Monday, March 31, 2008

News : Golden Glen residents fear collapse of dam, flooding inevitable - St. Tammany News, Louisiana

News : Golden Glen residents fear collapse of dam, flooding inevitable - St. Tammany News, Louisiana: "Golden Glen residents are sitting in angst as the cement weir keeping a 2,000-foot retention pond from spilling into their neighborhood, crumbles before their eyes."
Now here is a neighborhood with a real problem on their hands.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Toles strikes again with Heller case cartoon

POLS 354:
I'll probably get sued for violating copyright, but this is pretty funny:

Friday, March 28, 2008

For Sale: 36 Acres Of Land, Buried Bodies - News - NBC 17

For Sale: 36 Acres Of Land, Buried Bodies - News - NBC 17: "CHATHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- Just off U.S. Highway 64 in Chatham County is a sign advertising 36 acres of land for sale. The land is undeveloped and zoned residential and agricultural. Land owner and realtor, Colin MacNair said its closeness to Highway 64 makes it a prime location to develop housing. It also is currently home to a graveyard."
I saw this movie. This doesn't turn out well for the new owners. Maybe they should name the place Poltergeist Acres.

NAA Reveals Biggest Ad Revenue Plunge in More Than 50 Years

NAA Reveals Biggest Ad Revenue Plunge in More Than 50 Years: "The newspaper industry has experienced the worst drop in advertising revenue in more than 50 years.

According to new data released by the Newspaper Association of America, total print advertising revenue in 2007 plunged 9.4% to $42 billion compared to 2006 -- the most severe percent decline since the association started measuring advertising expenditures in 1950."

The internet is killing newspapers, just like cable TV news stations (CNN, FOX, etc.) have been killing network TV news. And when The Smoking Gun can smoke the Los Angeles Times, and Little Green Footballs can debunk Dan Rather and CBS, it isn't hard to see why. Cost, the comparative ease of use, and ideological bias are turning people away from newspapers and network news and on to what were once alternative media and are fast becoming the new mainstream.

Faculty Are Liberal -- Who Cares? :: Inside Higher Ed :: Higher Education's Source for News, and Views and Jobs

Faculty Are Liberal -- Who Cares?
"One of the key arguments made by David Horowitz and his supporters in recent years is that a left-wing orientation among faculty members results in a lack of curricular balance, which in turn leads to students being indoctrinated rather than educated. The argument is probably made most directly in a film much plugged by Horowitz: “Indoctrinate U.”
A study that will appear soon in the journal PS: Political Science & Politics accepts the first part of the critique of academe and says that it’s true that the professoriate leans left. But the study — notably by one Republican professor and one Democratic professor — finds no evidence of indoctrination. Despite students being educated by liberal professors, their politics change only marginally in their undergraduate years, and that deflates the idea that cadres of tenured radicals are somehow corrupting America’s youth — or scaring them into adopting new political views."

Interesting study. What do you students think?

Clinton runs right in ‘hillbilly firewall’ -

Clinton runs right in ‘hillbilly firewall’ - "WASHINGTON (Map, News) - Hillary Clinton, whose liberal voting record is almost indistinguishable from Barack Obama’s, is now running to the right of him by reaching out to conservatives while her husband courts rural white moderates.

Bill Clinton has taken to calling himself Hillary’s “rural hit man” as he campaigns in the Appalachian regions of states that will soon hold primaries, including Pennsylvania and Kentucky — what Examiner columnist Chris Stirewalt dubbed Hillary's “hillbilly firewall.”"

Yee haw. This is amazing. In the year 2000, Hillary Clinton pretended to be a New York Yankees fan, despite growing up in the Chicago area and living most of her adult life in Arkansas and Washington, DC. Now she is going for the redneck vote despite being a wealthy liberal feminist. What next? Will she drive around in a pickup truck wearing a "Git 'er done!" tee shirt, spitting tobacco juice out the window while Trace Adkins plays on the 8-track?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Clinton Insists Democratic Race Is ‘Long Way’ From Over, Looks Toward Convention - America’s Election HQ

Clinton Insists Democratic Race Is ‘Long Way’ From Over, Looks Toward Convention - America’s Election HQ: "“You know, you can always go to the convention. That’s what credential fights are for,” she said. “Let’s have the Democratic party go on record against seating the Michigan and Florida delegations three months before the general election? I don’t think that will happen. I think they will be seated. So that’s where we’re headed if we don’t get this worked out.”"
That's Hillary Clinton speaking to Greta Van Sustern. She says she is going all the way to the convention where she will force a fight over seating the Michigan and Florida delegations. You may recall that these states were not contested by Obama and Clinton because the DNC said they were not going to be seated, as a result of holding their primaries too early in violation of DNC rules. Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan. So she is now trying to scarf up those delegates, when there was no real campaigning in either state. And she intends to take that fight all the way to the convention, by which time she apparently hopes Obama will have been destroyed as a viable general election candidate.

Big Phat Liar - March 26, 2008

Big Phat Liar - March 26, 2008: "Last week's bombshell Los Angeles Times report claiming that the 1994 shooting of Tupac Shakur in the lobby of a Manhattan recording studio was carried out by associates of Sean 'Diddy' Combs and that the rap impresario knew of the plot beforehand was based largely on fabricated FBI reports, The Smoking Gun has learned."
Once again a weblog has busted a major media powerhouse. Back in 2004 CBS ran a story about George Bush's National Guard service that was based on documents that were obvious forgeries. That was proven by the website "Little Green Footballs." Now The Smoking Gun busts the Los Angeles Times. And the Times has now run a big fat apology after being threated with a massive libel suit by Combs' attorney.

For years these media bigshots have been making disparaging remarks about bloggers. But it turns out that bloggers are providing a much-needed check on the arrogance and sloppiness and agenda-driven journalism of the media elites.

US: Saddam Paid for Lawmakers' Iraq Trip

Democrat Congressmen David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson went to Baghdad at Saddam's expense???: "WASHINGTON (AP) - Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. The three anti-war Democrats made the trip in October 2002, while the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. While traveling, they called for a diplomatic solution. Prosecutors say that trip was arranged by Muthanna Al-Hanooti, a Michigan charity official, who was charged Wednesday with setting up the junket at the behest of Saddam's regime. Iraqi intelligence officials allegedly paid for the trip through an intermediary and rewarded Al-Hanooti with 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil. The lawmakers are not named in the indictment but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. None was charged and Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said investigators 'have no information whatsoever' any of them knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam."
The only person charges is Al-Hanooti. These three members of Congress used the trip as an occasion to argue against the use of force to oust Saddam. So if Saddam paid for the trip it doesn't look good.

Obama Warms to Wrapping Up Contest - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog

Obama Warms to Wrapping Up Contest - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog: "Senator Barack Obama this evening called Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen’s proposal of resolving the Democratic nomination contest in June “a good one” – although Mr. Obama seemed to be endorsing a June wrap-up more than the governor’s specific plan to let superdelegates caucus to choose either Mr. Obama or Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton."
So the Dems are thinking about changing the rules in mid-campaign. Instead of waiting until the convention to let the delegates vote, the superdelegates would have a caucus of their own in June and cast their votes early. Interesting.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who should drop out?

Rasmussen Reports™: Who should drop out?: "Forty-seven percent (47%) of Obama supporters think Clinton should drop out. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Clinton supporters say Obama should drop out. Those who remain undecided are a bit more likely to suggest that Obama should leave. But, it’s worth noting that less than half of Obama supporters say Clinton should withdraw, less than half of Clinton supporters say Obama should withdraw, and less than half of undecided voters say either should withdraw at this time. Clinton leads Obama in Pennsylvania while Obama leads Clinton in North Carolina. New polling released today show that both candidates have lost ground in Missouri to Republican John McCain over the past month."
Well, that certainly clears things up. Not. I think we are nowhere near the end of this. Which, it seems, gives McCain some help.

If McCain vs. Obama, 28% of Clinton Backers Go for McCain

If McCain vs. Obama, 28% of Clinton Backers Go for McCain: "A sizable proportion of Democrats would vote for John McCain next November if he is matched against the candidate they do not support for the Democratic nomination. This is particularly true for Hillary Clinton supporters, more than a quarter of whom currently say they would vote for McCain if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee."
And 19% of Obama supporters say they would vote for McCain if Clinton got the nomination. The other problem is the additional number of people who will stay home.

New Home Sales Fall, Factory Orders Drop: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

New Home Sales Fall, Factory Orders Drop: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance: "WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sales of new homes fell in February for the fourth straight month, pushing activity down to a 13-year low as the steep slump in housing continued. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that new home sales dropped 1.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 590,000 units, the slowest sales pace since February 1995. The decline was slightly worse than expected.he median price of a home sold last month dropped to $244,100, down 2.7 percent from the level of a year ago. The prolonged slump in housing has dragged down overall economic activity. Many analysts believe the slump could combine with a multitude of other problems including a severe credit crunch, soaring energy prices and plunging consumer confidence, to push the country into a full-blown recession."
Slowest sales pace since February 1995--that is grim. The prosecution was presenting its case in the OJ Simpson case then. And the economy was growing so fast the Fed was trying to slow it down. The Fed had been raising interest rates from February 1994 to February 1995 to slow it down. Here's a summary from Prof. J. Robert Gillette:
"In 1995 the United States economy moved well into its fifth year of economic expansion since the last recession ending March 1991 and experienced the much publicized "soft landing." The Federal Reserve (Fed) engineered this "soft landing" with a series of interest rate hikes from February 1994 to February 1995. The "soft landing" refers to the slowing down of an overheating economy on the verge of driving up inflation, to an economy growing near its full-employment growth rate with low inflation. The delicate balance of slowing the economy without also causing a recession (a "hard landing") appeared in jeopardy in the second quarter of 1995 when the economy stumbled, and many wondered whether the Fed had over-tightened monetary policy."

Jeremiah Wright is an advocate of reparations

Conference to discuss 'rebuilding a social structure' | Philadelphia Daily News | Find Articles at "Tonight, a fiery supporter of reparations for black enslavement, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, the Chicago pastor of presidential candidate Barack Obama, will deliver the keynote speech for the 18th annual N'COBRA conference at 7 p.m. at First District Plaza Ballroom, 3801 Market St."
I wonder if this will become an issue in the presidential campaign.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Is Hillary exercising the "Tonya Harding" option?

Political Punch: The Tonya Harding option?: "I just spoke with an official of the Democratic National Committee, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly, who said we in the media are all missing the point of this Democratic fight. The delegate math is difficult for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the official said. But it's not a question of CAN she achieve it. Of course she can, the official said. The question is -- what will Clinton have to do in order to achieve it? What will she have to do to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in order to eke out her improbable victory? She will have to 'break his back,' the official said. She will have to destroy Obama, make Obama completely unacceptable."
I wonder who this DNC official was. In any event s/he has it figured out and refers to it as the "Tonya Harding" strategy. For those who don't remember the Tonya Harding incident, she was an Olympic-caliber ice skater who (allegedly) plotted to kneecap her top competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, so Harding would have a clear path to Olympic glory. The end result was that neither of them won the gold medal. Read the whole thing from Wikipedia:

"Harding became notorious for allegedly conspiring to harm competitor Nancy Kerrigan in an attack, which occurred on January 6, 1994 at a practice session during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly and Shawn Eckhardt hired Shane Stant to strike Kerrigan on the knee. Harding won that event, while Kerrigan's injury forced her withdrawal. After Harding admitted to helping to cover up the attack, the USFSA and United States Olympic Committee initiated proceedings to remove her from the 1994 Olympic team, but Harding retained her place after threatening legal action. She finished eighth while Kerrigan, recovered from her injuries, finished second."

Half-cocked D.C. gun searches -

Half-cocked D.C. gun searches - "Mayor Adrian Fenty and Police Chief Cathy Lanier may have all the best intentions, but their “Safe Homes Initiative” is constitutionally and otherwise objectionable on several levels. The initiative involves door-to-door visits with police asking residents for permission to search their homes for guns. Any firearms found will be confiscated, but owners won’t be prosecuted unless the guns are determined to be linked to specific crimes.

The program has drawn criticism not just from gun-rights lobbies such as the National Rifle Association but also from the National Black Police Association and the American Civil Liberties Union. No matter how much respect and support police officers deserve, there is still an intimidation factor involved any time an officer is on one’s doorstep, such that the “permission” may not seem as voluntary as police mean it to be. So where does this end? How long before Lanier sends police into selected neighborhoods — selected by whom and on what basis? — asking to search homes for marijuana, terrorist literature, evidence of intent to commit a crime, fireworks or Cuban cigars? Lanier is establishing a precedent that would have horrified the founders of this republic.

What is clearly at work here is the District’s determination to enforce its broad gun ban while it still has nominal power to do so. Never mind that a federal appeals court has ruled the ban unconstitutional, or that most observers of last week’s Supreme Court oral arguments on the issue reported that a majority of justices seem inclined to throw the law out. Never mind that the fundamental constitutional right of gun ownership is at issue. District officials appear to believe their own antipathy to guns outweighs all those pesky concerns about whether the Constitution empowers their confiscations. But the guns they take away today may turn out to be perfectly legal under the Constitution. It would be far better to wait for the high court’s direction than to rush, half-cocked, into this kind of a crackdown."

The mayor and chief of police of the District of Columbia are sending cops door to door asking for permission to search for guns. As the editorial says, they are afraid they are going to lose before the USSC in the Heller case and this might be their last chance to enforce this law before it goes bye-bye.

Monday, March 24, 2008

YouTube - CBS Exposes Hillary Clinton Bosnia Trip.

YouTube - CBS Exposes Hillary Clinton Bosnia Trip.
Now this has got to hurt.

Photo of airport under siege

As you can see, the Tuzla airport was a nightmare of sniper fire and chaos. Here is Hillary Clinton sprinting for her car. Right. What a crock.

You wonder at some point if maybe Hillary Clinton, like her husband, believes that if you get away with lying it is the moral equivalent of telling the truth. Even by Washington standards they acquired a reputation for dishonesty. That's saying something.

Clinton Misspoke About Bosnia Trip, Campaign Says - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog

Clinton Misspoke About Bosnia Trip, Campaign Says : "The Clinton campaign says Senator Hillary Clinton may have “misspoke” recently when she said she had to evade sniper fire when she was visiting Bosnia in 1996 as first lady."
May have? Misspoke? How exactly to you "misspeak" about which of the following happened: (a) you were shot at by snipers while covering your head and running for your car, or (b) you listened to a little girl read poetry before agonizing over which restaurant to choose for dinner?

There is only one way to say this: "she lied."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Supreme Court and Indecency - New York Times

The Supreme Court and Indecency - New York Times: "The Supreme Court is throwing itself back into the debate over indecency on television, and that may not be a good thing. It agreed last week to review the Federal Communications Commission’s policy of punishing broadcasters for airing “fleeting expletives” — a few isolated bad words. A federal appeals court wisely struck down the F.C.C.’s harsh rules, which have done serious damage to free speech. We hope the Supreme Court does not authorize the F.C.C. to return to its censorial policies."
POLS 354 and 101:
The New York Times is worried that if the FCC punishes broadcasters for "fleeting expletives," it will do "serious damage to free speech." I find the argument weak. What do you think?

The Supreme Court and Indecency - New York Times

The Supreme Court and Indecency - New York Times: "The Supreme Court is throwing itself back into the debate over indecency on television, and that may not be a good thing. It agreed last week to review the Federal Communications Commission’s policy of punishing broadcasters for airing “fleeting expletives” — a few isolated bad words. A federal appeals court wisely struck down the F.C.C.’s harsh rules, which have done serious damage to free speech. We hope the Supreme Court does not authorize the F.C.C. to return to its censorial policies."
POLS 354 and 101:
The New York Times is worried that if the FCC punishes broadcasters for "fleeting expletives, it will do "serious damage to free speech." I find the argument weak. What do you think?

JURIST - Hotline: DC gun ban case: plaintiff's attorney on the Supreme Court oral arguments

JURIST - Hotline: DC gun ban case: plaintiff's attorney on the Supreme Court oral arguments
POLS 354:
Here is Alan Gura, who just argued DC v. Heller as Heller's attorney, describing the experience and explaining his strategy.

Hillary's Balkan Adventures, Part II - Fact Checker

Hillary's Balkan Adventures, Part II - Fact Checker: "The Pinocchio Test

Clinton's tale of landing at Tuzla airport 'under sniper fire' and then running for cover is simply not credible. Photographs and video of the arrival ceremony, combined with contemporaneous news reports, tell a very different story. Four Pinocchios."

There is an 8 year old girl reading poetry to Hillary Clinton right there on the runway. Game, set, match. What a whopper. How big a lie do you have to tell to get MORE than four Pinocchios?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Climate facts to warm to | The Australian

Climate facts to warm to | The Australian:

"Duffy asked Marohasy: 'Is the Earth still warming?'

She replied: 'No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years.'

Duffy: "Is this a matter of any controversy?"

Marohasy: "Actually, no. The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued ... This is not what you'd expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you'd expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up ... So (it's) very unexpected, not something that's being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it's very significant."

This is a surprising set of comments from legit scientists. Check it out.

YouTube - Hillary Clinton Lies About Her Bosnia Trip

YouTube - Hillary Clinton Lies About Her Bosnia Trip?
Here is the video from the post below, along with Clinton's description at the recent press conference.

YouTube - Hillary Lies about Bosnia

YouTube - Hillary's Great Bosnian Adventure?
Watch this You Tube video for yourself and see what you think. Hillary Clinton had better be able to show that the video of this landing is from a different trip than the one she was describing in her recent press conference. She said it was a dangerous landing with no landing strip ceremony and they had to run for their cars because there were snipers around. This is being circulated as proof she was lying, but I'm waiting to see if she was in Bosnia more than once.

My Way News - Obama Aide: Bill Clinton Like McCarthy

My Way News - Obama Aide: Bill Clinton Like McCarthy: "Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is trying to clarify comments by former President Clinton that seemed to question Barack Obama's patriotism - comments an Obama aide likened to Joseph McCarthy.

Clinton's campaign said the comments were being misinterpreted and quickly posted a clarification on its Web site. But retired Air Force Gen. Merrill 'Tony' McPeak said he was disappointed by the comments and compared them to those of McCarthy, the 1950s communist-hunting senator.

The former president made the comments while speculating about a general election between his wife and Republican John McCain.

'I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country,' said Clinton, who was speaking to a group of veterans Friday in Charlotte, N.C."

Bill Clinton escaped again and found a live microphone he could stand behind and shake his finger at people. If Bigfoot Bill gives Hillary any more "help" she will be lucky to hold onto her Senate seat next time around.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Election Board Considers Prosecuting Party Switchers - Politics News Story - WEWS Cleveland

Election Board Considers Prosecuting Party Switchers - Politics News Story - WEWS Cleveland: "CLEVELAND -- The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is investigating whether any Republicans broke the law when they switched parties in the March 4 presidential primary to back the candidate that they perceived to be a weaker opponent for GOP nominee-in-waiting John McCain.

The board expects the results of the investigation March 31. The board wants to know if voters lied when they signed statements pledging allegiance to their new party.

About 16,000 GOP voters crossed over to vote for Democrats in the primary."

Never in my entire life have I heard of this being considered a crime.

Barack Obama tries to explain that 'good people' still hold racial stereotypes

Obama says his grandmother is a "typical white person"??? Say what???: "Barack Obama suggested Thursday the 'typical white person' - much like his grandma - fears black men on the street, prompting a quick backpedal from his aides, who conceded the senator's words may give the wrong impression."
I think this is called stepping in it, backing up and stepping in it again, and then trying to put the whole thing behind you by stepping in it again.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Urban Dictionary: jingle mail

Urban Dictionary: jingle mail
It's amazing how people are able to invent new words that capture the essence of a complex experience.

Worsening polls reveal Obama's pastor problem

Worsening polls reveal Obama's pastor problem:

The Jeremiah Wright situation is hurting Obama in the polls. If you read far enough down in this story you will see that Clinton's people are trying to sway the superdelegates by arguing that the Wright situation makes Obama unelectable in the general election.
What do you suppose will happen if the party picks Clinton over Obama, even though he will have won more delegates in the primaries and caucuses, and the reason is his participation in this church with this pastor? It is worth thinking about that. I believe the superdelegates are thinking about it.

America's new subprime shanty-towns - Boing Boing

America's new subprime shanty-towns - Boing Boing

Here is a scary story about people who lost their homes in the subprime catastrophe and now live in improvised housing.

The Mystery of Global Warming's Missing Heat : NPR

The Mystery of Global Warming's Missing Heat : NPR: "Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather."
If it turns out that global warming is a myth, does Al Gore have to return that Nobel Peace Prize?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gun-Rights Showdown -

Gun-Rights Showdown -
POLS 354:
This piece by law prof Randy Barnett lays out the stakes and strategy in the Heller case.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Gun Case Causes Bush Administration Rift - New York Times

Gun Case Causes Bush Administration Rift - New York Times: "Vice President Dick Cheney was nonetheless so provoked by Mr. Clement’s approach that last month he took the highly unusual step for a vice president of signing on to a brief filed by more than 300 members of Congress that asks the Supreme Court to declare the District of Columbia law “unconstitutional per se.” (Mr. Clement’s brief, by contrast, says that “a per se rule is clearly out of place in the Second Amendment context” because at the time the amendment itself coexisted with the “reasonable restrictions on firearms” that were in place at the time.)"
POLS 354:
From the standpoint of gun rights advocates, the Bush Administration has screwed up the DC v. Heller case to a degree that is unforgivable. If you read this article by Linda Greenhouse you will understand why. The case is to be argued before the USSC tomorrow.

We will see within a few months whether the administration's stumbling over its own feet will lead to the USSC obliterating the 2nd Amendment. Whatever happens in that case, my personal belief is that the Bush Administration has the lowest level of legal competence that I have seen in any administration of my lifetime. It is as though nobody from top to bottom understands that there is such a thing as legal competence, as distinct from political skills or blind loyalty. The Harriet Myers nomination to the USSC was ridiculous. The Alberto Gonzales regime (as Attorney General) was awful. Both of them were appointed because they were Bush cronies, as though the administration were completely tone-deaf on the issue of legal competence and independence of judgment. The positions the administration has taken on executive power in the war on terror have been soundly rejected by the appellate courts, including the USSC, for the most part. At the trial court level, there have been a number of failed prosecutions of people supposedly connected to terrorism--not guilty verdicts or convictions on relatively minor charges. Why were these people prosecuted, if the evidence wasn't there to convict them? Competent prosecutors with the power to make independent judgments don't spend years on lost causes. Either these US attorneys weren't competent, or they didn't have the power to make their own decisions on whether to prosecute. And Bush's decision not to veto McCain-Feingold, on the mistaken belief that the USSC would declare it unconstitutional, was another huge miscalculation.

Now, on an issue of tremendous importance to the Republican base and millions of Americans, the administration has managed to make a colossal strategic blunder. The Heller case may be a 5-4 decision where Kennedy makes the difference one way or another. I think the outcome will be that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right, but the key is whether it is a fundamental right that requires elevated scrutiny (so that the state needs a major justification to infringe on the right), or whether it is subject to any "reasonable" regulation. The rational basis test means the government nearly always wins and just about any regulation short of a total gun ban will be constitutional. The screwup of the Bush administration ultimately works in favor of the rational basis test, which will be a disaster for gun rights advocates. Will demolition of the 2nd Amendment be part of Bush's legacy? Stay tuned.

Daily Kos: The Clinton civil war

Daily Kos: The Clinton civil war: "It is Clinton, with no reasonable chance of victory, who is fomenting civil war in order to overturn the will of the Democratic electorate. As such, as far as I'm concerned, she doesn't deserve 'fairness' on this site. All sexist attacks will be dealt with -- those will never be acceptable. But otherwise, Clinton has set an inevitably divisive course and must be dealt with appropriately.

To reiterate, she cannot win without overturning the will of the national Democratic electorate and fomenting civil war, and she doesn't care.

That's why she has earned my enmity and that of so many others."

Thus spake Kosathustra. The Daily Kos, in case you don't know, is the biggest left-wing blog. In other words, this is the loudest web voice on the American left, and it carries a lot of weight. Read the whole post to see where things are heading if Clinton pushes this fight all the way to the convention.

Court Will Examine Profanity Rules: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Court Will Examine Profanity Rules: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance: "WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Monday stepped into a legal fight over the use of curse words on the airwaves, the high court's first major case on broadcast indecency in 30 years.

The case concerns a Federal Communications Commission policy that allows for fines against broadcasters for so-called 'fleeting expletives,' one-time uses of the F-word or its close cousins."

POLS 354:
We were talking about this issue area on Thursday. Here is the USSC getting into the act for the first time in a long, long while.

Friday, March 14, 2008


THE NEW REPUBLIC: Making Obama Unelectable: "She needs to convince the remaining uncommitted superdelegates to split for her by about a 2-to-1 margin. The only way she can get a split like that is if she can persuasively argue that Obama is unelectable. And the only way she can do that is to make him unelectable. Some people have treated this as an unfortunate byproduct of Clinton's decision to continue her campaign. It's actually a central element of the strategy. Penn is already saying he's unelectable. It's not true, but by the time the convention rolls around, it may well be."
This analysis says that Clinton's strategy is to trash Obama so badly that by the time the convention rolls around he will be unelectable as president. That leaves her. Charming.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

ABC News: Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11

ABC News: Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11: "Sen. Barack Obama's pastor says blacks should not sing 'God Bless America' but 'God damn America.'"
And he has a lot more to say about America as well, all of it vehemently negative. This has finally hit the mainstream media. Barack Obama has been attending this church and listening to this pastor for 20 years. Now Obama will have to explain why he is comfortable with this pastor.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro lets her emotions do the talking - The Daily Breeze

Geraldine Ferraro lets her emotions do the talking - The Daily Breeze: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position,' she continued. 'And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.'"
Well. So says Geraldine Ferraro, former VP candidate for Walter Mondale in 1984, currently major player in the Hillary Clinton campaign and undoubtedly speaking as one of the many surrogates for the candidate, saying the things Clinton wants said but doesn't want to say herself. How's that for tossing a stink bomb into the room? See what I mean when I say that the Clinton's will do and say absolutely anything to win, no matter how destructive it is for the party?

Monday, March 10, 2008

2News' Exclusive Interview With Sen. Barack Obama

2News' Exclusive Interview With Sen. Barack Obama: "'Senator Clinton hints that both of you could be on the same ticket. Do you see any circumstances where that would happen?' Mullahy asked.

'Not with me as vice president,' Obama replied.
'I am running for president.'

'If she is suggesting that she is interested in the vice presidency, then obviously that is something we would take into consideration,' he added."

POLS 101:
Bill and Hillary Clinton have been floating publicly the idea that after she steals--I mean wins--the nomination, Hillary will magnanimously extend the VP slot to Obama. But Obama isn't having any of that, and calls BS on it, as he should, because he is solidly ahead. For Clinton to talk about Obama as VP after she just lost (by my count) 13 out of the last 16 state contests, leaving her so far behind that she can't possibly catch him in pledged delegates, is a new high in chutzpah, even for a Clinton.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The real delegate trend on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

The real delegate trend on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
POLS 101:
The press coverage keeps making it a horse race, as though Hillary Clinton seems to have a chance, but this chart shows why she really doesn't...unless she can work miracles strong-arming the superdelegates. She needs a greater percentage of a smaller remaining pool of pledged delegates. All Obama has to do is keep the remaining primaries reasonably close. Katy homeowner loses fight over landscaping at her home 3/08/08 Katy homeowner loses fight over landscaping at her home 3/08/08: "The homeowner thought the yard was beautiful. However, the homeowner's association disagreed and took drastic measures to resolve the situation. Now it's the homeowner who says her trees and her rights were pruned back too far.

On a blustery morning, Lisagay Wright surveys what's left of a yard she's spent the past 17 years landscaping."

The Taste Police strike again. I guess one of the great pleasures of HOA living is being subject to the whims of your neighbors.

Tucker Carlson unintentionally reveals the role of the American press - Glenn Greenwald -

Tucker Carlson unintentionally reveals the role of the American press - Glenn Greenwald -
POLS 101:
This is a devastating comparison of US journalistic practices with those of the United Kingdom. It is based on the Samantha Power goof, in which the Obama foreign policy advisor referred to Hillary Clinton as a "monster" who would "stoop to anything." She then said that the comment was "off the record." But the newspaper ran it anyway. That's because it was The Scotsman, in the UK. In the US, it would never have run because she said--after blurting out the comment--that it was off the record. In the UK, it's too late to specify that after you say it. In the US, the press is so worried about "burning" official sources and thus losing access to them that they honor such requests. Check it out, complete with video.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Clinton Again Raises Running With Obama

Clinton Again Raises Running With Obama: "HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday again raised the possibility that she might run with rival Sen. Barack Obama on the same Democratic presidential ticket. Speaking to voters in Mississippi, where Sen. Barack Obama is expected to do well in next week's primary, Clinton said, 'I've had people say, 'Well I wish I could vote for both of you. Well, that might be possible some day. But first I need your vote on Tuesday.' It is the second time this week that she has hinted at a joint ticket with the Illinois senator; he has not ruled it out but says it is premature to be having those discussions."
POLS 101:
Note that this time she raised this prospect on her own in a speech. Her plan is pretty obvious. She is going to trash Obama to the point where she gets the nomination. By that time she will have ticked off his supporters. So then she will offer him the VP slot, figuring that his supporters will then vote for the joint ticket because having Obama as VP is better than nothing. They won't like it, and they won't be happy with her, but all she wants to do is win, so if they vote, who cares how they feel? That's her calculation. And Obama is expected to think that he will be next in line in 8 years, by which time he will still be plenty young enough. But if he goes for that deal, not only will he never be President, but he will end up politically ruined. If Hillary Clinton is elected, she will continue in the Clintonian path of destroying the people around her, sabotaging their careers, or placing them under some sort of ethical cloud. She will set Obama up for a fall somehow.

And as for the Obama-Clinton ticket, with him as the President and Hillary as VP, if he is dumb enough to do that (and I think he is way too smart to do it), he had better hire himself an army of food-tasters and make sure that somebody starts the car before he gets into it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hillary’s New Math Problem | Newsweek Voices - Jonathan Alter |

Hillary’s New Math Problem | Newsweek Voices - Jonathan Alter | "Hillary Clinton won big victories Tuesday night in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. But she's now even further behind in the race for the Democratic nomination. How could that be? Math. It's relentless."
I remember an old saying: "The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get." That may be gramatically challenged, but it seems to describe Clinton's situation. The problem is that on Tuesday the Dems burned through about 1/3 of the remaining delegates in that day's four primaries. Although Hillary Clinton "won" the primary votes in Ohio, Texas, and Rhode Island, she failed to close the delegate gap by any significant amount. So now she still has to close basically the same size gap, but she has only 2/3 as many remaining delegates to win. That means that now she is in a worse position than she was before the Tuesday primaries. She has to do more with less. The math just gets worse and worse for her. This is like a chess game where one side has a queen, a rook, and four pawns, and the other side has a knight and four pawns. It is just a matter of time. Sooner or later, the bigger army is going to win unless that player makes a huge mistake.

That's why chess players concede in those situations. They see no point in playing the game out to an inevitable conclusion. But I think Hillary Clinton would sooner shred Obama's public image and fracture the party rather than quit, even if she has only the remotest chance of getting the nomination. There is always the superdelegate strategy, and the Florida and Michigan do-over strategy. For Bill and Hillary it is always about them, and nothing else matters. The people around them are always expendable.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Newsalert: Gun-control case divides state AGs

Newsalert: Gun-control case divides state AGs: "Attorneys general from 31 states have filed a legal brief urging the high court to strike down the law being challenged in the case, the District of Columbia's strict, 32-year-old ban on handguns. Led by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, the group backs a security guard who wants the district's statute to be ruled unconstitutional.

Lending their support to the District of Columbia are attorneys general from five other states — Hawai'i, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York — who say reasonable regulation of dangerous firearms is constitutional and keeps the public safe. A sixth attorney general, Democrat Lisa Madigan of Illinois, sided with the district in an earlier court filing, but declined to join the supporting states' latest brief."

POLS 354:

I wouldn't use the term "divides" to describe a 31 to 5 pro-gun rights breakdown. A better headline might be, "State AGs give overwhelming support to gun rights in DC case."

ON DEADLINE: Democrats Fret Long Battle - Yahoo! News

Democrats Fret Long Battle - Yahoo! News: "A senior Obama adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Obama's team will respond to Tuesday's results by going negative on Clinton — raising questions about her tax records and the source of donations to the Clinton presidential library, among skeletons in the Clintons' past."
This is turning into a Republican's dream. Clinton got traction against Obama by negative campaigning, contributing to yesterday's wins in Ohio, Texas, and Rhode Island. But now Obama has little choice but to go negative against her in return. It is like a game of Prisoner's Dilemma where both players lose.

Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for HB4180

Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for HB4180: "Amends the Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act. Changes the short title of the Act to the Student Silent Reflection Act. Allows a teacher to conduct (instead of requiring a teacher to observe) a brief period of silence at the opening of every school day with the participation of all pupils assembled. Provides that this period shall be an opportunity for such silent reflection as may be desired by each individual pupil (instead of an opportunity for silent prayer or for silent relection on the anticipated activities of the day). Effective immediately."
The Illinois House of Representatives has passed a bill doing away with the mandatory moment of silence. Now what will the Senate do?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

California cows start passing gas to the grid | Environment | Reuters

California cows start passing gas to the grid | Environment | Reuters: "RIVERDALE, California (Reuters) - Imagine a vat of liquid cow manure covering the area of five football fields and 33 feet deep. Meet California's most alternative new energy.

On a dairy farm in the Golden State's agricultural heartland, utility PG&E Corp began on Tuesday producing natural gas derived from manure, in what it hopes will be a new way to power homes with renewable, if not entirely clean, energy."

POLS 101:
Please pardon me for making the obligatory (cynical) reference to the fact that in a presidential year there should be an almost unlimited supply of this new energy source available, if you take my meaning.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Police break up party raging in foreclosed home - Today's Paper > Local News | - Kern County news, events, shopping & search

Police break up party raging in foreclosed home - worth over 500K: "About 50 teenagers and young adults broke into an empty, foreclosed home in southwest Bakersfield Saturday, throwing a raging party and making off with the home’s high-end appliances, according to neighbors."
First...a $540,000 home in Bakersfield? And second, maybe the banks should start renting these foreclosed homes out for parties.

Police Probe Possible Spork Robbery --

Police Probe Possible Spork Robbery -- "ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Anchorage police have arrested a suspect in an armed robbery. Now they're trying to determine if the weapon involved was a spork -- a hybrid of a spoon and fork found at fast-food restaurants."
POLS 354:
Topic for your consideration: is it time to ban the spork? Remember: people don't rob people--sporks rob people.

Court may consider broadcast decency rules - The Boston Globe

Court may consider broadcast decency rules - The Boston Globe: "WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court this week may reopen for the first time in more than 30 years the debate over what qualifies as an 'indecent' broadcast...The issue before the court now is delicately described as the problem of 'fleeting expletives' in over-the-air broadcasts, which are still regulated. Television viewers who watch some of the entertainment industry's award shows may be familiar with the phenomenon."

POLS 101:
The Federal Communications Commission licenses broadcast stations to use particular frequencies, and requires them to avoid "indecency" as a condition of keeping those licenses. Celebrities delight in dropping "F-bombs" here and there to show how cool they are and get free publicity. What should happen to the station that broadcasts it?

State Supreme Court takes up same-sex marriage

State Supreme Court takes up same-sex marriage: "As gay-rights groups call for marital equality and opponents warn of a public backlash, societal decay and religious conflict, the California Supreme Court is prepared for an epic three-hour hearing Tuesday on the constitutionality of the state law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman."
POLS 101 and 354:
This looks like a huge case that could have major consequences. California has 1/8 of the nation's population. If the court creates a right to same-sex marriage, it could lead to a constitutional amendment drive.

Saturday, March 1, 2008 » Bill Clinton Rule in ‘04: Vote for Candidate of ‘Hope’ Not ‘Fear’ » Bill Clinton Rule in ‘04: Vote for Candidate of ‘Hope’ Not ‘Fear’
I wonder if this video was circulated by the Obama campaign. I have noticed that Obama's campaign has learned the art of rapid, strategic response. This week, Hillary Clinton mocked the "hope and change" rhetoric of Obama's campaign, and her new TV ad says basically that we should worry about Obama when the "red phone" rings. So now here is a video in sudden, wide circulation of Bill Clinton in 2004, saying (in support of Kerry) that if a candidate mocks hope and change and plays on your fears (by which he meant George W. Bush) you should vote against that candidate. So--net effect: Bill Clinton is being used to undercut Hillary Clinton's current message. Clever.