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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Official

I am officially on hiatus until at least Jan. 1. I will try to re-launch then with a new template, links, variety, and surprises. Right now just check my weekly gig at Liberal Street Fight. I'll still read my email if you need/ want/ care to contact me.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

I'm on drugs (again)

So last night, before the really big show, I bought a can of La Croix from a vending machine in the hallway outside the performance space so I could have something to drink on stage (I'd forgotten to bring a bottle of water, as the Coffee House doesn't sell cold beverages, just, well, coffee). I bent down to get it from the dispensing part, and, yep, hurt the back.

So I played the show in more pain than I really wanted to be in, but I think I did okay for it being my first paying solo performance in nearly two years. I gotta get back into the performance swing of things. People were at least saying nice things afterwards. I did not play the song below, although this morning I played through that one with my group (singwriters, though there is some theraputic benefit) and they liked it. I've also got a new political one I'll post later, maybe, that I did play and people liked, though the group had a problem with the bridge.

Anyway, where I'm going with this, is that I want to send a shout-out to Madman in the Marketplace, a fellow Liberal Street Fighter, and thoughful conservative Dean, who both came out to the show.

And, as an extra-special bonus, A Quiz!:

You are 60% Virgo







Via feministe.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Wha?

Okay, how screwed up is it that Kmart now owns Lands' End? It's like my world is upside down.

You Fix It

Here's a new feature on folkbum's R&R: When I get too lazy to bother to edit my own stuff, I'll make you do it. Here's a song that hasn't gone over as well as some. I kind of like it; it's got a catchy melody and some good lines. So lay it on me: What would you change?

SOS

[chorus]
You can save me if you want to
I don’t think I am worth the trip
And I don’t think I would blame you
If you left this sinking ship

SOS in the morning, with your coffee and your bread
You have heard the radar warning, and let me stay in bed
I have done my damage, I am taking this ship down
Your choice seems pretty clear to me: Come back, or let me drown

[chorus]

SOS in the evening, cooking dinner, it’s my turn
I know somebody’s gonna go hungry, and somebody’s gonna get burned
It will all just fall apart, like everything else I touch
I’ve left a string of broken hearts who don’t like drowning much

[chorus]

You didn’t sign on for an iceberg, you didn’t sign on for a dive
I know I can change if I just get the chance please hold on now and keep me alive

SOS in the nighttime, walking the hall like a plank
Got a view of the ocean floor, got no one but myself to thank
I should come with a life jacket, as much as I torpedo love
But as the briny deep closes over me it’s your face I’ll be thinking of

[chorus, repeat last line twice]

Monday, November 15, 2004

Oh, My Word! Volume 2

My second column is up at LSF. I may have something later today for you here; I may not. You'll just have to come back and check now, won't you?

Some day this week I'll clean out my template, getting rid of election 04 crap. Anyone got any ideas for what I should replace it with?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Post-Election Neglection

In between grading exams and frantically trying to improvise something to teach next week, I'm busily preparing for the really big show next weekend. I haven't played live in front of people since May, and I need both to practice and finish up a couple of half-done songs.

So talk amongst yourselves. You can do that here, or at any of the fine blogs linked down and to the right.

Monday, November 08, 2004

LSF

I wanted to get to this earlier, but, well. Life and other plans and all. Liberal Street Fight has officially launched. That link will take you there, but eventually liberalstreetfight.com will be the preferred address. liberalstreetfight.org and liberalstreetfighter.com are the current pathways while the folks in charge resolve issues with ISPs and whatnot.


This post lays out the philosophy and posting calendar. Anyone who followed the launch of Open Source Politics knows that a calendar is for squat when it comes to group blogs, but I, for one, plan to stick to the target, since what I'm writing about--writing--is not current-events dependent. The first installment of "Oh, My Word!" is here.

I'll ask you guys, too, since you may not carry over and since I know you all are full of piss and vinegar: I'm looking for reader questions and reader suggestions for the column. I have my own ideas--and I've even got most of next week's column done already--but the only way "Oh, My Word!" will be successful is if I have audience participation. Drop a comment here, there, or to my email, please. And, since grammar is non-partisan (although eventually I will do some media criticism and "frames" work a la Lakoff), anyone can play. Don't be shy, Big Dan.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I'm not dead

I'm just really busy. It's the end of the quarter and all.

I had a chance to see Ira Glass from "This American Life" last night, and I want to review it, as well as catch up on some of the news around here, but I can't. Sorry.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Silver Linings

Some cribbed from around the blogosphere, and some not.

Let's remember how poor a victory this was for the Whopper™:

• This is the largest number of people who have ever voted AGAINST a president
• 1% more than 50% is not a mandate but a bare, thin, majority.
• Assuming Bush gets New Mexico and Iowa, he will have gotten the lowest percentage of electoral votes (54%) of any incumbent running for reelection since Wilson. If those two states should swing Kerry's way (NM might), it'll be even lower.
• He will have won with the lowest percentage of the popular vote (51%) of any incumbent running for reelection since Truman (who ran in a 4-way race that included Strom Thurmond)
• He will have won by the lowest margin of the popular vote (3.5M) of any  incumbent running for reelection since Truman (2.1M, and back then only 50M voted).
• He will have won the three states that put him over 270 (OH, NM and IA--assuming the last two go his way) by only 161,989 (not counting the provisional ballots, absentee, etc.).
I think some of those are wrong--didn't Clinton get less than 50% in 96?--but still, you have to admit, this election has not been an overwhelming victory for the man.

Also, what's pretty sweet about this term is that Republicans will have no one but themselves to blame for all of the things that go wrong--and they will go wrong. See my post below for how I think we ought to really handle it. This is also prime time for scandal, and there are five or eight of them ready to go, from the Plame thing to the recent supressed CIA report on 9/11. I think that by 2008, the moderates--who voted for Kerry, by the way--will see what they bought.

More than that, there's no one in the bullpen for the Republicans right now. Arnold can't run. Jeb won't run. Rudy is waaaaaay too moderate. Colin Powell has the stench of this administration on him. McCain is too old. There's nobody waiting to jump into the foray on their side.

Patience, my friends. This, too, will pass. And then we will have our cake.

Mmmmm. Cake.

[UPDATE: Ms. Lauren has a nice collection of stuff]

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Next Four Years

If we were an organized party, here's what I'd suggest: We give Republicans everything they want. In spades.

First, the Democrats in Congress should not mount opposition to anything beyond their "nay" votes. Skip debates. Skip press conferences. Skip public shows of outrage or indignation. Just let it happen.

Next, saturate the country with civil disobedience among the faithful. For example, when they start mandating prayer in schools, all the good Democratic teachers should obey the law as it is now, not as it will be then. When they outlaw abortion, all the good Democratic OB/GYNs and surgeons should rush to clinics to perform them. As media ownership rules slacken, the Soros-Turner-Robbins-Sarandon-Reiner-Springsteen conglomerate should buy as many TV and radio stations as they can and air Dem-slanted news and gay-friendly entertainment. My personal favorite: Good Democratic-owned corporations should announce that they are moving their headquarters to tax haven islands in the Bahamas or someplace (not workers!) and, as they do it, hold press conferences and make a big to-do about how they so love the Republicans' tax loopholes, since it saves them billions.

It won't take long for the people to wake up. (I hope.) It won't take long before parents are asking how little Johnny's school can be closed with all the teachers fired. It won't take long before the women at the office demand to know why all of the OBs in the practice are in jail.

The possibilities are endless--like women wondering why all the good hairdressers at the shop moved to Massachusetts or why someone can't get an electrician in the middle of the night when they need one.

After a very short while, it will become obvious the the Republican agenda has absolutely nothing to do with making anyone's life any better. Best of all, the Democrats can say--rightly--that they had no part in it and tried to stop this agenda in Congress. But, you know, the will of the people seemed to be so . . . clear . . .

A Debut

Check out Liberal Street Fight. I will be doing a weekly column over there about grammar and writing, plus the occasional political rant, like the one below, which I cross-posted.

The IP address is still getting worked out--someday soon it should be liberalstreetfight.com. But for now, follow the link.

I guess I was wrong

I never would have thought this to be the case. I've been wrong before, of course, but I was trying to give Americans the benefit of the doubt.

I guess Americans really do want a a phony cowboy president with a strained relationship to the truth. Americans must want unprecedented secrecy in governmental operations, an administration that lies to Congress and companies that stand to profit setting governmental policy. Americans apparently don't mind rampant cronyism in government, either, or the insane culture of fear the Bush administration fosters among us.

The American worker must not be concerned about record budget deficits or spiraling national debt. I guess they like double-digit health care cost increases, steadily decreasing real wages, seeing their stock portfolios plummet, the dollar in freefall, the way oil prices to keep climbing, and the chances of inflation. The middle class sure seems keen on losing overtime rights, and watching 18,000 preventable deaths every year of their uninsured friends--that's one 9/11 every two months. The jobless, though, also apparently are okay with being dropped from the health-care plans, new job creation lagging behind historical trends and not keeping up with growth in the working-age population, in part because Bush's trade agreements hurt American workers.

Baby Boomers with children must be really keyed into the idea of all schools being "in need of improvement" and how the costs of post-secondary education keeps going up. And for their aging parents, Boomers must be glad to see that there will be a trillion-dollar shortfall in Social Security from privatization as senior citizens get locked into drug plans that can jack up prices at will.

It's suprising, but it turns out the American people really do want to stifle stem-cell research and see policies to undermine and judges who don't believe in medical privacy put in place. They must not mind the idea of ratcheting up discrimination against gays and lesbians and writing bigotry in to the US Constitution.

People here sure don't seem to care about asthma-inducing air, mercury in the water, people who hate the environment overseeing the environment, or how we'll have to drive energy-inefficient cars.

Even though the states most likely to be hit by terrorists voted to keep themselves safe, the vast majority of Americans must kind of like constant war with no clear exit strategy, and how the Commander in Chief to ignore recommendations from his top military planners before going to war while giving billions in juicy reconstruction contracts to go to wasteful contractors. These Americans must be all right with allowing al Qaeda to grow, letting terror attacks to keep accelerating in frequency and intensity, letting terrorists escape if it's good for PR, all while fighting a War on Terror producing diminishing returns. Americans are apparently really into an anachronistic state-based War on Terror and a president whose namesake "Doctrine" is a failure. It's okay for Russian nuclear material to go unsecured, North Korea to go nuclear, Iran to go nuclear, and Taliban warloads to gain power in Afghanistan. It's no big deal that we have a Pentagon whose intelligence team trusts convicted con men and listens to partisans instead of the International Atomic Energy Agency. And so what if we have a strained and fading partnership with NATO and Europe

In the end, it's probably for the best that this other America--an America I didn't even realize existed--got to decide who should be president, since I want no part of any of this. No part at all.

Give

Now. And a lot.

This isn't over.

The nice thing about cake

Is that you can call it victory cake or eat it in commiseration. It really works either way.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

WI Results of Interest

1. Feingold is projected; also by NBC & AP.
2. By the link above, all the congressional incumbents will win. They haven't called Tammy Baldwin or Gwen Moore yet, but they will. Give it time.
3. I can't stand it! Turns out there's a reporting glich (NOT a counting glich) in Milwaukee County computers, so the state results we see do not include mui-Dem 4th CD votes.

Amateurs

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is blogging the election.

Where to find results?

Once polls close here, I'll be doing some LiveBlogging over to the OSP. I'll be posting results updates here and over there for the things I care about. Full Wisconsin results can be found here.

I'd also like to second (or third or however many times you've heard it) the Media Matters state-call site.

This is wrong

This is:
Chris Lato, a spokesman for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said Tuesday the tires of 30 vans the party had rented to help get out the vote were slashed in Milwaukee. But he said it was not clear who was responsible.

Vandals had spray painted the words "Illegitimate Democracy" overnight Tuesday on the outside of the state GOP headquarters at Madison, Lato said.
Democrats should know better.

We voted, numbers 881 and 882 in our polling place. As I said, I can't compare with 2000, but I can compare that to when I was #732 in the Dem primary last February, more than three hours later than we voted today. There was no line, and voters were outnumbered by observers, I think. But it was early, yet--before the after-work rush.

I gotta go bake something. I can't stand it.

You can cut it with a spork

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Jerome has exit polls. I'm still feeling cautiously optimistic. I'm reminded of primary season when the exit polls all came out and my guy was losing in them, and I was sure they were wrong. They weren't. Let us have some faith here, then, eh?

And go take this quiz. I got 33 of 40. I thought for sure I could do better.

It's looking good

Several turnout observations to report, with the polls only open a half hour or so. Here at school (which is a polling location), they were lining up before 6:30, and by 7:00, there must have been 40 people in line. All were African American, many older, at least one in a wheelchair. Many had Kerry-Edwards buttons on. The wards that vote here are reliably Democratic (as attested to by the yard signs I see), but I don't remember this kind of scene in 2000.

Two other teachers who voted on their way to school told me that lines were long before polls opened, again in reliably Dem areas of town. People are anxious to vote this idiot out of office. I'm cautiously optimistic right now.

I can't vote until after school, and it will be my first presidential vote in my ward, so I won't be able to compare with 2000. But anecdotally, at least, turnout is looking very good here in Milwaukee.

UPDATE: 8:15--the line continues here at school, and I've heard a couple of more stories of long lines at the polls when they opened. I may start smiling. At least until my third block--they'll kill any buzz. :(

There are at least two NAACP vols here, and one Election Protection (1 866 OUR VOTE) guy here, too. Good for them!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Sunday, October 31, 2004

1 866 OUR VOTE

Know that number. Call it if you have any trouble. Because the GOP, afraid of what will happen if the people get to vote, will be causing trouble. For example:
Citing a new list of more than 37,000 questionable addresses, the state Republican Party demanded Saturday that Milwaukee city officials require identification from all of those voters Tuesday.

If the city doesn't, the party says it is prepared to have volunteers challenge each individual--including thousands who might be missing an apartment number on their registration--at the polls. [. . .]

City officials, who already were trying to establish safeguards in response to the party's claim of 5,619 bad addresses, were surprised by the 37,180 number, nearly seven times larger.

"It's not a leap at all to say the potential for voter fraud is high in the city, and the integrity of the entire election, frankly, is at stake," said Rick Graber, state GOP chairman. "The city's records are in horrible shape."
Any inaccurate address, he said, is an opening for someone to cast a fraudulent vote. However, many of the new addresses now cited might be eligible voters who have voted for years without problems.

City Attorney Grant Langley labeled the GOP request "outrageous." [. . .]

The initial GOP challenge, which was dismissed 3-0 by the city Election Commission last week, cited thousands of cases where no voter address exists, such as vacant lots and, in one case, a gyros stand.

It was the result of using a computer to compare the city's list of 386,526 registered voters to a U.S. Postal Service list of known addresses.

The same list generated about 13,300 cases where incorrect apartment numbers were listed, and some 18,200 more cases where no apartment number was listed for an existing building. However, the party didn't include any of those in its original challenge, filed three minutes before the 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline. [. . .]

Citing its expanded list, the GOP argues any address deficiency, such as no apartment number listed, constitutes an invalid registration.

Langley said he is not prepared to try to review more than 37,000 addresses by Monday, which would be necessary in order to be confident any "watch" lists given to poll workers do not include any valid addresses.

"Here we are Saturday night at 5 p.m., and they're going to drop 37,000 names on me?" Langley said. "There has got to be a deadline for a reason." [. . .]

"People certainly can come to their own conclusions," said Martha Love, chair of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party, noting a similar review was not done for Republican areas such as Bayside. "But if it's not voter intimidation or suppression, then what's the point?"

Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the state Elections Board, has been working with the city on the 5,619 addresses to put safeguards in place that would flag questionable addresses.

"The concern the board has is the pall it casts over the process," he said Saturday.
That's right: The GOP is planning to challenge and intimidate nearly 10% of Milwaukee's voters. Were there probably some fraudulent addresses submitted by registrars paid per new voter? Undoubtedly. Is this cause to fear widespread (or even localized) voter fraud? Goodness, no. I mean, even the celebrated voter fraud cases from 2000 turned out to be basically nothing:
Four years ago, the Journal Sentinel found at least 361 felons voted while still under state supervision in Milwaukee. Three men were charged, but the charges were dismissed when prosecutors were unable to prove they knew it was illegal for them to vote.

Last time, there were also reports of college students voting multiple times, though one student who bragged he voted four times--writing in himself - recanted, and a review by prosecutors of 400 other voters didn't turn up any double-voting.
Be prepared. Vote Monday, in fact, if you can, so to avoid this attempt at intimidation.

UPDATE: Scott has some thoughts, too.

And (I shudder to write this) go Pack!

When it comes down to it

You're gonna have to give as much for after the election as before. Here's a good place to start.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

More MJS Endorsements

Not surprisingly, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has endorsed every incumbent in the congressional races--or, in the cases where there was no incumbent, then the incumbent's party. Of particular interest may be the Feingold endorsment. You can also check out the paper's Q&A with Feingold and Michels, which doesn't help Michels, I don't think. I couldn't get the audio to work, though.

Also, if you're interested in taking on Feingold next time around, or challenging Herb Kohl in 2006, you can buy a Senate Campaign in a Box this week on eBay. Check it out.

Friday, October 29, 2004

A Headline I'd Like to See

As FBI Probes Halliburton, Cheney Flees Continental US

Never happen, though.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Use It

Here's a handy list of Kerry Wisconsin links, including campiagn and rally signs for your consumption.

Thanks to Darci for putting it together!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

They did it

And the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did it surprisingly well:
Endorsement: John Kerry for president

Both presidential candidates are decent men, undeserving of the demonization they’ve endured during this campaign.

That said, there is a clear choice in this election, and that would be John Kerry for president.

Kerry’s record--Vietnam combat vet to anti-war activist to effective U.S. senator--speaks of courage, patriotism and a balanced and thoughtful view of this country, its needs and its role in the world.

It is inescapable, however, that a presidential re-election contest is also a referendum on the incumbent.

Kerry, though not flawless, mostly measures up based on a reasoned look at his record. Regrettably, we find President Bush, though well-intentioned, severely deficient based on his. [. . .]

In the senator, however, we see a reasoned pragmatist with enough intellectual curiosity to lead him to prudent, decisive and well-thought-out action.

Installing someone during war who has never been commander in chief is too risky, the president’s campaign is trying to scare you into believing. But voters can weigh that against what should now be a firm understanding of what they will get in a second Bush term. No risks there. There’s every danger of it being worse than the first.

The hatred directed against this president is largely undeserved. The caricatures and barbs hurled carelessly his way have been decidedly mean-spirited. Many will disagree, but we don’t believe that he has deliberately misled. He has good instincts on connecting with people and on hopes for elevating students through his No Child Left Behind program (chronically underfunded, unfortunately). We even believe that his faith-based initiative, though it has its faults, indicates a big heart. Faith that guides generously but doesn’t dictate to others can be a good thing.

In 2000, we lauded Bush for his ability as Texas governor to work in bipartisan fashion. We admired what seemed to be a tendency to make moderate judicial appointments. We’ve seen precious little of that in his first term as president.

This time around, there is just so much at stake.

There is an ever-evolving economy that must lift more boats, a health care crisis requiring bold solutions, Iran and North Korea posing global threats, an environment that needs more protection than has been given in this term and Supreme Court nominations that will touch just about every policy issue imaginable.

The president is a decent man, yes. On the whole, however, he has been so wrong about so much in such a short time that accountability must kick in at some point.

We’re at that point. John Kerry for president.
In 2000, they wimped out and ran a non-endorsement pro/con piece on Bush and Gore. And this year they were rumored not to be endorsing, either. They may have been swayed by the fact that Kerry made time to sit down with the editorial board, in spite of the rumor, when Bush did not.

Yes, their news content is still regrettably slanted to the right, but this is a very good endorsement that may well swing some moderate fence-sitters. Hats off to the editorial board.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

It's On

Oh, you'd better believe it's on.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Oh. My. God.

Question: If you knew where Osama bin Laden was--and I'm not saying you do; I'm just speaking hypothetically here--what would you do? Would you go get him, let him be, what?

Well, if you were the Pentagon, apparently, you would just walk away whistling and looking innocent: Jim Lehman, one of them 9/11 Comission guys and a former underling to Colin Powell, says the US knows where bin Laden is. Apparently, he's hiding out in South Waziristan.

So why can't we go? "If we did, we could have another Vietnam, and the United States cannot afford that right now."

Yeah. God forbid we go after a bad man in a far away country in an action that may tie up our army, marines, reserves, budget, political cycle . . .

Fool me once, shame on--Crap.

I didnt do it!
You are "Its not my fault" Bush! Never
taking responsibilty for anything!


Which George W. Bush Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Note: If you're doing this, it'll give you the wrong code for the picture. Here's the real code:
<img src="http://live.quizilla.com/user_images/N/Nirvana3240/1098466467_ultbushbmp.jpg" border="0" alt="I didnt do it!">

Thursday, October 21, 2004

What does Bush think of the Midwest?



And I always thought New Jersey was the armpit of America . . .

Get the fork ready--Michels is done

Last week, I noted how Republican senate candidate Tim Michels felt that polls showing him far behind Everyone's Favorite Senator™, Russ Feingold, were "communistic," including a poll conducted by the Bush-endorsing Chicago Tribune. Today news is out of a St. Norbert College poll putting Russ up by 23 points, at 56-33. (This is the same poll that shows Kerry up by five (48%-43%) here in Wisconsin.)

Michels, despite his self-financed millions, is in his first race for office ever. It's very hard to pull out a US Senate seat if you've never run for anything before, and even harder against a popular maverick with crossover appeal like Russ. (And against someone with Russ's $10 million war chest!) Republicans, including talk-radio blowhards, are already grumbling about how poorly Michels has campaigned, which may be a factor in the NRSC's withdrawing $1.6 million in planned spending for him.

Fellow Milwaukeean Scott at Brewtown Politico notes a Rasmussen poll in the field about the same time as the SNC poll showing only a ten-point lead for Russ, and points out what we've known all along: Russ has crossover appeal, with only 83% of Feingold voters in that poll planning to vote for Kerry. (That makes Kerry's number seem smaller than in Ras's last Wisconsin poll, though that was from September.) At any rate, a strong turnout for Russ and a poor campaign from Michels can really only help Kerry.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

That's crazy talk!

"I know I stood up for the principles of objectivity. In journalism, all we have is credibility and objectivity."
- former Sinclair Broadcasting Washington Bureau Chief Jon Leiberman
Why "former"? Because he spoke out against his network's decision to air an hour or more of "news" based on the slanted "documentary," "Stolen Honor."

"They're using news to drive their political agenda," Leiberman said about his bosses. "I don't think it serves the public trust."

Let's keep the pressure on, 'kay?

Monday, October 18, 2004

No news today

Got Indigo Girls tickets. Third row.





Just had to rub that in.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

More Republican Liars and Lawbreakers

The Wisconsin State Journal--the more conservative of Madison's two dailies--has broken the story today of Wisconsin's Republicans for Nader. The nut:
At least 16 Republican Party officers and volunteers from across Wisconsin were involved in a secretive signature drive to get presidential candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot by claiming to be supporters and keeping quiet about their GOP affiliations.

Organizers of the covert drive gathered an estimated 3,228 signatures - far more than the 2,000 required to put Nader, an independent, on the Nov. 2 ballot. [. . .] As required by law, each circulator signed a statement on the petition swearing, "I intend to support these candidates." The form warns that anyone submitting false information on the petition could be guilty of a felony.

Some circulators contacted by the State Journal said they had no plans to vote for Nader, but most said they supported his right to be on the ballot--primarily as a way of benefiting Bush. [. . .]

In addition to [UW College Republican Matt] Holsen, the circulators with links to the GOP included volunteers or Republican Party officials from the state headquarters and from the Milwaukee, Eau Claire, Kenosha, Racine, Sheboygan and Winnebago county parties and College Republican chapters at UW-Madison, Marquette, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Eau Claire, the State Journal found.

Among the 119 circulators was attorney and Racine County Republican Party board member Jay K. Nixon, an unsuccessful candidate for circuit court judge this year. The Republican official refused to say whether he planned to vote for Nader, calling it "a personal thing." Nixon said he doesn't recall where he got the petitions or to whom he turned them in. After answering a few questions, Nixon hung up.

At least two of the circulators were elected officials--village of Brown Deer President Margaret Jaberg and Eau Claire County Board member Benjamin Hack, treasurer of the UW-Eau Claire College Republicans. [. . .]

Another of those circulators, UW-Eau Claire student James Taylor, said he and about a dozen college-aged Republicans were asked by a local Republican Party official - whom he wouldn't name - to circulate the petitions but to keep quiet about their party affiliation.

"We were told, 'Don't say anything unless people ask,'" said Taylor, who gathered 34 signatures for Nader. Hack said he doesn't recall receiving such advice.

Taylor said he never planned to vote for Nader and he collected the signatures "because votes for Nader take votes away from Kerry."
In the end, the Nader campaign wisely rejected the signatures gathered by Republicans, but that does not make the Republicans' criminal activity--or at least their lies--any less shameful. Nader has received help from Republicans not just in Wisconsin, but in at least a half-dozen other states. Republicans here in Wisconsin also gave assistance to Nader when state Democrats challenged his ballot status because his campaign didn't follow the rules. (The state supreme court finally rejected Dems' challenge.)

I'm a cynical man by nature, of course, but when the lawbreakers themselves admit that all they wanted to do was suppress the Kerry vote, then you know your party has problems.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Politics Free

A Quiz

Rerun
I Am Rerun!


Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla, found via Misc. Karen

Friday, October 15, 2004

We Win

Or, at least, we've worked out a good compromise. The City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County will split the cost of printing an additional 260,000 ballots for the Nov. 2 election. In addition, if the city does use the etxra ballots, the County will pay the full cost.

I don't know: Maybe Walker ended up playing us so that we look like whiners and he looks the magnanimous one. I'm not willing to give him that credit, though. As long as everyone gets to vote, I will be happy.

Better (call it) Red than (admit your campaign is) Dead

It's nice to come back from dinner and find a news story like this:
Wisconsin Senate GOP candidate Tim Michels complained Friday about "communistic" polls that he says are skewing results toward his opponent, Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold.

Michels specifically cited a recent Chicago Tribune/WGN poll that reported Feingold with a lead of 57 percent to 33 percent among Wisconsin voters, with 10 percent undecided. Those results were published in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story Friday [scroll to the end].

"What are they polling - just Madison?" Michels said during an appearance on Milwaukee radio station WTMJ's "Midday with Charlie Sykes."

"I call them communistic polls that are coming out," Michels continued.
Indeed, a 24-point spread is probably unrealistic, but every poll save one since the primary has put the race at double digits. The news Thursday of the NRSC pulling its money coupled with the news today that Michels is down 24 points and Feingold topped $10 million for the cycle has got to hurt, really dampen morale. Invoking communism may work to excite a certain part of Michels's base, but it will not help him among the undecideds or persuadables. This race really is over.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Four Updates
  1. Tim Michels is putting on a brave face, keeping a stiff upper lip, whistling past the graveyard, whatever you want to call it. "I'm glad the NRSC isn't coming in. I want to be able to control this campaign," Michels said during a conference call with reporters. "I've said all along I will not lose this race because of money." [condescendingly pats Michels on the head] Of course, Timmy.

  2. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has asked the state elections board to step in on the Milwaukee city/ county ballot dispute. County Executive and Bush re-election co-chair Scott Walker is not providing the city with all of the ballots that Milwaukee mayor and Kerry campaign co-chair Tom Barrett asked for:

    "Doyle said in a statement he's not in a position to say what is the right number of ballots. But he said the Elections Board is charged under state law with making sure counties comply with requirements to have enough ballots on Election Day so no one is disenfranchised. Doyle said the board should review Walker's decision."

    I repeat: Walker must be stupid if he thinks that doing anything even remotely smelling of voter disenfranchisement in this caustic election cycle is a good idea.

  3. A few days ago I speculated on the possible identities of people who might have sabotaged transmission towers belonging to American Transmission Company. My vote was with people upset with ATC over their plans to build a power line through acres of pristine wilderness Up Nort. The FBI has startling new revelations:
    Four men were reported taking photos and shooting video outside the headquarters of a transmission company at the same time 17,000 customers lost power in what police have called an act of sabotage.

    An employee of American Transmission Company and a security officer from We Energies electric company both reported seeing the men at the side of a highway near ATC's Pewaukee headquarters Saturday night, according to a police report. [. . .]

    According to the police report, a system operator who was headed to the scene of the outage around 6:30 p.m. saw four men standing a few feet off the highway taking still and video pictures of the ATC headquarters. He notified someone at the office, who called police.

    The man at the office said he went to a window and saw three of the men still there. About an hour later, a We Energies security officer called Pewaukee police to report he had seen four men in the same spot at 6:10 p.m. as he made his nightly rounds. The officer, William Cerar, said two of the men had small, hand-held video cameras and appeared to be filming. Cerar said he had seen the men laughing as they came out of the woods nearby when he approached.
    My theory still makes sense. If I'm right, I get big props, and I'm not talking about Gallagher.

  4. The Sinclair protests are working in Madison:
    One local business has decided to pull its ads from WMSN/Channel 47 in the wake of the station's decision to air an anti-John Kerry documentary next week.

    The owners of the Paisan's and Porta Bella restaurants said that after receiving about a dozen complaints about the program, "we just decided that we didn't want to jeopardize losing any customers over this," said owner Jerry Meier. [. . .] Meier said his restaurants began receiving calls on Tuesday and the volume picked up on Wednesday.

    "I took most of the calls, and the people were very polite and well-behaved," said Meier. "But most of them said they were long-time customers and they weren't going to come in as long as we continued to advertise on Channel 47."
    I haven't heard about Milwaukee--but you know what to do.

One more race in the bag

(I wrote this post this morning, and Blogger ate it. Stupid Blogger.)

Today we got news that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was pulling out of Wisconsin. Effectively, this is the Republicans' admitting that millionaire businessman and politcal novice Tim Michels cannot beat Everyone's Favorite Senator™, Russ Feingold.

I have been saying for some time now that

  1. Feingold will outpoll Kerry
  2. The far-right Michels will not have the support the moderate Republicans (there are a few) and Libertarians in the state
  3. The Republicans are screwed this cycle by their own little Albatross: Bush. People like Russ Darrow here in Wisconsin--who was supposed to win--and Pete Coors in Colorado were supposed be able to finance their own campaigns. Michels has alread poured $1.6 million into his own campaign, for example. This is because it takes a lot more resources to elect this incumbent than by all rights it should.

Anyway, I've been wrong before, but Russ is going to waltz home now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Why do Republicans hate Democracy?
or, #&$! you, Scott Walker

Our supposedly non-partisan--but former Republican legislative leader--County Executive Scott Walker doesn't want to ensure that there are ballots aplenty her in the Democratic city of Milwaukee. You'd think Republicans would try to be more subtle about disenfrachisement, wouldn't you? But I guess not. Here's the poop:
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, citing vote-fraud concerns, is publicly balking at a City of Milwaukee request for almost 260,000 additional ballots in anticipation of high turnout for the Nov. 2 presidential election.

Mayor Tom Barrett blasted Walker's stance, and Common Council President Willie Hines Jr. immediately joined in, saying it was an attempt to suppress the central-city vote.

"I'm going to lay this at the footsteps of the county if there aren't enough ballots in the city," said Barrett.

Barrett said that the 679,000 ballots the county had agreed to print were less than the amount prepared for the presidential election in 2000 as well as for the the gubernatorial race in 2002. He and the city's top election official said that the city requested 938,000 ballots from the county, which, by law, pays for and prints ballots.
Look, turnout will be astronomical this year, versus 2000, and if Walker thinks we'll need fewer ballots he's a bigger idiot than I thought he was. (And I was no fan before.)

Did I mention Walker is a co-chair of the Whopper™'s re-election campaign?

What's truly amazing is how some other Republican officials aren't even making pretend that encourageing people to vote is important:
More specifically, it involves central-city voters, most of them minorities, thousands of whom have been registered in recent months by voter-registration groups. Those efforts, though non-partisan, are widely viewed as helping the Democrats; Bush drew just 2% in 2000 in Milwaukee's predominantly African-American voting wards.

The chairman of the county commission, Doug Haag, who is also the Republican Party's chairman in Milwaukee County, went further.

Haag said Republican Party officials questioned why voter-registration groups seem to target only Milwaukee's central city and students on the city's east side. And he noted that Wisconsin has same-day registration.

"Why is there this need to get all these people registered?" Haag said. "If people want to vote, they will vote. If they want to stay in bed and not vote, they don't have to bother."
Yep, Doug, those Democrats can just stay in bed on November 2, sure. No skin off your nose, eh?

I doubt Walker's stupidity here is a part of what seems to be a nation-wide effort by Republicans and Republican sympathizers to stifle Democratic turnout (note what's going on in Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota (where Janklow claims it's national!), Florida . . .). But he's certainly not doing anything to help the image of Republicans in this cycle. It seems to me that anyone even remotely involved in the logistics of voting this year would want to do everything possible to avoid controversy and even the appearance of impropriety. We are too polarized an electorate for anyone with half a brain cell--Republican or Democrat--to think that even the merest whiff of scandal will not blow back.

Arrrgh. Anyway, you know what to do:
email: CountyExec@milwcnty.com 
Snail: 901 N. 9th Street
Courthouse, Room 306, Milwaukee, WI 53233-1458
Voice: 414-278-4211
Fax: 414-223-1375
Update: kos has a good list.

Sinclair/ "Stolen Honor" Update: Milwaukee

Milwaukee airtimes for "Stolen Honor" (see a couple of posts below or check the dKosopedia):
WVTV, Thu Oct 21 08:00pm CDT (WB-18)
WCGV, Fri Oct 22 08:00pm CDT (UPN-24)

And I do have some advertiser information now for those of you ready to do some calling and pressure-exerting.

As noted by WI Deadhead on dKos, the following advertisers have bought space in a Sinclair mailer:
  • Stanek Windows: Local contact:
    2246 Bluemound Rd. Unit B
    Waukesha, WI 53186
    (262) 798-0500 (262) 798-0638 fax
    Corporate contact:
    4570 Willow Parkway
    Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio 44125
    (216) 341-7700 (216) 641-0895 fax
  • Kesslers Jewelers: Several Milwaukee Locations
  • Dr Wagner's Southridge Optical
    (414) 855-0469
    5300 S 76th St
    Greendale, WI 53129
  • Miller & Miller: Attorneys James & Felicia Miller
    (414) 277-7742
    633 W Wisconsin Ave
    Milwaukee, WI 53203
  • Planned Parenthood:  Wisconsin contacts:
    Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Milwaukee  414-271-8045
    Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Madison Phone 608-256-7549
  • New to You Kids Two area stores:
    West/Brookfield/Wauwatosa
    3835 N. 124th Street
    Brookfield, WI 53005
    262-783-4778
    South/Greenfield
    5020 South 74th Street
    Greenfield, WI 53220
    414-325-7512
  • JW Mortgage: 1 (800) 632 2410
  • Milwaukee Wave:  Here's their contact page; click names for email addresses.
  • Cell U All: Multiple locations--it's one of those mall kiosk stores, I think.
  • Pet World Warehouse Outlet:
  • Assured Mortgage: Contact Info
    Phone (262)796-0662 or 1-800-LOW-RATE
    E-mail edebelack@assuredmortgage.com
    Fax (262)901-0119
    Assured Mortgage
    2525 N124th Street Suite 100
    Brookfield, WI 53005
  • Elite Asphalt:
    Elite Asphalt Maintenance Inc
    (262) 251-3595
    W164N11526 Castle CT
    Germantown, WI 53022
  • Stu's Flooring: Two Locations
    4820 W. Loomis Rd
    Greenfield WI 53220
    Ph: (414) 744-9400
    Fax: (414) 744-9237
    548 W. Sunset Drive
    Waukesha WI. 53189
    Ph: (262) 524-1455

I used the TiVo for the opposite of its intended purpose and noted the advertisers during WB18's 9:00 news hour as well:
  • Verizon wireless broadband: Customer Service was the best I could find:
    (800) 922-0204 (or * 611 from your Verizon mobile phone
    Verizon Wireless
    Customer Service Department
    777 Big Timber Road
    Elgin, IL 60123-1488
  • Ford: Board of Directors:
    Board of Directors
    Ford Motor Company
    c/o Compliance Office
    P.O. Box 685
    Dearborn, MI 48126-0685
    Send E-Mail to Our Directors bodmail@ford.com
  • Empire Carpet:
    1 800 588 2300
  • Hamburger Helper/Betty Crocker: "If you would like to speak with a customer service representative regarding General Mills food products, or recipes, please call 1-800-446-1898 weekdays from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Central Time.  If you would like to send a fax, the fax number is 763-764-8330.
  • Thermospas: Contact ThermoSpas
    ThermoSpas, Inc.
    155 East Street
    Wallingford, CT 06492
    (800) 876-0158
  • Totino's pizza rolls/ Pillsbury/ General Mills:  If you prefer to contact us by telephone, please call us at 1-800-775-4777  between (7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. CT, weekdays) . If you prefer to send us a fax, send your fax to 1-763-764-8330 . You could also write us a letter, our mailing address is:
    General Mills, Inc.
    P.O. Box 9452
    Minneapolis, MN 55440
  • Arby's: Complaint form only
  • Overhead Door of Greater Milwaukee, a Division of J.F. Cook Co., Inc: Contact
    7830 South 10th Street
    Oak Creek, WI 53154
    414-762-4000
    FAX 414-762-548
    Jule J. Belott Vice President
    Commercial Door Service Manager
    jbelott@jfcookco.com
    414-762-4000
    Thomas J. Druml, P.E. Vice President
    Commercial Window Sales Manager
    414-762-4000
    tdruml@jfcookco.com
    Cheryl F. Honeck President
    choneck@jfcookco.com
    414-762-4000
  • America's Second Harvest of Wisconsin:
    1700 W. Fond Du Lac Avenue
    Milwaukee, WI 53205
    Phone: 414-931-7400
    Fax: 414-931-1996
    Executive Director: Bonnie Bellehumeur
    Web Site: www.secondharvestwi.org
    Media Contact: Gina Styer, Communications Manager
    Phone: 414-831-6334
    Email: gstyer@secondharvestwi.org
  • Progressive Insurance: Corporate
    1-440-461-5000
    Corporate Headquarters
    The Progressive Corporation
    6300 Wilson Mills Road
    Mayfield Village, Ohio 44143
    Investor Relations
    The Progressive Corporation
    Investor Relations
    6300 Wilson Mills Road
    Box W33
    Mayfield Village, Ohio 44143
  • Law offices of Gary S. Greenberg: Contact
    735 W. Wisconsin Ave, Suite 735
    Milwaukee, WI 53233
    1 800 734 4349
    inquiry@greenberglawoffices.com
  • Yoplait: Contact
    1-(800)-967-5248 (7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. CST, weekdays) Or write:
    General Mills, Inc.
    P.O. Box 1113
    Minneapolis, MN 55440
  • Taco City: Multiple Locations
  • Sleep Number Beds: Contact
    Select Comfort Corporation
    6105 Trenton Lane North
    Minneapolis, MN 55442
    Phone: 763-551-7000  Fax: 763-551-7826
  • Cousins Subs: Contact
    General Info: info@cousinssubs.com
    Cousins Submarines, Inc.
    N83 W13400 Leon Rd.
    Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
    Phone: (262) 253-7700
    Toll-Free: (800) 238-9736
    Fax: (262) 253-7710
  • GO Wireless: Multiple Locations
  • Menard's Menard Inc: General Ofc
    (715) 876-5911
    4777 Menard Dr
    Eau Claire, WI 54703
  • Milwaukee Bucks: Start with Bucks' President, Democratic Senator Herb Kohl:
    Milwaukee Office
    310 West Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 950
    Milwaukee, WI 53203
    Phone: (414) 297-4451 or
    1-800-247-5645 (toll free in Wisconsin)
    Fax: (414) 297-4455
    Also try these folks:
    Director of Community Relations  Skip Robinson
    Community Relations Assistant Jessie Vavera
    Director of Team Services Clark Hillery
    General Manager Larry Harris
    Vice President, Business Operations John Steinmiller
    Vice President, Alternate Governor Ron Walter
    Chief Financial Officer Mike Burr
  • Covenant Health Care: Contact
    Covenant Healthcare
    400 W. River Woods Parkway
    Milwaukee, WI 53214
    Phone : 414-465-3000
    Email :Webmaster@covhealth.org
    The primary Covenant Healthcare media contact on system-wide issues, Covenant Medical Group, Outpatient Services, and all of our hospitals, nursing homes and clinics:
    Anne Ballentine (414) 465-3605 office
    (414) 331-5345 cell phone
  • Time Warner Cable: Here's the people:
    Chairman and CEO Glenn A. Britt
    Vice Chairman and COO John K. Billock
    President Thomas G. Baxter
    Executive Vice President/Chief Financial Officer Landel C. Hobbs--Responsible for all financial functions and Information Technology.
    Executive Vice President/General Counsel and Secretary Marc J. Apfelbaum--In charge of all legal affairs.
    James D. Fellhauer--Executive Vice President--Responsible for cable operations serving 1.9 million customers in California, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska and in systems which are un-clustered around a single DMA that make up the company's National division (including Shreveport).
    Here's how to contact:
    Have a question? Search our knowledgebase of FAQs or Ask Us A Question .
    You can call us with any questions at our 24 hour support centers:
    To reach Customer Service, Call ...
    Local Customer Service:       (414) 277-4000
    Toll Free Customer Service:  (800) 627-2288
    Kenosha, Racine & Walworth Counties: (800) 933-4662
  • Honda
  • American home electronics: Corporate Offices
    2404 West Beltline Highway
    Madison, WI  53713
    Sales/Customer Support
    (608) 271-1000
    (608) 275-7339 (fax)

Finally, there's an online petition, signed already by about 40,000 of us.  That site also links to a database of national sponsors.


Get busy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Cheese in your Pocket
or, brother can you spare a cheddar?

Today the first Wisconsin State sommemorative quarter was struck at the U.S. Mint in Denver. As you can see, it features a cow's head (but not in The Godfather sense), an ear of corn, and a round of cheese. Plus, it's got our state motto, "Forward." Yes, that is our state motto. Please don't make fun.

I was personally of the opinion that the quarter should have featured a badger, which is not only our state animal but one of my favorite comic books when I was a young'n. And I didn't even live in Wisconsin then!

Monday, October 11, 2004

"Terra" in my neighborhood

Well, not exactly in my neighborhood, but pretty close. And probably not terror, but maybe civil disobedience in very poor taste. It centers around some bolts:
A $10,000 reward has been offered for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for toppling two electrical transmission towers that knocked out power to Mitchell International Airport and 17,000 area residents over the weekend.

Investigators said someone with an ordinary wrench could have removed the 2-inch long bolts that led to the collapse, but still weren't sure exactly what caused the loosened tower to fall.
Our power flickered Saturday, but it didn't go out, so I guess we were lucky.

I'm willing to bet that the wrench-wielders were not intending to knock out power to the airport, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone was trying to make a statement. The transmission towers that were toppled were owned by American Transmission Company, based nearby in West Allis. ATC is the compant planning the Arrowhead-Weston transmission line project from Duluth, MN, to Wausau, WI, cutting through thousands of acres of pristine forest. And a number of groups just don't like the idea of that.

These include Wisconsin Stewardhip Network, Save Our Unique Lands (SOUL), and Clean Wisconsin (more here). What's wrong with power lines?, you may ask. Well, Clean Wisconsin notes,
The Wisconsin Public Service Corporation of Green Bay and Minnesota Power of Duluth are planning to run a 150 foot transmission line 250 miles from Duluth, Minnesota to Wausau, Wisconsin. In addition to cutting into Wisconsin's already diminishing farmland and wildlife habitat, the likely sources of power supplying the line are also of great concern.

One likely source of power is older, dirtier coal-fired power plants from Minnesota and the Dakotas. Increasing reliance on these upwind power plants will increase air pollution that causes breathing problems like asthma attacks and premature deaths. Coal power plants are responsible for 9340 asthma attacks and 448 premature deaths in Wisconsin every year. Coal plants are also the biggest source of mercury emissions in Wisconsin. According to the National Academy of Sciences, some 60,000 U.S. children are born every year whose health and school performance may be damaged by mercury poisoning.

Another likely source of energy for the transmission line is cheap Canadian hydro power. Many utilities claim that hydroelectric power is cleaner than coal plants and safer than nuclear plants. However, the experience in Cross Lake, Manitoba, home to the Jenpeg dam, is that dams destroy fisheries and hunting grounds. Dams have contaminated the remaining fish and wildlife with toxic mercury caused by flood erosion. Together these factors have destroyed the indigenous way of life in Cross Lake, Manitoba.
Tom Kreager, one of the founders of SOUL, goes further:
If it were built, the Arrowhead Weston transmission line would be the largest transmission project in the United States. The line is slated to run from Duluth to Wausau. Its real purpose is to allow the movement of electricity from the Dakotas and Canada to Chicago and beyond as part of the deregulated Enron-inspired plan visualized by the state’s utility companies. Our land would be used to house a transmission line that would mean big utility company profits from the sale of bulk electricity.

The utilities also planned to use eminent domain for fiber optics that would be leased to third parties. This would all mean big profits for some private companies, but would cost some landowners 10-50 percent in property depreciation. [. . . T]he project that the utility companies considered a “sure bet” in May 1999, and expected to be operational by 2002, is treading on thin ice. Its projected costs have soared from $165 million to more than $400 million.
That $400 million comes out of Wisconsinites' pockets through higher utility fees, so even those of us whose land isn't being Iminent-Domained are not exactly pleased. Most of us wouldn't bother taking a wrench to a transmission tower, though. But I'm betting somebody did.

Now, this is a connection that the local media haven't made yet, that I'm aware of, so if this turns out to be the case, I get props, 'kay?

Oh, and how long do you think until Ashcroft starts issuing subpenas to make Ace Hardware hand over their receipts for wrenches?

Vote, Dammit!

Here's a reminder of the struggles people, er, suffered to gain the right to vote, curtesy of Ani DiFranco. (Located via Ms. Frizzle.)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Milwaukeeans! Protest Sinclair!

The Sinclair Broadcast Group, which created controversy for itself some months back when it wouldn't let its ABC affiliates air the "Nightline" that had Ted Koppel reading the names of US Iraq War dead, is at it again. According to the LA Times,
The conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose television outlets reach nearly a quarter of the nation's homes with TV, is ordering its stations to preempt regular programming just days before the Nov. 2 election to air a film that attacks Sen. John F. Kerry's activism against the Vietnam War, network and station executives familiar with the plan said Friday.

Sinclair's programming plan, communicated to executives in recent days and coming in the thick of a close and intense presidential race, is highly unusual even in a political season that has been marked by media controversies.

Sinclair has told its stations--many of them in political swing states such as Ohio and Florida--to air "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," sources said. The film, funded by Pennsylvania veterans and produced by a veteran and former Washington Times reporter, features former POWs accusing Kerry--a decorated Navy veteran turned war protester--of worsening their ordeal by prolonging the war. Sinclair will preempt regular prime-time programming from the networks to show the film, which may be classified as news programming, according to TV executives familiar with the plan.
Sinclair owns both WB18 and UPN24 here in Milwaukee. You should write or call them to express your displeasure that such blatant politicking will be done under the guise of "news" so close to the election. I have checked the TiVo guide and I haven't seen "Stolen Honor" appearing yet, but the guide is only showing me up to October 22, while the story indicates it may air as late as October 24. So better not take chances. If I see it on the schedule for certain, I will update this.

I wouldn't be surprised if the film airs under the guise of WB18's "NewsCentral," which is part of Sinclair's ultra-conservative "news" division. This is not just a problem here in Milwaukee:
TV Barn's Mark Jeffries calls Sinclair the "Clear Channel of local news," a reference to the San Antonio, Texas, media giant that has grown from 40 to more than 1,200 stations today thanks to the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which relaxed radio ownership rules. But the parallels extend beyond their growth strategies. Jeffries describes Sinclair as having a "fiercely right-wing approach that makes Fox News Channel look like a model of objectivity," while Clear Channel is best known for sponsoring pro-war "Rallies for America" during the Iraq conflict. And like Clear Channel's CEO Lowry Mays--a major Republican donor and onetime business associate of George W. Bush -- the Sinclair family, board, and executives ply the GOP with big money. Since 1997, they have donated well over $200,000 to Republican candidates.

Sinclair's news department also takes a page out of Clear Channel's book of non localized programming. According to Sinclair's website, NewsCentral is a "revolutionary news model" that introduces "local news in programming in markets that otherwise could not support news." Begun in 2002, it's being tested in five not so-small markets: Minneapolis, Flint (MI), Oklahoma City (OK), Raleigh (NC), and Rochester (NY). (Hyman's segment, "The Point," however, is aired on all 62 of its stations.) In these five cities, the hour-long newscast combines local broadcasting with prepackaged news. To maintain the appearance of local news, the Baltimore on-air staff is coached on the intricacies of correct local pronunciations. Or the weatherman, safely removed from the thunderstorms in, say, Minneapolis, will often engage in scripted banter with the local anchor to maintain the pretense: "Should I bring an umbrella tomorrow, Don?" "You bet, Hal, it looks pretty ugly out there..."

Journalists have been pondering the specter of centralized news operations for some time, both because it affects the quality of news and because it could put them out of a job. "We should all be conscious of the dangers that are present when you have one newsroom producing the news," says John Nichols, associate editor at The Capital Times in Madison and co-author with Robert McChesney of the books "Our Media, Not Theirs," and "It's the Media, Stupid." "That's a real possibility. It's a very dangerous future, but Sinclair is already living in the dangerous future." [. . .] While the debate rages over whether such journalists can consistently produce high quality news, the real fear is that only one voice will frame and tell a news story. It's a chilling thought when that lone perspective is shaped by a Sinclair or Fox worldview.

"Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed that, in order to sustain democracy, media needed to be cacophonous and diverse," Nichols says. "Today we don't have that. Our range of debate is getting incredibly narrow: The mainstream discourse runs from right-wing to far right-wing."
It angers and saddens me that the local home of syndicated "The Simpsons" has become what it has. Let's get the phones and letters working, though, eh guys?

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Winning the Peace: The Real Big Lie

Much is being made today about the exchange in last night's debate concerning Bush's insistence that he executed the war war exactly the way the generals advising him said to. Here's the relevant part of the transcript:
BUSH: I remember sitting in the White House looking at those generals, saying, "Do you have what you need in this war? Do you have what it takes?"

I remember going down to the basement of the White House the day we committed our troops as last resort, looking at Tommy Franks and the generals on the ground, asking them, "Do we have the right plan with the right troop level?"

And they looked me in the eye and said, "Yes, sir, Mr. President." Of course, I listen to our generals. [. . .]

KERRY: You rely on good military people to execute the military component of the strategy, but winning the peace is larger than just the military component.

Gen. Shinseki had the wisdom to say, "You're going to need several hundred thousand troops to win the peace." The military's job is to win the war. A president's job is to win the peace.
I feel that this is an appropriate time to reprint a few paragraphs from my last Iron Blog Battle:

--
There was an utter lack of post-war planning--and a complete ignorance of thoughtful recommendations--before combat began. General Eric Shinseki was fired for daring to suggest that we'd need "several thousand" troops to keep the peace in post-war Iraq. Army Secretary Thomas White got the boot for the same reason. We should probably have had more troops for the beginning--and even now--but the administration's insistence that it knew what it was doing with so few troops has made it hard for commanders to ask for what they need.

Most disturbing is Anthony Zinni's story:
Four years ago, those who devised an Iraq war game called "Desert Crossing" concluded that a large force would be needed to subdue the country. "We were concerned about the ability to get in there right away, to flood the towns and villages," says retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, who was commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and the surrounding region when he supervised "Desert Crossing." "We knew the initial problem would be security."

The 1999 exercise recommended a force of 400,000 troops to invade and stabilize Iraq. But at the insistence of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, ground forces in the March invasion were held to less than half that: about 130,000 U.S. combat troops and some 30,000 British troops.
--
The Washington Post which notes in s story tomorrow that, "In that 2002 White House meeting, Gen. Tommy R. Franks, whom Bush mentioned, said there were enough troops, but Shinseki told the president there were not. Other senior members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that they were concerned about troop levels."

That's right: For at least three years before the war, the people who know these things all said that securing the peace would require far more troops than Bush was politically willing to commit. And all the talk everyone--including Kerry--does about about Shinseki misses the point. It wasn't just him, it was commander after commander after commander, all of them willfully ignored by those who were convinced that we'd waltz into Iraq and be greeted with flowers.

That is a huge mistake.  It has cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars and the respect of the world.

That's the real Big Lie from last night. Period.

Friday, October 08, 2004

I was doing live DebateBlogging

Over at Open Source Politics.

By popular demand

I guess I'm not allowed to quit. Anyway . . .

Here's an education-related story for you. It's an axiom now that every time the Bush re-election effort starts losing steam, there's a terror alert soon to follow. This week, after Bush's dismal debate performance, Cheney's lies at his own debate, and the prospect of a dismal jobs report (which turns out to be true--listen to MaxSpeak), the terror alert was right on schedule. The target this time? The children.

Won't somebody please think of the children!

The alert was based on the school siege in Beslan a couple months back; terrorists, they say, could be planning the same thing here. And, though they say today's news is "not related" to that alert (an alert, again, "not based on specific intelligence"), the release of this new information just adds fuel to a fire.

Turns out that our guys in Iraq--that country which has not attacked us and which we know was growing less likely to attack us--found a CD-ROM "containing photographs, layouts and other material pertaining to American schools in six states." "Oh no," you might think, "the terrorists will infiltrate our schools and, Masterminds-style, commit horrendous acts of barbarity!"

Except for one thing: "A Department of Homeland Security official said the intelligence community determined there was no threat." So why the alert? Why the panic? Why the ruckus, if you will?

Security Moms, obviously. Bush needs to win women if he expects to have a chance of winning. More women vote than men, and they tend to vote Dem. In fact, data show that the again-safe lead Kerry has in New Jersey may be solely due to women.

Now, Security Moms may not actually exist:
"[I]f any security moms do exist, they seem to be picking Kerry over Bush. Nearly every poll shows that women are more likely than men to think that Kerry will do a better job of handling Iraq, the war on terror and foreign relations than will Bush. If anything, polls show that the gender gap is larger on security issues than domestic ones, suggesting that Kerry actually does better among women on these issues than does Bush.
Bush has to believe that these Securty Moms do exist, though; he even has Margaret Carlson and Frank Luntz pimping the idea for him. If they don't exist, they can't vote for him and he loses. But maybe, just maybe, if he can convince the moms of this country in the next few days that those scary dark-skinned people have blueprints to your child's school, he can pull out the squeaker.

Oh, but here's the funny part. This CD they've found with school plans? Belongs to a guy planning schools: "[I]t could not be established that this person had any ties to terrorism. He did have a connection to civic groups doing planning for schools in Iraq."

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Where I Been At?

This isn't fun for me anymore. I'm sorry. Maybe it's burnout. Maybe it's work. Maybe it's the northern lights. I don't know. At any rate, I'm thinking of just shuttering this place until post-election.

Any objections?

Thursday, September 30, 2004

The winning line

"I've had one position, one consistent position, that Saddam Hussein was a threat. There was a right way to disarm him and a wrong way. And the president chose the wrong way."

(I still think the vote was wrong, though. I stand by what I said way back when: You cannot give a lighter to an arsonist and expect him not to start a fire!)

But props to Big John for the good soundbite.

How to lie with headlines

When your headline says
Poll finds support for Bush handling of war

But your story says
Of 508 state residents polled Sept. 15-21, 43% said Bush was doing an excellent or good job dealing with Iraq, while 56% said his work was fair or poor. In June, 39% said Bush was doing an excellent or good job; 60% chose fair or poor. Since last October, those figures have not changed much.

I am being prodded by some correspondents to do more of a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-watch kind of thing because too often the news and editorial bias is just this bad. I'm just going to throw this out to all of my Milwaukee (or Wisconsin) readers and fellow bloggers: Would any of you be interested in helping out with a group-style MJS-watch blog?

Monday, September 27, 2004

How Ballsy is That?

With the TiVo, I barely get to see any commercials anymore. So I haven't seen any of the season's campaign ads. To an extent, I'm pleased. However, tonight, I happened to note that John Kerry is running ads during "Seventh Heaven." (Please allow me the one guilty pleasure.)

I have to wonder how, exactly, John Kerry expects to win by trying for the pre-teen Christian girl set, though. I suppose he has his reasons.

Oh, and go sing "Happy Birthday" to Stacie.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Just Something Else to Keep Me Busy

Hey, all. It's me again, your friendly neighborhood Iron Blogger Democrat. After a few weeks of relative inaction, the Iron Blog is back in business, and I'm taking on an old rival in Battle: Victory Iraq?

It's actually very appropriate given the news of this week. I've condensed my opponent's Opening Statement into one sentence, just so you can get a feel for what the Battle is like so far:

I want to [. . .] be held against [. . .] Saddam Hussein [. . .], thus paving the way for [. . .] a cheering crowd to[. . .] dollop [. . .] the lips of critics [with . . .] protest slogans [. . .] and [. . .] crystal meth.

But seriously, we're halfway through. Here are the links, in order, or just click through and scroll down a while, then read up.

Call to Battle
His Opening Statement
My Opening Statement
His First Rebuttal
My First Rebuttal

The next couple of days see one more round of rebuttals and a round of closing statements. Check it out; I'm a little biased, but I think I may be winning.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I have my iBook back

But not the stuff that used to be on it.

Yes, folks, that's right. My iBook went in for a screen issue, caused by a faulty logic board, which they fixed just fine. But, after they replaced the logic board, they decided, just for kicks, I guess, to wipe my hard drive and re-install the system software.

I still love Apple and Macs; in fact, even after this most recent episode, I can still say that I have never, ever had any loss of data due to mechanical failure in fifteen years of Mac use. It's just the idiots at the Apple repair Depot who wiped my drive who are pissing me off.

So, anyway, I have also lost all my email. If you have ever had cause to email before about anything, or think I should just have your email address handy in case I need it, email me so I can have your address again.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The war keeps getting closer

A graduate of the high school where I teach was killed in Fallujah this week. I was here when he was here--he graduated in 2001--but I did not know him. Word is, though, that he was a Good Kid, and we don't have enough of those to spare here in Milwaukee. Now we have one less.

Thank Damn you, President Bush, for this war.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I need a third

I had a nice long post of election analysis going and the browser here on my back-up computer crashed. "Quit unexpectedly," as they say. In fact, I was most of the way through a draft of this very entry and it happened again. The Apple folks tell me my laptop is on its way home; it won't be too soon! And I will try to get that piece reconstructed sometime tomorrow.

Anyway, with Tim Carpenter's loss yesterday, I need a third for the folkbum 3. (I won't add Gwen Moore, not because I don't like her, but because against Gerald Boyle she'll probably hit 70% even without your hard-earned money.)

I wish ActBlue would let me add state races, as Dave Cullen and Jennifer Morales need your help. (Neither has a website I can find yet.) But, since we're only talking federal, who do you suggest? I'd like it to be midwestern, if not in Wisconsin (and I don't think any other federal Wisconsin races will be close enough to bother). I'm toying with Cegalis (sp?) and Bean in Illinois, for example, or Fingerhut in Ohio (at least in part for sentimental reasons). This site is not and never will be a democracy, but I'd appreciate your input!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Me vs. Reality

Results here.

20th Senate District
Me: "Mary Panzer is going to walk away with it. I predict she gets at least 60% of the vote, if not more."
Reality: Grothman 79%, Panzer 21% (with 93% reporting)
WRONG!
(No word yet on Elysse.)

5th Congressional District
Me: "I'm predicting Kennedy by at least 10% over challenger Gary Kohlenberg."
Reality: Kennedy 72%, Kohlenberg 28%
CORRECT!

4th Congressional District, Democrat
Me: "I will predict no more than a mere 12 or 15-point spread between the three, but I can't say who'll come out on top."
Reality: Moore 65%, Flynn 25%, Carpenter 10%
WRONG!

4th Congressional District, Republican
Me: "Corey Hoze will beat Gerald Boyle easy in the Republican primary."
Reality: Boyle 53%, Hoze 47%
WRONG!

Republican Senate Primary
Me: " My prediction: Michels 35%, Darrow 33%, Welch 24%, and Lorge 8%."
Reality: Michels 43% Darrow 30% Welch 23% Lorge 4%
CORRECT!

Two for five isn't great, but I beat Owen on the Senate prediction, and that makes my day.