Monday, October 27, 2008

2008 Election Recommendations

I have been very remiss in keeping up this blog of late, for which I duly apologize- between work and family issues, I have not had the time to blog as I would ordinarily have preferred as we approach this election on November 4. However, I do have my recommendations for the main ballot issues here in California. These recommendations are as follows:

John McCain / Sarah Palin (Republican)- My reasoning has been set out previously, but in short, I do not believe that Barack Obama is qualified for the high office of President, and i believe that the shameless behavior of our major media has prevented most voters from gaining any real understanding of Obama's past or real beliefs. I have many disagreements with john McCain on policy, but I believe him to be a better choice for our nation- especially in these dangerous times- than the inexperienced, insincere Obama.

There are a number of propositions on the California ballot this year, and I will list each of them together with my recommendation. The full information for each of the current ballot propositions are taken from Ballotpedia's page. Official descriptions can be found at the California Secretary of State web site.

  1. Proposition 1a: High-speed Rail. In theory, a high-speed railway running through California and linking the major metorpolises is an excellent idea- California is one of the few places in the U.S. where such a rail system makes sense. However, after reading the proposition, I do not believe that this is anything more than one more attempt to spend taxpayer money without anything to show for it. And until our Legislature can fix the financial problems in California, I do not believe that we should hand over any more of our hard-earned money to them to play with. Vote No on Proposition 1a.

  2. Proposition 2: Animal Rights. This specifies conditions for raising egg-laying chickens. Folks, we have far more pressing issues than this. And the end result will almost certainly be to raise our food prices, as most egg-producers will leave California, thus raising the price of eggs. I expect this to pass, but it seems a waste of time and something that will ultimately do nothing to improve the lives of captive chickens. Vote No on Proposition 2.

  3. Proposition 3: Children's Hospital bond. This specifies over 800 million in bonds for children's hospitals. Of course, many if not all of these are actually private hospitals that were just recently given taxpayer money back in 2004 (Proposition 61). Almost half of that money is not yet spent. in addition, the same groups that pushed through Prop 61 are sponsoring Prop 3. Why are we giving these same groups even more taxpayer money? Vote No on Proposition 3.

  4. Proposition 4: Abortion parental notification. Requires parental or guardian notification before abortions can be performed. I think that all of use agree that parents are responsible for minors. And why parents should be left un-notified before their offspring undergoes a medical procedure of this seriousness is unfathomable. Vote Yes on Proposition 4.

  5. Proposition 5: Drug Rehab Essentially eliminates drug crimes from punishment. if you think that drug sellers and users are not criminals, you will probably vote yes. I think that users should be treated the same as drunk drivers, and so I do not think that this is a good idea. Vote No on Proposition 5.

  6. Proposition 6: Crime Prevention Basically strengthens the penalites for crime and also requires California to spend money from the general fund to pay for the increased penalties. From a fiscal standpoint, it is a bad thing when California is so broke, but on the other hand, crime needs to be reined in. On balance, I think this is probably a better idea than spending money on things politicians want. Vote Yes on Proposition 6.

  7. Proposition 7: Clean Power Requires all California utilites to procure 25 percent of their energy from so-called 'clean' sources by 2025- and requires providers such as PG&E and Edison to have 20 percent by 2010. Not only is this virtually impossible, the bill also cuts most current providers out (causing loss of perhaps 60 percent of our current suppliers), creates massive bureaucracy, has hidden costs, will almost certainly raise utilities fees through the roof and has no way to fix any problems. This is yet another clean energy boondoggle. Vote No on Proposition 7.

  8. Proposition 8: Gay marriage. Amends California Constitution to make marriage for an adult man and woman only. Judges are not allowed to legislate, but that is exactly what the California Supreme Court did when they over-ruled California's voters. Additionally, if gays want to decide what society can and cannot do, then they need to make their argument at the ballot box- not in court.Vote Yes on Proposition 8.

  9. Proposition 9: Victims' Rights This proposition essentially appears to reinforce victims' rights and also makes it much harder for criminals to get early release. It makes a lot of sense to me- anything that increases victim rights and decreases criminal rights cannot be a bad thing. in addition, it's opponents have no strong arguments against it other than they apparently believe that criminals should be released as quickly as possible. this is about as close to a no-brainer as is on the ballot. Vote Yes on Proposition 9.

  10. Proposition 10: Alternative Fuels This is mainly proposed and funded by Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens and would authorize 5 billion dollars to fund alternative energy sources, including wind power- something that both Pickens and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have heavily invested in. I think the best argument is that when California is already so badly in debt, this is NOT the time to be authorizing more spending without any source for that money. Let's tackle more urgent issues first, then talk about Califronia subsidizing alternative energy companies. Vote No on Proposition 10.

  11. Proposition 11: Election reform. This is a difficult measure to determine. It proposes to take redistricting out of the hands of the Legislature and put it into a supposedly bipartisan commission. This does have the potential of becoming an unaccountable bureaucracy, and there is a legitimate danger inherent in it. However, since it is opposed by both the California Democratic Party (which controls the Legislature and most State offices) and both Senator Barbara Boxer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (two of the silliest and most partisan members of the US Congress), I decided that it cannot be worse than the gerrymandering the Democrat-controlled Legislature has inflicted upon us. Vote Yes on Proposition 11.

  12. Proposition 12: Veterans' assistance. This allocates bonds to be sold to create a fund to assist veterans. However, the bond also is unique in this election in that the funds it disburses are not gifts- they are loans that will be paid back by the veterans themselves. This makes it the only bond measure i can endorse. Vote Yes on Proposition 12.

Don't forget to vote on Election Day!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Gwen Ifill: 'I'm Objective!'

PBS news anchor Gwen Ifill- who will be moderating tonight's Vice-Presidential candidate debate between Democrat and Republican Sarah Palin, has a book scheduled to be released on Inauguration Day. The title? The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Yet despite this, Ifill claims that she will be an objective arbiter of the debate. According to the Associated Press story, Ifill also did not inform the supposedly bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates- the body that chooses debate moderators- of the upcoming book.

Newsbusters has been all over this story, though of course Ifill seems oblivious to any problem. In fact, Ifill has been dismissing criticism by accusing her critics of racism. According to the AP story, Ifill,
... questions why people assume that her book will be favorable toward Obama.

"Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon (who is white) when he wrote his book about Reagan?" said Ifill, who is black. Asked if there were racial motives at play, she said, "I don't know what it is. I find it curious."

Well, considering that the title of Ifill's book is "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama", it is pretty plain that Ifill is not exactly a critic of the Obama camnpaign. In addition, the very title clues in the potential reader that Ifill is expecting (and presumable hoping for, since that would increase her sales) an Obama victory in November. I cannot imagine any conservative host who would be allowed by the Democrats to host their debates if said host had a book extolling the virtues of McCain scheduled for publication on Inauguration Day. in addition, the fact that Ifill did not inform the Commission on Presidential Debates that she was planning this book is a big red flag. Journalists, who are responsible for accurately informing the public of the events of the day, have an ethical mandate to reveal conflicts of interest. They are certainly vociferous in exposing any such conflicts in business.

In addition, Ifill's excuse- that the book is posted on the publisher's web site, so people knew about it- does not hold water. I don't think most people check publishers' websites on a regular basis and in any event, it is Ifill's responsibility to come clean about her potential conflict of interest BEFORE accepting the invitation to moderate the debate. And her claim that 'people did not question Lou Cannon's book on REagan' also is a red herring. Cannon was no asked to moderate any Presidential debates, nor did he try to hide his work. As the Power Line crew accurately analyze,
The conflict of interest doesn't arise from her view of Obama; if she favors Obama, she is like countless other journalists including (I suspect) at least some of the whites who will moderate other debates. The conflict arises from Ifill's stake, given the book, in an Obama victory.

Ifill has exposed herself as one more of the army of media types who are desperately hoping for an Obama win in November- and doing everything they can to make that eventuality a reality. She should immediately remove herself from the debate as moderator, if she has any professional ethics. But that would require a conscience- something that few media types seem to have.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tsar Rehabilitated- A Little Late

According to Yahoo! News, a Russian court has ruled that the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II and his family were "victims of political repression" and should be rehabilitated. It seems a little late, in my opinion. I suspect that anyone who learned the tragic story of the last Russian Tsar already knew that they were victims of political repression- it is difficult to make any other judgment when a repressive, totalitarian government lines up a hemophiliac child, his teenage sisters and their parents and cold-bloodedly shoots and stabs them to death. And then rapes and burns their mutilated bodies. For a primer on the events of 1918, see the incredible book Nicholas and Alexandria and its follow-up The Romanovs: The Final Chapter by renowned historian Robert K. Massie.

I think that this court could have spent its presumedly valuable time on matters of real consequence? But then it seems that the judiciary in many countries, not just in the United States, has time to spend on this type of case. However, I supposed that this is a case of better late than never. Not that there has ever been any serious question of whether or not the Tsar and his family were victims of 'political repression'.

A more important question, at least in my opinion, is to ask where the voices that are so loud when a single Islamic terrorist is killed by United States soldiers were on this one? The answer, sadly, is that the media, as usual, was too busy getting in bed with the Stalinist government (think Walter Duranty) and the elites were too busy trying on Communism and betraying their own country (the Rosenbergs). And of course throughout the Cold War, the situation was similar- the so-called elites were too busy trying to make the United States into a copy of the Soviet Union, and the media were too busy demonizing the few courageous voices who were trying to protect their country and their principles.