Tuesday, February 28, 2006



Rep. Hahn: Bill Bans Financial Aid for Drug Dealers
Contact: State Rep. Eugene Hahn
(608) 266-3404

MADISON – A bill preventing convicted drug dealers from receiving state financial aid will be considered next week in the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, according to the bill’s lead author state Representative Eugene Hahn (R-Cambria).

“Taxpayers should not be subsidizing drug dealers with generous financial packages,” Hahn said. “I would prefer keeping the available tax dollars for students who are focused on using this assistance to get an education.”

A college student convicted of possessing drugs with the intent to sell them would be ineligible for state grant, loan or work assistance. The ban on state financial aid would be lifted after a two year suspension or if the student is able to satisfactorily complete a drug rehabilitation program.

Hahn said the proposal (AB 1035) would mirror a federal law that was approved by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in the late 90’s. However, the federal ban on financial aid does not apply to state aids. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Wisconsin is scheduled to provide over $103.8 million in 2005-2006 in financial support for students.

“The federal government wisely set the standard to stop funding individuals who have decided to participate in these illegal activities,” Hahn said. “It is about time Wisconsin follows suit and starts holding drug dealers accountable for using our state tax dollars.”

DO YOU PEOPLE REALLY HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO? HAVE THE REPUBLICAN MOONBATS TAKEN OVER THE CAPITOL FOR GOOD? I wish we still had the Assembly Republican Caucus around to stop Gene and his ilk from engaging in such vapidity. These guys are really no longer receiving the necessary level of oversight.


CSI Close-Up
Of Photo.



Last night I got lazy and didn't go downstairs. I had a bunch of stuff to do after hours and didn't realize that the smoke alarms were quite so sensitive. Apparently they pick up on everything. I made a mistake and it won't happen again.
-- Dane Co. Judge Michael Nowakowski after the process of elimination fingered him as the smoker who triggered the alarm which dispatched Madison Fire Department Engine One to the new Dane County Courthouse last Monday.

First, Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard breaks the law and uses Senate Democratic Caucus employees for nomination papers and political advice. Now, Dane County Chief Judge Michael Nowakowski violates Madison's anti-smoking ordinance and blames it on over-sensitive smoke alarms. Detect a pattern here? Kind of makes you wonder if these are the guys that should be passing judgment on others, doesn't it? Obviously, this crowd is more than willing to break the rules themselves, and then hold the rest of us to a higher standard.

Dane County is a scary place.

Milwaukee, Madison Announce Plans To Ban Vehicular Fast Food Eating

February 28, 200
Contact: George Twigg

Milwaukee, Madison Announce Plans To Ban Vehicular Fast Food Eating

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today announced a joint municipal initiative to ban the eating of fast food while driving. "The health and safety of our children and families is at stake with this common-sense proposal," said Barrett. Mayor Dave finished the sentence by adding, "And paternalistic government is the only way to end the crisis of spilled Big Macs and rear-end collisions."

Recent studies by prominent progressive think tanks have demonstrated that distracted drivers are the number one cause of car accidents in America. "We can no longer afford to stand by and allow this devastation to continue," said Mayor Barrett. "Fast food spilling is a greater threat to our children than drunken and drugged driving combined." Cieslewicz went on to take credit for the idea, although he admitted he may have been influenced by watching the movies "Super Size Me" and "Crash" all in one evening.

The Mayors are working together on this one because of their deeply shared joint belief that government must do more to protect people from themselves. "Conservatives and libertarians used to argue against seat belts and even speed limits," asserted Mayor Cieslewicz, "so it should be no surprise if those neanderthals oppose this common-sense reform as well." The ordinance would require the police to ticket anyone observed eating or drinking in their vehicle, with fines to range from $100 for a first offense to probation for second time offenders and felony misconduct in a vehicle for a third offense.

"People are dying out there on our roads every day," said Barrett, "so we simply must act to eradicate this practice before more children or old people or poor people die." Cieslewicz noted that he once almost ran into a school bus, after scraping off the pickle and mustard, opening the toy, and handing a cheeseburger Happy Meal to his 4-year old daughter in the back seat. "Aggressive government intervention is the only way to protect my daughter and countless others from this scourge of distractedness."

Although no fast food corporations returned our calls, unnamed sources claim that the Burger King has scheduled appearances in both Madison and Milwaukee to oppose what he called, "a direct assault on American values, that threatens the very nature of who we are as a people." Burger King employees have allegedly been encouraged to attend the events and contact their local representatives.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Larry King, Jon Stewart, And What's Wrong With America

Cable TV is blowing my mind this evening. Television's most clueless personality is hosting perhaps the most hip. Jon Stewart is appearing on Larry King Live to promote his hosting of the Oscars. It is amazing that someone who has made his living on popular culture, seems to have no clue about the world around him. Yes, I am speaking about Larry King. It's like he died twenty years ago, and he's been an animatronic robot ever since. Or maybe he's just always been this bad.

One thing I know for sure, these guys are having a very difficult time communicating with each other. Larry King is exactly what Jon Stewart is making fun of with the Daily Show, but Larry King doesn't get the joke. He's like some confused old uncle pretending to understand the conversation. But it's not just that he's old, it's that he is a caricature of himself. He's the Chauncey Gardiner of television. Why hasn't anyone ever told him? If you worked there, wouldn't you pull Larry aside and ask him what the hell he's doing? Does he even know who he's interviewing, or is it all just detailed on a 3 by 5 card.

The result of all this is that Larry King has prevailed. He has been successful in bringing Jon Stewart down -- uneasy and unfunny. Did anyone stop and think that this might not be such a good combination? Hip, savvy, and ironic meets old, out-of-touch, and literal. Can no one out there put a stop to this kind of thing? Is this the same reason that Jay Leno is still the #1 ranked late night host? Do these pod-people really represent America? WHY DON'T ANY OF YOU SEEM TO CARE?




1. Be truthful.
This common sense advice remains the very best recommendation for any witness taking the stand.

2. Listen Carefully to the Question -- and wait until the entire question is asked.
A very common problem in testifying, many witnesses are so anxious to cooperate and to provide quick answers that they don't wait until the entire question is asked. As a result, they often answer a different question than the lawyer intended and disrupt the flow and effectiveness of the questioning.

3. Answer Only the Question That Was Asked.
If you listen carefully to the question, you must consider the scope of the question and not go beyond the issue at hand. Particularly when being cross examined by an opposing attorney, don't volunteer information that was not asked! This will only assist the opposition in obtaining additional facts to bury your case or that of your ally.

4. Take Your Time -- Think Before Answering Each Question.
There are no points for fast answers. Witnesses who take their time to think about their answers are perceived as being conscientious and concerned about telling the truth.

5. Don't Guess at the Answer.
If you don't know, say you don't know! If you don't remember, say you don't remember!
Witnesses are not "human computers." Many of us have difficulty remembering what we had for dinner last night, to say nothing of events which may have occurred months or years earlier. If you don't know or remember particular facts, do not give your best guess as to the answer.

6. Ask for Clarification if you don't understand a question - never attempt to answer a question that you don't really understand.
Particularly in the anxious and adversarial atmosphere of the courtroom, certain questions may not make sense or may get lost in the commotion of evidentiary objections. Don't try to make sense out of the question yourself. If you don't understand a question, ask that it kindly be repeated or rephrased.

7. Be Cooperative, But Not Excessively So.
Even when dealing with opposing attorneys, witnesses should be cooperative in answering questions and should not show antagonism on the stand. However, witnesses who are too cooperative and give the questioner what she wants to hear may kill their case. Cooperation and courtesy do not require that you give what the questioner may think is the "correct answer." Don't be forced into an inaccurate answer on the witness stand

8. Don't Use Your Testimony As An Opportunity For Exaggeration Or Score-Settling
Witnesses who embellish their answers as an opportunity for self-aggrandizement or retribution will appear foolish and open themselves to further legal jeopardy. This approach may also lead to an illegitimate verdict.

9. Be consistent!
When testifying, be consistent with your earlier statements in the case, deposition testimony or testimony in earlier proceedings. Those who give testimony at odds with their earlier statements leave themselves vulnerable to attack and may be perceived as lying even when they simply don't remember relatively minor details.

10. Try to Relax on the Witness Stand
This advice is easier said than done. But witnesses who appear relaxed and conversational do much better than those who get frazzled easily.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Nullification Special K Bar Diet

I've made an amazing discovery this past weekend, that can help you lose that extra weight. It may be revolutionary, but give it a chance and it may soon rival Atkins or South Beach. I personally think my new diet is better than the others, however, because it takes an entirely new approach. The Special K Bar Diet can change your life. It's definitely changed mine.

Here's how it works. You make the Special K Bar Recipe outlined below and then start digging in. These bars are great with milk and can be cut out of the pan in big or small pieces at any time of day or night. What I discovered was that if you really love Special K Bars, which you should, then you can begin the diet with some enthusiasm. If you eat them in the morning, you won't need anything else for breakfast, and if you continue to snack on them throughout the day, you'll soon find that you don't need any regular meals.

Special K Bars are an appetite suppressant, and long-term solution to eating less. After you've eaten 1/4 of the bars in the pan, you'll find yourself feeling a little funny and uninterested in the other food around you. Here's where you need to show some discipline by sticking to the Special K Bars even after they stop tasting tremendous. If you give yourself an occasional break of a few hours, you should be able to recuperate enough to enjoy another bar with a cold glass of milk. Just keep going, and you'll find yourself eating, and weighing, less and less.


3/4 cup light Karo syrup
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter

Pour over 6 cups of Special K cereal and quickly mix together and immediately spread into a buttered 9 by 13 pan.

Melt Together:
8 oz. chocolate chips
8 oz. butterscotch chips

Then spread the melted chip mixture across the entire surface of the bars, let it cool for at least a little bit, then start your diet.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Mayor Cieslewicz, Please Don't Fire George Twigg!

I'm very concerned about the career of one of the lawbreakers in the caucus scandal, and would like to take this opportunity to plead with his boss to allow him to keep his job. As I'm sure you've already guessed, I am talking about former Assembly Democratic Caucus Staffer George Twigg, who now works as communications director for Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.

Admittedly, the John Doe testimony of Twigg and others has indisputably proven that Twigg is guilty of misconduct in public office for campaigning for Assembly Democrats while on the state payroll. He does admit playing a significant role in the illegal-coordination tool of Assembly Dems -- The Wisconsin Voter Education Fund. Careful scrutiny of the John Doe transcripts show a long-term pattern of cheating the taxpayers and breaking the law for Dem causes. And even though he was WI communications director for John Kerry, no one can prove definitively that he had anything to do with Operation Elephant Takeover.

I say the guy deserves another chance and shouldn't be fired. Can we really go back in time and hold people responsible for their participation in the caucus scandal? Jim Doyle, at least, says no to that approach. After all, Twigg only followed the orders of higher ups who he knew to be much better people than the Republicans. Hundreds of staffers broke the law, just like Twigg, and only Sherry Schultz and Tanya Bjork are having to pay for it. Is that fair? Singling out this rodentine young ideologue would send all the wrong signals to the make-a-difference-at-all-costs MoveOn.org generation.

I know that Madison Mayor Cieslewicz has pledged to hold his Administration to the highest ethical standards, and that he immediately fires people for things like sexual harassment or pro-business attitudes, but that is no reason that he has to get rid of lawbreakers like Twigg. What about forgiveness and redemption and giving misguided kids another chance? Breaking the law should not preclude you from serving as a press agent for a politician. In fact, a willingness to break the rules and tell lies can come in handy in that position.

And let's not forget that Twigg's lawbreaking -- although clumsier and more extreme than most -- was part of a larger system of corruption over which he had no control. He was just a funny-looking extremist from another state when he had to undergo Shirley Krug's groping and try to get a job with Assembly Democrats. What was he supposed to do, tell Shirley not to touch him there and demand immediate ethics reforms? I don't think so, he never would have gotten in the door with that kind of an attitude.

And Mayor Dave, the other thing to keep in mind is that he wasn't very good at his job. After all, the Assembly Democratic Caucus repeatedly lost seats during Twigg's tenure. How big of a cheater can he be if he wasn't able to help pick up a seat or two, and slow the evil creep of Republican hegemony. So competence is undoubtedly an issue, and another reason to show this dweeb some compassion. After all, aren't attempted murderers punished less than actual murderers? He couldn't get the job done, and so shouldn't be forced to answer for his crimes. Perhaps that's even why Blanchard left him alone.

Lastly, I think the guy has already suffered enough humiliation. And being fired at this juncture would do nothing for what must be an already fragile self-esteem. And even though he is serving in a position where public trust is paramount, it just doesn't seem fair to fire him for violating the public trust.

Please Mayor Dave, don't fire poor George Twigg. Doing so would blow his crimes way out of proportion, and cause a ripple effect that neither of our partisan machines could sustain.

Blanchard's Not-So-Secret Weapon Is Judge Steven Ebert

Excellent email from a reader of Sykes Writes.

"Judge Steven Ebert said he is going to begin limiting testimony to direct and cross examination only, so no more redirect or re-cross examination for now."

Is it me or from the pre-trial motions, to the “I’ve decided this activity was illegal” statements, to this latest pronouncement, doesn’t it seem like Ebert’s got his mind made up and a tee time somewhere, and is just taking a “let’s speed this up declare him guilty and get out of here” attitude to all this? He’s already basically told the defense they can’t have a level playing field in terms of witnesses and relevance of history and precedent with the prosecution. Now he’s limiting how extensive the use of the witnesses he actually does allow can be. It just smacks so bad of a kangaroo court going through a show trial. At this point would it surprise anyone if he was just laying minesweeper on his laptop all day instead of listening to the case?

What a crock.

God Bless Religion And The New Axis Of Evil

You just have to love fundamentalism. No matter which set of myths you cling to, you will always have the infidel to blame. Which side are you on in the Sunni-Shia mosque-burning struggle? And do you think those crazy moslems might have something to do with the church burnings currently underway in the American South?

If you'd all just join me in modernity, we could all sing Kumbaya and go home.

I must admit, however, that you fundamentalists are a pretty scary bunch. You're starting to make me actually begin to care about concealed carry legislation.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Scandal Role Models -- G. Gordon Liddy or John Dean?

What I know, you'll have to find out on your own.

Liddy--you think there's a chance
he'll talk?

Talk? Once, at a gathering, he put
his hand over a candle. And he kept
it there. He kept it right in the
flame until his flesh seared. A woman
who was watching asked, "What's the
trick?" And he replied. "The trick
is not minding."

And It Was A Damn Good Cause

Jessep: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.

We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!

This Could Be The Beginning Of The End

by Micha F. Lindemans
Ragnarok ("Doom of the Gods"), also called Gotterdammerung, means the end of the cosmos in Norse mythology. It will be preceded by Fimbulvetr, the winter of winters. Three such winters will follow each other with no summers in between. Conflicts and feuds will break out, even between families, and all morality will disappear. This is the beginning of the end.

The wolf Skoll will finally devour the sun, and his brother Hati will eat the moon, plunging the earth [into] darkness. The stars will vanish from the sky. The cock Fjalar will crow to the giants and the golden cock Gullinkambi will crow to the gods. A third cock will raise the dead.

The earth will shudder with earthquakes, and every bond and fetter will burst, freeing the terrible wolf Fenrir. The sea will rear up because Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent, is twisting and writhing in fury as he makes his way toward the land. With every breath, Jormungand will stain the soil and the sky with his poison. The waves caused by the serpent's emerging will set free the ship Naglfar, and with the giant Hymir as their commander, the giants will sail towards the battlefield. From the realm of the dead a second ship will set sail, and this ship carries the inhabitants of hell, with Loki as their helmsman. The fire giants, led by the giant Surt, will leave Muspell in the south to join against the gods. Surt, carrying a sword that blazes like the sun itself, will scorch the earth.

Meanwhile, Heimdall will sound his horn, calling the sons of Odin and the heroes to the battlefield. From all the corners of the world, gods, giants, dwarves, demons and elves will ride towards the huge plain of Vigrid ("battle shaker") where the last battle will be fought. Odin will engage Fenrir in battle, and Thor will attack Jormungand. Thor will victorious, but the serpent's poison will gradually kill the god of thunder. Surt will seek out the swordless Freyr, who will quickly succumb to the giant. The one-handed Tyr will fight the monstrous hound Garm and they will kill each other. Loki and Heimdall, age-old enemies, will meet for a final time, and neither will survive their encounter. The fight between Odin and Fenrir will rage for a long time, but finally Fenrir will seize Odin and swallow him. Odin's son Vidar will at once leap towards the wolf and kill him with his bare hands, ripping the wolf's jaws apart.

Then Surt will fling fire in every direction. The nine worlds will burn, and friends and foes alike will perish. The earth will sink into the sea.

After the destruction, a new and idyllic world will arise from the sea and will be filled with abundant supplies. Some of the gods will survive, others will be reborn. Wickedness and misery will no longer exist and gods and men will live happily together. The descendants of Lif and Lifthrasir will inhabit this earth.

Republican Caucus Rhubarb Pie

In honor of our current rhubarb.

If you make this recipe, it will be one of your best pies ever. And if you don't bake, than have your staff or spouse or someone do it. After all, the eating is the most important step anyway. Republican Caucus Rhubarb Pie is more successful, and thus should be held to a higher standard.


1 unbaked pie crust

2 slightly beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tblsp flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 cups chopped rhubarb
Pour mixture into crust
3 dabs of butter on top

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then 375 degrees for 35 minutes more.
When using frozen rhubarb add 5 minutes bake time at 400, and 5 minutes at 375.


Does anyone else think it's rather ironic that Democrat Chair Joe Wineke is fulminating against the misuse of state employees? Not only was the former State Senator one of the biggest utilizers of state employees for campaigns during his time, but he went even further by using his staff for more base, personal needs.

Maybe someone should call on Wineke to fully explain that employee misuse and perhaps even pay the taxpayers back for those services. Wineke shook lobbyists down for campaign cash while in his capitol office, and then took sexual harassment to Clintonian heights on the same desk.

Honestly, Joe, maybe you're not the best guy to question others about the potential misuse of state employees.

Political Persecution Update

Is there some reason that we can't make a worldwide announcement that Assembly Republicans did campaign work on state time, and move on? In their filings, the Jensen defense has acknowledged that the caucus did campaign work on state time using state resources. So the entire parade of former staffers is no more relevant than the John Doe admissions we've read from Assembly Democrats.

Yes, all four caucuses -- Republican and Democrat, Senate and Assembly -- did campaign work on state time. I was under the impression we knew that already. But I suppose the jury needs to hear some of this stuff, just not about anyone other than Assembly Republicans.

As evidenced by the pathetically dishonest and weak story by Dee Hall in today's State Journal, this entire charade is meant to do nothing more than tar Jensen and embarrass Republicans. They assessed the John Doe witnesses on the basis of which of them are more likely to exaggerate roles or settle scores. And as Deb Jordahl has pointed out, they want to shock the jury with the same activities that DA Blanchard apparently deserves a pass for. The hypocrisy is hitting new levels, and I have yet to hear any of these people actually pointing the finger at Scott Jensen as the evil dark lord master of their activities. I guess the caucus directors will have to fulfill that role.

The jury should be forced to confront the truth, not just some narrowly selective version of the truth. Each of the four caucuses -- including back in the liar Mike Ellis's day -- engaged in these campaign activities. Each of those caucuses leaders directing that activity to some extent. And the vast majority of legislators simply treated the caucuses as a separate world and didn't get involved -- other than benefiting from the work. But this hater of a Judge has expressly forbidden the defense from showing the jurors all of the truth. If they knew that all four leaders and Brian Blanchard engaged in the same activity, would they be as likely to hold Jensen as the only one accountable?

Xoff and his minions will continue to chortle, and more people will confirm that the caucus did some campaign work. The Whineke's of the world will continue to try and create some mysterious connection to Green or Walker. And the ignorant jury will be shocked that the evil Republicans engaged in these activities, and will be forced to make someone pay.

So the prosecution is proving that these activities occurred, they will now have to prove that Jensen was the evil mastermind of it all. Then, they'll have to convince the jury that these activities were an illegal attempt to obtain a dishonest advantage, and that some leaders had a greater responsibility than others to understand and follow retroactive rules.

This is a travesty of justice, and Brian Blanchard is a scumbucket to have ever brought this to trial. Enjoy the show, but don't try to tell me that this trial has anything to do with justice. It has to do with making someone pay. And one guy shouldn't have to pay for what was a systemic institutional blindspot.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My Reaction To Today's Revelations About Republicans At The Jensen Trial

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!


Good show from Charlie Sykes this morning on Insight 2006, with some enlightening exchanges all around. But let me point out a little weakness -- the pundits and media commentators lack savvy and their insights are regularly off target. These folks have been used to having the only megaphone on the block for so long that they seem to have a systemic estrangement from reality. Knowledgeable bloggers can blow them away, and that's what happened today.

Let me give an example that also caught moderator Sykes off guard. No disrespect, because he is one of the best, but Jeff Mayers comment that Democrats would rather run against Walker than Green is just plain wrong. The Dem independent spending against Green makes that plain, as would any honest conversation with a knowledgeable Dem consultant. So, someone spun Jeff on this one, and he bought it and believes it. An insider would not make the same mistake. And the other pundits made similar errors.

And I think this gets to the heart of the weakness of "pundits". Most of these people are used to getting their information by interviewing those who are actually involved. So they get spun, they miss subtleties, and they lack savvy. Even someone who I like such as McIlhern retains a certain outsider naivete. They just don't have the background or experience to offer the best insights. They are outside observers, and will always be a little off in their observations regardless of how smart they are.

So thank goodness for the blogger revolution. I hadn't even read a blog before late 2005, but I've learned a lot since then and can see that we're getting more substance and insight from Wisconsin bloggers than all of traditional media combined. Media commentators speak for neither regular people or insiders. Bloggers are much more likely to "get it" than the pundits of the world. Charlie Sykes has recognized that reality, and ought to lean more heavily on non-media commentators in the future.


Caroline Lamb points out another reason why in today's entry at http://www.glenarvon.blogspot.com. Is this guy so nuts that nobody cares about his craziness anymore? Bloggers should be running against Reynolds, not cheating taxpayers by working for him.

I'm begging Brett Favre to come back for another season with the Packers.

I'm begging Brett Favre to come back for another season with the Packers. And as he sits pondering his future, you should all join me in sending Brett a card and pleading for his return.

You may not like his reckless ways, but Brett Favre is the only reason that the Packers have had success in the last decade and a half. We won a Super Bowl thanks to the skills of Brett Favre, and believe it or not, he still has those skills. He can still avoid a pass rush by stepping aside, he can still throw a bullet pass further and more accurately than anyone else, and he still is one of the top quarterbacks in the game.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Do you remember the days of John Hadl, Jerry Tagge, Scott Hunter, and Jim Del Gaizio? Do you remember our long years of embarrassment following the departure of Saint Vince? And, lastly, are you really ready to go back to those days? Because let me tell you something, the quarterbacks in the Packers' future have a lot more in common with Tagge than with Favre.

Critical punks and their callers on sports radio have tried to argue that Brett is over the hill, and responsible for the disaster of the 2005 season. I can only say to you guys, put the crack pipe down and go back and review the tape. Yes he makes some big mistakes in situations where he feels he has to do it alone, but so do we all. With a few missing players back in the picture, Brett Favre can still do the incredible things that have made him a legend and future hall-of-famer.

If the critics, and the general silence from Packer fans, leads Brett to the decision that it's time to quit, then that will be on you. Brett Favre could be a great quarterback for at least another three years. If we let him get away, we will have lost one of the greatest assets that any team has ever had. If he couldn't do it anymore, that would be different. But there has been no deterioration of skills, just a deteriation of the coaches and teammates around him.

So speak up people, and let Brett Favre know that you want him back. If he thinks the regular Packer fan no longer wants him, then he will surely walk away. The years ahead will make Sherman seem like Lombardi, if Favre leaves prematurely. None of you want that, so step up and do something about it.

Join me in sending a postcard or letter to: Brett Favre, c/o US Post Office * 16250 Highway 603 * Kiln, MS 39556.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Greater Wisconsin Campaign Good Sign For Mark Green

The "Greater Wisconsin Campaign" has fired the first salvo in the independent spending war that will be such a big part of gubernatorial campaign 2006. Doyle, Wineke and company obviously fear Mark Green and think their only strategy to deal with Administration crookedness is to try and muddy the waters.

I think the entire thing is a grand sign for Republicans in general and Mark Green in particular. The Dems should be concerned if this is the best their independent spenders can do. It also represents poor strategy to begin the campaign with exactly the kind of shady money that Doyle is in trouble for accepting in the past. I like your aggressiveness, Wineke, but your smarts may leave something to be desired.

I also wonder where the condemnatory press releases are from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and Common Cause. You guys hate this kind of stuff, right? Or are issue advocacy groups okay if they support your team or your cause? If the Republicans had fired the first volley, I guarantee you that McCabe, Heck et al would have held a flag-burning press conference by now. Hypocrite punks is all you are, and you should be forced to share a jail cell with Chuck Chvala.

I won't join in the shocked outrage from Republicans on this one, as I happen to believe that issue advocacy is constitutionally protected speech. The more speech the better as far as I'm concerned and the people will sort it out and make their decisions. If I want to spend a million dollars educating people about Jim Doyle's corruption, then I should be able to do just that. And if the Dems want to waste their money on ineffective attack ads on Mark Green then I'm fine with that as well.

And I'll tell you guys a secret... the Republican independent spending is going to be much more effective and consequential.

Democrats, your arterial bleeding is becoming more obvious every day. The Greater Wisconsin Campaign is a sign that Republicans might soon rule all branches of the Wisconsin political universe. Wisconsin Governor Mark Green -- now that would indeed mean a greater Wisconsin.


"The focus of the case has to go to the intent question," Meyer said. "There was no intent to obtain a dishonest advantage."

The day has finally arrived.

Can Jensen possibly escape conviction with the intent question? After all, there was indeed no attempt to obtain a dishonest advantage. Everyone from Jensen to the lowliest staffer knew that each caucus engaged in fundraising and campaign activities. It was one of the linchpins behind the philosophy of mutually assured destruction.

Loftus, and Kunicki, and Krug, and Brancel, and Prosser, and Jensen were all fully aware that they were engaged in political combat with an opponent utilizing similar tools and resources. Each caucus tried to be better at it than the other side, but that hardly describes an intent to obtain a dishonest advantage.

If "intent to obtain a dishonest advantage" has to be proven for a misconduct in public office conviction, then I can see a glimmer of hope for the former Speaker. It's also hard to imagine how a judge could deny him the right to fight this issue out before a jury. But Judge Ebert appears willing to bend over backwards in support of Blanchard, so I wouldn't expect him to be reasonable.

The facts remain that Jensen ran a campaign operation out of the capitol. The prosecution has some of the particulars wrong, but there's no denying that basic reality. So, the fight that begins today in Dane County Circuit Court has to focus on something other than these facts, and the jury will have to consider the appropriateness of the charges.

Jensen's attorney is unlikely to argue that rogue staffers engaged in illegal behavior unbeknownst to the Speaker, or that key witnesses are embellishing to blame higher-ups. This has to be one of the reasons that Jensen's team has never cared about the testimony of Foti or Ladwig. It just doesn't relate that much to their defense.

I've not studied the statutes, but I hope that Attorney Meyer is correct on the intent issue. As many people already know, however, a judge and jury don't have to follow any rules if they're intent on either locking you up or setting you free (i.e. Martha, Orenthal). Jensen's chances of receiving a fair hearing with this Judge and a Dane County jury remain slim, but it's encouraging to see some opportunity for the defense.

And to all my Democrat(ic) readers out there, please try and keep in mind the role of karma in this trial. If you guys succeed in destroying and incarcerating Scott Jensen for doing the same things as your team, then karma is going to come back and bite you. "My Name Is Earl" is a great show, don't you think? So keep Earl in mind before getting all outraged and sarcastic about the Jensen defense.

And one last thing -- everyone is in for some very big surprise if and when I make it up there on the stand. I will be playing the Jack Nicholson character. Now practice your chant -- intent and karma, intent and karma, intent and karma, intent and karma, intent and karma!

Monday, February 20, 2006


Computer Analysis Exposes Rick Skindrud As The Blogger Behind The Curtain At "Playground Politics"

February 20, 2006
Contact: The LaFollette Institute of Public Affairs (D-Madison)

Computer Analysis Exposes Rick Skindrud As The Blogger Behind The Curtain At "Playground Politics"

A computer analysis sponsored by the legislative leadership of both parties has exposed Assembly Sergeant at Arms, and former Representative, Rick Skindrud as the cunning insider blogger responsible for Playground Politics -- http://playgroundpolitics.blogspot.com/. "Skinny exposed us and now we're exposing him," said Majority Leader Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem), "the brilliant sense of humor and subtle understanding of the capitol "sleeping at work" phenomena should have been a dead giveaway."

UW-Madison expert-in-all-things-to-do-with-government Don Kettl announced the computer's findings at a 1 pm press conference on the steps of the capitol. "Even though none of us have any real experience in government," said Kettl, "The LaFollette Institute has the brains and computer savvy to solve even the greatest challenge." Kettl then went on to mumble something incoherent about campaign finance reform.

When the scientists at UW-Madison analyzed word patterns in the Playground Politics site, the idea recognition system soon hit match after match with old Skindrud newsletters, floor speeches, and campaign literature. "Although Skindrud's staffers used to dumb down his ideas for public consumption," Kettl continued, "his wit and insight into the issues of the day just kept shining through." Skindrud was identified with 99% certainty by LaFollette statisticians.

The LaFollette study was commissioned during an Assembly Republican closed caucus a few months back, and funded after a secret meeting of all four caucus leaders. "Rick Skindrud has betrayed us for the last time," said Representative Carol Owens (R-Clueless), "we're taking away his computer, even though the Sergeant's staff is still claiming Rick never learned how to use it." Owens is heading a study commission to determine how best to prevent Skindrud and others from disseminating the ugly realities of Wisconsin politics to a larger audience. Steve Nass (R-Angry) will serve as the special committee's co-chair and propaganda minister.

"We can all breathe a sigh of relief that this menace has been exposed and silenced," concluded Representative David Ward (R-Weinie), "I really hate it when people who know us first-hand share our secrets with voters. What voters don't know, can't hurt us, and today's announcement is a victory for that principle."

Skindrud could not be reached for comment.

Regarding the President's trip to Milwaukee

Regarding the President's trip to Milwaukee.

With all due respect to my President, who cares? Is a trip like this actually expected to drum up support for the President's energy policy? Just issue a national security edict to drill ANWR and I'll be happy.

While the Bush energy plan certainly has merit (go nuclear!) I just have to wonder how they expect to get anyone to care. Fuel cells at Johnson Controls, are you kidding me? This has all the hallmarks of going through the motions, and driving in cruise control.

Is anyone expecting Kohl and Feingold to be flooded with calls in support of the GOP President's energy plan? Will the eight seconds on tonight's nightly news generate any shifts in public opinion? If he really wanted to make some progress in Wisconsin, he could tour the state challenging Russ Feingold on national security issues. Now that would be news.

Another interesting press tour could highlight how much worse everything would be had Al Gore been elected president.

I understand that the presidential spin machine has to work on something, but this energy mishmash is so terribly weak. Nobody cares! This visit is almost as lame as the Doyle hearings on oil prices. A useless posing for inauthentic holy pictures. He's my President and I love him. But this one is kind of embarrassing.

To avoid lame duck status, George W. Bush must be both bold in his initiatives and willing to challenge the status quo of public opinion. Unfortunately, today's dog and pony show was more Clintonian than Lincolnesque. He needs to start selling some bigger ideas, and not fritter away his time talking about energy efficiency in Glendale.

Abraham Lincoln did not go to Gettysburg having commissioned a poll to find out what would sell in Gettysburg. There were no people with percentages for him, cautioning him about this group or that group or what they found in exit polls a year earlier. When will we have the courage of Lincoln?
Robert Coles


Gene Hahn apprently wants to toughen criminal penalties for club drugs, sending kids to prison for up to one year for ecstasy possession. It should come as no surprise, since Republicans have been enhancing penalities and building prisons for decades. It's just all so mindlessly idiotic to keep heading down this path. We're tough on crime and drugs, so we need more recreational drug users to go to prison.

It's embarrassing to support a party that has been so wrong on both corrections and drug policy. We had to position ourselves as the alternative to lenient liberals, and we won elections by passing bogus anti-crime initiatives that have done nothing more than increase criminals and taxes. We can't, and shouldn't, incarcerate everyone who deviates from societal norms. Why does it matter to me if a high school kid chooses to get high, and is willing to take the risk of soft drugs like ecstasy?

Now that we know that hundreds of legislators have engaged in misconduct in public office, isn't it time we show some common sense compassion in how we treat nonviolent recreational drug offenses? Can't we just leave the consequences of partying to parents and local school boards? Protect me from the sex offenders and killers, but imprisoning ravers does absolutely nothing for me.

The tough-on-crime approach has gone too far. There is probably no more than a handful of Republican legislators who haven't authored penalty enhancers like Hahn's. What a proud legacy. Visit some of our overcrowded prisons and jails and tell me why I have to keep paying for all of these people to be locked away. Visit Chuck in the Dane County Huber facility and tell me how much safer we are with these losers off the streets.

State power should not be the Republican answer to all society's ills. Alcohol is bad, so we get prohibition. Drugs are bad, so we lock users away. Drinking and driving can occasionally be dangerous, so we prosecute the harmlessly drunk. Marijuana makes people stupid, so we sick the cops on them. Where does it end, and what are we getting out of this but more cops, more judges, more prisons, and more prisoners?

Consider me radical if you wish, but I think it's far more radical to keep heading down this path. Common sense is not on the side of Eugene Hahn and the tough-on-crime Republicans. Do you really think regular people are content with having to pay this bill? There may have arguably been a day when enhancing penalties was a good idea, but that day, if it existed, is long past.

Please people, show a little common sense and reassess the kneejerk Republican approach on crime. The land of the free could use a major dose of penalty reducers. And Wisconsin's overburdened taxpayers could use a correctional break.


And Assemblyman Pocan, please try to loosen up a bit about this stuff. You have clearly escaped prosecution for your illegal behavior, so you and Che should be able to kick back, enjoy the trial, and not have such a snit about blogger criticism. Another thing to keep in mind, is that kids on the playground who can't handle a little teasing are soon singled out for more focused attention. In other words, being a baby just invites more pain. I'm just trying to help you with some good advice, so loosen up and don't be such a ninny. You got away with it, and while you may want to respond, my advice to you would be -- relax, don't do it.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Don't worry, I am still here.

Don't worry, I am still here. Thanks for all of your expressions of concern wondering if there might be any connection between my disrespect of Islam and my brief absence from blogging. I have not yet been kidnapped or killed for my infidel ways. Although a handful of state capitol staffers and legislators would apparently like to make that happen. I would encourage my enemies at the capitol and in the Muslim world to control your tempers. Be assured that I still believe in your free speech rights regardless of how embassies you burn or cats you own. Hopefully, we can all talk more tomorrow. It should be an interesting week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I appreciate the support for my earlier posting of the Danish cartoons from Texas Hold'm and others, but I'm a little surprised that more of you have not followed my lead and posted the "offensive" material. Are you censoring yourselves, afraid that you might end up as the Salman Rushdie of blogging? Or are you just too politically correct to support free speech about other people's religion?

The Danish claim they meant no disrespect to Islam, but I can't say the same. Worship as you wish, but your superstitions make no more sense than the ramblings of Pat Robertson. I don't respect him, and I don't respect the extremists of Islam. Abandon your medievelism for the liberty of a secular society. And the spread of Islam will never be a good thing for me or my children. After all, Mohammed also condemns the unbeliever to eternal hellfire and demands the permanent subjugation of women.

Islam. I don't respect you.

Those of you who do respect Islam should still be willing to post these cartoons. Not to piss people off, but to make the point that free speech is to be respected and that the modern world will never bow to the prejudices of the ignorant. I grant you the right to worship as you wish, and you're going to have to grant me the right to disagree.

If we are truly engaged in a battle to decide the direction of our world, then I must declare myself as a child of the enlightenment and advocate of free speech, opposed to the dark side of Islamic extremism. And to paraphrase President Bush, you are either with us or you are with the terrorists.

Where do you stand? And if you're afraid of offending anyone, why would you be writing a blog.


Some of you may remember my blog entry a while back entitled "Hell Is The Answer." Turns out a liberal reader at othersideofmymouth.blogspot.com seems to have taken me seriously. Must I explain everything to you people? I especially enjoyed the last three sentences in the first paragraph. Check it out.

Hell Is Where The Heart Is

I love blogging. There is serious commentary out in the blogsphere, which is gratifying and intellectually stimulating. And then there are the nimrods. They are there only to be read and provide amusement. They don't know that, but that's part of the fun.

Anyway, I was checking out the I Am The Force blog (author's name is Ragnar Mentaire) because he had made a silly response to one of my comments on another blog. He has a piece titled "Hell Is The Answer."

This is good...the guy says that we should advertise hell more forcefully and that way more people will be made to turn to Christianity...especially those following the false religions of Islam and Buddhism. These will be brought down by advertising.

According to Mentaire the Midget, hell and its eternal suffering should be on everyone's mind, every day, whether in America or China. He recommends using billboards and satellite television, newspapers and magazines to spread the message of hell. It's high time, he pontificates, for people to come around.

Seems to me we already have way too much Christian advertising. One can view it every day on telelvision...the 700 Club, TBN, Catholic TV, creationists with their own shows, etc. It's on the web, it's mailed into our homes, it's on every other street corner, it's on news shows where these prophets(?) make incoherent announcements and the drivel is lapped up by thousands...it's everywhere. But that's not good enough for Lord Mentaire, no, we need MORE FEAR.

Got news for you buster, Fred Phelps would love you to join his church in Kansas.

Your vision of Christianity has the blood of millions on its hands and the new inquisitors are doing their damned best to add a few more innocent souls to the tally sheet. So, go away, little Ragnar, I don't fear you and there are many who don't buy this message of fear that you and others proscribe.

I am not a believer...never will be (this aside is to cut off any sanctimony from you...not even on my deathbed!). However, I have the greatest respect for those followers of Jesus who believe in his loving message. And, I have great respect for anyone who, through their own faith, live good and peaceful lives with best wishes for all.

So, Ragnar Mentaire...one last word. I'm not sure why you need more advertisement, you're already living in hell. Why don't you climb out and join the rest of us.

posted by Other Side at 10:09 AM 0 comments


Check out the first sentence in today's Mark Pocan blog.
I’m back from Key West and ready to get back to work. But first, what did I miss while I was gone? State Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Key West)

HERE'S YOUR UPDATE, MARK. Hope Fluffy is doing well, and that you had a nice vacation.

Bjork stated that there would be meetings involving how to raise more money, and they would occur in Krug’s office. 11/08/01 Bjork page 14 • Bjork stated that it was the job of Jeff Plale, Gregory Huber, Antonio Riley, Mark Pocan and Krug to carry the brunt of the fundraising responsibilities. Bjork relayed that there would have been meetings about that in Krug’s office.


Caucus investigation remains active one year after charges
Artist's disk containing Democratic campaign materials turned in
Last Updated: Oct. 28, 2003

Madison - A year after two prominent Senate Democrats and three Assembly Republicans were charged in the Capitol fund-raising scandal, prosecutors said Monday that they continue to investigate possible illegal acts or misconduct connected to members of both parties.

Although previously mum about the status of the investigation, Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard said that his office is focusing on possible improper campaign activity on behalf of Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans.

He noted that probes of illegal campaigning on state time by Senate Democrats and Assembly Republicans are closed.

Meanwhile, state Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said Monday: "Our agents are still involved. Right now, the investigations remain ongoing."


Missed Opportunities In History


Tuesday, February 14, 2006


A 4-year-old nephew of mine once shocked me by saying, "Cops are pigs, oink, oink, oink." Since then, my experience has led me to believe he was probably right. As a general rule, cops are not our friends and they are to be avoided when at all possible. The latest story is a lovely example of the police mindset at loose in the world.

The criminal complaint alleges that Lelinski met a woman while on duty and then pursued her for several weeks before assaulting her on Oct. 18 in her home while he was off duty. The allegations are similar to others against Lelinski investigated by the Police Department, none of which resulted in charges, that are now being re-examined, police sources said.

Cops are like sharks, they troll around all day looking for something to hurt. What a joy it must be for those guys to hide along the interstate waiting for the opportunity to ruin someone's day for driving 76 mph. And as they sternly write your ticket, how tremendously satisfying it must be to deliver the pain. Total power, to mess with people as you see fit.

One of my first experiences in my current locale was having 4 moustache cops in a squad car yell at me for not crossing at the crosswalk. I couldn't help but wonder if they might have something better to do than try to intimidate jaywalkers. But I could tell it was all about them being the tough guys with the badges. It's like giving bullies uniforms and setting them loose on the population. They let Jeffrey Dahmer go, but bring misery to the rest of us.

It's easy to talk about the Frank Jude case, and the countless police shootings ignored by Michael McCann over the years, and rip on cops. But I'm talking about something much more basic. Who is attracted to the idea of being a police officer, and what is it that makes them happy? They may claim they're saving the world. But whenever you cross their path, why is it that the world always seems to get more difficult?

The cop mentality has only been worsened over the years by politicians efforts to criminalize more and more activity. The right to be left alone is not a cop or politician-supported idea. They want to be able to burst into your life and crush you like a bug, whether you are hurting anyone else or not. If a cop doesn't like how you look, he can arrest you for being drunk, sarcastic, or just in the wrong company. AND THEY DO THIS ALL THE TIME!

Obviously, the police are necessary to an orderly society. I want them to catch robbers, direct traffic, and save my children from sex offenders. But I don't need them to go after every regular citizen that bends a rule, makes some noise, or exceeds the speed limit. I don't need them to goose-step around town and harass people just for the power of it. I don't need them to ticket the non-reckless. I don't need them to stop people for black driving. I don't even need them to incarcerate the drunk who passes out in his car.

And before you law-abiding citizens get all high and mighty with me, just stop and think of your life interactions with the police. What are the percentages favorable and unfavorable? When is the last time that a cop let you off with a warning, or helped you with directions after taking a wrong turn? And why do we have to keep saying, thank you sir may I have another?

The cop in this week's story "allegedly" used his position as a cop to force himself on women with something to fear from his authority. If the charges are proven, just think of how many times he abused his authority on one thing or another over the years. And just think how many cops there are out there right now that are just like him. Scary.


The pictures in today's newspapers almost had me feeling sorry for Chuck Chvala. But then I thought about what he was like to deal with as majority leader, and I didn't feel quite so bad. Remember him standing outside GOP fundraisers, taking notes on lobbyists in attendance? Do you recall the time he intentionally tripped Tommy Thompson before their gubernatorial debate? Or we could flash back to his arrogant brinksmanship that made so many state budgets a dysfunctional disaster. Most of us can also remember what a jerk he was to everyone from the lowest staffer to the chief executive in the capitol corridors. Something must have happened to Chuck to send him off the deep-end and into an angry dark place. Every one of his policy decisions was informed by campaign finance reports. He blocked all WMC initiatives for years after they pissed him off. He aimed to hurt perceived opponents at every opportunity. Despite the claims of his supporters, he was driven by the partisan warfare rather than the policy objectives. It's a very good thing that he's gone. He went way too far and deserved to take a fall. But I still can't feel any schadenfreude over his booking photos or wish him further humiliation. Hopefully, he'll live happily ever after as an Upper Peninsula Culvers' franchisee. The power-hungry politician that made our lives hell is long gone.

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