Alex's Outlook

Friday, August 29, 2003

Cruz Bustamante thinks he can bring revenue back to California by ratcheting up taxes. Today, he dreamed up another idiotic idea: he wants to cap gasoline prices at about $2 a gallon.

Gasoline prices are $1.69 on average across the US, and about $2.10 in California right now. California's price woes were largely caused by a blown Arizona pipeline that cut off a lot of gas to California. To Cruz Bustamante, that is "unfair."

The move may be politically shrewd anyway. Bustamante's best chance lies in McClintock staying in along with Schwarzenegger. If the center and right are split, all Bustamante may need is his liberal base, which is especially large in California. Hardline socialists/liberals love price controls for the sheer fact that they are murder for oil companies (since they've been proven not to work economically).

Fortunately, Bustamante would have to amend the state constitution to regulate oil prices, and that means he needs two-thirds of the votes in each house of California's legislature. The Republicans will probably oppose the move unanimously, and I wouldn't be surprised if some Democrats joined them. It probably won't happen even if Bustamante wins; all it shows is how beholden to the far left Bustamante really is. That might be an asset in a California election, however.

The Wall Street Journal online has the goods on the population exodus from liberal states. Thanks to enormous taxes imposed by their legislatures, California and New York have seen a net exodus of over 750,000 people each in the last eight years. Florida, Arizona and Nevada, two bastions of conservatism, have seen the largest gains. Other high cost-of-living states like New Jersey have seen similar emigrations, just as other red states like North Carolina have enjoyed similar gains; for example, $7,000 in Durham, NC brings you the same value that $45,000 does in New York.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Gallup has its latest poll on Bush and Iraq. Bush's job approval rating is holding steady at 59%. Although Americans are split almost exactly half-and-half on whether things are going well or poorly in Iraq, Americans still think Iraq was worth going to war over by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. The non-success of the Iraq occupation has also not borne much relevance to Bush's approval rating. Apparently, Americans are not unduly perturbed about the slow trickle of body bags from Iraq, at least for now.

Today, Lt Gov Cruz Bustamante refused to renounce his ties to MEChA, the Hispanic supremacist group that wants to take over Arizona, NM, Texas, California, Nevada and the other states that were originally part of Mexico, and return those states to Mexico. Instead, he said he still supports the group.

I hope Schwarzenegger hammers him for this. MEChA is an overtly racist organization that has used violence in the past to publicize its agenda. It's the equivalent of a Republican running as a member of the KKK.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The racial double standard lives on. Cruz Bustamante is a member of MeChA, a radical Hispanic organization that proclaims, "For the race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing." But you are more likely to know that Arnold Schwarzenegger's dad was a Nazi than the fact that Bustamante refuses to dissociate himself from a racist organization. If Fox News hadn't kept this story going, I daresay nobody outside of Michelle Malkin's readership would have known about it.

Ahnuld actually took stands on a number of issues today, which is something of a surprise.

The California gubernatorial candidate is "pro-choice", but against partial-birth abortion. He waffled on parental notification, which probably means he doesn't want to change the status quo of that issue. He favors legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, which is commonsensical and popular in California. He supports prayer in public schools and is against legalizing gay marriage and granting drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants. Those issues have little relevance to California's current problem, but will play decently well with California's skeptical conservative base.

We will see what Schwarzenegger really is (as far as "social" issues are concerned) by his stance on Prop. 87, a ballot initiative that passed overwhelmingly in 1994 that denies state services to illegal aliens. It was struck down by the courts, but it might still command substantial support in California. Schwarzenegger will probably have a poll and determine his stance based on whether or not a majority still supports it.

The Bush Administration has gutted an onerous Clean Air Act mandate that forces power plants to install insanely expensive pollution controls before upgrading.

It's always a pleasant surprise when Bush stands up for his constituents - heavy industry in this case - and takes flak for doing it. That means that he is willing to take at least a little flak for doing something right. However, pollution probably won't increase as a result of the ruling because power plant owners had such a huge dis-incentive to upgrade in the first place. (Replacing heavy machinery had to be accompanied by installing expensive new pollution-control equipment, so many power plant owners just decided to keep their old, creaky, polluting machinery instead.)

A new Fox poll shows Schwarzenegger with a healthy 18-point lead over Bustamante heading into the recall (45% to 27%). It also indicates that 64 percent of Californians favor recalling Davis.

The poll comes in sharp contrast to a Los Angeles Times poll released recently that shows Bustamante leading Schwarzenegger 35% to 22%. However, the LA Times is a liberal media outlet, so any polls it shows should be viewed with suspicion. Of course, one could also argue that Fox is a right-wing rag, but Fox's poll is consistent with three others released in the past couple of weeks, while the LA Times' is not.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Nevada Rep. Jim Gibbons won't challenge Democrat Sen. Harry Reid in 2004. I think Gibbons would have beaten him, but Reid has a free pass in 2004 now.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Recall Update

A LA Times poll shows Bustamante trailing a collection of Republicans.

As predicted, the recall is rapidly turning into a Schwarzenegger-Bustamante fight. The poll breakdown is as follows:

Bustamante - 35
Schw. - 22
McClintock - 12
Ueberroth - 7
Simon - 6

Bill Simon, however, just dropped out today. He ran as a conservative in the 2002 governorship race, and his supporters are probably hardline conservatives. That means that their support will go to state Sen. Tom McClintock. McClintock just became a major contender in this race, but the GOP hasn't got a prayer if it runs three candidates.

Schwarzenegger has bolstered his conservative credentials by making a no-new-taxes pledge. He has also promised to keep education spending shored up. His support will probably increase if he endorses Prop. 187, the conservative proposition that denied services to illegal immigrants but which was struck down by the courts.

The Republicans, despite being severely outnumbered, collectively lead Bustamante 47-35. If Larry Flynt, Peter Camejo (Green Party) and Huffington (a liberal independent) drop out, it becomes 47-40, which is still pretty wide considering what a liberal bastion California is.

Schwarzenegger is playing to win. He will probably stay in the race no matter what. McClintock may get 25% of the vote if Ueberroth wins, but he will still lose badly to Bustamante, and he doesn't have much of a chance of winning the general election. Even if McClintock wins, which I don't think is possible, he will be easy to malign as a right-wing freak and, as such, will not be able to ram any solutions through the Democrat legislature. Schwarzenegger is seen as a moderate outsider, and if the Democrats fight him they will pay a price.

What needs to happen, then, is for McClintock to pull Schwarzenegger as far to the right as possible, and then drop out about a week before the election and endorse Schwarzenegger, unless Arnold screws up badly in the campaign and loses enough of his support to McClintock.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

The UK Sun, admittedly not the most credible of sources, says that the US has nabbed Chemical Ali. It's a big success for the coalition, but I think the WMD are long gone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

The California recall is depressing. The only Republican with a decent chance of winning (Schwarzenegger) is almost as bad as Davis. Lt Gov Cruz Bustamante, the only viable Democrat right now, wants to hike taxes even more than he wants to cut spending.

I am starting to root for Bustamante. In order to become America's most attractive state for business again, California needs a free-market candidate. McClintock is a very dark horse free-marketeer, and he's the most viable one. The next best thing, then, is a Democrat even more liberal than Davis in order to send California's economy to hell and make an example of liberal economics to the rest of the United States. While they're at it, the liberals who own California might also drive out enough people to give some of their electoral votes to conservative Nevada, Idaho, Arizona and Colorado. Bustamante fits that bill perfectly.

Anyway, if Bustamante wins his state's economy is going to get a lot worse than it already is. California borrowed billions just to survive this year, and more painful cuts will be necessary just to get to 2005. California already has the highest taxes and the worst business climate in the country. Either the Democrats will end up cutting taxes and spending or they will get routed in 2006, as well as show the other 49 states what a failure liberal economics is.

Then again, who says the Republicans will be able to take advantage of the Democrats' failures in 2006 if they can't win the recall?

Monday, August 18, 2003

Arnold Steinberg writes about Arnold Schwarzenegger's political missteps since initiating his campaign, resulting in his trailing Democrat Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in a new poll.

Schwarzenegger still has an excellent chance of winning, but he is fast losing steam. In addition to making a bunch of liberal buddies of Maria Shriver his "advisors," including tax-and-spend fiend Warren Buffett, he is using the political team of the pro-choice, pro-gun control, tax-hiking Democr...I mean Republican former governor of California, Pete Wilson. With advisors like these, Schwarzenegger will probably tax his way out of California's budget deficit, which would actually make the problem even worse by making California even less hospitable for businesses. California conservatives are annoyed at Arnold's social liberalism, but they are willing to overlook it to throw Davis out, if only Arnold can bring prosperity back. Unfortunately, Arnold's appointments of advisors, coupled with a suggestion by Warren Buffett that the sacred cow Prop 13 (which limits property taxes) should be banned, has convinced conservatives that Arnold isn't even a moderate; he's a liberal in GOP coat and tie.

If Schwarzenegger makes a no-new-taxes pledge, and sticks to it, he will win over California's conservatives. But George Gorton and the Pete Wilson crowd pathologically hate the California right wing.

Arnold's campaign seems to take another turn for the worse every day.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

US v. European Crime

To follow up on the discussion under Good news on guns, which drifted (and I do mean drifted) into comparisons of US and European crime and the unfortunate concentration of violent criminal activity in the US in the black community, I ran across a summary of statistics at the Useful Fools blog. You really should read the whole thing, but the relevant points are:

Here are Interpol 2001 crime statistics (rate per 100,000):
4161 - US
7736 - Germany
6941 - France
9927 - England and Wales

Thus the US has a substantially lower crime rate than the major European countries!

. . .

[The US] murder rate is high largely due to the multicultural nature of our society. Inner city blacks, members of a distinct subculture, have a vastly higher criminal and victim homicide rate than our society as an average:

Homicide Offender Rate/100,000 by Race in US (2000):

3.4 - White
25.8 - Black
3.2 - Other

It is often hypothesized that blacks are overrepresented in murder statistics due to racism on the part of police and the justice system. If this were true, one would expect that the race of victims would have significantly different distribution than the race of the perpetrators, but this is not the case:

Homicide Victim Rate/100,000 by Race in US (2000):

3.3 - White
20.5 - Black
2.7 - Other

Thus if you remove homicides committed by blacks (total: 21862, Blacks:9316), and assume a proportionality between number of offenders and number of offenses, you can extrapolate US homicide offender rate of only 2.6/100,000, lower than Germany (3.27) and France (3.91).


I asked John Moore, the author of the Useful Fools post, to give us links to the studies or data that he used, but he replied that he had gathered the numbers from a Interpol and FBI stats without keeping the links. Tsk, tsk, John! I had hoped to track down the data myself, but have been unable to do so, and am unlikely to get a chance anytime soon. The data is consistent with a number of other items that I have read over the years, so I think its legit, but caveat blogster.

The data can be read to support any number of things, as I am sure the comment mob will demonstrate soon. I tend to look at it as consistent with my preconceptions (yet another reason why I think that the data is probably good - it makes me look smart!). First and foremost, though, I think it refutes the notion that "cowboy" America is a violent and dangerous place. It is also consistent with the view that, in America at least, more gun control equals more crime, as the high crime areas (large urban centers) labor for the most part under the very restrictive gun controls (and have for decades).

In short, it is safer to be free and self-reliant (that is, armed) than to trust the state to provide safety and security from crime.

(Courtesy of samizdata.net)

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Arnold Schwarzenegger may be a successful businessman with a great life story. True, he has dabbled in libertarian economics and hobnobbed with legendary conservative economist Milton Friedman. But does that make him anything close to an authentic conservative, or even libertarian? No. If his hiring of Warren Buffett is any indication, Schwarzenegger plans on raising taxes to help his way out of this mess. He is pro-choice and pro-gun control. A liberal in GOP coat and tie is not going to salvage California. California's problems stem from heavy taxes and a grossly incompetent, kleptocratic clique in Sacramento.

California needs a governor who will *at the very least* not raise taxes or fees any higher than they already are. Ideally, the car fee/tax tripling should be eliminated, income taxes cut, the work-comp system abolished, and spending slashed. I don't think Schwarzenegger will do that unless California's conservatives force him to. For that to happen, Bill Simon needs to quit the race and give Tom McClintock a monopoly on California's conservative wing. McClintock owns the fiscal issue, and he will force Schwarzenegger to do something about it if he can rally enough votes behind him in the polls. But the only way that that's going to happen is if Simon drops out. Simon had his chance last year, and he blew it. He is gaffe-prone and unelectable. For fiscal conservatism to have a chance in California, Simon needs to give McClintock a chance at winning, or at least pushing Ah-nuld to the right.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Texas Democrats once again ran away to another state in the face of congressional redistricting. Eleven Democrat state senators went to New Mexico to deny the Republican-controlled Texas Senate its necessary quorum. The Republicans tried legal measures to bring them back, but the Texas Supreme Court ignored them. That has forced the Texas Republicans to take measures of their own, like voting to fine each Democrat $5000 per day absent from the Legislature. The Democrats have vowed not to pay it, but there isn't much they can do now.

Monday, August 11, 2003

A Gallup poll shows Schwarzenegger with an even larger lead than the TimeCnn poll below. Among "probable" voters, Arnold leads with 28% who are "extremely likely" to vote for him; Bustamante clocks in at second place with 8%. A commanding 48% of registered voters are "extremely likely" or "very likely" to vote for Schwarzenegger, compared to 23% for Bustamante. 64% of registered voters, and 69 percent of probable voters, plan on voting to remove Davis from office.

This is Schwarzenegger's race to lose.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

As of today, the California recall contenders' support is: (via Drudge)

Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) - 25%
Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) - 15%
State Sen. Tom McClintock (R) - 9%
Bill Simon (R) - 7%
Porn king Larry Flynt (D) - 4%
Arianna Huffington (D) - 4%
Peter Ueberroth (R) - 4%

Had Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) entered the race, she would be leading with 22% (Schwarzenegger would have had 20%). Democrat Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has dropped out of the race under intense Democratic pressure.

Conservatives like George Neumayr will no doubt be quick to point out that if conservative Republicans rally around one of the three conservative candidates (McClintock, Simon or Ueberroth), they will get 20% of the vote, which is higher than Bustamante's total. So, he will argue, why settle for a moderate like Arnie when we can get a bona-fide conservative like McClintock?

I suspect that Schwarzenegger is drawing a lot of center-left votes. Besides, if an avowed conservative manages to win, the Democrats (who own the Legislature) can justifiably dig in and fight the inevitable budget cuts ithout much risk to their popularity. Arnold is an outsider, which gives him a lot more legislative leverage, which is exactly what the California GOP needs right now.

I wouldn't be surprised if all this is for naught, though. Gray Davis knows that he is roadkill at this point. He could just resign and get some plum Democratic patronage job, handing over control to Bustamante and voiding the entire recall. (Or is the recall impossible to stop now that the deadline has passed?)

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Darrell Issa has dropped out of the recall race, leaving Schwarzenegger and Bill Simon as the only Republican candidates. Meanwhile Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante has entered the fray on the Democratic side, along with some unknown insurance commissioner. This is rapidly shaping up to be a Schwarzenegger v. Bustamante race (Davis doesn't have a prayer of getting 50% of the vote with a 20% approval rating). Dianne Feinstein is still staying out, although I wouldn't be surprised if that changed soon.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the California recall election. Which is a good thing, because there's less chance that the Republicans will split. There are now about 250 candidates for the California recall, including liberal porn czar Larry Flynt, liberal journalist Arianna Huffington and Green Party candidate Peter Camejo. So far, I think the only well-known Republicans are Darrell Issa, the guy who got the recall moving, and Schwarzenegger. Dick Riordan would have entered, but he will get behind Arnold now...I think Tom McClintock, a conservative from the California Legislature, is also in. Not sure about Bill Simon, though. (Simon was the conservative candidate for governor in 2002.)

McClintock is definitely more conservative than Arnold, but I doubt he could get as much done. Arnold's star power will give him a little political capital - maybe - to use when dealing with the liberal Legislature.

As for Gray Davis, he has done an amazing job rallying the core Democratic interests behind him. He got the endorsement of the AFL-CIO today, and Dianne Feinstein has decided that she won't run in the recall. Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante still might though.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson just so happens to be one of America's biggest cheerleaders in the Middle East. He is also a champion of democracy in both Iran and Iraq, and advocates a second revolution to overthrow the clerics that his father installed to rule Iran.

He now lives in the house his grandfather lived in while he orchestrated the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

You might have read in the news recently about Vladimir Putin's attack on Mikhail Khodorovsky, Russia's richest man who made the mistake of funding a liberal opposition party to Putin's United Russia party. Khodorovsky runs Yukos Oil, one of the largest oil companies in the world. Anyway, Putin arrested him and has put all of Khodorovsky's assets under siege. Since then the Russian stock market, normally one of the best-performing in the world, has lost fifteen percent.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Hollings' Retirement; Senate Tally

Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC) will not run for the US Senate next year.

The ancient Dixiecrat is 81 years old. He was the Democrats' best chance of holding South Carolina's seat for one more term. SC has become an extremely conservative state, and Hollings' departure means that the Crats will probably lose the seat in 2004.

The Democrats now have to defend two open seats in Georgia and South Carolina, both of which they will probably lose. Assuming that Bob Graham becomes the VP candidate, they will have to defend another conservative seat in Florida.

John Edwards' presidential campaign is going nowhere. He will probably end up defending his Senate seat in 2004, but it's in big trouble. Tom Daschle is also in big trouble. Both Daschle and Edwards are national liberals who come from conservative states. It's a safe bet that at least one of them will lose in 2004.

Patty Murray is a hyper-liberal from a center-left state (Washington). She will be challenged by George Nethercutt, a strong conservative who threw out the Democrat Speaker of the House in 1994.

Harry Reid (Nevada) won his last election by 500 votes. He will probably be challenged by Jim Gibbons, a Nevada conservative famous for cutting taxes. Murray and especially Reid are pretty vulnerable, and methinks at least one will lose in 2004.

Other potentially vulnerable Democrats are Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Barbara Boxer of California. If John Breaux retires from his Louisiana seat, that will be another desperate fight for them.

The Republicans' only probable loss is Illinois. Lisa Murkowski isn't very popular in Alaska right now, but Alaska is too conservative for most Democrats (even Tony Knowles I bet), given the nationalization of congressional elections in the last decade. Thus the Republicans are set up for a gain of at least four Senate seats, and even six new seats isn't inconceivable. If Bush has large coattails in 2004, even Illinois could fall into the GOP column.

The real question methinks is whether the Republicans are going to administer the bitter pills the country needs - slashing Social Security benefits by either pushing up the retirement age or cutting benefits directly; slashing corporate welfare to save $80 billion a year; imposing tougher regulations on unions; continuing to cut America's grotesque tax burden (which admittedly they already have done); and really reforming Medicare. The 1946-48 and 1980-82 conservative congresses did it, and there's no reason why a 2004-06 Congress can't either. Once the GOP pads its majority, the liberal wing of the party (Specter, Snowe, Chafee, McCain) won't have the leverage to gut Republican policies anymore.

The Heaviest Element Yet Found

A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the
heaviest chemical element yet known to science. The new element has been
tentatively named Governmentium.

Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons,
and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are
surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
Since governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be
detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A
minute amount of governmentium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to
complete when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 3 years; it does not decay, but
instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant
neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, governmentium's
mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will
cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate
that governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in
concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical
Morass.