Sunday, November 28, 2004


Just a nuisance

Hat tip to Jonah Goldberg for picking up this article from The Scotsman. Thousands of Iranian people (the group claims 4000, but I take that figure with enough salt to give me hypertension) recently volunteered for training in one of the following three aeras: assassinating novelist Salman Rushdie, undertaking suicide attacks against Israelis, or undertaking suicide attacks against U.S. forces in Iran. The organization training them is unofficial, but one Iranian lawmaker and a military official were present and supportive of the efforts.

This is a death cult. There is no negotiating with people who welcome their own deaths. As long as they live and breathe, terrorists can never be "just a nuisance". Islamist fanatics see this as a clash of civilizations. If we do not, it is at our peril, because they may lie low waiting to strike again, but they do not surrender.

The metaphor that Iraq has become a magnet for terrorists is true in part, but it fails to adequately capture the result that happens to terrorists when they go to Iraq to attack U.S., Coalition, or Iraqi forces. Iraq has become a bug light for terrorists. They are attracted to it, and it kills them.

The importance of the training to assassinate Salman Rushdie cannot be overestimated. The man was a novelist, who offended Moslems by apostasy and blasphemy. He was no military threat. He offended people. That's it. The response by Islamist groups was not to condemn him, or to call for boycotts of his work. It was to organize large numbers of people to kill him. Theo Van Gogh was assassinated for much the same reason - and he was not even an apostate Moslem.

Militant Islam considers anyone who publicly disparages it to be an enemy and a target. Atomizing the "War on Terror" to be about specific individuals or organizations misses the nature of the fight.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


a dash of red

The Galvin Opinion breaks the news that President Bush did significantly better in New York City and its suburbs in 2004 than he did in 2000.

Bush won Staten Island by 15 points, after losing it by 7 points in 2000. He narrowed the gap in Nassau from 19 points to 6 points, and in Suffolk from 11 points to 0.3 points.

Kerry received 100 thousand fewer votes in New York City and its suburbs than Gore did (even though Nader's total dropped dramatically), while Bush's total increased by over 250 thousand votes.

That is significant.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Yasser Arafat is officially dead

Goodnight, street thug.

And may flights of demons speed you on your way

Thursday, November 11, 2004


There's something about Specter

Much of the commentary on whether Senator Arlen Specter should be blocked from the Senate Judiciary Committee chairmanship (Stones Cry Out has the most detailed listing of blog posts) has involved people talking past each other, because the "dump" and "keep" sides are focusing on different issues of importance to Republicans and conservatives. Hugh Hewitt is not wrong to worry about pushing a moderate GOP Senator to leave the party or act like Zell Miller and endorse the Democrat ticket, and pretty much the entire staff of National Review is not wrong to worry about having a Judiciary chairman who is trying to water down the judicial nominations.

I think the White House seems to have the right idea from their lack of activity - they want Specter to agree to be a team player before the chairmanship is given to him. The comparison to the House passing over other members to hand the Appropriations chairmanship to Bob Livingston is not terribly helpful here, because individual Senators have a lot more power than individual House members - a Specter who feels seriously upset or any GOPers who took umbrage at his being passed over could very well slow down or stop much conservative legislation.

In my view, here is what Specter should be asked to commit to before being selected as Judiciary chair:

A commitment to stopping the practice of letting a Democrat block a nominee by refusing to "blue slip" the nominee.

A commitment to reform of the "hold" practice, including the abolition of anonymous holds.

A commitment to hold prompt hearings and votes on all nominees.

A commitment to oppose filibusters on the floor on any Bush judicial nominee.

A commitment to support filibuster reform, at least for nominations.

A commitment to support hearings on particular legislation if such is requested by a majority of the Senate GOP caucus.

I believe Senator Specter has sufficient honor that he would stand by his commitments.

Here's what's important about each commitment - it relates to process, rather than to substantive votes, and thus does not implicate individual conscience or belief. I don't want to create any litmus test on votes - sometimes the majority of the caucus can be wrong [coughcoughprescriptiondrugplancoughcough], but I do believe party discipline should extend to matters of organzation and rules.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Call you later

For the second straight election, states that went for Bush by double digit margins often took around an hour to be called by the networks for him, while states that went Democrat by the same or smaller margins were being called right away. One egregious pair of examples is New Jersey and South Carolina this election. New Jersey voted Kerry by 7 points. It was called for him right away by the networks. South Carolina went for Bush by 17 points. It was not called for him for at least a half hour on either CNN (website) or FOX (TV). That just doesn't square with accurate projections. In the case of East Coast states, this would appear to be a deliberate attept to avoid discouraging Democrats and to discourage Republicans.

Hat tip to PowerLine for not only catching this issue, but bringing in non-GOP evidence supporting the bias theory.

The delay in calling states for Bush to put him over 270 has a separate dynamic at work - ratings. Once all the polls are closed, there is nothing left the networks could do affecting voting, but once the election is called, people turn off the news and go to bed.

Monday, November 01, 2004


About impeachment

Federal judges hold office during periods of "good behavior". Congress gets to determine what is "good behavior". It need not be limited to high crimes or misdemeanors, unlike impeachment of other federal officials. Considering the utter absence of any other sure remedy for a judge willing to decide cases which he should be disqualified from hearing (although an appellate court could issue an order disqualifying him in advance from certain matters, which was done as to Judge Andrew Hauk (Central District of California) in police brutality cases), impeachment is appropriate for a judge willing to disregard ethical rules in such a fashion.

This is a law review article in the making. It's almost midnight on the night before election day. I'll have to have more later.

Political Brief on Piersol's ethics

Piersol made public statements supportive of Daschle less than a week ago.

Impeach Judge Piersol

Judge Lawrence Piersol (U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota) was recommended for the federal bench by Tom Daschle. Judge Piersol is now (as in right this minute) hearing a case brought by Tom Daschle seeking to bar Republican poll-watchers for the election. Based on that, you might question Judge Piersol's impartiality. Of course, Tom Daschle has served in Congress for 26 years, the last 18 in the Senate, so he may have had a say in every judge sitting on the bench in South Dakota. But that's not the half of it. Judge Piersol represented Tom Daschle during the litigation over Daschle's first election to the House. That's right. Tom Daschle got his own prior lawyer to act as judge in a case he filed.

This is a gross violation of Canon 3.C. of the Canons of Judicial Conduct

There are five specific prohibitions stated in that Canon (subdivisions 1(a) through 1(e)), none of which contains this sort of activity, but the Canon ("A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned") is broader than that. The Canon does explicitly provide for a waiver of disqualification in any circumstances other than the specific subdivisions, but that requires that the judge disclose on the record the basis for disqualification and all parties consent in writing or on the record to the judge remaining on the case.

Without such disclosure and consent, which does not appear from any articles I have seen about the case, the judge's behavior is grossly improper.

Here's a detailed review of the proceedings.

The gay marriage phone calls

The outcry about phone calls telling voters that John Kerry supports gay marriage may be overblown - based on John Kerry's own published statements.

Here's the text of the phone calls (obtained from the AP, and published on numerous websites)
When you vote this Tuesday remember to legalize gay marriage by supporting John Kerry. We need John Kerry in order to make gay marriage legal for our city. Gay marriage is a right we all want. It's a basic Democrat principle. It's time to move forward and be progressive. Without John Kerry, George Bush will stop gay marriage. That's why we need Kerry. So Tuesday, stand up for gay marriage by supporting John Kerry.

Conservative and libertarian bloggers have been condemning this phone message
Jim Lindgren has the following to say about it.
This sort of thing is reprehensible. While Kerry might want to make gay marriage legal if he thought he could (I would favor such a move myself), Kerry is crystal clear that he opposes it.
Many others have similar comments, but I'm not about to collect them here.

However, here is what John Kerry told the gay magazine The Advocate back in 1996:
Echoing the ignorance and bigotry that peppered the discussion of interracial marriage a generation ago, the proponents of DOMA call for a caste system for marriage. I will not be party to that. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained 30 years ago, "Races do not fall in love and get married. Individuals fall in love and get married." This is the essence of the American pursuit of happiness and the core of the struggle for equality.

National Review's Kathryn Lopez broke this story last month. Her article has several money quotes, but here's the one I consider most appropriate at this time.
One does wonder how a candidate who thinks gay marriage is the "essence of the American pursuit of happiness and the core of the struggle for equality" can really be against it.

Kerry thinks DOMA is unconstitutional. Presumably he would appoint federal judges who feel the same way. The effect of a ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional, since Massachusetts has now legalized same-sex marriage, would be to force other states to recognize Massachusetts same-sex marriages, So tell me again what is so inaccurate about claiming that electing John Kerry will "make gay marriage legal for [y]our city"?

UPDATE: Kathryn Lopez's article was actually from August 11, 2004, not October as I stated in the post originally.

More election predictions

CA State Senate (competitive races only)
SD 5: Machado by 3%
SD 15: Maldonado by 17%
SD 27: Lowenthal by 16%
SD 39: Kehoe by 10%

No change in the State Senate

CA State Assembly (competitive races only)
AD 15: Houston by 9%
AD 17: Matthews by 6%
AD 21: Ruskin by 4%
AD 24: Cohn by 10%
AD 30: Gardner by 3%
AD 31: Arambula by 9%
AD 35: Nava by 11%
AD 44: Liu by 10%
AD 53: Gordon by 6%
AD 54: Kuykendall by 2.5%
AD 61: McLeod by 5%
AD 76: Saldana by 10%
AD 78: Horton by 4%
AD 80: Garcia by 5%

Republicans pick up 2 in the Assembly, leaving it with a 46-34 Democrat edge.

CA Propositions:

1A: PASS, with 64% in favor
59: PASS, with over 85% in favor
60: PASS, with 60% in favor
60A: PASS, with 71% in favor
61: PASS, with 54% in favor
62: PASS, with 55% in favor (but does not go into effect, because Prop. 60 gets more votes)
63: PASS, with 53% in favor
64: FAIL, with 59% opposed
65: PASS, with 53% in favor (but does not go into effect, because Prop. 1A gets more votes)
66: FAIL, with 58% opposed
67: FAIL, with 60% opposed
68: FAIL, with more than 80% opposed
69: PASS, with 66% in favor
70: FAIL, with more than 65% opposed
71: PASS, with 59% in favor
72: FAIL, with 58% opposed


Election predictions

An overabundance of work has caused me not to blog for a while, but here goes with my election predictions:


Bush 50, Kerry 48, Nader 1, others 1

Bush wins all Bush 2000 states except NH (Kerry by 3) and picks up IA (by 3), NM (by 5), and WI (by 2) from Gore 2000 states.

Closest electoral vote contests are ME 2nd dist - Kerry by about 400 votes, MN - Kerry by 1%, and MI (Kerry by 2%) and OH (Bush by 2%).

Bush 295 (and 1 EV for some other Republican cast by a WV elector), Kerry 242

Competitive Senate races:

AK: Murkowski by 3% (don't forget that Alaskans will know with several hours left to vote that there will be a continued GOP Senate, and they're not about to opt for a freshman member of the minority party)
CA: Boxer by 10%
CO: Coors by 1.5% (Bush's GOTV operation is stronger than it has been given credit for here, and Bill Owens wants this one badly for his 2008 run)
FL: Castor by 1% (Martinez underperforms Bush dramatically in Foley's and Shaw's districts)
GA: Isakson by about 20%
(mentioned mainly because it's a party change)
IL: Obama in a walkaway (not competitive, but it's a party change)
KY: Bunning by 6%
LA: Vitter leads going into runoff with 45% (against John, with 24%), but loses it by 1% or less
MO: Bond by 13%
NC: Burr by 4%
OK: Coburn by 8%
PA: Specter by 9% (with another 9% going to Clymer)
SC: DeMint by 11%
SD: Thune by 1.8%
WA: Murray by 6%
WI: Feingold by 9%

All incumbents win reelection.
Benson (by 7%) is the only one with a close (under 10%) race.
IN: Daniels by 6%
MO: Blunt by 6%
MT: Brown by 2% (polling MT is very hard)
WA: Gregoire by 5%
Huntsman wins UT by about 20%, and Manchin wins WV by a larger amount

Seriously contested House races (all open seats not mentioned are safe for the incumbent party):
AL-03: Rogers (by 12%)
AK: none
AZ-01: Renzi (by 14%)
AR-02: Snyder (by 15%)
CA-20: Costa (by 4%)
CA-39: Sanchez (by 12%)
CA-47: Sanchez (by 15%)
CO-03: Walcher (by 4%)
CO-04: Musgrave (by 15%)
CO-07: Beauprez (by 7%)
CT-02: Simmons (by 11%)
DE: none
FL: none (everything contested has a 20% margin or more)
GA-03: Marshall (by 16%)
GA-11: Gingrey (by 14%)
GA-12: Barrow (by 2%) (Burns puts up a good fight, but this seat was drawn to be Democrat)
HI: none
ID: none
IL-08: Crane (by 6%)
IL-11: Weller (by 16%)
IL-17: Evans (by 20%)
IN-02: Chocola (by 14%)
IN-03: Souder (it's a blowout)
IN-07: Carson (by 10%)
IN-08: Hostettler (by 7%)
IN-09: Hill (by 9%)
IA-03: Boswell (by 8%)
KS-03: Moore (by 3%)
KY-03: Northrup (by 9%)
KY-04: Davis (by 5%)
LA-01: Jindal gets 54% for an outright win
LA-03: Tauzin (33%)/Romero (25%) runoff, which Tauzin wins by 10%
LA-05: Alexander wins outright with 59%
LA-07: Mount (29%)/Boustany (25%) runoff, which Boustany wins by 3%
ME: none
MD: none
MA: none
MI: none
MN-02: Kline (by 11%)
MN-06: Kennedy (by 13%)
MS: none
MO-03: Carnahan (by 13%)
MO-05: Cleaver (by 9%)
MT: none
NE: Fortenberry (by 13%)
NV-03: Porter (by 15%)
NH: none
NJ-05: Garrett (by 14%)
NJ-07: Ferguson (by 10%)
NM-01: Wilson (by 8%)
NY-02: Israel (by 10%)
NY-27: Higgins (by 5%)
NY-29: Kuhl (by 7%)
NC-07: Hayes (by 11%)
NC-11: Taylor (by 9%)
ND-AL: Pomeroy (by 12%)
OH: none
OK: none
OR-01: Wu (by 8%)
OR-05: Hooley (by 10%)
PA-04: Hart (by 8%)
PA-06: Gerlach (by 7%)
PA-08: Fitzpatrick (by 22% - it helps when your opponent self-destructs)
PA-13: Schwartz (by 10%)
PA-15: Dent (by 9%)
PA-17: Holden (by 13%)
RI: none
SC: none
SD-AL: Diedrich (by 1%)
TN-04: Davis (by 12%)
TX-01: Gohmert (by 16%)
TX-02: Lampson (by 3%)
TX-10: McCaul (by over 30% - it's a party change)
TX-11: Conaway (by over 20% - it's a party change)
TX-15: Hinojosa (by 9%)
TX-17: Edwards (by 4%)
TX-19: Neugebauer (by 7%)
TX-24: Marchant (by 18%)
TX-32: Sessions (by 8%)
UT-02: Matheson (by 9%)
VT: none
VA-02: Drake (by 12%)
VA-08: Moran (by 17%)
VA-09: Boucher (by 14%)
WA-02: Larsen (by 8%)
WA-03: Baird (by 10%)
WA-05: McMorris (by 11%)
WA-08: Reichert (by 4%)
WV-02: Capito (by 10%)
WI: none
WY: none

That's a net +# for the GOP in the Senate (making it 54-45-1), a net +2 for the GOP in Governorships, and a net + 5 for the GOP in the House after the December LA runoffs (making it 234-200-1). Outside of TX, where 4 Dem incumbents lose, the only open seats to change hands are the Ken Lucas, Chris John, and Jack Quinn open seats (each of which goes to the party that it favors at the Presidential level).

Call this a very status-quo election.

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