Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Reagan’s pen pal

Rudy Hines, as a child, was the pen pal of President Reagan. This WaPo story recounts the story of their letters and relationship (using "Reagan: A Life in Letters," which I noted a few weeks ago, which I have read into and highly recommend). Hines is now 26 years old, and was interviewed for the story. Lovely.   

Rush is Hooked

FoxNews is reporting what Rush apparently admitted on yesterday’s show: he’s hooked on prescription meds. He has promised to check into rehab for a third time, and will take a 30 day hiatus from his radio duties. It’s the right call (once again) from Rush, for so many reasons. Obviously, checking into rehab may in fact save his life, but in my estimation admitting one’s weakness, addressing it when confronted, and (hopefully) overcoming it, is what makes all of us stronger and better people -- and no, that’s not Clinton-esque, a distinction I predict the Left will be unwilling to make.

DLC response to California recall

This is the Democratic Leadership Council’s response to the Democratic loss in California. Some of it is quite sensible:

"But it’s clear the success of the recall effort was no mere right-wing conspiracy. Californians are deeply frustrated by what they perceive as a political establishment -- in both parties -- that’s not listening to their concerns, acting on their needs, or paying much attention to anyone who does not belong to a bedrock partisan constituency group."

"Democrats also need to tend to their own garden and take very seriously the decision of California voters -- who still decisively tilt Democratic in party identification and overall policy views -- to support what began as a nutty right-wing crusade and ended as a popular movement. They need to regain their centrist, problem-solving reputation, and must absolutely reverse the recent perception that they don’t give a damn about anybody who doesn’t belong to a reliable Democratic constituency group. California voters can help both parties move away from the current polarization by approving a ballot initiative next year that would bring back an open primary system -- re-enfranchising moderate and independent voters, and re-engaging today’s isolated parties in a competition to win elections through new ideas and successful governance."

Evolution of Conservatism Conference

By the way, "The Evolution of Modern Conservatism Conference" is goin on as I write and you can listen to it live by clicking here. If you click here, you can get the day’s schedule, speakers, etc. Enjoy.

Democrat despair

Someone sent me a note asking me why I hadn’t said anything about the Demos debate last night. I confess that I saw some of it, and I can’t remember why I would want to. It could have been an accident. I was tired. I’m not kidding about this (and I apologize to Democrats and their fellow travellers, I’m not rtying to hurt): I find these guys past boring. I despair when I listen. They are either talking about saving big or small parts of the welfare state (and sometimes adding to it); this is what folks mean when they say politics is policy. I leave that stuff to economists and accountants. Or, they are all cannon, fire, smoke, and artificial heat! That prune-like fellow Gephardt was on when I tuned in, and he was forward-leaning and loud-sounding about some
false quarrel. I would have turned it off but then Sharpton came on and said something that smacked of wit, and I lingered. But this is Al Sharpton, isn’t it? Can this man-without-modesty or a cause be a candidate? Mosley-Braun then said something semi-interesting, and I lingered. The others blended into one monotonous tone, farewell content, farewell mirth and pleasure, gloom and doom sorrounded me. Then they were all in their shirtsleeves (how did that happen, did they just all take off their jackets?), looking even more affectedly earnest. They blended into one form. After some while I heard nothing, but a low buzz. And I have nothing to say. I am past hope.
Here is Dan Balz in the WaPo, if anyone is interested.

Arnold is not a moderate Republican

This Daniel Henninger piece in Wall Street Journal is excellent. Read the whole thing, please. Henninger thinks that the Davis recall and Arnold’s election is a tectonic shift in American politics. It effects American politics, in part, because California lies on the San Andreas Fault, and the aftershocks of any earthquake there will be felt throughout the country. The immediate effect is this: the definition of political "moderate" has shifted seismically to the right. And this new moderation that Arnold represents (the first such moderate was Giuliani, elected as mayor of New York in 1993) is not the old Rockefeller or Olympia Snowe, et al. "On the core governing issue of the state’s proper role in economic and political life, Arnold Schwarzenegger is well to the right of these people, Henninger says. Arnold is not your Republican father’s moderate. I agree.   

The Recall should be partisan

This Los Angeles Times article outlines Schwarzenegger’s moves toward a transition team that is "diverse." That is, it includes everyone from right to left (well, almost everyone, it doesn’t include McClintock, for example). It would seem to be non-partisan. John Zvesper explains an important point about the idea of the recall, and how the Founders thought through the idea. He examines the politics of the 1790’s and shows that the populism created then (in effect a recall against Hamilton)--a more direct and partisan appeal to the people--could be a good thing if it is partisan. Zvesper says: "The American party system has been from its outset a way for (in Madison’s words) ’the great body of the people’ to ’interpose a common manifestation of their sentiments.’"

"From this point of view, what is suspect about the recall is not that it gives public opinion a more direct and immediate influence on government, but that it is too candidate-centered, and too neglectful of the energy and the constraints that political parties can bring to government. What the Founders would object to about the recall is not its populist aspect but its non-partisan aspect. Recall contests bring to the center of public attention not political parties, with their shared ideals and memories, but individual candidates. The recall makes it possible to remove untrustworthy officials and to replace them with more trustworthy-looking candidates, but that is actually less populistic than party-centered elections. In a recall based on comparative trustworthiness, the people give their trust to the newly-elected official, and lay down fewer guidelines for official conduct and fewer criteria for future accountability than they would in a more partisan election. Political parties are still there the morning after, providing a large target to be rewarded or punished by the electorate’s judgement of their performance in office. " Maybe this could be brought to Governor-elect Schwarzenegger’s attention.

Rejection is painful

A UCLA study shows that pain from a broken heart (shock, rejection) registered in the same part of the brain, called the anterior cingulate cortex, that also responds to physical pain.
"These findings show how deeply rooted our need is for social connection. There’s something about exclusion from others that is perceived as being as harmful to our survival as something that can physically hurt us, and our body automatically knows this," said the scientist.

The recall as suicide

Marc Cooper understands the meaning of the California election, liberal-left though his paper might be. (Thanks to Taranto) 

FedEx’s counter terrorism

A reader reminded me to mention Phil Carter’s excellent blog, Intel Dump, which is worth visiting. His most recent note was on FedEx’s efforts to counter terrorism in its operations: it has persuaded Tennessee to authorize a police force for the corporation, and this has enabled FedEx to become a part of the Memphis area Joint Terrorism Task Force, an interagency working group managed by the FBI.

Demo Party line on California, cont.

I finally got around to reading this Dan Balz article in today’s WaPo on the recall. Even from the non-partisan feeeling title, "Aftershocks Are Unpredictable:
Nervous Politicians Weigh Election’s National Impact," you get the sense that we’re ready to fall into the Democrat-full-bore-spin-zone, and you are not dissapointed as you read on. Indeed, both parties are unsettled by the outcome of Davis (D) losing his job and Arnold winning it. Gosh, I wonder how both parties are unsettled? "That same kind of anger and frustration can happen across the country if the economy doesn’t improve, if the job situation doesn’t improve, if gridlock in Washington continues on major issues," said Leon E. Panetta, a former U.S. House member representing California and White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration. "If I were an incumbent in any office, I would be a lot more nervous today." Thanks, Leon. As Terry McAuliffe said, "George Bush and Karl Rove have got to wish this thing never happened." Right, Terry. Clear thinking.

De Soto’s Turn

J. Bishop Grewell makes a strong case for next year’s Nobel Prize in Economics -- Hernando De Soto. Having just read De Soto’s "The Mystery of Capital," I second Grewell’s nomination. Here’s his summary of this fabulous book.

As his [De Soto’s] most recent work, The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else explained, Western systems are built upon a bedrock of property rights. Without this basic system of property, and the capitalism built on it, those stuck in the third world are cut off from capital markets, cut off from investment, and cut off from doing business with anyone beyond their immediate kith and kin. They have no officially recognized property that can be offered as collateral.

Read Grewell’s piece at NRO. And if you haven’t already, read The Mystery of Capital.

"Need to resist conservative efforts"

This was said at The Second Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health with respect to the U.S.-led efforts to limit cloning and state-sponsored abortions:

"We need to resist conservative efforts attempting to force us into a moral approach than an evidence-based approach in shaping reproductive health policies,"

--Rosalia Sciortino, regional representative of the Rockefeller Foundation, in her remarks at the opening session.

According to the Inter Press Service, "The Second Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health, which runs from October 6-10 in the Thai capital, has attracted some 1,500 participants, including doctors, policymakers, activists and social workers, from 41 countries across Asia."

Corn Flake?

The Hill reports that Gephardt is attacking "big agriculture." A seemingly risky and hypocritical move on his part considering "Campaign finance records show Gephardt has received more than $200,000 from two of the largest agribusiness corporations — Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Monsanto." But, according to the report,

“I’m running for president to provide opportunity to everyone in rural America and not just those farmers whose last name is spelled I-N-C-period,” Gephardt said, adding, “I intend to fight for farmers with names like Smith and Davidson, not Smithfield and DeCoster,” two large agriculture-related companies.

Turkish troops

As we know, Turkey agreed to send troops to Iraq. The fact that they have finally done so--after not even allowing our troops entry in preparation for the war--is in itself interesting. There are two possibilities: First, we have given away the kitchen sink in order to get this commitment. If this is true, then my question is, why? Why is this so necessary now? Just so we can remove some 10,000 U.S. troops? Second, Turkey thinks that things are going much better for us in Iraq than they thought it would, and don’t want to be left out. Still, given the intense dislike of the Turks in most of Iraq--as well as the governing council’s lack of interest in allowing the Turkish trops in--I wonder if this is worth it. Is this not dangerous? Yet, it is possible that what is most useful here is the world knowing that the Turks are willing to send troops, even if they’re never used, or used only as part of a larger multi-lateral force. Ralph Peters has some harsh words--perhaps too harsh--on this.

Bush’s counterattack on Iraq

The administration is (finally?) becoming more public in its defense of our Iraq policy. Here is Condi Rice’s defense, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. Here is
speech in full.

This story recounts some of the good things happening.

French Wine, California Wine

French wine is in trouble. "This year had been looking like a low-volume harvest ever since extreme heat hit France in July, but producers were always confident that quality could be good, or even exceptional." Not only that, but this: "The fragrance may occasionally leave something to be desired."

But California wine is not in trouble. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars is a fine California vineyard. And here is something more about it and its owner, as it received the Professional Excellence Award for 2003. No wonder the White House served Warren Winiarski’s Cabarnet at the state dinner for the President of the Republic of Poland in July. (It also happens that Winiarski means "vintner’s son" in Polish.)

Guantanamo Crimes

Phillip Carter writes about why the espionage charges, if proven true, may be serious enough to warrant the death penalty. 

Governor Schwarzenegger notes

Debra Saunders recounts why Arnold won, and how the Demos view it. Matt Welch focuses on the Latino vote, and why Bustamante lost 30% of it to Arnold. Even Richard Cohen likes Arnold. Hugh Hewitt explains that if the Demos continue to think that Arnold won because this is a revolt against incumbents and a protest against the economy, they’re making a serious mistake. I agree completely. Larry Elder explains that even the media doub le standards couldn’t stop Arnold. Robert Novak explains what Arnold can do for Bush and the national GOP. A lot!

Bobby Jindal

John Fund has good things to say about Bobby Jindal, the son of Indian immigrants who may become the next governor of Louisiana. Fund says this: "He treats his Indian background as an overall plus but won’t trade on it. He left the space for ’race’ on his qualifying papers blank and attacks the division of people along racial lines. ’I’m against all quotas, all set-asides,’ he says. ’America is the greatest. We got ahead by hard work. We shouldn’t respond to every problem with a government program. Here, anyone can succeed.’"

Democratic politics

Howard Dean is notching up his criticism of President Bush (I didn’t think that was possible!). The N.Y. Times reports: Howard Dean, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Wednesday offered perhaps his most overarching critique yet of the Republican incumbent, saying, "I think what the president is doing is setting the stage for the failure of America."

"If you look at what’s happened to other great countries," Dr. Dean said over lunch with reporters and editors of The New York Times, "they get in trouble when they can’t manage their money — and this president’s certainly proven himself adept at that — and they get in trouble when they overstretch their military capabilities."

Wesley Clark’s campaign now resembles a soap opera, with the campaign manager resigning. He said that the Gore-Clinton people have taken over the campaign. Ex-Al Gore spokesman Chris Lehane has shown up, for example. Mark Fabiani is already there. Clark is returning payments received from speeches, having violated campaign laws. Here is a report on tonight’s Democratic debate.

De-Legalizing Marriage?

Social conservatives have long lamented the "marriage tax" imposed by the IRS that rewards "couples" for staying single by giving them a higher deductible than married couples, essentially penalizing the couple for tying the knot. But now, Fox reports,

A group of legal scholars and gay advocacy groups are calling for marriage to be de-legalized in order to make the distribution of benefits more fair for people who aren’t married, including gay couples.

The cynical side of me has often wondered if much of what lies behind the gay marriage movement isn’t just... money. There, I said it.

The Cubs Win! The Cubs Win!

and the Red Sox took Game 1 from the Yankees. Call me a Fox executive, but I find myself pulling for a Cubs-Sox Series.

Money for Iraq

This New York Times article is reporting that there is going to be a lot more money for Iraq than heretofore thought from foreign sources. "The Japanese are talking in the billions. The Europeans are revisiting their earlier numbers. They’re all beginning to look at this as a security issue, not a development issue, and they’re scrounging for money from other places in their budgets," according to a senior administration official. NOte that it is now a security issue.

The Arnold transition starts

Daniel Weintraub reports that the transition has started. And, interestingly enough, most of the names he cites are not Wilson’s people: Dreier, Jim Richardson (an aide to Senate GOP leader Bruelte), Rob Stutzman, et al. This FOX News report has some detail and expands on other issues having to do with Bustamante’s future, etc.

The California Demos

Daniel Weintraub has a telling short interview with California Sen. Sheila Kuehl, the Santa Monica Democrat who hopes to replace John Burton next year as leader of the state Senate. She is a partisan leftist, but, Weintraub says, is level headed and courteous and intelligent. The interview is only a few paragraphs long but it is worth a read because the woman is very angry and gives away how they think they’re going to treat Arnold by saying this: "This guy has no idea how to run a state. One of two things will happen. He’ll have his own ideas and no way to carry them out. I mean he has already proposed three things that the governor cannot do. He wants to roll back the car tax on his own by fiat, which he can t do. He wants to tax the Indians, which he can’t do. He doesn’t know anything about running the state. So either he will propose a lot of stuff he can’t do and we’ll have to govern, or he’ll be pretty well manipulated by people who have an agenda, very much the way I think the president of the United States has been handled by people who are really telling him how to do these things. In which case we may have to counteract things that are worse than things he proposed on his own. His handlers will probably be more conservative than he is, or in the Republican Party line. Convince him he’ll bring businesses back to the state by cutting more benefits to workers, by unraveling anti-discrimination statutes which they call job killers." Please note the hatred, the snarling contempt, the utter under-estimation of a political opponent who just beat the pants off you; the sheer ignorance. If they stay in this mode, I’m going to become an optimist! This is wonderful.

Dog biscuits

Alec Baldwin goes down to Texas to do some fundraising for Democrats. So far so good. He takes a box of dog biscuits with him, for Governor Rick Perry (R). "I wanted to give this to Tom DeLay’s lap dog, Rick Perry. I thought maybe he had worked up a big appetite up there on the Capitol so Governor Perry, AKA Tom DeLay’s lap dog in the Texas state Legislature, this box of dog biscuits is for you and I hope you enjoy it while you’re toiling away at a redistricting plan." Cute, or just stupid. You choose.

Der Gropenfuhrer?

Here is a perfect example of how not to understand the California recall and Arnold’s big win, Steve Lopez writes an op-ed wherein he calls Arnold Der Gropenfuhrer. I hope they keep this up.

California electoral map

This is a Map of California, by county, shwoing that Bustamante won only seven counties around the San Franciso region. And here are the official returns , by county. I just saw Nancy Pelosi on TV saying that the California election is a bad sign for Bush: It shows that the people are disenchanted with the political leadership and their handling of the economy. I also saw Bob Mulholland say the same thing last night, but was speechless after Brit Hume pressed him. I hope they continue to believe such matters. This is embarrassing.

Iraq, press coverage

Ralph Peters is not amused about the press’ coverage of what is really going on in Iraq. He’s right.

War in the Middle East?

This article, Israel Clears Way to Call Up Army Reservists reports that Israeli will call up their reserves. The reason given is fear of a new and bigger wave of suicide bombers.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel is increasing pressure on Syria to expel the terrorists. Assad of Syria says he will not expel the Palestinians because they have broken no law. Israel reinforces the border with Syria, there are clashes on the border with Lebanon. Assad says he will strike back in the Israeli’s strike Syria, next time. Palestinian Authority spokesmen deny that Arafat has had a heart attack.

All sides deny that they want war. Harold Rood taught us to look for anomalies. This sounds more like a preparation for battle.

Perhaps Schramm could make another prediction.

LA Times Editorial Cartoonist

For a refreshing and edifying look at current events for the past month or so, folks should take a gander at Michael Ramirez’s offerings at his Los Angeles Times
. Incredibly, given the Times’ political leanings, he’s their feature editorial cartoonist. Although Ramirez gives the valiant Tom McClintock one too many beatings (Sept. 13 & 27), all in all this review of cartoons is at times laugh-out-loud funny (Oct. 3 and Sept. 2) or serious as a heart attack (Sept. 6). Enjoy.

The Pastime

First game of the NLCS, extra innings. A beautiful sport.

McClintock’s fate

Here is John J. Miller at the Corner on McClintock: "So McClintock didn’t win and didn’t spoil--seems he wasn’t even a factor. Will he be in the future? I would have voted for him, but a part of me wishes he had endorsed Arnold last week, if only to maintain his viability within the GOP. I want McClintock to have a political future in California, but I fear that he won’t have much of one now. Some folks have suggested that he run for the Senate against Barbara Boxer next year, but I’ve always thought this would be a mistake. McClintock’s strength is on state budget matters, and a race for office in DC wouldn’t play to that. He’s much more suited for state controller, an office he nearly captured last year. The rap on my man all along has been that he’s not a team player, and there’s plenty of truth to it. His reluctance to play with the team usually has been based on sound principle, but now I’m afraid that he’s going to spend the rest of his political career on the backbench. My guess is we’ve heard the last of him, except as an occasional speaker at right-wing confabs. This saddens me. Is anybody more optimistic?"

Arnold thoughts

Daniel Weintraub writes about the Arnold victory. His points might be a bit prosaic, but I believe they’re true. And Mickey Kause, a liberal, explains why he voted for him. The reason it is worth reading (although there is much here to disagree with) is that there are enough interesting details both about Arnold’s way of thinking and behaving (much of it not complimentary) and how his opponents view him, that begins to open some possibilities. So, in an attempt at a quick response to Stewart’s questions below here is my turn of mind. This is a unique situation; both the recall and Arnold’s victory. Arnold is a new addition to the political equation. His personna, and his political smarts, and the circumstances of the recall, put him in a situation where dramatic political breakthroughs are possible. I think he knows this. Folks use the word realignment too loosely; let’s call it a possible tectonic shift in California, with some serious effects elsewhere. McClintock has contributed to this shift with his serious and thoughtful attacks on the particulars of the Davis administration and his mode of governing. People turned toward him to listen. Liberals ended up praising him. In gaining the kind of intellectual support and, indeed, honor, that McClintock has gained, he will help Arnold to establish a new mode of governance, with an infusion of new people, and new ideas that will be even at first sight well received. The political opening is reflected in the fact that about twenty five percent of Democrats voted for the recall and maybe twenty percent of the votes Arnold got was from Democrats. This is not a small thing. All of it combined is a breakthrough, something new and different. I expect Arnold to try to pull everyone together, not by compromising or trimming, but by acting dramatically in every case that he can. His opponents will be petty towards him and his pirposes and will be seen to be ordinary, and he will always rise above that. If he does that he will create a new political universe in California that will have an effect elsewhere. I think McClintock should help him do that, should work from the inside by generally being supportive and by continuing to be persuasive. Those who simply try to buck Arnold’s new regime (either from the left or right) will end up paying a high price. McClintock and the conservatives should be inclined to work with him, and yet be prepared to persuade him when necessary; but from the inside. Don’t seem petty and don’t carp, and don’t underestimate this guy and don’t underestimate the political opportunity that this situation offers. Those who talk about the upcoming changes in California in simply policy terms will miss the big picture that is being redrawn as I write. And if I were a California Democrat I wouldn’t sleep for six months with worry, and if I were a national Democrat I would be deeply concerned for the future of my party. California will be front page news for six months and how the state GOP handles that honor will have an effect on the political climate and disposition of a nation in a bit of a funk. High drama, this.

An "F" for the FCC?

Apologies for the nature of this post and for diverging from the news dujour, but Fox reported yesterday that the FCC is giving Bono (lead singer of U2) a pass on his use of the "F" word during last January’s Golden Globe Awards. As might have been expected, parent groups and conservative media watchdogs objected and petitioned the FCC to slap Bono’s wrist. But, for rather unsettling reasons, the FCC has ignored their plea, "ruling that Bono used the vulgarity as an adjective or to emphasize an exclamation and that ’the use of specific words, including expletives or other ’four-letter words’ does not render material obscene.’"

Now, I understand that a slip of the tongue may not really merit a stiff penalty, and even that circustances can be taken into account on such things (Bono had just won an award and was expressing his surprise), but what bothers me is the FCC’s rationale. To say that using the "F" word as an adjective or for emphasis makes it an innocuous exclamation and not obscene is just begging for Howard Stern and all the television screenwriters to throw it around as an "adjective."

I once heard a former National Review editor give a speech on the history of the F-word in which he explained that it can be used in a single sentence as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb and, yes, an expletive. So to say that the word is acceptable so long as it’s not used as an expletive or in an offensively "descriptive manner" underestimates the nature of the word itself.

California 54

Not to be forgotten among the balloons and confetti, Proposition 54 "that would have banned the collection of racial information in public education, contracting and employment and would have set aside a portion of the budget for infrastructure repairs," failed yesterday 56% to 43%.

Redux on McClintock

So I’m curious what readers & bloggers think . . . Now that we know Arnold pulled in 47% of the vote and McClintock around 13%, did McClintock advance the conservative cause by not endorsing Arnold last week?

Tricky question. On one hand, McClintock did conservatives a favor by forcing Arnold to mind his right flank until the end of the race. And McClintock kept conservatives from having any responsibility if Arnold & Pete Wilson’s advisers try to raise taxes, or if the Sacramento Dems flay Arnold once he’s in office. On the other hand, Arnold’s margin of victory and McClintock’s low showing will tempt Arnold and Wilson’s advisers to think that the conservatives are irrelevant. And if Arnold blows it, I bet the California Republican Party will get blamed no matter what McClintock & the conservatives say or do.

World Marvels at Schwarzenegger Victory

I’m sure the Dems can take consolation in that headline and, as one elated Austrian put it, in knowing that "Many people in the world - and in America - now know where Styria is." You do know where Styria is, don’t you Gray?

California "in play"

Donald Lambro speculates in the Washington Times this morning (along with everyone else) on how the Governator’s victory will impact Bush’s chances in California next year.

Republican Party strategists said last night that the overwhelming vote to oust Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and the stronger-than-expected vote for the movie-star action hero — now a rising star in the party — will dramatically change the political climate in a state that is the biggest electoral prize in presidential elections.

As one Republican official put it, "Regardless of who wins, we think California is in play for us in 2004."

The vote

L.A. Times has these numbers, with 96% of the votes counted:

Recall: Yes, 54.2%; No, 45.8%

Schwarzenegger, 47.7%, Bustamante, 32.6%, McClintock, 13.2%

The "no" vote on the recall was higher than I expected, by about five points, and Arnold’s victory was larger than I expected, by about three points. And Bustamante got four points more than I expected. So Hayward’s prediction turned out to be closer to the vote by about two points. Alt was also off by only about two points. So I lose.

First Numbers

Here is the Los Angeles Times site, they seem to have more numbers up than anyone else. With 9% of the vote: Recall--Yes, 53.3%, No, 46.7%. Arnold, 50.9%, Buztamante, 31%, McClintock, 12%. (At 11.49 p.m. EST) I’m going home. Sleep well.

Gray Davis said

Daniel Weintraub reports that Davis said the following on Larry King about an hour ago; a statement not exactly brimming with confidence. "The voters have been good to me, electing me twice as governor, allowing me to serve 35 million people. I’m very grateful to them, very grateful for the opportunity to try and move the state forward, and whatever their judgment is tonight, I will accept it." I’m so glad!

A Kindergarten for men

While you are waiting for the polls to close, amuse yourself with this story out of Germany.

German women fed up with their partners’ grumbling on weekend shopping trips can now dump them at a special kindergarten for men offering beer and entertainment.

"The women are issued a receipt for their partners when they hand them in and can pick them up again when they return it to us later," Alexander Stein, manager of the ’Nox Bar’ in the northern city of Hamburg told Reuters on Tuesday.

The men are given a name badge on arrival and for 10 euros (7 pounds) they get two beers, a hot meal, televised football and games.

California returns

When I see Ceci Connelly (the unimpressive) on FOX saying things like the Democrats may be having a tougher time of it than most of us thought they would have....then I know that Drudge is probably close to the truth when he says that exit polls have 59% for the recall and 51% for Arnold (with 30% for Bustamante and 13% for McClintock). We’ll find out in about 20 minutes.

Clark’s Campaign Manager Quits

CNN and others are reporting:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wesley Clark’s campaign manager quit Tuesday in a dispute over the direction of the Democratic presidential bid, exposing a rift between the former general’s Washington-based advisers and his 3-week-old Arkansas campaign team.

California Dreamin’

Contrary to NLT wisdom, FoxNews reports that

The packed [California] polling places were good news for Democrats, who had predicted and hoped for strong voter turnout because the state’s largely left-leaning electorate would likely help keep Davis in office.

Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres said the high turnout "could be the definite advantage for the governor."

We’ll see about that.

The grandson of the Ayatollah

This is a nice short break between Xenophon, Lincoln (my seminar tonight) and the hurly-burly of the California election. (Other work aside, my phone is ringing off the hook, people are making bets with me, even reporters from Connecticut to California; somebody is going to eat well for the next few months!). Christopher Hitchens writes in Slate about the grandson of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Yup, Hossein Khomeini is the grandson of the Ireanian bad guy, the tyrant. Hossein now lives in Iraq and is a junior cleric. It’s a good read altogether, but note the precious passages wherein he calls the U.S. presence in Iraq a "liberation" and he can’t wait for the U.S. to liberate Iran!

Exit Poll Bleg

I have yet to see any exit polls. If anyone finds early (and seemingly reliable) numbers and could comment on this entry with their location, I would appreciate it.

Do Gun Bans Work?

Last week, the CDC shrugged its shoulders. Here’s the press release and links to the full report.

Firearms Laws

The [CDC] Task Force review of the effects of various laws showed insufficient evidence to conclude whether firearms laws impact rates of violence.

Among the areas under task force review were: bans on specific firearms or ammunition, restrictions on firearm acquisition, waiting periods for firearm acquisition, firearm registration and licensing of firearm owners, “shall issue” concealed weapon carry laws, child access prevention laws, zero tolerance for firearms in schools, and combinations of firearm laws.

A finding of “insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness” means that, based on the current body of literature, the Task Force is unable to determine whether the intervention was effective or not. The task force agreed that additional scientific studies relating to these interventions might help to provide clearer answers.

The task force is a nonfederal panel of health-care and community-based prevention experts supported by the CDC. It directs systematic reviews of scientific research across the entire spectrum of public health issues and makes practice and research recommendations based on its findings.

The full report is available here.

More Predictions

I can’t let Schramm and Hayward have all the fun. Mind you, I am writing later than they did, but I have yet to see any exit polls. I predict that turnout will be high, about 62%. Davis will be recalled by a "Yes" vote of around 58-59%. And Arnold will terminate all-comers, finishing with a comfortable 5-7 point margin on his next closest rival, putting him at 44-45%.

As for the legal challenges, you can count on them, but the margin of victory will make them all but impossible. If Arnold pulls out a 5 point margin of victory, that would translate into a victory margin of about 700,000 votes. Even the wildest punchcard claims don’t suggest that they could pull 700,000 votes out of their hats if given the chance by the courts. And keep in mind that the California Supreme Court was actually fairly reasonable (they refused to even hear the silly punchcard claim). No one can count on the Ninth Circuit to be reasonable, but once again, a large margin of victory pretty much takes it out of their hands. So Arnold will win, and the court challenges will be swept away quickly.

South Carolina Still Birth Conviction Upheld

From the Christian Science Monitor:

WASHINGTON – A South Carolina woman sentenced to 12 years in prison for homicide as a result of suffering a stillbirth has lost a bid to reverse her conviction.

In a one-line order issued Monday, the US Supreme Court let stand a South Carolina Supreme Court decision upholding her conviction for homicide by child abuse. The woman in question had used cocaine during her pregnancy.

Senator Gregg’s Wife Abducted, Released

The networks are reporting that New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg’s wife was robbed and taken from her home at gunpoint and then released.

The Road to Self-Rule in Iraq

A nice op-ed on the making of Iraq’s next constitution by David Brooks, Iraq’s Founding Moments
, updates us on the possibilities and pitfalls of designing a constitution for a war-ravaged, despot-haunted region.

Here are the lead paragraphs:

Imagine if James Madison and the other Founding Fathers had tried to write a constitution while carriages were being blown up on the roads from Boston to Philadelphia. Imagine if, instead of holding their debates in complete secrecy, they had been forced to conduct them in the full glare of the global media. Imagine if they had been forced to write that document while America’s neighbors worked to ensure their failure.

If you can imagine those things, you can begin to understand how difficult it is going to be for Iraqis to write their constitution. And yet, so far, things are going pretty well.

The first vote in California

This is from a reader in California:

A fog settled down in my neck of So Cal in the pre-dawn hours. The polls opened at seven a.m. I got to mine at the local grammar school at 7:01--the place was packed. Unprecedented. Voters streamed like ghosts out of the mist. The dutiful septuagenarian stopped every one of them at the door, asking, "Do you know the line number of your candidate?" Unprecedented. We are all half asleep, the swirling fog makes the school feel like a scene from Blade Runner, no one has ever been asked such a question going into a polling booth, and we’re Californios--so what do we do? We answer! Only some of us think he wants to know the page, so we say, "Page Two!" "No, no," says the old citizen who could have played the sheriff in Much Ado about Nothing, "Not the page, the line number!" "Oh, uh, I forgot my glasses, let me see . . . uh, line 31, I think." "No, you don’t have to tell me. We’re just making sure you’re not confused by the ballot." "Oh." "Page 2, Line 31," says the next one before even being asked. And so on. It turns into a mantra. Citizen ghosts in the fog chanting "Page Two, Line 31!" It takes on a rhythm. People begin to sway in a kind of civic cha-cha-cha. Page 2, Line 31: Ahnold. It’s over. And the fog hasn’t even lifted. Of course the counting of the absentees will go on for weeks, and the Dems are already knocking down the courthouse doors. Never mind. "It has frequently been remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of California to give democracy a whole new meaning." p.s. An old blue hair sashays out of the fog with a freshly minted sweatshirt. On the back: "Grope me for California." Duty calls. Then I disappear in the mist.

The Pastime

Bottom of the ninth. Bases loaded. Two outs. Two strikes. The crowd on its feet. The season on the line.

No matter who you hoped would win last night’s Red Sox-A’s game, you had to love its storybook ending.

Parthenogenesis Explained

For those interested in the particulars of the debate over using "parthenogenesis" technology to create "human" embryos so as to avoid ethical controversy, Nancy Jones of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, has done a commendable job explaining the issue and how we might want to think about it.  

Eco-Activists Exposed

Cato’s Steven Milloy has a nice piece at FoxNews on the real environmentalist agenda and the hypocrisy behind it. 

California Mandates Healthcare

Solidifying California has a bad place to run a business, the soon-departing Governor Davis has signed a bill mandating businesses provide employees with health care coverage. A controversial measure, the law is expected to cost employers an estimated $1300-3500 per employee annually.

The measure "establishes the principle that if you work hard and pay taxes, you should get health care," said Art Pulaski, head of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, a backer of the bill and a supporter of Davis’ effort to survive tomorrow’s recall election.

Yes, I suppose it does establish that principle Mr. Pulaski, but is that a principle California really needs right now? Opponents have rightly noted
"It’s a job-killer bill," said Ron Zappardino, owner of Top of the Cove restaurant in La Jolla and vice president of the California Restaurant Association.

Zappardino said once the bill’s provisions take effect, he will reduce his full-time work force from 65 to 50 to avoid having to pay the fee imposed under the legislation. He expects other restaurants to do the same thing.

Here’s the full article.

Helping Hayward

I’m glad to see that Hayward is on board. I know he has his own good sources, and even The Field Poll agrees with him. The Field Poll estimates a 30% increase in voter turnout over the 2002 election. This is huge, it would be about 65%, nearing the 70% for the 2000 presidential election, and certainly larger than other non-presidential vote in state history.

Revised Prediction

Without withdrawing a scintilla of my attack on Peter’s prognosticating abilities, I should like to revise my predictions upward a little bit toward his. (Note: the polls are not yet open as of this writing.) Conversations with sources in California last night indicate a very large turnout is expected. This can only mean one thing: A recall/Arnold blowout. (70% aren’t going to turn out to vote for Bustamante.)

So: I now say, Recall 57%; Arnold, 44%.

Someone mathematicaly inclined (that also wouldn’t be Peter) should set up a point-spread betting line on all of this.

California prediction & Hayward’s attack

It’s early in the morning, and I am about to go into my freshman class and talk about Xenophon’s "The Education of Cyrus." You know, how to do good for your friends, and how to lie, cheat, and in general be a dissembler against your enemies. Hayward not only works for AEI (what is that?) but he’s a historian. What does he know about elections? I have a union card in politics, I know these things. I have a right to guess and my guesses have my profession’s stamp on them. Therefore, Hayward can’t be right. I’ll take any bets.

Take Peter’s Bet!

Peter has been gone from California a long time. Also, I recall some past Peter predictions:

1) Mike Antonivich would win the 1986 GOP Senate primary. (He finished a distant third or fourth, almost in single digits, as I recall).

Reagan would get 62% of the vote in 1984. (Not too far off: he got 59%).

Wasn’t there a Bush landslide in 2000 predicted? I can’t recall. Anyway, to all you Ashbrookians, take Peter’s money, I say.

My prediction: recall and Arnold win, but by narrower margins. I’ll say 54% for recall; 38% for Arnold.

Bush asserts Israel’s right to self defense

The President did not beat up on Israel for going into Syria.

California Prediction II

I am reminding you of the prediction I made yesterday on the California recall election. I still hold to it. In short: Davis loses the recall by circa 20-25 points! "Yes" will be about 60-63%, and "no" will be 37%, no higher than 40%! Arnold will win with circa 40-45%, Bustamante will get around 28% and McClintock will get 15%. I know that I could put up some safer numbers, but that would be no fun now, would it? Daniel Weintraub has a few good paragraphs explaining why the polls may well underestimate Arnold’s percentage. He says that perhaps ten percent of the people who will vote "no" on the recall will not vote on the second part of the ballot. That would be an amazing advantage for Arnold. Anyway, I’m going with my hand. I’m not folding. I’m right. I’ve put a few bucks aside for the lunch bets that I’ve already made....I’ll take all takers on this. Bet me, I dare you.

An irresistable footnote to all this; a sort of poetic rendition of the truth. A San Francisco paper reports on the campaign, and in the middle of the story, there is an aside about a woman who pulls out a bumber sticker that reads: "I’d rather be groped by Arnold than screwed by Gray Davis."

Around the world

Here is an AP report on the chaos that is (still) Somalia. An Italian aid worker was
in Somalia. She had been there for thirty years treating tuberculosis patients.

This New York Times piece explains why Dubai is the focus of terrorist financing.Liberia is not yet quite peaceful.Brazil is bombing the landing strips Columbian drug trafficers use. Russia’s man wins the election in Chechneya; many consider it a farce. A Sunni leader, not exactly a good guy, is gunned down in Pakistan.

News from Iraq

This foreign service officer, in charge of the multi-billion reconstruction effort in Iraq, is home on leave for a few weeks in Texas. He is very surprised by the negative reporting he sees. "There’s just an incredible amount of productive stuff going on over there, with a lot of Iraqi participation," he said. "To come here and see it portrayed as a failure in the making -- it’s very superficial and inaccurate." (thanks to Instapundit)

No Left Turns Mug Drawing Winners for September

Congratulations to this month’s winners of a No Left Turns mug! The winners are as follows:

Sean Cain

Vickie Dunn

Mike McFall

Shay Williams

Deanna Ducher

Thanks to all who entered. An email has been sent to the winners. If you are listed as a winner and did not receive an email, contact Ben Kunkel. If you didn’t win this month, enter October’s drawing.

Life in Baghdad

The Washington Post ran this on Sunday. It seems a much fairer assesment than the norm about how life has changed in Baghdad for the better.

Jacuzzis and a college education?

The New York Times runs this story very much worth reading called "Jacuzzi U.? A Battle of Perks to Lure Students." Colleges and universities are spending a great deal of money--often getting into more debt than they should--to make life more pleasant, indeed, luxurious, for their students. They are building lavish student centers, recreation centers with hot tubs and water falls and pool slides, because that’s what the students expect. They want luxuries, say the administrators, and we have to provide it for them in this competative environment, else we lose students. In the meantime, student fees and tuition continue to rise. What does this have to do with those of us who focus on a serious education instead of this hoopla? Well, I think there are plenty of students--and I wager that the numbers are growing--who are more and more interested, perhaps even demand, a real education for their money. We should focus on those students, give them their money’s worth, and
let these matters of luxury be juxtaposed to the real value and purpose of higher education. I do not doubt who will win that argument. Those of us in this sport (I include the real students here) know the difference between the real purpose of education, and it’s material condition. It would make me feel better if there were some administrators quoted in the article who used this great race toward luxury as a means to entice students to come to their college and then teach them something of value. Sure, go ahead and use the jacuzzi, use the climbing wall, hit a couple of golf balls, even get a massage because it might make you more able to wrap your mind around Aristotle or Shakespeare or Madison or physics or chemistry; in short, allow you to contemplate in true comfort the nobility and baseness of human nature. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone said something like that?
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could justly say to a potential student: This place has furnished us with minds and books, and the more we study them the more they talk to us, this is a place of words and more words, a place where we study the cause and why and wherefore in all things. And we don’t ignore the beautiful. And it is made comfortable for you so that you might do it in leisure, as did prosperous ladies and gentlemen of long ago. Take advantage of it, or you will regret it.

Bobby Jindal in Lousiana

Bobby Jindal, the young conservative Republican, received 33% of the vote in Lousiana (his closest opponent got 18%). The runoff is in November. The Times-Picayune has a few paragraphs on his background: son of Indian immigrants, former Rhodes Scholar, president of the University of Louisiana system at age 27, etc. Very impressive. Worth watching.

California wrap and prediction

Daniel Weintraub recounts the origin of the recall movement against Davis, writes a few very clear paragraphs on why the voters mistrust and dislike him, and explains why it is a race between Davis and Arnold. In order for Davis to win, he has to get over 50% of the vote on the first ballot. Davis can’t do that (he only won 47% last November). He’ll be lucky to get 37% of the vote. So the only question is how many votes will Arnold get? Will Arnold get above 40%? Yes, and he might go as high as 45% (I assume Bustamante will get no more than 28% and McClintock no more than %15).

And this will happen despite the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans in registration (43.7% to 35.3%). Yet, almost 40,000 more Californians registered as Republicans than Democrats during the heart of the recall campaign, according to figures released by the Secretary of State’s Office. This shows that intensity and turnout are on the side of the anti-Davis forces; voter turnout will be much higher than the 50.6% that voted last year. The question is, will it rise to the 71% of registered voters who voted in the 2000 presidential election. The higher the turnout, the worse for Davis, in my opinion. Davis has not succeeded in persuading Democrats to come out and vote for him, and it is estimates that 25% of Demos who vote will vote to recall Davis. Even this Los Angeles Times story recognizes the insurmountable obstacle that Davis needed to overcome, but, of course, couldn’t. That obstacle is himself. He couldn’t give himself either a character or a personality makeover. Read into this article to get a good sense of the Al-Gore-like-wooden-and-all-too-boring-and-arrogant Davis speaking to a group of Hispanics, and hear his words land with a dull thud. Hasta la vista, baby.

Manufacturing decline?

This article in the London based The Economist notes that much is being made of the decline of manufacturing jobs in the industrial countries. It is a big deal in Europe, but an even bigger issue in the U.S. There is a lot of jawboning going on. Something should be done, especially about China. The Economist claims that this doesn’t square with the facts. Many things have to be considered, including efficiency: U.S. manufacturing has doubled in the last thirty years. This testimony before the Senate Finance Committee by the Hoover Institution economist Robert E. Hall speaks to the issue by recounting the evolution of U.S. manufacturing. I am not claiming to understand all this, but I am paying attention.

Revolutionary Frenchman

George Will has a well crafted column on Bernard-Henry Levy and his new bookWho Killed Daniel Pearl? It’s theme turns out to be larger.