Peace through victory - the American way.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Straight From The Lips Of Padres' Management.

The Padres held their annual party for season ticket holders and shareholders at Petco Park this evening. The team's management shows up, talks about the team's moves, and fields questions from fans. Here's the breaking news.

Asked by a fan who the team plans to offer arbitration, General Manager Kevin Towers said the team was "leaning towards" offering arbitration to:

Chan Ho Park
Ryan Klesko
Alan Embree
Dave Roberts
Todd Walker.

The team is still deciding on whether to offer arbitration to Mike Piazza.

Towers also announced that Geoff Blum will be a Padre again in 2007. Judging from the applause of the fans, that is a popular move.

Towers also took the opportunity to dispel the bizarre rumors that Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez would be traded. He blamed that rumor on a local radio sports broadcaster known as Philly Billy. Towers said Philly Billy "has the best ideas that don't make sense." That drew a big laugh from the crowd.

Towers also suggested that a big part of the stories about the team going after Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez was intended to drive up the price that San Francisco or Los Angeles would have to pay for them.

Asked about Barry Zito, Towers pointed out that the left-hander is represented by Scott Boras. He also said that the left-handed pitcher is "atractive" but he couldn't make any promises about bringing Zito to San Diego. He acknowledged that the team should have gotten the San Diego native when he was still an amateur. He concluded by saying, "when all is said and done, we'll add pieces to our rotation." Doesn't sound like Zito will be one of those pieces.

Towers said his goal is to add more arms to the front-line starting rotation of Jake Peavy, Clay Hensley, and Chris Young. He wants more depth to join Scott Linebrink, Cla Meredith, and Trevor Hoffman. And he needs to get a second baseman to join Adrian Gonzalez, Khalil Greene, and new third baseman, Kevin Kouzmanoff, in the infield. Asked who was available for that, he said the team is looking at Ray Durham, local favorite Mark Loretta, Tony Grafanino, and Todd Walker.

As for the outfield and leadoff, he said fan favorite Dave Roberts "is not gone yet" but other than considering arbitration he didn't make it sound as if the team is pursuing Roberts. Perhaps because of something Padres CEO Sandy Alerson said about the team's need for improved hitting.

Alderson said the team "needs a couple of right-handed power hitters who can hit the ball out to left field" in Petco Park. Petco has a reputation of being a pitcher's park where homeruns are scarce. Right field and center are pretty far away. But left field is just sitting there, very close and well within reach of right-handed power hitters. Dave Roberts doesn't have that kind of power. Much as Padres fans wouldn't like it, the team would probably be better off finding a left-fielder who can hit the ball out to left field than bringing back Roberts.

The big question of the night for Padres fans involved the Josh Barfield trade. It was very clear from fan reactions that the Barfield trade wasn't popular. Finally asked a respectful question about that, Towers explained the reasoning this way.

Towers said that at every level in the minor leagues Kouzmanoff's offensive numbers were better than Barfield's. He predicted that given the same opportunity to play in the majors in 2007 that Barfield got in 2006, Kouzmanoff "will deliver." More important to the team, Kouzmanoff has the right-handed power the Padres need and he has hit homeruns at every level he's played. The team projects him to be the kind of 3, 4, or 5 hitter they need. Towers said the Padres have a future second baseman in the person of Luis Cruz and that for 2007 they will fill the void at second base with a free agent signing. His reasoning made sense and will be considered brilliant if the gamble pays off.

Which brings us back to something that Alderson said early in the evening when he confronted the issue of trades and change and fan loyalty head on. He said the team's bottom line goal is to put a better product on the field and improve over last year's performance. He said management wants to field a team the fans will love and he described how fans loved Mark Loretta and were upset to see him go, but then the fans came to love his replacement, Josh Barfield.

Alderson didn't come right out and say it this way, but in other words, sports fans, Loretta left and you got used to it. Barfield is gone and you'll get used to that too. That's true. But only if the team wins. Because winning is the only thing that matters in sports.


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No Wal-Mart For You: Not Your Father's San Diego, Anymore: Part III

We are reminded once again that San Diego is no longer the Republican, pro-business, pro-developer city it once was. (Here, here, and here.) It's more Democratic than ever and the dominant special interest throwing its weight around in local politics is now Big Labor.

San Diego's City Council has a Democratic majority and the vote to ban Wal-Mart superstores, the shopping center of choice for America's working poor, was along partisan lines:
"Those supporting the ban are Democrats; those opposed are Republicans. ... A group of labor leaders and grocers proposed the ban three years ago, while pro-business organizations, including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, fought it." (Here.)
Although supporters claimed aesthetics and the protection of local businesses motivated the ban, this was a vote about class. Costco and membership stores are exempt from the ban even though they compete with grocery stores and are large unsightly warehouse buildings surrounded by large parking lots, just as ugly as Wal-Mart. But the middle class and people just like the City Council members shop at Costco.

America went through this crisis in capitalism before when grocery stores displaced local specialty markets and department stores displaced smaller specialized businesses. Eventually grocery stores and department stores won out and came to dominate their markets. Superstores are likely to do the same. People can only be expected to spend more money than they have to for so long until the lure of low prices wins out.

But low prices for groceries will have to wait in San Diego. Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders opposes the ban and has threatened a veto but his threat means nothing. You see, San Diego has a Paper-Tiger Mayor form of government in which a veto can be defeated by a mere majority in the City Council. It took 5 votes to enact the ban and it will only take 5 votes to defeat the mayor's veto. Where's Pete Wilson when we need him?


Republished once to fix San Diego Union-Tribune link.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

None Dare Call It Christmas.

San Diego's annual Christmas celebration occurs this weekend in Balboa Park. The San Diego Union-Tribune headlines its article about the upcoming party as "Balboa Park launches 29th December Nights." (Here.)

The headline is false. This is Balboa Park's fifth year celebrating something called December Nights. For 24 years until 2002, the celebration was called Christmas on the Prado. Why the change to December Nights? "A park spokeswoman says the name is meant to reflect San Diego's diversity and the fact that events are now held all over the park, not only on the Prado." (Here.)

In reality the change was made because Balboa Park is a city-owned park and governments don't celebrate Christmas anymore. Now we celebrate December and diversity. Of course, the only reason we celebrate one of the coldest and darkest months of the year is because of Christmas. But none dare call it Christmas because diversity is a one-way street that requires the majority to suppress itself so as not to give offense. So, Happy December to you and yours.


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Thanks For Nothing, Pat Buchanan Republicans

This Zogby poll shows the consequences of the Republican Party's transformation from being the party of Ronald Reagan to the party of Pat Buchanan. (Here.) The GOP's embrace of Buchanan-style nativism has alienated Hispanic voters, who until 2006 were moving towards the Republican Party. President George Bush won 40% of the Hispanic vote in 2004. The 2006 anti-immigration version of the Republican Party saw its share of Hispanic votes fall to 30%. (Here.)

Way to go, guys. It's not as if Hispanic voters are declining in numbers. Says Zogby, "Hispanics were 5% of 95 million voters in 1996, 6% of 105 million voters in 2000, and 8.5% of 122 million voters in 2004." (Here.)

Republicans are reeling and asking themselves what they did wrong to lose in 2006. Here's a thought. Maybe alienating a fast-growing segment of the electorate is a losing strategy not a winning one.


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Monday, November 27, 2006

Christmas Film Favorites

Now that the Christmas season has officially begun with Black Friday's celebration of shopping, it's time to list Mister Americano's favorite Christmas movies.

A Christmas Story, naturally. Mister Americano is proud to say he first saw this movie when it had just come out and he has subjected his family to watching it every year since, even when it was still only available on VHS. We've upgraded to DVD but we still watch it more than once every Christmas season. Whether we want to or not!

Bad Santa, with Billy Bob Thornton as a drunk, fornicating department store Santa, is uproariously funny. The movie pushes good taste to its breaking point but still displays some Christmas spirit. It does have a kid in it. A pathetic loser of a kid, but still a kid. If Bad Santa ever replaces A Christmas Story or It's A Wonderful Life as the most overplayed Christmas movie on cable television, you'll know that America has moved past the point of no return on its slide into cultural degradation.


Honorable Mention: It's A Wonderful Life, of course. What would the Christmas season be without George Bailey? And all the South Park Christmas episodes. Hi de ho!

Wish List: A very Jack Bauer Christmas. 24 hours in the life of Fox's super-violent, counter-terrorism agent: 8 AM December 24th to 8 AM December 25th. Watch Jack punch and shoot his way through one shopping mall after another in a desperate last minute shopping spree that culminates in a cliffhanging opening of the gifts on Christmas morning. The final episode will be followed by a rare look at Jack's life 24 hours later as he coerces store clerks to accept returns without proper receipts. Or else.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Daft About The Draft.

The San Diego Union Tribune does an unscientific reader poll every week. This week's poll asks readers to state whether they support reactivating the draft or keeping the military all volunteer. (Here.)

The poll is unscientific because it makes no attempt to collect answers from a representative sample of the population. Also its questions tend to be argumentative. This week's poll is no exception as the "yes" question demonstrates.
"Yes, a draft is only fair. We want our armed forces to be drawn from the entire nation, not just our poor and minority communities. And with a draft, the nation would be more cautious about using military force abroad."
The reality is that the demographics of the volunteer US military is representative of America. This is the demography as of November 2005:
"The data shows the force is more educated than the population at large. Servicemembers have high school diplomas or the general equivalency diploma. More servicemembers have some college than the typical 18- to 24-year-olds. ...

The statistics show the number of African-American servicemembers is dropping. ...

On the socioeconomic side, the military is strongly middle class ... More recruits are drawn from the middle class and fewer are coming from poorer and wealthier families. Recruits from poorer families are actually underrepresented in the military ...

Other trends are that the number of recruits from wealthier families is increasing, and the number of recruits from suburban areas has increased. This also tracks that young men and women from the middle class are serving in the military.

In fact, urban areas provide far fewer recruits as a percentage of the total population than small towns and rural areas." (Here.)
What's a lefty war opponent to do now?


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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Best 9/11 Movie: The Hamburg Cell

The great flaw of the movie United 93 was that it merely chronicled the events of September 11th. By the end of the movie the audience understood nothing about the passengers who won America's only victory on that day. The artistic decisions to avoid even identifying the passengers and to tell a story of heroism without heroes resulted in a movie with a large hole at its center.

The Hamburg Cell, on the other hand, tells the story of the 9/11 hijackers in depth. The movie follows the lives of the primary hijackers, first in Germany and then in America, as they give their lives over to jihad. The plot focuses on the hijacker who will pilot United Flight 93. He changes from a clean-shaven, modern, lax Muslim with a live-in girlfriend into a bearded, true believer, who seeks to dominate his wife, and who ultimately lies to her about everything he is doing.

The dominant feeling elicited by United 93 was tension, which transformed into rage during the movie's last moments depicting the passengers' counter-attack. The Hamburg Cell creates horror by having us watch the transformation of ordinary Muslim men into cold killers. The movie is a psychological horror story of men giving themselves over to evil in a very matter of fact fashion. Throughout the movie the men remain very ordinary in appearance and outward behavior, illustrating Hannah Arendt's 20th Century insight about the banality of evil.

The Hamburg Cell is available on Netflix. It is directed by the gifted Antonia Bird, whose previous horror movie is Ravenous, which told a story of cannibalism in America's Old West.


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Sunday, November 19, 2006

What Part Of Illegal Don't These 9/11 Survivors Understand?

The short-hand reference for the casualties of the 9/11 attacks is usually the "3,000 Americans" who died in the World Trade Center. What's always overlooked is that some of the casualties were foreigners. Some were illegal aliens.

Legalization for the illegal alien survivors has not come yet because the bill to address their plight is pending in Congress.
"The bill, called the September 11th Family Humanitarian Relief and Patriotism Act, is attached as an amendment to the immigration reform package that is tied up in the lame-duck Congress.

Bill Fugazy Jr., vice chairman of the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, said the bill should be pulled out of the immigration package and given a vote on its own merits." (Here.)
You might think even the opponents of illegal immigration would be willing to make an exception for this small group of families. You'd be wrong. Check out this choice quote in the same article from Jack Martin, spokesperson for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
"'Those people have come into the country in violation of the laws,' Martin said. 'We don't think that the fact that they have suffered a loss of this type should be grounds for awarding them the permanent residence they would have tried to maintain illegally in this country, without that event having happened.'"
Does that seem FAIR to you?

The anti-illegal crowd is the cruelest, least compassionate political movement to rise up in America in a long time. That this tribal crowd is making inroads into the Republican Party and conservatism dismays this long-time Republican.

Conservatives and Republicans are searching their souls trying to figure out where they went wrong and why they lost. One thing that keeps being said is the need to return to their principles. Maybe so. But if they decide their principles include the kind of mindless, knee-jerk response to tragedy demonstrated by FAIR, then count this Republican out.

If you're a Republican or a conservative, ask yourself this question about the plight of these 9/11 survivors. Would you rather do what Ronald Reagan would do or what Pat Buchanan would do? You know in your hearts that Ronnie would let them stay. But Pat? He'd throw them out with his own two hands.


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Climate Prediction Models Can Be Wrong?!!?

Well, the hurricane season came in with a whimper and is leaving the same way. Despite dire predictions of terrible hurricanes the season was a bust.
"That means the hurricane experts, who pride themselves on their sophisticated computer models and state-of-the-art forecasting tools, were less accurate than even the average TV weather forecaster on the 10 p.m. news.

"The biggest mistake forecasters made this year was failing to predict the onset of an El Niño weather pattern during the summer. El Niño, a periodic warm-water trend in the Pacific, almost always suppresses hurricane activity in the Atlantic by creating more crosswinds in the upper atmosphere that tear apart tropical storms before they can become hurricanes.

"Experts said other factors impeded the formation of hurricanes as well, including large dust storms off West Africa and a strong sinking of warm air over the Caribbean. And currents over the Atlantic pushed storms northward and back out to sea." (Here.)
What a shock. Scientific modeling failed to take account of all possible variables and as a result reality failed to conform to predictions. Yet we are supposed to believe computer models can predict the climate 50 years from now? O wait, that's right. Global warming predictions are made by "supercomputers." A computer that's super can't be wrong. Can it?


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Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Vatican's Border Policy

Anti-immigrationists are up in arms because the Vatican dared to criticize plans to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. The Pope of the Church of Nativism himself, CNN's Lou Dobbs, is especially outraged.
"Well, I'm frustrated and I'm a little angry about something, and that's the Vatican holding forth on U.S. policy. I've about had a bellyful of bishops, cardinals and the Vatican telling the United States what it can or cannot or should or should not do, and I don't care what religion it is." (Here.)
Even worse. Apparently, The Vatican has a wall. (Here.) Ooo, hypocrisy. Papists who live in glass houses and all that.

But wait, what about those millions of tourists and immense crowds in St. Peter's Square that always show up on TV? How do they get into the Vatican? The Vatican has a wall! What does it do? Not much, apparently.

The online World Travel Guide describes the onerous procedures necessary to enter the country known as Vatican City.
"There are no formalities required to enter the Vatican City, but entry will always be via Rome, and Italian regulations must therefore be complied with." (Here.)
Maybe we should adopt the Vatican's policy. Build a wall that does nothing and let people enter the United States without formalities. Since entry to the US would generally be from Canada and Mexico, visitors would have to comply with the travel laws of those two countries. But as for entering the United States? No problemo!


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Thursday, November 16, 2006

When "Jaw-Jaw" Is No Better Than "War-War."

When Chris Matthews of MSNBC's Hardball talks about Iraq he likes to dredge up the 1954 statement from Winston Churchill about diplomacy being better than war. The quote goes something like "It is always better to jaw-jaw than to war-war" or "It is better to talk jaw to jaw than to have war." (Here.)

That the quote came from one of the greatest war-time leaders of the 20th Century, who spent his time before he became Prime Minister futilely warning the West about Hitler, appears to be lost on Matthews. If Churchill were alive today he might amend his quote to say, "It is better to talk jaw to jaw than to have war. Except when it's not."

Today America is being led to believe that we need to talk to Iran about achieving stability in Iraq. As if Iran can be a partner in peace. As if Iran even wants stability in Iraq.
"Iran's Revolutionary Guards are training hundreds of Al Qaeda fighters to carry out attacks against coalition forces throughout the Middle East. ...

"Al Qaeda fighters stay at guest houses on the outskirts of Tehran used by the Revolutionary Guards for conducting training in sophisticated terror techniques. Some of the training is carried out by the guards' elite Quds (Jerusalem) force, their main paramilitary unit. Apart from standard training in firearms and combat drill, the fighters all learn how to prepare car bombs.

"Many of those trained in Iran then travel to countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where they use their new skills to carry out attacks on coalition troops." (Here.)
Iran does not want stability in Iraq. Iran is using Iraq as a battlefield in its war against the United States. Rather than making a deal with Iran, America needs to recognize that defeating Iran is a necessary precondition to winning the war on Islamist Jihad.


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The Real Meaning Of President Bush In Vietnam.

Much is being made of the President's visit to Vietnam. Apparently, Ted Koppel joked recently about Bush joining the National Guard to avoid Vietnam but now going there. Ha, ha, that is so funny, Ted. What a laugh riot. And what irony. What a shallow point of view.

The real significance of Bush's trip to Vietnam is much darker and not funny at all. Three decades ago America abandoned Vietnam and stood by while it was overrun by the Communists from North Vietnam. Today, America is once again poised to abandon a fight and leave allies to their fate. The Dims and the media are finally getting their Vietnam in Iraq.


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A Rabid Society

What the hell kind of government permits the wanton killing of dogs to fight rabies? (Here.) O wait, that's right, China also forces women to have abortions.

Beijing's government sounds like a giant condominium association gone mad. Unreasonable pet restrictions. Unilateral rule-making by an out-of-touch government. All with the power of life and death.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Gas Prices And The Election.

The whining about gas prices has begun again. The latest complaint is that prices have gone up since the election. (Here.)


The website tracks gas prices over time. This graph (here) shows gas prices declined to a low in early November 2005 and then started rising again. Just like they're doing this year.


Republished once to add Technorati tags.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Relationship Of Trust Between Government And Citizens.

Mister Americano has added another item to his Second Amendment Disaster Preparedness Kit. (For prior additions, see here, here, and here.) It's an authentic M-1 Garand. The M-1 Garand was the rifle used by American soldiers in World War Two. It's a great rifle, if heavy. Mister Americano got his through the kind auspices of the U.S. Government.

The feds long ago established something called the Civilian Marksmanship Program "to provide civilians an opportunity to learn and practice marksmanship skills so they would be skilled marksmen if later called on to serve the U.S. military." (Here.) Law-abiding American citizens can participate in the CMP and buy surplus military firearms.

To get a gun from the CMP, you have to submit to a background check, and send proof of participation in a CMP-sponsored shooting match, an application form, proof of American citizenship, and $550 to the CMP. A few weeks later, your rifle arrives in a box delivered by Federal Express.

What a great country!

It says a lot about the relationship of trust between the federal government and its citizens that Americans can buy surplus military firearms from the government. That relationship puts the lie to the belief that governments should fear their people.

The recent movie, V for Vendetta played on the fears of leftwing hysterics who believe America and England are rushing into fascism. (America's fascists must not be very good at it, what with that pesky free election voting in the Democrats just the other day. But we digress.) Mister Americano has to admit that he liked the movie even if he doesn't agree with its premise.

The movie's promotional tagline was "People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people." (Here.) First of all, we don't belong to the government, so we aren't "their people." But more important than that, in a free society the people and their government trust each other. Although as President Reagan was always saying about the Russkies, "trust but verify."


Reposted once to fix grammatically mangled sentence.

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Whither Iraq?

Now that the Democrats have taken the House and the Senate what will they do about the war? One thing that's not too promising is the statement by the Democrat's leader, Nancy Pelosi, the next Speaker of the House, that Iraq is not a war to be won, but a situation to be solved.

It's bad enough that so many Dims seem to think the war against terrorism is not a real war. Now apparently, their leader believes even the war in Iraq is not a war. Whatever. It's ironic evidence of the denial Dims are in about the current state of the world. For all the talk about the President being in a state of denial at least he recognizes that America is fighting a war.

So what is next for Iraq? Washington is waiting for the Iraq Study Group report to give everybody political cover to do something. If the report leads to a bipartisan consensus on how to achieve success in Iraq, it will be useful. But if the report just gives Washington cover for America to wash its hands of Iraq and fully withdraw from the country, it will be a tragic mistake and a repeat of the mistake we made in Vietnam.

The mistake of Vietnam was not getting involved. The mistake of Vietnam was abandoning our Vietnamese allies. That abandonment led to more violence in Southeast Asia in the immediate aftermath of South Vietnam's fall and to 30 years of oppression in Vietnam.

More important, Vietnam started a pattern of American conduct which has emboldened the Islamist Jihadists fighting us. In their view, they don't have to defeat us militarily. All they have to do to win is bloody America enough so that America withdraws on its own. Witness Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, and now Iraq.

If America "redeploys" out of Iraq and leaves the Iraqis to their own devices, it will be trumpeted as a victory by the Islamist Jihadists, it will embolden them to fight us harder, and it will attract more followers to their cause. The risk to America is great at this time. The recent election of the anti-war Democrats reveals that America is losing its resolve and listening to its fears.

Despite this there is one hopeful sign in this article. Retreat disguised as redeployment may be giving way to a true redeployment strategy that will not abandon Iraq.
"In calling for a timeline for U.S. troop reductions, some Democrats have advocated a parallel increase in the number of U.S. military trainers to improve the quality of Iraqi security forces. Some have called for maintaining substantial numbers of U.S. ground forces in nearby Kuwait – or perhaps at major bases in parts of Iraq, such as the Kurdish-dominated north, that have lower levels of violence.

Under this scenario, the U.S. troops would generally be pulled out of harm's way in Iraq, but could act as a 'quick-reaction force' to reinforce Iraqi security personnel if overwhelmed by insurgent attacks." (Here.)

If we're going to redeploy it's better to keep troops in Iraq. If we redeploy all of them elsewhere, there's no way we'd ever send them back in again. We owe it to the Iraqis who relied on us, especially the Kurds, to stay. But especially we owe it to ourselves to stick this out. If we retreat from Iraq it will reinforce our enemy's perception that America is a paper tiger and embolden them to attack us elsewhere. You want more terrorism? Then abandon Iraq.


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No Longer A Democratic Minority But A Plurality.

We wrote the other day that the Senate Democrats will take control as a minority party because they held 49 seats plus 2 independents versus the Republicans' 49. Now Joe Lieberman says he's still a Democrat even though he ran as an independent. (Here.) Fine. The Dims have 50 seats in the Senate plus 1 independent. And of course there's that huge majority in the House. Congratulations.


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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Democratic Minority To Control Senate

It's looking like James Webb is going to win the Virginia Senate race without having to go through a recount. (Here.) According to this story if that happens the Democrats will have 51 seats to the Republican's 49. That's not exactly true. The Democrats will have 49 seats if Webb wins. They will control the Senate because two independents, Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman, have agreed to caucus with the Democrats for the leadership votes.


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Monday, November 06, 2006

Mister Americano Goes To The Polls

Mister Americano headed to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters on Saturday to vote early. Not often, unfortunately. (Don't tell Lou Dobbs but the overweight security guards protecting the polling place spoke Spanish. Yet another mortal threat to our fragile democracy and not a Minute Man in sight. Don't forget, that's pronounced "my newt" as in small and insignificant.)

Statewide offices in California show the consequences of term limits. Two offices, Governor and Secretary of State have Republican incumbents running. The rest are open seats. Most candidates for the other offices are professional politicians term limited out of one position and running for another. Term limits hasn't led to the rise of citizen politicians who serve and then return to private life. Instead we get a political version of musical chairs.

Perhaps the most pathetic candidate this year is Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante. He failed to beat Arnold in the recall election, he's term limited out of his current office, and so he's running for, drumroll please, Insurance Commissioner. And he stands a good chance of losing to one of the few neophytes in the election, businessman Steve Poizner. We can only hope.

You've to to look to the federal ballots for the other pathetic candidate. Dianne Feinstein's opponent, Richard "Dick" Mountjoy. He is such a nobody that he lists his occupation on the ballot as, get this, "Immigration Control Consultant." These border security types have got their heads in a very dark place. Five years after 9/11 they suddenly have decided Mexico is the enemy. Wrong! It ain't Catholic workers from Mexico that the US has to worry about. It's those other monotheists who thnk God has a harem of 72 virgins waiting for them in heaven if they blow themselves up and kill a few Jews and Christians in the bargain. Mountjoy is the one Republican Mister Americano refused to vote for.

As usual California voters had to decide on a long list of ballot propositions. Mister Americano surprised himself and voted in favor of increasing property taxes in order to fund education. All the bond propositions to upgrade California's infrastructure got a thumbs up too, except for the one to build so-called affordable housing. Housing is not the government's job. You want affordable housing? Let developers build lots more houses, condos, and apartments.

The hot button propositions this year involve, what else, abortion and the issue of the moment, sexual predators. Of course parents should be notified if their minor daughter is seeking an abortion so Proposition 85 got a "yes" vote. Mister Americano works in criminal law. Contrary to popular belief, sexual predators do not get off easy in California. Proposition 83, which among other things will force all paroled sex offenders to live in the countryside to avoid living within 2,000 feet of a school and require them to wear a GPS tag for life, is overkill. That got a big "no" vote from this Republican.

And speaking of overkill, the proposition to tax cigarettes an additional $2.60 per pack got a big "thumbs down." Cigarettes are taxed enough. We've already got enough of a crime problem with the real illegal drugs in California, we don't need to create a black market for tobacco.

Proposition 90, which will curb government's eminent domain power and also give property owners the right to compensation from so-called regulatory takings, got a thumbs up. Proposition 90 is California's answer to the United States Supreme Court's Kelo decision that upheld an overly expansive interpretation of eminent domain. The national movement to curb eminent domain is an example of how the states will handle the abortion issue if the US Supremes ever get around to throwing out Roe v. Wade.

Locally, San Diego's biggest time waster on the ballot is Proposition A, which is solely an advisory vote on whether San Diego should pursue Miramar as the site for a new commercial airport. Right now Miramar belongs to the Marines but the movers and shakers in San Diego's political and business communities want the base. Five years after 9/11 in the midst of a shooting war in Iraq and a terror war with no end in sight, the Marines need the air base just a bit more than San Diego does. So, Proposition A got a very big thumbs down. When the Marines no longer need the airbase, maybe then San Diego can put a commercial airport there.

Proposition B, requiring a vote of the people before city workers can get a big retirement increase again, and Proposition C, allowing for outsourcing city jobs, got hearty "yes" votes. Government workers should get 401K's like the rest of us and businesses should be allowed to compete for non-essential government jobs. It's the American way.

Now get out there and cancel my votes.


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Sunday, November 05, 2006

An Atheist World At War

One of the myths atheists like to believe is that the world would be a better and more peaceful place without religion. You'd think the 20th Century would have put a end to that one. That atheists still believe the myth is proof that they believe in fairy tales just as much as religious people do.

Leave it to the South Park guys to take a whack at the peace-loving atheism myth. Last weeks's episode saw Cartman frozen in suspended animation and awakened 500 years later into a world without religion where three atheist factions are at war with each other. (Here.)

The South Park writers are smarter than atheists. They know that the problem is within us no matter what our beliefs or nonbeliefs. Humans have a will to power that will always result in warfare somewhere. As Kyle said at the end of another great South Park episode, "war is the natural order of life." (Here.)


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Rats Jumping Ship?

This Vanity Fair piece (here) about neocon recriminations over Iraq is disgusting. The piece runs quotes in which all the big neocons who supported the liberation of Iraq and the Bush Administration's war strategy to attack terrorism by pushing democratic regime change turn on the President. The story will be told in full in January's edition but the magazine has published a preview. Just in time for the November midterm election. What an odd coincidence.

The preview presents quote after quote from prominent neocons all turning on the President or his Iraq policy. It's a shameless display of rats seeking to protect their personal reputations. In their defense several of the neocons quoted in the piece claim that Vanity Fair is distorting their positions. (Here.) Let's hope so.

America is passing through one of the most difficult periods in its history. The threat from Islamist Jihadism is real yet many discount the threat. The President and his neocon supporters saw that threat more plainly than many and pushed an aggressive strategy to fight it.

This war is a contest of wills. The side that loses the will to fight first will be the side that loses. The Democrats have lacked the will for a long time now. Many Americans in the middle are losing the will. The midterm elections will show that. Now if even the architects of America's war policy lack the will to stick it out for the long haul, we've lost already and we might as well bring all of our soldiers home now. And God help the brave Iraqis - Kurds and Arabs alike, Afghans, and Kuwaitis who counted on us for help. The most dangerous thing to be in this world is an ally of the United States.

As Michael Rubin says in his own defense:
" ... I am a Republican, but whether the Republicans or Democrats are in power, Washington’s word must mean something. Leadership is about responsibility, not just politics. We cannot go around the world betraying our allies — in this case Iraqis who believed in us or allied with us — just because of short-term political expediency. This is not just about Iraq: If we abandon Iraq, we will not only prove correct all of Osama Bin Laden’s rhetoric about the US being a paper tiger, but we will also demonstrate — as James Baker and George H. W. Bush did in 1991 — that listening to the White House and alliance with the United States is a fool’s decision. We can expect no allies anywhere, be they in Asia, Africa, or Latin America, if we continue to sacrifice principles to short-term realist calculations. It’s not enough to have an attention span of two years, when the rest of the world thinks in decades if not centuries."


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