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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Thursday, November 29, 2007

We can Coexist, you know

by folkbum

Casper and Aaron are right. This is kind of fun.



(But Charlie Sykes is still a hypocrite, though.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

He Saw The Writing On The Wall

by capper

JSOnline is reporting that Sheriff David Clarke is not going to run against Mayor Tom Barrett. Their political blog has this quote from Clarke (emphasis mine):

I want to be smart about this and not make a decision based on emotion, but one based on reality. I weighed a number of things ... There's been no outcry from residents for change. It's hard to beat an incumbent unless there is a huge outcry for change. I was hoping some legitimate candidate would step up.
Gee, could the reality be that he lost the only plank in his platform, being tough on crime, when Barrett got the Fire and Police Commission to hire Edward Flynn? After that, even his best mouth piece, Charlie Sykes stopped mentioning Clarke.

It could also be that he is a pathetic flop as Sheriff. Clarke has managed to reinstate the park patrols after he eliminated them, misused public funds for grandstanding (GRIP), alienated the rank and file, and earned at least a half a dozen federal lawsuits filed against him. Not to mention that he is losing these lawsuits faster than the Miami Dolphins are losing football games.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Ken Mobile has more on Clarke's less-than-stellar record. For those of you that have some extra time, Pundit Nation has enough material to write a book on Clarke's absenteeism, lack of leadership, and overall whininess.

But for all his faults, at least Clarke knew how to read the writing on the wall and realized he didn't stand a chance in a race against Barrett.

Picture Perfect Prediction

by capper

Since Jay appears to be a little confused, probably stemming from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (get it? post? trauma?), I thought I'd help out by giving my prediction for Thursday night's game, in a way that even the most devout Dallas Convict Cowboy fan can understand.

Green Bay



Dallas

What's this about a football game?

by folkbum

I follow the news pretty closely, you know, I have been hearing rumors for some days now about some sort of Important Sporting Contest that, I think, is taking place tomorrow. It is, I believe, football, and the way people are talking about it, it must be something like Brazil vs. Portugal--real powerhouse teams battling it out on the pitch.

For my part, I think the smart money would be on Brazil. But it will be a low scoring game, perhaps 1-0.

I may be wrong of course. Portugal could pull it out.

What?

How Did Canada Get Single Payer Health Care?

By Keith Schmitz

Here's your opportunity to find out.

James Clancy, president of Canada's National Union of Public and General Employees with be speaking tonight, November 28th, at North Shore Presbyterian Church in Shorewood (click here for map).

Focus of his talk will be how their health care system came about, with implications on how Wisconsin could lead the way.

As you know by now, Canada is able to deliver better health care to a greater percentage of their people at a lower cost than the way we do this in the US. Plus, Canadians don't go broke paying for health care at this time of great stress.

Pundits tell us it is politically impossible to make the change, but no doubt Canadian reformers heard the same thing when they started to fix their system.

The event starts at 7:00 pm. doors open at 6:30, and enter NSPC through the northeast door.

Click here for more info.

Hey, fellow Mac and Blogger Users

by folkbum

Is Blogger.com crashing your Safari, too?

For the past couple of days, Blogger's been crashing Safari. I ran a software update last week, but I successfully posted from Blogger in Safari a couple of times after that update. It seems to be just since Sunday that Blogger's been causing the crash.

Relevant info:
Mac OSX 10.4.11
Safari Version 3.0.4 (523.12)

Any ideas?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Who's Running This Joint?

by capper

Last week, I wrote about a couple of stories that appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which dealt with the House of Correction and the Community Correctional Center. This morning we see a third story. Predictably, the powers that be chose to eliminate the late night hours that were traditionally allowed to inmates at HOC and CCC. This was a move long overdue.

But the odd thing in this story is the way the management is handling the issue. It's like watching an old Three Stooges or Abbott and Costello routine. First, we have the official position from last week:
Assistant Superintendent Willie Brisco said last week that the late hours worked as a good management tool for corrections officers, who could revoke the privilege for rule violations.

Apparently someone was not happy with Brisco's statements. He's not talking, but not we have acting Assistant Superintendent Jeffrey Mayer:

Canceling the late inmate hours will help avoid the possibility of fights breaking out, said Jeffrey Mayer, acting assistant superintendent. And if that happened, staffing could be compromised, he said.

And let us not forget Superintendent Ron Malone, who, as previously reported didn't even know what the policy at HOC was. He chimes in with:

On Monday, Malone said the change was made in part because of the article but also had been under consideration and would likely have been made by January in any case.

He decided to put the change into effect immediately, even though advance notice of work changes normally are given, Malone said.

"After the publicity of it, I just said, 'Let's do it,' " Malone said. "It had come up before. It was something we were already looking at," he said.:

Well, this is news to a lot of people. From today's article
The practice was subject of a grievance in summer by correctional officers, who complained the late-night socializing by inmates jeopardized officers' safety. But officials rejected the complaint.

and

Kevin Schoofs, president of the correctional officers union, said Monday that the change was welcome but overdue. He said he had not been given any inkling that Malone was considering doing away with the late-night hours for inmates. In fact, Malone told him he was adamantly opposed to changing the policy during a recent meeting with the union, Schoofs said.

Something tells me some heads are going to roll. We already know that Walker doesn't like to look bad, and will take any scapegoat he can get. Ironically, during all this, Walker did not have anything to say. He had a spokesperson say he agrees with the plan, but otherwise is suspiciously quiet. (And no, I don't expect Walker to micromanage every department in the County, but after a series of articles, I would expect some sort of statement.)

I guess he is to busy trying to figure out how to spin the fact that he is about to break his promise not to run for another term as County Executive, by announcing his campaign kick-off, maybe as soon as this week.

Romney, Quotas, Atheists

by folkbum

Via Kevin Drum, I see that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may well believe in quotas:
I asked Mr. Romney whether he would consider including qualified Americans of the Islamic faith in his cabinet as advisers on national security matters, given his position that "jihadism" is the principal foreign policy threat facing America today. He answered, "…based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration."
Kevin Drum adds,
What's really telling about this is that you can almost see the gears turning in his brain when he came up with this answer. Obviously he had to say "no," because he knows that the Republican base would go nuts over the idea of a Muslim in his cabinet. But he can't just say that, can he? So his Bain-trained analytic mind went searching for a plausible excuse and the first thing that popped out of the wetware was a numerical explanation: (a) minorities deserve cabinet positions in proportion to their population, (b) one cabinet position is 5% of all cabinet positions, (c) therefore only groups with at least 15 million members are "justified" in getting one, (d) Muslims aren't even close to that, so (e) no dice. However, since they do make up about 2% of the population, they certainly qualify for 2% of all the lower level positions.
This naturally led me to wonder about Romney myself. There are between 20 million and 30 million people who identify as atheist, agnostic, or otherwise unaffiliated with any faith in this country, depending on whose estimates you believe. That means Mitt Romney, with his apparent religious quota system, ought to appoint one or two cabinet officials who claim no faith.

Do you think that would ever happen? Of course not--Romney is probably less likely to put an atheist in the cabinet than he is to appoint a Muslim. And that's not just because Romney is who he is--the same is likely true for pretty much all the Republicans, and, for that matter, most of the Democrats. Remember, atheist was at the very, very bottom of a presidential preference poll--people would be more likely to vote for a 72-year-old black gay Jewish woman than they would an atheist. (Note: That Gallup survey seems to have not included Muslims. Why is that?)

Which brings me back around the inevitable question raised every time this subject comes up. What is it with people of no or indeterminate faith that kills our chances with the American people? I could never win an election not because I'm a fat, bald liberal, but because I won't end every speech with "God bless America" or take my oath of office on a Bible.

So how about it, readers: Would it take a quota system for you to put an atheist in your cabinet? And be honest: Would you vote atheist over Christian (Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc.)? And please explain your answers. Complete sentences preferred.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ohio

by folkbum

Some random observations after a weekend with my family in, as you might have presumed from the title of this post, Ohio.
  • For all the whinging in the TaxHellOsphere about Wisconsin's gas taxes, I paid $2.94 a gallon in Ohio, for the cheap stuff. (I paid $2.99 in Milwaukee before I left, and both $2.99 and $2.95 in Indiana.)

  • My Father: "Do you think people will vote for Hillary thinking Bill will really be in charge?"
    Me: "Well, didn't people vote against Bill thinking Hillary would really be in charge?"

  • Not only is my parents' house just minutes away from the world's largest half-Jesus (someone who lacked the proper reverence made a YouTube), but on this trip we were encouraged to visit the most popular tourist attraction in nearby Butler County.

    Said attraction turns out to be a grocery store, Jungle Jim's International Market. Jungle Jim's proudly advertises that it has the best restrooms in America, as judged by bestrestrooms.com. As a frequent user of public restrooms (I have the world's smallest bladder--they've done studies!), I have to say I've seen better.

    I was, however, impressed by the monorail. Yes, the monorail.
Regular(ish) blogging should resume this week(ish).

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Will Health Care Matter In 2008?

by capper

Anyone who dabbles in politics has heard of John Zogby and his firm, Zogby International. Some people like his work, some don't. Either way, it is hard to deny that his polls can and do have some influence on elections and political matters across the country.

One would also have to presume that he has a sense of what way the country trends in regards to political opinions and social issues. That is why I found myself reading an article he wrote, which appeared in the Waupaca County Post. His article starts out with a very brief study of the situation the country was in when Franklin Delano Roosevelt won his first election as the President. He also compares this to when Ronald Reagan first became President. His point was that the people felt that the country "had gone haywire" and needed a change.

Zogby then goes on about the situation the country finds itself in today and what it might import (emphasis mine):

When Americans identify the issues they consider most important, they talk about Iraq, but that may be less of an issue next year than the combination of the economy and health care. Health care is the number one economic issue in the country today and health insurance is what separates many Americans between middle-class status and near poverty. In the past, Americans have not voted with a sense of urgency about health care. In 2008, with one in three voters who presently have employer-based insurance afraid of losing some or all of it, they will vote for universal health coverage.

There are other issues. Immigration is very intense. So is science -- in the form of global warming and stem cell research. But overriding all of these issues will be the question of whether government can restore confidence. Can it get people to believe that it’s up to the task of insuring safety and security and meeting human needs?

This flies in the face of what many conservative pundits and bloggers would have you believe. The current health care system is not working, no matter how much they would have us believe otherwise. If nothing is done, and status quo is maintained, there will be an economic impact greater than anything felt recently. And there is the obvious personal impact. What extremes will people be willing to go to, if it means the life and health of themselves and/or their loved ones?

It would seem so obvious that the writing is on the wall, but instead of accepting the inevitable and trying to influence to be result to have the greatest impact for all, the conservatives continue to shut their eyes, put their fingers in their ears and scream, "This isn't happening." As if this would make the problem go away. That plan stopped working in 2006. It sure isn't going to work any better in 2008.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I haven't bought anything yet today

by folkbum

Sleeping in helped. Who gets up at 4 AM? I mean, to do anything besides blog? Happy day after Thanksgiving. Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gift Suggestion

by capper

For those of you who, like me, hate the crowds of shoppers that will be out tomorrow, there is an online suggestion.

For the computer geek in your life, whether they use PC or Apple, there is the automated monitor cleaner.

The best part is that it's free. Free is good.

What's The Story Of These Two Stories? Part II

by capper

As I pointed out in my previous post, there are two stories in this morning's paper that piqued my interest. In the other post, I spoke of some seeming inconsistencies in the articles. Now, I would like to point out the ramifications of the articles.

I have already commented on then three, now four, correctional officers that have been targeted by Scott Walker as scapegoats for an escaped inmate who killed someone. The officers that have been charged have defended themselves by stating that there was no incompetence or lack of discipline, but they were following established protocol and are working under severe conditions due to the extreme understaffing at HOC and CCC. It should also be noted that the union has also raised concerns about the conditions at CCC, but these concerns were always ignored. Walker dismissed these reasons and the officers are suspended without pay until they go before a panel of Walker appointees, who will most likely fire them arbitrarily.

As a disclaimer, I would point out that I personally knew and worked with three of the four officers that have been suspended so far. I believe them to be honest and dedicated officers.

Now for the two articles from today's paper.

One deals with another inmate that escaped from CCC and was arrested by a sheriff's deputy. Milwaukee County Sheriff Clarke criticized CCC and HOC for allowing this inmate to have work release privileges in the first place, given his felony record. For the record, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with Clarke.

It would make sense that the officers that are remaining at HOC and CCC are going to be busting their butts to toe the line while they know that the public and Walker is going to be scrutinizing them more closely for a while. This is just human nature. (Oh, I know, some on the right will automatically figure it's just another case of inept county workers, but those same people tend to not to want to show a lot of thought before opening their mouths anyway.) What this would indicate is that there is something systematically wrong with the program to have these many escapes.

The second article discusses the fact that inmates are allowed to stay up until 3:30 a.m. on holidays and weekends. It was this way when I worked there years ago, and that is when many fights would happen. I thought it was the norm across the state, until I read the article. The article points out that the state norm is much earlier, at either 10 or 11 p.m.

The article also points out that the union tried to fight this late night policy and it was rebuffed:


(President of the correctional officers union Kevin) Schoofs filed a grievance last summer over the practice, saying House of Correction and work-release inmates should have mandatory bedtimes of no later than 10 p.m. The complaint was dismissed by the department managers, who called the late weekend and holiday hours a useful motivational tool.

The same as with the situation at CCC. But there's more:


Assistant Superintendent Willie Brisco said the late weekend hours practice goes back many years and probably has its roots in the days of the old county workhouse.
County officials apparently feel that workers are not supposed to follow established practice, but they can use it for their own defense. This makes them almost hypocritical enough for Jay's Thanksgiving Parade.

And as far as the leadership of these facilities, well, here is what the articles say about Superintendent Ron Malone, in the article about the escaped convict:


Ron Malone, superintendent of the work-release center, couldn’t be reached.

and in the late nights article:


Ron Malone, superintendent of the House of Correction and the work-release center at 1004 N. 10th St., declined to comment, saying he wasn't familiar with inmate hours.
So the superintendent is either missing in action or doesn't know what is going on in his own facilities? And yet they blame the workers, who are trying to do the best that they can, with what they have to work with, which isn't much.

I would hope that Scott Walker, who has been silent during these new events, will now stop doing the politically convenient, but dishonest thing. After all, even the internal investigator couldn't state that she comprehensively investigated the matter due to the arbitrary deadline put forth by Walker. I would hope that he recognizes the systematic flaws created by poor administration and understaffing, and address those issues in a responsible manner, and reinstate the fired officers that he has scapegoated, with back pay and an apology.

But I won't hold my breath for him to do it.

What's The Story Of These Two Stories? Part I

by capper

In today's MSJ, there are two articles, both written by Steve Schultze, and both dealing with the Milwaukee County House of Correction (HOC) and the Community Correctional Center (CCC) where they house the work release inmates. Both are in the main news section. One article is titled " Lights out for inmates is 3:30". This one was located on the front page and continued on the inside, on page 18. The second article is also on page 18. This article is titled "Clarke rips release plan after arrest".

Both articles caught my eye, due to the fact that I used to work there. I have also been following the story of the four corrections officers who were targeted by Scott Walker for termination. As I read both articles, I found that there were two areas of interest. One was the implications of the story, which I will cover in my next post. The other area was some of the inconsistencies in the two stories.

The main story was about how inmates at HOC and CCC are allowed to stay up until 3:30 a.m. on weekends and holidays, which apparently is unique to the state. All other correctional facilities have lights out at 10 p.m. The part I want to point out is when Mr. Schultze speaks to he superintendent of the HOC and CCC, Ron Malone:

Ron Malone, superintendent of the House of Correction and the work-release center at 1004 N. 10th St., declined to comment, saying he wasn't familiar with inmate hours.

While in the second article, which is about another escaped inmate from CCC, we see this:

Ron Malone, superintendent of the work-release center, couldn't be reached.

Did he speak to Malone, or didn't he? Or did he speak to Malone on one occasion and tried to make contact again? If this is the case, why wasn't that point clarified?

Also in the body of the second article, we have another seeming contradiction. First, Mr. Schultze writes:

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. criticized the county’s work-release program after deputies arrested a man Tuesday night who had left the downtown Community Correctional Center without authorization. Clarke said 41-year-old Kenneth D. Glenn should have been excluded from the work-release program based on his history of six felony convictions.

Note the verbs criticized and said. As Jay would teach us, those are action verbs, which would indicated that Clarke was present during these actions, or at least in direct contact with the reporter. But the last sentence of the same article reads:

Clarke was not available for comment Wednesday, said spokeswoman Kim Brooks.

Now, I realize Clarke probably did the original criticism through a press release. But I can't but think that it would make the article seem less self-contradictory if this was mentioned. But since it wasn't, and being right next to the first article, it would make it seem like sloppy journalism, or sloppy editing.

By no means should this critique be construed as maligning Mr. Schultze's personal or journalistic integrity, but I must point out that the inconsistencies between the two stories and in the same story, makes it more suspect to skepticism. I recognize that there may be some logical rationale on why these articles appear this way, but without knowing that rationale, one can only wonder, and be wary.

Another odd part to this whole thing is that when I went to write this post, I had to dig around in the archives to find the second story, even though it was just published today.

The Conservative Thanksgiving Day Hypocrisy Parade™

by folkbum

Yes, it's that time of year when we blow conservative talking (or typing) heads full of helium and march them through the streets so the kids can point and laugh. My only regret is that I lack, say, Al Roker to provide his inimitable off-beat commentary as we watch the gasbags roll by. So instead, I will sometimes rely on members of the Cheddarsphere to offer their comments. Anyway, let's start the Hypocrisy Parade™!

First up is my BFF, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Patrick McIlheran. Nick describes the balloon as it wafts past our cameras:
Wow... this takes a lot of [helium] for Patrick McIlheran to say:
Milwaukee School Board member Jennifer Morales wants the schools, for benefits purposes, to treat people who are shacking up as if they were married -- "domestic partner" benefits, it's called.

It's supposed to be the epitome of progress. Morales says it's a matter of fairness: "Fairness for employees is fairness for employees," she told the Journal Sentinel. "It's not about me, it's not about Tina."

Tina would be the woman to whom Morales says she's married. If the schools approve this deal, Morales and Tina Owen, who works at an MPS charter school, would be considered spouses for benefits purposes.
That would be the same guy who wrote pretty passionately to pass the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Wisconsin, and then wrote about how such a ban wouldn't affect benefits for same sex couples, so they need not worry. Ummm... yeah... right. It especially takes a lot of [helium] to use the phrase "shacking up", and then immediately talk about about Owen and Morales. So first Patrick fights to prevent committed couples like Owen and Morales from getting married... and the criticizes them because they're not married... saying they're just "shacking up"... and aren't deserving of the benefits that any other married couple might receive. That's not just arrogant on his part, but insulting.
For anyone interested in a different description of that balloon, you can check out capper at Whallah! or Mike Mathias.

Next up is one I've been looking forward to for months. Former Wisconsinite Kevin Binversie moved to the Death Star Washington, DC, earlier this year, but he has been posting regularly at the Badger Blog Alliance. Here we see his puffy head floating by, because over the summer, a favorite topic of his was the Democratic National Committee's insistence that its rules be followed. Specifically, the rules about when states could hold primaries. "Democrats Disenfranchise...Democrats," he wrote. "Gee, I thought from all the crap Jay, Xoff, and the elected gang in Madison have been telling all of us for years; only our side can do that." You'll notice that what's blowing out the tail of the Binversie Balloon is smarm. (Kevin returned to the topic again later.) Well, Kevin's silence is deafening since this from the Republicans:
Republican Party leaders [. . .] recommended punishing five states for shifting their nomination contests earlier, moving to strip New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina, Michigan and Wyoming of half their delegates.

"It's very important that our party uphold and enforce the rules that we unanimously voted into place at the Republican National Convention in 2004," said Mike Duncan, chairman of the Republican National Committee. The rules ban holding votes before Feb. 5.
The ropes of apologies unposted are dangling from Kevin's balloon. I sure hope the marching band walking behind him doesn't trip over them!

And bringing up, aptly, the rear of our Hypocrisy Parade™ is the biggest gasbag of all, Charlie Sykes--not that his head needs any additional inflation for the holiday! Sykes is always good for outrage, and when the Catholic League yelled "jump," Charlie opened his valves and flew into the air. See, Miller Brewing Company put its mug (get it? mug?) on a poster advertising a street fetish fair in open-minded San Francisco, and Charlie Sykes led the Cheddarshpere's outrage parade. (The outrage parade, by the way, is not affiliated with this Hypocrisy Parade™.)

In the end, Miller buckled like a spaghetti bridge built by the kids insulted in this post by squeaky-clean Owen Robinson, who next year might get his very own balloon (keep reaching for the sky, Owen!). Miller's logo came off the poster, the Catholic League notched another victory into its bedpost, and Sykes was triumphant.

But when the Milwaukee Interfaith Conference complained about something Sykes had posted on his own website--a "parody" of the now-common "Coexist" bumper sticker that, among other things, replaced the Star of David with a Swastika--Sykes did not lead any kind of parade, outraged or not. Now, there's a difference between the Catholic League and the Interfaith Conference. The New York-based CL has basically become a front group for Republicans, and the IC is made up of actual and real church, synagogue, mosque, and temple leaders from around the Milwaukee area--so it doesn't take a genius to figure out which Sykes will align himself with.

So, long story short, Sykes spewed his noxious gas right back at the IC, claiming that he was drawing a "line" in defense of free speech and artistic expression. I know! It's the funniest balloon out here! Brawler, what do you think?
It's a Sykesian masterpiece of taking a principled stand on free speech while at the same time denying accountability for controversial implications of said speech. Which is classic Sykes -- and is the antithesis of Journalism 101.
Paul Noonan has some thoughts on the matter. Oh, and Jim Rowen, what make you of this cartoon balloon?
Charlie is framing the issue as one of free speech. His free speech. And I've got no complaint with that. I want him to have free speech, but to exercise caution, like we all do, so we do not commit libel, slander, or needlessly poison the public debate.

What's the point, even if it's profitable, wins ratings, notoriety, celebrity? It's a drag on the community. What's wrong with a little effort to be uplifting? To be a real uniter, not a 50,000-watt divider.
And, briefly, we can roll the film on some historical footage from Bill Christofferson of Charlie Sykes's "free speech for me but not for thee" attitude.

Well, every Thanksgiving Day Hypocrisy Parade™ has to end, and the 2007 version has now finally gone past. Thanks to all who participated, whose hard work makes all of this possible. Great job, everybody! See you next year!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Something to be thankful for

by folkbum

That Pete is okay:
The hours have given me time to settle down a bit. Not much in the way of sleep, but I guess that’s to be expected. I don’t highly recommend this type of accident to anyone. Heck I don’t recommend ANY type of accident if you can avoid it.
It could have been much, much worse.

I've only met Pete once, but he seems like a good guy. I'm glad to have him still around the Cheddarsphere.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Popcorn Turkey

by capper

An oldie, but a goodie...

Here is a Thanksgiving Turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing - imagine that.

When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.

BAKED STUFFED TURKEY

10-12 lb. Turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing (Pepperidge Farm is good.)
5 cups uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER 'S LOW FAT)
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush Turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven.Listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and flies across the room, it's done.

Imagine the look on your loved ones' faces as you show off your culinary skills.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Scott Walker: A Legend In His Own Mind

by capper


This morning, the supposedly-liberal Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in their Crossroads section, ran Scott Walker's spiel that he issued with his vetoes, which have since, for the most part, been overturned. Now, I know that politicians are wont to be braggarts and embellish their accomplishments, but some do take it to extremes.

He starts out with the first and third paragraphs saying how he is "optimistic" and has "great hopes for this county". This is the same guy who compared regional cooperation "putting lipstick on a pig".

He then blabbers on with his apparent campaign slogan of Safety, Affordability and Pride, which has already been addressed and refuted. Likewise, our friend, Gretchen, has been putting in overtime to show the shambles he has made of the parks, and the devastation that would have been by his transit proposals.

But then he gets into human services with this list of bullet points. I have taken the liberty of putting the reality behind each point in bold.

Finally, our budget includes major support for those in need in our community.

These items include:

• Continuation of senior centers and senior meal programs. Which was restored by the board after his vetoes. Not to mention his early threat to close two community centers which serve the poorest neighborhoods.

• Long-term care needs for older adults continue to be met under FamilyCare. Which was going on before he took this office, but he was the one that had the million dollar deficits.

• Expanding the benefits of FamilyCare to those under 60 with developmental or physical disabilities. Because of a law signed by Doyle last year and state funding in this years budget. The last I've heard, the system won't be up and running until at least 2009.

• Major improvements in staffing and resources for mental health services. This is after years of cutting these jobs and monies. It is like a doctor breaking your arm, setting it, and taking credit for fixing your broken arm.

• A new initiative to address the housing needs of those with mental illness. Only after a year long series of articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel caused outrage among the community.

• Managed care coverage for those with no source of health care. Again, originally cut by Walker and then restored by the County Board.

• A new child care fraud unit to protect children. You got me on this one, I hadn't heard of it.

I must say, I do rather agree with Ma Brawler in her assessment of Walker.

The other thing that I wonder about is whether the supposedly liberal MSJ will also give column space to the Lena Taylor, who is running for County Executive.

UPDATE: Even with the budget fixes put in by the County Board, it wasn't enough to correct all of Walker's mistakes. Even Sheriff Clarke is turning on him. Isn't this an all-time record for one of Walker's budgets to implode?

Your Liberal Media

by folkbum
Of course, as a matter of journalism and professional standards, Novak's piece was a textbook case of media irresponsibility. His column shouldn't have even run--Clinton supporters (who he will not name) are allegedly spreading rumors about rumors (which he cannot identify) addressing an Obama scandal (which may or may not exist).

I do not think that phrase means what you think it means

by folkbum

I didn't watch the Democratic primary debate last Thursday. I feel relatively confident that I know enough about the candidates now without having to suffer through Wolf Blitzer to learn more. Besides, I am planning to remain firmly neutral right up until that moment I step into the booth next February, by which time the nominee will almost certainly be decided.

However, I do enjoy reading other peoples' takes on the debates, as I find those responses much more revealing about those responding than about the debate in the first place.

Take Jessica McBride (please!). While McBride will almost certainly not be voting for a Democrat for president, she has still taken a keen interest in our debates. And, though Hillary Clinton is probably the last Democrat McBride would vote for even if she were to slum over here on the left, you can always count on McBride to stand up for Women Scorned Everywhere Even If They Are Democrats:
This was the nails-on-chalkboard question of Thursday's Democratic presidential debate. It was also, arguably, sexist. They ask the female candidate about jewelry????! (But, to the media, Republicans are supposed to be the sexist ones, right???) This is right up there with the media writing about Hillary's cleavage. Who cares????!!!
The women's solidarity there is touching, isn't it? You can tell how much she cares by the punctuation!!!! McBride never misses an opportunity to stand up for women maligned, regardless of who they are.

Until, that is, she remembers that it's Hillary we're talking about:
If they're going to plant a question, at least make it a good one. Like,
Hillary, since you claim to support women's rights, do you think Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey were telling the truth?
I don't know McBride's Women's Studies bona fides, but I do not think the accepted definition of "women's rights" includes swallowing wholesale the lies of liars that even Ken Starr didn't believe. "Women's rights" doesn't include believing allegations made, retracted, inconsistently remade, and never verified by any news organization (the Wall Street Journal editorial page is not a news organization).

Of course, I'm not a woman. I could be wrong.

(I should note that, in getting ready to post, I discovered capper beat me to it.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Our First Annual Thanksgiving Coloring Contest

by folkbum

Hey, hey, kids! Clip and color this collection of Thanksgiving turkeys, and you could win fabulous prizes!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thoughts On The County Budget

by capper

The county budget has been resolved, for better or for worse. I won't go into details, but for those that may have missed the news, Brian Fraley has a break down on each override vote by the county board.

I won't insult any conservative or libertarian readers by offering platitudinous expressions of sympathy, and I won't insult myself by gloating.

I will mention that in the supposedly liberal Milwaukee Sentinel Journal had an article in this morning's paper regarding Walker's vetoes. As usual with the Journal, the good stuff is buried near the bottom of the article:

Walker said he was able to leave the board's transit add-ins intact because of an unexpected extra $3.2 million in aid for the county included in the state budget and championed by state Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee), a candidate for Walker's job in the spring election. Walker hasn't officially announced that he will run for another term, but has hinted he will.

Senator Taylor, who hasn't even been elected as County Executive yet, has already done more good for and has shown more commitment to Milwaukee County and its residents than the current County Executive has in the past six years. That says a lot.

A junket follow-up

by folkbum

For everyone complaining about the $6 million in travel over the last four years--much of it not at taxpayer expense, and with not much attempt at divining which of those trips were frivolous--I have a question.

I rather inelegantly pointed out at the site of my new corporate masters that spending $6 million on such trips means that MPS literally spends 99.9% of its budget on things other than travel and out-of-state training for employees.

So what number would you prefer? How much--either in dollars or as a percentage--should MPS be spending on travel and training of this sort?*

--

Relatedly, a number of people seem most upset that the superindent and the school board president, when they had a camera shoved in their faces, didn't know the full total spent on such trips. At the same time, others are complaining about how a budget-conscious district--and one that has been tightening a variety of belts over the past decade--ought to be thinking long and hard over decisions like taking these trips. Rick Esenberg is one of those.

But the fact is that starting a decade ago, MPS has been turning over the lion's share of budgeting to schools in "site-based management," which was the conservative reform buzzword a while back. It means cutting central office "bloat" and putting parents in more direct control of what happens in a school. Ergo, your disconnection between the people at the top and every detail of what's been done in all 200+ schools at the bottom. There is a school governance board with parents and community members who oversee the budget, including travel, at each school--how much more oversight do we need? I guess the pendulum is now swinging back to more centralized authority.

* If you find yourself unable or unwilling to answer that question, go read this post and then wonder why you were so upset with me then.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Some Quick Thoughts

by capper

The Ranch, which was started by Farmer Vic many, many years ago, did a lot of good work for developmentally and physically disabled children and adults. Over the years, they have had a steady problem with keeping the place running due to financial issues. Last year, the Ranch Community Services was bought out by Curative Care Network. This morning's paper reports that Curative has decided they can no longer provide their therapeutic horseback riding program. This is very sad to me, as that I have personally seen the good that this program has brought to many people. Too bad that they couldn't find a corporate sponsor to help keep the program running.


In other closing news, the paper also reports that West Samaria is being foreclosed on. This makes me wonder: Is it better to have a place that takes inadequate care of the mentally ill or have no place for the mentally ill? And why do we have only these two choices?


And finally, a multiple choice question-

Which is worst:
  1. Political campaign ads,
  2. Supermarket tabloids,
  3. Sensationalism on local news shows during ratings month, or
  4. Anyone who feeds into any of the above?

Two Choices

by capper

I received the following email today from a colleague. While I do not know who the identity of the author of the story, I found it so well written and inspirational, that I felt compelled to share it. Here it is in its entirety (sorry for the length, but it's well worth it, in my humble opinion):

Two Choices

What would you do? You make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fund raising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: 'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?'

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all teammates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first! Run to first!' Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!' Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!'

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!' Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for
his team.

'That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, the boys from
both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

May your day, be a Shay Day.

Let us be happy for Scott ...

by folkbum

... and very worried for Karen.

Kidding, of course--best wishes to the soon-to-be happier couple!

WTMJ's MPS "Junket" Hysteria

by folkbum

If anyone cares what I think, I have responded to TMJ's report on travel junkets over at Journal Communications itself.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

by capper

Even though Halloween was two weeks ago, with all the usual ghosts, goblins, things going bump in the night to scare us, there were some who felt more terrified by other things. If you listened to most of the right wing pundits and bloggers, the scariest thing out there was Doyle's Frankenstein Veto.


But now comes something even scarier, creeping out from its underground lair tomorrow....



Scott Walker and his Giant Crayola From Hell!!!!

Yes, that's right, tomorrow is the day that Walker wastes everyone's time with a big grandstanding production to announce the vetoes which we all know will be overridden by the County Board on Wednesday. (With the possible exception of the pay raise for the County Board, and I won't cry about that one.) Expect all the local right wing bloggers and/or squawkers to be singing his praises and booing the Board. Yawn.

If you wish to contact your County Board Supervisor, and tell him or her that you value a better quality of life over Scott Walker's $12.50, and wish them to override Walker's vetoes, you can call them at (414) 278-4222. If you're not sure who your Supervisor is, you can find out here.

What Were They Thinking?

by capper

I have already written about Scott Walker and the decimation he would create to the public transit system if he would have gotten his way. The County Board restored many of the cuts that he had made, as well as removed his massive increase of Transit Plus.

But the County Board, for whatever reasons, chose not to restore all of his routes. One of the routes they chose to leave off of the county budget was Route 11, which travels Vliet Street from Water Street to 47th Street. This makes no sense.

On 12th and Vliet is the Marcia Coggs building, which holds Economic Support Services, Disability Services, and most of the other social services that Milwaukee County provides. Most of the people that utilize these services are the poor, the physically disabled and the developmentally disabled. These same people are often reliant on public transit to get around, including to meetings with case workers who provide the social services for them.

On 17th and Vliet is the Martin Luther King Community Center (which Walker had also threatened to cut). This facility offers many community activities, including lectures, social events, educational sessions, community meetings and various charitable activities. One of the most notable is the donation of school supplies like backpacks, pens, pencils, paper and the such to neighborhood children who are in need of these items.

One would think that even if the County Board wouldn't or couldn't restore all of the routes that Walker had cut, they would at least have maintained the ones that were most needed.

It's a boy

by folkbum

Part of why I haven't been blogging is that, as periodically happens, the world is too depressing to blog about. (I mean, seriously, did Madison and Jefferson envision that 225 years later we'd be debating whether or not we're cool with torture?)

The other part is that we've adopted. We aren't entirely sure what his name is yet.

We got him through CARAC, which rescues animals from the Animal Control people, and who could probably use your help if you have any spare cash lying around.

Getting him to play nice with the dog . . . that will be the fun part.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

McIlheran Watch: Setting The Bar Low

by capper

Patrick McIlheran wrote an editorial column singing the praises for Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. He praised Walker for consistently proposing a county budget that reflected no tax increase from the previous year's budget. But this as far as he goes with being accurate.

First, McIlheran points out that for every dollar spent on the parks system, almost three times is spent on health care for retirees. I won't squabble on the numbers, but would like to point out that this particular benefit ended in 1995. This means that any county employee hired after January 1, 1995, will not receive the free health care. McIlheran also blames this on "the way labor peace was bought decades ago". Again, he forgets to mention that it wasn't a burden for the taxpayers until health care costs started to accelerate at an unreasonable rate. But instead of blaming the insurance companies or the high-priced health care providers where the blame should rest, he chooses to blame politicians from decades ago.

What really caught my eye was the title of the column, "'Same as last year' a reasonable place to start". Now given that the parks are in decay, inmates are escaping from the House of Correction and sometimes killing people, people with mental health issues are living in squalor and sometimes are allowed to die, as well as the transit issues, the problems at the court house, and all of the other issues Milwaukee County is currently facing, I would not consider this a reasonable place to start. Unfortunately, due to Walker's misadministration this is where we are forced to start.

No, it is not a reasonable place to start, and it would be an even more unreasonable goal to maintain this status quo, even if Scott Walker would have to pony up another $12.50 in taxes next year. McIlheran may be willing to live in that type of world, but I, for one, am not.

Veteran's Day


Thank you to all that have served.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Where's The AFP When You Need Them?

by capper

We have seen the AFP and their conservative allies storm the capitol during the state budget discussions, claiming that taxes are too high. We have also seen the same likely suspects take action regarding a referendum regarding the West Bend school system.

I would not be surprised to see them and their cohorts spout off about the Milwaukee County budget for 2008. They would focus on the dastardly county board which went a long way in correcting Scott Walker's imprudent budget proposal. After all, the board's proposal would raise Walker's property taxes on his $324,400 house by a whopping $12.50 per year. Oh, how could he afford such a burden?!

Ken Mobile of Mobile's Take points out that it would be much fairer to raise the property tax by 3.7% rather than raising the transportation fees for the disabled and the elderly by 14% or by $273.75 per year. After all, let us not forget that the elderly and disabled are living on fixed incomes that is usually less than $1,000 per month.

In the comments thread of the same post, we have St. Fred, Patron Saint of Taxpayers, pointing out:

Yes just increase taxes everywhere 6 to 10%.

Did it ever occur to you that people's ability to pay their taxes is hurting?

Scott Walker is a breath of fresh air.

At least he tries to hold the line on spending.

So, now we have St. Fred and AFP (Americans Foolishly Posturing) leading the crusade against higher taxes, while willfully dumping on the ones that can truly least afford it.

Meanwhile, we have gasoline prices that have jumped up 45 cents per gallon in the last month, and 90 cents per gallon in the last year. That is an increase of 16% and 40% respectively. Even if the average consumption of gas was ten gallons per person per week, that would add up to a hell of a lot more than any of the tax hikes that have happened or have been proposed.

My question, and challenge, to St. Fred and his AFP buddies, is this: When can we expect you to hold a rally outside of the offices of Big Oil? I bet you would find a lot more supporters from both sides of the aisle if you would actually go after the people really hurting the average family. After all, if you're going to spend the money anyway, would you rather it go to actually help people that need it, or to help Big Oil and their extremely rich fat cats increase their wealth?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Jim Ryan, RIP

by folkbum

As hyper-important as inter-blog warring and whorring may seem, the real world does go on outside, and today the real world lost a very real, very good man. Hales Corners Village President Jim Ryan succumbed to cancer this morning. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

The Good Old Days

by folkbum

Remember the Good Old Days, when an ad comparing George W. Bush to Hitler uploaded by a user during a Moveon.org contest was enough to prompt howls of condemnation from the right and, even today, leads MoveOn's critics to assert that they called Bush Hitler, rather than one supporter. (Remember that the ad was promptly removed as soon as it was brought to MoveOn's attention.)

Nowadays a prominent member of the Right Cheddarsphere can write, "After her debate debacle, The Hildabeast went into full 'Don’t hit me, I’m a girl' mode with a trip to her alma mater, Wellesley College. [. . .] Our cameras were there," and then post a YouTube of Adolph Hitler. (No link from me--I stopped sending him traffic when he called me a Nazi--but you can google those words and come up with it. Or click around the blogrolls of many prominent conservative Wisconsin bloggers. It won't be hard to find.)

This blogger can do that and not earn nary a peep from any of his Right Cheddarsphere colleagues, or from Charlie Sykes who prominently links that blogger (and who trashes MoveOn regularly), or any of the many conservative bloggers who are always on the lookout for sexist behavior or bad words directed at women.

Whatever happened to the Good Old Days?

The Continuing War on Atheism

by folkbum

Almost two years ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a column by "community columnist" Dale Reich who said, essentially, that he didn't understand why atheists weren't hedonistically indulging every bacchanalian impulse all the time. If we're just animals, he reckoned, it shouldn't matter if we're moral or not.

A the time, I wrote that Reich was full of crap:
By writing that "God is the basis for good and evil," [Reich] dismisses any notion that there may be a source of morality and ethics derived from the non-divine. This is one of the most common fallacies presented by those who, for example, do not want evolution taught in schools. Somehow, they believe, knowing that life's development was due to a fortuitous confluence of physics, chemistry, and biology--rather than due to divine intervention--somehow makes life meaningless. It does not. The prisons are not stocked full of the irreligious (despite Reich's clumsy attempt to equate atheists and sociopaths); the atheists are not the ones committing suicide en masse; the non-believers did not fly the planes into the World Trade Center.
What do I see over the weekend? Another, new "community columnist" making the same stupid argument (technically, he's writing about evolution, not atheism, but the subtext is clear).

So to you, Philip Bramblet, I say, go back and read what I wrote two years ago. Just because you don't have a far-enough evolved frontal lobe to understand that morality does not only come from religion does not mean you can impugn the conscience and decency of atheists and those who believe in evolution. To claim, as you do, that atheists ought not condemn rape or murder, is outrageous and insulting.

The Great Sheboygan Fascist Crackdown--It Already Happened Here (and the right Cheddarsphere stood by and watched)

by folkbum

I wrote yesterday about the Great Sheboygan Fascist Crackdown of 2007, something I probably would not have done until Wisconsin's right-o-sphere all but double-dog dared me to. I didn't have much to add until they went over the top and assumed my silence was not mere complicity but partisan endorsement, which is stupid, given their own silence on abuses of power worse than one Mayberry Machiavelli's clumsy (and illegal) attempt to silence a critic.

In comments to that post, Michael J. Cheaney makes a reasonable point that the Great Sheboygan Fascist Crackdown of 2007 was worth outrage because it was in our own backyard, so to speak, and potentially then Something That Could Happen Here. (That is kind of what Wiggy's saying, too, I think.)

Indeed, such a thing Has Happened Here, as capper reminds us:
Curiously, the right did not have the same outrage when former State Senator Tom Reynolds and friends tried to use strong arm tactics on lefty blogger Gretchen Schuldt of Milwaukee Rising, when she was being a citizen blogger and investigating possible campaign violations from Reynolds failed bid to be re-elected.

Nor do I remember the outrage at Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke when he abused his position and authority in trying to strong arm deputies who didn't agree with him, or actively opposed his actions, even though they did so on their own time.

In fact, instead of outrage, Clarke was praised as was Reynolds, who McBride actually called "untouchable".

The left might not have reached the fevered zeal of the right regarding the Sheboygan blogger, but at least they weren't as selective with their outrages.
Click through, because he's got the links to prove it. You can also amuse yourself site-searching Wigderson, Fred, Peter, Pete, Patrick, et al. just to verify that they never seemed to mind the threatened legal action against blogger Gretchen Schuldt for her use of public documents to challenge Tom Reynolds, or the not-so-threatened action against the deputy who dared defy Clarke in a union newsletter.

Unless of course those bloggers want to insist that their silence was not, indeed, complicity, partisanship, or endorsment of Reynolds's and Clarke's actions when It Did Happen Here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Are County Politics Scripted By Writer's Guild?

by capper

With the Writer's Guild of America going on strike, there is talk that most TV shows are going into reruns. Late night shows are already being affected, and there is reportedly only a few weeks before most shows go into a rerun mode.

I wonder if Milwaukee County politics are scripted by the Writer's Guild, because this too seems to be a rerun. It is the same story every year for the past five years. First, Scott Walker comes out with an unreasonable budget proposal that is so out of touch with reality that it would be laughable if it wasn't so scary. Then the county board steps up and does the right thing to make sure necessary safety nets and programs are maintained at least at minimum values.

Next, Walker will hold some flamboyant production number to issue his draconian vetoes. This is the only thing that has potential for variance. Will he veto the entire budget, like last year, and have it blow up in his face again? Or will he veto out just parts of it in the hope that some of the vetoes are upheld? And where will he do his routine? Last year he did it at the property of his buddy, Chris Kujawa. Will he go back there, or will he find some other supporter to host his event?

Anyway, after his veto(es), the County Board will restore most, if not all, of the items that Walker vetoed. Wouldn't it be nice to have a County Executive that understands the county, its communities, its constituents and their needs, so that we don't have this rerun every year? Milwaukee Rising has a video of someone who does get it and is also happening to be running for County Executive-Lena Taylor.

Abuses of Power

by folkbum (SEE UPDATE BELOW!)

Multiple-choice question for you all:

The Wisconsin right-o-sphere is all up arms about which recent abuse of power?
A. The US State Department tried granting immunity to Blackwater guards that (allegedly) killed 17 innocent Iraqi civillians. The State Department probably doesn't have this authority, and Blackwater employees are refusing to talk to the FBI because of it.
B. One of this country's most important allies in the "war on terror" is arresting dissidents and cracking down on moderate supporters of democracy.
C. The Bush Administration wants Congress to grant retroactive immunity to telecom companies that knowingly violated the law by handing over protected records to the NSA even before 9/11.
D. Some idiot in Sheboygan sent a cease-and-disist letter to a blogger who'd linked to the Sheboygan Police Department.
That's an easy one, right? And, as a bonus, under the logic of "real debate," that means the conservative Cheddarsphere must simply not care about the other abuses of power--or, worse, supports them entirely--because they didn't say anything about them on their own blogs. (I'm linking to Nick, not the purveyors of idiocy or, in some cases, outright racism--the mayor of Sheboygan is Latino--because Nick has a sense of perspective here.)

And it's only Monday.

UPDATE! I wonder if the right Cheddarsphere will join the fight against GOP Congressman Adrian Smith, who is blocking links from all "blogspot" addresses. Really! He is! Try it!

(Cut and paste if you don't believe me that it's the right link: http://adriansmith.house.gov )

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Voting

by folkbum

It's really hard to vote when you think all of them deserve to win.

WHO KILLED TONY ZIELINSKI? A Bay View Murder Mystery

by folkbum

Passing this on . . . It's for one of my Big Media Bosses.
The Bay View Compass is hosting its first annual murder mystery event, Who Killed Tony Zielinski?, Friday, Nov. 16 in the gymnasium of the Marian Center for Non-Profits, 3211 S. Lake Dr., St. Francis, Wisconsin. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.

Doors open to public at 5pm. Registration is 5-7pm. Sleuthing begins at 7pm. Soup, sandwiches, coffees, tea, and desserts, provided by Sven’s European Café of Bay View, will be available 5pm until the event closes. Proceeds from the bar benefit the Marian Center. Admission does not include food or bar.

The plot for this interactive mystery event is based on the fictional murder of Milwaukee’s 14th District Alderman Tony Zielinski, who represents Bay View. Zielinski will play himself in the drama.

A number of Bay View area businesses and organizations will be present at the event selling their wares or providing information about their business or organization.

Prizes donated by Bay View business owners include two round-trip Lake Express ferry tickets; a signed, framed Steve Slaske print from South Shore Gallery & Framing; a $25 gift certificate from Dinner by Design for a grab & go freezer entree; organic body products gift bag from Future Green; a $25 gift certificate to Natural Pet; one-year subscription to Bay View Compass; a framed Twilight on the Bay poster; $30 gift certificate to Hector’s on Delaware, two vouchers for free margarita pitchers at Hector’s on Delaware, and two vouchers for free lunches at Hector’s on Delaware.

To purchase tickets, for directions to event, or other information, contact the Bay View Compass at (414) 489-0880 or info@bayviewcompass.com.

Free parking is provided in the lot south of building. Enter Marian Center in back, at southwest corner of the building.

The Bay View Compass, established in November 2004, is an independent monthly newspaper that is distributed from North Avenue on Milwaukee’s East Side south to College Avenue in Cudahy. The Who Killed Tony Zielinski? event is a fundraiser staged by the Bay View Compass to launch and maintain the newspaper’s forthcoming updated website.

Who Killed Tony Zielinski? is a work of fiction and does not imply or condone harming any real persons. Alderman Zielinski has granted permission for use of his name and likeness.
The Bay View Compass website really does need an overhaul (just think, my columns could someday be archived there!), so any support you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

MPS Budget Public Hearing Tonight

by folkbum

Alan Borsuk's story this morning reminds us that few people ever show up to Milwaukee Public Schools board meetings to make their opinions known. Tonight you have a chance to.

I won't be there--this week I have a cold and next week I have final exams, so my dance card is all germy and full--but if someone does go, if you wouldn't mind asking a question for me, I'd appreciate it.

Where does the superintendent think he's going to find 50 math teachers to start in January? Not that I don't think it's a laudable goal (my school would certainly benefit from three or four more licensed math teachers) but we can't get enough licensed teachers to fill the vacancies we have now. Next year, when the state will be paying for a boost in math teachers, we'll have had time to recruit and hire some. But if the $5m for that goes through, we'll have barely enough time to write the want ads, let alone find 50 good teachers able to join up in the middle of a school year. (Any of you math teachers from the 'burbs willing to jump ship mid-year?)

Again, not a bad idea, but perhaps not practical for the price tag.