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Showing posts from August, 2003
T3
Speaking of the Arnold. I went to The Grove to see T3. A fast paced action adventure flick. No pretense to serious philosophical stuff like the Matrix in terms of extended headache inducing expository dialog. However, the world of T3 has a tension between a deterministic world and the world of "fate is what you make" (i.e. free will). T3 takes this issue head one in its story arc from the first two films. Unlike the Matrix, there aren't long speeches on it. In both films there is the resolve to "do the right thing" despite the odds.

The extended car chase in T3 was some bit of film making. Arnold is on top of his game with the humor of his deadpan delivery.

Three stars out of four. Definitely a big screen type of movie with the full sound system.
More polling all over the place

Dan Weintraub in his blog reports on some political party polling data. One sponsored by the Democrats shows the recall passing with 54% while a Republican poll has it ahead with 63. Not surprisingly, the Democrat poll has Bustamante leading while the Republican poll has Schwarzenegger ahead.

The polls remain all over the place and as Weintraub says, take with a grain of salt.
Najaj blast may have been Al-Qaida

The death toll in the lastest bombing in Iraq has reached 107. Also, four suspects have been detained in connection with the bombing and they may have links to Al-Qaida.

The situation is getting murkier by the moment. If the Al-Qaida links are true, I wonder what will the "Arab Street" reaction be? It is one thing for the Arab Street to praise the 9/11 attacks against the evil American decadent capitalists but what will they say when they kill their breathren? Or will the Arab Street blame the US for Al-Qaida killing their own?



I wonder too...

Instapundit and NRO wonder why the media is all over the Arnold about something that happened how many decades ago and ignore the Lt. Gov's ties to an extreme organization.
Najaf mosque bombing

Dreadful news from Iraq as a car bomb outside a mosque kills 75 and wounds 142. Also, killed in the blast was a moderate Shia cleric who was viewed as a long time enemy of Hussein. Speculation is that Hussein loyalists are behind the attack in an effort to foment sectarian violence in Iraq.

Clearly, the US is going to have to triple its efforts to hunt down Hussein. The longer he is out there stirring things up, the more dangerous the situation becomes. The Bush team must internationalize the policing efforts by bringing in troops from other nations freeing up US forces to track down and kill Hussein.
Alias and the CIA

Jennifer Garner may appear in a CIA recruitment video to be shown at career fairs.

Excerpt:
Brandon served as a technical adviser to the ABC series in its first season and said the program is popular in the halls of CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

"She would find an enormous fan base here," he said.
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Oh, really? Wonder why? 8-)


@ the Movies -- Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
Am old enough to have seen the original television series. I saw the first film on KABC-7 earlier this year. It was good tongue-in-cheek fun. However, I heard the second big-screen version lacked the charm of the first film.

Indeed, the critics and my friends who saw it were right. Adding salt and spices to food is what makes cooking so enjoyable. In movies, the same is true. Overdo it and you foul up the whole dish. In the first film, there was the Matrix-like martial arts stuff, the double entendre and liberal use of the stars attributes and it worked reasonably well. The film had no aspirations to high art and knew it and played to its sense of fun.

However, in this film, they took all those ingredients and overdo all of it and drown out what little charm and chemistry the three stars have with each other.

It is appearant right from opening action sequence that they simply didn't have the money to make the special effec…
Polling all over the place
This weekend, the political buzz was over the LAT poll that says Davis may survive the recall and that Bustemante would win the balloting in part II.

I am not surprised to hear that support for the recall would fall because the reality of it is getting closer. And given the huge registration edge the democrats have, I would expect Bustemante to do well. However, the problem is the LAT poll is so far from the other polls you have to wonder if something is fishy. The key will be to see if the scale of the trend they are seeing is picked up by any other polling service.

I still remember the Clinton-Dole race in 1996 and some of the polls had Clinton winning the popular vote anywere from ten percent to the high teens. Do you remember how many percentage points the final result was?

Eight.

Some big name pollsters had a landslide of epic proportions but they turned out to be wrong.

And of course, the worst case scenario of polling happened in Florida on election nig…
Davis speech at UCLA

Here is NYT's report on the Gov. Davis speech at UCLA where he denounced the recall and defended his stewardship of the state.


Some excerpts below:
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 19 — In a fight for his political life, Gov. Gray Davis pleaded with Californians today to reject the attempt to recall him, describing it as part of a right-wing effort "to steal elections Republicans cannot win."

RR: Got to give credit to Davis for being a fighter. I didn't think he would win in 1998 but he did and he is attempting the political equivalent of a Houdini stunt trying to survive this recall. But I just find this whole “Right-wing” conspiracy stuff very annoying. California, the land where the Democrats control all executive branch offices and large majorities in the legislature is hardly a right-wing state. If only right-wingers backed the recall how many percent would the recall be getting in the polls? I don't know the exact political breakdown of Californi…
Image
Can photos be posted on blogger.com?
Yup!
I did a "a href" to my web site and used an "img src" to a photo on the same web site. Neat!



Click on the photo to check out my web travelogue of a Habitat trip to Botswana.

Federal Court Okay's Recall

Today's ruling was not surprising. The ACLU lawsuit tried to delay the recall vote citing punchcard voting machine problems. But since all elections previously held involved punchcard machines the ACLU suit was facing practical reality problems.

Meanwhile Davis gave a fiery denounciation of the recall at UCLA yesterday. More analysis on that later.


Want recall news?
Here is yet another site devoted to recall news. It's a good round-up with links to various newspapers and a chart of the latest polling numbers.
Recall roundup
The news remains fast and furious in the Cal Recall Elections. On the legal front, the last major lawsuit is sitting in Federal court regarding the punchcard ballot system. The Davis camp is hoping that the election will be delayed because the punchcards would be considered a violation of equal protection because they are less likely to be accurately counted versus other voting systems. Most legal experts are saying this argument will be rejected and so far the courts have pretty much steered clear of the election.


One of the more amusing aspects of the anti-recall movement is that they are saying it is just some rich guys getting enough signatures to get the recall on the ballot. It has the grain of truth in that Issa did put up over a million dollars of his own money to get the signature gathering going.


But the critics of the recall have their heads in the sand because all the opinion polling shows Davis would be recalled and by a wide margin. It is one thing to …
Total Recall
Lots of ink and digital packets are being expended on the Cal Gov Recall election. Will try to keep up with it and point out some of the more interesting web sources. A friend suggested Jill Stewart who has been a fixture of the Los Angeles scene writing and commenting on local and state politics. She is broadcasting regularly on KFI 640AM on Sunday nights at 5-7pm.
The triumph of hope over reason
Being a Dodger fan the last few years has been really tough. The team has good pitching but in an offense minded era the Dodgers seem to always fall short as the season winds down and the pitching staff wears out. With a little over a month to go in the season, Dodger faithful are still holding out hope that they will make the playoffs as a wildcard. We are heartened that Adrian Beltre's bat is getting hot and though Shawn Green's power numbers are down, he is making now making more contact and getting RBIs. We hope that Burnitz and Ventura will give us some left handed offense to perk things up.


This year, I've gone to six games seeing them win three and lose three which is about right as the team is playing slightly above .500 ball. I hope to make it out there for another game or two.


Nomo and Brown have been pitching pretty well. Perez seems to be getting better lately. Ishii is still out with knee trouble but his fill-ins have been…
@ the movies
Saw Pirates of the Caribbean. Good fun action pic. I know the Disney ride from my childhood. In those days (a long time ago, in a galaxy far away...), that ride along with the Haunted Mansion and the Mattahorn were the thrill rides of amusement parks! Now, they would be considered much too slow and boring for the massive rollar coasters of Magic Mountain.


The film features Depp as a Pirate Captain with an agenda to recover his old ship, Bloom as the guy who wants to save the girl and Knightsley as the damsel in distress who actually is pretty capable in addition to being of course pretty.


The visuals were great. In particular some of the scenes where moonlight comes into play. Won't give it away for those who haven't seen it. Suffice to say ILM probably did those! In the long and never ending credits at the end of the film, we see on the lists that the visual effects were contracted out to a number of FX shops in addition to ILM. And do stick to the very en…
Hewitt responds to Will
Left coast center-right talk show host, Hugh Hewitt responds to Wills grumpiness with the following:

Will seems to think that the AS candidacy is a threat to Reagan's legacy, and obviously upset at the prospect, unleashes this one: "Truly conservative Californians --you few know who you are-- will vote against the recall to protest its plebiscitary cynicism."  Oh yeah, that's right.  Forget the illegally tripled car tax, the hot-check written to paper over the deficit, the crumbling schools, the clogged highways and of course, the transgenedered-at-work protection act and the inane family leave for sick puppies act. Written like a man with a nice bank account and secure work, living in an earthquake free zone where fires never break out and spread uncontrollably, who can afford an extra $600 per car and doesn't mind that the local high school is turning out graduates who need to be retrained before they are employable. True conservatives, i…
Will (WaPo) on the Recall
Am going to post excerpts and links to Op-Eds on the recall... So first up, George Willwho hopes a pox on all your houses!

Excerpt:
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However, if in a few weeks Davis seems a certain loser, muscular Democratic interests, none of which are tied to him by cords of affection, might successfully pressure him to resign. Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who is a candidate to succeed him, would become governor, the recall would deflate and the Democratic Party's condign punishment probably would be to continue wrestling with the problems it has created or exacerbated.

California's Republican Party, sunk in frivolousness and opportunism, also deserves to come out of this badly. That is conservatism's hope for this recall: ruin all around.
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Over the weekend, I saw a poll (didn't catch the source) that had the recall passing with 54% of the vote. I saw one on Monday night that I think was a USA Today poll that had th…
Separation of State and Religion
Continuing the theme of religion in public life, here is an op-ed I got from a friend. Thomas Friedman of the NYTimes writes about his dinner with some Muslims.

Excerpt:
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I was invited to interview a rising progressive Iraqi Shiite cleric, Sayyid Iyad Jamaleddine, at his home on the banks of the Tigris. It was the most exciting conversation I've had on three trips to postwar Iraq. I listened to Mr. Jamaleddine eloquently advocate separation of mosque and state and lay out a broad, liberal agenda for Iraq's majority Shiites.
...
for my money, the most important reason we fought this war: If the West is going to avoid a war of armies with Islam, there has to be a war of ideas within Islam. The progressives have to take on both the religious totalitarians, like Osama bin Laden, and the secular totalitarians who exploit Islam as a cover, like Saddam Hussein. We cannot defeat their extremists, only they can. This war of ideas nee…
Religious (in)Tolerance in America?

I was surprised to find out that Bible verses were removed from the Grand Canyon. In a recent op-ed by Dennis Prager he addressed this issue.

An excerpt below:
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That the ACLU would write a letter protesting three little plaques at the Grand Canyon with verses from the book of Psalms provides a clear example of how intent the organization is on destroying the Judeo-Christian moral foundations of this society. This, after all, is the same ACLU that went to court in Florida to protect a Muslim woman's right to be photographed for her driver's license ID wearing a veil! If it ain't Judeo-Christian, the ACLU is a big fan of religion.
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Indeed, that does smack of hypocracy on the part of the ACLU. Here in the US, we are open enough a society to have a group like the ACLU but when they do stuff that makes no sense I'm glad people like Prager speak out and we should to.

Prager concludes …
And still more about the recall...
The Davis plan was to keep any "serious" Democrats out of the race so he could campaign against the recall as a tool of the "right wing-nuts." And Sen. Feinstein staying out of it must have had the Davis camp doing cartwheels. Then the reports came out from the afternoon taping of the Leno show that Arnold was in threw the Democrats into a frenzy and very quickly Lt. Gov. Bustamonte jumped right in.


Democrat solidarity is holding form with the pressures put on Insurance Commissioner Garamendi to stay out. After initially saying he wouldn't bow to the pressure he did a 180! You can only imagine the kind of phone calls he was getting from the party leadership: wait your turn or else you will never get a penny to run for dog catcher anywhere in the state!


Meanwhile on the GOP side, the discipline is fraying at the moment. Only Issa decided to fall on his sword and stay out of it. McClintock is in. Uberroth is in. Simon i…
Cal Supremes Stay Out of Recall
I guess they didn't want to be like the Florida court wading into the swamp!


Here is a Yahoo/AP news summary of the courts rulings. Of the five suits, four of them were rejected unanimously. One suite was rejected on a 5-2 vote. That legal challenge questioned the loose candidacy requirement ($3500 and 65 signatures). The suit charged that Secretary of State Kevin Shelley missapplied state election laws on this recall issue.

There article says there are a few Federal level suits but I suspect they will go nowhere.


I was surprised but happy that the Cal courts stayed out of it.

The other big news was the entry of The Terminator into the race. With that news, the Democrats broke ranks with Davis and began to throw their hats in. The biggest name being Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante.
California Governor Recall
I was surprised that the recall got the needed signatures. It is a big task to get that many. But it is obvious that the disdain for Gov. Davis is that deep and wide.

The question now remains whether the various legal challenges to the recall will succeed.

One type of challenge is based on "equal protection due process" grounds. The arguement goes that the rushed nature of the election means the county level administration of the election will be flawed thus disenfrancishing some voters.

Another challenge I saw in an LA Times Op-Ed from Hastings Law professor Grodin which I excerpt below:

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Article X, Section 9 of the state Constitution tells us that the lieutenant governor "shall become Governor when a vacancy occurs in the office of Governor." That is what the lieutenant governor is elected to do. To say that the lieutenant governor steps into the governor's seat if the governor dies, or resigns, or becomes dis…