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December 21, 2004

Now Bush's Hard Job Begins

The country has yet to see the fiscal conservative George Bush claims to be. WSJ lays out the coming budget battles. The next 6 months will prove if GB can keep to his word. Given the size of the deficit and the percentage of the economy non-discretionary, non-defense spending absorbs, there will be a lot of people and interests defending their turfs, and so far this President has seemed unable to say no to anyone.

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December 20, 2004

Kofi's Real Problem

There has been a lot of talk about Anan's participation (or his familiy's participation) in the Oil for Food scandal. I've actually trumpeted it quite a bit. However, focusing on the UNSCAM is simple and it is easy to get people's ire up over it. Unfortunately, the real reason Kofi Anan is an embarassment to the UN is far more "nuanced." Kenneth Cain delves into the depths of Anan's real failures over the issues of genocide. Very simple and to the point.

If the UN wants to be a moral authority in the world, it will have to overcome Anan's leadership. And at one time, we thought the worst that could happen is that a former Nazi might lead the UN. At this point, the organization seems no less corrupt than the countries that pay its existence, and in many cases, more so.

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Jeff Jarvis: Chill Out With the Religious Battles

Jeff Jarvis has posted some interesting observations about the religious battles which seem to be popping up with some regularity. He's already instigated quite the blogospheric reaction from some corners (Hugh Hewitt for one). Definitely worth reading, whichever side of the culture divide one finds themselves on.

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The Knowledge of California College Students

I know we have heard a lot about the lack of basic history knowledge college age students possess. However, this post detailing some college students' knowledge is absolutely terrifying.

Fewer than one in three knew Great Britain was their country's foe in the American Revolution. Most weren't even able to work out who the United States fought in the "Korean" or "Vietnam" wars.
That reminds me of the classic question about the color of George Washington's white horse.

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December 19, 2004

The New Gold Standard

An interesting look at how an engineer would structure the basis of our monetary system.

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Schwarzenegger to Republicans: Move Left

Schwarzenegger, in an interview, said that he "would like the Republican Party to cross this line, move a little further left and place more weight on the center...this would immediately give the party 5 percent more votes without its losing anything elsewhere.".

I find myself agreeing more and more with Arnie. The Republicans face two paths through which they have an opportunity to cement electoral majorities and presidential office for the next generation. The first is to allow the Democrats to continue to self implode. The second is to move slightly left and capture more from the center which the Democrats seem to have no interest in.

Unfortunately, I just don't see the Republicans taking the Governator's advice. The zealots from the party won't budge and they have proven they won't come out to vote if the candidate does not meet their criteria. Its also difficult to change course when it seems everything is working so well. However, this approach ignores the fact that part of Republican gains have been due to the complete abandonment of the center by the Democrats. Although the Democrats show no inclination to move closer to the center, they are the party out of power and sooner or later they will try figuring out how to win back votes. A politician with half a political brain and a centrist history, could easily pull the Democrats back.

I doubt it would take much to push the Republican party closer to the center, either. For example, if the party were to push as energetically for civil rights for gays in the same way they try to prevent them getting married, it would buy chits from a large portion in the center. If the administration were to actually do something, ANYTHING, to confront the issues of global warming, the Republicans would also gain. Unfortunately, I would not hold my breath on that happening. The Republicans are living too high off the hog to consider changing their approach.

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December 18, 2004

Stanislav Petrov May Have Saved the World

Fascinating read about a Russian scientistwho may have prevented a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia. Link courtesy of Tim Blair. One wonders how many other "close calls" may have occured during the Cold War.

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The US as Ratman

The Diplomad finds a resemblence between the US and his local "ratman".

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Aziz to Name Names

Tariq Aziz is about to start naming some of the culprits in the oil for food scandal. Depending upon what he says, one wonders if the UN will be able to continue to hide behind the concept that it is all an American right-wing fabrication. Of course, MSNBC can't help but keep their own views out of the reporting at the very end:

Once Saddam's tireless defender, Aziz is now singing a very different tune, to please his new keeper.
My guess is that the MSM will immediately attack Aziz as simply saying what the US wants him to say.

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Lunacy Continues in Washington State

I wonder how any voter on either side can take what is going on in Kings County, WA seriously. Both sides have legitimate grievances. Democrats feel as though they have votes that were not counted because of the massive ineptitude of Democratic precincts. And Republicans wonder whether Kings County will simply continue to magically find votes until Gregiore wins. I think both sides should simply agree to a second vote and that vote should be canvassed by election observers provided by the federal government. I think that is the only way for both sides to feel the other side is not trying to steal the election.

"I do think that this situation has shaken voter confidence in King County," Dean Logan said in an interview.

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