Badger Blog Alliance

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Monday, June 30, 2008

The GBPG tilts rightward?

Is it just me, or is this editorial on single-payer "universal" government health care unusually conservative for the Green Bay Press Gazette?

…we should be more cautious about having politicians and government agencies redesign our health-care system.

…The solutions are elusive and most likely will involve collaboration between the public and private sectors. Our instincts tell us the answer lies more in the direction of competition and the innovation of free enterprise, not in the direction of government control and centralization. We urge healthy skepticism toward politicians who advocate a government-run single-payer system.
Amen, brother. Are you sure you're not the Beloit News?

Some of the comments are hilarious. This one’s my favorite:

The fact that the leading cause of bankrutpcy in this country is medical bills is a national embarassment.

BAN FOR PROFIT HEALTH CARE AND HEALTH INSURANCE!
Yeah, that’s worked really well in all the other places its been tried.

Magnum isn't running again

Dave Magnum announced today that he won't run for Congress in Wisconsin's 2nd district this year:

“While I am grateful for all the calls of encouragement, I won't be a candidate in '08. Since the last campaign I've added more radio stations to my group and I need to concentrate on getting them up to speed. I appreciate the folks who believe I'd make a good public servant, and I do hope to prove them right one day.”
Dave ran twice, in '04 and '06. Both times, especially the second time, he ran great campaigns against an entrenched and far better-funded incumbent opponent. Both times, he lost pretty big, even though we all had high hopes.

Ask anybody who's lost a campaign: losing sucks.

Dave took it on the chin from both sides of the political spectrum during his campaigns, and I don't think ever really got the recognition he deserved, particularly from conservatives and Republicans. I was proud to support him, and will be proud to again if he ever decides to run for office again.

Yes!

Brown County Taxpayers Association director Tom Sladek had today’s guest column over at FoxPolitics.net, and it’s an excellent new way to look at entitlement spending, comparing it to sustainable use of natural resources:

….you can’t argue with the thinking behind EPA’s concept of sustainability. We should meet our needs today in ways which won’t prevent the kids from having a good life as well. We’re not doing that, however, and it has nothing to do with how “green” we are. The true sustainability issue for our time is government entitlement spending.
Like I said: excellent.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Union grievance filed over firefighters' sandbagging during floods

We have a new definition for the phrase "bad idea":

Volunteer firefighters who built sandbag barricades to protect Baraboo from record flooding earlier this month wrongfully did the work of city workers, a union representative argues in a complaint.

A grievance filed with the city says Department of Public Works employees are qualified to perform the work done by volunteer firefighters and should've been called on first.

Union workers are demanding pay for overtime they lost out on as a result of volunteers from the Baraboo Fire Department filling sandbags June 7 through June 12. They are arguing the city violated their union contract.
The union is throwing its weight around over people helping other people protect their homes during a flood. The union wants its members paid overtime for work they didn't do.

I want to make sure that we see the union's perspective: the fire department was called out, and did work that is (I assume) in the job description of the city workers.

In other words, the firefighters and a bunch of unpaid volunteers were doing the city workers' job, when the city workers themselves hadn't been called out to do that job.

The problem here isn't that city workers want to get paid for working during an emergency. Cops, firefighters, EMS, National Guardsmen were getting paid. Do we begrudge them that? I doubt it.

But then, regular folk don't have the training, equipment, discipline and organization those groups have, and thus aren't as qualified to be doing many of the things those groups were doing.

Almost anybody can sandbag.

Of course, regular folk have the sense to realize that, when the river is overflowing its banks and whole towns are underwater, it doesn't much matter who's doing the work. It matters that the work is being done.

I have little doubt that, in a purely legalistic sense, the union has a legitimate point. The city probably should have made sure, if the city guys are contractually entitled to that work, that the city guys were doing that work before any other city employees were called in to do it.

However, considering the immediacy and chaos of the day, I'd have been stunned if such t-crossing and i-dotting was actually going on.

The problem is twofold: first, the unimaginably bad public relations blunder. I mean, what monumentally bad timing. What a monumentally bad decision, to file a grievance over sandbagging during an emergency of that magnitude.

It's like getting your hot fudge sundae and thinking: this needs more sauerkraut. That kind of bad decision. Hey, let's give T.J. Rubley another shot. That kind of bad decision. Leaving me alone all day with my wife's chocolate cake bad. Electing Barack Obama bad.

Second, this illustrates the problem with public employee unions: they have a monopoly, not just on the labor force, but on the work. Nobody else is allowed to do the work the union members do. Only the union can supply people to do that work.

This doesn’t happen in the private sector: even in jobs that are largely unionized, there is often competition among union shops, and there are often non-union competitors. Unions only have a partial monopoly on the labor force, and no monopoly on the work itself.

But in the public sector, they've got a monopoly on both. So: even if the city is able to find a less expensive way to get a job done, they won't be allowed to. They must go through the union.

But that's an argument we should be having another day. That we're having it because the union's mad that somebody else was filling and stacking sandbags to protect people's homes only serves to show just how tunnel-visioned and narrow-minded this particular union is.

Or, hopefully, just the union rep.

Breaking News from 1860

The secession process won’t be an easy one

Yeah, I think we found that out.

Ha. Just kidding. The story is about the Village of Caledonia (Racine County) wanting to "secede" from the Racine School District. Hopefully without any call to arms, although with Fred and Kathy down there you can never tell.

Title shamelessly stolen from Best of the Web.

People get madder easier when it's hotter

Global warming could incite instability, classified papers say

Washington - Global warming could spur greater political instability across the world as droughts, higher temperatures and rising sea levels aggravate existing problems of poverty, food shortages and conflicts over water, land and other resources, according to an intelligence report released Wednesday to members of Congress.

The classified report offers a stark assessment of the implications of these problems to U.S. national security - adding yet another layer to the complex debate in Washington over global warming.

"Logic suggests the conditions exacerbated by climate change will increase the pool of potential recruits for terrorism," Thomas Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, said at a hearing before a joint House committee Wednesday.
They know, don't they, that it's already hot in the places that already produce the most terrorists?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Unrelated Burri of the Month

From Australia:

Burri palm, more commonly called burrawang (Macrozamia communis), is a cycad rather than a palm.

A cycad? Is that like some sort of cyber-scoundrel?

Friday, June 27, 2008

To those who are sure McCain will or must pick Alaska Gov Sarah Palin as Veep:

Mr. Pterodactyl's got the money.

Sarah Palin will not be the Republican VP nominee, okay? She won't. Maybe in '12 or '16 (depending on who wins in '08), but not now. She just had a baby in April. The baby has Down's Syndrome. She is not running for vice president this year.

You can't trust anybody these days

An arrest in the Nigerian check scam:

An Olympia woman who pleaded guilty to taking part in a "Nigerian check scam" that attempted to defraud naive people of more than $1 million with phony checks and money orders was sentenced Wednesday by a U.S. District Court judge in Tacoma to two years in prison and five years of probation.
An American. Not the daughter of the crown prince of Nigeria. Not the grand-niece of a deposed chamberlain to the rightful prime minister. Just an American woman with a healthy fraudulent streak.

It's getting so you can't trust anybody anymore.

Political concerns first, Constitution second

Ann Althouse has a roundup of Heller reactions here. I though this from lawprof Sandy Levinson was particularly interesting:

As a partisan Democrat, I confess to being relieved that the dissenters did not prevail, for the upholding of the D.C. ordinance would, in effect, have served as a massive in-kind campaign contribution to John McCain.
Nice to know that a law professor sees interpreting the Constitution as an election-year tactic.

A candidate we can imagine…

…with a slogan we can believe in!

Katie Harbath '08: Beer, Cheese and Bratwurst for all!

Unrelated Quote of the Week

Going through the documents provided to us by Ms. Suman (While BBA did not provide any document, though we requested them for the same), the bone of contention appears to be the Balika Ashram…being run by Ms. Suman, as this Ashram is the only property of BBA which is occupied and being used by the only non – family member of Mr. Kailash Satyarthi.
First of all, we will provide those documents when we are dang well good and ready to provide them, and not a second sooner. You got that pal?

And secondly, I haven’t seen that Balika Ashram in weeks . And you can’t prove otherwise.

Labels:

Re: Elect Obama, to repair America’s international reputation

Hmmm,

I don't think the Canadians should be worried about their next door neighbor as an oil market. Remember all the talk about NAFTA? What the audiences did not know at the time was Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee was delivering a sly wink to the Canadians.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

RJT: Stop Limiting Campaign Money

The Racine Journal Times has seen the campaign finance light (emphasis added):

What the current laws have produced is not a fairer or freer system but an intricate one that is the object of constant struggle as each party attempted to shut down the favored funding sources of the other and interest groups pushed to make their points public.

So let’s stop. Let’s remove the limits and let the money flow where it will with one important condition: Candidates should be required to record every contribution as they are now, but in addition political groups would be required to disclose their major sources of funding. That should also apply to groups spending on behalf of a candidate as the 527 committees do now. Couple this with an easily accessible (on the Internet), current summary of contributions, and the public would know precisely who funded a negative ad campaign and could judge accusations accordingly.
Let’s acknowledge, though, the problems with requiring private groups to register and report: a government office will have to determine exactly which speech, and/or what amount of spending triggers the law – that is, there will have to be lines drawn as to who has to report and who doesn’t, and those lines are going to be subjective.

We can sugar coat it, and insist that it’s still for the best, but the bottom line is the government will have a hand in deciding which speech is free, and which is subject to regulation.

But I'm quibbling with what is otherwise a great editorial. Here's more:

If this seems too extreme, ask yourself what we have achieved in the past 30 years. Post-Watergate reforms have not produced a fairer, more noble election system. Trying to grip campaign money has been like squeezing water; both leak out around the edges and flow on unimpeded.

What is different this time is the technology of campaign funding. The easy Internet connection between candidates and donors, and the ease of seeing who is supporting whom and who is backing both opposing candidates, may finally counteract the large piles of special-interest cash which used to flow in secret. In other words, the way to counteract an imbalance in funding may be more democracy instead of more rules.
You know, I'd swear I'd read this somewhere before.

Hat tip FoxPolitics.net.

Courage, sister

A sister blogger in crisis:

I've been reading things for the last 2 hours and haven't found anything bloggable. I'm beginning to think it's not the news. It's me. I'm having a medical test that demands that I not drink anything this morning. (A routine test.) And I really want some coffee. This blog — I'm beginning to think — is fueled by coffee. Without coffee... I've got nothing. I'll have morphine before I have my next cup of coffee. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is going to give us the answer on guns today. Collective right or individual right? I'll put up a post so you can talk about it without me. I'll be back here eventually... with, I'm told, impaired judgment (from the morphine). Yet my brain is already impaired from lack of coffee....
UPDATE - she's back, and she's okay!

This is the second time I’ve used the “Blogger in crisis” title, for a situation that is clearly not a crisis. Not in the “seven feet of water in my living room” sense.

Not that I’m going to stop, mind you. I’ll just have to think of something stronger if I’m ever writing about a fellow blogger who’s really in crisis.

Oh, and check the comments on that post. Steve R writes:

The hell with oil, the fate of Western Civilization rests with the coffee bean.
Amen, brother. Amen.

Elect Obama, to repair America’s international reputation

From Canada’s National Post:

Yesterday, Mr. Obama vowed to break America's addiction to "dirty, dwindling and dangerously expensive" oil if elected U. S. president -- and he said one of his first targets may well be imports from Canada's oil sands. A senior advisor to Obama's campaign said it's an "open question" whether Alberta's oil sands fit with Obama's vision for shifting the U. S. dramatically away from carbon-intensive fuels.
Earlier in the story:

While the aim is undoubtedly to pander to the electorate in an election year charged with oil and climate-change debate, what they are stoking is an increasingly angry Canadian energy industry that is seriously looking at non-U. S. markets for its oil.
Here’s the ending:

It's not the first time the Canadian sector has pondered offshore oil routes. It's time to take them seriously.
Somebody please tell Obama: enough with the unilateral foreign energy policy.

Instapundit has a couple more links here.

Burri envy…

Not Here Either

George Carlin at the Pearly Gates:

Man if you want to see some spin go read

The letter the Brady people put out after they(their side) lost the Heller case.

Man you would think they had won the case the way they are trying to spin it.

My favorite line is this one

"“The Heller decision, however, will most likely embolden criminal defendants, and ideological extremists, to file new legal attacks on existing gun laws."

So if you stand up for you 2nd amendment rights you are a ideological extremist hmmmm what does that make people on the left who support partial birth abortion are they ideological extremists?

yes this ruling will embolden us to stand up for rights the Constitution and Bill of Rights gives us as American Citizens.

Man they are going to need a lot of mops to clean up all the pee from the anti gun crowd wetting themselves this morning ;)

Hurray the Bill of Rights
WSB Chris

In honor of the SCOTUS we should have a BBA Shooting event

I know I have not done this in a while but all of a sudden I am getting that funny feeling and no it is not gas ;)

Any interest in picking a Saturday or a Sunday and meeting out at McMillers Shooting Range for a BBA shooting event?

Let me know in the Comments if there is any interest and if we get enough people you know like at least 3-5 to say they want to do it I will try and set something up.

But it cannot be until my AK gets out of the shop I am having a new folding/telescoping stock put on and a new pistol grip and front grip all in synthetic black it should look pretty nice when it gets done.

So start looking at your day planners and seeing what Weekend works best for you.

WSB Chris BBA Master At Arms ;)

I have a bunch of new stuff since the last outing like a.17HMR Rifle which is a hoot to shoot so lets make this happen.

The Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed

The Supreme Court today affirmed in a landmark ruling struck down the Washington DC handgun ban.


This is a major victory for people who believe in the 2nd amendment and is a blow to anti gun groups.

Lets see they SCOTUS says I have a right to own a handgun for self defense ok now if we can get our criminal loving governor to allow concealed carry then I could practice this RIGHT where ever I am.

I wonder if this strikes down the Morton Grove hand gun band from 1981 it would seem to me that the city of Morton Grove has no right to tell people they cannot possess handguns.

A great day for those of us who believe in all of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights not just the ones we like.

WSB Chris

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Drilling in the Great Lakes

Blogger Dennis Byrne, writing in the Chicago Tribune:

Don't think there's no interest in drilling in the Great Lakes. Michigan draws the greatest interest because it (and parts of other Midwest states) is sitting on top of the Niagaran coral reef, believed to be loaded with oil and natural gas reserves. Just under Lake Erie is a trillion cubic feet of natural gas, waiting to be tapped. Politically, the idea might seem dead right off the bat. After all, who would dare violate the health and sanctity of the world's largest body of fresh water?

Canada would. And does. Yes, politically correct Canada, that one. In addition to the Great Lakes, Canada allows offshore drilling in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. (The People's Paradise of Cuba also is eyeing offshore drilling, some of it as close as 45 miles to the Florida coast, using techniques much less environmentally sound than American companies.)

…Michigan has several active wells tapping into the reserves under the lake using "directional drilling," allowing drilling on the diagonal, as it were, reducing chances of an in-water oil spill. (Environmentalists also oppose this technique.) Those wells were grandfathered in before the Great Lakes ban was imposed.
Byrne isn’t clearly taking one side or the other, although he does seem to think it’s inevitable (if prices keep going up). But he does say:

Just a few days ago, a Republican effort to open more costal waters to exploration was defeated on a party-line vote. "We are kidding ourselves if we think we can drill our way out of these problems," pronounced House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.).

Good thinking. With it, Democrats will get creamed in the fall elections.

"…ten years of making even people who agree with you…cringe."

That's Jon Stewart’s description of MoveOn.org.



Hat tip Althouse

DNR: Black bears sightings on the rise in southern Wisconsin

SPRING GREEN – Several recent black bear sightings have prompted Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife biologists to point out that their visitations are becoming more common each year in the ‘Driftless’ area of southwest Wisconsin.

June is the breeding season for bears in Wisconsin and “most bear sightings we receive in southern counties occur during late May and June...
May and June? Wouldn't this release have been more useful...oh, I dunno, six weeks ago?

...when sub-adult bears, mostly young males, are forced out of breeding territories up north and disperse long distances in search of new habitat,” explained DNR biologist Becky Roth, Spring Green.

…Over the last three weeks, bear sightings have been reported in Richland County near Richland Center, Sauk County near Lake Delton, western Dane County near Blue Mounds, and Iowa County near Barneveld.
They’ve got advice at the link on how to keep bears away from your home, and on what to do if you see a bear. That advice does not include peeing your pants and running away screaming, although there are probably worse things for you to do.

Search threads

Does anybody else pay attention to the search terms that lead people to their blogs? I have a little widget at my own place that tells me where visitors are clicking in from (if they’re clicking a link to get there), and I always find it fun to see what the Google and Yahoo and AOL Search phrases that led to me were.
For example, just today I got a hit from somebody searching the term 1912 Sport. Life Jim Doyle. This post of mine was third on the list.

This three-year-old post gets a lot of hits from people searching for “Hank Reardon metal” or some derivative thereof.

But the most frequent search that finds me, I think, is “men who act like children” or something similar to that.

Yes, I know, it's the opposite of irony that they're finding me by searching for that. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Actually that search leads to this post from over two years ago, about a men’s group that wants the right to “abort” their parental responsibilities.

I just find it interesting.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Michael McGee: Guilty on all 9 counts

Novak on Ryan

Columnist Robert Novak has a piece today on Wisconsin's own conservative barbarian-at-the-gate, Rep. Paul Ryan.

Here's the money:

Ryan, 38, top Republican on the House Budget Committee, has been working closely with freshman Rep. Kevin McCarthy, 43, who has been named chairman of the national platform by Minority Leader John Boehner, and Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, 45, the party's chief deputy whip. After another expected bad GOP defeat in the 2008 congressional elections, Ryan, McCarthy and Cantor could constitute the party's new House leadership.
Hat tip Charlie. And Sean Hackbarth has more.

Something like 28 years too late

Lefties Discover Love for Law Enforcement

Wigderson noted this story, in which a bunch of Lefties had a guy arrested because he was spouting off about Barack Obama.

Yes, there's more to it than that, but had the guy been spouting off about the price of beans in Boston, they wouldn't have spared him a second's attention.

Unless they lived in Boston, I guess. And ate a lot of beans.

The story: some crackpot from Minnesota (but I repeat myself) named Larry Sinclair - a guy with a history of fraud - has been telling people he snorted cocaine and had wild sex (okay, so he didn't say wild) with Barack Obama in the back of a limo nine years ago.

My question is: was he wearing a blue dress at the time, and did he save the stain?

No, wait, that's not my question. Here's my question: is anybody really so naïve that this wild accusation would change their votes in November? I kinda doubt it.

Instead of laughing at this nutcase and wondering out loud why John McCain doesn't publicly condemn the man, Lefty activists did what they could to have him arrested. Wiggy notes from this story:

The arrest followed a failed campaign by Firedoglake, a leading liberal blog, to prevent Sinclair from airing his allegations at the prestigious Press Club.

But a couple blogging from Paris then began trying to arrange for his arrest at the appearance -- a plan that seems to have succeeded.

"After a phone call to the Washington, D.C. Police, we have verified that Lawrence Wayne Sinclair has been arrested at the National Press Club just after his press conference ended," bloggers at the Mitch and Nan Show trumpeted Thursday.
It appears that Sinclair was not arrested for what he was saying, but for outstanding warrants on some other matter.

I have no beef with that, nor with somebody dropping a dime on Sinclair to help law enforcement nab him, although it is funny to see Lefty bloggers using law enforcement to silence an otherwise harmless man who was likely only to bring ridicule upon himself.

The motives of those Lefty bloggers were not, after all, enforcing the law. They were to stop him from talking. And yes, I know, the "talking" was malicious and slanderous (or was it libelous?). Still, the salient point is: they wanted to shut him up, so they explored the possibility of having him arrested. That's the sort of thing jackbooted Righties are supposed to do – at least, according to Lefties.

That sentiment comes out in the comments to Wiggy's post: viral commenter John Foust, among others, claims that Righties will do the exact same thing – except, of course, we wouldn't stop to wonder whether the guy has an actual criminal record or warrants for his arrest. We'd just send in the troops.

Which only proves that they – these specific Lefty commenters – don't really know what conservatism is, or what conservatives are.

God-Fearing Atheists

The study detailed Americans' deep and broad religiosity, finding that 92 percent believe in God or a universal spirit -- including one in five of those who call themselves atheists.
Which means that one in five atheists don't know what the word atheist means.

This might not be all that abnormal. I'll bet there's a percentage of any given group, made up of self-identified members, which has a basic misunderstanding of what actually defines the group.

Re: irresponsible speculation

I'm not sold that McCain needs to, wants to, even should "shore up his questionable conservative bonafides."

First, because no matter what McCain does, he can't fully win over the conservative vote. He's going to lose some of them. Second, because McCain isn't known for following the conventional wisdom, particularly when the CW leans conservative. Third, because the CW also says this will be another bad year for Republicans, so McCain might just want to give everything a real good shake and see how things settle, instead of relying on the landscape at hand.

By going another route – say, by picking Lieberman - McCain would lose even more conservative voters, but would also pick up voters from the center and/or even from the Left. A right-center-left coalition, instead of the usual center-right.

Those further to the right who wouldn’t vote for a McCain/Lieberman ticket won't vote for Obama, anyway, and if McCain can then eat into Obama's votes, so much the better.

The real interesting part would come eight years later, assuming that McCain won twice: would Lieberman then want to run, and if so, as what?

I'm not endorsing this, and I'm not predicting it. I simply think McCain picking a good conservative isn't a sure thing.

Re: irresponsible speculation

Yeah, I'm not hep on the Gov Sarah pick.
She's a no-name, though she's very attractive.

McCain needs Condi Rice or a doppleganger to trump everything on the Dem side, and to shore up his questionable conservative bonafides.

Monday, June 23, 2008

This might be irresponsible speculation, but I'm passing it on anyway.

Joe Klein:

I have no way of knowing if this is true, though the source is excellent...but the word in Republican circles is that John McCain is quite frustrated by the vice presidential selection process because he can't go with any of his top three choices. They are:

1. Former Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania--McCain loves the guy, I'm told, and Ridge might bring Pa. into the Republican fold...but he's pro-choice. Fuggedaboutit.

2. Former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida--Ahhh, Florida. But, oy, that last name.

3. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida---Ahh, Florida....and brings Latinos, too! But born in Cuba, so ineligible for the office.

As I've said in the past, speculation about vice presidential choices is sheer foolishness. This, however, isn't speculation. It is gossip, to be taken with a grain of salt. But irresistable, irresistible nonetheless.
Lieberman shows up in the comments.

Also, this column discusses three (actally four) women who could be McCain's Veep pick.

Depleted Lake Delton attracts hundreds of gawkers

There is a silver lining, we're just not sure how deep it goes.

LAKE DELTON — Hundreds of gawkers are making the trek to Lake Delton to see the nearly empty basin and destruction left when the lake overflowed earlier this month.

Randy Perryman of suburban Chicago made the trip Saturday to the lake he has seen in better times.
That's great, but please stay off private property.

Lake Delton residents say such visitors are a mixed blessing.

Pat Schultz estimates more than 1,000 people tramped through her debris-strewn yard to see the lake before the area was blocked with police tape.

But business owners say they are grateful for people stopping at their restaurants, gas stations and other businesses hurt by an overall drop in tourism.
You can also get a decent look at the breach by taking a Wisconsin Duck ride. Tell 'em Lance sent you.

No, that's not good for a discount.

No, it didn't walk out of the Lake Delton lakebed.

A green-skinned brontosaurus narrowly avoided extinction Wednesday, when a Lake Delton Police Officer swerved his vehicle and side-swiped the large reptile that appeared to be crossing the street.

"I've been here almost 10 years, and I've never seen anything like that in the middle of the road," Officer Michael Horkheimer said of the six-foot dinosaur.

At about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday morning, Horkheimer was patrolling Wisconsin Dells Parkway near Subway and the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory. The officer was watching a suspicious couple, he said, when the minor collision took place.

...The fiberglass dinosaur was in the middle of both southbound lanes, adjacent to its usual placement in front of Subway and Dino Stop gas station.

...(the collision) broke the passenger side mirror and left a few scuff marks on the window, both addressed on Thursday. The dinosaur escaped the traumatic collision with minor chest lacerations that did not require transport or medical aid.
Now that's just good writing.

People pull that dinosaur into the road pretty frequently, according to the story. Just good fun.

Rachel Lucas has declared a moratorium...

...on "any political or controversial posts," because she's too busy right now to deal with all the "incoming linkage."

Just thought I'd link to let you all know. Wouldn't it be funny if we all followed suit?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Obama: They're Picking On Me Because I'm Black

Barack Obama, with ju-jitsu-like use of the race card:

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said on Friday he expects Republicans to highlight the fact that he is black as part of an effort to make voters afraid of him.

"It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy," Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. "We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid.

"They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?"

..."We know the strategy because they've already shown their cards. Ultimately I think the American people recognize that old stuff hasn't moved us forward. That old stuff just divides us," he said.
Glenn Reynolds describes it thus: "IF YOU DON'T VOTE FOR OBAMA, YOU'RE A RACIST."

But that's not quite right. Obama isn't accusing anybody who votes against him of racism. He is accusing the Republican Party of racism. He's trying to pre-de-legitimize anything his opponents say by planting a seed of doubt. He wants everyone to wonder whether GOP attack ads are motivated by racism every time they see one. He wants the punditry debating – not whether the ads are true or effective, but whether they contain evidence of racism.

I'm not the first to point this out (although I can't remember where else I've read it): that the GOP is going to attack Obama isn't a sign of racism: it's a sign of equality. By attacking Obama, the GOP will be treating him just like they treated Kerry, just like they treated Gore, just like they treat every legitimate candidate running against one of their own.

If they lay off because Obama's black, that would be racism.

The Democrats have done, are doing, and will do the same, and their attacks are no more a sign of ageism than the GOP's are of racism.

It's politics. You get your nose bloody sometimes. You have to be able to take a punch, but you do your best to weaken your opponent's punches as much as possible.

That's what Obama is doing, except, as the standard bearer for the Party of Inclusion and Tolerance, this particular incarnation of this particular tactic is particularly invidious.

He's trying to reap the benefits of being a victim of racism. He wants his race to be a deciding factor in this election. He doesn't want to be treated equally.

We’ve been wondering whether Obama's nomination means the end of racism in America – if a man with a Kenyan father can get so close to the most powerful seat in the world, isn't racism at the very least in steep decline?

Obviously not, and the irony is that it's Obama himself keeping it alive.

Lest we think the Ron Paulies have all gone home…

The American Liberty Coalition, a Wisconsin-based PAC that supports Ron Paul and Paul-style political candidates, wants to make a splash at the Republican National Convention in September.

In the morning they (the national delegates) get coffee in the lobby and see many RP (Ron Paul) supporters getting their morning danishes. They pick up the local paper and see a Ron Paul newspaper ad on page 4. All these RP events are talking to them, talking to their consciences. Reminding them they are about to vote for a nominee that does not live up to their traditional conservative values. On the way to the convention center they spot various RP billboards and a RP crowd gathered outside. Nervously flashing delegate credentials, they fight through a storm trooper police line…
No, the delegates won't be nervous. They won't have to "fight through." And thanks, ALC, for disparaging the local law enforcement. Nice to know at least one of my preconceptions is on the money.

…and finally arrive to take their positions on the convention floor. What are they thinking at this point? What do they do?
What are you thinking they're going to do? Change their votes from McCain to Paul?

Imagine this scenario playing out during the 4 days of the GOP convention Sept. 1-4.

This could go down in history as the first time a grassroots movement ever took over the city that a national convention was being held in. Think of the press.
How incredibly underwhelming.

I don't doubt the Ron Paulies' dedication, or their sincerity, or their desire to do good for the country.

But what's the point of this? Do they honestly think they're going to change the convention's outcome? Because they won't.

I remember, shortly after the 2000 election, overhearing someone on Madison's State Street saying how Ralph Nader was the first candidate to create a lasting third-party presence. This is akin to that.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Janesville grads could be last comics standing

JANESVILLE — First we learned Janesville no longer will be an auto town, and hundreds of our friends will lose their jobs.

Then, before we were ready to move on, Lake Koshkonong ended up on Main Street.
Janesville could use a laugh.

Consider it done.

Two Janesville natives — one from Parker and one from Craig — have made it to the semi-finals on NBC's "Last Comic Standing."

Parker's Andria Smith and Craig's Pete Lee will move on to Las Vegas next week to battle it out with comedians from around the world for the $250,000 prize and the bonus of getting face time on national television.
That's Craig High School and Parker High School, Janesville's two public high schools.

I have some history, here: Grandpa John is a Craig alumnus, and Grandpa Steve is a Parker alumnus. And, seeing as how I laugh my butt off about every time I see either one of them, I think Smith and Lee have a legitimate chance.

Will McCain pick Lieberman?

Could McCain/Lieberman actually happen?

I’ve been kicking around that possibility for a while. Conventional wisdom says McCain has to pick a strong conservative to hang onto the conservative core, but there’s another option available to him: instead of winning with a right-center coalition, he could try for right-center-left. A coalition that doesn’t go quite as far in either direction as the traditional winning formula.

Jennifer Rubin has a long article about this at Pajamas Media. She lists several pros and cons. The pros:

  • Balancing the ticket and solidifying McCain’s image as a bipartisan maverick;
  • Attracting Democrat voters;
  • Putting Connecticut in play;
  • Offsetting McCain’s “temper” with Lieberman’s level persona.
She doesn’t list this among the pros, but she later mentions Lieberman’s hawkish foreign policy positions.

The cons revolve mainly around the succession, in the case of McCain’s death while in office. He’d basically be handing the presidency to a Democrat, along with the major differences in opinion (mainly on abortion) and potential future court appointments.

How would it all play out? I have no idea. It would be interesting to watch – it would be the most intriguing National Convention, I think, since the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

It would sure cause an uproar.

In the end, though, McCain’s job, as the candidate, is to win. If he thinks this is a winning formula, I bet he goes for it.

By the way, I voted for Lieberman and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano (major guess - I know nothing about her - I just think B.O. needs a female Veep) in the PJMedia Veepstakes contest.

You know what stinks?

Finding a penny at the very end of the day.

Courage, brother

A brother blogger is in crisis.

1,915 Channels of Pure Estrogen

Last Wednesday, my network TV viewing choices were “So You Think You Can Dance?”, “America’s Next Top Model”, and “Deal or No Deal”. And I remember thinking two things. My first thought was:

“Please God, get me through to football season before my testicles fall off.”
Hang in there, man. Fantasy drafts start soon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

We, of course, already knew this.

Green Bay Packers: Best Franchise in NFL History

Says who?

Says the tough guys at ColdHardFootballFacts.com, that’s who.
Many stories at Cold, Hard are full of statistics and numbers crunching, but not so much for this one, in which all 32 NFL teams are ranked from first to last in terms of their whole history.

“There’s no truly empirical answer,” the Web site’s writers admit, referring to the way they arrived at the ranking.

Instead they tried another kind of index.

“We tackled the challenge of ranking the franchises from the point of view of the fans, using our Misery-to-Joy Theory of Fan Relativity,” they write. “Essentially, we measured the amount of misery a franchise has forced upon its fans against the amount of celebratory games, moments and titles a franchise has (given) its fans.”

The Packers had enough going for them to blot out the misery the team inflicted on their fans in the 1970s and ’80s.

They also considered overall winning percentage, winning seasons, championship seasons and number of great players.

“We could have put a ‘controversial’ team in the No. 1 spot just to get a rise out of people and stir up a hornet’s nest of head-scratching hype,” they said. “But then we’d be no better than the hairy-palmed hacks at ESPN and would not be doing a service to you, our readers. The truth is that only one team belongs at the top.”
Football fans will enjoy perusing the entire list, #32 through #1 (sorry, I’ve spoiled the ending for you).

I was a touch surprised to see which team had the best all-time record.

And while we’re talking about the Packers:

With KGB hurt, Dolphins' Taylor seems tempting

The Packers recently made an exploratory inquiry with the Miami Dolphins, who are trying to decide what to do with the disgruntled Taylor. In recent days, the Dolphins have indicated they’re interested in retaining Taylor, the defensive end who won the NFL’s defensive player of the year award in 2006.

…Working in the Packers’ favor is Taylor’s relationship with their defensive coordinator, Bob Sanders, and defensive tackles coach Robert Nunn. Both coached Taylor when they were on the Dolphins’ staff during the early 2000s. Neither Nunn nor Sanders would say whether they’d push for General Manager Ted Thompson to acquire Taylor, but both lauded him as a player.
Taylor is 33 years old, heading into his 12th NFL season. He’s averaged over 10 sacks a year during his career – over 12 per year the last three seasons.

… the Dolphins are believed to be seeking a second-round draft pick but might settle for a third- or fourth-round pick. That’s a high price for a player who has said he may play only one more season.
It would be out of character for the Packers to make that happen. Still, it’d be a good pickup, if for no other reason than:

Can I delegate raising my kids to a courtroom, too?

Elliot noticed this story:

OTTAWA (AFP) — A Canadian court has lifted a 12-year-old girl's grounding, overturning her father's punishment for disobeying his orders to stay off the Internet, his lawyer said Wednesday.
Like we needed more reason to make fun of Canada. Geez, and we thought we had problems with our courts.

Here’s a little more detail on the case:

The father first forbade his daughter from going online after the Grade 6 student posted photos on a dating site, the Globe and Mail reported in its Thursday edition.

The girl's parents are divorced, and after she had an alleged row with her stepmother, the dad barred her from going on a school trip to mark the class's graduation from elementary school, the newspaper says.

"When he said, 'OK, it's final. You're not going,' she smacked the door, left and went to live with her mother," the father's lawyer, Kim Beaudoin, told CBC News.

Last Wednesday, the dad received a motion petitioning the court to overturn the punishment.

Two days later, the justice ruled that the punishment was too severe since the girl had already been sufficiently disciplined, said Beaudoin.

Beaudoin said the justice also said there was no reason for the punishment to stand, since the girl was now living with her mother, even though the father has custody.
Sounds like it could be a custody thing. Some parents run to the judge for every little dispute.

Still: what the hell is going on up there?

More - Grandpa Steve writes:

The Inquisition

Ann Coulter:

It's only a matter of time before the Supreme Court steps in to overrule Randy, Paula and Simon.
If you don't know who Coulter is referring to in 'Randy, Paula, and Simon,' I applaud you. You have a life.
Replace the words “the Supreme Court” with “a Canadian court” and suddenly that doesn’t look so far-fetched.

Y’know, there were allegations of voter fraud in Illinois back in 1960…

…that we never really resolved. Maybe there’s still time to get Nixon into office!

Mike Plaisted sure seems to think so (emphasis added).

Perhaps Dennis Kucinich’s articles of impeachment do not come too late after all. It wouldn’t hurt to proceed with the hearings and continue the process even after the reigns [sic] of power are pried from Dick Cheney’s cold, dead hands. A completed impeachment and conviction in the Senate, even if it doesn’t happen until next year, will at least set the record straight. That, and a special prosecutor with Ken Starr’s budget, a bad attitude and lots of steely handcuffs for the Perp Walk Of History. The Bush enablers deserve no less.
Congressional Dems should definitely follow Plaisted’s advice. Spend thousands of man-hours and millions of taxpayer dollars trying to remove from office a person who’s already left office.

Brilliant!

Good timing!

Official: 95 percent of county roads damaged

Good thing Governor Doyle took all that money out of the transportation fund!

Feingold Disses Obama

It’s not proof, but it sure supports my theory that Sen. Russ Feingold was angling for a spot in a Clinton administration:

Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who has championed campaign finance reform, said Thursday that Sen. Barack Obama's decision to bypass the federal public financing system in the general election was a mistake.

"This is not a good decision," he said in a statement. "While the current public financing system for the presidential primaries is broken, the system for the general election is not."

Feingold, who is sponsoring a bill that would reform the entire public financing system, said he is pleased that Obama is a co-sponsor on the bill and believes that the Democratic Illinois senator is committed to reforming the current system. Still, he should not have rejected public financing for the general election, Feingold said.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Name That Weapon

Respectfully borrowed from Boots & Sabers


What, no guesses? Here's a hint:

Lake cleanup finds guns, bones

The cleaning efforts on the now-empty Lake Delton have unearthed several interesting items and, according to police reports, those items include two handguns and some bones.
So we're finding old guns at the bottom of Lake Delton at the same time that a gangster movie is being filmed in the state. Coincidence? Or just really auspicious PR?

Now, if there'd been a disaster movie being filmed here...

During Saturday's clean up, Kenneth Binkley contacted the Lake Delton Police Department after finding bones in the lake bed. The reporting officers did not believe them to be deer bones, as originally suspected, but Detective Janet Klipp said they may be sheep bones, which have been recovered in Lake Delton before.
Elephant bones. They're elephant bones.

On Monday, Detective Kurt Goodreau said he would e-mail digital photographs of the bones to an expert for identification. Earlier on Monday, Goodreau added, someone brought in two rusted handguns that they found in the lake as well. Though he didn't know much about the guns, Goodreau said they were extremely old.

Saturday's day-long clean up effort headed by Rhapsody Resort drew 400 volunteers, according to Bob Sprysl, director of marketing and sales. Volunteers came from Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Madison. Sprysl said people recovered tires, grills, lawn furniture, high chairs, jewelry, metal, picnic tables, motors, anchors and parts of broken piers.
The pic is by Trevor Kupfer, Wisconsin Dells Events.

Unrelated Quote of the Week

The BBA welcomed moves by the Office of Fair Trading to warn people about the risks of signing up to unsolicited and sometimes inappropriate debt advice which encourages them to switch from existing IVA plans to other debt management options.
And we have absolutely no financial interest in those IVA plans, we swear!

We're not U.S. Senators looking for sweet deals on refinancing, you know. We have standards.

Labels:

I have very little hope for this.

Fox joins animated 'Bob & Doug'

As in Bob and Doug McKenzie. As in Strange Brew.



But...animated.

TORONTO -- The Fox network has come on board the development of "The Animated Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie," a Canadian primetime cartoon for Canada's Global Television that reunites Second City TV alumni Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas.

Thomas, whose Los Angeles production shingle is Maple Palms Prods., said Monday that Fox came in on the pilot episode of a cartoon based on the SCTV characters Bob & Doug McKenzie, to be voiced by himself and Moranis.
Granted, FOX has done well with animated sitcoms in the past. Still. They're gonna screw this up.

Hat tip Vodkapundit

Just when I think John McCain has lost my vote forever

He starts talking dirty to me and I have to hesitate(well nuclear power is actually pretty clean but the lefty tree hugger types think its dirty)

Hey tree huggers you are going to have to get the juice for your plug in hybrids somewhere and guess what the two best clean options are

Nuclear Power and Clean Coal both which would free us from our dependence on OPEC Oil.

And they are real options unlike most of the ones the left wants us to do.

You see there are real ways to get our nation the energy it needs without destroying our standard of living.

Nukes lots of Nukes(yes that is my answer to a lot of the nations problems ;)

WSB Chris

"You can't have it."

Josh Schroeder, in response to MoveOn.org's "Not Alex" ad:



You can see MoveOn.org's ad here.

Nice work, Josh.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why don't we take liberals seriously, again?

Oh, right, that's why:

Richard Danzig, who served as Navy Secretary under President Clinton and is tipped to become National Security Adviser in an Obama White House, told a major foreign policy conference in Washington that the future of US strategy in the war on terrorism should follow a lesson from the pages of Winnie the Pooh, which can be shortened to: if it is causing you too much pain, try something else.

Mr Danzig told the Centre for New American Security: “Winnie the Pooh seems to me to be a fundamental text on national security.”

He spelt out how American troops, spies and anti-terrorist officials could learn key lessons by understanding the desire of terrorists to emulate superheroes like Luke Skywalker…
Luke Skywalker? Terrorists want to "emulate" "superheroes" like Luke Skywalker?

Do Al Quaeda terrorists spend a lot of time watching Western movies? How'd they like the new Indiana Jones? Were they as mad as everybody else about the Sopranos finale?

Oh, the Sopranos isn't a movie, you say? Well, Luke Skywalker wasn't a superhero, either.

Maybe he meant to say "superheroes like Jib."

Say, what did Osama think about the whole Jar Jar Binks thing? For him, or against him?

Hat tip Carol Platt Liebau.


MORE - Jim Geraghty:

…if we don't see John McCain soon holding up a copy of Winnie the Pooh in one hand and the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, written in part by Gen. David Petraeus, in the other, and pointing out that the next president will need to consult with the authors of the latter book instead of advisers who seek national security guidance in the former book, then the McCain campaign is missing a major, major opportunity...

Will there be a third Bush?

I hate to say it, but it's hard to write a headline about the possibility of future presidential candidates named Bush without sounding vaguely dirty.

(CNN) – For only the second time in nearly three decades, there won’t be a Bush on the presidential ballot this November. But that absence may not be a permanent one, the current White House occupants hinted Sunday.

…"One of the reasons George and his brother, Jeb, served in office is because they admired their father [Presient George H.W. Bush] so much," she (Laura Bush) said.

Asked whether that meant her husband was not “the last Bush," she responded: “Well, who knows. We'll see."
Jeb is 55. I think the country would need at least 8 years, maybe 12, before another Bush candidacy would be viable, so he won't be too old even by that time. Now he just has to stay in the spotlight somehow.

Or, don't forget, Jeb's wife was born in Mexico, and they've got three kids. And even I think George P. is good-looking.

Drill! Drill! Drill!

Sen. John McCain called yesterday for an end to the federal ban on offshore oil drilling, offering an aggressive response to high gasoline prices and immediately drawing the ire of environmental groups that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has courted for months.
Well, good. It makes zero sense for us not to drill off our own shores. Cuba/China and Brazil already are.

And I'm not the only one who thinks so:

67% of voters believe that drilling should be allowed off the coasts of California, Florida and other states. Only 18% disagree and 15% are undecided. Conservative and moderate voters strongly support this approach, while liberals are more evenly divided (46% of liberals favor drilling, 37% oppose).

Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters believe it is at least somewhat likely that gas prices will go down if offshore oil drilling is allowed, although 27% don’t believe it.
Nearly half of liberals want to drill.

Hat tip to Amanda Carpenter.

Various flood-oriented stories

I-94 Could be Closed for Weeks

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Authorities say Interstate 94 -- a major thoroughfare from Milwaukee to Madison -- could be closed for weeks.

Parts of the highway have been closed since flooding damaged much of southern Wisconsin in the week.

All lanes on Interstate 90-94 north of Madison were open by late Sunday, but I-94 westbound from Milwaukee between Delafield and Lake Mills is still closed.

…Wisconsin Emergency Management's Steve Olson says the reopening of westbound I-94 was not imminent.

Sharon Schmeling, chairwoman of the Jefferson County Board, says bridges must be inspected once the water recedes enough. She says that could delay the opening of the interstate for at least two weeks.
That's the red-colored bit of I-94 on the map below with the two little red balloons pointed at it.


View Larger Map

Luckily, there's a plan:

State Department of Transportation officials have executed an emergency contract to hire a company to build a crossover lane in the Johnson Creek area that will allow one lane of interstate traffic going eastbound and one lane going westbound.

The decision was made late Monday by state Transportation Secretary Frank Busalaachi. He said work crews were on the scene Tuesday morning getting the site ready for grading and paving.

"I just told them to do it," Busalaachi told the Journal Sentinel.

Busalaachi said he hoped the work would be completed by the end of the week.
So it'll be a slowdown, instead of an actual detour. This is road construction season. Wisconsinites are used to that kind of thing.

Here's something from the "he shouldn't have said that" file:

Busalacchi often commutes to Madison from his home in the Milwaukee area, and said he was personally inconvenienced by the closing of I-94.

"I'm getting hurt as much as anybody," he said.
Good thing he's not running for president, or somebody would make a mountain out of that statement.

More: Meeting tonight on future of Gays Mills

Residents of Gays Mills, Wis., will have a chance to learn about the future of their town tonight at a special meeting where the village board will present ideas to protect it from future floods.

An estimated 175 homes and businesses were affected last week when the Kickapoo River rose to 20.1 feet, more than 7 feet above flood stage. It was worse than the record flood of 1978, or the one just 10 months ago when the river level was within a hundredth of an inch of the record.

Some of the homes damaged last week were scheduled to be raised out of the flood plain.

One solution could be relocating the business district, something the upriver village of Soldiers Grove did after the 1978 flood.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Community Building on Main Street.
More: let's be careful out there:

MAUSTON — The Juneau County Sheriff’s Department says a man is dead after he took his motorcycle on a road closed due to flooding in Lemonweir Township.

Investigators say on Sunday afternoon the driver — a 43-year-old man from Friendship — ignored signs that a road was closed due to flood damage and drove around them.

They say he struck a washout and that caused him to lose control.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities say his passenger — a 45-year-old woman from Reedsburg — was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
It's not clear from the story whether the road was still flooded or not at the time. Standing water on the road makes it a lot harder to tell where the trouble spots are.

Crumbling and water-covered roads remain dangerous, even as the water is slowly receding, according to Columbia County Emergency Management Director Pat Beghin.

Beghin said Monday his greatest fear is that an unwitting motorist will drive around the barricades that indicate a closed road, end up in the water and possibly drown.
"People need to follow the signs," he said. "It's a high safety concern."

When water covers the roads, as they still do throughout Columbia County, it can be impossible to know whether there is already a sink hole or how soft the road is, or even if the road is still there.
Yeah, just ask that guy from the motorcycle accident. Or, rather, ask his passenger, since you can't ask him.

That situation happened on Highway 33 Monday, where a car was briefly stuck in a broken section of the road after trying to turn around.

Police have been giving out many warnings to motorists who drive around the barricades on closed roads, Portage police Assistant Chief Kevin O'Neill said.

"We don't put (the signs) up just for decoration," he said. "They find out very quickly there's a four-foot hole in the road."

It is up to the officer whether to issue a ticket — which would mean a fine of at least $83. The Portage Police Department issued at least one citation over the weekend to a motorist who ended up with his vehicle stuck in water along Highway 33, prompting a response by the Portage Police and the Portage Fire Department.

"(They are using) precious resources in an emergency," O'Neill said.
I drove out State 33 this morning from Baraboo to the I-90/94 onramp – or, rather, I almost drove to the onramp. That was closed, so I couldn't get near it.

But the trucks were there working on it, and the highway itself was just fine. The water is actually lower now than it was a week ago, I think.

Not that there aren't still some lakes out there, where there ought to be corn.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What an odd thing for a Democrat to say

According to TheHill.com:

"If they (Republicans) bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun," Obama said at a fundraiser in Philadelphia Friday, according to pool reports.
Y'know, I get the metaphor. This is nothing to get worked up about. He wasn't actually talking about fighting it out with knives and/or guns.

But if a Republican said that, you'd have liberal Democrats fainting with the vapors all over the place. Oh, the violence. Oh, the horror.

Sauk County's rivers are finally on the way down

According to the National Weather Service's Baraboo River Web site, the river crested at 25.95 feet high at about 12:30 a.m. Friday and had fallen to 23.8 feet high by 10 a.m. Sunday morning. It is projected to fall below the flood stage of 16 feet high by early Wednesday morning, the forecasters estimate.

Sauk County has "turned the corner," said Keith Tueit, a spokesman for the Sauk County Emergency Operations Center. Officials, emergency workers and community members are beginning the effort to recover from its effects.

In areas like Rock Springs, where there was deep flooding, utilities have been restored and community members are returning to their homes.

"The water levels have dropped, they are able to get in and begin pumping basements and restore some level of normalcy," Tueit said.
The fam and I went to the Dells yesterday to help out by spending some money – we played mini-golf (two holes-in-one, thank you very much) and went on a Duck tour.

If you've never ridden a Wisconsin Duck, do yourself a favor and do so. It's a great way to spend an hour, although...you'd have to go to a Burri family reunion to hear jokes worse than the ones the driver told.

On this day in history

1845 - First Free Public School Opened in Wisconsin

On this date the first free public school in Wisconsin was opened in Southport (now Kenosha).
Tomorrow in history, the first free public school's school board predicted disaster without an immediate increase in taxes.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

You can tell when they've scraped all the way through the bottom of the barrel...

...because the Journal Sentinel excerpted my Thursday column for their Best of the Wisconsin Blogs today.

Thanks for pointing it out, Mr. Pterodactyl. I'd never have noticed otherwise.

Happy Father's Day

The following post was written by Kevin Binversie.

As I write this I just wrapped up watching the touching tribute NBC News did for Meet the Press Moderator Tim Russert, and it ended with his 2007 Father's Day message in which he showed his profound love for both to his own father, "Big Russ," and his son, Luke.

That got me to get my dad on the phone, to at minimum wish him a Happy Father's Day. He, of course thanked me, then we joke about which one my brothers was taking him golfing today, and what the heck happened in the Crew's 12th inning last night against the Twins.

That's my Father's Day call with my dad; and I keep praying it's never the last one I have...

It's whenever anyone I know loses a father, I often take a bit of time to think - probably tearing up a bit - about the man my dad is, and how grateful I am to still get these gifts of extra Father's Days, birthdays, Thanksgivings, Christmases, and births of new grandchildren since the heart transplant. It's because of him, I know I'm the kind of person I am; but fear what I would be without him. Without his silence gazes which show exactly what he's thinking without utterance of a word; his drive and love of family, country, faith, the Crew, and the Pack. That there is nobleness in humility, hard work, patience, and never giving up.

Long have I thought, the sign of a good dad isn't how he raise his kids; it's how his own children raise theirs. We learn from the mistakes of his, but realize just why he did the things he did for us as we grew up. We learn sacrifice, what it means to have something to protect, the pain of seeing your child struggle, and the absolute joy of seeing them succeed.

No doubt all of us sees our own dad as 'the world's greatest,' and to each of us in our own subjective way, they are. As we grew up they told us stories, taught us how to throw, catch a ball, bait a hook, and right from wrong. God bless the world for Father. They are, and will forever be irreplaceable, no matter what the size of the government check or feminist rhetoric.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.

Rock River Flooding

If you don't have to be in in Fort Atkinson or Jefferson today or the next week, please don't be. Jefferson is basically closed down, and traffic in Fort Atkinson is heavy due to gawking, closed roads, and people taking detour short cuts. If you still feel compelled to be in the area, do the towns a favor and spend some money at local businesses.

Boycotting the AP

I use the AP as a news source a lot, particularly through Yahoo! News. I think I'm going to switch to Reuters:
I'm currently engaged in a legal disagreement with the Associated Press, which claims that Drudge Retort users linking to its stories are violating its copyright and committing "'hot news' misappropriation under New York state law." An AP attorney filed six Digital Millenium Copyright Act takedown requests this week demanding the removal of blog entries and another for a user comment.
[...]
It's pretty clear AP is just using its status as a big dog to bark at poor bloggers it believes cannot afford litigation costs. Unfortunately, the onus of proof is on the blogger to prove "fair use".

Well, that's kind of bullying needs some pushback. Effective immediately, Newshoggers is boycotting AP's content, including that from other sites that syndicate their stuff. We will find other sources - Reuters usually has the same stories and syndicates our BlogBurst feed on its websites without a problem - or we simply will find a different story to blog about. We urge you to join us in boycotting these bullies.

The AP has been making noises about this for a while. They are trying to protect their position by taking a stance that does not recognize fair use. Now that they are actually going through with it, I think a boycott just might send a nice message to the Associated Press on how precarious web traffic can be, and how it important it is to their financial models in the future.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Blueprint for a Wisconsin Republican Turn

Christian Schneider authors it at WPRI. I'm not even going to excerpt it...go read the whole thing. If I could add one thing, it would be for the party to solve their outstate/Milwaukee-Madison divide. And I hate to tell my 'outstate' roots this, but you folks have to do some bending on your part, too.

Happy Birthday

Fightin' Bob LaFollette, Jim Sensenbrenner, and Eric Heiden were all born on this date.

Wisconsin Delegate to Democratic Convention Declares for McCain

Wow.

Delegate’s reversal stuns party - Wisconsin Democrat now publicly supports McCain

Washington - As an avid supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries, Debra Bartoshevich is not alone in her frustration over Clinton's defeat.

She’s not alone in refusing to support Barack Obama.

And she’s not entirely alone in saying she’ll vote this fall for Republican John McCain instead.

But what makes her unusual is that she holds these views as an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.
Sounds like the Dem chairman was a little flustered.

Joe Wineke, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, reacted with disbelief when first told Friday afternoon that one of his state party delegates is now a McCain supporter.

“Not a delegate? To the national convention?” said Wineke, who was getting ready for the start of the Wisconsin state party convention Friday in Stevens Point.

“We have a Clinton national (convention) delegate who says she’s voting for John McCain?” Wineke repeated, for clarification. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

...Asked if publicly supporting the other party’s presidential nominee could affect a delegate’s convention status, Wineke said, “I never thought I’d ever get a question like this.”

After some preliminary checking, Wineke said he assumed Bartoshevich would remain a delegate.
Couple thoughts: a lot of the media on the Dem convention has emphasized how upbeat and optimistic Democrats are. Yet we keep seeing stories like this, and like the pro-Clinton anti-Obama groups I wrote about yesterday.

That's going to mean something, come November.

Also, as much as I appreciate Ms. Bartoshevich's sowing of chaos within Democrat ranks, she really ought to resign as a delegate, if not from the Party entirely.

More: Sean linked to this story of angry turmoil within the Florida Democratic Party:

So much for party unity: As Florida Dems prepare for Saturday’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner aimed at bringing the party “together once and for all,” a spat over the Obama campaign’s decision to replace some already-designated Florida delegates with Obama backers has intensified.

And how. DNC member Jon Ausman late Thursday e-mailed Dems (and reporters) choice sections of what he says were e-mails from Obama’s Florida finance chair Kirk Wagar — in which Wagar curses Ausman out and criticizes Sen. Bill Nelson and party director Leonard Joseph.

The highlights: “You (Jon Ausman) f&^%ed us. We are dealing with it. You need to accept the fact that you f*&^ed us.”

And of Nelson: “I am getting very sick of (Senator) Nelson making a bad situation worse.”
I've asked the question before: will the Democrats even waste their time contesting Florida?

Oh...

Times like these, I start to forget my policy of not cursing in public.

Pardeeville Dam Partially Breaches; Flooding Problems Persist

MADISON, Wis. -- State officials said the Pardeeville dam is partially breaching Saturday.

Columbia County authorities are evacuating all affected homes.

Wisconsin Emergency Management spokesman Tim Le Monds said the situation is serious.

It's not clear yet how many people are being evacuated or how many homes are threatened.

Kathy Johnson, Columbia County Deputy director of emergency management, said the dam itself is holding but water is getting out and has eroded half of state highway 22. That's the main street in town and she said it's being eroded to the center line.

She said all gas, electric, sewer and water utilities have been shut off to homes north of the dam, and people are being told downstream and in other low lying areas to watch out. Those areas include the Fox River west of Pardeeville, Lower Lake, Spring Lake and Swan Lake.
UPDATE - Here's a better description of what's happening.

Flood of 08

Your intrepid Beloit/Janesville correspondent snapped this picture along the Rock River.


It's the Trailhead Park and boat launch in Janesville on Afton Road, around 12:30pm yesterday - more launch than park. There's also a new lake just south of Afton and the new pheasant farm.

Tim Russert Dead

Poltical commentator & news show host Tim Russert is dead.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

More Flooding Photos

Since we are covering the Great Flood of '08, I thought I'd share this shot from Fort Atkinson. I don't think this is what the community meant by "River Park." As a little context for everyone, this is Highway 106, which curls along the Rock River as it leaves town. The river itself is normally on the left of this image, but today it dominates the scene. I've yet to talk with anyone who can remember the flooding ever being this bad in town.

Iowa's taking it pretty hard, too

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Rising water from the Cedar River forced the evacuation of a downtown hospital Friday after residents of more than 3,000 homes fled for higher ground. A railroad bridge collapsed, and 400 city blocks were under water.
Four hundred city blocks. Wow.

The hospital's 176 patients, including about 30 patients in a nursing home facility at the hospital, were being evacuated to other hospitals in the region. The evacuation started late Thursday night and continued Friday morning in the city of 124,000 residents.
And:

In Des Moines, 100 miles to the southwest, officials issued a voluntary evacuation order for much of downtown and other areas bordering the Des Moines River.
Some really amazing AP pictures here, including:



And:



Know how you get a picture like that? By running like hell and having your finger accidentally hit the button at exactly the right moment.

A little flood news:

Actually, just a personal report. Last night, the Baraboo area was very nearly completely cut off from the rest of the state due to flooded roads and highways, and a mudslide on Highway 12 where it goes through the bluffs.

Parts of I-90/94 and I-39 were closed down. State roads south of town had been closed for a while already - those are below the river bed, so no big surprise there. State 33 was pretty chancy even when I drove home around 4 in the afternoon - big pools of standing water in a few places narrowed the road to a single lane.

Funny little bit of irony: one of the newscasts last night told us that the only way in or out of Baraboo by car was via the Merrimac Ferry.


View Larger Map

That's right. The only way to drive in or out, at the height of a Hundred Year Flood, was to take a boat across a lake.

Anyway, my wife and kids had gone to Milwaukee/Racine/Kenosha Thursday to visit various people, and by the time I'd been home for an hour it came pretty clear that driving back Thursday night in the dark and the rain in a probably-vain hope of finding an open and relatively safe road was a really bad idea. So they stayed at Grandma's house and got to driving back this morning.

Now it's quarter past three, and they're still not home. They got detoured off I-94 by Johnson Creek, then got back on until Madison, then went over to Hwy 12 (which is open again now) because I-90/94 is still closed.

And, because I-90/94 is still closed, as you can imagine, traffic on Hwy 12 is slow and tight.

Could be worse, though. It could still be a 2-lane the whole way up.

And it could be worse: our house could be down where the flooding is. It's not.

I'm going to go out and get some pictures tomorrow.

The Wisconsin Sign of the Times

The Hwy 16 Bridge in Oconomowoc was closed to traffic both ways today due to, you guessed it high water.
Of course there is always someone who thinks the BRIDGE OUT signs are a joke or a suggestion.
I guess this little sign is the reason for our closed road that when the water gets to a certain point the State DOT mandates the Bridge be closed until the water recedes.

The funny/sad part of this is you could have taken pictures like this or much worse in so many parts of the State.

Good thing Jim Doyle and Obama are here to protect us ;) lol

Here is to hoping your basement is still dry even if you are a Lib(unless your name is Mike or Tim)

WSB Chris

Best flood headline...

...was in today's Fond du Lac Reporter:

Pool openings delayed due to flooding
That's irony, is what that is.

This, on the other hand, isn't:

It's hard to stay out of the water in one neighborhood in front of the Baraboo River- which ironically is on Water Street.
No, it would be ironic if the neighborhood was on Dry Street, or Desert Street, or something like that. That it's Water Street is just an odd and (if the circumstances were different) funny coincidence.

www.Clintons4McCain.com

That's one of - it appears - a great many websites for and by Democrats who have no intention of supporting Barack Obama in November.

Here's a little bit I snipped from their website:

...we are NOT accepting Sen. Obama to represent us in the White House. He doesn't represent us, or grassroots Americans. He represents elitism, class warfare, demagoguery, race-baiting and misogyny. That's his vision for America and the Democratic Party, not ours.
They've got YouTube channels, too.



Chris Lato over at WisPundits.com led me to all this. He also posts a video featuring Jon Cusack making some political point – I refused to watch that one, on the grounds that I love Jon Cusack and it may ruin him for me as an actor.

One more thing: there's another group with the same agenda called "P.U.M.A.," which stands for "Party Unity My Ass." Considering some of the spokespeople these groups have chosen, that's also a nice little double entendre. If you're into that kind of modern-day vernacular, that is.

Guns Are The Problem?

Several Wisconsin bloggers are discussing open carry right now, highlighting the foolishness of allowing someone to carry a gun for protection without allowing them to conceal it. I've been waiting for the "gun issue" to resurface again so that I could ask one simple question:

If you believe that strict gun control (I'm looking at you, Mr. Mathias) is the answer to gun violence tell me which you would prefer: walking around the North side of Milwaukee with a hundred dollar bill taped to your forehead, or walking around a rifle range with a hundred dollar bill taped to your forehead.

If you answer the question honestly, and do not try to change the subject you will demonstrate to yourself quite easily that it's not guns that are the problem. It's the people who operate them.

Next, we can discuss whether gun control would actually prevent people who operate guns poorly from getting them.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Re: AFP Blogger Training

I must say, it was great to meet some new bloggers in Madison on Wednesday, to see Steve from NRE again, and to finally meet Lance Burri. I had someone snap a photo of of Lance and I together. Lance is the tall one:




















Yeah, I didn't know he was part Chinese, either.

Re: The tale of two commodities

Tee Bee,

Tully's article reminds us that supply and demand work in all markets. I remember him saying when houses became overpriced people stopped buying them. Now, house prices are coming back to realistic levels and people are starting to buy houses again.

Seems to me the same is true for the oil market. Evidence in the shutdown of heavy vehicle production, stats showing we are really using less gasoline etc all point to the fact supply and demand work in oil markets as well.

Are there differences in the markets? Sure there are, but the laws of supply and demand are not one of those. Again, every analyst I read who says oil is overpriced says they are looking at the short term. Reports have it there is a lot of oil bobbing on the waves, waiting for higher prices as long as signs keep pointing to sharply higher prices what incentive does someone sitting on three or four tankers of oil have to bring the oil to market?

Dells Ducks Deployed

I'm watching NBC 15's storm coverage right now, and they're reporting that the Wisconsin Ducks - the WWII-era amphibious vehicles that are used for river tours up in the Dells - are being deployed to the Baraboo area to help in evacuation and rescue efforts.

The Ducks - including the ones in Wisconsin Dells - were built in the 1940s for use in wartime amphibious landings. They were used extensively in the Pacific and on D-Day.

Here's a fact sheet, and a little history.

So I went to the AFP blogger training last night...

...for several reasons, one of which was: I'd never met at least one blogger I knew was going to be there. That was Jib, our own fearless leader, whom I've known for years yet never laid eyes on.

So that was cool. Here, I snapped a picture for those of you who still haven't met him: