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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Well, I'm here.

Arrived in Minnesota today - first Saint Paul, where I spent an hour admiring the vast security surrounding the Xcel Center, then the convention center in Minneapolis, where I picked up my credentials.

At this point, as readers probably know, the convention itself is in a state of flux. Since Hurricane Gustav is about to hit the Louisiana coast, Monday's convention activities have been cancelled. That includes speeches by President Bush and V.P. Cheney, who'd already cancelled their appearances in any case.

The McCain campaign put out a statement regarding all that today.

Rick Davis, campaign manager for John McCain 2008, announced that the upcoming Republican National Nominating Convention is making serious revisions to the convention program and surrounding activities. Davis said, "We are deeply concerned about the safety and welfare of the residents of the Gulf State region. Our top priority is to assist those who will be affected by Hurricane Gustav. This is not a time for politics or celebration; it is a time for us to come together as Americans and assist the residents of the Gulf States."
The statement also says they have to start the convention tomorrow, on the 1st, because of a resolution the RNC passed last year.

I think they could probably convene, then suspend, and re-convene at another time, but it's a little hard to believe they'd do that, considering the amount of effort that's gone into the convention so far.

A little hard to believe, but not beyond the realm of possibility. I think the DNC's decision to "award" delegates from Michigan and Florida based on elections that didn't occur proves that there are ways around past decisions.

Back to convention changes: I understand the Democrats have followed suit and suspended their "war room" due to the hurricane, although with the Republicans suspending activities, there isn't a whole lot for a war room to do anyway.

ST. PAUL - Democrats in town to staff an aggressive "war room" operation during the GOP convention have instead laid down their arms as Hurricane Gustav bears down on the Gulf Coast.

Republicans announced a dramatic rewrite Sunday of their convention script, dropping political speeches from Monday's program. So, Democrats are responding in kind.

A Sunday media tour of the party's operation in St. Paul that was to have featured Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar was abruptly canceled.

And with the cancellation of Monday's convention appearances by President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, Democrats shelved a "More of the Same" rally that was to have featured hundreds of protesters. A news event featuring Reps. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, and Hilda Solis, D-Calif., was also canceled.
I, obviously, am disappointed, but there's not a whole lot to be done about it. If Hurricane Gustav does turn out to be a big'un, if there is lots of damage, neither side can really be up here playing politics at the same time. It's bad politics, not to mention bad taste.

I have a couple pictures for you. MSNBC has a big stage set up for their operation in a small park near the Xcel Center:

Not sure what they'll be doing, if the convention is suspended - probably talking about how the convention is suspended, and trying to keep protesters out of the shot.

I saw some Code Pinksters in Minneapolis, where delegates were gathering at the convention center:

And this truck. I just liked the paint job:

Run, Han!

More tomorrow, whether or not there's any official convention business going on.

God Bless the people on the Gulf Coast.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

WIL - Labor Day

I wasn't going to blog today...

I swear, blogging is like crack. Just had to mention: I wrote a column for the Baraboo News Republic* about the impending start to the Republican National Convention and my involvement therewith. Y'know, in case anybody was interested.

Anyway, they'll be publishing daily updates from me while I'm in Saint Paul next week. If you want, you can find them at

This is my last post until tomorrow, late afternoon, at the earliest. I swear.

Go Badgers!

* All you guys writing for the MJS and the Waukesha Freeman...try not to be jealous. We can't all rate the BNR.

And the children shall lead them...

Criticizing Sarah Palin's experience, are we? Elliot says:

She’s rubber, Obama’s glue, everything you say bounces off her and sticks to You-Know-Who.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Che Obama

From Uppity Woman (with a little help from Patrick from Badger Blogger):

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Somebody forwarded this to me today.

Why am I excited about going to the Republican National Convention?

This is why:

We were doing what journalists do at major news events, namely, whine that there is no news, when James got a text-message tip that there was a bird-porn protest going on in downtown Denver.

…Minutes later we arrived at a busy street corner where a woman was holding up a sign that said, ''DEMOCRATS STOP BIRD PORN!'' She was with two men, one with a bullhorn, who were handing out leaflets that said, ''BIRD WATCHERS ARE VOYEURS!'' and ``LEAVE THE BIRDS ALONE!''

I spoke to the sign woman, Anaida Krok, and the bullhorn man, Ed Brenner. Their position, if I understand them correctly, is that bird-watchers are perverts who enjoy watching birds have sex, and this must be stopped.
It is now my life's goal to find a protest even more ridiculous than this one.

Hat tip James Lileks.

McCain picks Palin


Oh yeah, I called this:


Both Either McCain and or Obama will choose female Vice Presidential candidates.

Yes, I waffled on this prediction right after I made it.

Bonus prediction: the term “running mate” will quickly fall from favor.
But I also agreed with this:

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.
Although, if it were the father of a baby with Down’s Syndrome, would anyone be concerned?

I am a little concerned about her experience – only two years as Governor. She was active in state-level politics before that, but…well, I’ve been pretty critical of Democrats choosing Obama for exactly this reason.

On the other hand, maybe McCain chose her just to goad Democrats into talking about experience. This from Talkleft, via Instapundit:

Let me also add that when Tim Kaine, who has exactly the same experience as Palin, was treated by the Media and the Dems as a serious and acceptable potential pick, it opens up charges of a double standard.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Okay, so I’m just about ready…

…for my trip to the Republican National Convention next week.

And when I post my first post from Saint Paul, I’ll be standing on the shoulders of friends. That could be kinda awkward, since one of them is a lot taller than the other, but luckily I’m not being quite that literal. My friend Mary Jan has generously loaned me her laptop computer, and my friend Ellen has generously loaned me her modem card. My ability to blog while in Saint Paul would’ve been severely limited without the two of them.

I don’t know whether they wanted their names out on the internet like this, but I want to thank them publicly (thank you!), so I’m compromising by not including their last names.

I’ve also purchased a Flip Ultra camcorder – itty bitty thing, but boy it takes good video for the size and price (purchased on Todd Lohenry's advice - thanks Todd). I’m pleased. And I’ve found a free (the perfect price!) online video editor, and a free audio recorder and editor. Haven’t had time to become expert at either of them, but I’ll be able to bring you first-hand – if amateur – looks at all the various goings-on in Saint Paul.

All that’s left to do now is to pack, make a whole bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and I’m off!

As of now, I’m only aware of Christian Schneider, Sean Hackbarth, and Owen Robinson among Wisconsin bloggers planning to attend. Are there any others out there? And what do you suppose the odds are we’ll all find ourselves in the same place at the same time? And if we do, what are the odds the top of my head will be cut off in the inevitable picture?

"A significant difference between WMC and WEAC," indeed.

One becomes accustomed to a certain amount of self-delusion among political junkies, both Left and Right, but, wow. Paul Soglin has re-set the standard here:

I find a significant difference between WMC and WEAC. I admit that my opinion my be colored by my politics, but the issue ads purchased by WEAC are far more accurate than the poisonous, deceptive commericals aired by WMC.
Yes, very different. Like the WEAC ad, which the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s Mike McCabe – no Kool-Aid-drinking Rightie, him – called: “one of the trashiest political ads I've ever seen. Pure sleaze.”

Right-wing commentators – myself included, Charlie Sykes included – were quite critical of Gableman’s and/or WMC’s anti-Butler ads. Partisanship must be more important to Soglin than to us.

Soglin continues:

There is a second more significant difference between WMC and WEAC.

WEAC's funds come from its Wisconsin members. WMC's funds, predominately, come from out of state corporations like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, General Electric, and insurance companies. It is estimated that for every $4 million raised by WMC that between one half and two-thirds comes from these out of state corporations.
Admit it: you’re stunned into silence. The complete denial - it can't possibly be ignorance - of what WEAC and WMC are is simply gobsmacking in its delusional depth.

I, like you, am stunned...nearly to silence, but as a self-declared pundit, I soldier on. I work past it. For you. The reader.

Soglin is aware that WEAC is a union, right? And that union dues are mandatory. Right? You can’t work in a union shop without paying the dues. You can’t be a public school teacher without being a member of WEAC. Without paying the dues.

The dues WEAC uses to fund its political agenda.

WEAC’s “Wisconsin members” are members whether they like it or not. WEAC takes its political positions on behalf of all its members, whether they like it or not. They're stuck.

WMC’s supporters, on the other hand, may leave that organization any time they see fit. They don't have to help pay for WMC's political agenda. They don't have to be associated with it. No one is forcing WMC's members - the way WEAC's members are forced - to take part.

That's a difference, all right.

Well that would make for some great pictures!

Or it would, except it's just a big tease.

Headline: Democrats to be out in force at GOP meet:

MINNEAPOLIS - Delegates to the Republican National Convention who are traveling into downtown St. Paul next week will be treated to a billboard-sized welcome from the other party.

The Democratic National Committee bought billboard space to display a picture of John McCain embracing President Bush with the message, "Does this look like change to you?"

"We're going to spend every day looking for every opportunity to remind voters in the Twin Cities and across the country that a vote for John McCain is a vote for George W. Bush and his failed policies," said Damien LaVera, a spokesman for the DNC.
Quick question: if McCain wins, will that mean voters liked the idea of “a vote for George W. Bush and his failed policies?”

Anyway: saying “Democrats to be out in force” implies large numbers. Other than the billboard and a rapid-response office (like the one Republicans have in Denver), the article says only that they’ll be holding “daily press conferences.”

I’m sure there’ll be plenty of Code Pinksters and anarchists and communists and other various and sundry subgenres of the liberal stripe in attendance, so that’ll be fun. Still, that headline was nothing but a big tease.

As a conservative Republican...

...Big tip of the hat to Fred for finding this:

Unfortunately, the comments on Fred's post got stupid in a hurry.

This was my favorite part. Gave me a little chill:

As a conservative Republican, I’m proud of my country. I’m proud that our country is seen as the place, where if you want the best chance to realize your dream, this is the place to come to.

I don’t think we’re better than anybody else. This is America. We are everybody else.


The McCain campaign released some attire etiquette tips for anyone planning to attend Barack Obama's acceptance speech tonight - you know, the one in the Barackopolis. The "Temple of Obama." The mock Greek temple from which Obama will descend to speak.

Here's the link. Make sure and look through the Examples of Inappropriate Conduct at the end.

Drill, drill, drill!

Sean, the new Online Communications Advisor for the Senate Republican Conference, passed this on from Glenn:
Why Offshore Drilling Can Bridge Gap to U.S. Energy Future.
The Democratic and Republican conventions have arrived amidst a litany of calls for government-sponsored energy projects on the level of Apollo. Despite progress in fields from solar to wind and batteries to biofuels, Popular Mechanics’ editor-in-chief says Americans should be careful what we wish for—scientists have more to offer than politicians.

Sean also asked what I was up to this weekend, and I'm sorta embarrassed to say I'm waiting for my new best friend, Joe Biden - we've been emailing - to invite me out to Kennebunkport or wherever it is the family gathers for summer holidays. I hope he sends the jet, not the chopper - I hate to fly in anything that's held together with a 'Jesus bolt'.

Re: Did anybody else notice

I have to say that Jay is right about the Olympians with tattoos thing, but I mostly saw tattoos among the runners and other athletes who are old enough to get them without asking mommy's permission.

What I was thinking yesterday in group after group of students covered in ink at the college was:

How long before I'm the oddity - the one with uncartooned, unpierced (except for ears), or otherwise altered skin - and that, dare I say naked, expanse of skin becomes the benchmark of beauty?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Re: Last Chance, Hillary!


I turned my TV on just as New Mexico was going on and on about how beautiful their state is. Whoever was speaking yielded to Illinois, which then yielded to New York, and after a lengthy speech whoever that was yielded to Hillary, who moved to stop the voting and nominate Obama by acclimation.

The chair asked for ayes (roar!), then asked for nays and instantly declared that the ayes had it. No chance for any holdouts to make any noise. There was some noise, but you couldn't tell if it was wannabe-nayers or just a more general cheer.

It was quite a dramatic thing to do. Historic. A very cool ending to the nomination drama.

I am so disappointed.

So now I'm looking to see what the delegate counts were at the time Hillary made her motion. Haven't found it yet.

Last chance, Hillary!

HotAir links to this from the Las Vegas Sun:

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are working on a deal to give her some votes in the roll call for the Democratic presidential nomination, but quickly end the divided balloting in unanimous consent for Obama.

Democratic officials involved in the negotiations said Monday the idea is that at the start of the state-by-state vote for the presidential nomination Wednesday night, delegates would cast their votes for Clinton or Obama.

But the voting would be cut off after a couple of states, the officials said, perhaps ending with New York, when Clinton herself would call for unanimous backing for Obama from the convention floor. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity while the deal was being finalized.

Clinton said she has told her delegates she will vote for Obama, but she would not instruct them how to vote.
Wouldn’t it be fun if Clinton were ahead in the count at the moment she steps forward to cut the voting off?

And wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall while Obama's people discuss preventing that, and also what to do if she doesn't step forward on cue?

More from the DNC: wanna see some more pics of former-Clinton-now-McCain voters?

Pajamas Media has them.

My favorites:

I know predictions like this are meaningless to the point of explosive decompression, but… is predicting a Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma matchup in this year’s Fiesta Bowl, January 5. A BCS matchup.

That would be sweet.

They’ve also got Ohio St., Illinois, and Penn St. playing on January 1, with the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl.

If it's the government failing to provide somebody's health care, is that somehow better?

Writing at, Merrill Matthews lists several examples of nations with “universal” health care failing to provide care:

The Times of London ran a story in 2006 asserting: “Patients are being denied appointments with consultants in a systematic attempt to ration care and save the NHS money, The Times has learnt. . . . Leaked documents passed to The Times show that while ministers promise patients choice, a series of barriers are being erected limiting GPs’ [general practitioners] rights to refer people to consultants.”

…Health care reformers often claim or imply that the U.S. health care system is terrible, while countries like England provide quality care for everyone, and for less money. That’s simply not a balanced assessment.
Matthews notes, as I have in the past, that our system isn’t perfect. Under our system, people can and sometimes do go without. But people can and sometimes do go without under “universal,” single-payer, government-run health care, too.

At least in our system, we can work to get better insurance, more money, etc. We can improve our own situations. Once the government's taken over, though, everyone's gone just as far as it's possible to go.

Doyle politicking on taxpayer money?

Charlie and Owen both pointed out the press release on a state website, touting Governor Doyle’s speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention. The page includes a link to the convention website, which, it seems to me, is using state resources for a political purpose.

I was also alerted via email today that Doyle’s public office released a transcript of his speech, printed on official state letterhead.

Kinda makes you wonder who wrote the thing.

"Healthy Wisconsin" not so healthy, election-wise?

State Democrats are "backing away" from their so-called “Healthy Wisconsin” plan:

When Senate Democrats unsuccessfully pushed a plan to give health coverage to every person in the state last year, they all voted for it together.

But though health-care reform remains a top issue for Democrats on the campaign trail, incumbent and first-time candidates are no longer united in embracing the $15 billion plan, and some are backing away from it.

…"I don't think they're backing away from it," said Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, who has derided the plan as government-run health care. "They're running away at this point. We have our challenger candidates talking about the issue."
But, gee, I’ve been watching the Democratic National Convention, and the economy just stinks. People are hurting. They need the government’s help.

Why, in today’s environment, would Democrats be backing – or running – away from the biggest thing on their agenda?

Libertarians debate, but nobody listens

Okay, so that’s not fair. They got some media coverage, so their positions did get out to the public, even though the public didn’t attend.

WISCONSIN DELLS — Third Congressional District Libertarian candidates Ben Olson III and Kevin Barret faced off in a small debate Sunday night aboard Capt. Chris Soma's boat in Wisconsin Dells.

The two called the debate to give the public an opportunity to hear their perspectives on the health care system, Social Security, the war in Iraq and more. A dozen members of the public, including family and friends, attended the debate.
The story lists views on social security, health care, the economy, education, the war, etc. Answers were typically libertarian, although not hard-core libertarian – no calls for abolishing social security, for example. And Barrett said he supports a single-payer health care system, although “that doesn’t mean I believe in it philosophically.”

Way to have it both ways, Kev. Love how they misspelled your name throughout the story.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So I've had the Democratic National Convention on the TV since I came home...

...and it's nowhere near as much fun as the Olympics. Speech after speech after speech after speech after speech, either complaining about how things are and/or blaming President Bush and/or horrified that McCain might become president, seeing as how things are so bad already.

Okay, so they do say this or that about a new "greener America." Fine, I guess, as long as they're not talking about the color balance on my TV.

They really do seem to be stressing that greener America theme. I missed Baldwin's and Doyle's speeches (I guess I could go looking for the transcripts). At least one of them was supposed to talk about health care. That would've been gut wrenching, I'm sure.

Until Gov. Mark Warner (Virginia, I think?) came on, nobody was even listening. Or it didn't seem so. Lots of milling around going on, and who can blame them? How many speeches can the average human being listen to?

So I'm coming to the conclusion that these speeches are really nothing more than ego bonuses for a whole bunch of mid-majors who can't quite qualify for a January bowl.

Deb Bartoshevich isn’t the only one

Seen in Denver: a Hillary shirt; a McCain button. On the same woman, and no, she’s not blind.

Thirty-five years I voted Democrat, I'm voting for John McCain. I'd rather have four years of John McCain and the same and have a chance that Hillary will come back and win than have Barack Obama, who talked about change and hope with no substance. I'd just rather have McCain in. I think we have a better chance with McCain on terrorism.
It’s true: if Obama wins, Clinton would have to wait at least four, more likely eight years, and even then might have to run against an incumbent V.P. Elect McCain, and she gets another shot in only four short years. If the words “President Clinton” make you smile (from satisfaction, not amusement), you may want to take note.

Although I wonder how many readers of this blog smile at those words.

This might be why...

...people tend to become more Republican as they age:

My God that thing is ugly.

Did anybody else notice…

…that very few of the Olympic athletes had tattoos? Outside the men’s basketball team, that is.

I wonder how long until we have an 18-year-old gymnast with one of those full-sleeve arm tattoos. Or a swimmer with a big flag on his chest. Or a female volleyball player with a tramp stamp that says: “Keep that camera off mine, or I'll stuff it up yours.”

I’m actually with Ed on this one.

Ed Garvey writes:

Bill Dixon and I joined Bishop Desmond Tutu outside the South African embassy in a march for an end to Apartheid. It was a thrill.
I’m assuming that’s something that happened years ago.

Tutu would gently prod this country to deal with race starting with slavery. We didn't follow his advice. Wish we had but we have a chance now.
Okay, that was a little weird. Desmond Tutu was born 68 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and 65 years after the end of the Civil War. We had, therefore, already dealt with slavery.

But here’s the part I agree with:

We must call on the people of this country to join MLK, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and deal with the fact that Barack is black. Talk about it, write about it, refuse to accept the notion that white Americans in the 21st Century won't vote for a black American.

Bob Herbert, writing in the NYT today, acknowledged that race is a major factor. He quoted a union leader who said, "We've been talking with staff...we're all struggling to some extent with the problem of white workers who will not vote for Obama because of his color. It is a very powerful thing to get over."
I honestly hope that’s not the case. I what we’re really seeing here is a longtime Democrat activist helping set the stage for a possible Obama defeat. Paving the way to scream “Racism!” if Obama loses in November.

But I also hope that I’m being way too cynical when I think that.

It’s the 21st century. We can base our votes on a candidate’s positions, speeches, beliefs, and yes, on a candidate’s life story. But we just can’t base our votes on race. It's like voting for or against someone because of their hair color. It doesn't make sense.

Of course, one could say the same thing about those planning to vote Obama because he’s black, couldn’t one?

Stuff about the Democratic National Convention

Lots of web-based news coming out of Denver that you didn’t see on CSPAN. A brief roundup:

James Lileks – one of my favorite writers – is there, and blogging about it here. He’s actually on the inside, with warnings about security procedures at the front door. They confiscated an apple from him, “because it could be thrown,” which is true, but they’re also supplying the press with meatballs, which are far more aerodynamic.

Which leads me to wonder whether they’re concerned somebody might throw something, or simply that said person might miss.

Pajamas Media has pictures of protesters and counter-protesters – or maybe they’re better described as parallel protesters, since they’re all protesting the same thing for different reasons – here. A sample:

PJM also has a long report (worth the read) about a fizzled attempt at an anarchist invasion that has me re-thinking my plan to spend a day among the protesters in St. Paul.

Stephen Green and Michelle Malkin nearly started a riot by…well, basically by standing still on a public street. Video here – the mob scene starts a few minutes in.

(Okay, not exactly a riot or mob scene - more of a single loudmouth who sees a chance at some free media coverage. Does seem an awful lot like bullying harrassment. Note, too, how many cameras you can see.)

Oh, and if you’re interested in an outside view of the convention from somebody who actually sympathizes with the Democrat point of view, Folkbum contributor Keith Schmitz is there.

Wisconsin's Rep. Tammy Baldwin and Gov. Jim Doyle are scheduled to speak - among several dozen others, it appears - tonight, before The Hillary takes the stage.

Re: Calling Feingold a liar

Bert's sadly out-of-touch screed takes another hit:

[McCain] is an unstable bridge back not just to Bush policies but to an increasingly distant 20th-century America that is still fighting Red China in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in the cold war.

Russian President Medvedev:
We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new Cold War... If they want to preserve good relations with Russia in the West, they will understand the reason behind our decision [to invade sovereign Georgia in order to militarily support Georgian rebel enclaves*].

Maybe Bert will take issue with British Foreign Minister David Milband's statement that the "widest possible coalition against Russia's aggressiun [sic] in Georgia" should be formed.

*This should be sending those "Iraq is an illegal war" peeps over the edge. Illegal war, Russia!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Calling Feingold a liar?

Bert at Folkbum clips a Frank Rich column:

McCain's trigger-happy temperament and reactionary policies offer worse than no change. He is an unstable bridge back not just to Bush policies but to an increasingly distant 20th-century America that is still fighting Red China in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in the cold war.
But wait a minute: Russ Feingold told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Yes, he shows temper. But he burns fast, and he doesn't let it cloud his judgment. He would not be a loose cannon in the Oval Office," said Feingold. "It's not like he's going to pick up the red phone in a rage."

…"the notion that somehow (McCain) is going to get in there and be some kind of ideological Newt Gingrich right-winger is a joke. There's no way that he would do that," Feingold said.
Hey, Bert, you callin’ Russ a liar?

Re: Denver Just Became Boring

No no no! It's gotta be some kind of a trick. SHE'S GOTTA HAVE SOMETHING STILL UP HER SLEEVE.

Ah, well, it could've been fun.

Oh, and I can't believe Hillary'd give up on the presidency - maybe she'd take a Cabinet position, but only until the time came to run for Governor of New York.

Or maybe Illinois.

Who's In Charge Here

From Henry Payne via

Wonder if that is a child safety seat that meets the approval of our outgoing State Mom, Sen. Carol Roessler (RINO-Booster Seats for Life).

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Re: Denver Boring

Not so fast.

When the buzz began about Hill "releasing her delegates," I wondered if that had any formal meaning, as in, now they MUST vote for Obama.

Does anyone know? Because, if not, she looks magnanimous, they can still vote for Hillary, and she can still rock this convention. Why else would the Clintons broker a vote at the convention?

The only alternative I see, which correlates with Biden as a veep pick, is that deals have been struck for Hil to have something she considers more advantageous - a SCOTUS seat, or a promised cabinet seat as Secretary of State. Biden's cred and committee chairmanships would make this a smooth deal for Lady Macbeth.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Denver Just Became Boring

Hillary Clinton has decided that the political game is a marathon and not a sprint. She's releasing her delegates.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, hoping to unite the Democratic Party and cement her future in it, will gather her hard-won primary delegates Wednesday at a reception where she is expected to formally release them to Barack Obama.

The New York senator has invited her pledged delegates to a reception at the Colorado Convention Center, not far from the main Democratic National Convention arena.

The high-profile gathering of political regulars who once fought against Obama serves a dual purpose for Clinton: Show fellow Democrats that she can be a team player, and display her still-formidable political strengths for the future. Many of her supporters want her to run for president again.

The only question left is will Hillary truly be a team player, or will the Clintons maneuver to ensure her a shot against John McCain in 2012?

I've found McCain's Veep

McCain should pick this guy:

WASHINGTON - It took seven years, but Charles Ulrich did something many people dream about, but few succeed at: He beat the IRS in a tax dispute.

Not only that, but tax experts say potentially millions of other taxpayers could benefit from his victory.

The accountant from Baxter, Minn., challenged the method the IRS has used for more than 20 years to tax shares and cash distributed by mutual life insurance firms to their policyholders when they reorganize as public companies.

A federal court recently agreed with his interpretation.

"There's a tremendous amount of money at stake," said Robert Willens, a New York City-based tax analyst at Robert Willens LLC. "Tens of thousands of people could be in line for a refund."
Upside: he's determined, hardworking, never gives up, and has already done more for the taxpayers than a lot of elected officials ever will.

Downside: he's 72, so the age issue gets worse.

He's got a website at

Googling McCain's Pick

This column I wrote in June is coming up fourth right now when you google the phrase "McCain's Pick."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Town Ripped Apart

Cross-posted at THEB.

A break from the usual political discussion.

ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill contributes this article to the network’s outstanding Outside The Lines feature, this time spotlighting a small town in western New York ripped apart over a hazing incident on a school athletic bus which involved the sexual assault of two boys while the baseball team’s coaches did nothing to prevent the assault.

Now, three varsity players and the coaches are facing criminal charges in the sexual assault of two JV players in what may have been an annual occurrence: the hazing of younger players.

The town is divided, with many supporting the team’s coaches. But law enforcement maintains, after conducting 30 interviews of players, that this has been going on for years under the watch of the team’s coaches.

Read the whole thing. It’s worth the time.

The players who committed the assault should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And yes, whether or not the two adults knew what was happening — and I maintain they had to know — it’s their job to know. They also should be prosecuted as well as lose their jobs. If a sexual assault took place in a classroom, wouldn’t we expect the teacher assigned to that classroom be held accountable? Of course we would. Why is this case any different?

The two adults at least failed to prevent a crime from occurring when they were responsible and in charge of a bus full of high school athletes. At worst, they facilitated the commission of a felony if they were aware of what was taking place and did nothing to prevent it from happening.

The lives of the two victims will never be the same.

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We're going to see and hear this several thousand times between now and November

I'd like to hear the context of that pro-McCain quote.

UPDATE - here's the transcript:

ANNOUNCER: What does Barack Obama’s running mate say about Barack Obama?

STEPHANOPOULOS: You were asked, “Is he ready?” You said, “I think he can be ready but right now, I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.”

JOE BIDEN: I think that I stand by the statement.

ANNOUNCER: And what does he say about John McCain?

BIDEN: I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off.
This explanation of the last quote from Hot Air:

The latter quote comes fromThe Daily Show and answers a Jon Stewart question in 2005. Stewart pressed Biden, who confirmed that he would have felt comfortable as McCain’s running mate.
2005. That's some good opposition research right there.

UPDATE #2 - Found the clip, and it doesn't quite match up with HotAir's description. The part about McCain starts at about 2:40.

"Well, John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off.…uh, it'd be well off no matter who…"
Stewart interrupted then, asking about that word "with." Biden said yes, he meant "with," but followed up by saying he'd asked McCain to run as John Kerry's running mate.

The quotes still work, of course: it'll be interesting to see how the Obama camp spins those two statements. They're too recent to simply shrug off.

When politicians want to bury bad news...

...they announce it on a Friday, preferably in the late afternoon. That way, the fewest possible people become quickly aware of it.

So why do you suppose Obama chose last night to announce Biden as his V.P.?

UPDATE - Ann Althouse's headline: "Sending his text message at 3 a.m. — the time Hillary made emblematic — Obama picks Biden."

Three in the morning? Talk about burying the story. I guess they figured it was such a big story? They'd built so much speculation about it?

Still, though, why today? Why not two days ago?

Althouse's point about Hillary and the "3 a.m. phone call": that seems a little too clever. Surely Obama's camp wouldn't want to bring back the "who do you want answering the phone" question?

Althouse's second point in that vein:

That 3 a.m. text-time will needle hold-out Hillary lovers.
That seems more likely.

UPDATE #2 - We can all breathe a little easier that this prediction didn't come true.

Friday, August 22, 2008

This is kinda funny:

LENEXA, Kan. -- After weeks of speculation and days of intense rumors, the answer to who Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would name as his running mate may have come down to a bumper sticker printed in Lenexa.

KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported that the company, which specializes in political literature, has been printing Obama-Bayh material. That's Bayh as in U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.
I wouldn't be surprised if some companies are printing bumper stickers with a whole bunch of names on them: Obama/Bayh, Obama/Biden, Obama/Richardson, Obama/ know, just to make sure they can hit the market first when the name is finally announced.

Picture is from KMBC TV, Kansas City.

Peggy Noonan on life:

Everyone who ever bought a pack of condoms knows when life begins.

This is the funniest thing I’ve read in a while…

…and I read James Lileks regularly. Mr. Pterodactyl, on something that’s been bugging him about the Olympics:

Forget the controversies, the oppression, the spineless international community, et cetera, and focus on what's really important - not the politics, the politicians. The Chinese ones. Specifically, their names. Hasn't anyone else noticed? President Hu Jintao? Premier Wen Jiabao? Ladies and gentlemen, right there's an Abbott and Costello routine waiting to happen.
You absolutely must click over and read the rest.

Since rising oil prices and high inflation are all Bush’s fault…

…does he get the credit when oil prices fall and inflation slows down?

Japanese scientists take stem cells from wisdom teeth

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese scientists said Friday they had derived stem cells from wisdom teeth, opening another way to study deadly diseases without the ethical controversy of using embryos.

Researchers at the government-backed National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology said they created stem cells of the type found in human embryos using the removed wisdom teeth of a 10-year-old girl.

"This is significant in two ways," team leader Hajime Ogushi told AFP. "One is that we can avoid the ethical issues of stem cells because wisdom teeth are destined to be thrown away anyway.

"Also, we used teeth that had been extracted three years ago and had been preserved in a freezer. That means that it's easy for us to stock this source of stem cells."

Our Mammalian Friends

Badgers, hail the new breed!

Step aside, Cougar (just for a minute, babe!), it is the hour of the PUMA.

Headline: "Obama may announce running mate later today"

Alternate headlines: "Obama may announce running mate later this week," "Obama may announce running mate sometime soon," and "Obama may announce running mate after he finishes his vegetables and puts his toys away" are standing by for possible later use.

Ha. I kid. The AP (yeah, I know) is reporting that he's holding a rally to introduce his Veep tomorrow.

WASHINGTON - Presidential candidate Barack Obama said Friday the running mate he has chosen — but has not yet announced — had to meet three standards to join the Democratic ticket: Prepared to be president, able to help him govern and willing to challenge his thinking.

Those criteria did little to narrow the guessing game as Obama prepared for a massive rally in Illinois on Saturday to present his No. 2 to the nation and undertake a pre-convention tour of battleground states. He planned to disclose his choice through text messages to supporters, perhaps as early as Friday.
Speculation is rampant!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cheese on the Ticket?

Freedom Eden and Josh Schroeder have both weighed in this week on Barack Obama's Veep search, how it might affect Wisconsin's own Senator Russ Feingold, and how that might affect Wisconsin and the U.S. Senate.

Which is to say: they think Feingold might be the guy, and they're relatively pleased with the idea.

Josh writes:

I want Obama to pick Feingold for the same reason I wanted him to pick Claire McCaskill (her prospects look unlikely): if the Democrats win, it's an opportunity to fill the new VP's vacated Senate seat with a conservative, or at least a Republican.
Now: the 17th Amendment gives state legislatures some leeway on how to handle U.S. Senate vacancies. According to Wisconsin state law (ss. 8.50), Governor Doyle does not get to appoint.

Repeat: Governor Doyle would not get to appoint a replacement. We'd hold a special election sometime in 2009 to replace Feingold, and then the winner would have to run again in 2010.

So Josh is right.

Both Mary and Josh are also right that Feingold would bring Wisconsin into Obama’s column.

Whether his extremely liberal legislative record would help Obama or not...I'm not so sure. And then there’s all those nice things he said about McCain last week, and his dogged support of Hillary Clinton during the primary.

Oh, sure, maybe that could be a strong point for him. Maybe he said those nice things about McCain with Obama's blessing, so they can get back to that “new kind of politics” Obama used to tout - y’know, plant their flag on the higher ground - and throw Clinton's supporters a bone at the same time.

But that sounds just a little too clever to be true. It sounds like something a pundit searching for something to write about would imagine.

I, of course, welcome speculation about a Feingold pick because I've been speculating about a Cheesehead on the ticket for a long, long time (see: here, here, here, here, and here).

And even if Feingold isn't even on Obama's long, long list, well, I did see this headline today: A MCCAIN-THOMPSON TICKET? Well, possibly.

But that was the wrong Thompson.

I almost hesitate to post this…

…knowing I’m just going to get more "noun-verb-Campaign Finance Reform" in the comments again.

But. Earlier this week I wrote about the Cap Times’ heads-in-the-sand editorial on Social Security – their solution, of course, is fear of investment and “minor reforms, such as requiring wealthy Americans to pay their fair share.”

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, R. Glenn Hubbard gives us some idea what that would mean:

The spending shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare are large. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security and Medicare spending left unchecked would, after a generation, consume about 10 percentage points more of GDP than it does today.

Simple arithmetic suggests that with this much more of GDP eaten up by the two programs, all federal taxes on average would have to be raised by more than 50% to make up the shortfall.

Somebody get this guy a helmet

Is everybody aware of Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who has now won two gold medals in Beijing - in both the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes - and in both cases did so by breaking the world records in those events? And doing so, it appeared, with ease?

If not, I guess you are now. A few points about Mr. Bolt:

  • He turned 22 years old today.

  • He's 6'5, 190 pounds, and runs faster than anyone else on Earth.

  • He's cocky, showboating both before and after his races and insisting now that he be referred to as "Lightning" Bolt.
In other words, this guy would be a perfect NFL receiver.

His Wikipedia page says he was offered track scholarships by several U.S. universities. Track scholarships? Football,, I mean "Lightning." You should be playing football!

Post your favorite campaign ad, win a Prize

The season's amped up, and the McCain and Obama ads are taking that tone.

I parsed a couple of ads, but:

I'd like Badgers of every stripe and FOBs (friends of Badgers, the BBA and the great Badger State) to put a link in the comments to what you think is the best or worst of this year's McCain or Obama campaign ads.

Print's okay, video is better. The ad must be reproducible in jpeg or youtube URL format without copyright infringement, and you must indicate whether you think it is BEST or WORST.

The winning entry will be posted for all to see tomorrow, and receive air kisses from our irresistibly cuddly mascot:

Break out a Leinie's, click over to YouTube, sing it with me now and let the other games begin!

Getting serious about getting green; or, 'It takes a government to raise a planet'

Do you think the EPA should be able to:

• Impose Grass Mileage Standards for Home Lawnmowers
• Put Speed Limiters on the Commercial Trucking Fleet
• List Large Single-Family Homes as Carbon-Polluters
• Require Carbon Permits for Retail, Restaurant, Hotel and School Construction

No, really. Think about it.

What a boon! New government jobs for house-to-house lawnmower checks, and additional revenue from lawnmower registration, just like your car, not to mention fines for infractions of standards!

Sure, many trucking companies already have regulators on their fleets that don't allow them to exceed 65mph - they're the ones you're constantly playing I-pass-you, you-pass-me with on the highway. Let's slow 'em all down, even though speed limits vary not just state to state, but area to area! We can let the EPA decide whether 55mph is best, or let 'em have the ability to go up to 65 like the self-regulators. And we can just tack on new regulator checkers at weigh stations, so it's practically a no-brainer! More jobs, more fees, more fines, and an economic boon to the engine regulator industry!

Do you have a large single-family home? Yeah, me neither. Will the EPA think so? Who knows! But won't it be fun to watch them craft a global warming policy for this that deals with our carbon footprint? I'm pretty sure that the EPA will come to the wise decision that any home is a "large" home when it comes to that pesky carbon pollution you've been spewing willy-nilly all these years. More new government jobs! More revenue from fines, fees and registrations!

I mean, really - what does "large" mean when the EPA intends to move on to shops, restaurants, hotels and schools? Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money! Imagine the soaring economy!

Carbon permits for everyone!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Democrats' Holiday from Energy

Yeah, like Nancy cares about what we say.

Hey, call her anyway!

Motion Sickness

From The People's Cube:

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Afghanistan's first Olympic medal...ever

Rohullah Nikpai defeated world champion Juan Antonio Ramos of Spain on Wednesday to earn the bronze medal in the men’s under 58-kilogram taekwondo competition, sparking applause, wide smiles and laughter in homes, restaurants and ice cream parlors around the country.

“When I saw that he won, I jumped up and hugged and kissed my son,” Gayezabi said. “I was crying.”

President Hamid Karzai immediately called to congratulate Nikpai. He also awarded him a house at the government’s expense, said Humayun Hamidzada, the president’s spokesman.
And read this part:

When Gayezabi met Nikpai, they were both living at a refugee camp in Iran during the years of war that embroiled Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s. The two competed together on a refugee taekwondo team.

Nikpai came to Kabul four years ago, Gayezabi said. In the mornings he lifted weights and in the evenings he practiced martial arts. In between he earned money cutting hair as a barber.
I'd sure love to see NBC do one of their human interest profiles on that guy.

There is no problem so great it cannot be solved through brute strength and ignorance. And maybe Photoshop.

Owen writes:

For the record, I did apply for press credentials for the Dem convention too. I never heard from them.
And the blogosphere sings: Here I come to save the Daaaaaaaaay!

Respectfully swiped from Robert Stacy McCain (and you've just got to click the link to read his plans), which I found via Vodkapundit.

Who'll Start Opening Day in Indy?

INDIANAPOLIS - Peyton Manning proved Tuesday he can stand, walk and talk. Next question: Will the two-time league MVP start in the Colts' season opener?
He might. Then again, he might not. If he doesn’t, former Badger Jim Sorgi is still the #2 quarterback on the Colts’ depth chart.

Good Blogger, Bad Blogger

Elliot gives us a picture of Raquel Welch.

Owen gives us a picture of…well…oh, never mind. Don’t click that link. No, seriously, don’t click.

Oh, God, my eyes. Somebody bring me the bleach.

It's not just Milwaukee

States push laws to require paid sick days

Some 46 million U.S. workers lack paid sick days, but lawmakers in 12 states — including California, Connecticut, Minnesota and West Virginia — have proposed legislation in the past year that would require businesses to provide them.

Dale Butland of Ohioans for Healthy Families, an advocacy group pushing a November ballot initiative that would require employers to offer paid sick days, said the effort picked up steam in Columbus and other state capitals because federal legislation has stalled.
I didn't even know there was federal legislation.

Acknowledging that getting sick oneself or having sick kids/family members can cause difficult-to-disastrous financial have we survived this long without mandatory paid sick days?

And what are we going to do? Just keep adding new stuff as long as somebody can still yell "no fair" with a straight face?

This is the first time I have ever been proud of my country...

Sniffle... Sniffle...

This is the first time I have ever been proud of my country-

John McCain has overtaken Barack Obama in the presidential race, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released Wednesday morning.

Frankly, I am not surprised. The more that people get to know Obama the worse his poll numbers get.

Perhaps most startlingly to Democrats, Reuters/Zogby measures that McCain is seen as the better manager of the economy, by a margin of 49 percent to 40 percent over Obama. In that poll half of voters cited the economy as the most important issue, as other surveys have as well.

I know the liberals believe that the drilling debate is helping them. As long as they can continue to blame the oil companies instead of their own policies, they feel they can win this with the American people. That is a bunch of hooey.

The idea that we have oil in ground, right here in the US, that the government will not allow us to drill, is infuriating to most Americans.

PS. I am being factious when it comes to this being the first time I have been proud of my country. See Michelle Obama for an explanation.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cap Times: "Defending Social Security against the 'crisis' lie"

Say what you want about the Capital Times, they are great ideological writers.

Just take this editorial on Social Security. They manage to spin away any problems the program may have, ju-jitsu into an attack on capitalism and those who practice it (because you need a bogeyman to divert attention), and end with…

…well, you can probably guess. I won’t spoil it yet.

All emphasis added.

Social Security is a popular program, so popular that neither of this country's major political parties would suggest eliminating it.

Unfortunately, both parties have been guilty of fostering the fantasy that the program might be dying.

For too many years, Republicans and Democrats have promoted the lie that Social Security is "in crisis."
Kinda depends on how you define “crisis,” doesn’t it? We’ll come back to that. Here comes the reflexive distrust of people who make money:

Getting Americans to buy into this fantastical premise is the first step in achieving what the financial services industry -- which donates generously to politicians in both parties -- really wants: privatization of Social Security so that the federal government will start promoting speculation on Wall Street rather than ensuring that Americans will have the resources they were promised upon retirement.
And…wait for it…

The truth, as honest financial analysts have always argued, is that Social Security is secure -- and will be for decades if Congress agrees to minor reforms, such as requiring wealthy Americans to pay their fair share.
Bam! Raise those taxes!

Bottom line, the Cap Times is absolutely right, depending on how you choose to define “crisis.” It’s all relative, see. Subjective. “Crisis” is in the eye of the beholder.

For example: the deadly virus spreading at an exponential rate might be a crisis, even if it’ll take some years to reach epidemic status. Tornado warnings aren’t really crises – heck, we get those several times a year. But then the tornado is bearing down on your house. Then it’s a crisis.

The Alaska-sized asteroid hurtling on a collision course with Earth won’t get here for nine or ten years. Crisis?

In nine or ten years, Social Security will begin to spend more than it brings in. Crisis? Well, no. Not compared to the asteroid.

So there. It’s not a crisis. Fine. As Social Security begins spending more than the taxes which (hypothetically) support it bring in, we’ll simply incur more debt to pay the benefits.

See? No crisis.

When, right around 2041, all the funds Social Security has (hypothetically) accumulated run out, we’ll just keep going into debt. Something like $30 trillion dollars over the next few decades.

It’s not the best idea. It’s not a great idea. If you asked the editors at the Cap Times, they’d probably agree that it’s a really bad idea.

But it will keep Social Security going without handing it over to the evil overlords of Wall Street.

Oh, sure, you might get that tax increase, but you’ll never get a big enough tax increase to keep Social Security in the black. Not the way the demographics are going. Not unless that asteroid really hits.

But still: you’re right. Social Security isn’t dying. It isn’t, under this definition, in crisis.

Fine. It still isn’t good.

It isn’t good that we’re in this position in the first place. It isn’t good that the federal government spends all the money and re-fills the coffers with IOUs. It isn’t good that we’re talking about tax increases or benefit cuts when the money ought to simply belong to us.

It really isn’t good that the annualized rate of return is, for most Americans, under 2%.

Less than 2% a year. You can do better with a money market account. There are all kinds of perfectly safe investments that offer more.

In other words: we can do better.

I acknowledge the Left’s fear of the free market and, in particular, of investment. I don’t understand it, but I acknowledge it. I’m begging you: get over it. Because we can do better.

Note: while writing this, I ran across a few interesting web pages on the subject.

Coyote Blog, written by Warren Meyer of Phoenix, AZ, ran the numbers based on his own Social Security statement last year. Here are his results.

Based on that, Political Calculations used Social Security’s actuarial notes to create a neat little benefits calculator.

This awesome page at

And this older piece by the Heritage Foundation, discussing rates of return and, in particular, why Social Security is wealth redistribution away from minorities.

Free speech not as free as you think

If you want to regulate political speech, you have to regulate it all.

Nader trying to get on the ballot

Ralph Nader's Wisconsin supporters want him on the ballot here. In order to achieve that goal, they need to collect 2,000 signatures this month, although Justin Richardson, a Wisconsin co-coordinator for the independent Nader-Gonzalez campaign, says the goal is to collect twice that number.
If you haven't signed nomination papers for any other presidential candidate, you can sign Nader's.

Click here for more info on helping Nader and his supporters Get Their Voices Heard!

I wonder if they're aware of Fighting Bob Fest - the annual gathering of thousands of Wisconsin Progressives? It's on September 6 this year, up in Baraboo as usual. Ed Garvey, the Bobster-in-Chief, was a big Nader supporter once upon a time.

Surely they could get some signatures there.

One Giant Superstition


New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning tells a neat personal anecdote about the NFC Championship game last season, in which the Giants beat the Packers at frigid Lambeau Field.

Manning relates his story during a one-hour documentary, “America’s Game: 2007 New York Giants,” to air on the NFL Network on Sept. 3.

Manning, who admits to being superstitious, said that when his then-fiancée, Abby McGrew, sat in a suite during games, the Giants’ record was 1-6. He was determined to make sure she sat in the stands at Lambeau for the game.

“I said, ‘Abby, I’m sorry to have to say this, but you are going to have to sit outside for this game,’ ” Manning said. “I said, ‘I’ll get you all the warm clothes. I’ll get you the works. But you are going to have to do it.’ ”

After the game, Manning went looking for her in the stands in Lambeau. He thought he knew exactly where she was sitting.

“I know where she is,” Manning said. “I bought these tickets. Row seven, seat one. She should be right there.

“But sure enough, she was in the box,” Manning said. “She was in the box the whole time. She wimped out and sat in the box. She’s happy because she ruined that jinx. So she thinks she can sit in a suite now.”

Manning and McGrew were married this summer.
Don't mess with karma, Eli. If she'd been sitting in the stands instead of the box, you'd have gone 0-7 instead of 1-6.

Wisconsin Conservative Digest

It's nice to have a digest available on the web that also emails its Weekly News & Views.

It's also nice that they've been responsive in the past when a link they were providing to the MJS' weekly "Best of the Blogs" was repeatedly stale and I complained. It's been up-to-date since I brought it to their attention.

Another thing I like about the weekly email is that the editors include a blogroll, which is great. But it only has links to three Wisconsin blogs.

I've suffered this outrage long enough. My letter to the Editor can be found here.

If you want to make more suggestions for additions to their blogroll, I'd appreciate it, and hopefully so will

Monday, August 18, 2008

Paulians marching to St. Paul

A group of Ron Paul supporters are marching across Wisconsin:

After setting out from Lambeau Field on Aug. 11, a small group of political activists promoting the ideas of Ron Paul made their way into Wausau on Sunday.

Carrying American flags and giving away copies of the Constitution, participants in The Great American Walk for Freedom are holding a series of town hall meetings as they walk across Wisconsin. They are on their way to Minneapolis, where they will attend a political rally in support of the Texas Republican. The rally will be held concurrently with the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
First it was an anti-war group, walking from Chicago to the GOP convention, and now it’s the Paulians. Wisconsin's the place for it this year, I guess.

That anti-war group made stops in Baraboo and Portage, by the way. That's a little off the beaten path for the Paulians.

Hat tip to FoxPolitics.

Ah, I note that the Paulian walkers have a Youtube video up:

Can anybody see what that is at about the 1:30 mark? Looks like somebody's holding something in front of the camera, and then somebody else knocks it away. Might be one of the constitutions they're handing out - I can't tell.

On a related note, I am planning to spend at least a few hours out among the various protest groups while I’m at the convention next month. I’m also hoping to interview a delegate from Hawaii, and maybe a blogger or two from Minnesota, just to run my version of the Free State Project by them. You know, see what they think.

I'm sure there'll be plenty to do, see, and blog about there, but: is there anything any of you BBA readers would like to hear about during the convention? Because I can be bought.

Another conservative-sounding RJT editorial

The Racine Journal Times has surprised me a couple of times lately. This time, the topic is drilling for oil. I’ve bolded a few passages:

We must drill. There’s no getting around that idea. It is true that there will be no immediate effect on gasoline prices because developing a new oil field requires up to a decade, depending on which projection you accept. But it’s also true there is no projected date by which the nation’s energy needs will be met by forests of wind turbines charging plug-in hybrid autos, or acres of solar panels boiling liquid to drive generators, or some other scheme.

It’s true that there is an environmental risk from oil spills, and we need to make sure that penalties are certain and quick, not delayed for 20 years as in the Exxon Valdez case. Yet government data show that offshore oil and gas development contributes about 2 percent to the petroleum in the North American marine environment, the same amount as comes from recreational boating.

The fact is that there is no short-term substitute for petroleum, and there is also the fact that the greater our domestic supply the less we will be at the mercy of the political instability which is endemic in the Middle East and which is now appearing in the Caucasus region containing Georgia and important energy transport routes to western Europe.
They’re not saying only drill. They’re saying drill, and keep working on other stuff.

That’s a great position.

P.S. Do I have to disclose that I interned at the RJT in the Summer of 1997 and freelanced for them into 1998? Whether or not I do, I guess I just did.

Elk, bears invade region

PORTAGE — All of a sudden, it seems, Columbia County has become a haven for unfamiliar wildlife.

In mid-July, there were several reports of bull elk in rural areas of northern Columbia and southern Marquette counties. Someone reported seeing three of the animals at a time in the town of Fort Winnebago...
Wow! We got three months worth of hamburger from one whitetail doe last year. How much meat can you get off a bull elk?

As recently as the first weekend in August, a young bear was sighted in and around Portage.

No sightings of either the elk or the bear have been reported since the initial reports, Kehrli said.

But don't be surprised, she said, if there are more such sightings in the future, however, as wildlife that is not considered indigenous to Columbia County, nor to areas populated with humans, begins showing up more often.

There's one key reason for that, Kehrli said: food.
Don't feed the bears, people. And keep those small dogs inside, too.

What a crock.

A group of people claiming to be the heirs of the legendary Knights Templar are suing Pope Benedict XVI, seeking more than $150 billion for assets seized by the Catholic Church seven centuries ago.

They also want to restore the order's good name.

…a group called the Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ has filed suit in a Spanish court, asking for an apology from the pope and recognition that land and property worth about $150 billion today was seized from the Templars.
This is like reparations for African-Americans on steroids.

On the other hand, can someone who supports reparations for African Americans honestly oppose this? Okay, so it all happened between 8 and 10 centuries ago, but still. Isn’t it the same principle?

Loved this part:

The Vatican will never reimburse the group, Govan says, because its members cannot prove that they are descendants of the Knights Templar.
This thing starts taking root, I’m going to claim descendancy from a Templar.

So I didn’t watch the Saddleback Presidential Forum on Saturday…

…because I was busy flipping between the Olympics and the Packers.

If you want lots and lots and lots of coverage, check out Ann Althouse, here, here, here, and here. She even watched the re-broadcast Sunday night after watching (and blogging) the original broadcast on Saturday.

That’s dedication. Or…well, it’s something, anyway.

4-year-old Kindergarten means less business for private preschools

More parents opt for 'free' classes for 4-year-olds

ASHWAUBENON — Kindergarten classes for 4-year-olds through a few area public school systems haven't started yet, but some local private preschools already are losing students.

Two local programs are ending or on the verge of it, saying they can't afford to maintain preschools, partly because of the launch of public 4-year-old kindergarten.

A few area school districts, including Ashwaubenon, Green Bay and West De Pere, are starting 4-year-old kindergarten programs this fall.
The economy is also a factor hurting private pre-schools, according to the story.

Still, as Barack Obama said during Saturday's forum: “just because we think our intentions are good doesn’t always mean that we’re going to be doing good.”

This is a good reminder that government has the power to shut private citizens down.

'White Party' - which party?

There's an interesting discussion over at Boots & Sabres from Saturday over Howard "Yeaaaargh!" Dean's malaprop calling Republicans "the white party."

Considering that Hillary Clinton has the popular vote among Dems, which she's graciously giving the electorate the chance to rethink during the DNC, along with the current lead in numbers that Dems have over Repubs and the US Census-compiled fact that 77% of Americans identify themselves as white, while 12.9% identify as black, it's a pathetic "mistake".

PS It is amazingly hard to find actual population numbers for demographic breakdowns; the Pew's compilations under "Trends in Party Identification" (see Pew link above, bottom of page), don't bother to extrapolate the numbers from among groups to a group-to-group comparison. Neither does the voter registration website, whose numbers are older. Also noteworthy: the Dem website has a category of pages titled "People," which includes African Americans, Asian Americans, Disabled Americans, etc. but nothing for paler ethnicities aside from rural Americans, Seniors, Vets, and the like.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Yet Another Class Act

The Fonzie statue is going to be dedicated in Milwaukee this week. One of the opponents, an individual who would have rather seen some of that money go to him, is going to make a very classy gesture.

But Mike Brenner isn't so happy. He would have rather had the donors put the effort and money toward the local arts scene.

Brenner founded Hotcakes Gallery in Milwaukee and threatened to shut it down in protest after hearing of the statue. He already wasn't doing well financially and closed it in spring. Before the statue goes up, Brenner planned to spread bird seed all over the site.

"I want the largest birds with the fullest bellies to constantly be flying overhead the fans of the Bronze Fonz," he said in an e-mail. "It's a truly symbiotic relationship. I give a present to the birds and the birds give a present to the Bronze Fonz fans."

Bitterness. It always makes an individual look good.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Re: upstaging the Republican Convention

The 'sphere should begin dubbing the Dem convention Thunderdome.

Clinton's Aunty Entity to Obama's Mad Max? More like Aunty Entity versus Master Blaster.

Two candidates enter, one candidate leaves.

I, for one, welcome our new internet overlord

Congratulate our good buddy and fellow BBAer emeritus, Sean:

Senate Republican Conference Hires Sean Hackbarth

You’ve noticed a significant reduction in weblogging on TAM. That’s because I’m the new online communications advisor for the Senate Republican Conference (SRC). I’m responsible for reaching out to the online community, making conference websites the best they can be, and thinking of new ways to get the Senate Republicans’ message of smaller, smarter government onto the internet. It’s a great opportunity to experiment, play, and educate Republicans about making the internet a more fundamental part of how they communicate with the public.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Act Now On A Balanced Energy Plan

Act Now Folks.

One more Olympic thought:

NBC has been having Bela Karolyi - the former incredibly successful womens' gymnastics coach - on as a commentator during the womens' gymnastic events this week.

With all due respect to Mr. Karolyi, his expertise, and his vast accomplishments in the sport: I can't understand half of what he says. Not only that, I'm constantly reminded of Steve Martin's Inspector Clouseau while he's talking.

"I wood lak too bay da gamboorgeer!"

They're just trying to upstage the Republican convention

Okay, so the Democrat National Convention is going to actually feature a vote. They’re letting Hillary Clinton’s name be placed in nomination – an olive branch to her and her supporters – thus the delegates will actually vote, Clinton vs. Obama, instead of simply rubber-stamping Obama’s nomination.

But…surely this means they’ll have some delegates voting for Clinton? I mean, that’d be embarrassing, to not get any votes. It’d be a slap in the face to have held the vote at all, then.

Of course, it's kind of a slap in the face anyway, isn't it? Sort of a pity-vote?

Regardless, Clinton will get some votes. Will it be all of her own delegates? The ones she won during the primaries?

According to Real Clear Politics, Obama won with a 233-delegate advantage. Is it really so hard to imagine Clinton finagling that many flip-floppers?

And if so…how will the Republican National Convention compete with that? Our convention will seem so boring.

First-time Golds

A Mongolian wrestler won that nation's first-ever Olympic gold medal yesterday:

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia (AP)—Thousands of Mongolians hit the streets of the capital to celebrate the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal, offering vodka toasts, blaring their car horns and waving the nation’s flag from the city’s tallest buildings.

Fireworks exploded above Ulan Bator as revelers sang the national anthem after traditional wrestler Tuvshinbayar Naidan’s judo win on Thursday. Naidan, whose nickname is “Tuvshee,” beat Kazakhstan’s Askhat Zhitkeyev in the men’s 100-kilogram class.

“I can’t believe Mongolia just won a gold medal,” said Baljinnyam Dashdorj, 17, celebrating with relatives spanning three generations. “I can’t believe he did it. This is amazing. I’m so happy, I can only jump up and down!”

Mongolia has won medals in wrestling, boxing, shooting and judo at previous games, but never a gold. Gundegmaa Otryad won a silver medal in women’s pistol shooting on Wednesday.
They're not the only ones: India won its first gold yesterday, too:

NEW DELHI, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Abhinav Bindra’s mother joked that his Olympic triumph had made him “the country’s most eligible bachelor” as Indians celebrated a historic first individual gold medal.

Bindra’s family led the party after victory in the 10m air rifle event brought joy to a nation of more than one billion.

The 'White' Party

Cross-posted at THEB.

Just imagine if the chairman of the Republican National Committee had called the Democrats “The Black Party.”

Howard Dean referred to the Republican Party as “The White Party.” Listen to the audio here.

If you look at folks of color, even women, they’re more successful in the Democratic party than they are in the white, uh, excuse me, in the [laughs] Republican Party.

By the way, Dean talks about the Democrats being the party of diversity. In his dreams. There’s nothing diverse about the Democrats in terms of ideological viewpoint. Pro-lifers, pro-gun, global warming skeptics and others not welcome.

And, it’s the Democrats, not the Republicans, that have a prominent white supremacist among their high ranking elected officials. That would be Sen. Robert “Sheets” Byrd (D-KKK).

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City of Milwaukee releasing personal information

The City of Milwaukee decided to make it easier for people to access their accident reports, by making them accessible on-line... The problem is, there are no restrictions on who can access the site and all of the information on it. So anyone that goes to this website can obtain the full legal name and date of birth of the drivers involved, their driver’s license numbers, their home addresses, their phone numbers, names and addresses of other occupants in the vehicles, the make and model of their vehicles, their plate numbers and more.

BadgerBlogger's own Bruce Redenz is on a heck of a roll, and continues with this exclusive:
Concerned about identity theft? Might not want to drive in Milwaukee.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is anybody else watching the Olympics?

I love the Olympics. Any other time, I wouldn’t watch swimming, or cycling, or diving. But when it’s the Olympics…you bet. It’s like football season: you can’t pry me off the couch.

And I do think NBC does a nice job with their coverage, and I think Bob Costas does a great job as the host, and has for the last two or three Olympic Games.

But. One bone to pick, here. Last night, between 7 pm and midnight, NBC ran a little bit of cycling, some synchronized diving, an entire beach volleyball match, then a bunch of swimming races and then gymnastics. They focused almost entirely on a small handful of athletes – the U.S. women’s beach volleyball team and Michael Phelps, mostly.

Which is fine, I suppose. They’re trying to give us stuff that’s happening live on the other side of the planet. Which is fine.

Still: there’s so much going on. The coolest part of the Olympics is that there are so many sports – traditional ones – and so many athletes from so many places. Just look down today’s schedule: there’s wrestling, rowing, canoeing, badminton, fencing, table tennis, archery, handball…

Hey, I’m not saying I want to spend two hours watching high-speed ping pong, but come on! How about breaking from the volleyball game, saying we’ll be back to this in a bit, but right now some scenes from earlier today? Show a wrestling match, a crew race, part of a handball game. Edit stuff!

There’s so much going on! Let us see more of it! More, more, more! In prime time, when people can actually watch!

I don't see it.

Leftysphere denizen Jay Bullock says this is a “significant part of the Republicans' issue-free campaign of deceit and slander:

Regardless of what a Democrat does, it's a sign of weakness or incompetence.
Well, yeah. Sorry, I’m…I’m just not seeing the deceit and slander there.

When’s the last time this happened?

Tim Kaine as Veep?

Quite a glowing New York Times piece today on Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, whom “the Obama campaign is eyeing…as a potential running mate, seeing in him a like-minded breath of fresh air who has also shown he can win in a red state.”

Can’t wait to compare this article's breathless praise and grudging mention of critics with whatever they're going to write about McCain’s eventual Veep choice, but that’s obviously a post for another day.

Kaine does have some advantages: pro-life, charismatic, hailing from a purple state. But. He’s been Governor in Virginia since 2006. Just over two and a half years in office.

This means that, between the two of them, Obama and Kaine would have roughly one-fourth McCain's experience in top-level politics.

I'm in. Kaine for Veep!

On the other hand:

The choice of former Virginia governor Mark R. Warner to give the Tuesday night keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention is likely to spark a fresh round of speculation about Sen. Barack Obama's vice presidential choice.

Warner's selection is unlikely to be good news for current Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who has been a finalist for the running mate job. The prospect of two Virginia governors giving speeches on successive nights at the convention is thought to be unlikely.

Obama's running mate, whoever it is, is scheduled to give the keynote on Wednesday.
So maybe I’m punditizing over nothing.