Friday, August 29, 2003

The WSJ: Making Apples from Oranges

Daniel Henniger is funny. His WSJ column today, "Wonder Land: Blue-State Pols Are Emptying Their Own States," focuses on Census reports of net migration flows within the U.S. So, for instance, California lost over 3/4 of a million residents in the internal migration game during the latter half of the 1990s. A similar state of affairs presents itself in many other "blue" states. "Red" states were net winners in the internal migration game.

Henniger approaches this as evidence in favor of the growing dominance of "red" America. In Henniger's world, these out migraters represent the, "most industrious, motivated citizens," in fact, even the recent international immigrants leaving the "blue" states, "Almost certainly these are the most motivated, successful new arrivers, who know a lot about maximizing their gains."

Now, truly, Henniger does have a valid point: Life in blue America is expensive, particularly as compared to red America. But he elides a few important points. First, as Micheal Lind pointed out in The Atlantic this past winter, red America is empty. Basically, the net migration tables could work out no other way. Yes, Californians could head for New York and vice versa, but there are many other destination points as well. California lost more population, net, than live in either North Dakota, South Dakota, or Wyoming (among other states). And let's not forget we're talking about a loss of 755,000 on a total population in excess of 34 million.

If I were leaving my blue state, I'd almost certainly head for a red one. And that's not a good thing for red America. And this is what makes Henniger funny. He treats the migration tables as a repudiation of blue America rather than the creeping threat to red America that it just might be. Don't think for one moment that I'll become a red stater simplying by moving. Me, and all the rest of my blue state brethren can turn a red state blue without blue America evening noticing we're gone. Call it a sane version of the Free State Project. Or did he not consider this turn of events?

Monday, August 25, 2003

No Moore

I really don't want this to be what I blog about, but it's the subject that gets me going the most these days. Yes, back to Idiot Roy. The Wall Street Journal, further proving itself to be the natural home of every wing-nut with a vestige of prestige (and some without that vestige, ahem, Mr. den Beste).

On top of my earlier complaints about Idiot Roy, I'm not sure how in the world he's qualified to be a judge. If we step beyond the nonsensical argumentation (He breathlessly moves between the Alabama Constitution and the Federal Constitution as if they were one and the same) all we are left with is hyperbole and demagoguery plain and simple. Let's play his game. Apparently the Alabama Constitution pays heavy reference to g[G]od (I don't know much about the specifics and the tradition and I've seen enough from Roy to know not to take his word on this or any other matter). Roy feels the state constitution and his oath to uphold it compels him to display the Ten Commandments and that the federal order to move it from public display is equivalent of declaring the constitution of the state of Alabama unconstitutional. A few questions come to mind, briefly:
a) There isn't any other possible way to mesh these allegedly competing duties (I say allegedly because the competition of duties is based on trusting Roy)? Nothing less than a 2.5 ton stone monument in the lobby will fulfill his Constitutional duty? I note, the federal judge has ordered the monument only out of public display. In an office, an off wing of the building, some other solution or possibly even a different monument would apparently comply with the federal courts.
b) I assume Roy is not the first Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to have taken the particular oath (words) to the state constitution. That said, I trust Moore is pushing hard for the Attorney General's office to break breach of duty action against the former occupants of his position. I mean, what the hell were those guys doing, not meeting their sworn oath to recognize g[G]od.

And then we have Idiot Roy's delusion that he is in fact upholding the law rather than breaking it. Put simply, he's wrong as wrong can be. In this country, we don't let the convicted criminal out because he asserts his rights were violated at trial. Rather, he stews in jail until a competent authority agrees. Lacking a stay or injunction (which Roy Boy doesn't have), the law is straightforward and clear. You obey the standing ruling from the competent ruling authority until it is overturned. Anything less is violating a court order. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Roy does know that the Federal court is a competent authority- he cites the Supremacy clause (although, his usage makes it unclear whether or not he actually understands it).

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Alabama's star is coming off my flag

Today's other, ahem, riveting story comes to us from Alabama. The thumbnail: 'Bama Chief Justice Roy Moore surreptiously had monuments of the Ten Commandments displayed in the state Court House last November. Predictably, lawsuits were filed in response. Even more predictably, the courts (federal in this instance) have ordered the monument removed. Our boy Roy has a history of disobeying court orders regarding the display of the Ten Commandments. Briefly, a few questions come to mind
a) why is this guy being portrayed as a hero to any segment of the population
b) why is this guy not getting recalled, I mean, he is actually using his office to violate the law, and
c) who the hell votes for a judge with a history of ignoring court orders?
This is beyond me.

Regarding Moore's supporters, the Post offers the following quote from a F.O.R.:

"They've been coming down here and ruling and running things since I was a kid . . . they're always trying to tell us how to run things," said Pete Moran of tiny Adger, north of Montgomery, who leaned against the court's elegant columns to pray. "They'll have to move me out of the way to take the Ten Commandments."

Those damn feds, first the come down to protect the blacks, now this. Where do they get off? Here's a hint: If you didn't elect people bent on one form of persecution or another, then maybe the feds would leave you alone. And while the fight for Civil Rights are on the table, I'm also quite fond of the attempt to link Ol' Roy's plight (as it were) to the efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr. Yes, exactly, because this is the modern day form of segregation.

The fact that Moore is being compared to long ago (but not long enough ago) Gov. George Wallace is troubling. The fact that this is considerred a positive, rather than damning comparison, is truly ominous.

Were governance entertainment he still wouldn't be fit

The first order of business is California, the recall, and, ufnortunately Schwarzen... whatever. First of all, a comment on the misplaced rhetoric of "the will of the people has been heard" sentiment. In short, no. The will of the people is may be heard after the Oct. 7 recall (normally will rather than may would be appropriate here, but let's not go setting expectations too high). Right now, all that has been heard is the desire of a small percentage of Californians to screw around with normal operation of government.

That said, the Washington Post gets it. The New York Times doesn't. Look at their articles on Schwarzen... whatever's press conference yesterday. No link to the Times because the article is boring and only peripherally informative. The Post, however, provides voice. Try:

"Standing before 30 television news cameras, Schwarzenegger appeared forceful and animated. He made no gaffes."

Well there's a measure of a man: He made no gaffes. Or, my favorite:

"He also said he would bring in a private accounting company (rather than the California Department of Finance) to go through the state books and produce a firm assessment of how deeply in debt the state really is. "I teach my kids: Don't spend money you don't have," he said. Schwarzenegger made $56 million in the past two tax years."

Arnold should just shut his trap.

Well, it's been awhile. Starting a new job, car shopping, all that. Let's see if I can get back in the flow.