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“Sundown for California”

Friday, November 28, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My adopted home is on the ropes, and Joel Kotkin explains why in this fine article about the rise and fall of California.

Kotkin did not forsee the passage of Prop 11, however, (few of us did) and the political crisis he describes could only be resolved through the end of gerrymandering which has driven California liberals over the far-left cliff. If the redistricting initiative is not undermined by the legislature or the California Supreme Court –which managed to ignite the nastiest political battle in the state since Prop 187– The elections of 2012 will be across new and very competitive districts and could well draw new energy into Golden State politics which has been a dead end for more than a decade.

The California crisis is a perfect example of liberal interest group governance, and the collapse of its budget and its job creation energy will follow in any political unit that follows its lead, no matter how large.

Key graphs from the Kotkin piece:

You can blame many factors for California’s fall from grace: too much immigration from poor countries, the impact of global competition on technology and aerospace industries, the end of the Cold War, failing schools, and the 12 years of political control by the Texas-centric Bushes. Yet other states have weathered similar storms and still gained ground on the Golden State.

The real problem lies in the decline of the state’s political culture. “Our society may be evolving spectacularly but our politics are devolving,” suggests [Kevin] Starr, the state’s most eminent historian. “California is in no way a role model for anyone from outside the state.”…

California’s shift to the Democrats had become inexorable and, with the fading of a GOP counterweight, influence within the party flowed to its more radical factions further to the political left. As a result, the state moved decisively away from the economic growth focus of Pat Brown. It seemed determined to wage war against its own economy. As pet social programs, entitlements, and state employee pensions soared, infrastructure spending-the hallmark of the Pat Brown regime and once 20 percent of the state budget-shrank to less than 3 percent.

The educational system, closely aligned with the Democrats in the legislature, accelerated its secular decline. Once full of highly skilled workers, California has become increasingly less so. For example, California ranks second in the percentage of its 65-year-olds holding an associate degree or higher and fifth in those with a bachelor’s degree. But when you look at the 25-to-34 age group, those rankings fade to 30th and 24th.

Instead of reversing these trends, the state legislature decided to spend its money on public employees and impose ever more regulatory burdens on business.

The elections of 2010 will see very little in the way of change within the state legislature because of gerrymandered districts, but if either Meg Whitman or Steve Poizner take over from Arnold in two years, a smart and successful new governor with deep experience in business growth and technological innovation will be in place when the class of 2012 arrives from legislative districts drawn without regard to incumbency, and perhaps the state’s political class will begin the hard work necessary to restoring California’s economic growth, without which nothing else can be renovated or renewed.

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Terror Attacks In India and a Threat In NYC

Wednesday, November 26, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The attacks in India will catapult theABC report of a threat in NYC to the top of every newspaper tomorrow.

Check the Times of India, CounterrorismWatch and Belmont Clubm, for updates.

When highly coordinated attacks like those in India unfold, the families of victims have to wonder whether the attacks might have been prevented but for the blows to surveillance of terrorism suspects brought about by leaks such as those involving the Swift program that tracked terrorist financing. The New York Times defended its actions and those of the Los Angeles Times at the time, but it is in the aftermath of deadly attacks that we should all revisit the recklessness of MSM in dealing with such matters.

No one will ever be able to prove whether an uncompromised Swift program might have penetrated such a big ring of terrorists, but at the time of the controversy, I did interview the Los Angeles Times’ Doyle McManus, who admitted that the story might have helped terrorists elude capture. When hell breaks loose, we ought to remind ourselves that the media has in the past decided for itself when security could be breached.

The villains are the terrorists, of course, but their lives are made easier by every leak of a national security secret.

The War Against the West goes on.

The War Against the West

Norm, Saxby and Arlen

Wednesday, November 26, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Norm Coleman’s lead in Minnesota is at 231 votes with 82% of the recount complete.

There are less than 4,000 challenged ballots to be reviewed by the five member State Canvassing Board, so a very clear picture of the final result should be available soon, just in time for the Georgia runoff next week. Saxby Chambliss appears on today’s program, and the Chuck Schumer-led Senate Dems are pouring cash into Georgia to try and get closer to 60. Please consider one last gift of $25, $50 or $100 to www.Saxby.org, and make sure you call every Republican you know in Georgia and urge them to vote today (the last day for early voting).

Powerline’s Scott Johnson runs through various Minnesota recount developments here.

Campaign 2010 will get off to a quick start, and nowhere more quickly than in Pennsylvania, where Arlen Specter will run again. I supported him in 2004 and will be doing so enthusiastically again in 2010, and hope that Club for Growth’s talented Pat Toomey doesn’t run against Specter but instead for the Statehouse. The Los Angeles Times provides an early look at this race and the possible candidacy of MSNBC’s likeable liberal Chris Matthews.

Advent on the iPhone

Tuesday, November 25, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
Usually MarkDRoberts.com provides me with my Advent blogging fix. Now he’s got company, courtesy of my pal at ihabitus.com.

Advent08, designed exclusively for the Apple? iPhone and iPod? Touch, is a daily devotional tool created to transform Advent, which begins Sunday, November 30, 2008, into an interactive journey of faith. The application beautifully blends daily scriptural passages and devotions with timeless religious artwork and traditional hymns, providing a portable yet highly meaningful user experience. The Advent08 application is currently available for $0.99 through the iTunes? Store, and can be located by searching keyword Advent08.
This link will open up iTunes and take you directly to the app, or you can search for Advent08.

10% of the proceeds goes to WorldVision, so it is a great way to carry Advent with you through the day.

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