Friday, February 29, 2008


The WMU College Republicans are pleased to announce that we will be hosting rock star and 2nd ammendment rights activist Ted Nugent on our campus on March 31. His speech will take place at 7pm in Miller Auditorium. For more information, please email us at

"Eliminate the insanity of gun-free zones, which will never, ever be gun-free zones. They will only be good guy gun-free zones" --Ted Nugent

Update: We made the front page of the Friday edition of the Kalamazoo Gazette

Local News

Local news of interest.

No surprise: WSA overwhelmingly supports SAF increase

WSA election: Harik announces Crowe will be running-mate in WSA election

Campus politics: SSE helps make the WMU campus green

College Democrats: Dems to host documentary film series on neoconservatism

Nugent! God, guns, music bring rocker Nugent to WMU

Stephanie Moore: Moore felony case to be continued

Stephanie Moore: City leader dissatisfied with single charge in alleged death threat made against her

KCTA: More News of Interst to Local Taxpayers

William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley passed away on Wednesday. He was a sometimes controversial conservative icon. For different views of Buckley, see these two articles.

Ann Coulter: William F. Buckley: R.I.P., Enfant Terrible

Peter Brimelow: William F. Buckley, Jr., RIP—Sort Of

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Daylight Savings Wastes Money

From the Wall Street Journal:


For decades, conventional wisdom has held that daylight-saving time, which begins March 9, reduces energy use. But a unique situation in Indiana provides evidence challenging that view: Springing forward may actually waste energy.

Up until two years ago, only 15 of Indiana's 92 counties set their clocks an hour ahead in the spring and an hour back in the fall. The rest stayed on standard time all year, in part because farmers resisted the prospect of having to work an extra hour in the morning dark. But many residents came to hate falling in and out of sync with businesses and residents in neighboring states and prevailed upon the Indiana Legislature to put the entire state on daylight-saving time beginning in the spring of 2006.

Research on the impact of extending daylight-saving time across Indiana found:

• Residential electricity usage increased between 1% and 4%, amounting to $8.6 million a year.

• Social costs from increased emissions were estimated at between $1.6 million and $5.3 million per year.

• Possible social benefits -- enhanced public health and safety and economic growth -- were not studied.

Indiana's change of heart gave University of California-Santa Barbara economics professor Matthew Kotchen and Ph.D. student Laura Grant a unique way to see how the time shift affects energy use. Using more than seven million monthly meter readings from Duke Energy Corp., covering nearly all the households in southern Indiana for three years, they were able to compare energy consumption before and after counties began observing daylight-saving time. Readings from counties that had already adopted daylight-saving time provided a control group that helped them to adjust for changes in weather from one year to the next.

Their finding: Having the entire state switch to daylight-saving time each year, rather than stay on standard time, costs Indiana households an additional $8.6 million in electricity bills. They conclude that the reduced cost of lighting in afternoons during daylight-saving time is more than offset by the higher air-conditioning costs on hot afternoons and increased heating costs on cool mornings.

"I've never had a paper with such a clear and unambiguous finding as this," says Mr. Kotchen, who presented the paper at a National Bureau of Economic Research conference this month.


In 2005, Reps. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Fred Upton of Michigan drafted legislation that would extend daylight-saving time nationwide. Congress approved the amendment, which called for clocks to be sprung forward a week earlier in the spring and to be set back three weeks later in the fall. The change went into effect last year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Campus Rape Crisis?

There is an interesting article in City Journal by Heather MacDonald.

The Campus Rape Myth

Among other things, it exposes that bogus claim that one in four college women are raped and the Take Back the Night nonsense.

Caution: Contains adult content.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


This update focuses on government. Government spending is out of control. The real national debt is about 60 trillion dollars, including unfunded entitlement liabilities. Inflation of the money supply weakens the economy and reduces the value of money. Government threats to civil liberties remain a reason for concern.

Mike Franc: Fiscal Action Now
Terry Jeffrey: Your $455,000 Loan to Uncle Sam
William Jasper: Reining In Spending
Ron Paul: The Importance of Fiscal Responsibility in Government

Terry Easton: Stark Raving Mad
Peter Brimelow: Ron Paul's Competing Currencies
Terry Easton: EU Fire Sale

Walter Williams: Coming After You
Thomas Sowell: Green "Disparate Impact"
Thomas Sowell: Stop "Making a Difference"

Phyllis Schlafly: Universal Child Care Means Ending Parents' Rights
Bob Unruh: SWAT officers invade home, take 11-year-old at gunpoint
Don Devine: A Civil Debate on Torture
Thomas Sowell: "Driving While Black"

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

WSA Wants a Tax Increase

The Western Student Association is discussing whether to raise the Student Assessment Fee (SAF). The student body will vote on whether to raise the SAF during the next WSA election. This vote would not be binding, but it could be influential with the Board of Trustees, which will have the final say.

The SAF is currently twelve dollars per student per year. The proposal on the ballot is to raise it by nine dollars to twenty-one dollars per student per year.

The proposal would also guarantee money to sports and clubs.

The Western Herald (of course) supports the proposal. They argue

The only harm that can be found in the increased fee is $9 a semester. It's $9 for 15 weeks - buy one less meal at Qdoba, go to one less movie with popcorn and a soda, buy one less six-pack of Bell's and you'll make up the difference in one night. The increase benefits students and the university as a whole in a wide variety of ways. Support the increase, and take advantage of it by attending and participating in student activities and events.
What if students want to keep their nine dollars? What if they'd rather go to Qdoba or a movie? Why should they have to spend their money on SAF-funded events? If the increase is so little, why doesn't the Herald pay my share, too?

The WSA is an incredible waste of money. It spends plenty of money on t-shirts and various knick-knacks to promote its own existence. It spends money sending members to worthless student government conferences. Then there are the events it funds. A few do manage to attract students, but many also spend money on speakers few people see.

What about sports? Why should the WSA fund events that only benefit a few people? At least speakers theoretically benefit the whole campus, since plenty of students can go to them. Why should the WSA fund people's hobbies? If someone likes to collect coins or travel to Europe, should the WSA pay for it?

Before anyone accuses the College Republicans of 'hypocrisy' for funding our events with SAF money, remember that we didn't create this system. The WSA collects a fixed amount of money every year. It will spend the same amount of money whether or not we get any. At least our events attract plenty of people and spur discussion on campus.

With the state of Michigan and sundry local governments raising taxes, the student government apparently wants in on the act. This proposal should be rejected.

Drain Commissioner Update

There is news concerning the position of Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner. Interim Drain Commissioner Pat Crouse has announced that he will run for office as a Republican. Crouse was appointed after Drain Commissioner Bill French suffered a stroke.

Crouse has been widely praised. The consensus seems to be that he has done a good job--better than the last few commissioners. He was encouraged to run by both parties.

Crouse is seen as fairly moderate. The Drain Commissioner position is not particularly ideological, but it does deal with issues of development and the environment.

Meanwhile, the fate of Bill French remains unclear. He has not announced whether he will run for reelection.

Before his stroke, democrats on the county commission had asked Governor Granholm to remove French for his misdemeanor conviction. Granholm kicked the request to her attorney, who suggested that French may have vacated his office by virtue of his conviction. Now, the democrats are asking Rep. Lorence Wenke to ask state Attorney General Mike Cox to rule on the question. Meanwhile, French continues to recover from his stroke.

Poor East Campus

Western has recently seen another round of hand-wringing over the fate of East Campus.

For those who don't know, East Campus sits on a ridge between Waldo Stadium and downtown Kalamazoo. It was the original campus of Western at its founding in 1903. For sixty years or so, it was Western. In the 1950's and '60's, most of Western's functions moved west to what is now main campus. East Campus continued to be used for scattered functions.

These days, the buildings of East Campus are deteriorating. One of the two remaining occupants of East Hall, the oldest of the buildings, is moving out. The other is expected to leave before too long.

Historical preservationists want to save East Campus. They point out, correctly, that the East Campus buildings are the most architecturally interesting buildings at Western. They are also important to Western's history.

However, there are significant practical problems with saving East Campus. The buildings are non-functional and would require many millions of dollars of renovation to be used for classes or offices. That's money that Western doesn't have. Further, building new buildings or renovating buildings on main campus like Sangren is a better use of the money that Western does have.

Another major problem is the lack of parking available for East Campus. There are maybe a hundred spots on the ridge, not nearly enough for many classes or offices. There isn't room for parking anywhere nearby, either. East Campus is too far away for students to easily walk there. Bus service is unreliable.

Without any good options, people will continue to lament the situation, but it isn't likely to change very much.

Jack in the News

A couple recent items mention State Representative Jack Hoogendyk.

Republican Michigander has a good analysis of Jack's race against Senator Carl Levin.

Jack is tied for second most fiscally conservative state representative. He was just barely beaten by Rep. Fulton Sheen of Allegan County. Jack has a proven record of supporting limited government.

MCRI Battle

The battle for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) isn't over yet. The battle is being waged in court. Opponents of the MCRI filed a lawsuit which is being heard in the court of federal judge David Lawson.

Chet Zarko offers a warning about the status of the suit.

Lawson is liberal activist. He was appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton.

Previous: MCRI News

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Revolt of the Right

This is a very interesting article. (It has a couple minor errors. 'Walberg' doesn't have an 'h', and the Upton/Shugars race was in 2002.)


Gilchrest the Latest: Revolt of the Right

My first -- my very first -- article for HUMAN EVENTS was in August, 1979, when I profiled the candidacy of a minister named Don Lyon for Congress in Illinois. A year before, Lyon had made headlines nationwide when, with support from direct mail czar Richard Viguerie, the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC), and other pillars of the New Right, had come within a whisker (52% to 48%) of ousting nine-term Rep. John B. Anderson in the Republican primary. Many believed that Lyon’s mighty showing convinced Anderson to leave Congress and run for President in 1980. My “reporting baptism” was about Lyon as a candidate among a handful of ambitious Republicans. (Without the hated Anderson as an opponent, Lyon could not generate the national funding he had two years before and lost in a primary won by a moderate state senator named Lynn Martin. Anderson lost the early presidential primaries to Ronald Reagan and then bolted to run as an independent. He went on to head the World Federalists).

After nearly thirty years as a political reporter, the scenario of conservatives trying to take out the remaining moderate Republicans in Congress seems familiar. Two years after a minister named Tim Wahlberg ousted moderate Rep. Joe Schwartz in Michigan’s 7th District, history repeated itself again: conservative State Sen. Andy Harris handily defeated Rep. Wayne Gilchrest for renomination in Maryland’s 1st District (Eastern Shore). This time, there was no CPAC, but there was a Club for Growth that ran independent TV salvoes slamming the ten-term incumbent as a tax-and-spender.

In addition, a cadre of local conservative volunteers were encouraged to work for Harris by some of the non-conservative stands the 63-year-old Gilchrest has taken over the years: in favor of McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation, pro-abortion, opposing the National Rifle Association on restrictions on gun show sales, support for gays in the military, and becoming one of two Republicans to vote for the war funding bill vetoed by President Bush and one of seventeen Republicans in the House to support a resolution critical of the troop surge in Iraq.

As the Almanac of American Politics pointed out, “His moderate voting record has led to competitive primary contests.” In ’02 and ’04, conservative primary foes won 36% and 38% of the vote respectively. This time -- in large part due to his Iraq stance -- Harris won with relative ease. The final total was 39% for Harris, 36%, and 21% for State Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who also ran to the right of the incumbent.

Harris should win in the fall against Democrat Frank Kratovil, the Queen Anne’s County Attorney. At the gaggle (early morning press briefing) at the White House Wednesday, Press Secretary Dana Perino noted that President Bush supported Gilchrest as he does all Republican incumbents “and now looks forward to supporting the Republican nominee” in the fall.

Does Gilchrest’s demise mean that moderates are becoming extinct in the Republican Party? Not at all. There are still moderate GOPers in the House. Rep. Fred Upton, the senior Republican in the Michigan delegation, survived a stiff primary challenge from conservative State Sen. Dale Sugars in ’04 and remains a leader in the “Lunch Bucket” group of moderate GOPers. But there is only one Republican House Member left in New England (moderate Chris Shays of Connecticut) and, more often than not, when a moderate Republican retires, he is succeeded by a more conservative GOPer (“an upgrade,” is how national conservative activists refer to this transition) or a Democrat.

All told, the results in Maryland’s First District are a sign that, when an ABC News poll shows that 64% of likely Republican voters call themselves conservative (or more than twice as much as say they are moderate or liberal), the candidates they are nominating for the House increasingly show this. George Wallace’s 1968 comment that there “is not one dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties” is outmoded, at least in the House; there’s a good silver dollar’s worth of difference between the parties.

As to whether this will be enough for Republicans to win control of the House in the future remains to be seen.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Drafted to School

The Gazette has a recent editorial supporting Governor Granholm's plan to mandate school attendance until age 18. Raise mandatory school attendance age

Proponents of this plan point out that people who graduate from high school do much better in life than those who don't. This is certainly true, but once again, correlation is not causation. Smarter, more dedicated people are more likely to both graduate and succeed in life.

Is everyone capable of graduating from high school? We'd like to think so, but is it so? See this article.

How is this requirement supposed to be enforced? If teens don't go to school, will the police drag them there? Every day? Is that the best use of their time?

And what will happen when they get there? How will people who don't want to be in school act? Most likely, they will be disruptive. This will hurt the other students, preventing them from getting the education that they want.

Of course, there's no evidence that this policy would work. From an email from Jack Hoogendyk:

It is no guarantee that kids will stay in school and graduate asGovernor Granholm suggests. Increasing the compulsory attendance agewill not reduce the dropout rate. In fact, the two states with thebest high school completion rates, Maryland at 94.5% and North Dakotaat 94.7%, compel attendance only to age 16. The state with the lowestcompletion rate (Oregon: 75.4%) compels attendance to age 18. (Figuresare three-year averages, 1996 through 1998.)
So why advocate this policy? Well, who benefits? The more kids who get roped into government schools, the more government school teachers, the more dues for the teachers union, and the more campaign contributions to democrats like Governor Granholm.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


This update focuses on energy. High energy prices are caused by government restriction of energy production. Congress recently voted to effectively ban the light bulb. Global warming hysteria continues.

Ed Hiserodt: Nuclear Waste: Not a Problem
Arthur Robinson: Analyzing Global-warming Science
Jerome Corsi: Discovery backs theory oil not 'fossil fuel'
Tim Carney: Phony Green Lightbulbs
Walter Williams: California Energy Rules Latest Burst of Government Tyranny
Michael Reagan: Environmental Terrorism and the Price of Oil
Joseph Farah: The Light Bulb -- Still a Good Idea
Arthur Robinson: High Fuel and Electricity Prices -- Made in Washington
Arthur Robinson: The Virtues of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Jack for Senate!

From the Gazette:


Hoogendyk preparing to challenge Levin

KALAMAZOO -- State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk (R-Texas Township) has filed papers to run for U.S. Senate, hoping to challenge incumbent Democrat Carl Levin for his seat in November, he confirmed Friday.

Hoogendyk's formal announcement could come as early as next week.

Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was first elected in 1978 and has since won re-election by wide margins. He is well known by state voters and his committee chairmanship has given him a prominent role in the debate over the war in Iraq.

Hoogendyk said he could mount a competitive campaign, starting with this weekend's activities at the Republican State Convention in Lansing, where he was soliciting support for his campaign. "The whole point of this weekend is to build the relationships, the credibility, and the support that we need to take on the giant,'' he said. Hoogendyk said he would challenge Levin's record on defense, spending and immigration issues.

The filing deadline to run for U.S. Senate is May 13.

One potential challenger for the Republican nomination, former state lawmaker Andrew "Rocky'' Raczkowski, dropped out of the race after recently learning he would be sent overseas later this year. Raczkowsk, a major with the U.S. Army Reserves from Southfield, lost to Levin in 2002.

The only other Republican in the race to date is Troy engineer Bart Baron, who has garnered little support in past campaigns for Congress.

Hoogendyk was first elected to the state House in 2002 and cannot run for re-election this year because of term limits.

Local News

From WWMT: Concealed Weapons on Campus

WSA election news: Emerick announces running mate

On Campus: WMU steps toward vacating East Hall

Granholm screws WMU: Lawmakers must seek better formula for WMU

From KCTA: Yet another idiotic tax editorial

Gazette editorial: Raise mandatory school attendance age

Local school board candidates: School board candidates seek election in Southwest Michigan

2010: Archer considers run for governor

A Time to Cancel

Twice now in the past couple weeks Western has had school when it should have been canceled. Both times, every school in the area canceled school except Western (and Kalamazoo College, where most studends live on campus). Many Western students live on or near campus, but many students and faculty do not.

Both times, the roads had been plowed of snow. The problem was that they remained covered with layer of packed snow or ice. This made made it easy for cars to slide or spin out, making driving very dangerous. On these days, it was overcast and cold enough that salt and sun couldn't melt the ice.

The one time that school was canceled, conditions weren't as bad.

School officials are understandably concerned about losing too many school days. But school days shouldn't come at the expense of unreasonable safety risks to commuting students.

WMU should have closed for safety reasons last week

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Primary Retrospective

Well, it's all over but the crying.

There will be primaries for the next couple months, but barring some kind of miracle, John McCain will be the Republican nominee.

Before we transition to the general election, though, it's worth taking a look back on the primary campaign to see see if there is anything that can be learned.

Incredibly, McCain didn't win among self-identified Republicans in any state before super Tuesday. Enough independents and democrats voted in the primaries to swing the results. This should spur Republicans to ensure that next time Republicans decide the Republican nominee. No more open or semi-open primaries. There should be caucuses, conventions, or at a minimum closed primaries. Let the people who are actually active in the party decide the nominee. They're more likely to know something about the candidates other than what they heard in the liberal media.

The media is still hugely influential. Media exposure is worth millions of dollars to candidates. Every election, the media annoints frontrunners to be lavished with attention and mostly ignores the others. If real conservatives can get any coverage, it will be in articles talking about how they're extreme, controversial, long-shots who can't win.

Here's an idea. It's not the job of the media to predict the future. Report the facts; don't say who "can't win", or who is a frontrunner. The race anology doesn't make any sense. It would only make sense if candidates couldn't give back anything that they had. But is the case of poll standing this simply isn't true.

Once again, the fallacy of determining electability based on current poll standing can be seen. Rudy Giuliani led national polls for months. McCain did well, then collapsed to single digits, then made a comback. Fred Thompson briefly led. People should choose who to support based on who they like best, not who is most electable.

There were something like twenty Republican debates in the primary campaign. Did they serve any purpose? The only things that I can remember from them are Huckabee's joke that "Congress spends money like John Edwards in a beauty shop", Giuliani's misleading attack on Ron Paul, and Thompson's rebellion against the "show of hands" questions.

The debates were sponsored by television networks. They were mostly moderated by liberal reporters and newsmen. They mostly asked questions that didn't help Republicans decide. Remember that these were Republican debates. It's bad enough that liberals moderate general election debates. Is it too much to ask that Republicans moderate Republican debates?

Wouldn't you like to see a debate moderated by Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, and Phyllis Schlafly? Or how about Rush Limbaugh, Michael Reagan, and Glenn Beck? The networks have been able to pick the moderators because they broadcast the debates. But they don't have that many viewers. Why not have a conservative debate and broadcast it on the internet, if no network will broadcast it?

The good news is that newspapers continue to lose readers and television networks continue to lose viewers. More people get their news from the internet. The media's power to pick the Republican nominee may diminish. In the mean time, we need caucuses, conservative debates, and a commitment not to buy false notions of electability.

Romney Drops Out

Mitt Romney dropped out of the Republican race on Thursday.

He had advantages such as being a governor, having business experience, a solid family, good speaking ability, and stated conservative positions.

However, he had disadvantages as well. Voters don't like rich people very much. Being Mormon helped him win their votes, but turned off others. His 'flip-flops' raised questions about the sincerity of his positions. Ironically, this provided cover to several othre candidates who had conveniently changed positions. He also seemed "too perfect".

It took $40 million for Romney to get as far as he got.

Despite claims to the following, the data shows that Romney was helped by his position on immigration.


This update focuses on Russia. Russia is controlled by an authoritarian KGB elite. A former Romanian general provides new information on the Kennedy assassination.

Oliver North: The Man Behind the Curtain
Phyllis Schlafly: Setting the McCarthy Record Straight
Rachel Ehrenfeld: Russia’s New 'State Oligarchy'
Ion Pacepa: A Terrorist State in the G8?
Michael Ledeen: Kennedy Assassination and Soviet KGB Connection Explored in Book
Ion Pacepa: The Dragon of Disinformation

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Local News

There's plenty happening at Western and around Kalamazoo.

Danielle Harik is running for WSA President. Josh Emerick is also running.

WSA endorses global warming nonsense. Students for Nugent takes a strong stance against global warming theories.

A cult is going to protest the gay rights movement. Both sides are ridiculous. There is no evidence that Matthew Sheperd was murdered based on his "sexual orientation".

RecycleMania comes to Western! Quick, waste money!

A medical school at Western?

College students campaign for presidential hopefuls

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Romney Out, McCain is Apparent Nominee

From via Drudge:

Romney Suspends Presidental Campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) - Mitt Romney suspended his faltering presidential campaign on Thursday, effectively sealing the Republican presidential nomination for John McCain. "I must now stand aside, for our party and our country," Romney told conservatives.
"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney told the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

Romney's decision leaves McCain as the top man standing in the GOP race, with Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul far behind in the delegate hunt. It was a remarkable turnaround for McCain, who some seven months ago was barely viable, out of cash and losing staff. The four-term Arizona senator, denied his party's nomination in 2000, was poised to succeed George W. Bush as the GOP standard-bearer.

Romney launched his campaign almost a year ago in his native Michigan. The former Massachusetts governor and venture capitalist invested more than $40 million of his own money into the race, counted on early wins in Iowa and New Hampshire that never materialized and won just seven states on Super Tuesday, mostly small caucus states.

McCain took the big prizes of New York and California.

"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters ... many of you right here in this room ... have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming president. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America," Romney said.

There were shouts of astonishment, with some moans and others yelling, "No, No."

Romney responded, "You guys are great."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday

Twenty-some states voted on Tuesday. McCain, Romney, and Huckabee all won several states.

McCain's victories were focused in more liberal blue states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, and California. He also won home state Arizona and Oklahoma and Missouri.

Huckabee won the southern states Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Romney won a plurality on the first ballot of the West Virginia caucuses, but McCain and Huckabee made a deal to prevent him from winning the second ballot.

Romney won his home state of Massachusetts, Mormon capital Utah, and caucuses in Minnesota, Colorado, North Dakota, and Montana.

Ron Paul had his best showings to date with 25% in Montana and 21% in North Dakota.

Interestingly, with additional wins in Wyoming, Nevada, and Maine, Romney has won every caucus except Iowa and West Virginia. Caucus voters are more dedicated, and presumably better informed than primary voters.

McCain is the definite front-runner, but Romney and Huckabee did well enough to continue. Ron Paul will probably go all the way to the convention no matter what. Louisiana and Kansas are on Saturday, and Virginia, Maryland, and DC are next Tuesday.

Hillary and Obama closely split the super Tuesday states, so the democratic race will probably continue for at least another month.

What do the Republican results mean for conservatism? What can we learn from the primary campaign so far? What will Ron Paul's movement do next? More thoughts on these topics to come...

Ehlers to Retire?

Human Events reports that Washington insiders expect Congressman Vern Ehlers to retire this year.

Sources on Capitol Hill say the exodus among House Republicans is not likely to stop there and the next lawmaker who will say he is not running will probably be Rep. Vern Ehlers (R.-Mich.), who has so far done almost no fund-raising for ’08.
Ehlers represents Michigan's third district, which includes most of Kent County and all of Barry and Ionia counties. The district is heavily Republican, voting about 60% Republican for President.

There is a long list of potential Republican candidates. It includes state senators Bill Hardiman and Mark Jansen, former senate majority leader Ken Sikkema, former lieutenant governor Dick Posthumus, Kent County officials, and many current and former state representatives. Republican heavyweights Dick Devos and Terri Land live in the district, but they probably have their hearts set on higher office.

The Democrats' best candidate would probably be Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, if they can get him.

Ehlers is a moderate Republican with a lifetime ACU rating of 70%. His retirement would be an opportunity for conservatives to gain in Congress.

Almost 15% of house Republicans are retiring in 2008.

More Ballot Proposals

There are more proposals that will seek signatures to go on the November ballot in Michigan.


The fair tax plan. This proposal would replace the state income tax, business taxes and other levies with a new 9.75 percent sales tax on most goods and services.

"We have a huge constituency," said Rep. Fulton Sheen, R-Plainwell, who said his movement includes over 1,000 volunteers. "This replaces an onerous system of taxation with a far better one."

• Stem cell research. Under the proposal, excess embryos created for fertility treatment that would otherwise be discarded could be used for stem cell research, which is now banned under state law.

"This is a big day for the campaign for cures in Michigan," said campaign director Mark Burton. "We are dedicated to giving hope to those in Michigan suffering from debilitating diseases curable by advancements in stem cell research."

Michigan Right to Life and the Michigan Catholic Conference will lead the opposition.

• Part-time Legislature. Backers want to limit the annual regular legislative session to 100 days a year and no more than 15 special session days. It also would reduce lawmakers' pay to 80 percent of the median household income in Michigan and dock legislators for unexcused absences. Term limits for members of the House and Senate would be eliminated.

• Tax limitation. This plan would require a statewide vote on any law that creates a new tax, continues a tax, reduces a tax deduction or credit or increases the rate or base of a tax.

• School vouchers. The proposal would set up education accounts, provided by the state, which could be used by parents to send their children to a public or private school.

• Senate restructuring. The amendment calls for senators to be elected at large in a statewide election and increased from the current 38 to 50 members.


Tax limitation, part-time legislature, and probably fair tax deserve support. Embryo destruction and senate restructuring deserve oppostion. More information is necessary on the voucher proposal.

Previous: Potential Ballot Proposals

Monday, February 04, 2008

Understanding Government: Democracy

Government power is distributed in different ways.

In a dictatorship, one person has most of the power in a country. In a monarchy, the executive power is hereditary. In an oligarchy, most of the power is held by a small elite. Two other forms of government are democracy and republic.


The definitions of these last two terms have become somewhat confused. In a pure democracy, all citizens would decide all issues directly. But this is impractical in most political jurisdictions. Instead, they use representative democracy, in which citizens elect the people who make the decisions.

A republic in its most general form is any government that is not a monarchy. (Hence the Roman Republic, People's Republic of China, etc.) But as used by America's Founding Fathers, the term means a government whose structure is designed to limit its power. This structure can include democratic elections.

The difference between a republic and a democracy is that in a republic there is a right answer to policy questions and the structure of the government should facilitate its achievement, but in a democracy the right answer is seen as being whatever people want. Thus in a republic elections exist to limit government, but in a democracy, they exist to fulfill an abstract theory.

It is worth noting that America's Founding Fathers created a republic and had nothing good to say about democracy. Since then, elements of democracy have been added into the structure of American government, creating a somewhat confused mixture of the two. Thus America is sometimes referred to as a democratic republic. Other times it is simply referred to as a democracy, but this term is meant to include some republican features as well. (This is the meaning that is used in the rest of this article.)


Democracy is sometimes equated with freedom, or referred to as political freedom. However, this notion is confused. Freedom means that everyone can do what they want, so long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. Democracy means that some portion of the population, often a majority, imposes its will on everyone. All government is based on force, including democracy. Fewer people may be coerced in a democracy than in a dictatorship, but democracy is still based on coercion, not freedom.

For example, consider a group of people trying to decide where to go out for lunch. In a dictatorship, one person picks a restaurant and forces everyone to go there. In a democracy, people vote, and the majority or plurality forces everyone to go to their choice. With freedom, everyone can choose for themselves where to go. They can choose to go the same place as others, or go their separate ways.

Democracy offers choice, not freedom. These are not the same. If someone puts a gun to your head and says that you must either eat an apple or eat an orange, you have a choice, but you don't have freedom. Democracy restricts the choices that people can make by penalizing some of them.

Democracy is sometimes seen as a free market in politics, similar to the free market in goods and services. But this analogy is fundamentally flawed. In a free market, change happens on the margin. Products and services don't have to get majority support to be successful. Just a few customers can make them a success, and this can build into more support when others see this success.

In the free market, you get what you pay for. There is no penalty if your choice does not get majority support. In a democracy, there is. In an election, you either win or lose. Change does not happen on the margin. This encourages strategic voting, which eliminates the process that the market uses to promote success. However, there is a marginal effect to some extent because politicians change their voting behavior based on their margin of victory.


Support for democracy is sustained by a ideology, a vision of how democracy works. Understanding the politics of democracy requires understanding this vision.

The democratic ideology can be summarized as follows.

Democracy expresses the will of the people, which government must carry out. Voting is a right that must be encouraged so that this will is expressed. Politicians should put aside their differences and work for the common good. Democracy allows everyone to have an equal say in the outcome. Since everyone has a chance to participate in the process, they are morally obligated to accept the result.
This vision is fundamentally flawed. There is no such thing as the will of the people. Different people disagree. There may be two, five, or a million different opinions on an issue. On some issues, many people have no opinion at all, and on others, their opinions are highly superficial. There is no one "will of the people" for government to enact.

The will of the people is a dangerous idea because it allows politicians to claim to embody it by virtue of the fact that they were elected. They may get support for bad policies by telling people that their policies are the people's will.

Voting is not a right, it is a power. A vote is a share in the decision-making of government. Government is based on force. Its power can be used for good or bad ends. There is no right to violate others' rights.

Viewing voting as a right leads to the belief that everyone should be able to vote and should do so. Understanding that voting is a power leads to the question of who should have this power. While freedom is generally better preserved when power is dispersed rather than concentrated, there is no reason that groups such as children and felons should have this power.

Likewise, there is no particular reason that having more people vote will lead to better outcomes, particularly if they know little or nothing about the issues or candidates. It is sometimes said that "it doesn't matter how you vote, just that you vote". But this makes no sense for voting as a decision-making process. It only makes sense if voting is used to provide popular support for whatever the government does.

People disagree about both what goals should be pursued and how to achieve them. Politicians likewise disagree, and these disagreements are not just partisanship or bickering. They cannot work together for the "common good" because they don't agree what it is or how to achieve it. If most everyone agreed on a given topic, it would cease to be a political issue.

People do not have even close to an equal say in a democracy. Some people have far more power than others. One of the most important insights of political scientists is the Iron Law of Oligarchy, which says that all organizations are inevitably controlled by a small elite, or oligarchy. This is because people have different levels of intelligence, dedication, political skill, wealth, access to information, political connections, etc. Thus is it impossible for people to have an equal say.

Money is almost essential in politics, so people with money have disproportionate influence. People may all have equal votes, but they need information to decide how to vote. Money is necessary to inform the public about a candidate or message. Thus the rich have disproportionate influence in a democracy. Policies like campaign finance reform that attempt to fix this actually concentrate power even further.

Are people morally obligated to accept a policy because it was decided democratically? Recall that all government policies are based on force. A private organization can also make decisions democratically, and if people don't like the result, they are free to leave the organization. In this case, people would only be morally obligated to accept the result if they agreed to do so ahead of time, regardless what it would be. Government does not ask whether you want to participate or let you walk away if you don't like the result. It is only reasonable that people try to mitigate the harm that government might cause, but the fact that they do so doesn't mean that they are morally obligated to accept the result. There may be very good pragmatic reasons to do so, however.


Democracy is not necessarily the best form of government in all times and places. It has certain cultural prerequisites.

Some factors are more likely to lead to successful democracy. Democracy works better with a literate, educated populace. A common language is essential. Relatively rapid communication is helpful. A healthy middle class is helpful. A committment not to resort to violence when you lose an election is essential.

Not all countries meet these conditions. If the people are illiterate and have to work all day to survive, democracy is unlikely to succeed. There is a reason that monarchy was the most common political system for so long.

Attempting to impose democracy on a country which is not culturally friendly to it is likely to end badly. It may be a case of "one man, one vote, one time", or it may result in a civil war.


Democracy cannot solve the fundamental problems of government.

All government, democratic or not, is based on the use or threat of force. In any government, its employees are not responsible for their actions as people are in a free market. It is true that democracies mostly do not engage in democide or make war with each other. But they still see the negative effects of taxes, spending, redistribution, and regulation. Demcoracies may be even more susceptible to economic collapse through massive debt than other governments, due to public support for redistribution.

Government is necessary for some things. But democracy is a poor substitute for freedom. Rather than try to fulfill some abstact and flawed vision, government decision-making should be structured to limit government power as much as possible.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


This update focuses on conservatism. Conservatism is endangered. Most Republican presidential candidates are not conservatives. Conservatives must rediscover and promote their principles.

Cliff Kincaid: The Secret of Ron Paul’s Success
Don Devine: Conservatives Lose
Pat Buchanan: Ideology Was Bush's Undoing
Don Devine: Religion At Christmas 2007
George Neumayr: Michael Gerson's Heroic Liberalism
Phyllis Schlafly: What We Want in a Presidential Candidate

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Articles on John McCain

These articles provide important information on Senator John McCain.

General Articles
Ann Coulter: From Goldwater Girl to Hillary Girl
On the Issues: John McCain On The Issues
Chris Field: Let's Closely Examine McCain's Record
John Hawkins: The Conservative Case Against John McCain in 2008
Club for Growth: John McCain's Record on Economic Issues
David Limbaugh: 'Maverick' and 'Conservative' Aren't Synonyms
Pat Buchanan: What McCain Means
Thomas Sowell: McCain's Age
Deroy Murdock: McCain: Not Right for the Right
David Limbaugh: McCain, the Anti-Conservative
Jed Babbin: John McCain: The Anti-Conservative
Pat Buchanan: The Great Betrayal

McCain's Politics
The Hill: Democrats say McCain nearly abandoned GOP
Mitt Romney: The McCain Way: Attack Republicans
WMUGOP: McCain's Legislative Record
Redstate: The problem with McCain
Michelle Oddis: John McCain: He's Always There When He Needs Us
Mark Halperin: Mama McCain: Son Has No Support From Base
Tim Carney: John McCain: The Non-Republicans’ Republican
Seton Motley: The Media Finally Get Their Man
Don Devine: Support McCain?

Chuck Baldwin: McCain Madness
Michael Reagan: John McCain Hates Me
Ann Coulter: 'Straight Talk' Express Takes Scenic Route to Truth
Thomas Sowell: McCain's Straight Lies
Ericka Anderson: McCain's False Accusations

Douglas Johnson: How John McCain Threatens the Pro-life Cause
Chris Field: Let's Closely Examine McCain's Record

Chris Field: Let's Closely Examine McCain's Record
Chris Horner: John McCain is a "Gore-publican".
Marlo Lewis: McCain-Lieberman 2003

Foreign Policy/Military
Justin Raimondo: The Madness of John McCain
Terry Jeffrey: McCain v. Rumsfeld
Cliff Kincaid: McCain Supports the International Criminal Court

Gun Rights
Gun Owners of America: GOA On John McCain's Record
National Rifle Association: McCain-Reed Gun Show Bill: All Trick, No Treat
National Rifle Association: Lieberman-McCain Gun Show Bill
John Lott: Friendly Fire

General Immigration
On the Issues: John McCain on Immigration
Numbers USA: Immigration Profile of Sen. John McCain
Americans for Better Immigration: John McCain on Immigration
Americans for Better Immigration: John McCain Immigration Reduction Report Card
Allan Wall: Why Is John McCain’s "Hispanic Outreach Director" Still Involved in Mexican Politics? Because That’s How McCain Likes It.
Michelle Malkin: John McCain’s open-borders outreach director
James Edwards: McCain Is the Amnesty Candidate
Michelle Malkin: John McCain: The Geraldo Rivera Republican
James Antle: Presidential Pardon
Mark Krikorian: John McCain, Multiculturalist

McCain-Kennedy Amnesty Bill
James Edwards: McCain-Kennedy Amnesty Bill Opens the Border
Mark Landsbaum: Amnesty by Any Other Name
Robert Rector: Senate Bill Would Allow 100 Million New Legal Immigrants Over Next 20 Years
Senator Jeff Sessions: Immigration Bill is Worse Than You Think
Terry Jeffrey: When Obama, Clinton and McCain Decisively Agreed

Robert Novak: Is McCain a Conservative?
Chris Field: Let's Closely Examine McCain's Record

Terry Jeffrey: McCain's No Threat to the Left

Political Speech
Jack Kenny: McCain’s Don’t (You) Talk Express Rolls Over the First Amendment
Gun Owners of America: John McCain's War on Political Speech

Cliff Kincaid: McCain Supports the International Criminal Court
Jerome Corsi: McCain aide touts 'Mexico first' policy
On the Issues: John McCain on Free Trade
Terry Jeffrey: McCain's No Threat to the Left

Club for Growth: John McCain's Record on Economic Issues
Terry Jeffrey: When Obama, Clinton and McCain Decisively Agreed

Americans for Tax Reform: John McCain Tax Votes 2001-2006 & Taxpayer Ratings
Club for Growth: John McCain's Record on Economic Issues
Chris Field: Let's Closely Examine McCain's Record
Human Events: John McCain's Top 10 Class-Warfare Arguments Against Tax Cuts

Friday, February 01, 2008

Around Kalamazoo

Around Western:

Climate Change strikes Western!

A report in the Herald on the Iraq War debate: Political groups debate Iraq

A commenter on this article gives a great example of how liberals avoid debate. Some liberal bigots invent scenarios that reinforce their prejudices rather than care about facts.

A surprisingly good editorial in the Herald.

Josh Emerick is running for President of the Western Student Association.

Local panel debates legalizing pot

Future events at WMU.

Around Kalamazoo:

The Gazette has an update on Drain Commissioner Bill French's status.

There are now two candidates for the 88th state house district in Allegan County, and there will be more.

Tim Nendorf's Record

The Western Herald has the news that recent WMU alumnus Tim Nendorf is running for office. He is seeking the 62nd district state house seat that covers the majority of Calhoun County, including Battle Creek and Albion. It is being vacated by Republican Mike Nofs due to term limits.

Nendorf is a democrat. His political experience is pretty thin.

Nendorf interned with Michigan Senator Mark Schauer in Lansing. In 2005, he served a second internship for U.S. Senator Carl Levin in Washington D.C. He also served as a legal assistant for the Michigan speaker of the house.

Nendorf received a full-ride Medallion Scholarship at WMU. The active student served on both the Residence Hall Association and the Western Student Association. Nendorf graduated in 2006 Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management.
What are his goals?

Nendorf explained that now is time for change in education, health care and the economy.
One change in education that Nendorf didn't support was cancelling the illegal immigrant scholarship at Western created by Judy Bailey. The scholarship subverted immigration laws by giving scholarhips specifically for illegal aliens. When the WSA passed a resolution opposing the scholarship, Nendorf voted against it. The scholarhip was later cancelled by Interim President Diether Haenicke.

"We have our convictions and beliefs, but we should work together to get things done," Nendorf said. "Put the petty politics and partisans aside. The good ideas should win the day."
That's not what he did in the WSA. Nendorf tried to impeach four of his political opponents who were members of the College Republicans because he disagreed with them. The charges were found to be baseless.

State of the State: Still Run by Fools

Governor Granholm's state of the state address proposed more of the same. More government control of the economy, more picking winners and losers. Granholm and the Democrats in Lansing still haven't learned that the free market works better than government.

One of the recurring themes of politics in recent years is the need to attract some special industry. Politicians adovcate government spending to do this. This isn't as bad as full-out socialism, but it follows from the same basic idea that government can run the economy better than the market.

The fad industry changes from time to time. A few years back it was the high-tech dot-com companies. Then it was bio-tech companies. Now, it's alternative energy companies (it's the wave of the future!), despite the fact that alternative energy is a total joke.

In addition, Granholm wants to attract the movie industry! Is this a reward for the democrats in Hollywood?

Here is some good coverage of the speech.
State of Michigan Taxpayers: diversifisustainalterntivegreenability
One Time Fixes: Oh, so THAT'S how we're going to pay for it...
Jack Hoogendyk's coverage


John McCain won Florida. Yet once again, McCain did not win amongst self-identified Republicans. Incredibly, McCain leads the race for the Repubican nomination without having won amongst self-identified Republicans anywhere.

Super Tuesday will decide a lot in this race.

Rudy Giuliani dropped out of the race. He was considered the front-runner for months, but his actual support didn't amount to much. This illustrates the foolishness of determining "electabilty" based on national polls taken before the race has been conducted. At least the GOP still won't nominate an openly pro-abortion candidate.

Another factor that probably hurt Rudy but hasn't been discussed much is that most Americans don't like New Yorkers that much. Fortunately for Hillary, that won't be a problem for her.