Sunday, November 22, 2009

CTRA calls for opposition to Senate healthcare bill

The Central Texas Republican Assembly
November 22, 2009

For Immediate Release
Contact Tim Bradberry

(Travis County, Texas) – Saturday night, the United States Senate voted 60-39 to keep its ill-conceived and largely unpopular health care bill alive in the face of growing opposition by voters around the country, especially voters in states like Arkansas who oppose the bill 64% to 28% (Zobgy). Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln (D) defied the wishes of the 64% of her fellow Arkansans who oppose the bill and voted with Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and the other 56 Democrats and 2 “Independents”, including Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) who has promised to filibuster the bill if the public option is not stripped out of it.

In the early afternoon, long before the 8pm (EST) vote, Matt Drudge tweeted Louisiana Purchase: $300 million for [Sen. Mary Landrieu’s] vote
, a reference to what Sen. Landrieu herself boasts is not $100 million but $300 million in promised cost reductions of the bill’s higher Medicaid liability for her state, costs that one can assumed will be redistributed to the other 49 states, like so much gas tax receipts, enough to buy her vote. reported “Senator Landrieu is a major swing vote and her vote appears to be necessary for the current Senate legislation to pass.” Since the required 60 votes in favor of starting debate was exactly met, each one of the affirmative votes was a deciding vote.

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) was wheeled out to his place on the floor of the Senate just long enough to have his vote cast, no less a deciding vote than that of Sen. Landrieu. Madeline Crabb calls the continued service of Senator Byrd a “great reason for term limits” — see

The Central Texas Republican Assembly is opposed to the health care bill being debated in the Senate and calls upon all Americans to join hands, voices, and forces to oppose it and to make the next deciding vote effect the defeat of this freedom reducing, marriage penalizing, abortion funding, health care rationing, deficit ballooning, state budget busting, fine imposing bill with the Orwellian tile, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Russian hacker releases 100 megabytes of internal communications from the Hadley center in the UK, that shows "Hadley is the Enron of Global Warming".

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Left's "Winning Through Intimidation" Ploy

“The ongoing campaign of hatred directed at Carrie is inexplicable, and ugly.”
- Maggie Gallagher

This campaign of political intimidation is far from inexplicable. Over-the-top expressions and attacks, personal berating, etc. It is the same intolerant mind-shaping that totalitarians and Jackboot leftists have always engaged in for years. They will demean, disparage and defame those who oppose their core beliefs, and will top at nothing to destroy those who oppose them. Sometimes its in the form of racial blackmail, a la, a Jesse Jackson shakedown. Sometimes its simply a disinvitation to a University speaking event for a conservative voice. Sometimes,
like the anti-Prop 8 folks did, they will show up at your place of work and hound you out of a job. Sometimes it is physical, like the ACORN activists attacking a “Tea Party” person.

It has a clear purpose. It’s called “winning through intimidation”.

“But the anti gay marriage movement had to cash in on her [Carrie Prejean’s] notoriety …
She can say whatever she wants, but I think you are foolish to hitch your cause to her wagon”
- Email to NR

This is a liberal telling us not to defend a victim of defamation tactics. Carrie Prejean ‘notoriety’ is a concoction of the attack machine. She is a woman who’s been viciously attacked for her beliefs, and was attacked solely to create an example for those who share those beliefs to “shut up … or else”.

We don’t need to put her on a pedestal to see that she is being wronged. She is not a spokeswoman for anyone or anything, she is merely a beauty pageant contestant who dared to speak her mind.

“All of this dumbs down the discussion of this issue."

Exactly who decided that gay marriage was to be a topic of beauty pageant – someone who was virulently pro-gay-marriage! A deranged homosexual by the name of Perez Hilton opened the Pandora’s box. What we see her is projection: The left politicizes something that ought not
be politicized, and when conservatives protest, the left accuses the right of starting it.


Another case of media Pollaganda, trying to buck up the Democrats by oversampling them in polls. This WashPost poll skewed the sample to over-sample Democrats, ... yet ObamaCare is still losing ground.

If the Dems follow the pollaganda and ignore the real polls that show big trouble for Blue Dogs, then they'll be missing the real story. Obama's support is trending down and the Democrats in Congress are setting up 2010 to be another 1994 wipeout of their majority.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Union goes after Eagle Scout Do-gooder

A story from Allentown, PA, of SEIU thugs vs. the Boy Scouts — and other related Big Labor antic.

Nick Balzano, president of the local Service Employees International Union, told Allentown City Council Tuesday that the union is considering filing a grievance against the city for allowing Anderson to clear a 1,000-foot walking and biking path at Kimmets Lock Park.

”We’ll be looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails,” Balzano told the council.

Balzano said Saturday he isn’t targeting Boy Scouts. But given the city’s decision in July to lay off 39 SEIU members, Balzano said ”there’s to be no volunteers.” No one except union members may pick up a hoe or shovel, plant a flower or clear a walking path.

There are some nice hike and bike trails in Austin that have been improved thanks to the work of Boy Scouts. It would be awful to have that kind of countreproductive unionism invade here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Keys to McDonnell's Virginia victory

10 Lessons on how Bob McDonnell won the Virginia's Governor's race explores the key to Republican candidate Bob McDonnell's Virginia victory. A summation:

  1. Independents (and others) responded extremely well to McDonnell’s articulate, specific plans.
  2. McDonnell ran a very positive campaign.
  3. McDonnell successfully tapped in to national issues discontenting VA voters, again with specifics.
  4. McDonnell ran a disciplined campaign with a credible focus on job creation.
  5. Democrats here, as everywhere else, promise many great things, but governed terribly in the final analysis. In some parts of the state, unemployment was at depression era levels of 20-25%.
  6. McDonnell avoided the pitfalls many VA GOP statewide candidates have fallen into. The media constantly were on the lookout for a “macaca” moment (George Allen), but he did not give them one because he was wary of his audience. He did not focus on “pet issue” with which he could be caricaturized...
  7. The ground game was superb. ... He was an unapologetic conservative. ... I saw far more youths and McDonell campaign workers in an “off year election” than I ever did for McCain.
  8. McDonnell built a meaningful coalition. He had endorsements from key Democrats, business leaders, and virtually every job creating organization in the state. ... McDonnell took the time to woo key Democrats as well as Republicans.
  9. He weathered the attacks on him well. McDonnell was villified ... McDonnell and other key conservatives (Michael Barone of the Washington Examiner) called the Post out on its daily hack jobs, and they stopped in time. ... he continued to utilize the attacks as an opportunity to be the candidate to “refocus” the issues on matters that mattered to VA voters.
  10. He never rested on his laurels. His campaign frequently touted that even though they had a lead, they would run “like they were 10 points behind.” They maintained the energy level needed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Big Un-Bombshell: KBH to hold on Senate Seat

Hutchison to keep Senate seat in bid for governor, aide says: "She will announce tomorrow at the Texas Federation of Republican Women's Convention in Galveston that she will not be resigning her seat before the primary,"

You heard it here first, probably even before Sen Hutchison came to that conclusion -My fearless prediction back in July was: "Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will see the writing on the wall by December so she will NOT decide to vacate her senate seat, but play it safe. Lose the primary means she will ride it out until 2012, and no Senate race after all and a more boring 2010 election cycle."

The 'play it safe' route wasn't her game plan, and my own update blogged a retraction based on her own comments. But Senator Hutchison has been caught in the vice of a delayed ObamaCare vote, where it is vital for her to be there to help stop the ObamaCare train wreck, and polling that shows Perry with an 11 point lead, enough lead, especially among the conservative part of the base, to indicate that he will likely be the nominee. Conservatives prefer Perry, who's been more out front and forceful in jumping on populist Tea Party sentiment, and has tagged KBH as "Senator Bailout". So the likely scenario now is that Perry wins the primary.

If Sen Hutchison wins the primary, she'd resign then. This was always the smarter thing to do, given the stack of important issues facing the U.S. Senate right now.

This is an UN-bombshell because so many of the potential dominoes will STOP falling. It means the GOP statewide slate is a stack of incumbents - Lt Gov David Dewhurst, Combs, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, AG Greg Abbott, Railroad Commissioner Victor Carillo, etc. It also mean ambitions deferred for folks like Ted Cruz and Michael Williams. Never fear, both men are the future of the Texas Republican party, and they both deserve a promotion; they''ll just have to get the other folks out of the way next time.

The real losers here are the Democrats, who might have gleaned some advantage from additional GOP fratricide and were angling for a US Senate race. The Democrats could try to flood the GOP primary and vote for KBH just to get another Senate race going. Will it happen? Not in my crystal ball. Perry ekes out a victory, faces a second-tier Democrat (perhaps even ... KINKY?!?) and wins another term to become Texas' longest-serving Governor.

... and KBH stays in DC until 2012.

UPDATE: KBH says she will definitely will resign after the primary, win or lose hmmmm, I'll believe it when I see it. But if she does - Michael Williams for U.S. Senate!

Shattered Lives - Anecdotes on Government-run Healthcare

Shattered Lives - a report on victims of socialized medicine:
Example - cancer victim dies due to surgery delays:

By the time doctors got around to work on Skeet in January 2000 – five weeks after the initial scheduled operation – it was too late. The cancer had spread to her windpipe in two places, and doctors determined the tumor was inoperable. ... For five months, Jane helplessly watched her mother’s condition deteriorate, until Mavis Skeet passed away in late May 2000.

100 more cases like that.

ObamaCare Argumentorium

Via Right-wing nuthouse, four common arguments used to advance ObamaCare, and responses:

Discourse #1 - The "It's ObamaCare or the Horrible Status Quo" Argument

it’s not like the alternative non-government option (such as the status quo discussed above) is without huge, even worse problems of its own.

This is the logical fallacy of the False Choice. It’s either Status Quo or ObamaLosiCare?

Wrong! Here’ a simple “third way” that could be bipartisan:

1. Allow insurance purchased from any of 50 states - lower cost through more choices.
2. Medical tort reform - lower cost.
3. Address pre-existing conditions with regulations requiring acceptance of people under such conditions in insurance (also prevent insurance companies from dropping coverage) and a Government program (based on tax on insurance itself) to pay into a catastrophic health insurance plan for pre-existing situation.
4. Posted prices for all medical items - lower cost.
5. Individual / small business pooling program to lower cost. We could also try tax breaks to equalize individual vs company provided healthcare.
6. Expand health savings accounts so all health spending can be pre-tax. (related to #5)
7. Allow prescription drug importation.
8. All Medicaid/Medicare recipients can get their govt subsidy via a voucher for same amount for insurance program of their choice.

Understand - ANY system will have economic limits, and thus there will be imperfections. Do these things and see how it improves over the next 3 years. This is how REAL REFORM would work. If more/different is needed, iterate. Maybe this list needs tweaking,but the key - Fix what is broken without breaking what works - healthcare in the US is 85% okay and 15% broken and assuming it is the other way is wrong; the ‘idee fixe’ of going after ‘universal coverage’ (which will never happen) while ignoring that overall issue of cost, access and quality as a whole is folly.

ObamalosiCare is not REAL REFORM, it’s a Government takeover attempt. It will not make things better and is inferior to other alternatives.

Discourse #2 - It's a Rigged Market so Government control is better than industry control

“How can anyone defend a healthcare (or any other kind of) system that’s based on markets that are mostly non-competitive?”

Government over-regulation has made health sector markets non-competitive. Profit levels for insurance companies are less than 4%. Much of that Government regulation is indefensible, for example, silly mandates at various state levels that do nothing but make health insurance more expensive and less accessible. Often these are done for no reason other than some special interest got it in there - chiropractic care, acupunture, mental ‘welness’, etc. all drives up cost of health insurance. We should allow and have ‘bare bones insurance’ available, especially to young healthy individuals who cannot afford the premiums (and consitute a large portion of those opting out of health insurance entirely).

Discourse #3 - The Modern Age Requires Big Government

"[ in the 19th century] You would have next to no contact with any government."
Many people had plenty of contact with Govt back in 19th century, that they didnt desire, that's why they escaped to the US as immigrants.

"In 2009, you live in an single family home with about 5000 people living within that 100 acres."
Only in Manhattan do you find 50/acre densities ... come to Texas, you can get your own 100 acres outside of town for less than the price of a Manhattan condo.

" You can’t even shoot a gun"
Come to Texas. Concealed carry state.

"electricity, sewers, police and fire."
And a gazillion other things provided via the free market, private-sector economy. Electricity provided in the US mostly by private sector utilities, and other 'necessities' like food, telecom, housing, are largely private, with Govt mainly involved via redistributing in some sectors.

Govt is over-involved in 2 sectors of the economy: Education and healthcare. Curiously, those are the two sectors of the economy that suffer from an inability to improve cost-effectiveness and cost-efficiencies, despite the obvious opportunities due to the information revolution.

" You come in constant contact with government: speed limits, sales tax, gun licenses."
If that's all the Govt did, it could live off of less than 1% of our GDP.

Point well taken that urban Government is more involved than rural Govt, but there too you have only another 1-2% of GDP for sewer, trash, parks, police, etc. That's 'some' Government (and local Govt too, the less intrusive kind), not the Leviathan Government like we have now that is consuming and spending 27% of a very huge $13 trillion GDP.

The Leviathan Government has nothing to do with our daily interactions with Govt in order to live peacably together. What that Leviathan Government is (aside from about 20% for DoD) is a massive amount of wealth distribution, from young to old, from taxpayers to welfare-takers, from consumers to farmers, from those who work to those-who-have-a-friend-in-Congress, etc.

The idea that 'right-wing' America is 'anti-Government' ergo doesnt want local police is just a red herring and sophistry. The REAL issue is this: Do we want the 'limited but effective Government' that sticks to the sewer/police/protect-the-border basics, or do we want the Leviathan Government that does that AND takes on managing industries (banks, GM), healthcare, energy, etc. AND redistributes wealth massively.

The real dividing line is not Government vs no Government (pace the Somalia Red Herring), it's Redistributionist-Socialist Government vs Limited Government.

"Overall I’ll take 2009. Bring on healthcare reform."

While we all will take today over yesterday, the false choice here is that implies support for Redistributionist-Socialist Government over the Limited Government vision.

The size of Federal Government relative to economy was smaller in 2008 than in 1945, and it was fairly even from 1960s through until 2 years ago... now it has spiked up and Federal Govt/ GDP is higher now than in 60 years. Is that the "future"? Inevitably Big Government?

Why bring on a 1945-era style of Government control - like ObamaLosicare - instead of something more modern, grounded in market-based choice, and leveraging modern technology? In reality, ObamaLosiCare is a THROWBACK to the mindset of the post WWII British socialists. The whole push to 'single payer' is based on a mindset locked in paradigms that are out of date.

Didnt fall of USSR, and socialist economic basketcases warn us off that kind of path? If the future is Big Government, then the future will look much like the failed visions of Socialism Past.

Discourse #4 - Moral Outrage, and hard times requires Socialism

“Is it okay with you that working people, people who put in their 40 hours plus every week, can end up living in a box under a freeway”

It is absolutely NOT OKAY that millions have lost jobs under Obama and will be losing homes as well due to the economic mis-management of Obama and his fellow Democrats.

It is absolutely NOT OKAY that in ObamaLosiCare they are proposing a tax on millions of Americans, and a tax on businesses too, that will destroy jobs and hurt many.

It is absolutely NOT OKAY that in the process of putting this bill together, they are going to be hurting the current recipients of Medicaid and Medicare by straining massively the budgets of both, thereby making it harder to help those truly in need.

It is absolutely NOT OKAY that those in favor of ObamalosiCare are using faux moral outrage instead of defending a very flawed bill that will harm millions and head us towards bankrupcy.

ObamaCare, like acid on America's soul

America needs a shrink at Rick Moran's place got me going on ObamaCare. My thoughts:

“America still does have a soul”

The soul that is in our Constitution and our laws and culture has been eroded and has been under attack by 1960s leftists who disparage the pillars of American traditions, values and freedoms. The Obama agenda is rooted in the 1960s new left and is like acid poured on America’s soul.

“people with enough clout believe that being able to get decent care when you become sick or diseased is a right”

Such a belief (in the 'right' to healthcare) is an oxymoron. No economic good is a ‘right’. Such blather does injustice to the real issue and challenge, and is precisely why the blather polls better when its abstract than when its real and concrete. Economic goods have limits, and any government program that tries to ’solve’ the problem of market/cost-limited healthcare will replace it with bureaucratic limits (the road to ‘death panels’ and QALY ratings is paved with good intentions).

If society should provide healthcare to the level society can afford rather than an individual can afford, state it that way. Stating it as a ‘right’ is selling a promise that no Government program can possibly keep. For example, if healthcare is a ‘right’ than what right does the Government have dictating those terms of care - in qualified plans? What give Government the right to deny healthcare choices, including the choice NOT to take up health insurance? Why the heavy hand of Govt ready to fine and jail people for the ‘crime’ of not choosing what the Government dictates?

So in the end, they (the ObamaCare folks) are selling a lie. it has to be a lie, just based on iron laws of economics (it cant get fixed by renaming government-run healthcare into some euphemism, or hiding hundreds of billions of ‘doc fix’ costs in another bill). As people figure out that not only is it a lie - it has to be a lie - that support falls away.

After all, the old on Medicare are already on alert that they WILL will paying the price for ObamaCare through getting the screws applied. People have figured it out - Obama does not have a magic pixie dust solution to throw millions more into Government healthcare burden without it (a) costing a lot more (b) adding to the deficit (c) hurting those currently in Medicare etc. and (c) causing huge job-killing taxes, fees and regulation burdens on individuals and business. We know now that ALL of the above WILL happen.

But it’s worse than merely selling the lie and airbrushing limits. What’s worse than that even is that American rights and freedoms are being crushed left and right in this mad rush to turn more and more of the healthcare industry over to Government control. They are now asking Congress-critters “Say, is it Constitutional for the Federal Govt to force individuals to have health insurance?” Instead of the correct answer (”No, I guess not”) we now have videos of Congresscritters shrugging off Constitutionality … ah, and archiac scrap of paper barely of relevance to 21st century Governance.

That is the America-soul-killing thing.

As stated … “We are about to hand government an enormous amount of power along with the ability to control our lives in ways that can only dimly be glimpsed at this point.” … only glimpsed because this 2,000 page Godzilla of a bill is only the prelude to literally TENS OF THOUSANDS of pages of health care regulations that the DOZENS of bureaucracies will be writing up.

We will ‘accept’ it, the way we ‘accept’ gridlock rush hour traffic, the common cold, bad TV sitcoms, and the existence of endemic corruption in politics. “It’s just the way it is.” It will become an awful restriction on our freedom, an anchor on our economy, and a boon to much that is disreputable and base in politics (pandering, corruption, and self-interested taxpayer-raping-for-special-interests galore). But it will be like some ugly furniture that we cant seem to give away - and so it will stay.

… but it doesn’t HAVE to be that way. ObamaCare is NOT inevitable, even at this late hour. Only partisan blindness and this “idee fixe” of the Democrats that this is magic elixir for their majority (nope, its poison) keeps it going. Should the Dems pass it, Republicans will win back the House next year and the Senate and White House in 2012. And the Democrats will be discredited and tossed from power for another 10+ years. Perhaps they will realize that this Big Bad Bill is the wrong bill at the wrong time. Perhaps they will come back from the brink and do something appropriately incremental rather than a socialist rewrite of socialism… but who’m I kidding? Like the scorpion who stung the frog that carried him across the river and made them both drown - “It’s in their nature”.

Obama's Afghan Dithering

Factoid from Byron York today: 60% of Democrats want troop reductions in Afghanistan.

That explains the White House pushback against the General's request for more troops. They leaded classified memos to the press ... Who? ""The [White House] political operation is using him to push back [against the] Pentagon," one Democratic foreign policy hand suggested."

Savor this for a minute. Obama's team is violating national security laws to gain political advantage. He has to get his minions to leak to the WashPost to 'win' an internal fight against the best advice of his own Generals. Obama is a total wimp and is team is undermining national security via such leaks in the very attempt to try to save face.

Pathetic really. We know what the right thing to do it: Be in it to win it. That's why the Generals said "We need more" because more is needed to win it. Specifically, they want 30,000 more troops on the ground.

The bottom line is this - a war we were winning is going south on Obama's watch, and he and top officials apparently are lacking the will and wit to find a way to win. Their own base wants to throw in the towel. This is not much different from Iraq in 2006 ... and guess what, Bush was right and Obama was wrong back then.

Obama lacks the vision to win in Afghanistan, and "Without vision, the people perish."

45% rate Obama 'poor' on economics

Via Powerline, Obamanomics gets 45% 'poor' rating in Rasmussen poll:

1*How do you rate the way Barack Obama will handle economic issues as President….excellent, good, fair or poor?

20% Excellent
19% Good
15% Fair
45% Poor
1% Not sure
What are those other 39% 'excellent/good' folks thinking? Deficits are good?They haven't heard about latest job losses? Still in "Bush's fault" mode? (What's the expiration date on blaming the previous occupant of the White House?)

Reality check: Deficits stink,

How will Obama cure this lagging poll? Why, Call for a Summit (yawn). Advice/retort:
Obama: It’s important that we don’t make any ill-considered decisions — even with the best intentions — particularly at a time when our resources are so limited. Comment: You’ve already made bad decisions. Now un-make them. That will spur the economy.

None Dare Call It Treason

Ft Hood Jihadist charged with 13 counts of murder. One charge missing, says Malkin (they missed the unborn baby, which is another count of murder here in Texas). Comment #1 says: I say the missing charge is Treason!

Yup. Treason isn't treason, and the declared Al Qaeda terroristic acts of war will be tried like OJ was. It's all just 'incomprehensible' and random acts of people 'who crack under stress.' Lessons learned the hard way are forgotten and give way to diversity-derived and PC-inspired willful ignorance.

President Bush tried to destroy Al Qaeda root and branch via the war-on-terror. Obama is trying to destroy the war-on-terror root and branch. Ever lesson gathered by the 9/11 Commission is being cast to the winds.

Techno-Pessimistic Liberals Miss the Droid Cluetrain

Droid is an existence proof that disproves Techno-Pessimistic Liberal complaints about the coming closed internet:

How can a device like this even exist when America's leading cyberlaw experts have been telling us that the whole digital world is increasingly going to hell because of "closed" devices, proprietary code, and managed networks? I'm speaking, of course, about the lamentations of Harvard professors Lawrence Lessig, Jonathan Zittrain, and their many disciples.... If all these dour predictions about the death of digital generativity and the rise of closed networks and walled gardens were true, how in the world does a phone with an open source operating system and a completely open applications process for developers even exist?

What's more amusing is that the techno-pessimists, who lament Apple's 'closed/walled garden' Apps store, are actually iPhone users:
I used some shameless McCarthyite tactics during our debate at New America Foundation last year -- "Are you now, or have you ever been, an iPhone user!"

The techno-pessimistic Liberals calling (unnecessarily) for net neaturality Miss the Droid cluetrain - that these different models/approaches exist because they each serve a customer need.

The Droid is open because the Google Android effort was open, and it was open because those involved saw an opening for such a platform. However, the more controlled iPhone platform innovated so much in the mobile phone space that one could well say the Droid would not be what it is today without iPhone leading the way in defining what a Smartphone is. Forcing open-ness up front could well have prevented the innovation that led to Droid.

The real iPhone/Droid evolution lesson is this: If we want real freedom, we want both open and closed business models, so consumers and businesses have more choice and freedom, and so innovation proceeds without impediment.

Obama's NEA Director - "You Lie!"

NEWLY REVEALED DOCUMENTS Contradict NEA Chairman Landesman.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Austin's Comprehensive Plan

The City of Austin is putting together a "Comprehensive Plan" and seeking community participation on it. This 2-year process of putting together a new comprehensive plan has kicked off recently with public forums this week.

How to get involved?

First, anyone can take the Issues and Aspirations survey, at any Austin library or online at

Second, Austinites can host their own planning party--ask for a "Meeting in a box," and invite a few people over to participate. The Imagine Austin Meeting-in-a-Box has everything you need to host your own meeting.

This process is a 'set up' in that while public input is solicited, the powers-that-be at City Hall have pre-ordained the ideological orientation of the outcome. Specifically, 'Sustainability' is the name of the game:
Sustainability and climate change are overarching issues to be addressed in the Comprehensive Plan.
This blog has previously pointed out that 'climate change' is code for hyperbolic CO2-phobia, that we are not in fact warming in recent years (not for last 10 years) , that CO2's impact is overrated, and that anything Austin does or doesn't do relative to CO2 has miniscule impact on temperatures. There is nothing Austin needs to in the next 20 years specific to 'climate change' except possibly replace our coal plant with nuclear (but that would be more for general pollution concerns).

Nevertheless, I took a crack at their survey. Here goes:

1. Please tell us what you think Austin’s strengths are:

Educated citizenry and UT at heart of city, part of a good state (Texas), technology-based economy, music scene and culture, capital city, Barton Springs.

2. The second step in crafting a Vision is identifying the ways in which Austin can be improved—what issues and problems do we need to address to become a better city?

Please tell us what you think Austin’s weaknesses are:

Too much nanny-statism in city hall, too many liberals running the city, traffic problems, crime, excessive panhandling, high property taxes.

3. You’ve told us what you think is great about Austin, and where you think we can improve. Now we would like to know what needs to be done.

What ideas do you have for improving Austin in the future?

Embrace nuclear power, use monorails (instead of the flawed light rail system), widen the Mopac bridge and Mopac from 1st to 45th, loosen density building zoning regs, turn some preserve areas into parks, keep taxes low, end nanny-statism such as phony 'green' audits on houses and smoking bans.
What do you think?

Sign #8 of the Obamunist Apocalypse

Another sign we are becoming an Obamunist 3rd-world-style despotism:

Obama Administration Intends to Purge Republicans From the Civil Service

Sounds like this Chicago-style thuggery is destroying 120 years of Civil Service reforms, but like many Obama initiatives, it will be called "change" and swept under the rug.

.. and #9, as Obama jets to China, they get Obamao Frenzy in China - get your ObaMao t-shirts here.

How High is the Price of "Diversity"?

“And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse ….” - General Casey

Many people are appalled at this apparent attempt to push diversity on a higher level than human lives, and indeed it is clear that people died perhaps unnecessarily because a 'political correctness' approach prevented the proper actions from taking place.

Question: How many dead people do we need to have to make those deaths more horrific than if "diversity becomes a casualty"?

The Left's War on American History

The Left's War on U.S. History in Texas TEKS update included an attempt to take out Veteran's day:

Embarrassed by SBOE testimony from the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Brooke Terry, and by being told the inconvenient fact that Veterans Day is an official American and Texas holiday, the review panel quietly returned Veterans Day to the list.
Another gem in this article is the "bullying, partisan letter" by Senator Shapleigh to try to shame the head of SBOE into towing the politically correct liberal version of history. There is much irony in a partisan ideologue like Senator Shapleigh doing the 'pot, kettle, black' routine on the SBOE.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coming soon - 12% unemployment

Hate to scare you but ... 12 reasons unemployment is going to 12%.

Update: Emerson CEO blames Washington for lack of new U.S. jobs:

"Washington is doing everything in their manpower, capability, to destroy U.S. manufacturing," Farr said Wednesday in Chicago at a Baird Industrial Outlook conference. "Cap and trade, medical reform, labor rules." ... "What do you think I am going to do?" Farr asked. "I'm not going to hire anybody in the United States. I'm moving. They are doing everything possible to destroy jobs."

None Dare Call it Terrorism

Obama on Good Morning America:

Tapper: You’re about to go to Fort Hood. Philosophically, what separates an act of violence from an act of terrorism?

Obama: In a country of 300 million people, there are going to be acts of violence that are inexplicable. Even within the extraordinary military that we have, there are going to be instances, uh, in which an individual, uh, cracks. I think the questions that we’re asking now, and we don’t have yet complete answers to it, is that ‘Is this an individual who is acting in this way or is it some larger set of actors?’ You know, what are the motivations?”

"We don't have complete answers" he says, but we know now of Hasan's strange and angry outbursts to others in the military, his contacts and conversations with Al Qaeda members (!) and radical Imams, etc. He had many ties to Jihad web sites and groups.

What a patriot would say:
Terrorism is a specific form of violence that harms innocents in order to attack our wider society and to advance a political agenda. Major Hasan's murderous rampage is an apparent act of terrorism, based on the evidence we have seen so far.

It's about time we Dare to call it terrorism.

Republicans Looking Up for 2010

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Breaking Higher Education's Iron Triangle: Access, Cost, and Quality

A followup to earlier thoughts on the Higher Education Revolution: Breaking Higher Education's Iron Triangle: Access, Cost, and Quality lays down a challenge that both developing nations and western nations need to address: "provide wide access to high-quality higher education at a low cost."

How to get there? "There is a growing realization that government provision of higher education in traditional modes alone cannot accomplish this task."

Why not? Traditional higher-education has been locked into an 'iron triangle' of high cost, limited access, and non-scalable educational models:
Much of today’s higher education remains a blend of student community and lecture bazaar, each of which contributes a particular notion of quality. In the community model, quality is largely a matter of the characteristics of the entering students. If the student community is difficult to get into, it must be a place where excellent education occurs. Quality is identified with exclusivity. The lecture bazaar model brings in another dimension of quality, namely expenditure per student: the more the better.

These models have no economies of scale because they are based on the concept that students need time of highly educated teachers in order to learn. Lack of cost controls are built on assumptions and institutional biases (through endowments and Government subsidies) that stymie innovations. They note:
The iron triangle—the assumption that quality, exclusivity, and expense necessarily go together—has been the bugbear of education.

What are the alternatives? "Open and distance learning (ODL) and eLearning are increasingly seen as key to providing access to the wider student population now seeking higher education, especially to working adults and those in remote rural areas."

What doors are opened up and need to be opened up? We need scalable economic models, and this is achievable on the side of information distribution with Open Educational Resources and other means of instructional material and course reuse. That means course developments that can be reused, technology that can be leveraged. Economies of scale can lower cost without harming quality.

We also need specialization, and one area the article notes that is essential is to de-link the learning process from the testing/certification. In doing so, we have a new models of education quality assurance through standardized forms of examinations to certify completion:
the key factor is the shift of emphasis from residence and lectures to outcomes and examinations. If the trend to delink testing from teaching continues, it will lead to more flexible and less expensive models of higher education, with the result that the aspiration of giving people access to high-quality higher education worldwide may not be an illusion. In terms of the access-quality-cost triangle, the examination system is a major breakthrough. Access is only limited by the availability of examiners, quality and standards can be set at the level required, and students are spared the costs of residence and instruction.

Consider it this way: Suppose instead of going to Harvard, you simply went to the Harvard examinations? You will need an educational and learning experience to get ready for those exams, but that process could and should be one that is tailored for the individual. There are examinations for College level courses like that - CLEP.
One myth is the myth of the need for Professorial contact:
Some important research by Robert Bernard and his colleagues at Concordia University, Montreal, explodes the myth about the importance of face-to-face support. They carried out a meta-analysis of hundreds of studies in which distance-education students were treated in different ways. They distinguished three types of interaction: student with content; student with student; and student with teacher. They then analyzed all the studies to find which type of interaction made the greatest difference to student performance when it was increased. The results showed clearly that increasing student-content interaction had much the greatest effect, with student-student interaction coming next and student-teacher interaction last.
See, when your freshman section was taught by a TA, you really didn't miss out on anything after all.

What they propose is a radically different way of conceiving of education. It's a form of education that is more personal, more effective, less costly, more flexible. It won't have those Ivy-covered Halls and exclusive clubs, but it will have a path for students to learn. The article summarizes their case this way:

The aims of wide access, high quality, and low cost are not achievable, even in principle, with traditional models of higher education based on classroom teaching in campus communities. A perception of quality based on exclusivity of access and high expenditure per student is the precise opposite of what is required. ... But perceptions of quality are changing, and the growing emphasis on outcomes and standards heralds the possibility of a model of higher education that could achieve the ministerial aims—one that centers on examinations and allows students to choose different ways of preparing for them. Although this type of system has a long history, contemporary technologies such as eLearning and open educational resources promise to make it even more cost-effective today.

Voters flee the job-killing Democrats

GOP Gains on Generic Ballot, now at +7 for the GOP, the same week the Democrat pass a huge Government overreach bill. Coincidence? Voters' Revenge?

Most voters are unengaged (and not too informed) non-ideological "moderate" voters, having not developed a strong capacity for an ideologically consistent worldview. But they have some common sense triggers: You know, like a guy who communicates with Jihadist Imams and then blows away a dozen soldiers is probably a terrorist, or double-digit unemployment and trillion dollar deficits are not good.

Open Education Resources

A brief introduction to Open Education is a talk by David Wiley, who forsees big change in education. How big?

He said all the content, research, support services, social life and even degrees can be obtained without the typical college experience. The reason why is because of the availability of free information through the attributes of the digital age.
He asks: Why do students go to Universities instead of a library?
1. Instructional sequence and the related materials.
2. Library and the institutional repositories of knowledge.
3. Support services - questions and guidance by tutors, professors, etc.
4. Credentials for a job.
5. Social life.

On point 1, this "Manifesto of Open Access" calls for freeing authors and users of materials from the commercial copyright system. The concept of Open Educational Resources is to free the materials created in the process of research and teaching from the restrictions placed by Copyright law. Thanks to the Creative Commons organization, copyright models have been developed that allow the "4R open" sharing concepts - Revise, Remix, Reuse, Redistribute. These models allow the producers and consumers to create a "Pro-sumer" ecosystem of shared Intellectual Property development. It is pointed out that taxpayers fund teachers and researchers, so how is it that publishers, who have little to do with funding or creating the research end up with the copyright?

An example is this free Calculus book offered under a Creative Commons 'sharealike' license, you can read it electronically. These new materials extend the concept of free books from old public domain, to a whole new generation of materials that students and teachers can use without violating copyright law or engaging in piracy.

This is not just about freeing textbooks, but about putting all the educational collateral into a system of sharing, reuse, remix and extending. The great value of this is to drive the incremental cost of informational sharing to effectively zero.

Combine Open Education, as ccLearn advocates, with the fact that online education beats the classroom and we have the recipe for a very different, lower-cost and more effective education. As stated in the article:
“We are at an inflection point in online education,” said Philip R. Regier, the dean of Arizona State University’s Online and Extended Campus program.

When you put it all together, people will be asking Who Needs Harvard?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Austin Tech Republicans - Nov 12th meeting on SBOE TEKS

The November Austin Tech Republicans is on November 12th, lunchtime, at Mangia's at Mopac/Duval in north Austin, and will be discussing SBOE Social Studies TEKS review. Jonathan Saenz from the Free Market Foundation and Brooke Terry from TPPF will discuss the topic.

A factoid that relates -

"Texas students "are, on average, one to two years of learning ahead of California students of the same age," even though per-pupil expenditures on public school students are 12% higher in California."
We are beating California and achieving 'more for less' in education because we have rigorous educational standards put in place by the SBOE through the TEKS, which defines the curriculum for students in Texas. Having the right school curricula in place determines the future of Texas.

The meeting is Thursday, November 12th, lunchtime (11:45-1pm) at the Mangia's at Mopac and Duval (*)

(*) Location: Mangia's Pizza at Mopac and Duval is right off Mopac (northbound access rd at Duval exit) at Duval and Burnet.,+Austin,+TX&vps=4&jsv=164e&sll=30.41848,-97.711759&sspn=0.02561,0.055747&ie=UTF8&latlng=30407404,-97713679,9125205684671566230&ei=PTVESsX9KZ7uMvWprNsJ&sig2=5pcwkvIflYgpsHiEaI-UEQ&cd=3
12001 N MO Pac Expy, Austin, TX 78758-2992. (512) 832-5550

ObamaCare - The $3 trillion plan

Actual ObamalosiCare cost - $3trillion over 10 years:

Over the first 10 years, this legislation builds in gross new spending of $1.7 trillion – and most of the new spending doesn’t even start until 2014. Once that spending is fully phased in, the House Democratic bill rings up at more than $3 trillion over ten years.

In sum, there are 2 things behind the $3 trillion 10-year cost:
1. CBO includes the tax costs, but not all mandate costs to businesses and people now forced at gunpoint to buy ‘approved’ health insurance
2.the lower numbers are hiding costs because program doesnt kick in for a few years, the $3 trillion is when the program is fully implemented.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

House votes 220-215 to screw taxpayers, old folks and healthy Americans

The unresponsive socialist house drives the first nail. The destruction of our freedom, prosperity, and future was passed narrowly, 220-215. While illegal aliens and Govt bureaucracies get the goldmine, healthy, responsible,taxpaying contributors get the shaft.

Texas Reps who voted FOR this Trillion-dollar tax-and-spend-and-mandate bill:

TX-15 Hinojosa, Rubén [D]
TX-16 Reyes, Silvestre [D]
TX-18 Jackson-Lee, Sheila [D]
TX-20 Gonzalez, Charles [D]
TX-23 Rodriguez, Ciro [D]
TX-25 Doggett, Lloyd [D]
TX-27 Ortiz, Solomon [D]
TX-28 Cuellar, Henry [D]
TX-29 Green, Raymond [D]
TX-30 Johnson, Eddie [D]
TX-9 Green, Al [D]

Some comments on the bill's passage at San Fransisco Gate (each paragraph a separate comment):

My Congresscritter thinks it necessary to threaten to fine me $250,000 and send me to prison for 20 years for missing a payment on my medical insurance.

One of the saddest and most irresponsible acts in our nation's history. The liberal framers of this wasteful and unaffordable bit of socialism will be villified in Amerrican history.

It is hilarious that Pelosi compares this to Medicare and Social Security considering both of those are on their way to being bankrupt unless taxes are increased to support them.

The ignorance of our elected officials in Washington is astounding. Anyone that reads the bill can see it will increase premiums AND taxes. Progressives think that is okay as long as the result is coverage for everyone. Problem is it doesn't matter how good an idea is or how noble it's justification, if it can not be paid for. This plan will not reduce costs, I guarantee you all that right now.
This kind of reminds me Bush on that aircraft carrier with that "Mission Accomplished" sign. It took me a while to figure out what was going on with healthcare in America until I came across this video.

This is going to turn out to be a bigger ponzi scheme than Bernie Madoff.

Waste, Fraud and Abuse..Waste, Fraud and Abuse.

The largest increase in spending, fraud, and taxation beyond that which has never been seen in the history of this nation will be enacted if this bill passes. It would be like a larger version of SF government gone mad at a federal level with no restraint or over sight on corruption and fraud in the Medicare system. Every illegal and welfare scammer will be working doubly hard to defraud this fraud of a bill.

In fact the bill guarantees that we will all have to pay higher premiums because it specifically forbids the practice of higher risk patients paying higher premiums. Healthy people will be forced to make up the difference.

They are telling you right in the bill what they are going to do. Sadly the education system in America has failed so many, that no one gets it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The (Moto) Droid Army versus the iPhone

A worthy competitor to the iPhone has arrived in Motorola Droid: "This is the very first phone in over two years that I would consider carrying for day-to-day use instead of my iPhone"

Moto Droid vs IPhone 3Gs showdown review round 2.

Unemployment Hits Double Digits

Funemployment at 10.2%, a trajectory that continues to debunk and undermine any claim of economic benefit from various faux 'stimulus' programs. The chart update:

Rep Hopson jumps to Republican Party

Hopson jumps over to the Republican party:

Rep. Chuck Hopson, D-Jacksonville, will seek reelection, but as a Republican — a move that might save his neck while wrecking the party's chances at winning a majority in the House.

Hopson, who barely scraped by in 2008, initially planned to make an announcement this afternoon but moved it up to this morning as rumors spread and the Texas Democratic Party scorched him in a press release.

"President Obama and the Democrats in Congress just don't reflect the values of this district," he said.

The report notes that "Hopson's is the second Democratic seat to fall; David Farabee of Wichita Falls said earlier this year that he won't seek reelection." This pads the GOP single-vote margin in the House a bit making the Democrat dream of takeover much more out-of-reach. There were about 10 seats that went to Democrats by margins under 5%. If you apply the 15 point swing that was observed in Virginia and New Jersey to Texas, a LOT of seats would fall to Republicans.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tim Hawkins - The Government Can

Satire that says it all ...

Kill the Bill March on Washington is Huge

The tragic mass murder of 12 Ft. Hood soldiers by a devout Muslim gave the mainstream news media an easy excuse for not covering the impromptu "Kill the Bill March" against health care takeover today in Washington.

Before the march goes down the memory hole, here are a couple of unedited YouTube recaps.

Travis County Republican Party Calls for Primary Candidates

November 4, 2009

AUSTIN – The Travis County Republican Party today issued an invitation to aspiring local candidates encouraged by the portent election victories in Virginia and New Jersey last night.

“We’re now gearing up for the March 2, 2010, primary elections which determine which Republican candidates will face their Democratic opponents in November 2010,” said Rosemary Edwards, the TCRP chairwoman. “Especially given last night’s sweeping down ballot changes in Virginia, we believe voters have had enough of the out-of-control spending and thefts of liberty that have been demonstrated by incumbent Democrats across the country.

“Republican voter turnout for the constitutional amendments was very strong in Travis County and we are seeing signs here and elsewhere of a very motivated – and disgruntled -- electorate.

“The local Republican party already has been recruiting strong candidates to run up and down the Travis County ballot, strengthening our grass roots operations, and developing wide-ranging coalitions with local groups of all sorts on issues of importance to all Travis County voters,” Edwards said. “We predict an end to the Democrat stranglehold on Travis County given voters’ dissatisfaction with the Obama administration, unemployment, bankruptcies in several Democrat states, and ethical transgressions in the U.S. Congress by the majority party.”

Many more comments and analysis about the Nov. 3 statewide and national results may be found at Chairwoman Edwards’ blog,

Travis County residents who are interested in running in the primaries for the Republican nominations have a number of opportunities available to them, ranging from local county government, county judiciary, state and federal legislative and numerous multi-county and state races. Please contact TCRP Executive Director Michele Samuelson at (512) 302-1776 or with your inquiries about the process for filing.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rallies This Week to Oppose Pelosicare and Save American Healthcare

Rep Carter and Congressional Republicans are calling for a rally on Thursday at the U.S. Capitol

(WASHINGTON, DC) – House Republican Conference Secretary John R. Carter (TX31) today called for the millions of Americans who participated in the “9-12” (September 12) march on Washington and congressional offices to turn out again this Thursday to help save the American healthcare system from a socialist takeover.

House Republicans have scheduled a national press conference and public rally Thursday at 12 Noon Eastern Time on the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol to build political momentum to defeat the Pelosi healthcare bill. The public is urged to join Members of Congress in protesting the Democrats’ attempt to eliminate private health insurance, slash Medicare benefits, and begin rationing care.

“All through August and culminating with the 9-12 march on Washington, millions of Americans turned out to let Congress know they wanted no part of what the Democrats were selling on healthcare,” says Carter. “But Speaker Pelosi has decided to simply ignore the majority of this country, and take over the healthcare system anyway.”

The Tea Party Patriots have their own protest planned - including Tea Party Express II rolling into Austin on Friday Nov 6th. Also on deck is a phone call protest this week ...

Solomon Ortiz, Chet Edwards and Ciro Rodriguez have not announced how they would vote on the Pelosi Healthcare legislation. Protests have been organized across the State as well by Republican party of Texas:

San Antonio
Tues 2 pm and Weds 2 pm
Cong. Rodriguez N SA Office
6363 DeZavala Ste 105
San Antonio, TX;
Congressman’s contact to voice your opinion: (210) 561-9421
Congressman’s fax: (210) 561-9442
Tuesday Demonstration Organizer Contact: 210-493-5512
Wednesday Demonstration Organizer Contact: 210-494-6393

Corpus Christi
Wednesday 4 pm
Cong. Ortiz Office
3649 Leopard, Suite 510
Corpus Christi, TX 78408
Congressman’s contact to voice your opinion: 361-883-5668
Congressman’s fax – 361-884-9201 fax
Demonstration Organizer Contact: 361-877-3711

Bryan/College Station
Tuesday, 12 noon
Cong. Edwards Office
4001 East 29th Ste 116
Bryan, TX 77802
Congressman’s contact to voice your opinion: 202-225-6105
Demonstration Organizer Contact: 979-229-2182

Wednesday, 2-4
Cong. Edwards Office
600 Austin Ave, Suite 29
Waco, TX 76701
Congressman’s contact to voice your opinion: 254-752-9600
Demonstration Organizer Contact: 254-741-9120

PelosiCare - Worst Bill Ever

I have use the "Worst Bill Ever" far too often in the past few years. Speaker Pelosi has managed to top all previous Worst Bills with her PelosiCare version of healthcare. Wall Street Journal calls it "Worst Bill Ever":

Epic new spending and taxes, pricier insurance, rationed care, dishonest accounting: The Pelosi health bill has it all.
What have the Democrats learned from the concerns of people since this summer? Nothing! This bad bill has majority opposition and the support comes from people who don't know or don't care about the huge job-destroying tax increases embedded in this bill.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Texas the new leader of the nation

California versus Texas: The Verdict is in. Stuff we know already:

  • During the last 18 months before the current recession took hold, while the country as a whole was still creating jobs, more than half of those jobs were created in a single state: Texas.
And something that should shock people - high-spending California LAGS Texas significantly in education:
  • Texas students "are, on average, one to two years of learning ahead of California students of the same age," even though per-pupil expenditures on public school students are 12% higher in California.

The moral of the story is simple: The high-tax high-spending California government is a bad deal for the state, and the people are voting with their feet on it, with net outmigration from California and net in-migration to Texas.


Republicans are poised to win three key races on Tuesday:

Christie leads Corzine 47-41 in last PPP poll in New Jersey.
The Virginia Governor's race looks to be a Republican blow-out, a double-digit lead that Democrats are all but conceding.
PPP poll of NY-23 shows conservative Hoffman leading liberal Democrat Owens by 15 points.

A trifecta win would be an earthquake for the political establishment. Incumbent Democrats will be vulnerable across the board. Will they really be willing to tack on a trillion MORE in deficits and taxes and spending later in the week? Are they that tone-deaf? We shall see.

Texas Constitutional Amendment Election

There are 11 Texas Constitutional Amendments on the ballot this November.
Blue Dot Blues has a great roundup on recommendations.

To summarize some of those recommendations:

  • NTU says YES on Props 2,3, 5, and 11; NO on Props 1 and 8.
  • Wallbuilders says YES on Props 2, 3, 5, 7 and 11; NO on props 1, 4, 8, 9, 10.
  • Stephen Casey says YES on Props 2,3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11; NO on Props 1, 4, 8, 9. He gives some good explanations.
  • Republican party supports Props 2, 3, 5, and 11.
  • The LPT recommends a "NO" vote on Props. 1, 4, 6, 8, and 10. They also recommend a "YES" vote on Prop. 2 and 7.
  • More on why you should Vote No on 4. This attempt to fund more 'tier-1' Universities by 'annointing' a few chosen 'wannabe' research Universities and raiding the Permanent University Fund to help them out is not an accountable and even-handed use of higher-education funding monies. Just say no.
My final call on Texas Constitutional amendments: I voted YES on Props 2,3, 5, 7, 11 and NO on 1, 4, 6, 8, 9.

UPDATE: 11/2 - Corrected the RPT endorsements based on Comment #1.

RINO Stampedes Out of Party, Destroying "Big Tent"

Some of you may have heard of the incredible race in NY-23. A liberal candidate - Dede Scozzafava - was picked by the local Republican party to be their candidate. Dede is a pro-abortion, pro-union, pro-gay marriage, big spending panderer in the New York legislature. Conservatives, both Republicans and independents, revolted and put their support behind independent conservative Doug Hoffman.

When this story went national, it resonated with conservatives sick and tired of Republican turncoats and liberals nominating and supporting the wrong kinds of candidates. Hoffman's financial support surged and his poll numbers soared. Conservative Hoffman led in the latest polls, while the liberal Republican fell into a distant third. Here is the latest double bombshell:

Scozzafava dropped out after Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman experienced a late-in-the-game surge. But on Sunday, Scozzafava backed Democrat Bill Owens -- the announcement was made in a statement send out by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Her very actions though, completely confirm every conservative suspicion about her and about how wrong the Republican hierarchy is to back such candidates. First, conservative suspicion that she is a liberal was confirmed by her endorsement. She stood behind a liberal Democrat rather than behind a conservative. Second, every GOP group that backed her - NRCC, RNC, etc. and has discredited Newt Gingrich, who after touting Scozzafava is reduced to being the last Republican to endorse Doug Hoffman.

So Dede Scozzafava went "Arlen Specter", turning on the Republicans as quickly as Republicans decided to shun her. I appreciate when RINOs stab conservatives in the back BEFORE we elect them as Republicans, instead of after. It certainly helps to know where she stands. The implosion of the Dede Scozzafava campaign has done a lot to destroy the theory that moderate-to-liberal candidates make for the most 'electable' candidates. Sometimes, all they do is annoy the base and destroy the GOP brand, while sucking up money that could go for more credible candidates.