Monday, January 25, 2010

The non-realignment of America

If you remember this time last year, the nation was beaming like a child with a new puppy. Well, at least 52 percent of voters were beaming, along with the Washington press corps, most newspaper editors, 90 percent of university faculty, and all the baristas at the free-trade coffee houses.

They were absolutely giddy with excitement over the election of President Obama. Gone were the dark ages of the Bush years. The isolation of America would end as we assumed our rightful place as citizens of the world. The problems of America would be solved with the sheer power of the Obama intellect. Radical Islam, Iran, al-Qaeda would all succumb to the power of Obama's diplomacy. Not everyone was quite this bad, but many people invested too much hope in the presumed genius of this one man, and only now are they seeing through the hopey-changey messages into the reality of our situation.

Anyone who did not see this coming, well let's just say they may have been swept up in the mania.

Along with the true believers, there was another large block of the electorate who voted for President Obama. These people were not struck by his pure awesomeness, they were angry with George W Bush and the Republicans who had abandoned their principals. They thought they would give this new guy a chance, heck, Obama could hardly do worse than the big spending Republicans had. Besides, candidate Obama was talking about bipartisanship, transparency, not raising taxes on anyone making under $250K, and listening to the people, what's not to like?

A year down this road the first group, the twenty five percent of the public who adore Obama, almost to the point of worship, are still on board the hope and change express. Even as it is goes skittering off the tracks. The other twenty five percent who voted for the President are now coming to the realization they have been taken by a smooth-talking, inexperienced, idealistic, Chicago politician. For all the promise and potential they saw in candidate Obama, the actual policies of this President stand in stark contrast to the promises of the campaign trail. No one likes to be taken.

This will not come as a news flash to most of you, but when you run as one thing, then govern as another, people get angry. When the policies you enact do not deliver on your promises, but in fact make things much worse, people tend to get very angry. Which brings us to the last three statewide elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

If you also remember back to this time last year, you will remember the pundits and the main stream press decrying the death of conservatism and the Republican party. My, how a year has changed things. If you had asked any ten people on the street, on inauguration day, if they thought there would be Republican governors elected in Virginia, in deep-blue New Jersey, and a Republican elected as Senator in Massachusetts, they would have laughed, and rightly so.

Everyone is trying to read the tealeaves of these elections, and make some sort of determination of where the voters are headed. I loved watching MSNBC on the night Scott Brown was elected. I thought Chris Mathews was going to cry, and I was waiting for Keith Olbermann to explode in fury. They think the reason Republicans won these statewide races is due to Democrats not being liberal enough! Talk about blinded by ideology.

On the other hand, Republicans are thinking they just need to say, I am not Obama, and they will win this November. Just as the elections of 2006 and 2008 proved to democrats, being against something is not the same as being for something. Republicans are poised to make huge gains in the 2010 election cycle, but as I like to ask, then what?

If this last election cycle has taught us anything, you had better say what you mean, and mean what you say. The days of big spending, big government Republicans is over. A new crop of young, conservative leaders is coming of age, and if you are a Republican incumbent, you had better be ready for a primary fight. Many in the Republican leadership say that a safe Republican seat should not be contested in a primary fight, I say that is a load of manure. To steal a line from Scott Brown, these seats do not belong to you, they belong to the people. As hard as it is to imagine, we might find someone with better ideas, who is better connected with the people back home. It's called representation.

The 2010 election, as well as the 2012 cycle will be all about ideas, not personalities. Whoever has the better ideas, ideas that resonate with America, ideas that have a proven record of success, will win. Many in the GOP have forgotten these ideas; Washington DC thinking has corrupted them. They need to prove themselves to their constituents, not by words, but by deeds. The back room deals, the 3AM votes to the highest bidder have not gone unnoticed. If they talk one way at home, and vote another way in DC, they will be joining ranks of the unemployed.

Many people misinterpreted the election of Barack Obama. 2008 was not a realignment of American politics; it was one part anger at the previous administration, one part fatigue for an unpopular war, and one part bait-and-switch from a very polished Chicago politician. Throw in the huge home-field advantage of a fawning media and it not surprising in the least Barack Obama was elected. That was then, this is now, America is waking up.

The only hope Democrats have of saving a majority in Congress is.... well, I'll let them come up with their own strategy. Maybe more spending, more government, and more rights for terrorists will be a winning strategy for 2010. Good luck with that.

Power poles, they are not for driving over..

So, I walked out of my house at 5:55 this morning, and the sky turned blue. I thought it was a huge lightning strike nearby, but there was no thunder and the power immediately went off. I figured it was a PG&E pole knocked down or a blow transformer. I drove down 23 to 86A when I saw the driver in front of me go around something in the road, it was the power pole and the lines were hanging over the roadway. I put on my hazards and called 911 to report it. I couldn't see a car or any tree limbs, I thought that was kind of odd. When I hung up with the dispatch operator, I turned around to head back, that is when my lights hit the car, what was left of it, sitting out the field about 75 yards away. I could see the driver was still inside so I called back to 911 and told them to send help. I walked out to see if the driver was hurt.

Other than a cut on his head, he seemed fine. Thank goodness for his airbag, it saved his life. The car was totaled. He said he works at the casino in the surveillance department, I think he said his name was Brian? He has an English accent, I think. Anyway, he must have been flying down the road to end up that far out in field. There is a debris pattern of scattered plastic, various car molding and trim pieces, hub caps, and about 100 Cds out in the field.

Glad he was okay, the EFD was on scene in about 5 minutes, so I went to work, with my brand new New Balance shoes looking like giant balls of mud. Oh, and I had a 7:00 work order in the brand new grad school. I'm not sure the sink in the bathroom at work will ever be the same, but my shoes look better.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Crashing through rock bottom

Everyone has faced some sort of self -inflicted trouble in their lifetime. For most people, myself included, we can listen to all the advice, all of the folks trying to tell us how badly we are screwing up, but we just don't want to listen. We know deep down we are screwing up. However, human beings can rationalize their way into any type of behavior, no matter how destructive. With enough self delusion, we can justify anything.

Anyone who has had a friend or family member with a drug or alcohol problem, or any other type of addiction can tell you, when they are in deep, they have to hit rock bottom before they will change. Here is the problem, how do you know what rock bottom is? What may shake your being right down to your core, may not phase another person. We all have different levels of rock bottom.

For some, just one bad or even uncomfortable experience is enough. A youth caught shoplifting, and is allowed to sit in a detention cell to contemplate his new hobby for a few hours, may lose the desire to see the inside of a police car ever again. One of his peers may look at the experience as no big deal, and continue on that path, right into prison. Like I said, rock bottom has many forms.

If we turn this analogy toward California's budget, we can see this play out on a much larger scale. The politicians under the dome in Sacramento have been through Juvenile Hall, County Jail, State Prison and for the past two years have been in super-max, solitary-confinement cell. Nevertheless, they still think they are innocent. They are quick to lay out a laundry list of reasons why they are not responsible for creating this mess. In other words, it’s not my fault, I was framed.

As California voters, we are also responsible. We keep giving them get-out-of-jail-free cards. These come in the form of state bonds and by reelecting them back to Sacramento. How any of these people have kept their jobs is truly amazing, or at least it would be if they did not sit in hand-crafted, safe districts. If these politicians were our children, we would let them sit in their cells to finally find rock bottom. Instead it is us, their tax-paying constituents, who are facing rock bottom.

Under the leadership of this group, they have spent us into massive debt, driven private businesses away from our state with higher taxes and crushing regulation, and now we are dealing with an unemployment rate over twelve percent. We are also staring at a looming twenty Billion dollar deficit.

The state legislature, along with the Governator, refuse to recognize rock bottom every time they hit a new one. Each year, they resort to one-time budget gimmicks, temporary accounting tricks and massive borrowing to balance the budget. And that budget, filled with incredibly optimistic forecasts is only good for three months, until the next quarter's revenue figures come in, and the budget is shown to be the sham it is.

The politicians have busted through the last three rock bottoms only to find new ones. 2010 is it, this is bedrock, there are no gimmicks left, and California’s bond rating is at junk-bond status, the lowest of any state in the union. Well, that is not entirely accurate, we are tied with Louisiana for the lowest credit rating.

Now is the time to admit to ourselves what our state has become, and we must have the courage to change it.

So what do we do? First, if your current legislator voted for this last budget deal, send him or her packing. Hey, good luck getting a job in the private sector now that you have done your best to drive private sector businesses away from our state.

What am I saying? Any legislator that does lose their seat will just change hats and become a lobbyist working the other side of K Street. Be that as it may, vote them out. They are not serious about fiscal responsibility; they are only concerned with keeping their campaign contributors happy. This must change if we are to revive our anemic economy and get private sector businesses to not only stay, but expand in California.

Okay, now for a little homework, fire up your computer this week and go to Once there, type in your city or assembly/senate district, then look for the top contributors. It is very enlightening. You will see who your local politicians truly represent, and in most cases, it isn't you.

Is this the year we send a message? Is this the year we stop complaining and get involved? Is this the year we look past the millions spent on TV advertising and learn the facts about who is really running the show down at the capitol? Is this the year we say we have had enough?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

75 million? Woops, how about $400 million

When Attorney General Eric Holder told everyone he was going prosecute KSM and his buddies in New York, the initial price tag was $75 million.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said Wednesday that the office of the New York police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, had told him that if the Sept. 11 trial lasted a year, the cost of providing security could top $75 million, largely in overtime pay for the police. Mr. Holder assured Mr. Schumer that he would urge the federal government to reimburse the city for such costs.

But two months later, the price has jumped to $400 million and counting. Oh, I cannot wait for this crowd to run our health care.......

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


The Department of Unsecurity

I am often asked, what will it take to wake people up when it comes to our national security? I am of the opinion it will take us having to remember a few more dates on the calendar that we don't right now. Much like September the eleventh used to be just another day to us.

I thought in the weeks following 9/11, we were as close as a represented republic would come to implementing serious, common sense security measures. We knew who are enemies were, and we knew what motivated them. We understood the next threat would most likely come from younger, radicalized Muslim men. However, as the weeks grew into months, with no successful attacks on our soil, large portions of our government began to change their focus. They turned away from public security, to security with an emphasis on public relations. Thus began our foray into unsecurity, as I call it.

Unsecurity happens when the people in charge of security are more concerned about "backlash" and not offending certain groups of people, rather than actually preventing the next terrorist attack. In this new politically correct world of unsecurity, we cannot even call things by their proper names.

Why is it when Muslim Jihadist, Nidal Malik Hasan goes on a murderous rampage at Fort Hood, the media does not call him a radical Islamic extremist, or an Islamic terrorist? He is just "troubled serviceman" or a generic "gunman." When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Muslim Jihadist from Nigeria, tries to blow a hole in the side of a passenger jet over Detroit, he is not called a terrorist, he's just a guy with bomb, "the failed plane bomber," and the act of terrorism is a "crisis."

The head of our unsecurity department, Janet Napolitano now uses the focus group tested "man made disasters," that sounds much better than terrorism, right? Oh, and by the way, they have scrapped the term "global war on terror," now they call it an "overseas contingency operation."

I have just one simple question to ask. Are we at war right now, and if so, with whom?

I was never been a big fan of the term global war on terror, I would prefer using the term war against radical Islam. That is in fact what it is, and who we are fighting, but overseas contingency operation, are you kidding? That sounds like a back-up data storage plan for a fortune 500 company.

Back to our new department of unsecurity. Are we paying extra attention to young men coming in from Muslim countries or carrying passports from Muslim countries? If there are rules that prohibit this, the rules should be changed, now. Whether you want to admit it or not, there is a very accurate profile for terrorists. We know this profile through painful experience, and terrible loss. Look, unless we to strip everyone down and make them fly in hospital gowns, we need effective screening. We need an effective, common sense ways to look at a 150 people in line and figure out who needs a closer look.

Let's stop frisking grandma and 9 year old girls while we let the 25 year old from Nigeria, who bought his one-way ticket with cash, and had no luggage, stroll right past the screening area. I understand the benefit of random screening, if all the attention is paid to one particular profile, al-Qaeda could change its appearance and bypass scrutiny. However, when we ignore a proven profile, we are ignoring a proven threat, and it is going to get us killed.

How many dates on the calendar will become ingrained in our memories before we stop hiding behind political correctness and start protecting our citizens from those who wish to murder us?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Where good intentions fail, personal responsibility is the answer.

This is a pretty impressive lady.

Yea, but isn't she a Democrat? Yes, but I don't care, I care about results. Party labels don't impress me as much as they once did. Can you deliver results, real, measurable results that are in line with my values? That is what is what is important to me.

She is offering 40% pay increases and wants to pay her teachers six figure salaries, so why is she so hated by the teachers unions and big education interest groups? She is making teachers responsible for results, asking them to give up tenure to enroll in a performance-based salary scale. A results-oriented pay structure scares the stuffing out of most teachers, along with most everyone in the public sector.

President Obama should have this lady on TV once a week, but she is bucking one the President's most powerful and influential lobbying groups. Rhee's ideas are what candidate Obama proposed to middle America when he was running for this job, I wonder why he is not embracing this idea of personal responsibility now?

Please take a few minutes to watch her recent talk, very interesting.