Tuesday, February 28, 2006

UAE and Edith Myers

Shut up, Rush.

It was someone in the UAE who tipped OBL that we (literally) had him in our rocket sights.

What OTHER secrets may they learn and, ah, disgorge?

Supremes Get It Right For Joe Scheidler

All the Abortion Forces could not prevail--it's 8-0, with Alito abstaining:

The Supreme Court has ruled today in a two-decade-old lawsuit that racketeering laws can’t be used against pro-life groups by pro-abortionists. The National Organization for Women and abortionists had filed suit against the Pro-Life Action League and individual pro-lifers, including Joe Scheidler, in Chicago claiming they had violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a law designed to take down the Mafia. They had claimed that pro-lifers had conspired in a coordinated effort to close down or disrupt abortion clinics across the country in the 1980s. They claimed that this meant that pro-lifers shouldn’t be treated like American exercising their First Amendment rights, but as criminals involved in organized crime.
The Supreme Court had already ruled last June that the RICO statutes were wrongly applied in this case, asserting that the law had been stretched well beyond its legislative intent in an effort to chill free speech. That should have been the end of it, except the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago questioned whether a nationwide ban on demonstrations that interfere with abortion clinics carrying out their baby executions could be kept in place on other legal grounds.
Today’s ruling should be a definitive end to this misuse of the justice system once and for all. I’m not sure of the actual voting split among justices or the actual opinions yet, so we can’t yet say for sure whether this is an indicator of things to come from the new court.

Joe Scheidler lost his house and most other "normal possessions" defending this case against Planned Parenthood (which is supported by taxpayer money.)

One hopes that Joe files for "frivolous" lawsuit, or for malicious misuse of the courts and is awarded several hundred million from the vipers--or at least from their equally scumsucking attorneys.

HT: DomBet


Dwayne Andreas, retired Chairman of Archer-Daniels-Midland, has not made a big splash with contributions in the Wisconsin CornAHole fight, although he's been free with his money in the past, for political purposes.

Well, it turns out that the hand of justice was operative:

"Allegations of financial misconduct are rocking the Orthodox Church in America, whose former treasurer says top officials misappropriated millions of dollars in donations from agribusiness titan Dwayne Andreas, U.S. military chaplains and ordinary parishioners across the country.

"The highest officers of the 400,000-member denomination, an offshoot of the Russian Orthodox Church, are accused of using the money to cover personal credit card bills, pay sexual blackmail, support family members and make up shortfalls in various church accounts.

"The former treasurer, Deacon Eric A. Wheeler, said the greatest fear of the church's leaders in the late 1990s was that Andreas, the retired chairman of Archer Daniels Midland Co., would visit Moscow and discover that they had not used his donations to renovate a church and build a conference center. So they prepared a modern-day Potemkin village, ordering a brass plaque that could instantly transform a Moscow law office into the "Andreas Conference and Communications Center," he said.

"The potential scandal will come to a head Wednesday when the church's governing body of 10 bishops, the Holy Synod, is scheduled to meet behind closed doors at its headquarters in Syosset, N.Y., to consider demands from some bishops, priests and parishioners for an internal investigation and an independent audit going back to 1996.


Smoking Ban

Milwaukee's Common Council, never known as a repository of intellectual diligence, will shortly pass an ordinance banning smoking in all public places.

There will be some pain as taverns slowly go out of business. Some restaurants will also exit the scene. Some bowling alleys will remain open, but with fewer leagues.

Then the City will spend a few hundred million on "economic development" schemes, cannibalizing business from the suburbs.

The Common Council will largely be re-elected.

Monday, February 27, 2006

It's Kathleen To You...

Xoff rants about Bucher referring to Kathleen Falk as "Kate."

Aside from the Shakespeare reference (which is obviously accurate) Mr. Bucher could do worse: he could call Kate "Mrs. Bock."

Feeding Birds? Hear a Helicopter? It's the Stasi

Wisconsin's DNR, the latest incarnation of Stasi, doesn't like-a-you if you feed birds.

And they are willing (and able) to spend MAJOR dollars (tax dollars) to crucify you if you like the birdies enough to toss some cracked corn out there.

They also don't like people who drive snowmobiles 6 blocks--and are perfectly willing to ignore such little items as the 4th Amendment to the U S Constitution to get you.

Wagner's been following this.

Tom Reynolds ought to begin investigating.

The Old Rite Mass

In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, there is only ONE authorized Old Rite Mass. It is held at Mary Help of Christians parish, 11:30AM on Sundays.

Abp. Weakland gave his permission for this Mass 20 years ago (!!)--the first one was held at St. Joseph's Convent Chapel. For the next several years, the Masses were celebrated at the old Minor Seminary chapel (the Minor Sem was closed and converted to the Archdiocesan offices--aka "the Puzzle Palace" long before the Old Rite Mass was celebrated there.)

The Mass was moved to Mary Help of Christians when the Archdiocese no longer wanted it at the Seminary chapel. Since arriving there, the regular attendance has grown from around 250-275 to well in excess of 350.

Mis-perceptions abound, but the one which is most significant is that it largely attracts "old folks." Sorry--that's simply wrong. The congregation's demographics reflect those of the greater Milwaukee area; if anything, there are a lot more children (<12 years) here than in other parishes.

Masses are also celebrated on First Fridays, First Saturdays, Holydays of Obligation (following the old calendar--Ascension is actually on a Thursday!!) and on civil holidays. For schedule details, see the website linked above.

Now rumor has it that there will be another authorized Old Rite Mass, to be held at St. Anthony's Parish on 9th/Mitchell. No firm plans have been announced as to when it might start, nor at what time of the Sunday (there are no "anticipated" Masses in the Old Rite.)

Interesting, eh? The Liturgy-Expert crowd was absolutely certain that the Old Rite would be history, finis, gone, dead. That was supposed to happen in 1967, then 1969, then "by 1985," then CERTAINLY by 2000. After all, only "old people" (who do die, eventually) were supposed to be attracted....

Now it's entirely likely that the active Old Rite groups in Milwaukee will survive Abp. Weakland.


Fireworks in Madison This Week

Yeah, we all know that BagMan will screw the kids in Milwaukee. Credit to John Gard for taking the step necessary to make it happen; but he's dealing with a real snake.

But that's not the real fun coming up.

The REAL fun will be about Defense of Marriage, the amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution which defines marriage as 'between a man and woman.' (AJR67)

The opposition to this will do their best to make the lead sponsor look like a horse's patoot.

Word has it that this very humble, principled, and conservative Leggie/Sponsor will fire back, this time.

Find the Wis Legislature broadband feed and update your audio capabilities!!!

Barrett-Reynolds Axis? Money and Politics in Choice

Sorry--this will remain "G" rated.

The JSOnline story lays it out in lavender:

Partisan politics - and the history of who has and has not supported the voucher program - play a big role also.

With some exceptions, the voucher program has been supported almost from the start by Republicans, many of them from rural areas. Democratic legislators representing Milwaukee - with some exceptions - have not supported the program.

In 2001, when Republicans on the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee moved to increase the state's share of voucher funding from 55% to two-thirds, the proposal died on an 8 to 8 vote along straight party lines. Two Milwaukee Democrats, then-state Sen. Gwendolynne Moore and then-state Rep. Spencer Coggs, voted against it. Coggs, now a state senator, said in a recent interview that the increase was tied to other things the Democrats didn't support.

The two-thirds funding of vouchers would have meant that the state's share of the bill for the program would be about $10 million more this year than it actually is.

In recent cycles of legislative elections, the state teachers union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, has campaigned against some out-state Republican incumbents with mailings claiming that those legislators were taking money away from schools in their own districts and sending it to support voucher schools in Milwaukee and charter schools in Milwaukee and Racine.

The accuracy of such statements was a matter of heated debate. A strong case was made that the schools actually saved those districts money.

What is not in debate is that Republicans took great offense, saying they were attacked for trying to help Milwaukee, and they continue to be upset.

If you're not careful, you'd almost think that MTEA/WEAC and its legislative pals, the Democrats, are punishing Milwaukee's taxpayers for MTEA/WEAC's own crimes. And you'd almost think, from reading other stories, that Tom Reynolds is an ogre.

But in THIS story, it seems that Reynolds is trying to both help the City's taxpayers AND those who wish to send their children to "choice" schools:

State Sen. Tom Reynolds, a West Allis Republican who may hold the deciding vote on whether the voucher agreement is approved, said Sunday that he is seeking a way to keep an increase in voucher students from increasing Milwaukee property taxes. Reynolds said he was waiting for answers to questions he posed to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau on how that might be done, and would consider Barrett's ideas on the subject. If Reynolds does turn out to be the pivotal vote, his stand could influence whether the tax issue is given further consideration this week.

A Barrett-Reynolds alliance?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Trouble with Post-Modernists

Zenit interviewed the former Chair of Philosophy at McGill on the influence of post-Enlightenment figues on the Roman Catholic liturgy. In Crisis magazine, some commentary from David Warren (HT: Blosser)

Postmodernists, Robinson suggests, are indiscriminate -- equally at home with everything from the Nicene Creed to hard pornography, from kitsch to high culture. The refusal to reject anything, he says, is what they take to be their escape from what they regard as the harsh, scientific, 'masculine' sort of thinking of modernism. Postmodernists seem to see themselves as living beyond value, beyond right and wrong, beyond truth and falsehood.

This sort of attitude, of course, has dire consequences for freedom, sanity and any serious version of the Catholic faith. Furthermore, Robinson sees postmodernism as the vehicle used by the self-anointed inheritors of the Enlightenment as one more tool to destroy the authority of tradition, thereby wrecking the partnership -- of which Edmund Burke wrote so eloquently -- between the dead, the living and yet unborn -- a partnership that is the only real guarantee of a freedom independent of the whims of sociology departments and high court judges. While admitting his ignorance whether any of this may considered viable politics, Robinson insists that something like Burke's attitude is probably necessary to Catholicism if the Church is to recover the integrity of its liturgical worship.

GKChesterton refers to Tradition as "the democracy of the dead."

The postmodern influence, by the way, is pithily captured in the quote found below:

Europe is mired in ways of thinking that preceded the rise of capitalism, the philosophies of Locke and Mill, and the individualism that is so strong in America.

It has, in other words, a backward political culture.

The cultural snobbishness of the remark is astounding. Europe has many problems, but it does have one thing that the US does not: buildings and roads which are more than 500 years old.

The Tough Question on Choice Schools

Jessica weighs in on the Reynolds dubitum:

Apparently Reynolds is concerned about the use of standardized test and accreditation - the accountability aspects of the legislation. He thinks that these features may prevent schools from teaching students about creation.

Reynolds' concern is not exactly new. The argument begins with the Golden Rule: "He who has the gold makes the rules."

The education "system" in the USA was largely shaped by individuals who were absolutely and completely opposed to religious sentiments, particularly Roman Catholic sentiments. (They allowed religious sentiment, so long as it was NOT Catholic.) That happens to be exactly why the Catholic Church spent scads of money over the years building and maintaining her parochial schools. The point was to foster and preserve the Catholic culture.

Compressing history brings us to today, where we find the mandate of public education to be extremely onerous in cost, and suspect in its results. Further, public education is subject to a morass of indefensible regulations and moronic postulates (the "rules-are-rules/zero tolerance" stuff which Da Godfoddah loves to hate.) All of this was eminently predictable and followed a natural course from the initial charters laid out by Dewey & Co.

(I mean, really: would YOU like to be the "sex-ed" teacher in a public school? Hell, I feel sorry for those poor slobs who get THAT short straw.)

Be that as it may...

There is at least one (and likely there are many other) eminent private school in this State which will NOT, under ANY circumstances, take "choice" dollars. Never. No Way. No How.


Exactly what Reynolds' argument is: at some point in time, the Education Establishment will force Choice schools to "toe the line" on whatever garbage the Latest Educational Fad requires.

While it may be better for Reynolds to cave on this one, and come up with better 'enabling' language for the Choice program at a later date, one cannot argue with the principle behind his objection.

Say What Prof. McAdams?

The Warrior's take on Everything Wrong with Europe, quoting Louis Hartz:

Europe is mired in ways of thinking that preceded the rise of capitalism, the philosophies of Locke and Mill, and the individualism that is so strong in America.

It has, in other words, a backward political culture.

Which remark begs the question: are Locke, Mill, Capitalism and Individualism signs of Progress?

And since when is Progress (defined in these terms) a Good Thing?

Does Hartz have any concept of the history of Europe, or of philosophy, or is he merely another of the thousands of "Certified Enlightened Individuals" who are considered to be Leading Lights?

Finally---does McAdams believe this stuff?

Buckley's Dissent

Bill Buckley, a Conservative (and sometimes Republican) has put it on paper:

One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that “The bombing has completely demolished” what was being attempted — to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.


A problem for American policymakers — for President Bush, ultimately — is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed. One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom. The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence. This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure.

It can defend itself historically, standing by the inherent reasonableness of the postulates. After all, they govern our policies in Latin America, in Africa, and in much of Asia. The failure in Iraq does not force us to generalize that violence and antidemocratic movements always prevail. It does call on us to adjust to the question, What do we do when we see that the postulates do not prevail — in the absence of interventionist measures (we used these against Hirohito and Hitler) which we simply are not prepared to take?

It is healthier for the disillusioned American to concede that in one theater in the Mideast, the postulates didn't work. The alternative would be to abandon the postulates. To do that would be to register a kind of philosophical despair. The killer insurgents are not entitled to blow up the shrine of American idealism.

Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.

Captain's Quarters disagrees.

In the 1500's, the seedbed of international law was developed. At the time, a Catholic missionary priest complained (loud and long) to the Spanish Throne that the natives in the Caribbean were being abused by the Spanish conquistadores. There was little question about the veracity of his complaints.

The defense? That the natives were far more cruel to each other (human sacrifice, bloody and un-ending tribal warfare, etc.) than the Spanish were--and after all, the conquistadores were only trying to "civilize" these folks.

The Spanish Throne consulted with a number of highly-regarded Catholic legal experts and as a result, proclaimed that the activities of the conquistadores were illegal.


Because the conquistadores, while (perhaps) rightly-motivated, were disregarding the established norms and laws of the natives. They did not accord the natives the respect due them as humans. The conquistadores were also ignoring the principles of the Just War theory in many (not all) cases.

International Law was developed from this effort.

The unease with which most Americans view Wilson's "Democracy for All" intervention is echoed by the unease of Conservatives with GWBush's "Democracy for Iraq" proclamations--evidenced by Buckley's column. This goal--'to establish democracy'--is dangerous.

That's why the "cartoon" issue is significant, pace Mr. Esenberg and thousands of others who imagine that 'freedom of expression' should trump human respect for religious sensibilities. The foundation of International Law is respect for the cultural sensibilities, laws, and customs of others.

That does NOT mean that the West should idly observe slaughter (as it seems to be doing in Sudan, for example.) Nor does it mean that the West should sit by if attacked.

But it puts into question the Wilsonian Quest, which was echoed in GWB's remarks about "democracy."

League of Municipalities Explains It All

From BlameBush, regarding a Washington State Initiative-Referendum movement on taxes--the response of the Party of Government:

Under the guise of “democracy”, right-wing demagogues such as Tim Eyman have used the initiative process as a tool to limit or reduce taxes, cruelly forcing our elected representatives to actually adhere to a strict budget. Weaving a constant web of deceipt, Eyman employs slick marketing campaigns and bright, sparkly objects to hypnotize innocent Washingtonians into believing they’d be happier if they were allowed to keep more of their income, when we all know that the exact opposite is true.

You see, the American people are basically children – naive, impressionable children. It’s up to us grown-ups to protect them from evil conservatives who want fill their tiny brains with a lot of crazy ideas, such as getting something in return for their tax money besides clever new ways to take even more of it. Training these spoiled brats to become contributing members of a "community" rather than selfish individualists is a tough job and we get little gratitude in return. We help ourselves to a few measly pennies out of their precious piggy banks and give them fantastic sports stadiums and magic choo-choo trains to nowhere in return, but they’ll still turn right around and stab us in the liver for a cheap tank of gas. Well, I’ve had enough! Do you hear me?


Vaguely familiar, eh?

Oh, yeah--one big difference. The State of Wisconsin's Party of Government has NEVER allowed Initiative-Referendums in this State. Here, we have to do it the hard way--electing actual Conservatives.

Sometimes Republicans wear "conservative" clothing to fool you. Then, when they are elected, they pass really stupid laws which they know you will break--like turning on your headlights as a sign of submission whenever a Legislator is driving past; or requiring that you buy the latest child-restraint devices (in case a Legislator needs a ride in your car,) or buying distilled corn-products to ram into your car's rear end so you have to buy more of the stuff to keep up with the Legislator's personal road-building program...

Or they refuse to allow you to defend yourself. This, of course, applies ONLY to citizens who actually obey the law.

Like I said, some laws are made just to be broken.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Illegal Immigration

The John McCain/George W Bush position on illegal immigrants as explained by Calvin.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Slow Drawing-Down of Blinds

....a line from Wilfred Owen's poetry on war, referring to home-front activity after the announcement of the death of one of a family's boys Over There...

Also applies to speech in England, per Rich Leonardi of Ten Reasons:

"'People in my diocese have told me that they are now afraid to speak their minds in the pub on some major contemporary issues for fear of being reported, investigated, and perhaps charged,' said Wright. 'I did not think I would see such a thing in this country in my lifetime. ... The word for such a state of affairs is 'tyranny' -- sudden moral climate change, enforced by thought police.'"


another friend, a fellow journalist, cited orthodox Christian teaching during a speech which addressed homosexuality and was consequently visited by the police. "There's a chill in the air. The next time the BBC calls and wants me to talk about controversial topics, I fear I'll pause ... I'll remember the uniformed men visiting my friend."

Rich spent the last several days in London on a work assignment. Sorta makes Charlie's "Braveheart" opener moot, eh wot?

LBJ's Rotten Inheritance

When LBJ was President, a lot of stinko stuff was jammed down the American throat. Perhaps most odious was LBJ's project to stifle American churches by inserting a "STFU" clause into the IRS Code.

Surprise!! IRS found "violations!!"

IRS exams found nearly three out of four churches, charities and other civic groups suspected of having violated restraints on political activity in the 2004 election actually did so, the agency said Friday.

Among the prohibited activities, the examiners found that charities and churches had distributed printed material supporting a preferred candidate and assembled improper voter guides or candidate ratings.

Religious leaders had used the pulpit to endorse or oppose a particular candidate, and some groups had shown preferential treatment to candidates by letting them speak at functions.

Imagine that. A committed Christian pastor speaks out against pro-abortion candidates! This provision is clearly inappropriate, if one actually holds freedom of religion, expression, and free association as "values" under the Constitution.

But LBJ didn't, and now we have the IRS wasting a lot of time and resources on this crap.

No co-incidence that the "equal-time rule" was in effect back then, eh?


So here's the release:

The Commerce Department said that orders for durable goods, everything from computers to cars, fell by 10.2 percent last month, a much bigger decline than had been expected.
The weakness was led by a 68.2 percent drop in orders for commercial aircraft reflecting a falloff in sales at Boeing Corp. after two very strong months. Analysts said the overall decline overstated the weakness in manufacturing because it was so heavily influenced by the volatile aircraft sector.

Excluding airplanes, cars and other transportation products, orders posted a solid 0.6 percent rise after an even larger 1.9 percent increase in December.

"Excluding airplanes, cars, and other transportation products...."??

Look, Commerce is telling us that airplanes were a problem, and that's understandable. Boeing's sales-guys can close a bunch of orders in December and go dry in January.

But "excluding...CARS? ...other transportation products"? Who made THAT decision?

Sorta like DofLabor's cute little 'inflation's not bad' scheme. After you read that inflation's bopping along at 8+% this year, Labor says, 'well, not really!! If you take out gasoline, natural gas, and all food, it's only 2.4%!' See!!! Things are just Wonderful!!!

So don't eat, don't drive, don't heat your home, and inflation will be almost un-noticeable.

Really. I promise.

Xoff Goes Honest (?) (!!)

Freud was right.

In a typical rant, Xoff tells the truth about his not-so-secret REAL employer, BagMan:

....the fate of the constitutional amendment supporters call the Taxpayer Protection Amendment and opponents call Bride of TABOR may be decided by which side has the better marketing people -- or the most money. Just like we decide most things these days, by the way.

Adelman, casinos, powerplant sales, telephone-charges, lead-paint/med malpractice....

The Hold'em Rant

Damn good one, Pete!

I'm defying the "headlights on" rule as much as possible, as well as waiting for the day some poor twit LEO pulls a "primary enforcement" action on my total disregard for the seatbelts...

And there are other, more subtle, willful disobediences of the Nannies which I practice regularly.

Screw 'em.

But Pete--you didn't mention that these ninny-nanny-girly-Pubbies are following their Great Leader, G W Bush, whose idea of Big Gummint makes Clinton's pale in comparison. Same-o for Tommy Thompson, who never met a spending increase he didn't admire (if not endorse.)

It ain't exactly news. Only the faces have changed.

Jensen: Screwed Blue and Tattooed

Scott Jensen is not one of my heroes. He's being tried for offenses which are perhaps technical, but are not without substance--the substance being that State TAXPAYER dollars were used to pay people who did political stuff. In a nutshell, it was Party of Government on steroids.

Having said that, there's something wrong with this picture:

District Attorney Brian Blanchard who seems quite willing to put people in jail for using state paid graphic artists to create campaign literature, decided to let Assistant AG Roy Korte examine Grant. Was that because Blanchard himself received graphic design services from the Senate Democratic Caucus staff? Was Blanchard feeling even the slightest twinge of guilt when Korte showed Grant a nomination paper he had designed for an Assembly candidate?

Funny how the state gets to call witnesses to testify about what was done in the past but the defense team can’t bring up the past “uncharged activities" of others to make their case that the rules were unclear.If the defense could raise these kinds of issues, they might talk about how former Doyle Campaign Manager Andy Gussert directed Senate Democratic Caucus staff to provide voter lists and nomination paper design work for Brian Blanchard’s campaign for Dane County District Attorney, or how current Doyle Campaign Manager Rich Judge directed graphic artists to create campaign literature for Democratic Assembly candidates every day when he was a caucus director, a decade after Scott Jensen served in that capacity.

And that pesky defense might want to know why Blanchard redacted most of the testimony of Assembly Democratic Caucus artist Lisa Lindner along with the entire report of selected copies of political materials she created at the ADC…Did that work include graphic design for Jim Doyle, Peg Laugtenslager or Brian Burke's campaigns?

To be frank, Blanchard smells, and the odor is seeping under the door here in Brookfield, 70 miles from that courtroom.

It is NOT a defense to state that "The other guys did it, too!"--but knowledge of the WHOLE picture will be useful to a jury, and for that matter, the rest of the State.

Maybe the MSM will catch up with this someday....

Health Care, Part Two

Following on the entry below, where health-care costs are finally revealed to the consumers, we see an interesting item in the American Spectator:

Consumer-driven health care is beginning to show real signs of progress. A recent survey by America's Health Insurance Plans found that the number of people with a health savings account (HSA) tripled, from 1 million to 3 million, in barely a year's time. Companies are finding that high-deductible plans coupled with an HSA cost less. In his recent visit to Milwaukee, President Bush pointed to the hamburger giant Wendy's, which saw an increase of only 1 percent in its premiums after switching to an HSA plan.

Of course, in the State of Wisconsin, an HSA is a minefield--due largely to Wisconsin's reluctance to "conform" with Federal tax rules. Our health plan went HSA this year--a good thing--except that keeping the books on this will be horrific.

Perhaps our friends in the Union movement will pressure their Legislative pals to repair the Wisconsin tax code before their membership with HSA's has to fill out their tax forms next year, which will require counter-debit/counter-credit entries AND a hell of a good set of records.

Who Wants War with Iran?

John Batchelor of the American Spectator, that's who.

Reading his blog notes, it is clear that Batchelor is willing to commit US troops and military technology to "taking out" the Iranian Gummint, currently fronted by a nut (but still run by the mullahs, who are likely NOT nuts.)

Keep your eyes on the spin, folks.

An acquaintance of mine who has some understanding of US foreign policy thinks that the Bush Administration will NOT commit to extending the war into Iran; the NeoCon warmongers have moved from the Administration to other places (a UN Ambassador spot, e.g.,) and the US mood has changed. 9/11 is gone, and so is Saddam.

That doesn't mean that people like Batchelor don't have some influence.

...and Kudos to Jim Sensenbrenner, Too!!

BagMan is grinding his teeth on this one:

Applicants for state driver's licenses and state identification cards might soon be required to show proof of legal residency, under a bill on its way to Gov. Jim Doyle after passing the Senate on Thursday.

Under current law, an applicant for a state ID must verify his or her address and birth date, but not residency status. If the bill becomes law, applicants would have to show proof of residence and a date when their legal alien status expires. The date would be printed on the person's driver's license, the bill says.

If states don't comply with the national law by May 2008, federal officials won't accept that state's cards as identification for purposes such as boarding planes or entering federal buildings. Wisconsin is one of a handful of states that don't have such legislation.

That's why Doyle will consider signing it, Doyle spokesman Dan Leistikow said.

"Congress has imposed a federal mandate, which doesn't give the state a lot of wiggle room," Leistikow said.

"Congress" was Jim Sensenbrenner.

Needless to say, this law will ALSO have an impact on voter fraud, thus diminishing the Democrat vote by a significant number in Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, and Beloit.

BagMan could veto the bill, of course. What does HE care? He flies on private planes, owned by the State or by "special" pals. Being a damn fool is nothing new to BagMan, either...



After years of groaning and whining about how "consumers" are "driving up costs" of medical procedures, the consumers are FINALLY given a price-list.


The clucking and tut-tutting went on, of course, because it's a hell of a lot easier to blame "consumers" than it is to blame, say, hospitals, or health plan administrators. That would be simply un-club-man-like. So the unwashed louts in the street took it on the chops, regularly. After all, they don't frequent the Milwaukee Athletic Club--

Rambo and his backers---Briggs & Stratton, the Journal Company, et al., deserve thanks for having simply demanded price postings.

Next step: the companies and Humana will draw a line: if you really, really want your "C" at Aurora, that's OK--but YOU will pay the $3K difference above the cost at St Mary's.

After that: coupons!!!

800 Rounds per Minute

It's true what they say: the WCCA canceled its sub-gun shoot.

And Melanie Fonder, the Mouth of Mr. Corruption, stated:

"Most sane people would agree that stopping a fund-raiser where they're nutty enough to hand out machine guns is to the advantage of public safety,"

Well, WCCA doesn't hand out taxpayer-funded contracts to "special friends," Mel.

As to the rest of the story:

"When we found out this was a political fund-raiser against the governor, I canceled it," Nugent [Shooters' Shop owner] said, point-blank. "We are non-partisan."

Huh? Something's odd about this statement, although we do know from friends that the Governor's office is heavy-handed about "talking to" licensed establishments about "issues" which may require a contribution for resolution.

The gun store is not opposed to submachine guns, or even allowing the weapons to be shared on its firing range. Occasionally, the range is rented out for bachelor or bachelorette parties, where somebody brings a tommy gun or an Uzi to fire off.

Good. I have a birthday coming up, and a number of my children have not yet had pre-nuptial Tommy Gun events. Beats paintball.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Charlie's WWF

Yah, hey.

Was in the car when the AG free-f0r-all was on the air.

Sykes claims to have been "just sitting there," but if the man had any sense, he would have been under the table or chairs with both arms firmly clasped over his head.

The Falk woman was simply out of her depth and made a flaming dolt out of herself. Pete Bock must have an interesting domestic life, eh?

Keg Lift-und-Schlepp-Em, on the other hand, kept her cool reasonably well.

Bucher kept raising his hand to speak, and was ignored. Kinda like the kid in the classroom--

JB creamed Falk--just creamed her. As I have observed earlier, JB knows how to shoot at a target and HIT it.

Regrettably, I only caught a few moments here and there of the rest of the show. Productivity, you know.

Breaking Senatorial News!!

Letters in Bottles tells us that the State GOP will have a candidate to oppose Nobody's Senator.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Biology Experts in Archdiocese of Milwaukee

News Item:

UW-Oshkosh administrator and biologist Michael Zimmerman founded the Clergy Letter Project after the Grantsburg WI school district allowed intelligent design to be included along with evolution in its science curriculum. The Clergy Letter Project signers, leaders from Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian and other mainline denominations, urge school board members to "preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge." In addition, according to Zimmerman, these leaders say that not only is intelligent design bad science, it is also bad religion, inconsistent with their view of faith. The project started in Wisconsin and has spread nationwide; to date more than 10,200 clergymen have signed the letter, 408 of them from Wisconsin.

As it turns out, there are a few Milwaukee-area priests and deacons who are so knowledgeable on the topics of Intelligent Design and Evolutionary Theory that they signed on to the letter.

Oh, yeah, I read through all 10K+...

The Rev. David E. Cooper, Pastor St. Matthias Catholic ChurchMilwaukee, WI, whose entire life is dedicated to the proposition that "Catholic" means a lot of options.

Deacon John D'Alessio St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic ChurchNew Berlin, WI

Rev Wm Burkert

The Rev. James L. Empereur, S.J.Roman CatholicSan Antonio, TX (just Google this guy for a real hatful of pings, usually beginning with 'controversial teaching.')

The Rev. Ed Eschweiler Retired Catholic Priest St. Francis, WI (This character's retirement was a blessing. Too bad he still has writing utensils--he could hurt himself.)

The Rev. Msgr. T. Gajdos Christ King Catholic ChurchWauwatosa, WI

Donald Goergen, O.P. Roman Catholic Dominican Ashram Kenosha, WI (What the blazes is a "Dominican Ashram?")

Fr. Jan Michael Joncas Roman CatholicAssociate Professor of Catholic Studies and Theology University of St. Thomas St. Paul, MN (and notorious "musician")

The Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, Executive DirectorMetropolitan Community ChurchesWest Hollywood, CA (Interesting company, no?)

Jeffrey S. Montoya, Campus Minsiter Cardinal Stritch University Milwaukee, WI (Doesn't claim to be a priest, just a "campus minister.")

The Rev. Deacon Jan Kwiatkowski Milwaukee, WI

The Rev. Mark Payne, Pastor St. Veronica Parish Milwaukee, WI

The Rev. Troy D. Perry, FounderMetropolitan Community Churches West Hollywood, CA (Even MORE interesting company)

The Rev. Michael J. Petrie, Pastor St. Kilian Catholic ParishHartford, WI

Deacon Tom Surges St. Peter of Alcantara Catholic Church Port Washington, WI

Nice to know these fellows have the time to study the issues so thoroughly. Since Fr. Cooper is a founding member of the Priests' Union (less work, more pay,) we wonder exactly how much time he spends actually doing, well, you know---priest-stuff.

In Hac Lingua, Vinces!

Following his Wednesday audience, held earlier today at the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, Pope Benedict XVI called for a renewal in the long-held, but now largely abandoned study of Latin, which he said, can help the faithful foster a firmer understanding of “sound doctrine”, contained in Church teaching and literature.

His post-catechetical address was given largely to a group of students and faculty of Christian and Classical Literature at Rome’s Pontifical Salesian University.

"My predecessors”, the Pope said, speaking to them in Latin, “rightly encouraged the study of [this] great language in order to achieve a better understanding of the sound doctrine contained in the ecclesiastical and humanistic disciplines.” “In the same way,” the Holy Father added, “we encourage the continuation of this activity, so that as many people as possible may perceive the importance of this treasure and attain it."

Some say that B-16 will be a faded copy of JPII in many ways.

I doubt it.

Things to do at Wal-Mart whileyour friend or parent is taking their sweet time

Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

Walk up to an employee and tell him/her in an official tone, 'Code 3' in housewares and see what happens.

Go the Service Desk and ask to put a bag of M&M's on lay away.

Set up a tent in the camping department and tell other shoppers you'll invite them in if they'll bring in pillows from the bedding department.

When a clerk asks if they can help you, begin to cry and ask 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?'

While handling guns in the hunting department, ask the clerk if he knows where the anti- depressants are.

Dart around the store suspiciously loudly humming the Mission Impossible theme.

Hide in a clothing rack; when people browse through, say PICK ME!

When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, assume the fetal position and scream "NO! NO! It's those voices again!!!!

Go into a fitting room and shut the door and wait a while; and then yell, very loudly, "There is no toilet paper in here!"
Stolen without shame (but with attribution.)

Murders of Convenience

Beyond the pale...

Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals…

With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive.

In an extraordinary interview with The Mail on Sunday, one New Orleans doctor told how she ‘prayed for God to have mercy on her soul’ after she ignored every tenet of medical ethics and ended the lives of patients she had earlier fought to save.

Her heart-rending account has been corroborated by a hospital orderly and by local government officials. One emergency official, William ‘Forest’ McQueen, said: “Those who had no chance of making it were given a lot of morphine and lain down in a dark place to die.”

Euthanasia is illegal in Louisiana, and The Mail on Sunday is protecting the identities of the medical staff concerned to prevent them being made scapegoats for the events of last week.
Their families believe their confessions are an indictment of the appalling failure of American authorities to help those in desperate need after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city, claiming thousands of lives and making 500,000 homeless.

The doctor said: “I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing. But I did not have time. I had to make snap decisions, under the most appalling circumstances, and I did what I thought was right.

“I injected morphine into those patients who were dying and in agony. If the first dose was not enough, I gave a double dose. And at night I prayed to God to have mercy on my soul.”

The doctor, who finally fled her hospital late last week in fear of being murdered by the armed looters, said: “This was not murder, this was compassion. They would have been dead within hours, if not days. We did not put people down. What we did was give comfort to the end.

“I had cancer patients who were in agony. In some cases the drugs may have speeded up the death process.

“We divided patients into three categories: those who were traumatised but medically fit enough to survive, those who needed urgent care, and the dying.

“People would find it impossible to understand the situation. I had to make life-or-death decisions in a split second.

“It came down to giving people the basic human right to die with dignity.

“There were patients with Do Not Resuscitate signs. Under normal circumstances, some could have lasted several days. But when the power went out, we had nothing.

“Some of the very sick became distressed. We tried to make them as comfortable as possible.
“The pharmacy was under lockdown because gangs of armed looters were roaming around looking for their fix. You have to understand these people were going to die anyway.”

Mr McQueen, a utility manager for the town of Abita Springs, half an hour north of New Orleans, told relatives that patients had been ‘put down’, saying: “They injected them, but nurses stayed with them until they died.”

This is not the only blogsite which has reported the story, but it's the longest story I've seen and it gives details not reported in other versions.

This is NOT "mercy killing," whatever that term may mean.

This was "if they're not dead, WE cannot leave the hospital. So let's kill'em."

Sykes Spyke

Yeah--Charlie's link had an effect. HUGE one day/one night surge in pageviews.

Thanks, Godfoddah.

Maybe even Mikey read the item.

Beyond Ethanol

Mr. President, Cong. Green, and Sergeant Schultz, take note:

City officials are hoping to harness the power of dog doo.

San Franciscans already recycle more than 60 percent of their garbage, but in this dog-friendly town, animal feces make up nearly 4 percent of residential waste, or 6,500 tons a year _ nearly as much as disposable diapers, according to the city.

Within the next few months, Norcal Waste, a garbage hauling company that collects San Francisco's trash, will begin a pilot program under which it will use biodegradable bags and dog-waste carts to pick up droppings at a popular dog park.

The droppings will be tossed into a contraption called a methane digester, which is basically a tank in which bacteria feed on feces for weeks to create methane gas.

The methane could then be piped directly to a gas stove, heater, turbine or anything else powered by natural gas. It can also be used to generate electricity.

Note well: there is NO REQUIREMENT that one use dog poop. There is NO LYING about "saving money." Dog owners will NOT "get rich quick." There is NO massive Federal or State subsidy.

And Luther Olsen's brother may not even own a dog.

Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways

New book by Al Dershowitz. From Tony Blankley's review:

The premise of his book is that in this age of terror, there is a potential need for such devices as profiling, preventive detention, anticipatory mass inoculation, prior restraint of dangerous speech, targeted extrajudicial executions of terrorists and preemptive military action including full-scale preventive war.


Profiling, preventive detentions, yeah, kinda, OK.

Prior restraint of "dangerous speech"? Well, that's interesting. Look for some opposition...

"Targeted extrajuridical executions?" "Pre-emptive war?" This is a bit more of a problem.

According to Blankley, Dershowitz utilizes the criminal code theory of law to arrive at his conclusions.

To see the difference between traditional Anglo-American criminal jurisprudence and his proposed jurisprudence of prevention, he raises the great maxim of criminal law: better that ten guilty go free, than one innocent be wrongly convicted. That principle led our law to require proof beyond a reasonable doubt before conviction in criminal trials. Most of us agree with that standard.

But then Prof. Dershowitz updates the maxim thusly: "Is it better for ten possibly preventable terrorist attacks to occur than for one possibly innocent suspect to be preventively detained?" I would hunch that most people would not be willing to accept ten September 11th attacks (30,000 dead) in order to protect one innocent suspect from being locked up and questioned for a while


The new realities of unacceptable risk require new — and lower — standards of certainty before defensive action is permitted.

As we develop a jurisprudence of prevention, we increase the chance of justice and rationality being a bigger part of such crisis decisions that our presidents will be facing for the foreseeable future.

Dershowitz grounds his argument in a VERY slippery supposition:

The classic theory of deterrence postulates a calculating evildoer who can evaluate the cost-benefits of proposed actions and will act — and forbear from acting — on the basis of these calculations. It also presupposes society's ability (and willingness) to withstand the blows we seek to deter and to use the visible punishment of those blows as threats capable of deterring future harms. These assumptions are now being widely questioned as the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of suicide terrorists becomes more realistic and as our ability to deter such harms by classic rational cost-benefit threats and promises becomes less realistic."

This presume that we can spot irrational people, with moral certainty, in advance.

I don't think so, Al. This smacks of legal positivism on steroids.

Blankley professes amazement that he, a Certified Right-Winger, can agree with Dershowitz. Blankley should have trusted his instincts. "I shoot you before you shoot me--in fact, before you even have a weapon, or before you overtly threaten me"--is not an easy moral case to build.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

You Saw This HERE FIrst

The Legislature will try, once again, to set malpractice caps which are reasonable.

The new number is $750K, exactly as predicted in this blog on January 23rd.

Now one may argue that $750K is too much. OK. But if (and it's still an "if") $750K gets past the Legislature and BagMan, it IS a limit, which is far better than the Habush-Heaven we now have.

Speaking of that--was Cheney supposed to come up here to go hunting?

Mikey Hasslinger: Needs Remedial Work

"Mikey," pictured above in remedial spelling class at PS 109,
located in the Register of Deeds office at the Waukesha County Courthouse (Room 110.)

"Mikey" has gone through 34 spelling teachers. We are unable to confirm that 32 of them commited suicide.

Regardless, "Mikey" was a success with E-Mail Class and Attentive Listening. He listens to Charlie Sykes during his long and tiring days at the office, and then emails his cranky gibberish to Charlie, using Waukesha County facilities and equipment to defend his buddies in the KaffeeKlatschKlub/County Board.

Mikey does not like Charlie.

We are told that "Mikey" and the Klub membership meet regularly at nap-time, just after lunch and just before "Mikey" gets to the "F" part of the dictionary (the one with 'facts' in it.) That explains their friendship. They sleep together. It is NOT true that they sleep together in a pig-pen.

Mikey likes his friends in the KaffeeKlatschKlub. Their names are Jimmy, Richie, and Patty. They give Mikey graham crackers and warm milk, not to mention a budget for his County-owned computer. That way Mikey can send email to bad guys like Charlie.

Mikey does NOT like Danny, the County Executive. He didn't like the other Danny, who was also a County Executive? Why not? Because these mean Dannys have more BUDGET than Mikey.

They get spell-check on their county-owned computers.

Mikey's spell-check broke several times, and Microsoft will no longer replace them under warranty. Microsoft is a mean, bad, company.

Mikey will run for re-election.

McGee, Jr.: Wacko

Last night, Channel 6 ran a story featuring a copy of a letter on CITY stationery, sent by Mike McGee to Hugo Chavez, the current dipsomaniac-in-charge of Venezuela.

The salutation: "Dear Comrade"

What the two have in common? Both think GWBush is a "terrorist." McGee put that in the letter, too.

6's VERY brief text item is here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Crouan's "History and Future" Reviewed

A friend of mine emailed an about-to-be-published review of the book "The History and the Future of the Roman Liturgy" (published by Ignatius), by Denis Crouan, S.T.D.

Doesn't look like a "must-buy" book, although it's being boomed by the usual suspects.


First, if one is looking for a readable and relatively brief “history of the Roman liturgy,” this offering fills the bill. It is much shorter and more readable than Jungmann’s tome on the topic. Crouan laces the book with quotations from (then-Cardinal) Ratzinger—an excellent source for careful thinking on the liturgy. Crouan offers observations about the present-day situation which are certainly harmonious with those of most thinking Catholics.

But there’s not much “future” prediction made in the book, unless one is to infer from the writings of Ratzinger and the Second Vatican Council what that “future” might bring. And there are some contentions which are not very well supported.

For example, in reference to the rubricism often displayed around the Old Rite:

“Does the fact that a priest scrupulously observes the rubrics given in a missal guarantee the transmission and the preservation of Catholic doctrine? …One can reply that observance of the liturgies that are presented by the Church…assures the validity of the Sacrament as well as the preservation and transmission of Christian doctrine. But this observance does not automatically assure the correct reception of the doctrine by every believer.”(PP 83-84)

This is not an astounding conclusion. In fact, this is a “straw man” argument. Crouan sets up the “Tridentine Rite” as the straw man, and then knocks it down. But reception of the doctrine is a function of the man in the pew, not of the Liturgy, regardless of Rite. It is a weak argument.

There are others, similarly constructed. Unfortunately it seems that Crouan did not carefully examine the "accretions" in the Old Rite Mass--he simply dismissed them wholesale. Not particularly scholarly...

Crouan does provide an excellent short summary of the virtues of Gregorian chant:

“The Church recognizes the didactic value of Gregorian; …she sees that, when it is added to the rites of a celebration, it fosters that openness of heart and soul which enables the faithful to receive the means of living the doctrine that is conveyed by the liturgy. … [It] sets into motion a process of knowing divine realities that passes more through the channel of the senses and experience than along the single path of conceptual thought. The richness of this chant is derived, then, from the fact that it does not open the way solely to a theological (and biblical) content that is accessible to reason alone, but carries the listeners toward a perfect expression of the Faith that is to be lived and transmitted.”

Which to this observer looks a lot like Pius X's formulation: 'lifting the mind AND the heart to God.'

And he does a very good, if not elaborate, job on the topic of "other music":

“[a] type of music that was only beautiful but not ‘fitting’ or ‘just’ would run the risk of being perceived as nothing more than entertainment, as a means of satisfying a desire for estheticism, as an object of amusement and enjoyment—as is the case with musical numbers performed in concert. …the liturgy and liturgical song must steer clear of this dangerous reef, so as to remain ‘icons,’ that is to say, ‘sense-images’ inhabited by a presence, and not by emanations of some human feeling that is part and parcel of a superficial religiosity guided by the subjectivism that characterizes our post-Christian societies.”

Hmmmm. "Eagle's Woks", anyone?

The friend/reviewer noted this passage, which was VERY interesting:

Crouan suspects that certain “modern men” are the larger portion of the difficulty, and in perhaps his most useful and perhaps most controversial insight tells us that “[t]hose who tamper with the liturgy always run the risk of throwing into even greater relief their real character and their true identity: a character and an identity that they may fear or even reject.”

“Let us stop hiding from reality. The crisis ravaging the Church today—which manifests itself as much in the collapse of the liturgy as it does in the popularization of false liturgies resulting from the immature behavior of certain celebrants who are ill at ease—is a crisis of an anthropological sort, first and foremost. It is a basic anthropological imbalance that, in man, no longer allows the development of a proper Eucharistic spirituality.”

The reviewer thinks this passage is explosive. The wording is intriguing, to say the least.

A quote from Cdl. Ratzinger, followed up with insight by Crouan:

“Cult, liturgy in the proper sense, is part of this worship, but so too is life according to the will of God; such a life is an indispensable part of true worship.” Again, the concept that “actuosa participatio” is not merely reciting responses, or singing a ditty—it is “life according to the will of God,” or in Crouan’s words, “carrying the listeners toward a perfect expression of the Faith that is to be lived and transmitted.”

The excerpts here should give you a flavor for the book.

Arma Virumque Cano, Il Papa!!

The Curt Jester has discovered that GWBush is magnanimous, indeed, resulting in a Papal combat chopper left by Laura on her visit.

Holy Helo, Batman!

The Belling Riddle and the President

Well, THAT little mystery was solved. Belling was tossed off the air in the middle of his CornAHole rant by the NSA, or perhaps the Secret Service.

The President showed up in town today and lied about the "fuel efficiency" of CornAHole, fudged the real truth about the cost of same (is a taxpayer subsidy a "cost"???) and generally made a mess on the issue.

George shoulda consulted with people in Wisconsin, who understand that CornAHole is less efficient AND more costly. Besides, it takes 130 gallons of petroleum to make 100 gallons of CornAHole.

But hey, that's politics, right!!

Left Congressman Green in a bad spot, too, althogh The American Mind already determined that Green is never going to give a "yes/no" answer on the topic.

Gotta get elected. Gotta get the money. Gotta solidify the Farm Vote (are your cattle Registered?)

One More on Corn-A-Hole: Saves What, Shultzie??

RamJac7 did the heavy lifting to post this chart.

Tell us again, Sergeant Schultz, how CornAHole "SAVES MONEY."

Or does CornAHole simply save YOUR sorry ass for re-election?

Be Careful What You Wish For

Captain's Quarters has managed to put themselves in the "Stupid Hole" with this one:

The argument coming from Carter and others is that we need to support democracy, including when people make choices for terrorism. In those instances, we should forget our own national interest and act as if the Palestinians had no idea that Hamas bombs women and children in pizzerias and buses and loudly proclaims its desire to annihilate the state of Israel. It's a ludicrous position and one that holds people in contempt. Why not acknowledge the choice that the Palestinians have made, freely and openly as Carter has certified? They have chosen poorly -- and removing the consequences of that choice will only allow them to continue to choose poorly in the future.

The "we need to support democracy" flapjaw also emanates from the current occupant of the White House, folks. Goes back to WoodHead Wilson (who, according to the History Channel, was also a sworn racist vis-a-vis integrating the US military.)

CQ would have done well to simply shut up--or to be more forthright: 'if you don't vote the way WE want, then you can go to Hell, and we have a military which is capable of sending you there, immediately.'

Then let's have Congress vote to declare a war.

No TPA--No Re-Election, With Update

Owen puts it well, here.

Update: No Runny Eggs tries to make it even clearer here.

A Harvard publication has demonstrated that in the early 1970's, the typical family was supported by one working adult, earned $41,700 (today's dollars) and still had $1,600/month after taxes, mortgage, insurance, and utilities. These days, the ante has climbed to $73+K/year for the same lifestyle.

It's not just the taxes, of course. It's the taxes PLUS the cost of regulations put into effect by the Leviathan-Lovers in Madison and Washington.

Frankly, it's easier to fix Madison--so here's fair warning to the wimps:

Party of Government types are not welcome, and will be verbally abused. Spit will fly upon them in 4th-of-July parades.

Even worse, some of them may have to find real jobs--it's called the 'back half' of the citizen/legislator concept, boys and girls.

Watch what happens in Waukesha County when/if the Exec Committee of the KaffeeKlatschKlub pulls its cute little trick.

Question (not altogether rhetorical): how many throwing-tomatoes can be purchased at Pick'N'Save by 100 angry taxpayers?

Newt Gingrich: Wrong on MFN, Wrong on Iran

Newtie, seeking a Presidential nomination, is beginning to work himself into a lather over Iran, having lately used the "H" word (Hitler) in reference to the dipsomaniac who is the elected President of the country.

Thus, Newtie has placed himself to the right of John McPain on the "we'll go to war" scale. Obviously, Newtie's Fox News gig is becoming boring, or something.

Iran is not run by a group of Davos-crawlers, which to some is a damn good reason to give the country a new Government. But Iran, despite WorldNetDaily, American Spectator, and Newtie rants, is simply not a nuclear power. There is NO solid intel pinning that tail on the Iranian donkey. None.

Further, there is zero evidence that the mullahs who really run the country are suicidal maniacs. Let us recall that the Evil Empire and Red China both declared the US a permanent enemy, and both of them had a lot of nukes to play with. They never used them against the US, and there was a reason: like the mullahs, they were not crazy.

Newtie was seriously wrong to declare that Red China deserved MFN status. The evidence both before AND after the event proves that Red China is run by a bunch of cold-blooded killers. Yet Newtie has never changed his opinion about PRC.

So what makes him right about Iran?

Who's he fronting for this time?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

SBC DingBats

Yah, so hey, SBC marries ATT and gets a "network" problem first thing.

Shut down the modem, then shut down the computer. Wait 20 seconds, start the modem, then start the computer.

Maybe these characters never heard of email?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

"Maverick" Becomes "Irrelevant Twit"

Russ Feingold, the JS Editorial Board's hero "maverick," is working his way to becoming an irrelevant twit.

He loses his crusade on the Patriot Act 95-3.

He has no effect, whatsoever on Pentagon spending (which he opposes, top to bottom.)

His inane ankle-biting of the A.G. over the NSA program changes nothing.

It's possible that Wisconsin voters will determine that he's generally useless to the State if he keeps to his current direction.

It's a good thing that he's campaigning for a Presidential nomination.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Tinfoil Hat Time

Was it just a co-incidence that when Belling launched into the CornAHole discussion, naming names and kicking ass, that the station went off the air?

KaffeeKlatschKlub Needs a Slap in the Chops

While Waukesha County taxpayers are organizing a petition drive to reduce its KaffeeKlatschKlub (County Board) membership to 9 members, the Board has its own plans to prevent that sort of citizen action.

They'll sacrifice two members and declare the job done!!

So says Patty (I Bring the Doughnuts) Haukohl, a Brookfield matron and Board member. Her remark? "Taxpayers? Screw them!! We ARE the County!" Louis XIV would have been proud of Haukohl and her King, James XVI of Menomonee Falls.

Wisconsin law restricts Board re-sizings; can't be done more than once every 10 years. So if the Board cuts off a couple of members, the petition drive will be moot. Of course, the Board would prefer to have members volunteer for this (perhaps by simply dying of old age), but jacking with the taxpayers is Agenda One these days for the Board.

Supervisor Patricia Haukohl of Brookfield, a member of the Executive Committee, said she might support moving to defuse the conflict by trimming just one or two supervisor seats.

"That is a possibility," she said, adding that such a strategy would "short-circuit this whole thing."

Depending on what action is taken Monday by the Executive Committee - which is headed by County Board Chairman James Dwyer - the issue could reach the full board as soon as Feb. 28.

Haukohl is Dwyer's stalking horse. Jim Dwyer KNOWS that the County Exec race was stolen by the right-wing-conspiracy, and wants to keep his comfortable seat next to the coffee urn, even if it's not in the office that he, personally, has earned through sitting on his ass in County Board meetings for, what?...half a century, or whatever.

Dwyer and Haukohl are well-advised to squelch this little move immediately. If you want to play that way, you can expect consequences which might not be pretty at all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Requiescat in Pace

A very fine priest and an excellent man, Fr. Fred Heuser has died.

Pray for the repose of his soul, and for more priests like him in this Archdiocese.

NARAL vs. Parents

No surprises here: the Abortion lobby (baby-killers, you recall) want to spend State and Federal money to get young girls into their orbit. BagManJim Doyle, clearly NOT a fan of parents (see "School Choice") and in slavish obedience to the Abortion lobby, are all opposed.

Grothman and Schultz, both right-thinking on this particular issue, think they can get it through.

What's the issue?

Giving your 15-year-old daughter contraceptives without your knowledge or consent.

Doyle and the Death-Dealers claim that contraceptives save money, which is questionable. But "saving money" is what happens when parents send their children to "Choice" schools, right?

C'mon, Jimbo: get your story straight. And keep your slimy hands off my daughter's ovaries.

Gingrich, Clinton, and The Moldy Economy

Below you'll find a post which addresses the lethargy of the US manufacturing sector, which is historically the most important economic sector (at least since the Industrial Revolution.) It's not very pretty--as a matter of fact, it is damned important to most people in the Upper Midwest (think GM, FoMoCo, Maytag, etc.)

This lethargy arises from two principal causes: NAFTA and MFN/Red China. I have consistently questioned the Bush Administration's benign neglect of the trade deficits--but to be fair, the Bush Administration did not initiate this problem: it was Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton who put the icing on this moldy cake.

Now Newt wants to be President, and so does Hildebeeste. This is not good news.

More today from P J Buchanan:

Now that the U.S. trade deficit for 2005 has come in at $726 billion, the fourth straight all-time record, a question arises.

What constitutes failure for a free-trade policy? Or is there no such thing? Is free trade simply right no matter the results?

Last year, the United States ran a $202 billion trade deficit with China, the largest ever between two nations. We ran all-time record trade deficits with OPEC, the European Union, Japan, Canada and Latin America. The $50 billion deficit with Mexico was the largest since NAFTA passed and also the largest in history.

... The entire job increase since 2001 has been in the service sector – credit intermediation, health care, social assistance, waiters, waitresses, bartenders, etc. – and state and local government.

But, from January 2001 to January 2006, the United States lost 2.9 million manufacturing jobs, 17 percent of all we had. Over the past five years, we have suffered a net loss in goods-producing jobs.

As for the "knowledge industry" jobs that were going to replace blue-collar jobs, it's not happening. The information sector lost 17 percent of all its jobs over the last five years.

In the same half-decade, the U.S. economy created only 70,000 net new jobs in architecture and engineering, while hundreds of thousands of American engineers remain unemployed.

If we go back to when Clinton left office, one finds that, in five years, the United States has created a net of only 1,054,000 private-sector jobs, while government added 1.1 million. But as many new private sector jobs are not full-time, McMillion reports, "the country ended 2005 with fewer private sector hours worked than it had in January 2001."

This is an economic triumph?

But are not wages rising? Nope. When inflation is factored in, the Economic Policy Institute reports, "real wages fell by 0.5 percent over the last 12 months after falling 0.7 percent the previous 12 months." [And health-care costs have risen, further decreasing NET wages.]

The Libertarians and the "see-no-evil" Bush-ites will continue to whistle past this graveyard; the crowd which insists that "buying cheaper" is the Golden Ring of economic success will endlessly caterwaul that WallyWorld should get the Nobel Prize for economics; and the Fortune 50 will continue to move productive assets offshore (that's factories, machinery, and tools.)

This is a Faustian bargain. I believe that it will have a very significant effect on elections in 2008, when "pocketbook" issues will dominate the kitchen-table conversation, not national security.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Manufacturing: Still the Sick Man in US Economy

The Popkin Report on Manufacturing was released by NAM and a small-business group. Among other findings:

• Manufacturing output since the last recession lags that of earlier economic recoveries; its 15 percent growth is only half the pace averaged in recoveries of the past half-century.

• Manufacturing capacity remains underutilized, slowing investment in new plants and equipment. Since the last recession, total plant and equipment investment has risen at half the pace averaged in recoveries of the past half-century. Manufacturing capacity has grown at less than 1 percent annually, compared with 5 percent in the 1990s.

• The U.S. share of global trade in manufactured products has diminished, falling from 13 percent in the 1990s to 10 percent in 2004. The U.S. now runs a trade deficit in advanced technology products, and the U.S. share of global trade in some of the highest value-added export industries such as machinery and equipment is falling.

• U.S. manufacturing offers rewarding and desirable careers for highly skilled workers. Yet the widespread perception that manufacturing employment is unstable and lacks job opportunities discourages new worker entry. While manufacturing continues to pay better than other industries, the sector is experiencing a broadening shortage of skilled workers.

• America's long-standing leadership in R&D is being challenged. While the U.S. continues to spend more than any other country on R&D investment, U.S. growth in R&D has averaged only about 1 percent per year in real terms since 2000.

"If the innovation process goes offshore, America will lose much of its capacity to generate wealth and a decline in long-term economic growth is assured," said the report's author, economist Joel Popkin.

All together, now: We Love Red China!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Carol Roesler: Unhinged

Pete DiGaudio points out that Moonbat Roesler has taken up a George Soros cause and requested a "study" of penitentiary sentencing for "non-violent" drug offenders.

She woke up in bed with WHOM?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ethanol's Cheaper, Eh?

"It's CHEAPER than oil." "Prices will DROP by at least (pick one:) 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 cents/gallon" "Our farmers will get a New Market (and get rich, ha ha ha bwahahabwahaha.)"

Horse manure.

Somebody looked it up, and guess what they found?

In May of 2005, when ethanol proponents were running around the Capitol claiming how a 10 percent ethanol mandate would lower gasoline prices, ethanol was selling on the Chicago Board of Trade at $1.20 per gallon. And indeed, it was much cheaper than the price of unleaded gasoline that was selling then at $2.24 per gallon.

On February 10, 2006 the average retail price of unleaded gasoline in Wisconsin was $2.375 per gallon, about 14 cents more than in May 2005. On the same day, ethanol was trading at $2.73 per gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade — an increase of $1.40 in just nine months. That’s more than a 128 percent jump in the wholesale price of ethanol.


According to a February 2, 2006 article from the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), “This latest round of price increases for domestic ethanol is tied predominantly to new demand for the Northeast as well as from huge metro RFG markets in Virginia and Texas. There clearly is more ethanol buying interest at the moment than there are sellers willing to commit barrels or term product for distribution in the pivotal second and third calendar quarters.” The OPIS article goes on to state, “As February began, spot ethanol in the New York Harbor vicinity was pegged at nearly $2.70/gallon. Six-month term deals for April through September delivery were discussed at between $2.70 and $2.80/gallon.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts “a very tight ethanol market” for at least the first part of 2006. A complete phase-out of MTBE in gasoline on the East Coast would require 2.5 times the quantity of ethanol used on the East Coast last year, or an additional 90,000 barrels a day.

So tell me, Sergeant Schultz, BagManJimbo, and Congressman Green: how DO you do that deal where blending $2.70/gal ethanol with $2.35/gal gasoline makes gas CHEAPER?

OK, How About Those Raises?

What about those hefty raises for UW administrators?

Well, the populists are aghast!!! aghast!!!! I say, in their apoplectic denunciations of the pay ranges now available to UW bigwigs.

The populists are shooting at the wrong target, which is precisely what the Board of Regents wants. Republican legislators should not take this red herring and follow it to their own embarassment.

Has anyone taken a serious look at the job description of the administrators in question? What has the Board of Regents demanded of the UW Administration? What objectives have they been asked to accomplish?

Does the Board demand that the UW Admins find and eradicate waste? "Fall-back" positions? That the Administrator hire only the best subordinates, regardless of "sensitivity" concerns? Does the Board demand that the Administration establish "best practices" metrics and force the UW-System to live up to them, both in terms of academics AND in cost-effectiveness?

Would you pay $1,000,000.00 in salary and bonus to the UW Administrator who saves $50,000,000.00 by accomplishing a few common-sense goals?

I would.

It's not the Administrators. It's the Board. Keep your eyes on the ball, folks.

Green and Jessica

Jessica picked up on a factoid which Rep. Green is using in his campaign appearances:

He said that Wisconsin has the highest number of households with both parents working of any state in the nation. ANY STATE IN THE NATION. Maybe that's been reported before, and I just missed it. But I didn't know that, and it struck me: That really brings the high tax issue home.

There's little question that the situation for families in Wisconsin is grim--and if that family has more than the 2.3 children (whatever) of the statistical average, it's VERY grim, in terms of net-cash-flow after taxes.

While Green lays a good deal of the blame on taxes, it's the SPENDING which causes the taxes. And it's the TAXES and REGULATIONS which cause a good deal of the indirect costs of living here: those nice manufacturers and merchants who sell 'stuff' to you have an incredible cost structure imposed on them by local, State, and Federal agencies and the Wisconsin "spend-it-now" Legislature and Governor.

YOU pay for the regs, and YOU pay for their taxes, too.

There is an alternative, of course. One can purchase or rent housing more cheaply, drive cars which require a couple rolls of duct-tape and several miles of mechanic's wire/year, forget the health-insurance...

Options which never were required in Wisconsin during the 1950's, or even the 1960's.

Shirley Krug: More Crooked

Shirley's safely sending sewage (or something) at MMSD. Irony abounds.

I AM THE FORCE neatly and briefly summarizes some of the stuff that the MSM has not really put on the front burner:

The Chvala indictment and recent John Doe interviews from Assembly Democrats demonstrate that both Dem caucuses [Assembly and Senate] broke the law and ran their independent expenditure organizations right out of their leaders' offices. They were clumsy bumblers in their conspiracy to engage in the "independent" expenditure business. The problem is that the same people running those groups were running the campaigns of Assembly Democrats all across the state. That's called illegal coordination, and even weak-kneed folks at the state elections board would call their behavior criminal.

Assembly Republican staff, on the other hand, actually created groups to support the GOP cause independently and outside of the control of their leadership. Rongstad's Teddy Roosevelt Fund and its successors spent aggressively and were successful (as Bjork, Judge et al note in their testimony), but they did it all outside the line of the oversight, control, knowledge of Scott Jensen or anyone else. BECAUSE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ILLEGAL TO DO IT ANY OTHER WAY! Jensen wasn't charged with coordination, because he did not coordinate or control independent groups, as the John Doe testimony will show. But Doyle and Xoff's crowd, Gussert-Burnett-Bjork-Krug-Richards-Chvala-Judge and many others, ignored the coordination rules and ran their I.E. campaigns from the same taxpayer-supported offices from which they ran their targeted campaigns.

As the Journal Sentinel reporter on this story discovered, the Assembly Republicans are the clean ones in the independent expenditure business. Which is why there was no real story. It's also one more reason to question Blanchard's decision to go after Jensen instead of Krug. Turns out that Shirley and her team broke even more laws than did the evil Republicans. Xoff should quietly drop this one, the evidence proves that the Democrats are the bad guys in the independent expenditure story. Just take a deep breath, Brother Bill, and quietly walk away from this one. I won't even demand an apology or take you off my Link list.

This brings up the question, again: what the Hell is Brian Blanchard, DA of Dane County, actually DOING out there? Is this guy (who has hundreds of pages of John Doe testimony in his office) simply ignoring the obvious criminal activity of the "Gussert-Krug-Judge" crowd?

For that matter, wasn't "Holy Pictures" Mike McCann another investigator into the case? Surely, Mike, you cannot be so enfeebled by age that you are co-ignoring the evidence on this case?

I've made it clear that I have zero sympathy for politicos who abuse the system to increase or maintain their Party's power in the Legislature (or the Governor's office, for that matter.) But here I AM.... makes a very good point: get ALL of them, not just a few.

In particular, get the ones who have CRIMINAL ACTIVITY exposed in grand jury testimony.

B-16, JPII, and the Atlantic Monthly

Read a very interesting article in the Atlantic Monthly (2/06)which described the papacy of JPII and the ascent of B-16.

The author is Paul Elie, an editor for a major book publisher, (Farrar-Strauss-Giroux). He posits that Cardinal Ratzinger was very concerned about some of JPII's "grand gestures" as well as some of his writings, both of which were occasionally theologically ambiguous.

He reinforces the general impression that B-16, being a crackerjack theologian, prefers to be very precise in word and in deed; that he views the Church as the instrument of salvation; and that he is extremely concerned about Europe's apparent flight from God.

He also indicated that the "Polish Mafia" which surrounded JPII in his last 12 months (and which included Cdl. Szoka of the US) more or less co-managed the Church with CDF in that period.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Regents Demonstrate Ignorance of Economics

Not in the least bit concerned with public sentiment on the issue, the UW Board of Regents decided that a deep discount on tuition will make UW college educations more valuable.

...the regents cut tuition for non-residents by $2,300 at UW-Milwaukee and $2,000 at every other public university, except UW-Madison.

The cuts - an equally controversial move - were framed as a way to reverse a declining enrollment of non-residents, thereby increasing revenue and diversity on campus.

University officials insist that no Wisconsin students would be displaced. But critics, including state legislators and U.S Rep. Mark Green (R-Wis.), argued that residents would be saddled with higher tuition costs and competition in admissions.

The regents acknowledged that their decisions Friday would be politically unpopular.

They "acknowledged that it would be politically unpopular," gave the taxpayers the finger, and went home.

As we mentioned earlier, the recession was the most likely cause of the miniscule drop (2,000 students) in out-state student population since the year 2000. UW's response demonstrates the short-term thinking which most academics abhor.

Having utterly failed to exercise meaningful governance over a university system which retains incompetents, sociopaths, and twits with "backup jobs" and "personal/vacation leaves", the Regents instead cheapen the UW (literally) for certain students.

In other words, the Regents demolished the wrong target.

Choice: Still Not Really "Choice"

Following the Thursday meeting (you remember--BagManJim's "back-door escape" meeting):

The key question appeared to be whether the sides could agree on 10,000 or a similar number as the figure for how much the legal limit on the program would be increased.

Assembly Speaker John Gard (R-Peshtigo) told voucher advocates in Milwaukee Friday morning that if Doyle agreed to the 10,000 figure, Gard would drop his insistence that the cap on vouchers be eliminated altogether.

Gard also said the sides were close to agreement on issues related to accountability in the private schools so that more could be done to make the performance of students known to the public and to deal with poor-performing schools or keeping unqualified school operators from going into business.

Doyle had proposed that all voucher schools be required to have some form of accreditation from an outside body, and that appeared to be something acceptable to the voucher advocates. The governor also proposed that all voucher students be required to take the state's standardized academic proficiency tests. It was likely that proposal would not be part of an agreement, but there would be steps in that direction.

Gard said he would keep an open mind to Doyle's proposal to couple a voucher agreement with an increase in funding for the SAGE class size reduction program in public schools statewide.

We wait for the parties to make the only sensible proposal: school choice for ALL Wisconsin students, with no pre-conditions, no silly 'city-border' lines in the sand, and massive cost-savings for Wisconsin taxpayers.

All the rest is merely political posturing by ALL the parties involved.