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E-Voting



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Thanks to my e-voting guy for this story from North Dakota, where, to their credit, officials were disturbed by the recent study that “concluded that Diebold’s machine could be easily manipulated by someone with little computer savvy.

“Common voters, without any insider privileges, can cast unlimited votes without being detected by any mechanisms within the voting terminal,” it said. “As a society, we must carefully consider the risks inherent in electronic voting, as it places our very democracy at risk.””


That’s right. The answer? A paper ballot and a ballpoint pen.


Judges Dread



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Yes, over-lenient judges have been a problem in the past, but Federal minimum sentencing guidelines were not the solution, at least not in the way they turned out. All too often, fixing the tariffs was little more than an orgy of macho posturing as politicians competed to show how ‘tough’ they could be on crime. The result? Some absurd miscarriages of justice and a standing invitation to prosecutors to abuse the system. Sadly, John Ashcroft seems set on making a bad situation worse.

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Reasons to Support Arnold



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No, of course Schwarzenegger is no conservative, but Hugh Hewitt makes the case (just scroll down) why he may well be worth supporting by those who are.

And pompous nonsense such as this (from an article in the LA Times - needs annoying registration) will do nothing to discourage Arnie’s army:

“Making his announcement on Jay Leno’s “The Tonight Show” rather than a legitimate news venue was an insult to everyone who takes politics and California’s problems seriously, indicating a candidacy more about self-promotion than public service. ”

Oh, come off it.

Tim’s comment on the Corner yesterday was dead right, however, Arnold has to do much better than he did on Friday morning’s shows if he wants to win this campaign

Web Briefing: November 26, 2014

Chutzpah Watch



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The Arab League is, apparently, unwilling to admit any Iraqi representatives until the country has, um, an elected government. Blogger William Sjostrom has a few comments.

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Dumb



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If this report is right, John Ashcroft’s Justice Department is trying to smuggle in drug war legislation under the guise of fighting terror. Idiots.

As Instapundit puts it, “To be trusted with wartime powers, an Administration — and an Attorney General — needs to demonstrate trustworthiness and self-discipline. This effort to sneak in a pet DoJ issue that has nothing to do with terrorism fails the test.”

And not for the first time, unfortunately.

Meanwhile, in another reminder that this administration still doesn’t take the terrorist threat seriously enough, the Bush administration is dawdling over the certification of pilots who want to carry guns on commercial flights.

In the words of , Capt. Bob Lambert, president of the Airline Pilots’ Security Alliance “It just seems like we haven’t learned very much from Sept. 11.”

Seems not.


Conflict of Interest?



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Jamie Gorelick sits on the 9/11 commission. She’s a Clinton era Deputy Attorney General, who now works as a litigation partner for the Washington law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. So far so good. Now here’s the twist (via blogger Dwight Meredith). Wilmer, Cutler have reportedly agreed to represent ‘prince’ Mohammed al Faisal, a potential defendant in the litigation being brought by the 9/11 families against various prominent Saudis.


Now the ‘prince’ is entitled to legal representation, but you don’t have to be paranoid to think that there’s a clear problem here with conflict of interest. Remember that there doesn’t have to have been any actual impropriety to find a conflict. The mere potential is enough, or, in sensitive cases, even its perception. If investigating 9/11 isn’t sensitive, what is?


Gorelick should resign from the commission.


And while we’re on the subject of the commission, how about those 28 pages?


Club Fed?



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In yet another theocratic trash update (although in this case, it’s ‘alleged’ theocratic trash), the Guardian is reporting that the mothers of eight Russians held at Guantanamo have begged Washington not to extradite their sons to answer terror charges in Russia, fearing that conditions in their jails are worse than those at Camp Delta. Now, that shouldn’t be taken as the most ringing of endorsements (the Russian prison system is brutal) and the prisoners in question are hardly likely to want to alienate their American jailors at this point, but this quote from one Andrei Bakhitov is still worth repeating:


“Everything is fine with me…They give me books here and I am held in a clean place. The food is tasty. I want for nothing but freedom. Good people are sat around me.”


Quite how Mr. Bakhitov defines “good people” is an entirely different matter.


Conspiracy Theory



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It may be time to summon the men in white coats for some of the folks over at the Guardian. Writing in Saturday’s paper (to be fair, the headline is more alarmist than the text) Simon Tisdall implies that the Bush administration may be setting out to wreck its own diplomatic initiatives. The reason? The desire to use the threat of confrontation (or maybe even confrontation) to oust the regimes in Pyongyang and Teheran. A quick glance at the atlas (check out where Seoul is located) would suggest that this is nonsense. Pressure is not the same as warmongering.

Under secretary John Bolton (“human scum” according to Kim Jong Il, a man who knows a thing or two about that topic) comes under fire for describing North Korea’s leader as a tyrannical despot and extortionist who “lives like royalty”, Bolton said, while hundreds of thousands of his people were locked up and millions more endured a life of “hellish nightmare… scrounging the ground for food in abject poverty”.

The Guardian obviously has a problem with diplomats who tell the truth, preferring to quote figures such as former ambassador James Goodby who has argues that “security assurances and economic incentives were what was really needed” to calm things down. This is nonsense. As a practical matter, Kim Jong Il probably could have had this some years ago, but he’s taken a different course, probably because the survival of his dictatorship depends, at least to an extent, on maintaining war psychosis at home.

As for Iran, it’s surprising to read a writer in such an exquisitely correct newspaper criticizing Tony Blair for “highlighting human rights issues.” Notice too the obvious unease with which Tisdall contemplates the overthrow of the mullahs. Now, Iran is a difficult case and there are some gung ho sorts who need to remember that wading in with too heavy a hand would almost certainly be a mistake. At the same time it’s no crime to at least hope that the theocratic trash that makes up that country’s leadership ends up where it belongs.

In jail.


From Milton’s Lips...to Arnold’s Ears



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Milton Friedman and I have been exchanging emails this week about some
of the material that has appeared recently in this happy Corner, and I
thought everyone would like to know what a Nobel Prize-winning economist
believes California really needs.

Arnold, are you listening?

Dear Peter:

Steve Hayward is right that Colorado is largely a replay of Proposition
1. [In 1992, voters in Colorado enacted a measure limiting increases in
state spending to an amount equal to no more than increases in the
state's population plus inflation. The measure was very similar to an
earlier ballot initiative in California, known as Proposition 1, that
was supported by Milton Friedman and then Governor Ronald Reagan.]
After the failure of Proposition 1, Lew Uhler, who had been in charge of
drafting Proposition 1 for Reagan, persuaded a group of us to found the
National Tax-Limitation Committee which is still in existence. For
years we tried to get the requisite number of individual states to
request a constitutional convention for the sole purpose of adopting a
tax-limitation amendment. Obviously it was hopeless to get it supported
by Congress. We got very close, within one or two states, but every
time we got that close the opposition increased exponentially and we
were stymied again.

I have not been very active in it in recent years so I am not sure what
is going on, but what I am sure of is that an amendment of that kind
which covered both taxing and spending would be a very good thing for
California. It is interesting that Colorado is almost the only state in
the country that is not having serious fiscal problems right now, and
that is entirely because of the amendment it passed.

Cordially,

Milton


Cromwell Clerihew



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(You need to know Irish pronunciation.)

Cromwell, Lord Protector,

Of human rights was not a respecter.

What he did at Drogheda

Was cruelty that could hardly be unalloyed-er.

Re: Arnold and The Austrian School



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Rod: Good grief! Next thing, we’ll be hearing that he was seen reading Leo
Strauss. Eeek!

More On Ollie



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On 17th-century horrors, a reader of the Caledonian faction notes that:
“Paul Johnson’s A HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH PEOPLE has an appendix on
’Cromwell and Ireland’ which puts Cromwell’s actions in the context of their
time. The last sentence is ‘Finally, it is a curious fact that in 1651,
when General Monck sacked Dundee, he killed as many people as Cromwell in
Drogheda, and with far less military justification; yet the episode is
rarely mentioned.’ The Scots seem to have gotten on with their lives,
inventing Political Economy, becoming Prime Ministers, and sparking the
Industrial Revolution, the Enlightement, et cetera, rather than spending the
last 350 years whining.” Ah, but the Irish cherish their wrongs like no-one
else. I have an Irish friend who, when he suffers some slight, or insult,
or indignity, mutters: “It’s in the book.” That is a mighty thick book.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of his Irish campaign, I think Ollie deserves
to be remembered for one remark, at least. On a different occasion, he had
a disagreement with the Scots. Push came to shove, and a battle was
arranged. Before joining battle, Ollie addressed the enemy thus:
“Consider, I beseech ye in the bowels of Christ, that ye may be mistaken.”
(They didn’t, and lost.)

Rush On The Philosophy of Football



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A conservative philosophy in football is wide open and based on the pursuit
of excellence, individuals working as a team. The liberal philosophy, if it
were applied to football, would be you spend most of your time blaming
everybody for why it didn’t work.

“Q&A
with Rush Limbaugh”
, Sports Illustrated.

In Comes Ueberroth



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Will the media talk of a “circus” subside a little when former baseball
commissioner Peter Ueberroth gets in on the GOP side? I believe Time put
him on the cover back in the day as a real leader.

Medved On “The Passion”



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Here’s a transcript of a worthwhile online chat session that Michael Medved had at WashingtonPost.com about “The Passion,” a film he has seen in rough cut, and defends. Excerpt: “To say Hollywood is ‘anti-Christian’ is misleading and inaccurate. Hollywood is ‘anti-religious.’ Those of us who try to live our lives as observant Jews also experience contempt and dismissal and hostility from the entertainment establishment, which isn’t overwhelmingly ‘Jewish’ — it is, however, overwhelmingly, almost exclusively, secular — and anti-religious.”

Scalding Joe



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Speaking of Krauthammer, Joe Lieberman came at Bush as not pro-Israel enough for hassling about the security fence. Compared the move to Bush 41 on Israel. Harsh.

Davis On The Run



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Odd story in the local paper here on the California central coast today. Seems over the weekend a two-car motorcade was speeding at 90 mph down a locally 2-lane highway notorious for its fatal accidents. A highway patrolman tried to pull the cars over, but was contacted over the radio by a driver of one car–who was another highway patrolman!, driving an un-named state dignitary to LA. Only the governor and other top state officials get these motorcades. Was it Goobernor Davis? No one will say.

I’ve been over the same road many times. (Great wineries on this road, which is one reason for many accidents) There is a double-fine zone for speeding because there have been so many accidents. In fact, it is the same road where James Dean crashed his Porsche Spyder in 1959 and killed himself (there is a silly marker at the spot put up by a Japanese film buff), or, as I tell friends when I drive by the spot, it is where James Dean made himself into Jimmy Dean sausage. Anyway, the road has long been on the list to be widened to four lanes, but this keeps getting put off by the state’s budget woes.

Eleanor Smeal



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Debating her about my current column on Alan Colmes radio tonight. I’m sure she’s outraged that anyone would say anything nice about stay-at-home moms.

Arnold and The Austrian School



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On the Diane Rehm show this
morning, David Brooks said that when he was in college in the 1980s, he had
dinner with Milton Friedman, who told David that he’d recently dined with
Arnold Schwarzenegger. Dr. Friedman related that the film star expressed an
interest in the Austrian school of Economics. For true!

Church of The Idiotic Parents



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What church does this woman claim to belong to and what does that have to do with anything?

I wouldn’t attempt to change a CD in my car (if I had a CD player in my car) while driving 65 mph. When a baby needs tending, you pull over and that’s that.

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