One of the hardest fought battle grounds of the culture war lies in environmental regulations. And in this battle, the Left wins virtually every time they step on to the killing fields. These are battles fought often in the obscure corners of government - courtrooms, administrative proceedings, subcommittee meeting - and away from the general public. The only ones who really care are the environmental activists, and they care a lot. ANY effort by a Republican administration to establish environmental regulations is met with cries that they are destroying the environment, selling out to Big Business, and etc. As if Republicans sit around breathing in deeply and say, "Nope, not sooty enough."
There is such a thing as too much democracy (as opposed to a republic), and California is Exhibit A. Start with voters who want endless services coupled with low taxes, and combine that with a political class that simultaneously caters to both of these contradictory impulses. The end result is our current financial mess. But, even amid all of this, California's politicos - from Schwarzenegger on down - have shown more interest in passing a $10 billion high speed rail bond than in doing the practical work to preserve California's existing infrastructure. A case in point, California's water works, which are "crumbling under the pressure of a booming state population, aging infrastructure, on going environmental battles, and a two year drought."
Media stories about "struggling" americans are one of the few growth industries during a recession. With a crash as dramatic as the one we are living through, such stories have exploded in value. You might say there is a bubble in hard luck tales. But there is always something a little off about them, where the media's clear desire to tell a tale of Dickensian woe ultimately collides with the reality that the U.S. remains a wealthy country. Take this article in the W$J about the increasing use of pawn shops by the (former) upper middle class. The story begins with the sad story of a "fashionably dressed young man" who tries to pawn his Movado watch to make his $2,500 mortgage payment. He is strapped because he lost his tech job earlier this year and has been reduced to washing airplanes at the airport. He is turned away at the pawn shop because Movados, while expensive, are not desirable in the pawn shop world (does that help or hurt the Movado trademark). The young man says he is "not sure what (he's) going to do." He then turns and gets into his Cadillac Escalade. Here's an idea as to what to do, kid: SELL THE FREAKIN' ESCALADE!!!
Californians can be forgiven for wondering why their state - with an economy larger than many of those in the developed world - exists in a permanent state of financial crisis, and is now facing a full scale budget meltdown. Well, one problem is that many of California's resources have been locked away, or seen their economic worth diluted by, the state's very active environmental lobby.
Ron Dellums is one of those frustratingly permanent fixtures on the political scene whose very presence is a rebuke to the idea that The People! United! Will Never Be Defeated! When he won the race for Mayor of Oakland a couple years ago, the Bay Area progressive community salivated at the thought of a true radical leftist taking the helm of a major American city. Well, his first two years in office have been a disaster, and even media outfits that have been prone to support him have noticed.
If there is one thing we have learned from history it's this: it's probably too much to expect our congressmen to be excessively burdened by smarts, good sense, or good morals. Still, this article (in the Times style section!) is an embarrassment. The Sanchez sisters show themselves to be silly, over emotional, and shallow (Loretta has a myspace page!). But, they always vote the "correct" way so all is forgiven. The thought that people like this having been voting on TARP, the auto bailout, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, etc. is unnerving.
One of the most depressing aspects of the bailout mania gripping the economy is the absence of any effort to include critics like Peter Schiff, who saw the credit crisis coming, and were roundly ignored. You would think that these would be the guys policy makers would turn to for ideas on getting out of this mess. Instead, the Paulsons, Rubins, Greenspans, Franks, and Dodds who led us in are also proposing to lead us out.
Bill Simon is back, and he is - again - "considering" a run for Governor. With all due respect, this is the last thing the California GOP needs. Bill Simon is a good man, of course. But California is in serious need of reform and redirection and Simon - the son of an investment banker (and Nixon appointee) who spends his days jetting around administering a foundation - just isn't the man for the job. California's gov't is not just too big and too underfunded, it is also a chaotic stew of boards, commissions, districts, and bond projects, each one of which has an implacable lobby that will fight to the death to preserve. Democrats and their allies have grown rich in power and $$ as a result of the bankrupting of California gov't and a mere financial crisis will not stop them. California Republicans need a hard headed limited gov't type who can not just make cuts to the budget, but also defend them vigorously from the Leftist attacks that will follow as night follows day. Bill Simon, who couldn't beat Gray Davis his last time out, simply isn't up for that job. Next, please.
I swear, if Joel Stein didn't exist, we would have to invent him. He is the very image of the smug, comfortable, over educated progressive that conservatives see in their mind's eye. Now he "admits" what conservatives tend to secretly believe: that U.S. liberals do not love America. Best line "we liberals claim our love is deeper because we seek to improve the United States by pointing out its flaws. But calling your wife fat isn't love." Couldn't have said it better myself.
Harold Pinter has died. Like many western artists, Pinter's crabbed anti-American leftism overwhelmed any aesthetic qualities his work may have had. His Nobel acceptance speech was an embarrassment; an old man's rant against a nation whose wealth and culture was big enough and open enough to accept and exalt Pinter's groundbreaking works. Even if Pinter was too twisted to stop himself, surely his wife - a literary figure in her own right - should have known enough to stop him.
If it's Christmas, it must be time for another nutty San Francisco protest. This enterprising young man has decided to protest impending funding cuts to the City's public health budget. The City, you see, is facing a half BILLION dollar budget shortfall, so the obvious thing to do is chain oneself to the "Tree of Hope" (groan!) and make a spectacle of oneself. Kid, those cuts have to come somewhere, and the DPH is the biggest bloated bureaucracy in the City's bloated bureaucracy. I have been hearing about the horrors of draconian budget cuts all of my life, but I have yet to see the large-scale Dickensian poverty that guys like this forecast. Put him in jail for a day so he can get up close and personal with some real poverty.
Did anyone honestly expect Jerry Brown to stand up in front of the Supreme Court of California and argue in favor of Prop. 8? The fix has been in on gay marriage for a long time. All three branches of California's government has come out in favor of gay marriage. Brown could have made a perfunctory attempt to defend Prop. 8, but that would have done no one any good. At least Brown was honest enough to say what he really thinks. Prop. 8 proponents are better off with Kenneth Starr as their advocate, rather than rely on a hostile advocate like California's left wing AG.
Now we have the first Crash of '08 suicide-a French blue blood, who lost a billion investing in Bernie Madoff.I know that people will take grim satisfaction in de La Villehuchet's fate. And maybe they should. Certainly, a dignified suicide is perhaps a better way to go than the way many of Wall Street's fallen have chosen to go, which is: (1) not at all, or (2) pouting before a congressional committee, or (3) staying at least one step ahead of the SEC.
The EPA has gotten out their gyros, beakers, satellites, and assorted gizmos, and concluded that the S.F. Bay Area has failed to meet some U.S. clean air mark. Do I believe this? Oh, sure! Makes sense! The Bay Area - the land of the Prius, a region with 3 million acres of undeveloped land, a region filled to the brim the environmentalists - is a pollution hellhole. Right. Just look at what's at the link. Supposedly, a big "problem" is wood burning. Excuse me? Isn't wood, like, a natural product? Since when is it a pollutant?
"An injustice!". That's always the cry when folks like the "Fort Dix Six" (wow, man, it's like the Chicago Seven!) get their comeuppance. Look, boys, there is really no philosophical or moral difference between what you were doing (running around the woods practicing paramilitary maneuvers while plotting jihad) and what neo-nazis and other white supremacists do; namely preach and act out a murderous and totalitarian ideology. The only difference: no punk with a cheap swastika armband tries to make himself into a cause celebre' with the legal Left. Good bye, and good luck.
This is our government at work. You have to feel sorry for Bush or Obama. No matter what they do, the bureaucracy is shunting and shifting guys like this up and down the chain of command. This is the real danger of Big Government.
SFPD Chief Heather Fong has retired. Good riddance. She was an uninspired dull chief with no obvious leadership qualities who declared the discovery of some goofy cop videoes to be the "darkest day in SFPD history." Please. She really owed her career opportunities to the virulent attacks that progressives in SF have made on the police this decade. She became chief after lefty-DA Terence Hallinan indicted virtually the entire command structure of the SFPD on a bogus conspiracy charge. After everyone was exonerated, the smart thing would have been to bring everyone back an apologize, but the good progressives at City Hall decided they were tainted, and so we were left with Chief Fong. Her sole accomplishment was becoming the First! Woman! Police chief! Of the SFPD! so there is that. However, she lacked the fire and spirit of a true pioneer, so what exactly was the point?Now, that we've had our fun busting the glass ceiling, how about finding a police chief who (1) has some leadership qualities, and (2) is interested in police work? What a concept!
And we're off!