Thursday, July 31, 2008

Delisi Announces Resignation from HD 55

State Representative Dianne White Delisi announced her resignation today. Representative Delisi had already announced that she would not seek re-election for House District 55, which covers most of Bell County, in the 2008 election cycle.

Delisi's retirement announcement opened up a Republican war in Bell County between Ralph Sheffield, Martha Tyroch (aka, Tyroch the Taxer), Mike Pearce, and John Alaniz. Out of this battle, Sheffield, a small business owner in Temple, defeated Tyroch in what proved to be an ugly run-off campaign with multiple allegations thrown in every direction.

Just when you thought the dust had settled, though, Delisi's resignation will open this seat up to a special election which allows all the candidates to jump back into the race in November.


The fight to save traditional marriage

The biggest vote on marriage will happen in November in the biggest state - California. Alliance for Marriage is fighting for traditional marriage. Despite many victories for traditional marriage, just one victory for gay marriage could institute gay marriage across many states, as there are many states where traditional marriage is not protected in the constitution.

GOP invites inputs on their 2008 platform

GOP taking inputs on their Platform online:

The Republican Party is seeking your input as we develop the policies and principles upon which we should stand for the next four years. On this website, you can share your thoughts, participate in polls, and communicate directly with the policymakers who will be shaping the party's agenda.

They will even take video submissions. It was interesting to read submissions from online poker players advocating taking that out of the platform. This is a great way to open up the process and 'level the playing field'.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Ideal Candidate

I am not one to bend like a reed in the wind. I have ideas about how best to accomplish something and ideals that I am committed to, some of which are personally non-negotiable.

With regard to the former (ideas), I seek ways and means to be more efficient in my job every day. Ideally I would do that perfectly every day (I don't usually measure up to that ideal, but it is my duty to strive to do so, especially as a government employee).

With regard to the latter (ideals), I have my own. I am pro-family, pro-traditional marriage, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-limited government, pro-freedom, pro-religious liberty, pro-school choice, pro-self determination, etc. and anti-gay marriage, anti-socialism, anti-abortion, anti-amnesty for illegal aliens, anti-United Nations, anti-terrorist, anti-communist, anti-government schools, anti-Peoples Republic of China, etc. These are some of my ideals, expressed as things I support and things I oppose.

There are people who have ideals but no idea how to implement them in a way that satisfies the body politic (e.g. Dr. Sun Yat-sen). When it comes to a political Party's choice of say a Presidential candidate, there is a direct relation between the probability of intersection of the ideals of any subset of The Party with the Chosen One and the time remaining to the General Election (unless perhaps the candidate is a reed). The time when these ideals should be held to unwaveringly by the individual voter is before and during the Primary. Once a candidate appears to have the magic number of delegates the probability of all of your ideal positions being present in the candidate is greatly reduced. As the nomination gets nearer and nearer there is less and less that can be done about the candidate's positions vis-à-vis your ideals.

This leaves you with a dilemma. Do you compromise on your ideals and vote for the flawed candidate, or do you stand your ground and manipulate those in your sphere of influence to support another candidate who is say 90-100% your ideal, but who does not have a change in Hades of winning the election (i.e. a 3rd party candidate)? You know that your support of this candidate could very well cause the The Party's candidate to loose the election and with that loss you loose on all your ideals, not just the deficit between your ideals and the positions of The Party's candidate. That would be a very bad bet on your part. Perhaps you should consider the words of that wise sage, Kenny Rogers:
You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done.
Let him and her who has ears to hear heed that wise advise.

What happens when people just won't let go of perfection when it comes to their ideals. Well, there is precedent in history for those who will only settle for the ideal. They are called Utopians and some of their ideas when held up as ideals have become Dystopias (negative Utopias) causing more death, destruction, and misery than any of us in the United States can imagine. Utopian socialism and Communisim/Marxism come to mind in this regard. There are other Utopian ideals that hit closer to home: Libertarian transhumanists, libertarian socialists, and the Technocracy movement, for example. We could add to that the "CO2 is evil movement" (which is a looming Dystopias).

I think I've said enough. You get the idea. What I really wanted to do was introduce Robert Novak's
July 18th speech before the AFP-Texas Defending the American Dream Summit.

One more thing, though. McCain was not my first choice (Duncan Hunter), my second (Mit Romney) or my third choice (the one I voted for) during the Primary season. But as a Republican I have no choice but to support the candidate that The Party has chosen, warts and all. I ain't no Utopian and I know when to cut my losses.

I'm done. Now, please watch this video of Bob Novak. Enjoy....

Dems Attacks McCaul's Good Deed

Congressman McCaul's assistance in the rescue of two boys from a Pakistan Madrassa is being 'questioned'. File it under "No Good Deed goes Unattacked by Liberals."

Goriega and the Incoherent Energy Position

Cornyn's on a roll. His campaign has sliced and diced his opponents incoherent energy position: Between ‘Jokes' and Pesky Interns Asking Tough Questions, Noriega Has Problems Keeping His Story Straight. Noriega has given Cornyn the ammo with his many bizarre statements:

Noriega repeatedly claimed we should not develop U.S. energy resources, but should drill instead in Iraq. He essentially became the only political candidate anywhere advocating increased U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Noriega's energy plan was so extreme in pushing for alternative energy in 10 years, he was dubbed "Goriega". Then he couldn't figure out if he was for or against ANWR drilling (latest position - against).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Libertarian Party Aspiring ... to be spoilers?

The Austin American Statesman has an article on the Texas Libertarian Party titled Libertarians want to be kingmakers in legislative races. The article's author spoke with Pat Dixon, Texas LP party chair and Lago Vista city council member, and notes:
The Libertarian Party of Texas is not ready to be king, but it expects to be kingmakers -- or spoilers, depending upon your point of view -- in the state's most competitive races. ... In 2004, Libertarians were credited with helping Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, beat Republican incumbent Jack Stick. The Libertarian candidate received 2,390 votes; the margin of victory was only 569 votes in the north Travis County district.
Credited ... or blamed? We are now saddled in north Travis County with a liberal Democrat - Mark Strama - who gets an "F" in fiscal responsibility from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. He votes in no way, shape or form in concert with libertarian mindset, but is an Obama-supporting, liberal-voting, tax-and-spend pandering professional politician, slicker than a greased eel. While I don't blame Libertarians for the HD-50 Strama situation, it is a calamity nevertheless. Like a tapeworm, a professional politician like that is hard to extract once embedded in the system.

So it is with great concern that I read:

For 2008, Libertarians are targeting the Central Texas races to replace retiring Reps. Mike Krusee in Williamson County and Robby Cook, whose district includes Bastrop, Burleson, Colorado, Fayette and Lee counties and part of Brazos County.
So is this "target" as in "target to win" or "target 4% of the vote to be spoilers" so the left-liberal politically-correct-Educrat Democrat Moldanaro can beat out a pro-liberty fiscal conservative Bryan Daniel in the HD-52 race? We have a potentially great State Rep there (Daniel) who will listen to libertarian-type voters concerns, and a potentially awful candidate who will be the catspaw of the public sector unions and trial lawyers.
Pat Dixon, the party's state chairman and a Lago Vista City Council member. "We can swing votes. We're going to be a factor in more races."
Wow! A 'factor'! As in maybe get in high single digits instead of low single digits, maybe even give the Presidential vote in a state or two to Obama instead of McCain by peeling off some conservatives. It's a more honest assessment of their real impact instead of the usual third-party "This time will be different" run-up to a 1% vote total. Yet aspiring to be the swing vote spoiler really shows how ineffective the LP is. They even underscore the LP's fundamental problem by touting Ron Paul: the prime example of how influential their ideas can be comes from citing the example of a Republican Presidential campaign! That says much - Ron Paul got more visibility and a larger platform for his ideas as a Republican presidential candidate than as a Libertarian.

It would be good if the Libertarians/libertarians attempted to aspire to real political effectiveness, because this country needs more freedom and less Government, and their influence could be salutory. But that would require taking off the big "L", abandoning a failed third party approach, and becoming libertarians working in the one major political party where their ideas are most at home: the Republican Party. Consider some of the most effective political activist organizations - the litigious ACLU, the social conservative Christian Coalition, the gay rights Human Rights Campaign. I would add another group from Texas: The Texas Alliance for Life. TAL has achieved multiple pro-life victories as a force that influences the two party system, working mostly with Republicans but also with prolife Democrats to achieve their goals. These groups successfully worked the two party system, rather than try to work outside it.

A "Texas Liberty Alliance" that influenced primaries and lobbied for liberty would be far more effective than aspiring to spoiling for victory for the greater-of-two-evils.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Terri Leo: State Board of Education Update

Dallas Morning News Editorial Board Blunders Again (July 27, 2008)

When the Dallas Morning News editorial board in today's commentary proclaimed the virtues of the New Jersey Writing Project as a way to improve students' abilities to write, the Board showed its utter ignorance of what really goes on in Texas' public schools.

For over twenty years, almost every English teacher in Texas has followed the New Jersey Writing Project's philosophy of teaching writing! During those twenty years, school districts have paid huge amounts of tax dollars for teachers to be completely brainwashed in NJWP. What do we have to show for it? We have the type of students who cannot write a substantive, well-written, short-answer response on the TAKS tests; nor can students write the type of sophisticated papers that are needed in college and in the workplace. Ironically, this was the subject of Laurie Fox's and Holly Hacker's article to which the editorial board refers.

What the editorial board should have done was to applaud the efforts of the majority of the Texas State Board of Education members who on 5.23.08 dramatically changed the direction of our public schools away from the NJWP's wrong-headed curriculum.

The SBOE set our public schools on a new path toward the direct and systematic teaching of grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and handwriting as basic skills that form the foundation of good writing. Students cannot apply what they do not know. They cannot write well until they first learn how the English language is constructed.

Starting this fall, all Texas English teachers will begin the transition into the new standards (TEKS); and by next school year, these standards will be implemented with students, K-12.

A new day is coming for our Texas school students, and the DMN editorial board members need to find out what is happening before they commit further embarrassing blunders. -- Donna Garner

Editorial: Texas must improve student writing

12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, July 27, 2008

Here's the question about standardized tests: Can students prepare for them and still learn to think conceptually, including how to write persuasively?

The answer is yes, absolutely, but the effort will require teachers being devoted to teaching students to think creatively and to mastering material for a test.

Dallas Morning News reporters Laurie Fox and Holly Hacker explored this issue last Sunday in a probing report into how some North Texas high schoolers are flunking the short-essay part of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills for language arts. Not even half pass this portion, which requires reading a short piece and responding to it in a clear, thoughtful way.

Some blame excessive testing, but testing isn't the problem. If not for the test, we wouldn't know how bad the problem is.

The problem is students aren't sufficiently learning writing skills before high school. This spring, results from the gold standard of tests, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, showed that 74 percent of Texas eighth-graders – three out of four, on average – write below grade level.

Good writing requires students to think critically, set up an argument and present it artfully. And it can be part of any district's curriculum, if made a priority.
Just for the Kids, an Austin-based group that tracks best practices across the nation, praises several districts for their writing strategies. For example, Weslaco, Texas, schools use the New Jersey Writing Project that outlines ways to teach writing and establishes clear expectations.

Turning this problem around will require that superintendents insist on strong writing exercises – and more testing of writing skills. Texas only assesses short-response writing skills in high school on the English language exam. Missouri, Connecticut and other states test writing in more grades and subjects, including math.

Additional testing will require more state dollars for the Texas Education Agency. Written exams, after all, require humans – not computers – to evaluate them.
But the extra expenditures should even out over time. Colleges certainly wouldn't have to spend so much in remedial writing classes. And students would learn a skill they will need in a world that still prizes communication.

Incompetent Democrat leaders seek Unlimited Power

Greedy Democrats seek untrammelled majorities in this election. Kristol says to be afraid. I am livid.

The incompetent Pelosi/Reid crooks have been mismanaging Congress horribly for the past 18 months. They have put up awful bills (latest example is a $10 billion porker); they oppose common sense (like the Democrat opposition to drill now); they lard up everything with special interest earmark junk & waste our money ($300 billion farm bill in May, $300 billion mortage bailout this month); for every issue they want to raise our taxes (the Democrat-led House has voted more than a dozen tax increases this session); they have undermined our military and done little to support them; they constantly put partisanship above patriotism and witch-hunt attacks on the Bush White House above proper conduct of their branch of Govt; they have been utter hypocrites on ethics by keeping crooks in the Democratic caucus. And now they want MORE power? Perhaps, the best argument for voting Republican this year is the Democrat leadership in DC. Democrat leadership = Worst. Congress. Ever.

Obama Update

Obama - Not fit to Lead, a defense of the Iraq surge and a dissection of how wrong Obama is on it. It's clear now that Obama's position would have lost Iraq:

"He insisted on a plan for pulling out combat troops by March 2008 that would have lost the war, and as the primary campaign dragged on, even talked of a more rapid withdrawal. ... If Obama had had his way, we would have lost in Iraq. But he positioned himself exactly right in the Democratic primaries. This is shameful."

Reflection on Obama's speech, it was well-received Globalist fluff: "he said nothing of consequence. ... it was an oration singularly lacking in historical moment precisely because of its vacuity and historical relativism and revision."

Obama's healthcare plan will cover illegals; taxpayers on hook for socialized healthcare for 20 million illegal aliens.

McCain and Obama first joint meeting - color me disappointed by Rick Warrens topics, nothing on Mariage, life/abortion, education, or judges! Obama is trying to bamboozle evangelicals. Somehow, somewhere, some one needs to call out Barack Obama on his extreme left views on marriage, abortion, judges, and education, and it will discredit Rev Warren immensely if he allows himself to be party to a bamboozling by ignoring these issues in his forum.

Barack Hubris Obama. See also Audacity Overload - Obama suffers from a severe case of Obamamania.

Obama camp - Too many old people in Florida: "So let’s just forget about Florida. There’s just too many old people here. As Pat Buccanan said, “change” for them means a trip to the morgue."

Top ten things to expect from an Obama court: racial preferences; new constitutional rights to physician-assisted suicide; judicial oversight of military; Prohibiting tuition vouchers; Banning the death penalty; making taxpayers fund abortions; new constitutional rights to welfare programs; stripping "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance; eroding property rights; Federal right to gay marriage. Barack Obama promised to appoint judges "who best represents the changing demands of our country in the light of a living Constitution."

Go ahead, laugh at Obama.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

1976 all over again, pt3 - McCain's Path to Victory

As I have argued and mentioned the 2008 and 1976 parallels previously here and here and here. So it's a nice confirmation when a great pundit like Michael Barone sees 1976 in 2008, and talks about how the Ford team almost pulled off an incredible upset:

The Ford ad team honed in on his record, with man-on-the-street ads, some filmed on the streets of Atlanta. It was risky, going against the grain of public opinion. But the Ford campaign persisted, and it worked. The McCain campaign needs to take the same risk and to persist in the face of media disapproval.

Finally, the Ford campaign altered the mood of the nation. Voters then, as now, thought the nation was off on the wrong track. The Ford campaign, with a catchy song, "I'm Feeling Good About America," and upbeat ads starting off with shots of Air Force One, argued that their candidate was leading the nation around the corner, making Americans feel proud again. The McCain campaign needs to do something similar, to argue that their candidate can help the nation turn the corner and lead us into better times.

The good news for McCain is that Ford was able to recover from a 20+ point deficit in the polls from August to election day with his fall campaign, and we see Obama quite a bit weaker in the polls than that, although Obama is still leading overall. Over at NextRight, I put a post called McCain's Path to Victory, giving a template of what McCain needed to do to win. Key points:
... the path to McCain victory is clear enough - define the choice, define your opponent, and define your positive plan for Americans. The MSM is so much in Obama's corner that they will not cede the narrative easily. But McCain will have to be bold and GRAB the narrative by taking all advantages and going on offense.

1. Define the choice in this election - More Govt or less Govt; winning the GWOT and defending our freedom while we defeat trerrorists or basing decisions on expediency not our long-term strategic interest; reforming Govt with transparency and end to earmarks and real fiscal restraint or status quo tax-and-spend-and-borrow that weakens our economy;

2. Define Obama as inexperienced, poor judgement, leftwing extremist with a history of suspicious assocations, who is wrong on Iraq, wrong on taxes, wrong on spending, wrong judges, wrong to support gay marriage in Cali, wrong to support abortion-on-demand, and wrong on how to lead America forward

3. Reach out to all Americans and all groups on a number of issues besides this that tie the family, freedom and national security defending-America agenda together.

4. Take over the optimism. Our hope for the future lies in defending our freedom and expanding opportunity today. Express it and keep expressing it so people know that voting for you is voting for a better future. (Thats what Obama is selling with his 'hope and change' message; can we please be a little original and steal the concept without recycling his words and sounding like me-too artists?) ... As in "McCain, proven reformer ... working for your future" "McCain - building a better tomorrow" or "Let's build a better tomorrow, together."

This 4-point campaign template above is a skeleton of what gave Reagan his blowout win in 1984.

McCain's main challenge in implementing the strategy will be the initiative. The Obama campaign has run a big, expensive, media-savvy campaign, and they can afford to do that and hog all the oxygen, because the Obamedia is in their corner and will repat the Obama campaign narrative as gospel (latest case in point: 20,000 people showed up to hear Obama speak in Berlin yet all the news services are carrying the bogus inflated numbers of the Obama campaign estimate of 200,000 instead. as what happened. Rejoinder.)

McCain will need a "grab the microphone" moment. A game-changer: Palin for VP? Simply beat Obama in debates? (but don't count on it). major speech soon? ... Or maybe ...One-term promise?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beijing's Generating Real Air Pollution, Not Just Food for its Vegetation (CO2)

Peace & Freedom Blog just posted a story about the escalating pollution in Beijing as 888 (August 8. 2008) approaches. Here is an excerpt from Olympics: Air Pollution Reduction Measures Are In Place But (OOPS!) Pollution Is Increasing:

Some Olympic-class runners here for training are heading for home. One told our Hongli Jia, “I would love to have a gold medal. But in this I cannot perform.”

“I wouldn’t expect a world record in the marathon in Beijing,” says Marco Cardinale, a doctor who advises the British Olympic Committee. “The issue isn’t just air quality, but the combination of heat, humidity and bad air.”

Many athletes didn’t come to Beijing to train because of the bad air.

“There is no other reason but to stay out of the pollution. It’s definitely to avoid the air,” said Reed, who if he qualifies will be training with the other U.S. triathletes on South Korea’s Cheju island. “This air [in Beijing] is just so terrible for your body.”

Here is some of the Washington Post’s report by Maureen Fan in Beijing:

While uncontrollable factors such as the weather have worked against the city, many problems are entirely man-made. The largest contributing factor to Beijing’s air pollution is vehicle emissions, Du has said in the past. Thanks to growing public demand and friendly government policies toward car manufacturers, Beijing adds more than 1,000 cars to its streets every day.

Despite the new figures, Du argued that the capital’s air quality was actually better compared with the same period last year because the concentrations of major pollutants — such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide — were reportedly down 20 percent.

Beijing does not make public data on two of the most dangerous pollutants that can harm the respiratory system — ozone and fine particulate matter. The latter has been found to enter the bloodstream and cause heart attacks and strokes in sensitive individuals.

In a last-minute push to help clear the skies, the government imposed a series of Olympic-related restrictions that kicked in Sunday.

In addition to mandating alternate-day driving based on odd and even license plate numbers — which is supposed to remove 45 percent of the city’s 3.3 million cars from the streets — Beijing opened Olympic traffic lanes, stopped all but essential truck traffic, staggered work hours, added 2,000 buses, beefed up subway service and halted all construction work involving earth, stone and concrete.

Since Sunday, the city’s air pollution index readings have been 55, 65, 67, 89, 113 and 110. Last Aug. 8, a year before next month’s opening ceremony, Beijing’s air pollution index was 88.

No wonder the Communist Chinese are not much concerned about carbon emissions, they have literally tons and tons of particulate pollution and ozone to deal with. These are real pollutants that may not warm the planet but threaten to bring millions of Chinese and others to room temperature prematurely.

The KMT and the Greening of Taiwan

The China Post story below about Taiwan's left leaning "energy" policies (more like "environmental" policies) shows that the Kuomintang (KMT) is anything but politically conservative in our way of thinking. I think the reason these policies appeal to the Chinese Nationalist mindset is that the Nationalist have always and forever been about State Socialism. They have always wanted to control the means of production and consumption. This has allowed them to have gang like control over the island entrenching themselves through corruption and thereby becoming the richest political party in the free world. ("The Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) - Until 1986, Taiwan's political system was effectively controlled by one party, the KMT, the leader of which also was the ROC president. Many top political officials were members of the party. The party claimed over 2 million members, and its net assets were reputed to total more than NT $61.2 billion, making it the richest political party in the world.")

Prior to 2000, when power was transferred to the Taiwanese by democratic election for the first time in history (the 1st democratization milestone was the 1996 Presidential election), the KMT could exert this control with impunity in part because the political right in the United States viewed it/Taiwan as a stop gap against the Communist Chinese. The United States providing moral support to the Nationalists in "the eventual" taking back of China from the Communists (
it wasn't until 1991 that the KMT claim to rule all of China was dropped). As a result, many Republicans have viewed the KMT as a fellow right wing party rather as the center left socialist party in seems to be today, and indeed has always been. Preceded in expression of devotion to the Mainland by KMT Party member and loosing 2004 Presidential candidate Lien Chan (a real sore looser) and People First Party (PFP) candidate James Soong, Taiwan's new president, Harvard Graduate (and US green card holder) Ma Ying-jeou promised his dying father, as evidenced by the engraving on his father's urn, that he would work toward eventual reunification of Taiwan and China (as if they has ever been unified in the first place).

Similarly Ma's economic vision is far from that of conservative Republicans. So it seems apropos that the Premier in Ma's administration would reveal an energy "policy" which tracks with that of the left in the United States. Touted as "a concrete plan for slashing carbon emissions within a period of four years," it includes bike paths and strong encouragement for people to use bicycles, more efficient but hazardous fluorescent light bulbs, conversion of vehicles to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and quotas/deadlines for moving to alternative energy sources. (The LED traffic signals are, however, a nice addition.) Prominent in its omission from Ma's "energy" policy are any plans to boost the real supply of energy. But since the policy is to slash carbon emissions I suppose they can increase the non-carbon-emitting energy supply, right? Good luck, Ma!

Somehow when you cross the seas right becomes left, and left becomes right. For just as the KMT Party does not seem like the political right to us (though considered the political right in Taiwan), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) identifies itself as liberal and yet holds to many core ideals Republican's adhere to. With a few exceptions, the platfo
rm of the DPP fits well within that of the Republican Party of Texas, while the KMT does not have a platform but rather takes policy positions base on white papers from it's leaders. The KMT is not a grass roots political party. The DPP is much less centralized, much less authoritarian, thus more like the Republican Party of Texas.

Premier issues energy policies

Saturday, July 26, 2008
The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Liu Chao-shiuan announced a concrete plan for slashing carbon emissions within a period of four years in accordance with the sustainable development policies of President Ma Ying-jeou.

Liu said yesterday that all traffic signals across Taiwan will be replaced with LED lights in three years.

Power-saving bulbs in all homes and water heaters running on solar energy for 140,000 households will be installed in four years.

As many as 100,000 of the island's taxis will be running on cleaner-burning liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in four years.

These were among the major action plans worked out by Liu and senior Cabinet officials at a meeting to review the administrative work for the past two months and map out new strategies for the coming months and years.

Liu said the measures will be implemented to realize the green revolution promised by President Ma and Vice President Vincent Siew in their election campaign pledges to conserve energy and safeguard the environment while achieving long-term and sustainable economic development. On World Environment Day on June 5, President Ma reaffirmed that the government's future policies would not only focus on economic growth but also on social welfare and sustainability.

LED traffic signals

One of the major initiatives is to replace all bulbs in traffic lights to LED (light-emitting diode) lights within three years.

Taiwan is one of the world's top suppliers of LED products, including the light panels used by TV sets and computers.

In three years, Taiwan will rank along with Singapore as one of the most advanced areas in terms of utilizing LED systems for traffic control, Liu said.

Power-saving bulbs

Liu and other government officials believe overhauling Taiwan's lighting system will pay big dividends in electricity savings.

The move was in line with a decision by many advanced countries to end the sale and use of incandescent bulbs by 2012.

The government already implemented a plan to give discounts on electricity bills for families that exert efforts to limit power consumption to less than the previous year.

According to Yeh Huey-ching, the director-general of the Bureau of Energy under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the policy aims to gradually eliminate the use of conventional light bulbs in Taiwan, where about 22 million incandescent bulbs are consumed per year.

Solar-power heaters

Liu said the government will encourage the installation of solar-powered water heaters at a rate of 35,000 sets each year to bring the total to 140,000 in four years.

Taiwan now ranks among world leaders in the development and production of solar-energy equipment and materials, including the solar batteries and panels.

However, most of the products are exported to overseas market every year while not many local residents on the island are able to share the benefits.

With its advanced technology and geographic position with constant exposures to the sun, Taiwan is in the best position to tap solar energy.

LPG taxis

The government has been remodeling vehicles at public offices and public transport systems to use clean LPG or biodiesel processed from waste cooking oil.

Converting all taxis in Taiwan into LPG vehicles is another major step to reduce carbon emissions.

Premier Liu set out a target to build more LPG refueling stations and converting all taxis running on Taiwan roads and streets in four years.

Other changes

Concerning other initiatives concerning the transformation of living environment and transport services, Liu's Cabinet will expand bicycle paths islandwide and build up public transportation networks in the rural regions.

Government agencies will also increase the number of rechargeable electric motorcycles to 100,000 islandwide.

In addition to beefing up research and development fund for developing renewable energy resources, Liu said the government will boost the special loans to NT$50 billion from NT$10 billion to help enterprises modernize their manufacturing facilities.

The building code will be revised to encourage the construction of "green buildings."


Environmentalists welcomed in general the new measures, but wanted more details.

Huang Sifon, director of an association promoting green transportation, said that the premier needed to explain what kind of bike paths he plans to build.

"What people need is to use the bicycle as a real means of transportation -- which can really make our transportation greener -- and not just as a recreational device that people enjoy in the evening on the riverside," she said, hoping that the bike paths will be set up for commuters.

"It is a good thing that the government will help convert taxis into LPG vehicles," said Pan Han-shen, secretary-general of the Green Party Taiwan, although other problems need to be solved for the new measure to have maximum impact.

He argued that there are too many taxis in Taiwan, and empty taxis running all day leads to a serious waste of energy.

According to the Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control under the Environmental Protection Administration, 14,702 of a total of 89,215 taxis in Taiwan have already converted to LPG systems as of the end of June this year.

Copyright © 2008 The China Post.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Congressman McCaul Helps Free Boys from Pakistani Madrassas

H/T to Statesman's Postcards from the Lege blog.

McCaul's opponent was giving him grief over not being in the district lately, and McCaul responded by pointing out he was a bit busy lately ... like visiting Iraq and Afghanistan to support the troops and stuff like this ...

SAFER credits McCaul and State Dept for release of two brothers from Atlanta held in a madrassa in Pakistan:

In early July, SAFER worked with U.S. Congressman Michael McCaul to secure the release of Noor and Mahboob Khan, two brothers from Atlanta also held at the madrassa on expired religious education visas.

“Without the intervention of Congressman McCaul, the US State Department and the Pakistani government, the Khan brothers would still be in the Jamia Binoria madrassa,” Pertierra said. “The U.S. government must act swiftly to also release Muna and all the American children held at Jamia Binoria.”

Way to go, Rep McCaul.

MSM Mute on Edwards Scandal

Kaus, reporting on the curious and desperate attempts by the MSM to not say anything about a National Enquirer article on Edwards' philandering, uncovers that LA Times Editors ban discussion of Edwards love-child charges. Quoting LATimes directive to bloggers:

There has been a little buzz surrounding John Edwards and his alleged affair. Because the only source has been the National Enquirer we have decided not to cover the rumors or salacious speculations. So I am asking you all not to blog about this topic until further notified.

Just another example of the liberal lamestream media doing message management for their friends on the liberal Democrat side. The double-standard is duly noted by right-blogosphere. Exhibit A of double-standard: The NYTimes failed attempt to trashmouth McCain in February because someone, somewhere had a whispering suspicion about something a Republican did, and that made it ‘news’ to the New York Times, even if it was unfounded, anonymous and in the end baseless garbage.

Now the bias extends to their blog properties; consider it next time you visit an MSM blog. No, we won't mention more of the story here anyway, but will note in X-Files fashion, "the truth is out there." Just not in the liberal news outlets.

Obama 18 months behind McCain on Afghanistan

Dec 2006 - MCcain seeks more troops in Afghanistan during a visit there:

"If it's necessary, we will (send additional troops), and I'm sure we would be agreeable, but the focus here is more on training the Afghan National Army and the police, as opposed to the increased U.S. troop presence," ... "Taliban remains a very big threat, and we have a long way go to before they are eradicated,"

Now the meme of the week is how Obama is 'leading the way' in calling for more troops in Afghanistan. This Obama guy is like a clown who jumps in front of a parade and thinks that means he's leading it.

UPDATE: Another Obama clown-show meme from their world wind(bag) tour is trying to defend Obama's absurd claim that the Anbar awakening would have succeeded without the surge, and trying to dispute McCain's argument that the surge was vital to success in Anbar as well as Iraq overall. The 'proggosphere' is wrong as usual, with an incredulous argument that basically has a premise that everything in late 2006 was going well in Anbar.

McCain was right about Anbar comment here:
“This counter-insurgency was initiated to some degree by Col. McFarland in Anbar province, relatively on his own. And I visited with him in December of 2006. He had already initiated that strategy in Ramadi by going in and clearing and holding in certain places,” McCain said. “Later on, there were additional troops, and General Petraeus said that the surge would not have worked, and the Anbar awakening would not have taken place, successfully, if they hadn’t had an increase in the number of troops.”

Exactly so.

Meanwhile, the Obama camp is reduced to idiocies such as Wesley Clark giving credit to the Saudis for peace in Iraq, in a desperate attempt to avoid admitting that the Surge actually worked, and that therefore McCain was right to support it and that Obama was wrong to oppose it. We have one man who has proven he has the judgement to fight and win against our enemies, and we have another, Obama, a rookie Senator who shifts for political expediency and depends on the spin-hype machine to avoid looking like the fool he really is.

Quote of the Day - TR and the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
–Theodore Roosevelt

King of Preen, Lord of Hordes

Brit Skewers the Obamassiah World Tour

TimesOnline columnist Gerald Baker has a hilarious parody of the media's beyond-fawning treatment of Barack Obama's overseas trip. Money quote:

And lo, in Mesopotamia, a miracle occurred. Even though the Great Surge of Armour that the evil Bush had ordered had been a terrible mistake, a waste of vital military resources and doomed to end in disaster, the Child's very presence suddenly brought forth a great victory for the forces of the light.

And the Persians, who saw all this and were greatly fearful, longed to speak with the Child and saw that the Child was the bringer of peace. At the mention of his name they quickly laid aside their intrigues and beat their uranium swords into civil nuclear energy ploughshares.

Read the whole post.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

House votes for a Fund-the-Left Billion-Dollar Bailout Bill

Brought to you by the Worst. Congress. Ever ...

Via Redstate: a last-minute alert:

The U.S. Congress is about to vote on H. R. 3221, the Housing Bailout legislation.

Discovered today, the legislation will funnel millions of dollars to La Raza and ACORN, two far left organizations.

The Democrats have structured the legislation so that the provision to give La Raza and ACORN your money cannot be stripped from the legislation.

Call your Congressman at 202-224-3121 and tell him to vote against H. R. 3221.

We should not be using your money to fund groups that would gladly help overthrow the United States in favor of a far left vision.

Alas, the House voted on it already ... BUT THERE IS STILL TIME TO STOP IT. via CNN:
"The House on Wednesday voted 272-152 to pass sweeping legislation that will offer up to $300 billion in assistance to troubled homeowners and throw government support behind mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The nearly 700-page measure will now go back to the Senate, where final passage is expected. But it's not clear when the vote will occur because of a Republican filibuster threat. "

We need to encouarge our Senators to join in filibustering this bill unless and until the poison-bill give-aways to the left-wing interest groups are taken out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Senator Inhofe: Peer-reviewed studies refute IPCC on Global Warming

U.S. Senate Hearing on Climate Science - Study Finds 'Mostly Natural' Warming. Senator Inhofe: ‘Numerous peer-reviewed studies, analyses and prominent scientists continue to speak out to refute many conclusions of the IPCC.'

Inhofe Opening Statement: An Update on the Science of Global Warming and its Implications, July 22, 2008

Senator Inhofe Excerpt:
Numerous peer-reviewed studies, analyses and prominent scientists continue to speak out to refute many conclusions of the IPCC. I have documented in the past how the consensus on the “science is settled” debate has been challenged, and in many cases, completely refuted, from the hockey stick, to the Stern Review, to the IPCC backtracking on conclusive physical links between global warming and observed hurricane frequency and intensity. Just this past week, a major new study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Climate Dynamics that finds worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response' to oceans, and not carbon dioxide. There have also been recent challenges by Russian scientists to the very idea that carbon dioxide is driving Earth’s temperature and a report from India challenging the so-called “consensus.” The Physics and Society Forum, a unit within the American Physical Society, published a new paper refuting the IPCC conclusions where the editor conceded there is a ‘considerable presence' of global warming skeptics within the scientific community. More and more prominent scientists continue to speak out and dissent from man made global warming. In June, the Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever, declared himself a “skeptic” and said “global warming has become a new religion.” Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Joanna Simpson, the first woman in the world to receive a PhD in meteorology also dissented in 2008. “As a scientist I remain skeptical” of climate fears, Dr. Simpson said in February of this year. In June, a top UN IPCC Japanese Scientist, Dr. Kiminori Itoh, turned on the IPCC and called man-made global warming fears the “worst scientific scandal in the history.” In addition, more evidence of challenges to global warming occurred when two top hurricane scientists announced they were reconsidering their views on global warming and hurricanes. As the normal scientific process continues to evolve and models continue to improve, there have many more instances documented that are positive developments, which should be embraced, rather than ridiculed or immediately attacked by the media or policymakers. It is my hope that as more and more of these researchers speak out, scientific objectivity and integrity can be restored to the field of global warming research.

Jihadist Market Manipulation

Islamist Radicals Working To Implement New Golden Rule: He Who Has the Gold, Makes the Rules

While liberal pols' and journalists' antagonist in their ongoing demon of the week drama is currently oil speculators, other more insidious market actors could be in action causing deeper and more lasting harm.

According to a recent post on the Terror Finance blog by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen, the war on Islamic Fascism should also include an understanding of Shari'a finance and its role in subverting Western economies. Money quotes:

Rising oil prices and the West's dependency on Middle East oil, combined with willful blindness and political correctness, provide a surge of petrodollars, making financial and economic jihad so much easier to carry out. Moreover, according to Shari'a, Muslims hold all property in trust for Allah. Therefore, under the Shari'a, all current and historic Muslim acquisitions everywhere, including the United States, belong to the ummah, in trust for Allah.
So, if high oil prices aren't enough to convince you to support domestic oil production, maybe the threat of our sworn enemies using proceeds from $4/gallon gas against us will. While all Muslims may not uphold the command to hold property in trust for Allah, enough might to work implement the jihadist market menace.


Monday, July 21, 2008

The political money race mid-year snapshot

Texas Weekly has the Mid-year money report on Congress, Texas Senate and Texas House races. Statewide, Michael Williams' opponent only has $125 cash on hand, so he's got no trouble at all.

Key Congressional and state Senate races:

McCaul is ahead, good news for him. Up against incumbent Lampson in DeLay's old district, Pete Olson has lower cash on hand post primary, but he can and should win it with enough financial support. The Congressional numbers are showing a disturbing national trend, where the special interest PACs have poured the money into the Democrat coffers, helping them have a big funding advantage overall. This is reflected in several races shown here. I mentioned this phenomenon in the post Larson versus the PAC-man. The best we can hope for is that in many cases, like the Culberson race, it will not matter. Alas, in the Larson - Rodriguez race, the Democrat money advantage may well it out of reach this go around, despite it being a swing district with a not-very-good incumbent.

The state Senate has good news in that Chris Bell has not gotten his funding act together yet. The risk is that this high-profile former Gov candidate might steal the seat due to his profile and due to the fractured GOP field, despite the 15% GOP advantage in 2006. But other possibly vulnerable seats do not look like they are showing anything to be concerned about.

Here's the state House numbers for key seats:

Opportunities for Republican pickups can be found in HD-11, HD-17 (Klienschmidt), HD-85, HD-97, and HD-107, (Keffer v Dem incumbent Vaught). In all cases, the Republicans have a double-digit voter affiliation advantage (31% in HD-11) and are financially competitive or ahead. Locally, Donna Keel in HD-47 and Bryan Daniel of HD-52 are behidn but competitive financially; they could use help. Valinda Bolton has been an extreme leftist and has been undistinguished record. With her low fundraising numbers, she looks vulnerable should Republicans make an effort there.

One possible vulnerable Republican seat in the list is Dee Margo, HD-87, but Margo is ahead in the money race, $108,000 to $37,000. Tony Goolsbey of HD-102 is also way ahead. So it does not look like there is much opportunity for Democrats on this list reflected in their money raising, with the exception of HD-52, which Krusee almost lost in 2006 and bowed out of this cycle; they will be gunning for HD-52, hoping to extend their gains in Travis into Williamson.

HD-144 Republican Legler looks behind in this money count. $0 on hand. He'll need more in this open race. And is Hubert Vo (D - Slumlord of Houston) the master of funny money or what? Expenditures higher than contributions, yet he has $100,000 cash on hand. With Vo's ordinance-violating properties plastered on the Houston Chronicle last year, and his record of campaign ethics violations, he's a disaster of a State Rep; I would think Greg Meyers could take him out with a little help.

My take, a summary: With 6 or more GOP possible state House pickups and only 1 or 2 Dem pickups, all in GOP-friendly districts, it looks ripe for plus year for Republicans in the House, depending on how the stars align at the Federal level. McCain will win Texas, but it will matter to these races if it's a single digit win as he loses the election or a 20 digit plus win in Texas as McCain wins nationally. Both are possible as of now. I don't see any of the Republican state Senators going to defeat, and the only possible upset would be Chris Bell in SD-9, if the GOP screws it up enough. The only Congressional seat that will likely change hands would be the Lampson-Olson race, although Legler has a shot, albeit long. McCaul and Culberson will win their races as their opponents spend a lot money failing to repeat the magic of 2006. Despite the clarion call for change, most incumbents will win, as usual.

Let Them Eat Yellow Cake

Texas and US Lag Unlikely Player in Nuclear Energy

This morning's Wall Street Journal piece on nuclear energy by William Tucker is one of the most cogent yet easy to understand stories I've seen on the virtues of nuclear energy and the arguments of nuclear opponents. Money quotes:

While we may be at a turning point, one enormous question still hangs over this revival of nuclear power in the U.S.: Who is going to pay for it?.... the capital will have to be raised from Wall Street. But not many investors are willing to put up $5 billion to $10 billion for a project that could become engulfed by 10 to 15 years of regulatory delay -- as occurred during the 1980s.
Of course, the inevitable "regulatory delay". Who can blame investors for not wanting to fork over $10B of of hard-won money on the vague hope that some regulatory bureaucrats will get off their keister in time to get a decent ROI. I'm all for proper environmental protections, but does it take 15 years to get those issues figured out? Surely somebody, somewhere in the world has figured out how to responsibly handle nuclear waste and accelerate their nuclear energy development.


Let's Count the Ways we Need to Show Photo ID

I recently moved across Austin to Wells Branch. In selecting a neighborhood, one of the things taken into account was the fact that Austin is going to raise taxes next year to make up for the city spending $27 million more than they had last fiscal year. That is for another story, though.

Today, I called the post office to find out how to get my mailbox key for the community box at the corner. I was told to show up in person with a receipt of sale and valid photo identification. Valid photo identification! What a novel concept.

So, in this country, I have personally found we need valid photo identification to buy alcohol, adopt a pet, purchase a rifle, write a check at the grocery store, make a credit card purchase at Best Buy, apply for a loan to purchase anything, start a new bank account, get married and receive a marriage license, drive, close on a house, get medical care, and to pick up a mailbox key from the US Post Office.

What surprises me is that a photo ID is not required to vote. The most fundamental right and privelege of being an American citizen is voting, yet we do not need to show photo identification to vote. What I find surprising and hypocritical is that the Democrat Party opposes the use of photo identification to vote but requires photo ID to receive credentials at the Texas Democrat Convention. Amazing.

The Obamedia keeps pitching in

Great moments in media bias: NY Times refuses to run McCain's rebuttal to Obama on Iraq. Fortunately, you can read McCain's op ed via the link.

OTOH, the Obamedia can't help dig Obama out of the hole of being stubbornly wrong about the efficacy of the Surge strategy. When it was proposed he said it wouldn't work and opposed it. He was wrong. The Surge worked, and Obama still says it was wrong thing to do.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Big-Government Conservatism is An Oxymoron

Ruffini dissects Brooks latest heretical call for 'activist government' - "In his latest New York Times column, "The Coming Activist Age," Brooks predicts a coming burst of government interventionism in health care, energy, and the economy."

"I remember when Kristol and Brooks first wrote that famous Weekly Standard piece on "national greatness conservatism" in 1997 (recapped in this WSJ op-ed) -- which argued, laugably, for large public momuments as a testament to a more patriotic, nationalist Leviathan. This argument too held up Teddy Roosevelt as a model for right-leaning government activism, and it manifested again in their enthusiasm for John McCain's TR-centric 2000 bid."
I am reminded of two things:
The first is that TR's last electoral foray was as the Bull Moose party head, going against the conservative Howard Taft for not being progressive enough. That was 1912, and Teddy Roosevelt was actually running to the left of Woodrow Wilson. Wilson was elected and we soon had the income tax and instruments of Government power in the Federal level we never had before. Wilson's WWI agencies acted as a trail run for the New Deal, which cemented into our modern Big Government.

So what exactly is Teddy Roosevelt of "The new Nationalism" a model for? A divided GOP that hands power to Democrats? A futile move to out socialize the socialists? Or an attempt to deny the small-Government conservatives access to either political party?

The Second thing I am reminded of is a book by Robert Nisbet back in the 1980s "The Current Age", where he argued that despite Reagan, we were in the age of Big Government and it was inevitable with the Cold War. It was Nisbet who alerted me to the connection between Woodrow Wilson and the New Deal, and if you extend it generationally, you have New Dealer LBJ, and the Ickes clan and Kennedy clans carrying the torch to the new generation of socializing Democrats.

The Ron Paulites have a bit of a point - war and socialism do go together. It was a point Robert Nisbet made. And now look at the contrast of the peace of 1990s vs the post 9/11 timeframe. Higher spending in the recent period, not just on military and security, but on other things at the Federal level. The "guns and butter" dual spending sprees seem to go together, as the spirit of common purpose either engenders greater trust in Government or it encourages great fiscal laxity. Both may get burnt out, as the Democrats ply the most unbelievable lie on the American people: That Government failures are due solely and uniquely to Bush administration, and that they are not incompetent like the other folks.

What has changed since Vietnam is that the public cannot trust the Democrats to fight wars. It will trust the Republicans to fight wars. Hence the 2002 and 2004 elections. But if the tenor of the age is public purpose, the 'greatness conservatives' sneak in and say "Why dont we do like LBJ and FDR did, just on the conservative side?"

One problem: Big-Government Conservatism is An Oxymoron. Like the Aesop's fable of the donkey who tries to act like a dog and beg for food at the dinner table. Try to be what you cannot be, and you are just a Jackass at a dinner party.

The fact is clear. We have two political parties. The party of smaller Government and the party of larger Government. One every issue we face, there is a generic question: Should the Government do more or do less? It is certainly boring to be in the position of saying "No" all the time, so the 'greatness conservatives' desperately want to say yes. The problem is, they say yes to the wrong things. Given the choice between two big-Government Democrats, voters pick the real one every time.

We need to reject the siren calls of me-too big Governmentism. Ruffini too rejects it outright - SOS - Same Old Socialism:

As conservatives and libertarians, we must firmly reject the David Brooks idea that Obama's ideas represent the "future" or "change" or even "radical change." They are in fact a radical reaction -- a return to the dreary 1930s when big government, big corporations, and big labor ruled.

At the same time, the politics of "No" are the politics of reactionary losers. If we are against a government program or spending priority, we have to explain why and what the alternatives are.
Ruffini has a better way:
To a certain extent, the industrial age favored a strong government. Government was the only institution that could go toe to toe with the large employers, and conditions for the middle class were enough the same that one size did fit all, to some degree. This is why the New Deal was viable at the time. But with the advent of the information age and the rise of self-employment, those days are over.

Does the same apply to an information age nation of free agents? As a small business owner, my self interest is not for government health care. I want cheaper, individual health plans with a lot of choice, with any risk pooled through free-forming associations of small businesses like mine. The idea that you can only pool health care risk through 20th century corporations or government seems as nonsensical to me as the idea of having to shell out hundreds or thousands for an Exchange server when free apps do the job just as well.

We might call it open source Government or Object-oriented Government. We can move away from one-size-fits-all Government, to a system where there is maximum choice for all, minimum subsidies for anything, and where you use the marketplace to be more flexible for people in different situations. The key word to describe this agenda is choice: Education choice, Social Security choice, healthcare choice, medicare choice. We can even have tax system choice, as there is a proposal to allow taxpayers to choose either the flat tax system or traditional system.

Ruffini says in his closing:
... we need to have confidence that the path of progressively smaller government, progressively lower tax rates, and progressively more individualized solutions on Social Security or health care is the correct one, because it matches up with the realities of today's decentralized free-agent economy.

Exactly so. What has been discredited in the past few years if anything is Governmental hubris: Hurricanes still hurt us; wars are not painless victories; and political corruption and incompetence is endemic and fully bipartisan. Big Government and over-reaching Government has failed us. It's time to remember a basic Management 101 principle: when something or someone goes outside its areas of competence, it fails.

In this 'free-agent' economy, where you outsource everything but your core competence, we can have smaller and smarter Government. Good Government is Government that sticks to its core competence, which is the protection of our rights, our lives and our property from predators, criminals, and enemies. Anything outside that core competence invites Governmental corruption, incompetence, rent-seeking and waste; it repeats the failures of socialism and causes economic dislocations. Every need or desire in the culture or economy, can and should be filled by the actions of free people in the market-oriented, open and free economy and culture.

We can and we must have a 21st century vision of society and our nation built around the conservative principles that we believe in. If we cannot envision it, then we are destined to fight a futile defensive struggle against the encroachments of the other side. But we do have that vision:

1. The Choice Agenda, as mentioned above. Education choice via vouchers. Social Security choice via individual accounts. Healthcare choice through a fundamental deregulation of health insurance, starting with allowing people to get health insurance via any of the 50 states, adding health savings accounts, Medicare choice, and making a level tax playing field between self-insured and employer-insured people.

2. I spoke in a previous article of the "15% solution" where Federal spending was capped at 15% of GDP; we can speak of a Fundamental tax reform agenda that caps spending at 15% and caps tax rates and keeps them as low as possible. This agenda caps spending; moves Federal taxation from production to consumption; opens up Social Security and Medicare to choice; and provides a Federal Taxpayer bill of rights.

3. Open Government. One comment quote mentions: "Conservatives today should be calling out against the placing of an open-ended checkbook into the hands of the political class. " We can end the open-ended checkbook by exposing to light of day all government spending. How? Through Government transparency, wherein Government spending, contracts, and the check registers, are shared online. Leave nothing hidden.

4. Term limits. It was a good idea in 1994 and its a good idea now. To represent the people, one should come from the people and return to the people and not be a 'professional' politician.

Big-Government Conservatism is An Oxymoron.
We must reject it. But we must also not get boxed into the mode of being Dr "No" as the left comes up with more creative excuses for Government control (such as "Oh no, the icecaps are melting polar bears away! Quick, lets regulate the entire energy usage of every person right now!") We need a positive, small-Government conservative agenda. The vision and agenda starts with the principle that Good Government is small Government that sticks to its basic and core responsibilities of protecting our lives, ourselves and our rights and doesn't go outside those core functions.

An agenda of low-tax-rate and limited spending Government, open Government, choice, and citizen representation via term limits is the right Right agenda, or at least is several good planks of such an agenda.

There is perhaps a reason why Mr Brooks is the house 'conservative' columnist for the New York Times. That liberal newspaper is never threatened by what Brooks might say, which is one reason why conservatives must reject it and stick to their conservative principles in putting together an agenda for 21st century conservatism.