about the levies in Delhi again among other things-she is a solid Republican and just doesn't know it). Anywho-she was asking me about the issues (1,2,3, and 4) and I admitably wasn't able to talk about them in a very informed fashion (instinctively I know they are bad) as I think she was looking for me to reassure her not to vote for them. The only local race that I have followed at all is that of mayor in Cincinnati. So if someone could speak to these-I'd appreciate it.

In light of this here are some other important elections tomorrow-if you have some (I don't care if they are in West Chester or California) add on or start another post.

Cincinnati Mayor's race-State Sen Mark Mallory vs David Pepper. Personally I'd vote for Mallory. I think Pepper (although perhaps closer ideologically) just isn't as passionate about the City as Mallory and doesn't have the proven record. Mallory has support from many state house Republicans (which is good and bad in my book) while Pepper has the business community's support (probably largely because of his dad) and the endorsement of the newspapers. My feeling is Pepper merely wants to use this as a stepping stone for his political future-Mallory couldn't go much further than Cincinnati mayor. Pepper has really not done anything significant in his life to this point (he graduated from Yale...bought a City Council seat at a young age-that's about it). Mallory is very successful as a Democrat in a Republican-dominated legislature.

Pepper has the money-but has been going negative for a while which makes me think Mallory might have the numbers. Pepper just recently aired a positive ad which means the negative campaigning is polling even worse or maybe things have reversed? We shall see.

New York mayor's race-here we basically have no race to speak of. It is Bloomberg vs. Ferrer...Bloomberg even has the union support. Ferrer is Latino, but Bloomberg is polling really well among that block even. This is going to be a serious rout. I must say that it is interesting to see the campaigning here in vibrant NYC. Bloomberg has campaign materials in about 10 different languages...a bit different than Bush's Spanish campaigning.

Lately Ferrer has been trying to highlight dirty parks and subway stations and has shown up to do press events twice only to have Bloomberg undercut him by cleaning the station or park beforehand. Ferrer then whines about that to the press (but seems like a whiny...well you know)...

I'll try to post some more later.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Senate Candidates??

Ok, Senator Coleman is off my good list. However, his rank is nowhere near that of our own great Senator. Once again Senator DeWine has chosen to side with the liberals and spit on the Conservatives. This is getting ridiculous.

Senator DeWine, along with Presidential hopeful McCain, voted for the amendment which would prevent drilling in ANWR. Above the obvious benefit to the drilling is the fact that the land will be leased for 2+ billion dollars.

He stops conservative judges, anyone that is interested to check out project vote smart and see that he regularly outranks most of the Democrats in liberal voting record, now he is stopping valuable money and important drilling. Why? Why are we wasting so much time and money to get this man elected every six years?

DeWine, Taft, Voinovich, Bradley the list is growing and growing...an R next to your name does not make you a Republican(at least it shouldn't).

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Tax Reform

I have not read a whole lot about the report from the council to reform taxes, but the little I have looks like a good step.

Cutting the length of tax forms in half.
Eliminating AMT.
Further cuts on Capital Gain taxes.

I am not sayig this is the flat tax most of us want, but from what I have read it makes a lot of sense, and it is the first steps towards a rational taxation system.

Just wondering if any of you had read any more on it, or what your thoughts were.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Barone on why Alito's Italian-American heritage might scare some Dems...

And no, it is not because Tony or Paulie will bust their kneecaps if they don't vote for him...it is however just as interesting.

Irony? I think not.

From the AP yesterday:
"Let's give Judge Alito a fair up-or-down vote, not left or right," said
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

He was one of several Republicans to say so, and there was irony in that.

After battering Democrats for years about denying GOP judicial candidates
yes-or-no votes, Republicans eagerly acquiesced in Miers' withdrawal without
either hearings in the Judiciary Committee or a vote on the Senate floor.

There is a tremendous difference between voicing your displeasure for a nominee and saying that you will not vote for her vs. keeping her in committee and not allowing the full Senate to vote up or down. Perhaps I am wrong-but wasn't the issue with Miers whether she had enough votes in the full Senate, not in committee? If so, then there is no irony.