Monday, July 31, 2006


Bush Pilot

Another immigrant makes good.

Kissin' And Shakin' At The Waukesha County Fair

I don't know if Wendy was joking or not but this gave me a Windex moment.

Sure enough, Congressman Mark Green had arrived and was kissing hands and
shaking babies.

Correction: It was the Washington County Fair. I'm sure that it was a finer fair than Waukesha County's.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Doug Zweizig's Comments On The Adoption Of Evansville's Smart Growth Plan

Fred has the full text of Doug Zweizig's comments from one year ago when the Council approved and adopted the Smart Growth Plan. Here are some excerpts:

We might think about how we would describe the process through which planning and development decisions have been made in this community, for, without careful attention to change, that process is most likely to be the way in which decisions continue to be made. If I were to characterize the existing process, I would describe it as opportunistic, short sighted, and secretive.

“Opportunistic” in the sense that decisions are made on the basis of which property becomes available at a particular time. Then energies are focused on how to move that project along with little attention to whether such a project had been thought desirable in the existing plan. In fact, the efforts appear to be directed to altering the plan to meet the opportunity rather than shaping the opportunity to conform to the plan. At the time that the Smart Growth Committee was meeting to design a future for Evansville that would reflect the desires of its residents, the Plan Commission was greatly changing that future by amending the Master Plan to respond to an opportunity. [snip]

...when the plan is implemented, the process becomes non-participatory. Information is shared by rumor, rather than openly and accurately. When notices of hearing appear in the Review, they are incomprehensible to this citizen because they use the legally required references to the property with no explanation of the location that I would understand and use illegible maps, and of course, by the time the hearing notice is published, the decision makers appear to be invested in the project, and reservations seem pointless. [snip]

So my point tonight is that unless attention is paid to how decisions are being made about land uses in Evansville, the fate of this fresh plan is likely to be that of its predecessors.In a fine article in support of Smart Growth that appeared in the Janesville Gazette, Janis Ringhand referred to the plan being considered tonight as “a living document.” Of course, she meant that the plan would need to be regularly reviewed and revised as conditions change. But I have heard others use that phrase and am concerned that for some people the phrase is taken to mean that the plan can be ignored when it’s inconvenient, just as previous plans have been. Of course, the plan will need evolve; the test is whether the manner of changing the plan honors the wishes of the community as well as the original Smart Growth plan. You can read the rest at Fred's .

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It Makes Sense When You Think About It

Overheard, names withheld. (Just rest assured that it is a married couple speaking.)

First: I still can't place it. Where is the river in Stoughton?
Second: It's there by the bridge.
First: Oh. Okay.

Going For The Double

I saw a young woman at the Farmer's Market in Madison who was not only walking, with her friends, in the wrong direction around the square, she was walking her dog around the square in the wrong direction.

Why do I suspect that we should have some insight into the way she drives as well?

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Thoughtful Carnival

Dean has The Carnival Of The Badger this week and it is, as usual for him, thoughtful. There's even a candidate for statewide office posting in the carnival this week.

Go. Check it out.

He Was A Stranger...

There's a new blogger in the area. Brian Brown is a recent transplant to Janesville from Burlington, VT. Check out the Pajama Market.

He even took time during the move to milk the Big Brown Cow.

FairWisconsin TV Spots

Fair Wisconsin has a website up at which you can preview three spots supporting a "No" vote on the marriage amendment. The site also has a donation link to show your own support.

Alt-Fuel Competition From A Nearby Town

Stacy Vogel of The Gazette is reporting that Midwest Biofuel, from Macon, Ga., has received permission from the Clinton Planning Commision to begin the process of building a biodiesel plant in that town's industrial park. The owner of Midwest Biofuel is quoted as saying,
"Governor (Jim) Doyle has put a welcoming stance to manufacturing to step

What does this mean for Evansville's efforts to attract the North Prairie Energy facility? Probably very little. The Midwest Biofuel plant will operate by a different process and, although they are aiming for 5 million gallons of production, will not significantly dent the demand side of the equation in Wisconsin.

Where it will cause heartburn is in the competition for a possible soybean crushing facility. North Prairie has a strong partner in their enterprise in Landmark Co-op. One has to assume that part of Midwest's decision was influenced by the location of DeLong Co's in the Clinton industrial park. It is very clear that there is not enough unmet demand for bean meal, oil, or biodiesel to support two crushing facilities in Southern Wisconsin.

So long as everyone keeps their eyes open on this and doesn't start acting like Ado Annie when the bidding war starts over the crush plant it may be possible for both communities to come out ahead on biodiesel.

The Horrifying Effects Of Global Warming

As Britain suffers through the hottest Summer ever, lawmakers are taking steps to mitigate the effect on the common folk. "How?" you might ask. By telling ugly men to put their shirts back on.
"It is nice weather and most of us are wearing fewer clothes. But a town centre
is not the beach and taking your top off is going too far, for men as well as women.
"It is an unfortunate thing, but those men who like best to bare their stomachs are the ones who have too much stomach."
Because the story is from The Daily Mail there is a gallery of disturbing pics.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New Dohnal Poll Says Tom Reynolds Is Ginchiest

It's easy to get polls to say what you need them to say if you only poll your friends. Bob Dohnal shows us how. Jay, Paul, Bill, Jon and Ben all take the time to talk about methods and results.

As for Dohnal, let's let him share who he believes his base to be.
In the case of the democrats [sic], they have the nutty fringe that want to
preserve every tree, eliminate God from the world, and are Socialists. It's hard
to keep them happy, so they might run over to the Greens and vote. In the case
of the Republicans, you have to energize the "hook and bullet" guys who drive
pickups and SUVs, plus your "Right to Life" groups. The candidates who talk
about the things that really matter to the voters will get them out and win.
Those issues are basically the ones that affect their homes and families, their
jobs, their autos, and their hobbies. If you get caught out in the Netherlands
talking about the gold standard, and other esoteric problems you will go home
empty handed.

And my take? I'm a Democrat and I hunt.

Sheriff Candidates Start To Sort Themselves Out

The three candidates for Rock County Sheriff met in their first open forum at a meeting of the Rock County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness at New Hope United Methodist Church in Beloit so, naturally, the focus was largely on law enforcement dealing with mentally ill lawbreakers in a time of bulging jails.

Read what the candidates had to say in the Gazette article by Dan Hinkel.

Homage was paid to the Winnebago County, IL Mental Health Court, to treatment alternatives to incarceration, to a Day Reporting Center to take some of the load off the jail and to refurbishing the Caravillo Nursing Home site for use as a new Huber Center.

For my money, the most startling idea for dealing with the mentally ill came from Independent candidate Gary Keller. All three were asked how they would have dealt with a criminal like Jeffrey Dahmer.

Wasemiller and Spoden gave responses related to administrative methods of
dealing with violent inmates, while Keller brought up a favorite issue: the
Second Amendment. He said Dahmer would not have been a problem if people had the right to carry concealed weapons.

"The citizens would have taken care of that problem themselves," he said.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

People Are Not The Same As Issues

Mark Green's campaign manager has made disparging remarks about not just Jim Doyle but about Jody and Maddy Montgomery. This statement by Ms. Montgomery makes it clear that behind every vote there are real people being affected. Mark Green and Mark Graul would rather that we didn't think about the faces of the people that go with the issues.

Statement of Jody Montgomery in Response to Mark Graul
Madison – Today, Mark Green’s campaign manager Mark Graul issued a statement, suggesting
that Jody Montgomery was being used in a campaign ad from the Doyle campaign.

Montgomery, a Verona mom, appears, with her four-year-old daughter Maddy in the ad, and talksabout the importance of stem cell research.

Montgomery released the following statement through the Doyle campaign:
“Mark Green’s campaign manager says that everyone wants to find a cure for juvenile diabetes.
But Mark Green has voted over and over again against stem cell research that could find a cure
for my daughter.

“And now Mark Green’s campaign manager seems to think that I can’t think for myself. That’s
pretty insulting. And it’s not true.

“I’m a mother who loves her daughter. Because my daughter has juvenile diabetes, there are few issues more important to me and my family than stem cell research. I would give anything to see her healthy and not having to take shots of insulin every day.

“That’s why I appeared in this campaign ad. Mark Green has voted against stem cell research, and has voted against finding a cure for my daughter

Danicamania To Stay In IRL- Signs With AGR

From AP via The Gazette: Local racer and fan-favorite Danica Patrick announced Tuesday that she is staying in the Indy Racing League rather than making the switch to NASCAR. Patrick will team with past champ Tony Kanaan and rookie sensation Marco Andretti next year at Andretti-Green Racing.
"Danica has shown great talent during her first two seasons in the IndyCar
Series," CEO Michael Andretti said. "Our focus has been and always will be on
winning races and winning championships. We certainly believe Danica will do
that. She has made it very clear that one of her goals as a driver is to win the
Indianapolis 500 and we are looking forward to giving her a great opportunity to
do that."

One More Things For The List Of Things You Don't Need

The USB Pencil Sharpener.

Updated, Link Corrected.

Monday, July 24, 2006

What Goes Around, Comes Back Around

From Science News Online:
A sensitive instrument installed in the Canadian Arctic to monitor fallout from
modern nuclear tests has detected small amounts of radioactive cesium produced
by bomb tests decades ago. The material, which during the Cold War was spread
across northern latitudes by high-altitude winds, is still being redistributed
far and wide by forest fires...
One scientist notes,
The cesium-137 lofted during a forest fire is diffusely distributed. "This isn't
a health risk, but it's interesting."

Misery Loves Company. The Company Loves A Profit.

The Associated Press in the Northwest Florida Daily News reports on how some company's officers made a killing in the days after 9/11/2001.
On Sept. 21, 2001, rescuers dug through the smoldering remains of the World
Trade Center. Across town, families buried two firefighters found a week
earlier. At Fort Drum, on the edge of New York's Adirondacks, soldiers readied
for deployment halfway across the world.
Boards of directors of scores of American companies were also busy that day. They handed out millions of bargain-priced stock options to their top executives.

The attacks knocked the markets for a loop but they have since recovered. Options let in the days immediately following September 11, 2001 rapidly appreciated for those lucky enough to be able to vote to give them to themselves.

These included, according to the Wall Street Journal, some of America's best-known brands. Executives from Home Depot Inc., Black & Decker Corp., UnitedHealth Group Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., and Teradyne Inc. Teradyne that month gave its CEO more than 600,000 options at a price enabling him to buy stock at 24 percent below its pre-attack level, according to the WSJ.
Black & Decker, the tool maker, wasn't in the habit of giving options to its
very top executives in September. Proxy filings, which typically list grants to
the companies' five highest-paid executives, indicate Black & Decker hadn't
given them options in September since at least 1994. But on Sept. 21, 2001, with
the stock down nearly 20 percent in the wake of the attack, directors granted
hundreds of thousands of options to the top five executives and 37 others.

That means an extra $1.4 million in profit for its CEO than if the attacks never happened.

Click the title to read the rest.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Secret To Happiness setting your expectations low enough. Jay shows us how it works in the press.

"Everyone's Entitled to Hate My Opinion!"

Pat Kreitlow takes some time out from campaigning every now and again to post on his blog. It's a lazy Sunday. Take some time to check out these posts on the nature of the campaign, big hearts and thick skin, and why it's important to volunteer.

Mark Green Gives Up The Swag

On the day that Tom Delay's ARMPAC, under an agreement with the Federal Election Commission, agreed to pay a $115,000 fine and cease operation Mark Green finally decided to try to distance himself from Delay's money. Mark Pocan has the story of Green's, finally sucessful, attempts to give the money away.
From the AP via The Gazette:

The agreement resulted from an audit by the FEC of the committee's records for
Jan. 1, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2002. The audit found DeLay's committee had not
properly reported contributions, disbursements and cash on hand.
It also found the committee failed to properly report outstanding debts and obligations and did not follow federal rules for paying for shared federal and nonfederal activities.

Update: Mark Green may have more money problems. I'll grant that they are accounting troubles but shouldn't someone in his campaign know more about campaign law than just how to score Wizards tickets?

Friday, July 21, 2006

It Makes As Much Sense As Whatever We're Doing Now

'All-Star Game 2007: The Fate Of The Free World Hangs In The Balance'

From The Onion:
After four years in which the outcome of the All-Star Game determined home-field
advantage in the World Series, Commissioner Bud Selig has announced that Major
League Baseball will attempt to increase fan interest by allowing the game's
outcome to determine the direction of the United States foreign policy.

Perfect Underwater Bubble Rings

How do you learn that you can do this?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Gazette Gives Literacy Alliance A Big Thumbs-Up

From The Gazette Editorial Page:
To the Rock County Literacy Alliance. The new alliance was 18 months in the
making. The original idea of a group for Hispanic organizers evolved into a
focus on adult literacy education. Seven organizations are members: Blackhawk
Technical College, Wisconsin Literacy, Arrowhead Library System, Janesville
Literacy Council, YWCA of Rock County, Stateline Literacy Council and Hedberg
Public Library. Hedberg has new multimedia language learning software. BTC has
opened a computer lab at the Rock County Job Center, which offers child care to
tutors and students. If the alliance can help area residents improve their
English reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, it will help people
function better in society and on the job. Benefits will range from helping
parents communicate better with their children's teachers to helping adults earn
General Education Degrees to get better jobs.

The Carnival Has A New Host

..and at least one new contributor. Swing over to Life In The Great Midwest for this week's best of Badgerland, The Carnival Of The Badger.

Don't pass by your chance to host a Carnival. Get with Nick to see how it's done.

But, What Do The Snowflake Babies Think Of GW?

From Michelle Malkin is an Idiot we get a screen cap from the announcement of our President's first use of the veto. In the comments section one claims that all the kids at the photo-op got a stuffed pander bear.

For My RPG Friends

What do you get when you combine Motivational Posters with RPG?

Somebody with way too much time on their hands decided to find out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

GW And "The Personal Touch"

Check out the joyful expression on George's face in picture #4. This might be the very first neck rub that was not enjoyed by anybody.

Update: Undercover Trucker looks at the original German text. If you are a bi-lingua-phobe please skip to Paul and the history of uncomfortable touching.

Maybe They Should Ask Ray Nagin For Some School Buses

TPM reports that the Feds are in the middle of another bungled evacuation. With Israel bombing the Lebanese infrastructure on a daily basis the embassy is telling Americans to monitor the website for a chance to leave.
...(U)ndersecretary of state Nicholas Burns: "We have an open line to all
American citizens. We're in touch with them by Web site."
Yes, Burns assured CNN, "[The evacuation is] very well thought out."

Feel The Crush

North Prairie Productions and Landmark Co-op say they are working out the details of an agreement for placement of a bio-diesel production facility in Southern Wisconsin.

One factor which may influence site selection is the Wisconsin Soybean Association's Processing Facility Feasibility Study. This study is to determine the need and prospects for a soybean crushing facility in Wisconsin. Currently all of Wisconsin's soybeans have to be shipped out of state if they are going to be processed into oil and meal. A crushing facility near the biodiesel plant would shorten the supply chain for NPP's raw material.

From the North Prairie website:
In recognizing the impact it will have in creating a soy oil market, NPP deferred specific site selection for its plant until after its review of the WI Soybean
Growers Assn’s Processing Facility Feasibility Study. This report identified the area in Wisconsin that would be most viable for the location of a commercial soybean processing facility. Whereas many of our requirements need to be considered separate from this report, it is reasonable to assume that the proper site for a crush facility would also most likely service the needs of a biodiesel plant.
(emphasis mine)

This follows the message which was sent to the EDC at their meeting Tuesday night, that the report has been reviewed but not released. That NPP and Landmark are in talks at this stage of the game bodes well for the city.

For their part, the WSA isn't ready to release a completed report but it appears that enough preliminary data was collected and analyzed to satisfy those making a judgement regarding site selection. From their website comes the announcement of the study in February of this year. The entire report of state capacity and prospects is not due until sometime in 2007 so we won't see that until then. (Just sharing the expectation because I know there will be those who think the study is being hidden, when, in fact, it is simply not ready for release.)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Selling Off The Future

Paul beat me to it, as usual. There was great uproar when the operating rights to several American ports were up for sale to a foreign government, yet there seems to be a tacit approval of selling off the actual infrastructure of America.

Private companies are buying the tollways and bridges out from under us. Now our transportation and defense-response networks are in the hands of private companies which may or may not support the same goals as we. Not only are we being taxed (feed) without being represented, we are being taxed without realizing any of the benefits of ownership.

Private ownership of bridges and roads is not new (think about the Billy Goats Gruff for an example.) One of the advances toward a cohesive civilization was the holding of these structures in common for the benefit of all. We are boldly striding into the 13th Century here.

Selling off assets for a one-time budget fix is not a plan for the future (see the tobacco settlement trust fund and lack thereof.) It is a giveaway of public assets to the highest bidder.

Like a junkie trying to make the nut for the day governments will keep looking for things to sell. When the roads are gone then will go the schools. We've started down the path to a for-profit school system already with vouchers and taxpayer subsidies for for-profit schools. Just like that junkie, we will eventually run out of things to sell and have nothing left of value to us.

Isn't It Ironic?

Alanis Morissette should take a lesson from Nick.

On Plans And Planning

I like to browse around They have a searchable database of quotations there along with a very good set of thesauri and dictionaries.

There's been a lot of talk around here about plans and planning and I wanted to see what some others had said before. The historical consensus seems to be that a plan can never be better than the will to follow it. Here's a part of what I found. Enjoy.

Like the Roman town grid, the New York plan was laid down on largely empty land, a city designed in advance of being inhabited; if the Romans consulted the heavens for guidance in this effort, the city fathers of New York consulted the banks.
-----Richard Sennett (b. 1943), U.S. social historian.

“I like to have a plan,” said Mr. Palliser.
“And so do I,” said his wife,—”if only for the sake of not keeping it.”
“There’s nothing I hate so much as not carrying out my intentions,” said Mr. Palliser.
----Anthony Trollope (1815–1882), British novelist. Can You Forgive Her?

In the planning and designing of new communities, housing projects, and urban renewal, the planners both public and private, need to give explicit consideration to the kind of world that is being created for the children who will be growing up in these settings. Particular attention should be given to the opportunities which the environment presents or precludes for involvement of children with persons both older and younger than themselves.
----Urie Bronfenbrenner (b. 1917) U.S. (Russian-born) psychologist, advocate for families. Two Worlds of Childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R.

A city … is the pulsating product of the human hand and mind, reflecting man’s history, his struggle for freedom, creativity, genius—and his selfishness and errors.
----Charles Abrams, Chairman, Department of City Planning, Columbia University The City Is the Frontier

We have come to accept with enthusiasm the unprofessional, unappreciative, unskillful butchery of the land that goes under the name of planning.
-----William L Pereira Recalled on his death, Time 25 Nov 85

Put in hours and hours of planning, figure everything down to the last detail, then what? Burglar alarms start going off all over the place for no sensible reason. A gun fires of its own accord and a man is shot. And a broken-down old house no good for anything but chasing kids has to trip over us. Blind accidents. What can you do against blind accidents?
----Ben Maddow (1909–1992), U.S. screenwriter, and John Huston (1906–1987). Doc Erwin Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe), The Asphalt Jungle, to Dix Handley after their jewel heist plans start to unravel (1950).

Monday, July 17, 2006

Evansville Economic Development Comm. Agenda 7/18

Reposted from The Observer. Will this be the meeting with the biodiesel announcement?

Notice of Meeting and Agenda
Tuesday, July 18, 2006 6:00 p.m.
Please take notice that the next meeting of the City of Evansville Economic Development Committee will take place on Tuesday, July 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the 2nd Floor of the Evansville City Hall, 31 S. Madison Street, Evansville, Wisconsin.

The agenda for the meeting is as follows:
1. Roll call.
2. Approval of agenda.
3. Approval of minutes of June 20 meeting.
5. Citizen appearances, other than on items listed below.
6. Update on proposed TID #6.
7. Update on potential biodiesel facility.
8. Update on Streetscape/Bicycle Trailways grant application.
9. Update on Rural Development grant application.
10. Presentation by Sortis re: possible marketing program for TIF District(s).
11. Proposed joint session in August with Chamber of Commerce and Evansville Community Partnership.
12. Discussion of committee organization, projects and budget.
13. Review of 1991 "First Impressions" survey of Evansville.
14. Adjournment.

John Decker, Secretary

Paul Ryan Ignores His Constituents

Cory wonders if Paul Ryan is just currying favor with Republican Reps by voting against bilingual ballots. Despite the growing Hispanic population in Rock and Walworth Counties Ryan took an English only position during the debate on the Voting Rights Act.

Is this a case of ambition outrunning service?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Jails- "If You Build Them They Will Come"

That's the statement of Jane Klekamp, head of La Crosse County's Justice Sanctions Program, quoted in last Friday's Janesville Gazette.

Rock County is in the middle of building a 20-year addition and improvement to its jail to the tune of $56 million. Rock County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy, and likely candidate for sheriff, Bob Spoden warns that unless changes are made in crime prevention and treatment plans that we'll be going through this again in just over a decade. "If we don't start planning now for alternatives Â… then this jail will be filled in about 13 years."

Klekamp gives examples of LaCrosse County's actions to reduce jail populations without endangering the population outside the walls. (see Gazette story)

I bring this up because Friday was the day that AG candidate JB van Hollen berated Kathleen Falk for not giving in to pressure to build more cells in Dane County. JB doesn't appear to be on the cutting edge of Criminal Justice thinking in Wisconsin in 2006. His foundering campaign is starting early to depend on bluster to accomplish its ends. I don't believe that Rock County can afford JB van Hollen's style of justice in the short-run or the long.

Note: I've moved this post and the one below it to the top because of some increased interest and attention to them. These two pieces are originally from February, 2006. I hope they can help spur some debate as we move toward the election of asherifff to replace the retiring Eric Runaas.

Study Shows Bucher and van Hollen Are Wrong

Amidst all of the "throw away the key" blather and political posturing from the Republican candidates for AG, Democrat Kathleen Falk has called for alternatives to incarceration and for treatment of non-violent offenders. Paul Bucher has launched a Willie Hortonesque website which threatens all the good voters with images of impending disaster if we don't lock everyone away.

Now a court assessment evaluator for the Federal DOJ has released a study showing the benefits of alternative sentencing and treatment before incarceration. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse sociology professor Bill Zollweg has completed an assessment of LaCrosse county's Drug Court that shows a savings to the county of just over a million dollars each year.

In the four years that the court has been in operation only 12 percent of the drug court graduates have been arrested again for any offense. Only 4.3 percent have either failed or missed drug tests Zollweg's findings show putting the lie to Bucher and van Hollen's scare tactics.

From the LaCrosse Tribune article:
Elliott Levine, head of the regional Wisconsin Public Defenders Office, said he
is pleased that the evaluation shows the county's program is effective and
efficient."It's effective at providing highly cost-efficient treatment and saves
the county money," Levine said. "This is more than just a fluke program. The
reality is as proved nationally since 1989, these programs are effective and
vital to the criminal justice system."

It's time to move beyond the Law-and-Order swagger of the boys running for AG and to listen to the professionals who have to deal with the after effects of those outdated theories. Let's start to look at alternatives before Rock County sinks $100 million into a jail that will fill in just over a decade if we don't change the way we administer justice.

Little Pleasures

Today is my granddaughter's first birthday. I asked my daughter to put the phone down by her so I could sing, "Happy Birthday," to her.

I could hear her giggling while I was singing and when I finished she said one of her new words, "Puppy."

I can live with that for the time being. Life is good.

Sunday Morning Housekeeping- Linky Goodness Edition

Barnard Hughes and Red Buttons made the world a richer place. May they rest in peace.

It seems as if CRG should stand for Can't Really Govern. Can anyone think of a viable alternative that they have proposed? Are they just in business to criticize and tear down those who participate in governance?

Remember Mark Green's buddy, Bob Ney? You know, the one who held the show hearings in Milwaukee trying to show there were voting irregularities there? He's got some irregularities of his own to deal with now.

Who has the better "Racer Name?" American F1 pilot, Scott Speed or Champ Car Rookie of the Year contender, Will Power?

Which American values are we exporting to Iraq again?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Now, It's Getting Personal

My phone rang late Thursday.
"They're bombing Haifa."
"Who? What? You're s****ing me."
"No I just got a call from Tel Aviv. They're bombing Haifa now."
"Who? Where? Port or city? Where is the Fritz office? Where is Zim?"
"Both down by the port. I don't know if they're bombing the port or the city."
"(Deleted) I've got a ship buttoning up this afternoon, don't I?"
"It's almost Midnight over there. Your ship should be on the water by now."
"Have we heard from L---- or E--?"
Yes. She's the one who called. They're okay. She says it's not that big a deal."

Twenty minutes on the Net confirmed that Hezbollah had, indeed, sent a Katyusha into the Stella Maris neighborhood of Haifa doing minor damage and hurting no one. No of the folks with whom I do business was affected or hurt.

Thursday morning the violence was theoretical. Thursday night when I came home it was very real. My boss (an Israeli) says they are sending a message, teaching a lesson. I am less convinced that anyone is learning anything.

h/t to Chris (That doesn't happen often) for the good post on the Katyushas being used.

Good Game- Great Headline

From Nick.
Two Puppies Go In... Only One Comes Out

Go play Puppy War. You know you want to.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Nathan Explains

At The Tap has the real reason for the bad behavior in the World Cup Final.

A Long Time Ago In A Place Very Far Away

A (mostly) true story.

We were sitting at the end of the bar in an after-hours joint outside Troy, Il, three of us minding our own business just having a few beers. It was the first and the last time that any of us had been together and the only time that I was ever in Troy.

The bar was a shacky little place with worn linoleum, chrome and plastic chairs and the lights turned all the way up just like in your aunt's kitchen. There was a kitchen in the back that had closed many hours before. A pool table with shabby blue felt took up most of the front just inside the door and there was a crowd of young men taking turns challenging one another around it.

The pool players voices raised and lowered depending on the fortunes of the game and the amount of money changing hands. Mostly, it was easy to ignore them as background noise until one particularly unlucky local started to lose more often than he considered to be his fair share. His voice got louder and harsher, his accusations more personal and intense until the bartender felt obligated to request that the young man take his patronage elsewhere until he could behave himself.

The large woman eased herself back behind the bar as the young man left muttering, "Gonna show them. You'll be sorry," along with a string of pretty pedestrian obscenities. The group around the table set another rack and we turned our backs to the door and reacquainted ourselves with our cold taps. She apologized for his behavior and said that he just had a few too many sometimes and that when that happened he had delusions of adequacy around the pool table.

In a fairy tale, this is where the happy ending would go but Troy, IL isn't a fairy tale kind of town. It wasn't so very long before the screen door blew open and the discharged pool player wobbled back in, waving a small pistol over his head and declaring that he had, "By God, had enough." As he took a few steps into the joint the crowd started to make themselves scarce as they could. A lucky few were close enough to the door to make the street without much trouble. The pool table sheltered a few others.

The bartender rolled her eyes and headed toward the loudmouth while my new friends and I started scouting a place to go. We gathered our beers and retreated into the kitchen to take stock of the situation.

"Do you think he's gonna start shooting?"
"No. If he was going to do that he'd have come through the door that way. He's just looking for some attention."
"Well, he got mine. What are we gonna do?"
"There's a back door. Let's just get to the car and head back.'

there it was. We had a plan. We drained the last of the beer, put our empties on the counter and headed out the back door to call it a night. Which is where we found ourselves directly in the path of our angry young man and the bartender who had shoved him, by the belly, out into the street. Now that she had taken his pistol away there were several who intended to show their own manhood by taking a swing or two at him. There was fighting and shoving and swearing and scuffling and we popped out the side door right in the middle of it all.

Discretion being the better part of yadda-yadda we turned on our heels and went back into the bar where we sat patiently waiting for a refill. It wasn't so very long before the bartender had her crowd sorted, some sent home and some allowed back and came to get us another cold one.

"What ever possessed you to come out through there?" she wanted to know.
"It looked to me like a good way to get the Hell out of Dodge."
"I got him around the corner so the rest of you could get out the front door and then you guys just come smack out into the middle of it. I swear."
"Well, thanks for the good intentions anyway. We were grateful"
"Just remember those two things," she said. "Good intentions are seldom enough and the back way out of town can be more trouble than it's worth, sometimes."

We drank to that.

Magnum Signatures - 87% Is Good Enough For Dave

Dave Magnum sent out a press release touting his collection of 2000 signatures on his nominating papers and then goes on to trumpet the fact that fully 13% of them could not be certified.

I suggest a new slogan for the Magnumeister. "Vote for Dave. It's close enough for government work."

h/t to the Master, Dennis York

Frank Refloats A Bad Idea

Back on June 28 Fightin' Frank Lasee had an editorial column on WisOpinion titled Tuition Reciprocity is a Poor Deal for Wisconsin which assailed the tution reciprocity deal between Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Frank made clear that he was agin' letting all them foreign students from across our border into our state schools. Nevermind that Wisconsin kids have the same option in the other direction. Nevermind that Minnesota kids pay more than Wisconsin residents and, in effect, subsidize our schools to a certain extent. Frank was sure that the Minnesotans were slickering us rubes somehow.

That afternoon Seth posted a point by point rebuttal of Frank's Op-Ed showing the depth of the shallowness in Lasee's piece. That same day State Sen Sheila Harsdorf issued a piece making many of the same points as Seth and adding;
...(ending reciprocity) would do irreparable damage to Western Wisconsin growth,
economic development, and jobs while limiting thousands upon thousands of spots
for Wisconsin families to send their kids to school in.

Now, three weeks later, Frank has come up with a reply to Sen Harsdorf which simply restates a few of the arguments shown to be false last month. Frank Lasee seems to be a true believer of the theory of endless repetition; if you repeat a bad idea long enough people start to believe it. It's as if he talks but never listens, hears but does not understand, rejects Reality when it conflicts with his beliefs.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Judge Throws Out Georgia Voter ID Law

From the AP
The same federal judge who threw out Georgia's voter ID law last year blocked
the state Wednesday from enforcing its revised law during this year's
elections. The ruling came less than two hours after the Georgia
Supreme Court denied the state's emergency request to overrule a state court
order that blocked enforcement of the new photo ID law during next week's
primary elections and any runoffs.

The critic's attorney addressed motivations similar to those expressed by Mark Green and Flyin' Jim Sensennbrenner.

Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue and other supporters of the IDs had argued they
were needed to prevent election fraud. Civil rights groups challenged the law in
both federal and state court, arguing that it discriminated against poor,
elderly and rural voters. They also argued that voter fraud in Georgia stems
from absentee ballot voting, an issue not even addressed by the law.

"They have chosen deliberately to legislate only in an area where there was no
problem," Emmett Bondurant, the critics' lead attorney, told Murphy in court.

Did You Miss The Carnival Of The Badger Deadline?

Thanks to Charter's shoddy service, I did.

Ramon Fabulosa didn't, though. Not even the pain of Drinking Right was enough to stop him. Go see what he did.

It's fabulous.

Got Me Some New Shoes

Gonna' walk all over Social Security.

Bulwer-Lytton Prizes Awarded

The Bulwer-Lytton Prizes for 2006 have been awarded and the "winner" is Jim Guigli of California for his piece of hard-boiled introduction.
"Detective Bart Lasiter was in his office studying the light from his one small
window falling on his super burrito when the door swung open to reveal a woman
whose body said you've had your last burrito for a while, whose face said angels
did exist, and whose eyes said she could make you dig your own grave and lick
the shovel clean."
I favored the runner-up, Steve Vasepuru's opening take on a Clint Eastwood classic.
"I know what you're thinking, punk," hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor,
"you're thinking, 'Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?' -- and
to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is
English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow
your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel
loquacious?' -- well do you, punk?"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Laissez Le Bon Temps Roullez

Papers have all been filed and the races are on.

In Rock County;
As expected we have a three-way race for to replace outgoing sheriff Eric Runaas;
Chief Deputy Robert D. Spoden, Democrat
Janesville police officer Scott A. Wasemiller, Republican
Construction contractor and former Brodhead police officer Gary C. Keller, an Independent .

There is a three-way race for Coroner as well;
Democrat Jenifer Keach,
Republican Brad Farrell, and
Independent Melissa L. Haverley,

Running uncontested are;
Clerk Kay S. O'Connell,
Clerk of Courts Eldred Mielke,
Register of Deeds Randy Leyes, and
Treasurer Vicki Brown.

In State Assembly races;
Democratic incumbent Mike Sheridan will have a Republican challenger in Fred E. Yoss in the 44th Assembly District race. In the 31st District race Republican incumbent Steve Nass faces Democrat Scott Woods and Ben Bourdo of the Justice Party. Former Evansville Mayor Janis Ringhand will face Walter Fellows in a primary to win the right to challenge incumbent Brett Davis in our own 80th District.

Republican Dave Magnum will again attempt to oust incumbent Tammy Baldwin, the Incumbent Democrat in the 2nd Congressional District while Republican Incumbent Paul Ryan will face one of five Democrat challengers;
Jeff Thomas,
Don Hall,
Ruth SantaCruz-Bradley,
Steven Herr or
Mike Hebert.

It Was A Ho-Ax

We got snookered. Glenn Grothmann says he got enough signatures, he just couldn't put together a run.

As MacBeth said, " It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."

Dissonance Alert: The post title is from a piece by Lewis Grizzard, the closing is from Shakespeare. If you are unable to reconcile the two, you may wish to lie down for a moment.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Burden Of Proof

Most of the Left side of the cheddarsphere has been busy for the last week putting distance between themselves and the deranged theories of Kevin Barrett. Even those who stand up for his right to those theories and the separation of his vocation from his beliefs agree that he is beyond the fringe, no matter the attempts of some to paint Democrats with the same brush.

Today the lecturer in Journalism, McBride, once again took a denier to task and asked for his "evidence." It came to me then that we have the exact same level of proof for the 9/11 conspiracy as we have from the administration for WMD in Iraq.

C'mon, Jess. The Barrett story has been very good to you, even getting you some notice from the Malkinistas at Hot Air. Just imagine the National attention you could get by asking GW for the same level of evidence while he's in Port Washington today.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Brodhead Company Ignores WMC- Kuhn Knight To Expand

The Gazette has the story:
Officials at Kuhn Knight say a 78,000-square-foot expansion of the company's
manufacturing facilities in Brodhead will improve efficiency and quality with
new, state-of-the-art technology.

It seems that Wisconsin's companies aren't buying the wolf tickets that WMC is selling.

Paul Bucher In The Blogs Again

Jenna asks why he won't practice what he rants while Jay has the pic of the post-parade-parade. When you're running for office you're always in the center ring, I guess.

Reaction To The Glenn Grothman Announcement

Owen gets credit for breaking the news that the RPW had finally gotten to the bottom of the barrel.

Casper wants Grothman to get all medieval on Kohl.

Sean says that Grothman's run means very little to either party and wants GG to swing for the fringes.

Tim welcomes Grothman to the race for the clarity he will bring.
Grothman is so extreme that he makes State Senator Tom Reynolds seem almost
palatable and sane.
Chris sees the inevitable.

The Recess Supervisor makes comparisons to Dave Magnum.

James makes comparisons to Galipoli.

Fraley shows us how polarizing Grothman can be.

Update: Charlie says maybe it's a sham. GG may not be willing to take one for the team after all.

My thoughts?

  1. This can't be good for Rae Vogeler. Voters like me who might have used the free pass to send a message will now fall back into the Kohl camp to send that message to the RPW instead.
  2. This will help draw a clean line between R's and D's in November. Whether he wants it or not Grothman will be hanging around Mark Greens neck like a giant sea bird.
  3. Even though you can't blame the RPW for finding a candidate who gets a free pass (Grothman's seat is not up in November. He'll have a job come January.) I still am cynical about the level of risk that Republican's are willing to take to get their ideas out.
  4. Grothman's biggest win so far was in a primary when he out-righted another R. Despite the echo chamber that the BBA provides, that Grover Norquist/Ralph Reed-style base is waning in influence in Wisconsin.

How Not To Run A Celebration

It's never too late to say thank you. To the Evansville 4th Of July Committee, I say "Thanks." Our celebration was bigger and better than ever. The entertainment was wonderful and the variety of events had something for everyone.

Compare that to these letters to the editor of the Sheboygan paper after someone up there booked a Metallica tribute band for a 6 hour gig down by the lakefront.

h/t to Kevin at Lakeshore Laments

He Has Two Broken Fingers and Some Stitches.

Man runs over himself in Chicago when he leaves the car running and, apparently, in gear while he unloads the trunk.

Check out the video of the aftermath.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Stealth Campaign For Senate Seat

Owen says that Glenn Grothman has officially signed on to be the sacrificial lamb against Herb Kohl.

The silence of the celebration speaks for itself.

Bucky Needs Your Help

Bucky Badger is on the ballot this year for the Mascot Hall Of Fame- College Division. He has vowed to attend the induction if he wins but he's currently running second behind that big-headed Sparty from Michigan State.

You can vote once per session.

The Inaugural Inductees in 2005 were The Phoenix Gorilla, The Phillie Phanatic and, of course, The San Diego (nee KGB) Chicken.

I hear that there is a move afoot to bring that Western Kentucky Big Red to room with Brian Newcomer and run against Herb Kohl.

The War On Christmas In July

From Watchblog:
Santa Claus declined to comment on the incident. Speaking from his home at the
North Pole, Santa also disclaimed any worries about global warming. "Personally,
I think it's all a hoax" he said in response to queries. "Al Gore and George
Soros have enlisted almost every climatologist on the planet to support this
wild moonbat theory as part of a world-wide left wing conspiracy." He then
returned to his workshop, where he and his elves were hard at work on repairing
the air conditioning.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

We Have Better Conspiracy Theories Than Even Peter Can Come Up With

Dick Russell looks at some of the theories surrounding Ken Lay's death and the vacating of his conviction.

My fave of Dick's?
He's actually been dead since 1998, but Arthur Andersen only now got around to
auditing his health.
My own contribution?

Lay was declared dead the same day the shuttle took off. Kenny Boy will be lying
low on the space station until GW can give him a last day pardon.

My one hope is that Kenny Boy's carcass gets dragged onto the floor of the House every time some damn fool starts proposing gambling retirement funding solely on the Stock Market. If he can't make restitution for his lying and manipulating he can, at least, serve as a bad moral example.

Committee Finds "Need and Desire" For 4K In Evansville

From the Gazette by Gina Duwe.
After nearly two years of research, a local committee will recommend to the
Evansville School Board on Monday night that it implement an optional 4-year-old
kindergarten program.

Citing a "level playing field" for families who don't qualify for Head Start and can't afford pre-school the committee recemmended beginning 4K in Evansville, most likely at an off-school center.

The School Board is expected to vote on the plan in August or September.

Truth Takes A Detour

When I heard that Jess McBride was working for a think tank I just assumed that she was cleaning the filter, but it turns out that she may be doing much more.

She announced weeks ago on the Sykes show that she was doing research for the WPRI, a non-partisan C3 organization, regarding immigration issues. Now her husband, a candidate for AG, has at his fingertips all sorts of data about illegal immigrants. It turns out that much of the data is wrong or misrepresented, leading many to believe that McBride is the source of those statistics.

Cory has been asking direct questions and McBride is giving only attacks without denials. She needs to respond to the question, "Is Paul Bucher using research done by a non-partisan non-profit for political gain?" The bloggers who were asking the same questions of Voces de la Frontera should be all over this.

Update: The folks who make up the Bucher organization seems to have the fingers in many pies. Can you call an organization "shadowy" when everyone knows who is behind it?

Friday, July 07, 2006

That Didn't Take Long, Did It?

On Thursday morning Jack Lohman released a column on Wisopinion debunking the shoddy poll by WPRI regarding public financing of elections. On Thursday afternoon the first group cited the poll as gospel.

Bad Social Science is still Bad Science.

Good Luck, Bill. And, Thanks

Gina Duwe has the story in the Gazette. Bill Connors left City Hall yesterday in his last day as City Administrator. The Observer has a recap of Bill's tenure in Evansville.

The story says that it may take 6 months to hire a replacement. I have two thoughts about that.
  1. Sooner is better than later. There is too much on the city's plate to leave the office unfilled.
  2. Look for people skills. If we get someone as approachable as Bill we will be in fine shape.

Summer School Carnival

Aaron stepped up to the lectern this week to host the Carnival of the Badger with a Hot For Teacher Edition.

When you finish checking out the best of Wisconsin blogging this week head over to Nick's and volunteer to host one of your own.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Casper Is Running

For what?

For everything. "Vote for Casper. He'll do anything."

Check out the video.

"At The Tap" Is Back

...and he's blogging with a vengeance.

Overheard at Wal-Mart. (Caution: disturbing photo)

You Might Be a Postmodernist If...
You blast professional sports for their obsession with linear narrative and
objective scoring.

Shape and Slim (with video)

Flyin' Jim Goes To The Movies

Let's take a look at what we know for sure:

  1. He's an alien, in this country without coming through immigration.
  2. Somehow he has a fake ID under an assumed name and, presumably, uses it to vote.
  3. He has a job in the MSM fighting for "the little man" and digging for the "truth."
  4. His original name was Kal-El, an obviously Middle Eastern name.
Superman may have returned in the biggest movie of the year but Flyin' Jim Sensennbrenner is having his first conniption now, trying to figure out how to jail Krypton's Favorite Son, The Man of Steel.

Give Clark Kent some credit. As a reporter searching for the truth he's doing the job that Fox News won't do.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Reported Without Comment

Ken Lay is dead of a heart attack at 64.

Pitkin County sheriff's deputies and an ambulance were dispatched to the Lay
vacation home in Old Snowmass, Colorado, early Wednesday morning and transported
him to Aspen Valley Hospital. He was pronounced dead there shortly after 3 a.m.
Mountain time (0900 GMT). -From Yahoo News

Looking For Magic In Fitchburg

To call it a pond would be giving it a lot of credit that it doesn't deserve. There is a wet area between the restaurant and Fish Hatchery Road in Fitchburg. The restaurant is a nice one with good food and very good margaritas.

We stopped there on the way back from Grandma's 103rd birthday party and asked for a table on the deck outside. At certain times of the year the pond does add a little something to the al fresco experience but now, in early July, it's just a sluggish pool coated with the green sheen of algae that has all of Madison's water beneath it.

There were two young, blonde girls out of a group of five or so over in the corner of the deck. They were watching the traffic on the road and looking for signs of activity in the pool. All of a sudden there was high agitation. The 6 year old turned back to their table and shouted, "Mommy, Mommy. There's an otter in there!"

I have no doubt that she saw something moving in the pool. I also have no doubt that it's best to let her believe for a little while that she saw an otter in Fitchburg. Kids need to be kids for longer than we seem to let them.

Those two little girls saw magic in their world. How was your holiday weekend?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

No Reflection On You- Lake Leota Hits The Big Paper

The Wisconsin State Journal has a story on Lake Leota and what it may someday be again. Some of my brood is down there now and at least one is wondering what the fireworks are going to be like without the reflection in the lake.

I'm just glad that we got married there last year rather than this. The ambiance was much better then.

Happy Birthday

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

A Love Letter To A Large Green Woman

Dick Russell has penned a paean to a woman he dearly loves. Please go and read it today.

July 4th Roundup

Blogging has been slight all around the Cheddarsphere this weekend. Between a four day weekend and normal summertime ennui not much has been posted. Here's a quick roundup of July 4 posts from around my blogroll.

Enjoy the day.

Casper has quotable and notable.

Elliott gets all cranky.

Seth keeps it simple.

Cory takes time to remember.

Nick makes it clear where he stands.

As a windup, The Observer gets us all back to Normal.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Who Are The Wisconsin Homeowners Alliance?

You've heard the commercials. Now look at the board.

Not really homeowners? I'm shocked. Astroturf advocacy rides again.

Bert And Ernie And The Threat To America

Nussle and Flow has the story of Jim Nussle's plan to deal with the threat to Quality of Life posed by Rosita, Barney and their friends.