Monday, May 30, 2005

EuroWeenies and School Districts

Can't help but think of the Racine Unified Superintendent as Mark Steyn describes the President of the European Union's recent statement: the guy obviously could get a job here---

So, a couple of days before the first referendum, Jean-Claude Juncker, the
"president" of the European Union, let French and Dutch voters know how much he
values their opinion:

"If at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the
problems, the countries that would have said No, would have to ask themselves
the question again," "President" Juncker told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Got that? You have the right to vote, but only if you give the answer
your rulers want you to give. But don't worry, if you don't, we'll treat you
like a particularly backward nursery school and keep asking the question until
you get the answer right. Even America's bossiest nanny-state Democrats don't
usually express their contempt for the will of the people quite so crudely.


Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Attack Dogs--or Maybe Just Plain Dogs...

Wonder what's been up to lately?

On their website they feature a picture of Benedict XVI, holding a gavel, in front of the doors of the US Supreme Court.

The caption reads "God Already Has a Job...He Does Not Need One on the Supreme Court. Protect the Supreme Court Rules."

I am reasonably certain that Pope Benedict is not interested in a nomination to the USSC.

I am also reasonably certain that needs a good kick in the butt.

UPDATE:’s calumny is reminiscent of attacks on the Church by the Ku Klux
Klan. In the 1920s, the cross-burners attempted to whip up anti-Catholic
hysteria with visions of the Vatican taking over America. When Catholic Al Smith
ran for president in 1928, the Klan instructed that a Democratic victory would
signal the end of religious freedom in America.

Congress would be
replaced by a college of cardinals. Protestant marriages would be nullified. The
Spanish Inquisition – and not the Monty Python version – would be just around
the corner.

A libel invented by bigots in bed sheets now is
routinely repeated by bigots in Gucci loafers. The thrust of the ad:
If Bush has the same power as all of his predecessors (to appoint judges who
share his values) it will be tantamount to turning the judiciary over to the
Catholic Church. Abortion will be banned. There will be no gay marriage. Nuns
will teach sex-education classes. Mel Gibson will be chairman of the National
Endowment for the Arts. The seas will boil up. Michael Moore’s head will
explode. (Don Feder, via Professor Bainbridge)

Spray and Pray

A friend of mine retired from the Milwaukee Police Department after 30 years of honorable service, some of which was spent in Internal Affairs Division.

He's not enchanted with the Modern Police Department Training.

These days, by his testimony, the rookies are taught the "spray and pray" method of using a handgun. Actually hitting a target is no longer emphasized. In his words, "they can't shoot straight." Worse, they are not required to do so in order to win and maintain their badge.

Keep that in mind as the stories roll off the presses at the Journal-Sentinel.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Dan Brown's Elaborate, uh, Myths

Lots of folks enjoy Dan Brown's novels, and many mistake them for 'historical fiction.' In reality, they are fiction, and use a couple of historical events, characters, or groups to lend some spice to the plot.

His current best-seller has revived "the Illuminati," connected them with the Knights Templar and the Masons, and has some people convinced that they've learned a good deal about real history--you know, the stuff that was 'covered up' by the Catholics, in league with historians and political figures, yada yada.

Here is an interview with a genuine historian. It will, unfortunately, burst a few bubbles, but is interesting nonetheless.

Do the Illuminati Really Exist?Interview With Massimo
Introvigne TURIN, Italy, MAY 27, 2005 (

An expert in new religious movements downplays novelist Dan Brown's ideas
about the Illuminati, a 18th-century group that once aspired to overthrowing the
Catholic kingdom of Bavaria.Massimo Introvigne, director of the Turin-based
Center for Studies in New Religions, went into detail about the group mentioned
in Brown's new novel, in this interview posted by the center.

Q: "Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown is the latest best-selling novel
claiming that the Illuminati were, or are, an important and powerful secret
society. Is this only a novel?

Introvigne: Not according to Dan Brown himself.He claims in Web site that
"Secret societies like the Illuminati go to enormous lengths to remain covert.
Although many classified intelligence reports have been written on the
brotherhood, few have been published. Conspiracy theories on the Illuminati
include infiltration of the British Parliament and U.S. Treasury, secret
involvement with the Masons, affiliation with covert Satanic cults, a plan for a
New World Order, and even the resurgence of their ancient pact to destroy
Vatican City. Separating Illuminati fact from fiction can be difficult on
account of the massive quantities of misinformation that has been generated
about the brotherhood. Some theorists claim this plethora of misinformation is
actually generated by the Illuminati themselves in an effort to discredit any
factual information that may have surfaced. This concealment tactic -- known as
'data-sowing' -- is often employed by U.S. intelligence agencies."Actually, Dan
Brown seems to take the continuing existence of Illuminati even more seriously
than his character Robert Langdon.

Q: But the existence of the Illuminati is an historical fact, isn't

Introvigne: Yes, it is. The Order of the Illuminati was established on May
1, 1776, at the University of Ingolstadt, then part of the Kingdom of Bavaria,
in Germany, by a professor of law called Adam Weishaupt [1748-1830].The
Illuminati were an interesting organization, with both esoteric rituals and a
political aim, based on the Enlightenment philosophy and ultimately aimed at
overthrowing the Roman Catholic and politically conservative Kingdom of Bavaria
and replacing it with a liberal republic.

Q: Were the Illuminati part of Freemasonry?

Introvigne: Not originally. Weishaupt was quite critical of Freemasonry and
wanted to establish a different order with different rituals. He, however,
failed to produce rituals interesting enough to attract a significant number of
followers, and in February 1777 decided to be initiated as a Freemason in a
Munich Masonic lodge known as Zur Behutsamkeit -- "The Prudence".In 1780, a
prominent German Freemason, Baron Adolf Franz Friedrich Ludwig von Knigge,
joined the Illuminati and by January 1782 he had rewritten their rituals in a
much more Masonic form. Although this ritual was essentially Masonic, and many
members were Freemasons, however, the Illuminati as such were not part of

Q: Did these Illuminati succeed in their purposes?

Introvigne: In a way, yes. The new ritual was quite successful, and the
Illuminati were able to recruit some 2,500 members both in Bavaria and various
European countries, not a small number by the standard of esoteric orders in
general.On the other hand, the Illuminati's political aim was not achieved.
Between 1784-1787, documents were seized by the Bavarian police proving that
theirs was a political plot aimed at overthrowing the government.Some members
were arrested, although none was treated too severely by the Bavarian
government, and they escaped with fines or a few months in jail, whilst
Weishaupt himself fled Bavaria and lived quite peacefully in other parts of
Germany until his death in 1830.The Illuminati survived outside Bavaria, thanks
to the efforts of one of their leaders, Johann Joachim Christoph Bode
[1730-1793], but had ceased any activity by 1790.

Q: Wasn't there something sinister in the Illuminati's activities?

Introvigne: Yes. Their political activities were not confined to legal
means.In October 1786 the police raided the home of a prominent member of the
Illuminati, the diplomat Franz Xavier von Zwack [1755-1843], and seized
documents indicating that the order was ready to poison several of its political
foes, although these plans were never executed.

Q: But didn't the Illuminati claim a much older origin than 1776?

Introvigne: Yes, they did. Weishaupt originally claimed that the Illuminati
originated with the last King of Persia who was a Zoroastrian by religion,
Yadzegerd III, who died in A.D. 651, although he confused him with Yadzegerd II,
who died in A.D. 457 and was King of Persia from 438 to 457, and built a whole
genealogy listing many famous historical characters.When Knigge joined the
order, he asked Weishaupt for evidence of this genealogy. Weishaupt wrote back
in January 1781 that the genealogy was an "innocent lie," in fact needed because
not many would have joined a newly established order.Rather than being offended,
Knigge agreed that a mythical genealogy was indeed needed, and proceeded to
build one of his own, where the Illuminati were declared as having originally
been founded by Noah, and revived after a period of decline by St. John the

Q: What about the Knights Templar? Weren't they somewhat involved,

Introvigne: Yes, according to Knigge's genealogy. In fact, at that time the
Knights Templar were claimed as ancestors by the German Freemasonry as a
whole.When modern Freemasonry came from its original United Kingdom to
continental Europe, many European nobles were not prepared to join an order
whose real origins were in the professional corporations of "free masons,"
including architects, building contractors but also common stonemasons.

In 1736, André Michel de Ramsay [1686-1743] told in a famous discourse the
French nobles he hoped to recruit into Freemasonry that, in fact, the British
corporations of "free masons" were the places where persecuted knights went into
hiding, thus creating a mythical, but more acceptable, origin for the Masonic
lodges.In Germany, were speculations about an alleged secret prosecution of the
Roman Catholic Order of the Knights Templar, suppressed by the Catholic Church
in 1307, were quite widespread, Ramsay's "persecuted knights" were quickly
identified with the Knights Templar.While it is true that the Knights Templar
did survive in some countries for a century after their suppression, legends of
a secret prosecution after the XV century are regarded as "hopelessly stupid" --
in the words of famous French historian Régine Pernoud -- by academic historians
of Templarism.In fact, from the 18th century on, most esoteric orders give to
their members mythical genealogies that would include the Knights Templar, Noah,
Saint John or King Solomon, as well as famous people of literature and
art.Usually, most of their members are aware of the merely symbolic and mythical
character of these genealogies. Certainly, both Weishaupt and Knigge were aware
that their genealogies were "symbolic" or, more simply, made up by themselves.
There were no Illuminati before 1776.

Q: But weren't the Illuminati the driving force behind the French

Introvigne: Not really. Anti-revolutionary authors, including Protestant
John Robison [1739-1805] and Roman Catholic Father Augustin Barruel [1741-1820],
claimed that the French Revolution was the result of a Masonic conspiracy, and
that the Illuminati were the secret leaders of the French Freemasonry. We do not
need to address here the complicate question of the relationship between
Freemasonry, Enlightenment and the French Revolution.What is historically clear,
however, is that the Illuminati, who were about to cease their existence in
1789, did not play any crucial role in the preparation of the French
Revolution.The links between the Bavarian group and the French Freemasonry were
tenuous at best, and in fact many French Freemasons were quite hostile to the
Illuminati, and certainly not prepared to accept the leadership of a German
order.For a number of political reasons, however, Robison's theories were
particularly successful in the United States, where President Thomas Jefferson
was accused of being a member of the dreaded sect.

Q: But wasn't the back part of the Great Seal of the United States, the one
we still see on the dollar bill, a symbol of the Illuminati?

Introvigne: No, no matter how many books and movies claim it.The pyramid
and eye symbol is never found among the Illuminati. Actually it is not even a
Masonic symbol, although there are similar symbols in Freemasonry, where a
fascination with Egypt was widespread in the 18th and 19th century.

The particular pyramid used in the Great Seal was derived from
Pyramidographia, a book published in 1646 in London by John Greaves [1602-1652],
based on his trip to Egypt.The eye was introduced by Congress Secretary Charles
Thomson -- who was not a Freemason -- in his 1792 speech prior to the Seal's
Congressional acceptance as a very Christian "eye of the Providence," presiding
over the destiny of the United States. As such, it is featured in a number of
Christian churches and symbols, quite apart from, and well before, its use
within the frame of Masonic rituals.

Q: Didn't many always accept the theory, however, that the Illuminati were
leading the world or, at least, the U.S.?

Introvigne: Not before 1975. From the mid-19th century to 1975 the theory
of the great Illuminati conspiracy remained the province of fringe
"conspirationist" authors, not particularly well-known by the general public.In
1975, a trilogy known as "Illuminatus" was published by Robert Joseph Shea and
Robert Anton Wilson.The three novels were written somewhat tongue-in-check, and
Shea and Wilson were part of a neo-pagan group known as the Discordians,
worshippers of Eris the Great Goddes of Chaos through "cosmic jokes."

Actually, these are libertarian novels, where Weishaupt does not die in
Germany but emigrates to the American British Colonies, where he assumes the
name of George Washington and establishes the United States.When the U.S.
evolves into an authoritarian, repressive state under the secret leadership of
the Illuminati, Discordians organize the resistance in the name of liberty,
Chaos, and the Great Goddess Eris.

It is after Shea and Wilson's novels that the Illuminati start popping up
literally everywhere, from Umberto Eco's novel "Foucault's Pendulum" [1988] to
the movie "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" [2001], including countless comics,
role-playing games, and miscellaneous pieces of fiction.Unfortunately, some did
not realize the nature of the "Illuminatus" novels, or even claimed that Shea
and Wilson revealed a real conspiracy under the guise of fiction.

This theory achieved a certain degree of success among Protestant
fundamentalists.Its leading proponent, Milton William Cooper, died in a
confrontation with law enforcement officers on Nov. 5, 2001. He refused to pay
taxes to the U.S. government, claiming it was controlled by the

Q: What about the Skull and Bones, the famous fraternal society of Yale's
students and alumni? One hears frequently that it is part of the Illuminati

Introvigne: No relation. The Skull and Bones was established in 1832 by
William Huntington Russell [1809-1885], when the original Illuminati were long
since dead.Some tenuous similarity may be explained by the fact that both
Weishaupt's Illuminati and Russell's Skull and Bones did take inspiration in the
many "secret" student societies which existed in German universities since the
18th century.

By the way, many stories told about the Skull and Bones are simply tall
tales -- they are just another academic fraternity, including famous people
because famous people do happen to have studied at Yale -- and in 1986 it was
finally ascertained that even their famous skull did not really belong to
legendary Indian chief Geronimo. The Apaches, to which The Skull and Bones was
prepared to give back the skull, declared it unconnected with Geronimo and
refused it.

Q: But didn't an Order of the Illuminati exist in the 20th century,

Introvigne: Yes. Within the framework of the German occult revival at the
end of the 19th century, Leopold Engel "revived" -- in his own words -- the
Bavarian Order of the Illuminati on March 12, 1901.He and his associate Theodor
Reuss -- later to become famous as a sexual magician and an associate of famous
British occult master Aleister Crowley -- were spreading the word that the order
was being revived since 1896.Later, they claimed that the revival took place in
1880, but this date is certainly false.

As usual, Engel and Reuss told the members of their newly founded order
that it was both very old and a legitimate continuation of the Bavarian
Illuminati, whose succession had been transmitted from father to son within
Reuss' family. It was claimed that the Illuminati originated in India and Egypt,
were behind the Italian Renaissance and post-Renaissance art and science (hence
the references to Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Galileo Galilei, quite familiar to
the readers of "Angels & Demons," and included among their members an
impressive rooster of historical characters, from Ulysses and Aristotle to --
yes, indeed -- Thomas Jefferson.

Once again, however, Engel did admit -- in writing -- that this genealogy
was mythical and symbolic, and should not be taken at face value. As for the
story of a family succession connecting Reuss to the Bavarian Illuminati, Engel
later declared that it was a figment of Reuss' imagination.

Q: Who was Leopold Engel, exactly?

Introvigne: An interesting character. He was a member of the inner circle
of the loosely organized movement including the followers of the Austrian
Christian visionary and mystic Jakob Lorber [1800-1864].In fact, Engel
"received" spiritually -- today, the word "channelled" would be used -- the
missing 11th volume of Lorber's masterpiece "The Great Gospel of John," a volume
still accepted as a legitimate part of the Lorber canon by many, although by no
means all, Lorberians.He was also a prolific science fiction and dime novels
writer. In fact, he seemed to lead a dual life, keeping his Lorberian and
Illuminati activities quite separate, although the Illuminati materials written
by Engel do show the influence of Lorber.

Q: Do Engel's Illuminati still exist?

Introvigne: Yes. Although persecuted in Nazi Germany, the Illuminati were
able to survive in Switzerland, particularly thanks to the efforts of Felix
Lazerus Pinkus [1881-1947], a rich left-wing economist.Pinkus initiated Hermann
Joseph Metzger [1919-1990], a baker by trade as well as a stage hypnotist, who
maintained alive the Order of the Illuminati until his death in 1990, and
created an Illuminati center in the Swiss village of Stein, in the Canton of
Outer Appenzell.A small number of his disciples still live or at least
periodically meet there, and they are the only legitimate heirs of Engel's

Of course one can join a number of other "Orders of the Illuminati," some
of them online by paying a fee, but these do not even have the legitimacy of a
succession from Engel's organization.

Q: Can we characterize the Illuminati, as Dan Brown would have it, as a
conspiracy to destroy the Vatican and its power in the name of reason and

Introvigne: As mentioned earlier, the names of famous scientists mentioned
as Illuminati are part of mythical genealogies with no historical basis. The
Illuminati were mostly recruited among lawyers, governmental officers, and even
liberal clergymen, with very few scientists, if any.Weishaupt's Illuminati
taught to their new members a rather tame version of the Enlightenment
philosophy, quite close to the ideas of Immanuel Kant.

Weishaupt ostensibly claimed to be against the continuing reactionary
influence of the Jesuits, but not against Roman Catholicism per se.However,
those who reached his inner circle discovered a strong anticlericalism and
anti-Catholicism, and some documents openly promoted secular humanism and
atheism. Anti-clericalism was also a feature of Engel's order, although not a
particularly prominent one.No historical Illuminati order ever boasted that it
would "destroy the Vatican," a claim which would seem quite preposterous to
anybody who would take into account the real number of their members and the
extension of their activities.

Q: Were, or are, the Illuminati a very powerful order?

Introvigne: They certainly aren't any powerful today. The main aim of the
Stein group, reduced to less than a dozen members, is to survive.Engel's group
did not have any particular power. It had a certain cultural influence and
initiated two distinguished novelists, Gustav Meyrink [1868-1932] and Franz
Spunda [1890-1963], but this was rather limited to the occult subculture itself.

The Bavarian Illuminati were a much more important organization, and
deserve more than a footnote in German history.They managed to include among
their members three ruling princes, Duke Charles August of Saxony-Weimar
[1757-1828], Duke Ernst II of Saxony-Gotha [1745-1804], and Duke Charles William
Frederic of Brunswick [1735-1806].In 1783 Duke Charles August persuaded two
famous protegés of his, Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Johann Gottfried von Herder,
at that time the two leading German intellectuals, to join him among the
Illuminati, although both, having been initiated, were never particularly active
in the Order.

Weishaupt and his close associates, unbeknownst to these princes and
luminaries, were able to use the Illuminati for a very real political
conspiracy, aimed at seizing power in Bavaria, which came close to
succeed.Having said so much, it is equally important not to exaggerate the
Bavarian Illuminati's role, which was close to non-existent outside Germany, and
to remember that by 1790 they had fully ceased to exist.

Those who want to persuade us that a secret Illuminati cabal did lead the
world from the Renaissance to the 19th century, and continues to do so today,
have a very difficult burden of proof, and never even came close to produce
documents or evidence that such is the case. ZE05052727

Friday, May 27, 2005

Hey, It's Only Tax Money

Earlier on this blog we commented on Fire Department tricks used to maintain or increase budget dollars. Now for the Police Department tricks.

Here in the Town of Brookfield, somnabulence is the basic rule. Now and then there's a disorderly type housed at one of the local hotels (one actually had a sidearm, once.) A couple of bicycles get stolen, there are a few CD's stolen from get the picture.

But we have a crop of eager young second-shift twenty-something graduates of WCTC's Police Science training course. They have to do something. So they watch the Interstate.

Evidently the State Patrol and the Waukesha County Sheriff, both patrolling I-94, are simply insufficient for the monstrous task at hand, eh?

Not one, but TWO Townies were found the other evening, with a car pulled over. Probably a really big deal--maybe 15 over, or better, maybe a single-occupant car that had used the 'multiple-occupant' entrance lane. About 10 minutes earlier, one of the Townies was laying in wait at the Hy 18/94 entrance ramp, eastbound.

In the meantime, the Crime Wave in the Town continued, unabated by the patrol presence of the Townies.

Too many dollars chasing too few crimes.

Burgers and Hiltons

There are those who somewhat casually dismiss the Karl's/Burger King commercials featuring P Hilton warming up to what she may do best...her sole talent, as it were. They make the argument that after all, parents who think their children should not view the commercials should simply "control the TV." Usually this is followed by a disclaimer to the effect that 'I'm old enough to watch this and dismiss it.'

Let's call a spade a spade. If you don't want your kids to imbibe this stuff, why should YOU? Not only do you not let the kids ingest sewage--YOU don't ingest it either, right?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Culture Alert

The Milwaukee Symphony, its Chorus, the Milwaukee Children's Chorus, three soloists, and all kinds of extra percussion and brass players will perform Benjamin Britten's War Requiem on June 10th, 11th, and 12th (evening, evening, and matinee, respectively.) See: to order tix.

I have a minor niggle with the concert's billing as "The Pity of War." This is NOT a knee-jerk anti-war piece by any stretch of the imagination. Wilfred Owen, the highly-decorated Brit Army officer who wrote his poetry in the field, specifically alludes to the 'just war' theory.

What the Requiem is, however, is a monumental piece which clearly and very forcefully shows the pathos of deaths--particularly the deaths of WWI, arguably the most brutal of 20th century wars. Tactically, it was "send more men into the machine-gun field-of-fire until they run out of bullets." Not exactly a recipe for minimal casualties, eh wot?

Some will recall that Mel Gibson also made a movie about WWI's tactics.

In any case, the Requiem is a textbook example of writing music to fit the text. You can hear the big guns and the small arms; you can hear the souls of the dead examining their consciences on Judgment Day; you will hear the bugle-calls and the bird-calls from the fields.

It's also a stage-play, with no "acting;" just a couple of soldiers (one English, one German) singing poetry about war, until they both die in a battle (the 6th movement) and meet after their deaths, on their final journey.

Those of you with military associations will understand this work very well, particularly if you also have a musical bent.

Knowing what I know about Andreas Delfs, the conductor, this will be an electrifying concert, well worth the price of admission. Think about attending. SPECIAL NOTE: one hour before each concert there will be a discussion of "how the piece works" held in the Anello atrium of the PAC. Yours truly will be one of the presenters, along with a Ph.D. Literature and an MS Music. I'm there to hold their coats. We think the presentations will be helpful, particularly if you've never heard this piece before.

STOP, Already

Since about 80% of the metro Milwaukee population did NOT graduate from Marquette U., nor send their children there, the yappaflappa about the moniker of the University-with-no-name is truly a tempest in a teapot.

OK. Take the teapot elsewhere, and take the tempest, too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Mad Margaret of Mass.

From SFGate:

"Judicial independence is vital to our nation, not a 'problem to be solved,' and leaders should steer away from anti-judicial rhetoric, the chief justice who wrote the decision legalizing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts told graduates.

"In a commencement speech Sunday at Brandeis University, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall expressed concern over recent attacks against the judiciary.
'Our courts function as a pressure valve to defuse political and social tension,' Marshall said. 'As a nation, we have tacitly agreed that it is better to settle our large differences in the courtroom than in the street.'

"The court's 4-3 ruling in November 2003 that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry in Massachusetts sparked opposition around the nation. Conservative politicians, including President Bush, blamed 'activist judges,' including Marshall, who wrote it, for advancing a social agenda.

"'I worry when people of influence use vague, loaded terms like 'judicial activist' to skew public debate or to intimidate judges,' Marshall said. 'I worry when judicial independence is seen as a problem to be solved and not a value to be cherished.'

"Marshall referred to court rulings concerning school desegregation and civil rights as proof that an independent judiciary is vital. 'Individual rights and human dignity are vulnerable when they depend for protection on the will of the majority or the good faith of those in power,' she said.
Marshall, who received an honorary degree, told the nearly 1,000 graduates that they must pick a side.

"'Respect for the rule of law is deeply imbedded in our American experience but it is not embedded in our DNA,' she said. 'Each of you must decide whether to embrace, to protect the rule of law, or to repudiate it. Make no mistake, inaction and indifference are acts of repudiation.'

Thus spake Mad Margaret, defending "judicial independence."

Too bad that the "independence" she defends seems to be an 'independence' from sanity and right reason, more and more endemic to the blackrobe-class. The Justice does not argue for human dignity; rather, she argues that the enshrinement of human INdignity is proper.

She's right about one thing--the 'rule of law' she defends is NOT "embedded in our DNA."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

The new Coalition for Families webpage has sprung to life with some great information. You should bookmark it: While you're there, be sure to click on "Get the Facts" which shows a dynamite ad about our execrable Governor's new clothes...

Remember the Three-Card Monte Doyle who promised NOT to increase taxes during his campaign? Well, it only took a couple of years for the damned lie to crawl from its spot under the rock (or should we personalize that and make it 'damned liar'?)

Not only $368MM in additional taxes, and a NEW proposal to tax Ipod downloads--but in addition, his cost projections were evidently created in a smoke-filled room--and it certainly was not tobacco smoke.

Rep. Steve Nass questioned Three-Card's estimate of $500K/year to extend taxpayer-paid health bennies to "partners" of U.W. employees. The Legislative Research folks hauled out their calculators, and voila!! Three-Card lied!

The Legislative Reference Bureau determined that the ACTUAL number would be more like $2.9MM to perhaps $5.3MM/year. Extending the same bennies to ALL State employees would produce a number in the range between $6.6MM to $13.1MM (that's million, folks.)

Beyond that, FICA-related expense would increase by more than $600K/year.

Jimbo's math, and that of his close aides, needs some work. How about a few years in a Choice School, Three-Card? THEY teach children real-world mathematics.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Hospital Expense

According to the newspaper,, Aurora Hospital ("We're On Every Corner No Matter What the Cost") has now requested the videotape archives from the Waukesha County Courthouse from January 1, 2005 through April.

The buzz is that Aurora will be viewing the replays with an eye toward suing Waukesha County over the County Board's decision not to accomodate their foot-stomping, rattle-waving, hold-my-breath-until-I'm-blue-in-the-face request for re-zoning near Pabst Farms.

Some local broadcast pundits have chanted the "Free Enterprise" mantra about the decision, ranting on about how the benighted and parochial Waukesha County Board has protected the local team (ProHealthCare) in their decision. Those ranters (even the one which doesn't scream and chop up dissenters) seem to have bought into "Free Enterprise" at any cost, forgetting that there is such a thing as public policy--which happens to be the raison d'etre for elected bodies such as the County Board.

Perhaps the Free Enterprise Gang has looked at the line-item expenses of Aurora for lobbyists, legal representation, and advertising, and have determined that those expenses SHOULD be paid by patients (and taxpayers.) But that doesn't sound like "Free Enterprise" to me--nor to anyone else who has priced health-insurance plans in the last few years.

So somebody's going to settle back in front of the TV with popcorn, pencils, and legal pads to watch movies. Free enterprise, my....ahhhh.....foot.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Mac,Mae, Newt, and Hillary

If you're not paying attention to the Freddies, you should be.

Same-o with the (Federal) Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp--and watch in the next 12 months or so as various Congresscritters begin introducing legislation to create a Federal health-coverage entity, which will undoubtedly be introduced as a "insurance-of-last-resort" concept.

There are a number of businesses, some which are VERY large, who have barely disguised their interest in dumping health-care coverage--both on the West Coast and in the Rustbelt. That's why Newt suddenly appeared with Hillary.

The "last resort" may well become the 'first' as the situation evolves.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

University Musical Chairs

We're told that the UW-Stout Chancellor refuses to allow an ROTC program, despite the wishes of the Student Senate and the U's own student-recruitment people. Three State Senators sent a letter politely asking his re-consideration.

We are also painfully aware that Wisconsin has a serious budget problem, a lousy bond-rating, and a whole lot of college campi paid for through tax revenues.

And yes, some Wisconsin legislators have decided that a real review of the "need" for UW-system schools on every block or two is in order.

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Milwaukee's OK Corral

Went to the Milwaukee County courthouse the other day--had a half-hour to spare and had to obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate for child # 7's passport application.

Didn't get into the courthouse. On my keyring is a Dangerous Weapon--a 2" bladed nail-file/knife combo, about $8.00 retail at Gander Mountain. Sorry--with a weapon like that you're not going into the building, and if you give it to the building security folks, you don't get it back.

I wrote a nastygram to the Sheriff, David Clarke (R) and suggested that the rules were 'silly.'

In his 1.5 page response he mentioned "9/11" three times--'the world has changed since 9/11, 9/11 changed all that, yada yada yada.' In short, since 9/11 the Courthouse will be a fortress of safety for Courthouse employees (and presumably Courthouse visitors.)

Two observations: 1) the 'fortress mentality' evident with Sheriff Clarke will not help him in the least as he pursues higher office in the State. This mentality is by no means characteristic of Clarke alone--it is becoming almost de rigeur for public officials as a group. 2) It's ironic in the extreme that Sheriff Clarke (and sometimes Paul Bucher) don't think that ordinary law-abiding citizens deserve the ability to protect themselves--they both have opposed CCW in Wisconsin, and maybe Bucher still does. Yet they both defend to the death the creation of "safe houses" for themselves, in their Courthouses.

Who are they trying to kid? The "9/11" mantra is now spurring (and 'justifying') exchange of 00-loaded shotguns for AR-15/night-sight/flash-suppressed/full-auto/muzzle compensated weapons to be carried in a police car. Heavy weapons for the locals, who most often watch them rust as they issue speeding-with-no-seat-belt-tix.

I will not easily forget the sight of three City of Brookfield (my home town) LEO's approaching a vehicle stopped on the side of Capitol Drive with AR's at the ready--in broad daylight, with heavy traffic in both directions. Turned out the kid had the wrong kind of car--no more. Not even speeding.

AR's? When I was in the military, we were taught to REALLY respect the M-16 for its deadliness. Not a weapon that one waves around in heavy traffic, unless it's the enemy...

One wants to like the neighborhood cops--but even according to LEO's I know personally, the LEO's don't really want to like the citizens.

This has to stop.


For reasons not understood in this corner, ANYONE over the age of 18 and living in your house can order certain telephone-related services and have them billed (through your phone company) to whoever pays your telephone bills.

Little, if any, verification is required.

Fortunately, my provider (SBC) offers "third-party blocking" which pre-emptively disallows such schemes. You may wish to look into it.

Yes, I intend to make this a Federal case. I'll begin by inquiring at the local Congressional office.

UnEqual Desecration

While Newspeek writhes in justifiable agony over its new status which proves that the pen can, indeed, have fatal effects, it goes unmentioned that the Moslems are not known as "respecters" of the artifacts of OTHER religions. See, for example,

Moslems literally "de-faced" Buddhist statues and 1200 years later dynamited them; they destroyed Joseph's tomb in Israel, and IIRC, they caused a Crusade or two with their poor manners with Catholic shrines, as well.

Newspeek won't mention it.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Bumper Sticker Update

We've all seen the obnoxious, here's one based on real-life events:

Our Commander-in-Chief has to deal with the real world which he inherited from Clinton. It's not fun.

The OTHER Marquette

Down the street from the University-with-No-Name is Marquette High, in a building given by the Johnston Cookie family. Marquette High is Jesuit-run, and is an all-boys institution.

They are called the Hilltoppers. There's never really been a dispute about that, at least in recent history. Marquette High (MUHS) alumni litter the hallways of Federal and State courts as judges and lawyers, practice medicine, serve in the Milwaukee Police Department, and generally are regarded as well-educated. Several of its graduates are relatives of mine, and I, too, hold one of their diplomas.

Now they'll have something else to be known for.

Some of the students are discussing the possibility of a "Gay Pride Homeroom" at MUHS.

About 20 years ago I looked the possibility of sending my boys there. Rather than make inquiries about their theology program and how that comports with Roman Catholic teachings (I sort of knew that it wouldn't, really...) I simply attended one of the Masses held for the students during the class day.

That was the end of my interest. Frankly, if the priest cannot read the missal as it is written, it's my experience that little else will comport with the Church's mind and teachings.

The "Gay Pride Homeroom" concept is the logical extension of this non-conformism. The only question is why it took so long.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Taxes and Firemen

The City of Brookfield recently discovered that its Fire Chief has difficulty controlling his budget for overtime, which caused some 'cluck-cluck' action at a recent Common Council meeting. The only surprise about that is that it took them a couple of years to mention the problem.

About three years ago, I suggested to a couple of Aldermen that the Fire Department had gotten into a very bad habit of sending Engine Companies out along with an ambulance on 911 health-related calls. It's a large waste of money but the Fire Chief gets to write up more "activity" reports, thus justifying extra manpower budget, extra equipment budget---you know the drill.

Why is this done? You won't believe the answer.

"We may need extra manpower to bring the victim out."

Really? For most 911 calls, the Police Department sends a squad which has a fairly able-bodied cop in it. They can't help? And speaking of the police, talk with a cop sometime about the way an engine company clogs up a road real fast-right now.

A few years ago my daughter was at the pediatrician's office with an asthma problem. The MD suggested that she be transported to a hospital for an overnight stay with oxygen. Sure enough, the engine company rolls into the clinic driveway right behind the ambo. Between the 5 rescue workers present, it was clear that they'd somehow manage to transport my 85-pound daughter--after all, she WALKED out to the ambo under her own power.

The fact is that this is simply unnecessary, and sometimes ludicrous. And over time, it's expensive. But hey--whose money is it, anyway?


"Every county in Southeastern Wisconsin loses more income to Dane County than it
gains in income from Dane County"

I know. It's out-of-context. But there's something about 'losing income to Dane County' [read: MADISON] that strikes a chord...

Saturday, May 14, 2005


So in a southeastern suburb of Milwaukee, a friend encounters a woman preaching a homily at a Catholic Mass. That's a no-no, right?


So a letter gets sent to the Pastor of the parish, who responds with a VERY officious and huffy letter of his own. Seems that our Archbishop Dolan has "extended" the permission this woman has while the 'matter is under study' by various sensitivity-superendowed types in God-knows-where.

Well, maybe the Archbishop did, and maybe he didn't. But we would be surprised if he did. See, even in America, and even here in the Land of Rembert, (three blocks from Oz, left of LaLaLand), it is NOT allowed that anyone but an ordained (Catholic) minister preaches the homily--or what even APPEARS to be the homily. This means either a priest or an ordained deacon.

Yes, indeedy, a layman, or laylady, layboy, or laygirl may preach. But they may NOT preach at the time the homily would normally be delivered (after the Gospel.) No way, no how.

Perhaps Father Sensitive forgot to tell our Archbishop about this 'timing' problem or thought he'd just spray enough foofoodust in the air to confuse all the parties.

Well, he didn't.

To the rear, preacher...march!!

(Belated Thanks to J the Newbie for editing assistance)

Tactics of Destroying Pharmacists

Recently in Milwaukee, a Walgreen's pharmacist was accused of 'berating' and 'humiliating' a patient who had presented a scrip for the "morning after" pill. See: www.jsonline/news/state/May05/325131.asp

The story as reported bears all the marks of a setup and should be viewed with extreme caution by any fair-minded observer.

At this time, several interest groups are attempting to prevent pharmacists from enjoying a "conscience clause" which would allow them to opt-out of filling certain prescriptions. The 'morning after' pill is one of those prescriptions, particularly for observant Roman Catholics, despite the facile and blatantly deceptive representation of Planned Parenthood about the pill in question.

In order for the interest groups (Planned Parenthood among them) to achieve their goals, however, they need a few "victims," the existence of which will serve to make the emotional case FOR their goal override the intellectual case AGAINST it.

Thus, the story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (above) and a previous television version of same from Channel 12 in Milwaukee.

On first reading, this story has an odor to it. Note that there is no--that is, zip, zero, nada--reference to the final disposition of the woman's prescription. She apparently did not ask the pharmacist to return it, which is odd, since there are several other pharmacies within a very short drive where the "victim" could get it filled.

While we're on this part of the story, it is curious that the woman stood around for the "berating" she was alleged to have been given before she brought her problem to the attention of a manager. (It is also interesting that the manager--or any other employee of the store-- did not HEAR this 'berating' and bring it to a stop.)

The next curious part of the story is that this mother of 6 decided that her only course of action was to obtain an abortion. That MIGHT be the case if the woman did not get her prescription back, which does not make any sense in the first place. But we must remember that this is a setup and there's an agenda at work. The "sympathy" ploy is that this woman was at wits' end--overburdened with children, and now "distraught, humiliated, and traumatized." She couldn't possibly have another child on top of all this! So, deciding that adoption was not an alternative and that Wisconsin's still-strong assistance programs for parents in need were inadequate, she opted for an abortion.

If this sounds familiar, it ought to. Planned Parenthood has maintained that "less pills will lead to more abortions." This story is certainly convenient for them, if not engineered to be such.

Moving on, we find that the woman's attorney uses a highly-charged paraphrase in describing the reaction of the pharmacy manager to the situation: "Listen. Our policy is that we let the pharmacists make the call on these things. I can't force her to fill it."

Besides the slanted language, the attorney now hopes that we all believe that both the pharmacist AND the manager were unaware of Walgreen's policy, later given by Walgreen's spokesman: the policy "prohibits" [pharmacists] "from discussing their reasons" [for refusing to fill a scrip] "with the customer, and it requires them to notify a manager who WILL make arrangements to fill the prescription--by a competitor if necessary."

Total ignorance of the policy--by two high-level store employees? Really.

Finally, the JSOnline story tells us that the pharmacist 'did not recall the incident,' which is similar to the Channel 12 version, where the pharmacist 'did not recall the incident in the same way' as did the customer.

Fortunately, Walgreen's most likely has the entire incident on videotape.

We await the replay. But don't hold your breath waiting for publication in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel or on Channel 12.

Moonbat Alert

So according to Judy Robson, Moonbat-at-Large (2nd class), (D) of Beloit, ways in which one may demonstrate eligibility for the most important function in the Republic include:

  • showing a utility bill which has your own name (well, maybe not your name, but at least an address in the area)...
  • coming up with 4 random numbers (which says a lot about the people Robson wants to enfranchise here...4 is not TOO heavy a burden)...
  • somebody's bank statement.

Why not:

  • Last night's pizza crust?
  • One of those postcards with a milk-carton child on them (they have an address, right?)
  • A letter from your Mom, giving permission for you to skip school?
  • A receipt from a LOCAL QuickMart for coffee and donuts?
  • A few cans of non-perishable food for the poor?
  • A picture of random children?
  • Somebody's email address?
Just trying to help, Judy.