Friday, December 30, 2005

Thug Life in Milwaukee

Here we go again.

Attackers sought in driver's beating
'They were having fun,' shocked witness says
Posted: Dec. 27, 2005
A 50-year-old Milwaukee man was dragged from a car he was driving and severely beaten Monday night by a group of at least 15 teens and young men after he honked at them to get out of the street they were blocking. They just started stomping on him, beating him. They were having fun, like it was normal, like it was an everyday thing ... I was in shock. Witnesses said the attackers jumped off cars and did flips onto the man's head, laughed and blasted music as if they were having a "block party." The victim, identified by family as Samuel McClain, suffered "severe head trauma" and was in critical condition late Tuesday at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa, a hospital spokesman said.

There is a sick culture in Milwaukee's inner city. Punk kids, almost always black, engaging in cowardly and brutal "wilding" attacks against the weak and defenseless. They killed a mentally disabled man last year, and now we have the latest example of thug life. These kids are despicable, and will hopefully be sent away for a very long time. But that clearly won't solve this problem.

In the movie "Crash", a black man complains about white people on the street being afraid of him. These kids from Milwaukee and others like them are the reason these stereotypical fears have not gone away. And these kids are also a major reason that Milwaukee can't turn the corner into becoming a big city with a bright future. It was almost laughable to see Mayor Barrett calling for an end to the violence. Does anyone think that a Mayor Pratt would have been less ineffectual? No way.

Has Michael McGee, Jr. condemned this attack? What about Leon Young or Spencer Coggs? What has the worthless black leadership of Milwaukee ever done to end this kind of thuggery? Nothing. It's not in their agenda. Their agenda is to keep their cushy and undemanding jobs, and play the race card whenever it's convenient. Real leaders would do something to change those kids. But we have no Bill Cosbys in Milwaukee.

How long will Milwaukee's black community accept the thug life of their children and the bankruptcy of their leaders? The poverty pimps have made their money and reputations on Milwaukee as it is. Will they ever try to do something to eradicate the sickness? I doubt it.

So what is to be done? I don't know. Locking everyone up isn't working. The Boys and Girls Club isn't working. Mayor Barrett and Alderman Hines aren't working. Bill Cosby's preaching isn't working. But he is the only guy that I've heard addressing the real issues. Where are these kids parents? What are those parents' expectations? Where is the personal responsibility?

Maybe I could one day play a role in preventing at least one kid from joining that gang of thugs. I'm not sure what else to do. Their current influences are clearly not doing the job. I don't want the future of Wisconsin's largest city to look like a scene out of "Escape From New York" or "The Road Warrior". And railing against them or locking them up just isn't cutting it. Grown-ups have to find a way to make the thug life unacceptable to these kids, or the racism and violence will never end.



Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The New Copperheads

First, the Democrats opposed Lincoln's war on slavery and now they oppose Bush's war on terrorism. Impressive continuity.

From U.S.
Peace Democrats. Many Democrats within this group hoped that the Union could be salvaged, but felt that military means were not justified. This faction asserted the following:

* The North was responsible for pushing the South into secession
* The Republicans were committed to establishing racial equality, a prospect
opposed by many working class immigrants who wanted to protect their low-paying
jobs and by racists
* Lincoln had become a tyrant and was bent upon destroying civil liberties
* The war was a national tragedy and must be ended, even if that meant granting
independence to the Confederacy.

Support for the Peace Democrats was strongest in the Midwest, especially in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Residents of these areas held a deep distrust of the East, the seat of Republican power, and kept strong commercial and sentimental ties to the South.

The name “Copperhead” was applied to this group by a disapproving Republican press, which likened the Democrats’ actions to those of the venomous snake. The Peace Democrats tried to turn the name to their advantage by sporting on their lapels copper pennies bearing the head of the goddess Liberty.

In the post-war North, many voters held the Democratic Party responsible for the Copperheads' actions, assigning them blame for lengthening the conflict. The Democrats were not able to escape voter disapproval until well into the 1870s. It was not until 1884 that a Democrat was elected to the presidency.



A deadly package bomb is opened
December 27, 1922

A package containing a bomb kills Clementine Chapman and maims her husband, James, in their Marshfield, Wisconsin, home. The Chapmans had expected to find a late Christmas present inside the parcel but instead were greeted with a deadly explosive. Fortunately, the bomb left enough clues for investigators to trace and catch the "Yule Bomb Killer."

The most crucial clues came from fragments of paper that were recovered after the explosion. After detectives painstakingly reconstructed the handwritten address and postmark, they deducted that the killer's first language was not English. In fact, they suspected that he was of Swedish heritage because the Marshfield address had been written "Marsfilld." The sounds sh and ie are not part of the Swedish language and a person of that native tongue would likely spell Marshfield phonetically in such a way.

Although investigators were also able to determine that the bomb had been mailed from Thorval Moen's home, he had an airtight alibi. A search for other Swedish immigrants living in the vicinity eventually led investigators to John Magnuson, a local resident who had a well-known feud with James Chapman over a drainage ditch. After arresting Magnuson and searching his home, detectives discovered materials that matched those found in the bomb and an inkbottle that matched the ink found on the package.

Magnuson was convicted of murder on March 31, 1923, and sentenced to life in prison.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Weekend Advice From A Few Centuries Back

Thursday, December 22, 2005

And The Lobbyists Suck

I know I've been rather hard on the Wisconsin Legislature in the last couple of months, so in the holiday spirit, I'll turn to different matters.

Isn't it amazing how many ineffectual lobbyists there are in the state of Wisconsin? First, you have the association guys, like Roth or Benforado, who are either harmlesly incompetent or just secure enough in their jobs to basically never produce again. There are the younger contractors with bad judgment and worse results, like Bright and Bentley. Then, you have old contract lobbyists, like Hanson or Gerrard -- if he's still alive, with huge retainers who never even set foot in the Capitol of today. Another consistent problem is that virtually all of them treat staff as second-class citizens. Broydrick comes immediately to mind. They know you when they need you for something, but otherwise you're pretty much invisible to them. Speaking of Bill, we also have a few lobbyists that take any paying client regardless of obvious conflicts. Ethically challenged, one could say. I've also heard contract lobbyists who rejoice when the client's issue goes unresolved, because then they can retain the contract into the next session. Instead of trying to win, these guys just try to keep hanging on. It's too bad that many principals out there are so clueless that they never learn they're being hoodwinked by incompetent or unethical lobbyists. We also have those in the category of partisan hacks who kill their own agenda out of their own need to stay in the partisan spotlight -- Scholz, Schimming and Wineke are great examples. And, I mustn't forget to mention those local lobbyists who are laughed at for their combination of incompetence and irrelevance like Wadium and Serpe. And, I won't name names, but a Finance staffer in a position to know recently described the big boys at WMC, the Realtors, and WEAC as "soft, lazy and arrogant". They rely on Leadership of one persuasion or the other, and forget that the Legislature includes a few others who make decisions. Summing up, the majority of the Wisconsin lobbying corps is bad, bad, bad.

To be fair, there are actually some firms and individuals who do an exceptional job. But I don't feel the need to mention them because they're already making too much money.



Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thanks To Judge Jones and Clarence Darrow

Off With Their Heads!

Rumor has it that Republican legislators are following the lead of Marquette University and shutting down a few blogs. According to anonymous but brilliant sources, legislators have put at least a temporary end to a number of political blogs operated by state capitol staffers. Capitol Curmudgeon where are you? Apparently, some of the criticism of our fearless leaders was not going over all that well in some quarters, and the blogs became a major topic of debate in recent closed caucus deliberations. This should not be too surprising, as we should all know that people like Dale Schultz and John Murray are not very open to constructive criticism. What were you guys thinking when you let your bosses know about your blogging habit? You must know they are a sensitive and delicate bunch. You should have anticipated that they would eventually put you out of business or emasculate you entirely. My suggestion would be to open a new blog under a different name and try to retain some plausible deniability. Perhaps the right to anonymous political speech is rather important after all.


The man in charge of opinion-making for the Journal Sentinel must resign immediately. O. Ricardo Pimentel, made an admission today that makes him unqualified to speak for a progressive newspaper. In a heartwarming column about his mother's tamales, I was shocked to read the following sentence:

"Mine was a very traditional household. I remember arguing strenuously and passionately that tamale-making was girls' work."
Ricardo Pimintel, December 21, 2005

If someone like Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez had ever made such an appalling sexist comment, Editor Pimintel would have used his bully pulpit to demand his resignation and proceed to educate us all in the dangers of gender differentiation. And I'm not talking about just one editorial here -- we would be reading about this Republican conspiracy to keep women down for a very long time.

A person in Ricardo's position has a particular responsibility to be above reproach, since those of us who read newspapers are forced to glance at his weak editorial page nearly every day (although it has almost reached "Family Circle" status for me.)
How can people of good conscience allow this guy to continue to spout his many forms of prejudice into our homes, where it might even be read by impressionable children or people from West Allis?

If Ricardo doesn't resign or his publisher doesn't immediately fire him, we should combine the Belling protesters, CRG Network, and Alderman Junior McGee into an unstoppable movement for reform at the Journal Sentinel. But, Ricardo, please save us the trouble and just resign. It's all very disappointing, the good people of Wisconsin deserve so much better.

For the complete offensive column, go to:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Potsie and Riker are the same guy.

The Proof? There are no pictures anywhere of them together.

We should have shotguns for this kind of deal.

Jules: We should have shotguns for this kind of deal.
Vincent: How many up there?
Jules: Three or four.
Vincent: That's countin' our guy?
Jules: Not sure.
Vincent: So that means there could be up to five guys up there?
Jules: It's possible.
Vincent: We should have fuckin' shotguns.

The Problem with Pundits

Here's what bothers me about political pundits. Skilled and intelligent people like Mark Shields and Bill Christofferson, for example. They seem to consider it their job to blast the other party, and put the most negative possible spin on almost everything that the "bad guys" do. They aren't objective and they aren't honest. They're like representatives of the candidates working the spin room after a debate. Our side's great, their side sucks. The pundits never provide a truly honest assessment of any situation, because they are engaged in doing something else entirely. They've become a P.R. firm for one team or the other. You should be able to recognize yourself as a committed partisan, while at the same time delivering honesty, candor and insight in your observations about the political world. It would be interesting to know what Bill Christofferson really thinks of Mark Green, but that does not appear to be possible. These guys should stop acting like propaganda machines and tell us what they really think.

Mark Shields was talking about President Bush last night, and just whining on and on about how much trouble he's in and how no one believes him anymore and how the poll numbers are bad. Does his version of the truth presuppose that George W. Bush will always be wrong. And does Bill Christofferson's version of the truth presuppose that Jim Doyle makes all the right decisions? They view the world through a lens of some kind that filters everything down into a simple formula. It doesn't end up being very honest or enlightening, at least not to me. Even when done well, they come off as the voice of a party. Why can't these guys leave the dishonest spin to the likes of Joe Wineke and Rick Graber?

Now, the only thing that could be worse is if we have all actually devolved into reflexive and mindless adherence to dogma. If Xoff has truly convinced himself that Republicans are evil and Democrats are righteous, then maybe he's not as smart as I thought. Having an Ed Gravy-like worldview doesn't make anyone very interesting or insightful. Crazy true believers are just full-time spinners who keep processing the world down into the same boring conspiracies. Like an endless and pointless argument between college republicans and democrats. Are corporations evil just because your dogma makes them so? Of course not. The facts should stand alone, but Enron will always be about greedy Republicans to the likes of Shields and Christofferson.

Sorry for picking on Shields and Christofferson, because this is actually an almost universal sickness in the world of punditry -- both DEM and GOP. It also has a great deal of strength in the blogosphere. There are exceptions to this dogmatic cheerleading on both sides, but not enough of them.

I am not arguing for disloyalty to party or abandonment of principles. I would just like to see political commentators acting more like John McCain in the Straight Talk Express. Tell it like it is, and don't be so blinded by personal dogma that you can't see or discuss what's really going on. That may not serve the wishes of the parties, but I think we'd all be much better off.

Monday, December 19, 2005


The Mother Night (Yule - the Midwinter Festival)
21st Wolfmoon/December

This celebrates the Winter solstice when the sun, having descended into dark, seems to be "re-born" and begins its ascent again. The end of one cycle, the beginning of a new. A night to honour rebirth and mothers, and to celebrate the hope and joy new birth brings. It is the first night of Yule (from the Old English hweol = wheel). Eleven more nights of festivity follow encapsulating the twelve months of the year. Within these twelve nights, the cosmic spirit of the multiverse seems especially close as end and beginning, death and rebirth, merge. At this time especially, the concentrated essence of the divine and earthly elements are held within the twelve nights. There are many customs surrounding this festive period and virtually all those still common today are based on Odinic practices: the Yule candles and Yule wheels (Yule logs), the evergreen decorations, the so-called "Christmas trees" (symbols of Yggdrasil), the feasting, exchange of gifts, and so on. A time for comradeship and hope. The Wheel has turned full circle: a new cycle begins.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Should The President Protect Us?

The President's enemies have pounced on his decision to authorize eavesdropping on those with known links to Al Queda, as a grave assault on American civil liberties. Before real people buy into the critics' complaints, they should read the following:

The President said on Saturday that he acted in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks because the United States had failed to detect communications that might have tipped them off to the plot. He said that two of the hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al-Hamzi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, "communicated while they were in the United States to other members of Al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn't know they were here, until it was too late." As a result, "I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to Al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations," Mr. Bush said. "This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security."

The President, as commander in chief, made a decision to meet his obligations and protect America from those trying to blow us up. This might even be one of the reasons that we've not had another major attack since September 11, 2001. Neither my rights or the rights of other law-abiding citizens are threatened by this decision. Has everyone forgotten what's at stake? The terrorists could destroy New York City or Washington, D.C. in a single day. Should our President just sit back and wait passively for that to happen?

If American conspirators had been in contact with the Empire of Japan in early December, 1941, should President Roosevelt have been doing everything in his power to discover that information? Would our civil liberties have been threatened by the decision to listen in?

President Bush is doing everything he can to protect us from the terrorists, and my civil liberties remain. This policy is not a Hoover-like attack on civil liberties. This is our President doing everything in his power to stave off further attack, with no negative consequences for non-terrorist Americans. What would you do if it was your duty and responsibility to protect the United States of America from attack? A President Gore or Kerry would definitely not have done as much, and the next attack would have probably already taken place.

If the President were truly abusing his power, he'd be listening on on the private conversations of Russ Feingold, Noam Chomsky, and Patrick Leahy. Instead, he's trying to make certain we don't ignore the clear and present dangers that could destroy our civilization. Those who comprehend the grave risk we face should thank President Bush for his aggressive commitment to protecting the lives of American families.

Friday, December 16, 2005

FYI -- Spivak and Bice

Spivak and Bice took a rather cheap shot at Congressman Mark Green today regarding his vocal opposition to the RA bible study ban at UW-Eau Claire. They're shocked that a Congressman from eastern Wisconsin would comment about a university on the other side of the state, and hint that he's speaking out only to support his run for Governor. If they were acting more like reporters than gossip columnists they would have noted that Green is a UWEC alum who happens to be rather religious. He cares personally both about this university and bible study. It would have been much more shocking for Green to have remained silent. I know this is what these guys do, yelling gotcha, but they should strive for a tad more integrity. Being cute and sticking to their angle, facts be damned, does not make for very good reporting.

Of course, I must note that -- when I lived in the dorms -- my friend Damien and I worshiped an entirely different mythical figure.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Courage and John Doe Staffers

Let me get this right. At today's sentencing, Assistant DA Feiss thanked Doug Burnett his "courage" in testifying against his old boss, Chuck Chvala, regarding their joint illegal activities? That has to be one of the most ridiculous things that I've ever heard.

Staffers, like Burnett, had very little choice in the matter. The evidence was damning, and prosecutors presented them with a choice -- testify honestly or we will crush you like a bug. Burnett, and the many other staffers who testified in the John Doe hearings against their bosses, were given the opportunity to walk away virtually unscathed if they told the truth. How was it courageous for Burnett or anyone else to do this? Every staffer that was dragged into this process had to testify, and how courageous were they? No staffer with either a brain or an attorney would choose to go to war with the district attorney's office. To do so would have been a sure ticket to the Dane County Huber facility.

So puh-lease don't tell me that Doug Burnett or any of the dozens of staffers forced to testify did anything courageous. The full power of the legal system came crashing down and the legions of little staffers did exactly what they had to do. And Burnett's culpability in much of Chvala's unethical and criminal behavior makes him more lucky today than courageous. It's also a fair guess that he and Chuck still have a few secrets that the political novices in the John Doe investigation failed to uncover.

Why can't they get a grip on reality after all this time?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Feingold First Bull Run Plan for Iraq

Feingold Urges Troop Withdrawal By End of '06

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 18, 2005

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) called on the White House yesterday to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year and criticized fellow Democrats for being too "timid" in challenging the Bush administration's war policy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I wish more regular people would have the opportunity to see what goes on when the partisan caucuses go into closed session. Probably the best stories in state legislative history have happened behind those closed doors. Unfettered by either media or public scrutiny, legislators can let their hair down, scream what they really think, and generally act like an unsupervised kindergarten. Leadership makes demands, backbenchers grouse, and confrontations seem the rule rather than the exception. Hatred comes out into the open, and arrogant personalities run wild. It would truly be a service if a few legislators would create a blog to relate some of the best stories from their reverse open records meetings. The story that immediately comes to mind, has to do with then Representative -- now RINO Senator -- Mary Lazich. During a heated argument in a closed door budget caucus a few years ago, Lazich screamed out the timeless demand, "Stop f***ing my face!" Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard me right. If only legislators would come forward with more of these great stories, someone could use the material to write a heck of a book. And if the legislators don't want the work of creating their own blog, they can feel free to post the stories here on my site. Please? This stuff is too entertaining to keep to yourselves!

Update -- New Opening Sequence for "The Road Warrior"

Australian PM: 'Sydney riots appalling'
New South Wales
13/12/2005 - 13:45:38

Australia’s leader said race riots in Sydney involving whites and youths of Middle Eastern appearance in recent days were appalling, and that all parties must be prosecuted regardless of their background or grievances. “The incidents were appalling. There is no doubt about that. Violence is never acceptable, never,” Prime Minister John Howard said in Malaysia’s main city, Kuala Lumpur, where he was attending a regional summit. “And people who indulge in violence are breaking the law and they should be punished.” Youths in cars rampaged through southern suburbs of Australia’s largest city last night, smashing store windows and attacking parked cars. Seven people were injured and 11 arrested.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Check out the press release posted on WisPolitics today from Dane County Supervisor David de Felice.

Dane Co. Supv. de Felice: Proposes County Board Reform
Contact: Supv. Dave de Felice (608) 628-0659
MADISON – Dane County Supervisor Dave de Felice (Dave day full-LEE’-chay) is proposing to avoid future controversies like the investigation of former Dane County Board Chair Kevin Kesterson by requiring county supervisors to relinquish their leadership positions if charged with criminal conduct or drunk driving. “No one is saying give up your elected job. That’s for voters to decide,” Supv. de Felice said “But step aside from your leadership position. It’s the decent and logical thing to do.” ...

As a former caucus staffer who repeatedly -- though ineffectively -- campaigned on state time for Wally Kunicki and Assembly Democrats, David might want to be a bit more careful about sanctioning others who've not yet been convicted. I suspect a few of his Dane County colleagues might ask for him to step down if they were made aware of his participation in the caucus scandal. Unless of course, it's not the offense itself but the getting caught that is the problem. Perhaps stepping down would also be the decent and logical thing for him to do.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Naked Kohl and Feingold

Could we have two U.S. Senators more unrepresentative of real Wisconsin than Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold? Feingold is an elitist lefty opportunist who has never been about anything but himself. Herb Kohl is a simple, wealthy "bachelor" that likes being a senator but is nothing more than an empty suit. Can someone please tell me how these guys keep getting re-elected?

The truth is that both were originally elected by people that liked their TV ads, and disliked their opponents. Wisconsinites didn't know Kohl or Feingold when they were first elected to office, and they haven't really gotten to know them since. They've each been allowed to slide with immature opponents, and a Wisconsin populace that seems content with the shallow idea of a maverick and a Bucks owner for senators.

I hate to use this again, but you cannot envision either of these guys wearing blaze orange. Why haven't the stellar Republican operatives out there ever run a campaign that gets this extremely relevant point across? These two guys are different from regular people -- and I'm not even talking about religion, patriotism, or sexual orientation. They are just not the common man, and a Tommy Thompson could have crushed them.

Their support is soft and shallow, and they are taking us all for fools. I guarantee you that Russ Feingold privately laughs at the real people of Wisconsin (because I've seen it,) and that Herb Kohl couldn't care less about them. We would be significantly better off if our neighborhood barber were senator from Wisconsin. At least, he would be real and represent actual cheesehads.

These guys have built up an aura of inevitability, but they can be beaten. Get enough money into the hands of people who aren't afraid to tell the truth about these two frauds and the whole world would start to think about them differently. Take the gloves off, help people get to know these guys more intimately, and I guarantee you they could be bloodied and beaten.

We should really put a stop to this debacle.

Friday, December 09, 2005

And The Lobbyists Are Even Worse

Check out the bipartisan outreach from Andy Gussert at AFT-Wisconsin.
I'm not really that interested in this organization, but they just keep doing hilarious things. Typically, criticizing a legislator for their salary and per diem payments is not very effective outreach. Remember, Andy, the Republican Legislature controls your destiny.

Hail the Republican Agenda

Hail the Republican agenda! The evangelicals and NRA should be with us now. How else would GOP legislators like voters to remember them? When November elections roll around, what should regular people see as the identifying GOP characteristics? At the moment, there might just be a few things missing. What about TABOR? How about working out solutions on some real issue with the current Governor? What about using Republican power to actually accomplish something, like rolling back the size of state government or punishing greedy teachers? And we can't even take credit for the gas indexing repeal, since our brilliant leaders fought the change so publicly. If the election were held today, voters would be equally unimpressed with Republican legislators and the Democratic Governor.

Come on people! Why are you even in the Legislature? At least if someone like Frank Lasee was in charge, the Republicans could at least be pursuing some principled objectives. The governing party republicans that are currently in charge seem both uncreative and unprincipled. If you have to be unprincipled, can't you at least be a little creative? Or perhaps a bit more strategic in your planning and implementation of a legislative agenda? The GOP will eventually lose its hold on the Legislature unless they can come up with some more meaningful reasons for being in charge.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Yesterday's vote to repeal gas tax indexing demonstrates a couple of very interesting things about the Wisconsin Legislature. The most obvious is that real people still have the power to control their government, when they choose to do so. The special interests will always control the agenda when the public is not aroused or paying attention. The thing that all legislators fear above all else is pissed-off constituents. And when a couple of hundred calls or emails come into a Senator's office quickly, they will scramble to get on the right side of the issue. Many senators who had publicly committed to support the roadbuilders and the operating engineers were forced to backpedal by the strength of an aroused public.

The other inescapable conclusion is that the leaders of the Wisconsin Legislature in 2005 are the most pathetic in memory. Dale Schultz, Judy Robson, Silent Jim Kreuser, and John Gard are worse than incompetent. They all mindlessly fought the public on this one from the beginning, and did nothing to manage the issue intelligently. From Schultz's arrogant lecturing on rural roads to Gard's disastrous appearances on Milwaukee talk radio and Judy Robson's lame claims of imperiled parents, the entire thing has been disastrous to their reputations. Of course, no one thought to highly of any of them before, but this saga should help people see that the idiots have taken over the asylum. You have to think that a Tim Cullen or a Scott Jensen might have managed things more intelligently.

So, congratulations to real people, especially the ones that happen to be taxpayers, for stepping up and taking responsibility for a change. If people can remember that they have this power, perhaps they will begin using it on a more regular basis. That would be a shock to the system of the current leadership and Governor, and might some day result in a Wisconsin Legislature that legitimately makes us proud. but right now, they just suck.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Don't Worry - Mike Ellis Will Never Be Governor

Jeff Mayers: People may forget there was this time when there was a peaceful co- existence.
Andy Gussert: There’s been talk about Sen. (Mike) Ellis running for governor. There have been whispers going around. That would be an exciting thing for us. I think that would be something we could reach out to him and start talking with him seriously about our issues.
WisPolitics Interview

What a hilarious comment from AFT President and lefty consultant Andy Gussert. He speaks of himself as a pretty keen political strategist, but his Ellis endorsement leaves something to be desired. The first question that would come to mind is whether we would want an actual insane person in the East Wing. Mike Ellis has been screaming spittle at people for years, and my guess is that only his staff knows the true extent of his madness. He also has become an irrelevant joke since his replacement as leader and exile as spokesman for the speech police at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Ellis was a joke as leader as well, but at least he was not yet irrelevant. The Senator is also the king of all hypocrites, given his prior direction of state employees to do exactly the kind of dirty tricks he condemns today. Since Gussert is committed to becoming a bipartisan union pioneer, I would advise him to spend some time in the bar at the Inn on the Park before making a final determination about Mike's fitness. But it's so much more than that. Good luck with your new job, Andy, but serious people just don't take Mike Ellis seriously.

A Message from Lance Armstrong


Can anyone really blame the brother? Steven Avery was wrongfully locked away for 18 years by a white power structure for a crime he did not commit. Can anyone blame him for being angry? Can anyone really blame him for snapping and killing a young representative of that very same power structure? Years of discrimination, oppression and incarceration were bound to have some negative consequences. I don't know about you, but I have a lot of sympathy for Mr. Avery. Talk radio racists may see the young lady as the victim, but we people of color understand that the man is only using this situation to keep us down. Alderman Michael McGee is beaten up by white suburban cops and then Avery ends up arrested again, do any of you see a pattern here? America, at its core, is all about race. I can't think of a single important social issue of the day that isn't directly related to my skin color. Because of what has been done to brother Avery, he cannot be held responsible for his actions. We cannot expect him to live by the rules of society, because those rules are stacked against him as a person of color. To lock him up again now would be a grave injustice, as he is a natural outgrowth of the Republican commitment to excessive toughness on crime. The heirs of the slaveholding class are the true responsible parties. When will someone bring them to justice?

Note: This is satire intended to make a point about the sad failings of a particular Journal Sentinel columnist These words do not represent my opinion or the views of Mr. Kane. Sincere condolences to the actual victim's family.
For Kane's genuine views on a real murderer, go to:

Roadbuilders or Taxpayers?

Gard, the Assembly speaker, has said his colleagues are moving too quickly to kill gas indexing without finding a way to ensure there is enough money to cover the state's road projects.
Journal Sentinel, 12/5/5

It seems that real people, plus talk radio, have caused quite the stir at the state capitol this week. RINO Commissar Dale Schultz has even agreed to hold a vote on repeal of the state's automatic annual gas tax increase. Keep in mind, of course, that the Legislature can continue to increase transportation funding each year at whatever level they deem appropriate, repeal would simply force legislators to vote on the increases. Repeal critics are less than honest when they suggest that spending increases would no longer occur.

Remember, the politicians adopted the current method of stealth gas increases during the long dark era of Democrat hegemony in the Legislature. This clever and dishonest strategy is similar to how many legislative bodies, including Congress, handle issues of legislative pay. The politicians can say it's beyond their control, and then happily reap the benefits of additional spending. Tommy Thompson or legislative Republicans could and should have reversed this policy long ago, but they made the quid-pro-quo decision to keep the roadbuilders as a ruling party best friend.

I heard John Gard trying to defend his position on the radio last week. His staff should probably not let him do that again, unless they help him come up with some additional coherence and rationale for his argument. John is a smart guy that's come a long way, but he really is losing his credibility with fiscal conservatives. It probably would have been better for his congressional campaign if he resigned as Speaker and focused on electioneering. Peshtigo roads over government accountability doesn't make a lot of sense to most people, John.

The roadbuilders have done a beautifully quiet job over the years of removing any legislative opposition to their spendy agenda. Every legislator has his or her own pet project that they want built, in order to forever tell their constituents how vital they are to their district's development. That reality has been supplemented by an extremely aggressive and comprehensive strategy of giving lots of roadbuilder money to nearly everyone in both parties. Each caucus has pledged their undying fealty, and the roadbuilders have been able to rule the state's transportation spending agenda in a manner that is the envy of all interest groups. Instead of picking a side like WEAC or WMC, the road moguls use their resources to make friends with everybody. Everybody but taxpayers, that is.

I have talked to legislators that are certain they can ride this thing out, protect the roadbuilders, and never be punished by their short-attention-span constituents. As Wisconsin legislators ponder their position on this issue, the equation will be rather simple. Should I be more worried about the anger of the roadbuilders or the taxpayers? Unfortunately for all of us, the roadbuilders have done a much better job than taxpayers organizing themselves and taking collective action in public affairs. It will take significant anger over Wisconsin gas taxes to change this basic dynamic.

Perhaps Republicans aren't the true friends of the taxpayer after all.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Now and Then

Among the quaint characters who have appeared from time to time in the Senate of the United States may be mentioned Nesmith of Oregon. Some two years after he had taken his seat he was recounting to Senator Wade his wonder upon first seeing the Capitol and especially the still greater wonder that he should have been honored by being elected a member of so august a body. "Well," said Senator Wade, "you have been here a couple of years; what do you think of it now?" "Think," replied Nesmith; "why the wonder to me now is how you and so many other fellows ever managed to get here."
Wit and Humor of American Statesmen, 1902


He and Augustus had discussed the question of leadership many times. "It ain't complicated," Augustus maintained. "Most men doubt their own abilities. You don't. It's no wonder they want to keep you around. It keeps them from having to worry about failure all the time."
Lonesome Dove

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Real Reason for the Season

The secular world is "allegedly" taking over Christmas. Christian activists are expressing outrage with secular efforts to remove Christ from Christmas. But is this holiday really even about Christianity or baby Jesus? Presents, holiday trees, Santa Claus, family gatherings, and great big meals. If you'd be honest with yourself, this has become a holiday that isn't much about religion at all. So my suggestion to those who are worried about the secularization of Christmas is to think back to the pagan origins of the holiday for a little inspiration. You can really worship that tree like the ancient Germans, at the same time you're ripping open those presents from Wal-Mart. Or, if you are of the majority Christian faith, enjoy your sermons and nativity scenes if you'd like. Just please, please don't tell me that Jesus is the reason for the season. With a better understanding of history, we can all have a more hedonistic and enjoyable holiday season

The Real Story of Christmas
(From the History Channel)
An Ancient Holiday

The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight. In Rome, where winters were not as harsh as those in the far north, Saturnalia—a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture—was celebrated. Beginning in the week leading up to the winter solstice and continuing for a full month, Saturnalia was a hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down. Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra's birthday was the most sacred day of the year. Pope Julius I chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Doily Public Relations

I feel so much better now that Jim Doyle has held his little oil profits hearing. Such a clever move by this man of the people. What would we do without Jim Doyle standing up for us against the evil corporations? There really isn't a way to improve on the Steve Baas column about the hearings from a couple of days ago.

But here goes anyway. Most politicians will lay integrity the side in order to hold this kind of dog and pony show. But the condescension coming from the Doyle team on this one is extreme. They believe that Wisconsinites are both stupid and upset enough, to be impressed with Jim Doyle whining about oil company profits in front of his charts and graphs. Really, how stupid do they think we are? These hearings meant nothing, and accomplished nothing other than satisfying the Michael Moore wing of his party. But they seem to be under the impression that the common rabble of Wisconsin will be very impressed. I hate to be positive, but I think people are a little smarter than that. But it gets to how Jim Doyle views regular people. Instead of listening and learning, Jim Doyle preaches and condescends. And instead of doing something real like reducing our 55 cent per gallon gas tax, he does something fake like holding this ridiculous hearing. But maybe he's right, and regular people are stupid. I guess we'll find out next November.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Book Recommendation

Young Men and Fire, by Norman Maclean

The fire had gained on the crew at every stage of the race, until even the fastest had to fall. For a moment, only the four horsemen were higher up the hill and still alive and for only a part of that moment would they see tragedy was among them. You can see tragedy coming from a considerable distance when you are older, but when you are young tragedy does not pertain to you and certainly never catches up to you. There are pieces of premonitions of tragedy floating around, but they do not yet add up to your tragedy. There are separate stabs of fear, of pity, of self-pity, but to a degree in separate parts of the body. Then suddenly they all merge into one sense, the encompassing sense of inevitablity. It is everywhere on you as it becomes the essential whole of all that is going to be your tragedy. It becomes the cause of your mounting fear, your pity and your self-pity, telling you that, no matter what, it does no good to be proud and good and young. Then almost at the end, it makes possible the triumph that can come at the end of tragedy for the young who are select and elite -- the triumph of retaining your pride when you know you have lost for good before you have had a chance in life to make good, except for this.


Fruit Bats May Harbor Ebola Virus

Three species of African fruit bats carry the deadly Ebola virus and may be the reservoir where the virus resides between outbreaks in humans and primates, says an international team of scientists. The researchers found fragments of the Ebola virus or evidence of immune response to it in three species of fruit bats in Gabon and Congo. These bats are eaten by people in central Africa, where Ebola outbreaks have occurred, The New York Times reported.

The findings appear in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Nature. Ebola has caused a number of lethal outbreaks among humans and primates in Africa since 1976.

WMC's Jim Doyle Strategy

Have you heard the radio ads that WMC has been running for the last few months on product liability reform and Governor Doyle?

They have a newer version and our spending member dollars around the state on this rather odd message. To summarize, the ads say that Governor Doyle is a great guy because he worked with Republicans and supported the 2003 Job Creation Act, but we might not like him anymore if he doesn't sign a liability reform bill. It may generate a couple of calls to Doyle, but the extraneous praise can only help him.

What is this, a WEAC-type pro-Doyle issue ad or a call to action on liability reform? It is mindboggling to me, that our good friends at WMC would be spending so much money praising a guy who will stomp them to death if he ever feels secure enough in his authority. Like in a second term, for example. We have a competitive gubernatorial campaign on our hands. Praising the guy that we want to lose doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm glad that Doyle decided to support the Job Creation Act. But let's face it, supporting the bill was a cynical and out-of-character move by a Governor who was hoping to demilitarize his strongest enemy. It's very Bridge on the River Kwai for WMC to be helping the guy. Or have they really concluded that they prefer Governor Doyle to Governor Green?

And does anyone really think that this kissing of the Governor's ass is going to result in additional favors? I bet they get a really good chuckle about this in the Goodwin coven. They must be thrilled to have neutralized the state's major business lobby, at the same time they're dreaming up anti-business plans for the future. Most understand that Jim Doyle's true character is more Jim Hightower than Jim Haney. And these ads, as written, are a self-inflicted wound on Wisconsin's business community. The WMC Jims should stop the madness, for Governor Jim ain't their friend.

In conclusion, I was going to say some nice things about the WMC machine and their past accomplishments. Unfortunately, I just heard that they are opposing repeal of the automatic gas tax increases -- so, my commendatory words will have to wait for another day.

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