Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Technical Difficulties

Apparently, when I previously had technical difficulties, I thought I had it fixed. I didn't.

I will be back Friday, maybe Saturday after I reconstruct this monstrosity I quaintly and affectionately call, "That @$%&*# computer!!!"

Sorry for the inconvenience, and trust me, you don't know how sorry I am.

Unless you don't like my stuff, then enjoy your vacation.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Who Won?

Due to the events with our neighbors, I missed the majority of Friday's debate, as we were rushing off to help them the best we could.

But from the little part that I did catch, I have some questions.

Of course, who won, and what basis do you answer the way you did?

Did McCain keep losing his temper? Early into the debate, it looked like McCain was ready to pop a vein, stroke out, or strike out.

And did Obama ever get around to blasting McCain for the continuous lying he was doing, at least at the beginning of it?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Life Ruined In A Small Town

Before I start, let me apologize to the gentle reader for the vagueness of some of the details. It is about a friend of my family, and I do not wish to reveal his name. And due to any potential legal actions, I have to be non-exact on some of the other details as well.

Almost three years ago, our next door neighbors from up north were killed as a result of a tragic head on collision. To make the matter even more tragic, the driver who was at fault was another person from the neighborhood. My next door neighbors were wonderful people.

She kept up their yard and made it look like something out of an issue of Better Homes and Gardens. He was a retired mill worker and had served our country during Viet Nam. He was extremely handy with all sorts of tools and was always helping out people in the neighborhood with all sorts of projects that would have otherwise been impossible, or at least would require hiring expensive professionals.

Our neighbor's sister and her husband also live in the neighborhood. After the tragic death of our neighbors, the brother-in-law, let's call him "John", took it upon himself to keep an eye on the northern castle, and would bring in any papers or mail that were delivered to the castle.

Now, this family has had a continuation of problems. Another brother has died from cancer. Shortly, after that, one of John's best friends died in an accident. Now another one of his brothers-in-law is dying from cancer, his wife his in poor health, he has developed heart troubles, and they are running into money problems. They just replaced their furnace, and found out this summer that they will have to replace the septic tank. Their heating bill, like mine, jumped by almost 50% and will cost them another couple of thousands of dollars.

As you can imagine, this was all causing him a bit of stress and affecting his sleep. So he went off to see the doctor. He told her of his woes, and that it was bothering his sleeping. Instead of prescribing a mild sedative, or even recommending an over the counter med, said doctor prescribed a very powerful anti-depressant. A medication that has a history of controversial findings on whether it does more harm than any potential benefit. Even the current treating doctors are outraged that the first doctor would prescribe this medicine. The warnings and restrictions are clear to the potential psychiatric and health risks, especially to those with heart problems.

He took said prescription to the local pharmacy, and it was filled and given to him. He was to take one pill at night. He did this for three nights, but it was starting to have bad side effects on him. He was starting to present with irrational thoughts, paranoid thinking, and was affecting his memory. It also prevented him from getting any sleep whatsoever.

That Friday morning, he was meeting with some workers from the local power company, who were not giving him the answers he had hoped to hear. The lack of sleep, and more so, the effects of this medication, altered his thinking and personality to the point that he made some wild and threatening statements. The Sheriff's Department was contacted and the responding deputies found John to be incoherent and unsafe, and did an emergency detention. They ended up transporting John to Appleton, some 60+ miles away, to the local hospital's psych ward.

He has been there for the past 10 days, and there is no telling when they will release him. His wife tells me that he is absolutely miserable there, as they are very draconian in their rules, and that he sits and dwells on what he did and what he said, and is wracked with guilt. If the gentle reader knew all of the things that they don't allow there, one would become outraged, no matter their personal political or religious leanings. For example, there can be no open religious discussions or Bibles on the unit because of those that might of God complexes. Pens are totally banned, and pencils are only the short stubby kind, which are closely monitored. There are no playing cards, and the TV is strictly controlled, as like with a hypersensitive V-chip which bans anything with violence, including the news, and any sports, because of the dangers of gambling. The list goes on forever.

Now, his wife has been forced to give up her job and move to Appleton, as that she could not afford the gas she was burning driving back and forth. Depending on whether or not the Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney decide to press charges, and the result of any court proceedings, he could very well lose his hunting privileges, which would break his heart. Even if he gets out soon, he will have to go to therapy at least three times a week for a while to ensure that his breakdown was strictly a result of the medication, and if he is becoming more stable now that he has been off of the medication.

I just don't know who I am most angry with about this whole deal: The doctor who had no business prescribing this medication due to the side effects and the fact that the manufacturer warns against giving to people with heart ailments or the pharmacist who should have caught the fact that John was taking heart medicine, and that he manufacturer warned of not giving this medication to those taking heart medication.

I do know that I wish him and his wife the best, and hope they can come back to their home soon.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Woman's Worth

A friend emailed this to me. I thought it worth sharing with you, gentle reader.

It is by a woman named Goldie Taylor and is called "A Woman's Worth":
I have been a mother all of my adult life. A single working mother. I
put off dating, took menial jobs far beneath my qualifications and baked my share of ginger bread cookies for PTA Night, all so that three incredible children could have better. I chose their lives over mine. I don’t have to tell you that it wasn’t easy. Unfortunately, my story, our story, is not unique.

We slept in cars, bought groceries with food stamps and prayed for a better day. When that wasn’t enough, I put myself through school at Emory University and took a part-time job as a staff writer at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. That was over a decade ago.

Along the way, things got better. I’ve been an executive at two Fortune 500 companies and a practice director at two multinational public relations firms. Today, I own an advertising agency and I’ve authored two novels. A third and fourth are on the way, God willing. All of this was possible because somebody laid a brick or two on the road for me.

A few weeks ago, I woke in tears. It was my 40th birthday and certainly not a time for sadness. Rather, I cried in joy because for the first time I realized and could embrace the value of the struggle. The bright little girl, who once cried in my arms because we didn’t know where we were going to live, was headed off to Brown University. The small boy who had been the “man of the house” far too soon was now truly a man. And the tiny, angelic baby who had come to this world precious and innocent just 15 months after him was now a 16 year old girl headed out to her first job interview.

For all of this, maybe I should be proud of a woman like Sarah Palin. Maybe, just maybe, I should be rejoicing in John McCain’s selected running mate.

But I’m not.

I’m not “bed wetting liberal” nor am I a “right-wing zealot.” What I am is a working mother. And I cry foul.
Please read the rest here. It's worth it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Walker Wants To Waste Taxpayer Money

Yesterday, after Walker spent the day trying to defend giving his cronies excessive raises while cutting jobs and services to the rest of the county, he also continued in usual hypocritical way and tried to promote moving the mental health complex to St. Michael's.

Again, this is as dumb as you can get. The building that housed St. Mike's is even older than the one we have on the county ground. Furthermore, independent studies show that it would be cheaper, and safer, to build a new building rather than renovate the old St. Mike's.

I don't even want to imagine how bad St. Mike's condition is that it would be cheaper to actually build a whole new entire building that to fix up the old hospital. Yet Walker keeps coming up with fudged and outright phony numbers trying to promote this no bid money giveaway.

Fortunately for us, the majority of the county board saw through the scam and denied the proposal.

Walker, being true to his hypocritical, weaselly nature, is threatening to veto it.

It truly is becoming time for a recall.


Once again, gentle reader, we see Walker's weaselly ways with the county budget, cutting services, cutting jobs, cutting the quality of life for every man, woman and child in the county that doesn't happen to be one of his top staff members or one of his political backers.

He wants to services to the elderly. He wants to cut services to the disabled. He wants to cut services to the poor. He wants to cut the frequency of buses while raising fares. He wants to cut the quality of the parks. He wants to cut the livelihood of hundreds of workers.

What he needs to do is just cut the crap that he keeps trying to pull.

Please join me and several hundred of my friends to let Scott Walker know that the people of Milwaukee County want no more cuts to the services that we need to be a safe, affordable and proud community. Please join us as we let the county board know that we are holding them responsible for correcting Walker's negligence and maliciousness.

Join us at a rally for "No More Cuts" on Wednesday, October 15th at 5 p.m. It will be held at Clas Park, which is on the south side of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

Further details will be made as they become available.

Walker's Weaselly Ways

If Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker wants to be governor of Wisconsin someday, he has a strange way of going about it.

First we get the news that he has given his top staff and cronies amazingly obscene raises. Not only were the raises excessive, but he does it on the sly by getting a legal opinion saying he can do that without notifying the county board, and then sneaks it hoping no one will notice. Well, bully for him. Someone needs to remind him that Ament had a legal opinion when he pushed through the pension enhancers and back drops.

Walker claims that he did it to make their pay more in line with other similar positions. That is the same reason the County Board used last year when they wanted to give themselves a raise. Walker, rightfully, dismissed that argument, and vetoed their raises. But in Walker's world, what is good for the goose isn't always good for the gander apparently.

It should also be noted that CRG, the supposed watchdogs that describe themselves as being for a responsible government, gave a weak answer to it:

Orville Seymer, field director for Citizens for Responsible Government Network, said the raises for Nardelli and some other Walker aides appeared excessive.

"I just think all these people are overpaid" and unlikely to command such salaries in the private sector, Seymer said.
But their database that is supposed to show transparency in the county's spending is now mysteriously unavailable. If a liberal official pulled a stunt like that, they would have already had the recall petitions signed and delivered.

To further highlight his shamelessness, Walker goes whining to his buddies, like Charlie Sykes and Owen Robinson, that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has "an agenda." Um, Scott, the only one with an agenda is you. And that said agenda is to make it to the governor's mansion no matter what. If Walker was a real leader, he would just admit to making a bad decision and offer his apologies. But that kind of ethical behavior is beyond him.

The same day that the Walker's gifts to his cronies are being reported, Walker also announced that the county is $6 million in the hole, and he has to make up for it by laying off workers, cutting overtime, and otherwise sticking it to the people of Milwaukee County.

Again we catch Walker and his staff lying. First is the claim that he didn't know about the deficit when he gave the raises. Then he knew there was a $2 million deficit, but didn't think it mattered. Then his aid, Cynthia Archer, says that the staff heading departments with a deficit didn't get a raise, but that is also false. Walker gave Jack Takarian a raise, while his department had a $330,000 deficit, which he didn't even report to the county board as is required by the law.

The very next day, Walker announces his budget proposal which, like every other year, includes plans to sell off parts of the county, dismantle others, and to privatize services to his political backers. His budget proposal is so bad that it will take some time to digest the whole fiasco. But that is for a later post.

In a nutshell, he wants to sell off the airport, the county grounds, push a more expensive and less safe plan for the mental health complex, push an unsafe corrections plan, and continue to ruin the transit system and the parks.

Once again, we find Walker trying to climb his way up the political ladder by paying off his cronies and backers, meanwhile trying to get a foot up on the back to the citizens and the workers in Milwaukee County. I guess it's time again to encourage the county board to do the right thing and correct all of Walker's short-sightedness.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why Did McCain Suspend His Campaign?

McCain claims he suspended his campaign to go to Washington D.C. to "help" with the financial crises that Bush and his congressional allies have brought down on this great country.

Well, he didn't really. But it does make good fodder for the comedians.

Anywho, why did McCain feel like he needed to suspend his campaign, even if he really thought he had something useful to contribute to the discussion?

He could have and should have had his running mate run the campaign while he did his grandstanding in D.C. After all, he did pick her to run the country if he were to suddenly become unable to do so himself. But he doesn't trust her to run his campaign?

Is it because he recognized she is distinctly unqualified and unfit to run his campaign, much less the country?

Or is he just a sexist?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Save Wisconsin's Vote

We already know of the low-handed ways that the desperately flailing Republican party is willing to stoop to win the upcoming elections, whether it be by hook or by crook. This includes, but in now way is limited to, Camp McCain mailing out fraudulent absentee ballots to Democrats on a statewide basis.

The fine folks at One Wisconsin Now have created a way for us to demand that Team Spuds is held accountable for their shenanigans:
Media are reporting Wisconsinites have received absentee ballot applications from the John McCain for President campaign with incorrect return addresses, which would likely prevent registration and processing from being completed.

The easy solution would seem to be: check the records, inform people who received an incorrect application and make sure no one is disenfranchised.

Unfortunately, the McCain campaign has been unwilling to provide the exact number and refuses to be interviewed about the scope of the problem. A top Republican Party of Wisconsin official said “hundreds of thousands” of absentee ballot application have been mailed by the McCain campaign.

Fair and clean elections are a critical issue for the state of Wisconsin and protecting the right to vote is essential to our Democracy.

Unfortunately, the McCain campaign has been unwilling to provide the exact number and refuses to be interviewed about the scope of the problem. A top Republican Party of Wisconsin official said “hundreds of thousands” of absentee ballot application have been mailed by the McCain campaign.

Act now and sign the petition to the newly-created Election Task Force and the Government Accountability Board below calling for an immediate investigation of the mailing. They must get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.

They also have a tool available for filing a complaint for those that have already received one of the bogus petitions. Both are available here. Click on it and sign it now.

Cross posted at Whallah!

Scott Ament Walker

More on this later, after I make some phone calls and pay some visits, but for now:
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker wants a 26% pay raise for his chief of staff, former Ald. Tom Nardelli, while bypassing traditional County Board approval in quietly issuing large pay raises over the summer to several other top aides.

Nardelli would get the biggest pay increase of top-tier county officials, a nearly $20,000 raise to $95,000 a year. Seven county administrators also scored increases of up to 12.5%.

Some supervisors are upset about being left out of the decision-making process for many of the raises and say Walker's timing couldn't be worse. Heavily rewarding a few top managers while Walker puts final touches on a 2009 budget that's expected to call for scores of layoffs of union workers sends a message of callous disregard, critics of the raises say.

Among the other big winners among Walker's top aides was Mitchell International Airport Director Barry Bateman. His pay rises $13,595, or 11%, to $136,299 a year. Facilities Management Director Jack Takerian got an $11,771 (12.5%) raise, to nearly $106,000.

What a frickin' hypocritical weasel! I am really starting to think that James Rowen might be on to something.

Mother Of The Year

She just wanted to build his self esteem? From CNN:
A woman admitted she helped her troubled, bullied 14-year-old son build a cache of weapons by buying him a rifle and gunpowder, but investigators still don't know if she was aware her son was planning a deadly school attack.

Michele Cossey, 46, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Norristown to one count of child endangerment. She admitted that she bought him a rifle with a laser scope and gunpowder, which investigators said he was using to build grenades.

Prosecutors said her son, Dillon, came idolize the Columbine High School shooters and was planning an attack last year on Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, which some former schoolmates attended.

Cossey, bullied over his weight, had left public school in seventh grade and was being home-schooled. Over time, violent Internet sites fueled his revenge fantasies, his defense lawyer said after his juvenile court plea.

Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Christopher Parisi said he thought purchasing the weapons was "an attempt to boost his self-esteem, and in some way help the child, as misplaced as those thoughts may have been."

If she wanted to help her son, how about some exercise, therapy, and working with the school instead of enabling, isolating and arming the kid?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Palin Derails Straight Talk Express

Sarah Palin, the only hope for the McCain campaign, is either a fool, or her handlers are fools.

First, basically acknowledging the fact that she has no foreign relations experience beyond seeing Russia from her house, Team Spuds has her meeting with dignitaries at the United Nations. Mmm, McCain's campaign must be so strapped for cash after running all those smear ads which have been thoroughly discredited, that they could no longer afford cable TV with all those National Geographic specials.

While she was to meet with said international dignitaries, Team Spuds banned all reporters from the event. Needless to say, that went over like a lead balloon. Already tired of the McPalin's constantly harping that the media was biased and against them, the media warned that they'll just take their cameras and go home, thereby denying Palin the attention she desperately wants and that the campaign desperately needs.

There are numerous reasons for Team Spuds keeping their lipsticked bulldog on a short leash.

First of all, she just doesn't do well when she isn't following her scripted teleprompter-provided speeches.

Secondly, she can't seem to open her mouth without the lies just flying out on their own accord.

Thirdly, Team Spuds can not afford to have any questions about Troopergate to come out. She would have a hard time explaining why she did a sudden reversal, and after initially agreeing to cooperate with the investigation, she decided that it was too partisan to allow it to go on. It beats me how a Republican can complain about an investigative body, of which 10 of the 14 people on it are also Republican. Lawyers from Team Spuds have sued to have the investigation stopped.

After switching directions regarding the investigation, Palin switched to a third direction. Now she is suddenly OK with an investigation, and will again cooperate fully. That is, she will cooperate as long as it is done by the personnel review board, which coincidentally consists of three Republicans that can be fired by Palin on a whim.

So, to be perfectly clear, she is accused of firing someone because he wouldn't fire her ex-brother-in-law, who had already been investigated and punished. Then, when an investigation starts to see if she abused the power of her office and fired the person for personal reasons, she agrees to cooperate and then stops cooperating. She then states she is willing to cooperate, only if the investigation is done by people whom she can fire for no reason at all, or for a reason such as, they find her guilty of abusing her power.

Only to a Republican would that make any sense. And only a Republican would see nothing wrong with this. After all, this is right out of the Bush/Cheney playbook.

For further analysis, I would recommend this expose from Mudflats, written by people that actually live in Alaska, but have not claimed to see Russia from their porch. In fact, keep an eye on the whole blog. Well written and gets to the meat of the matter.

Quote Of The Day

Told to me by a good friend:

"You can lead a Republican to logic. But you can't make them think."

As a note to my 2.3 readers, I apologize for the lightness of my posts of late. Time is short, I am busy, but will put up one or two more substantial posts tonight.

What's In A Name?

Kelly Emery is a bed-and-breakfast in the small, and I do mean small (population 55), town of Olema, California.

Emery is also a Obama supporter with a sense of humor, and had signs replicating the usual green signs announcing the town limits made up. These replicas read "Obama, CA".

For the McCain supporters, before they start griping about equal time, they should know full well that there is already a national park named after McCain.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Republican Ticket's Identity Crisis

A tip of the crown to James Rowen, who notes that this appears to be an ongoing thing. But that only seems typical for that ticket. They have yet to prove that they know up from down, right from left, truth from lie.

It's All The Gays' Fault

With a tip of the crown to Deke Rivers.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aaron Rodgers: Record Breaker

Over the sixteen years that Brett Favre played for the Green Bay Packers, he broke a lot of records, and set a lot of firsts. Most were good ones, like most consecutive starts, most TDs, most yards passing, etc.

He also set a lot of records for less enviable things like most interceptions, first to lose a playoff at home, and the first to lose a championship game at home.

But it took Favre years and years to make these record setting accomplishments.

It only took Aaron Rodgers three games to make his first first. He is the first to lose to Dallas in Green Bay. He was also the first Packer quarterback that I remember being booed at home when introduced.

Now, I'm not saying that Favre would've necessarily done better tonight, if he had been allowed to return. I don't think he would have done worse.

I still think that the Packers' problems are more systematic than just who plays at quarterback. Tonight's game showed that.

On the bright side, I did get to watch my first game in HDTV, which was kind of neat. Too bad it had to be such a stinker.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Duty Calls

I will be terribly busy for the next couple of weeks with meetings, community organizing, family obligations, and maybe, just maybe, a trip to the northern castle. Needless to say, blogging will be hit or miss for a while.

It is, as they say, a matter of Dooty Calls:

The Battle Of The Budget Has Begun

In 2001, when Milwaukee County was still involved in its own child welfare program, the people running the show, Ralph Hollman and Renee Booker, ran up a deficit of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. This opened the door the state was waiting for to kick the county out of the system completely and to privatize everything that they weren't legally responsible to keep.

A few years later, after Scott Walker, Tosa Ranger, took over the helm of the county, the Department of Aging kept running deficits in the millions of dollars.

Because of these types of occurrences, the County passed an ordinance stating that if any department head found that they were running in the red, they needed to notify the County Board immediately.

I learned this week that George Torres, head of the Department of Public Works, is currently running a $330,000 deficit in transit. He has yet to formally notify the County Board, and they found out from irate workers at their public hearings that have occurred last week and this week. The workers were angry because to make up for his deficit, and again without notifying the County Board, he issued layoff notices to every worker in County Fleet. These are the people that keep the county cars, trucks and snow plows running and on the roads.

I guess Torres and Walker are hoping for a real light snow fall this winter.

It has also been no secret that Walker has been wanting to lay off all the facility (read housekeeping and food service) workers at the Behavioral Health Division (aka mental health complex. He put it in his budget last year, only to have it reinstated by the County Board. This year, including the cuts weren't enough for Walker. He has issued layoff notices to the nearly 80 workers there as well.

The real kicker is that he has offered no proposal on how to feed the patients at BHD, or how to keep the facility clean. Likewise, there has been no plans made regarding who is going to maintain and repair the county vehicles. At least none that he has made public yet.

While I have no admiration for Walker, I cannot believe that he has not thought of something to cover these issues. One possibility is that he is trying to bluff the County Board into a corner regarding the layoffs, and forcing them to once again take the actions he should of, if he had any leadership skills to speak of. Also, this kind of behavior got the county sued by the unions last year, until he dropped the layoffs.

The other possibility is that he has already signed contracts with private agencies. The problem with that is that this would mean that they were no bid contracts, and that would definitely raise concern among many people, and not just people like me who don't care for the way that Walker's been driving the county into the ground anyway.


In another dazzling display of Walker's undeserved arrogance, he has threatened to veto any resolution that the County Board would pass regarding the status of the mental health complex.
The County Board is poised to pass a bill that would authorize building a new facility on the county grounds, across the street from the current facility. Walker has threatened to veto it.

I am still waiting for someone to explain to me why Walker is so tenacious on wanting to move the complex to the old St. Michael's Hospital. There are many areas to be concerned about this push of Walker's:
  • St Mike's building is even older than the building that BHD currently inhabits. Does he think that this building will improve with age?
  • The lease to rent St. Mike's would cost $9 million more than building a new structure. And that is even after a discount from the developer and Wheaton Franciscan. And that is not including the escalator clause in the contract that the paper refuses to report on.
  • The contract is based on a no-bid contract with WEAS Development. How do we know that WEAS is even offering the best deal.
  • What does Walker think would happen to the rent when the lease is up? It's not going to go down. So do taxpayers get hit with whatever they want to charge, or will they get hit with having to buy land and build a new building after all?
  • St. Mike's is far from any medical hospital, whereas the county grounds are close and patients can get faster care.
  • Proximaty to the medical-surgical hospitals would allow BHD to regain its accreditation, and bring in more money from Medicare, instead of losing it.

I am really beginning to seriously question what Walker's motivation is in this whole thing. Did he promise someone something, and is desperate to deliver on it?

Something tells me that Walker won't be telling us the truth about that any time soon.

Team McPalin In Green Bay

So, Team McPalin is coming to Green Bay, Wisconsnin's version of Mecca, today to try to sell their snake oil.

When I first heard this news, it stirred a memory of a videotape I had seen years ago. This tape was like a prescient version of today's event.

The show had McCain's anachronistic qualities, Palin's sense of fashion and her accent, and of course, the Green Bay Packers, in the glorious year of 1996.

Fortunately, I was able to find a couple of clips of the show on YouTube, so for your viewing pleasure:

Connie Gomper & The Pack (Part I-8:11)

Connie Gomper & the Pack (Part II-9:46)

To feel really old, look how young Brett Favre and Mike Holmgren look in these videos.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's That Day Again

Drinking Liberally is being held tonight. It is as usual, being held at the Sugar Maple, located in the fashionable Bay View area, at 411 E. Lincoln Avenue.

The one twist to the event is that it now starts an hour earlier, at 6 p.m. (Apparently, Jason Haas, host of DL, is getting too old to stay out late anymore. But don't tell him I said that.)

Alas and alack, it is highly unlikely that I will be able to make it tonight, but that shouldn't slow you down from going to enjoy some good company, quality libations and join in on a rousing conversation on what a great person I am.

Alberta Darling's New Campaign Strategy

Greg Borowski has a post on All Politics at JSOnline in which he covers a recent forum between Alberta Darling and Sheldon Wasserman. His story remarks on how each candidate stands on various issues:
  • Darling agrees with Wasserman in supporting SeniorCare
  • She also agrees with Wasserman in support expanding FamilyCare (for the record, I disagree with both of them on this subject)
  • They both think that more money should be devoted to hiring counselors to help seniors navigate the bureaucratic red tape regarding benefits
  • Darling echoes Wasserman's support for the ombudsman program to provide advocacy for seniors and their families.

When asked a question on another subject, Darling is quoted as saying, "You're not going to find much disagreement here either."

Darling went so far as to parrot Wassserman when he pointed out that he even voted to override vetoes by Governor Jim Doyle. Of course, Darling had to go back all the way to an override vote of a veto of Tommy Thompson, who has been out of the governor's chair for eight years.

When Wasserman noted that he is maintaining a full-time practice as a medical physician, Darling countered hat she used to be a "citizen leader." When I Googled "citizen leader" the best I could come up with is that it is another term for "community organizer."

And we all know how Republicans feel about community organizers.

Apparently, what Mr. Borowski missed is that Darling revealed her new campaign strategy. She is hoping to retain her Republican seat by running as a Democrat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why Stop There, Fellas?

Yesterday, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Dan Bice reported that the state Department of Transportation squandered $85,000 on slapping their own back for finishing the Marquette Interchange project under budget and ahead of schedule. Some conservative bloggers, including notables James Wigderson and Owen Robinson noted this and decried the waste of taxpayers money on this unnecessary expenditure.

And they are correct in their complaints.

But my question for them is this: Why are you stopping at complaining about the chump change, relatively speaking?

Why are there no complaints about Scott Walker, who wants to waste not only our tax money, but also the future tax money of our children, on the ill-advised proposal to move the mental health complex to the former St. Michael's Hospital? Even with a $9 million cut in price, it is still more expensive than to upgrade the current facility, or to rebuild it on the current site. It would also remove any chance of affiliating with accredited hospitals like Froedtert or the Medical College, thereby losing federal funding. Not to mention that it would delay medical attention to patients that might need it in an emergency. It would also continue to under-utilize space that the county already owns and increases safety concerns, adding to the cause.

If that subject is not sexy enough for them, why aren't the conservatives complaining about another waste of money by the county? The county has spent nearly $1 million on Stuart Piltch, who was supposed to be their star witness in the lawsuit against the Mercer Human Resource Consulting Inc. We already know that Piltch's credibility had been called into question and has since dropped out as their star witness, leaving the county to scramble, and spend more money, to preserve their case.

Maybe a conservative wasting a million dollars isn't a big deal with them. So how about Governor Sarah Palin, who wants to spend $2 million to study crab sex, $3.2 million on seal genetics, and another half a million on how to catch a fish? And that is just the drop in the bucket. Palin has requested a total of $453 million in earmarks. No, they don't even mention it. Instead they sing their praises of her, because of her "high level of experience." Yeah, um, right. Whatever.

And not once do they complain about the mother of all government waste, that not only has wasted more than a half a trillion dollars, but have cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Yup, I'm talking about the unjust Iraq War. Instead of arguing against this mind-boggling waste of their taxpayer dollar, they are supporting the guy that wants to keep it going for decades.

I guess it's just a matter of perspective and priorities for them. Too bad theirs is so skewed.

Obama Speaks Out

Obama gave a speech yesterday in Grand Junction, CO. I have to agree with Helen Wheels, the best line from this clip is:

"If you believe that....I've got a bridge to sell you up in Alaska"

Pundit Nation also highlights another keen observation from the same speech, this on one the economy:
It’s not that I think John McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of most Americans. I just think doesn’t know. He doesn’t get what’s happening between the mountain in Sedona where he lives and the corridors of Washington where he works. Why else would he say that we’ve made great progress economically under George Bush? Why else would he say that the economy isn’t something he understands as well as he should? Why else would he say, today, of all days - just a few hours ago - that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong?

Senator - what economy are you talking about?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Of Hurricane Ike and Ruined Birthdays

Tomorrow is my wife's birthday. My birthday was last month, and our anniversary is next month. Due to the proximity of all of these prestigious dates, and money being tight and getting every tighter, we had long ago decided to buy one gift for the both of us, instead of spending more money on many separate gifts.

This year, we agreed on a new HDTV and table for it.

To give her a little bit of a surprise, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning pulling out the old TV and entertainment center and building and setting up the new TV and stand. When she got up and saw all the work had been done, the look on her face made the lack of sleep worth it.

Then Hurricane Ike ruined her birthday despite my best efforts.

The main plant of the company she works for is based in Houston, which of course was pulverized by Hurricane Ike. Due to the evacuation and the fact that they are still without electricity, and food and water being scarce, the main plant was and is still closed down.

My wife was told this morning that her plant will close down at the end of the week, and she will be laid off indefinitely, until the main plant is up and running and can start sending things up her again. She said that the amount of work that will be available locally isn't enough to pay to keep her plant open.

Good thing I was already planning on making her favorite dinner tomorrow anyway.

RIP Richard Wright

Richard Wright, from the band Pink Floyd, died today at the young age of 65 years.

Wish You Were Here:

The Pope Endorses Obama

Pope Benedict XVI:
LOURDES, France (AP) — People must cling to hope even in dire circumstances like injustice and torture, Pope Benedict XVI told the faithful at Sunday Mass in Lourdes, which has become a shrine for desperate causes and hope against all odds.

"The power of love is stronger than the evil which threatens us," Benedict told at least 100,000 pilgrims gathered for Mass on a rain-soaked field.

Story here: Pope urges pilgrims at Lourdes to cling to hope

Sunday, September 14, 2008

AD/HD Awareness Week

Just the day before AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) Week, Owen Robinson puts up a post complaining about a kid, who allegedly has ADD, using it as an excuse for hitting another kid. In the comments, Dad29, aka Mr. Sensitive, among other cavemen, puts up another example of his cluelessness to mental health issues.

AD/HD is a very real disease that affects not only children, but adults as well:
Many adults don't realize that they have ADHD until their children are diagnosed. Then they begin to notice their own symptoms. Adults with ADHD may find it hard to focus, organize, and finish tasks. They often forget things. But they also often are very creative and curious. They love to ask questions and keep learning. Some adults with ADHD learn to manage their lives and find careers that let them use those strengths.

But many adults have trouble at home and work. As a group, adults with ADHD have higher divorce rates. They also are more likely to smoke and have more substance abuse problems than adults without ADHD. Fewer adults with ADHD enter college, and fewer graduate. Treatment with medicine, counseling, and behavior therapy can help adults with ADHD.
For Owen, dad, or anyone else to be so dismissive of people with a mental health issue just ticks me off to no end. I don't know if it's a sign of their ignorance of the issues these people face on a day to day basis, or if it is a sign of their callousness and lack of insight. I hope it is the former, since that is easier to counter. If it is that they just don't give a damn, well, that says something about them.

For more information about AD/HD, I would refer the gentle reader to the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Attention Deficit Disorder Association, or WebMD.

By Hook Or By Crook

Wisconsin Attorney General is hoping that McCain gets elected in November. After all, isn't that why he is the co-chair of McCain's campaign committee. He is also apparently counting on McCain staying the course and echoing Bush in awarding U.S. Attorney positions to the party faithful, rather than to the competent.

Why else would he file a blatantly partisan lawsuit to disenfranchise anyone who has registered or moved since January 1, 2006? The right side keeps falling over themselves trying to state that he is simply "enforcing the law." The problem with their argument is that Van Hollen apparently doesn't know what the law is exactly:
Aides to Van Hollen have said his suit will not disenfranchise voters, because in a worst-case scenario a voter can cast a provisional ballot that would be counted later when the voter provides proof of residence. But a Government Accountability Board spokesman said Friday that only a limited number of voters have that option.

Department of Justice officials "sound a little foggy on who is entitled to cast a provisional ballot," said board spokesman Kyle Richmond.

People can cast provisional ballots in only two scenarios, he said. Those who register to vote for the first time by mail without providing proof of residence can cast provisional ballots if they don't have proof of residence with them when they show up to vote. Also allowed to cast provisional ballots are voters who have Wisconsin driver's licenses but cannot provide the license number when they register at the polls.

Others - such as those who want to register at the polls but do not have proof of residence or someone with them who can vouch for their address - cannot cast provisional ballots, according to the board.

Van Hollen aide Kevin St. John said he stood by comments that he and Deputy Attorney General Ray Taffora made earlier that voters who failed the database checks were adequately protected by provisional ballots.

Richmond also questioned claims earlier this week by Department of Justice officials who said the suit was intended to make sure truly ineligible voters - such as dead people and felons serving their sentences - don't cast ballots.
It is clear to anyone but the most partisan right wing hack that Van Hollen is trying to disenfranchise the poor, who are often transient, and young college students that have registered for their first election. Both of these demographics traditionally vote Democratic more often that Republican. MAL Contends and Michael Mathias have more on Van Hollen's crass handling of the issue.

Van Hollen's ham-fisted attempt at tampering with the election isn't the only way Team McPalin is trying to steal Wisconsin's election. We also have the McPalin camp sending out absentee ballots with incorrect information, which would, of course, eliminate the votes of anyone who uses them. The ever-talented Emily Mills points out that this isn't isolated to Wisconsin, but appears to be a national wide attempt by McCain and his handlers to steal the election.

Wisconsin residents are not alone with have their elections integrity threatened either.

Ohio has a problem with voting machines that have programming errors that "drop" votes. There also appears to be a problem with elections officials leaving the machines in a secure place. They would rather take them home with them.

California has voting machines that are infected with a virus that can cause votes to change votes, even when a paper trail is available.

Michigan has a Republican-backing foreclosure specialist, which is not only allowing the Republicans to use their office as their headquarters, but are supplying the Repubs with a list of people who have had their houses foreclosed on, in an effort to eliminate people that might be more than a little upset about the Republican economic policies.

Virginia is also threatening college students. If the kids dare to vote at school, they risk losing their scholarships and their tax dependency status.

The most ironic part of all of these stories of voter suppression would be funny, if the subject matter weren't so awfully serious and outrageous. It comes from Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Republican Party. As they are threatening to eliminate up to one million votes in Wisconsin alone, if lists don't match up exactly, he defends their defrauding the absentee ballot system with this line:
Mark Jefferson, executive director of the state Republican Party, denied there was any intent to prevent people from voting. The wrong absentee ballot applications were the result of incorrect information in databases used for the mailing, he said.

"You do the best with the lists you have, and no list is perfect," Jefferson said.

I would call that the height of hypocrisy, but I guess we're not supposed to use that word anymore.

Walker Gets One Thing Right

From the All Politics Blog:
He won't cut funding for the Kosciuszko and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community centers in his 2009 budget, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker said today.

That makes the second time in two years that the county Parks and Recreation Department has proposed cutting the popular centers but Walker resisted the move. Last year, Walker said he'd keep funding the centers after community groups complained.

This year Walker signaled his intention days before budget hearings by the County Board's Finance and Audit Committee were to be held at the Kosciuszko center at 2201 S. 7th St. and the King center at 1531 W. Vliet St.

Of course, they wouldn't have been on the chopping block in the first place if Walker wasn't blinded by his obsession to be governor.

Here's hoping that he makes other worthwhile decisions, but I won't be holding my breath. Walker is due to unveil his budget on September 25th.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


A run at some of the lies told by Team McPalin:

Tip of the crown to Sam Sarver and Jay Bullock

Palin's Professional and Personnel Problems Percolate

Camp McPalin has been keeping their VP pick Sarah Palin on a very short leash. Given how poorly she did in her one and only interview, I can understand why. With all the secrecy going on, it's no wonder that some people are already calling her Dick Cheney with lipstick.

But no matter how much McCain's marauders try to hush up any and all information about Palin, there is a political version of Hurricane Ike headed their way. And almost all of it is boiling up regarding Troopergate.

We already know that Troopergate involves Palin firing the state's top cop, Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, for not firing her ex-brother-in-law, Michael Wooten. But everyday, more and more information about Palin's pattern of behavior and other issues surrounding Troopergate are emerging.

As mayor of Wasilla, Palin had a rough start. She fired the police chief because he was giving her "mean looks." She asked twice about banning books. When the librarian told her no, she fired her, which caused an uprising among the citizens. She also fired the head of the museum, which prompted two other department heads to quit. She tried to make museum employees decide which one of them should be fired. She also tried to illegally replace two members of the town council. All of these abuses of power started rumblings of a recall.

As she tried to make a name for herself as a reformer, she showed herself to be no better. From Bloomberg.com:
The moment that crystallized her image as a reformer came when she turned in state Republican chairman Randy Ruedrich after discovering he was using his state e-mail account to conduct party business.

Palin and Ruedrich were serving together as commissioners on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a state regulatory agency, at the time. Ruedrich resigned from the commission in November 2003, and was later fined $12,000, according to a 2004 article in the Anchorage Daily News.

In 2006, Palin found herself asking forgiveness for a similar offense from her past, according to a July 28, 2006, article in the Anchorage Daily News. She had sent campaign e- mails from her Wasilla mayor's office in 2002, when she made an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor.

``For any mistakes like that (were) made, I apologize,'' Palin said of the e-mail controversy in July 2006, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

As governor, Palin's pattern of abusing her power continued. When Monegan refused to fire Wooten, who already had been investigated and punished, she fired Monegan. Then the big cover ups and distortions started. First, she tries to say Monegan wasn't fired, but quit. But a TV station in Alaska caught her up in her lies when she states that she fired Monegan for something that she praised him for just a week before. Interestingly enough, the person Palin appointed to replace Monegan had to step down two weeks later due to an old sexual harassment charge.

Palin kept up her personal vendetta against Wooten despite being warned by a judge to drop the issue. More recently, an ethics adviser warned Palin that she should admit her mistakes and move on, before it blew up on her. She obviously did not listen to either of these people.

The Alaskan State Legislature has now issued subpoenas for thirteen people, including Todd Palin, to investigate whether Palin has abused her power of office.

And why Todd? Well, Todd, aka the First Dude, has a history of being overly involved in the affairs of the State, even though he holds no official role or capacity to be so involved. From the New York Times:
While that suggestion goes beyond the image presented of Mr. Palin during the Republican convention as a blue-collar family man and sportsman, it echoes a widely held understanding among lawmakers, state employees and lobbyists about Mr. Palin’s heavy engagement in state government.

In the small circle of advisers close to the governor, these people say, Mr. Palin is among the closest, and he plays an unpaid but central role in many aspects of the administration of Ms. Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president.

Mr. Palin’s involvement in the governor’s office has prompted an irreverent quip by some capital staff members when decisions are to be made that might affect the governor: “What would Todd do?”

Mr. Palin has encouraged lawmakers to support his wife’s agenda, helped her review budget items and polish speeches, surprised some lawmakers by sitting in on meetings. and received copies of top administration staff e-mail messages.

Mr. Palin also has stepped into personnel issues that have personal relevance, most notably his contact with Walt Monegan, then the public safety commissioner, to express concern about the continued employment of a state trooper who had gone through a bitter divorce and custody battle with the governor’s sister. Mr. Monegan was later fired, and it is that firing that prompted the vote Friday on the subpoena.

On a side note, it is Todd's level of involvement is even more disturbing when one takes in consideration that he was a long standing member of the Alaska Independence Party, which advocates secession from the United States. He even got his wife, Sarah to attend two conventions of the AIP. One can only wonder what other strange and inappropriate things the Palins were into.

Mike Mathias, of Pundit Nation, has more on Palin and her history of cronyism and personal vendettas.

The Mighty Brawler also has more cronyism and how Palin not only bullies underlings, but also citizen bloggers.

Word Up

For several days this past week, the right has tried to stir up a faux controversy about Obama's use of an everyday phrase, "lipstick on a pig," and have tried to portray it as a sexist comment by Obama against moose-hunter, Bridge-to-nowhere builder, and jet-seller Sarah Pallin. They fail to recognize that the head of their presidential ticket, John McCain, used the same expression about Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan. Somehow, this never raised a stink with them. Go figure.

Some of the more notable locals that have fed into the histrionics is MisTruth Squad gang leader Margaret Farrow, and her ever-faithful sidekick, Alberta "Golf Pro" Darling.

Darling's comments are exceptionally classic of the typical hysteria that the right has been making:
"As a mother and working woman, I am offended by the sexist remarks made by Barack Obama comparing Governor Sarah Palin to a pig wearing lipstick. The nation was energized by the nomination of Sarah Palin, a mother of five who's risen to the level of Governor and is poised to become America's first female Vice President. It's shameful that Obama and the Democrat smear machine would destroy and belittle a qualified woman so they can win an election, while sacrificing decades of achievements of working women in America."

Heh. I wonder when she started working. Maybe she's carrying her own golf bag these days. To add to the frivolity of it, Darling further added this classic:
"Right now we think Sarah owns the name of lipstick."

The alleged offense that Darling feels (Is there ever a time in which she is not being allegedly offended?) is based entirely on a comment that was taken out of context. Obama's speech went like this:
"We've been talking about change when we were up in the polls and when we were down in the polls," Senator Obama told a rally in Virginia as surveys suggested Senator McCain and Mrs Palin have overhauled his lead for the election to be held on November 5 (Australian time).

"The other side, suddenly, they're saying 'we're for change too'. Now think about it, these are the same folks that have been in charge for the last eight years.

"You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap up an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change. It's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough," he said to instant applause.

Ironically, it is the same members on the right that cry sexism on a comment out of context, that also cry sexism, claiming a comment by Palin was taken out of context, when in reality, it wasn't.

The way I reckon it, if Palin "owns" the word lipstick, and Obama owns the word "change," then Darling and her sort can be the proud owners of the word "hypocrisy."

Tip of the crown to Our Blue Wisconsin, who owns the word "juxtaposition."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Always Remember, Never Forget

Shrill Here, Shrill Now

So much for the right wing's talking point of the "desperate need" to drill in off-shore sites or in ANWR. Despite never explaining why, if it was so important to start a process that would take years and might, only might, save seven cents on a gallon of gas, the Republicans never passed those laws in all the years they were in control, we find that the law of supply and demand really wasn't the cause for high oil prices.

An independent study found that the price of oil was artificially inflated by speculators:
Speculation by large investors - and not supply and demand for oil - were a primary reason for the surge in oil prices during the first half of the year and the more recent price declines, an independent study concluded Wednesday.

The report by Masters Capital Management said investors poured $60 billion into oil futures markets during the first five months of the year as oil prices soared from $95 a barrel in January to $145 a barrel by July.

Since then, these investors have withdrawn $39 billion from those markets as prices have retreated dramatically, the report said. Oil traded at about $102 a barrel Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"We have clear evidence the fund flow pushed prices up and the fund flow pushed prices down," said Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management, calling the amount of money moving into oil futures markets by large institutional investors in the early part of the year "way off the scale."

Masters said its analysis shows investors "began a massive stampede for the exits" on July 15 and that this caused the price decline.

"These large financial players have become the primary source of the dramatic and damaging volatility seen in oil prices," concluded the report.

Meanwhile, in a related story, that adds a whole new definition to the right's favorite catchphrase of "Drill Here. Drill Now":
Government officials in charge of collecting billions of dollars worth of royalties from oil and gas companies accepted gifts, steered contracts to favored clients and engaged in drug use and illicit sex with employees of the energy firms, federal investigators reported yesterday.

Investigators from the Interior Department's inspector general's office said more than a dozen employees, including the former director of the oil royalty program, took meals, ski trips, sports tickets and golf outings from industry representatives. The report alleges that the former director, Gregory W. Smith, also netted more than $30,000 from improper outside work.


The royalty-in-kind program, based near Denver, allows energy companies to pay the government in oil and gas, rather than cash, for the privilege of drilling on government land. It has been the subject of multiple investigations since 2006 by the Interior Department's secretary, its inspector general, the Justice Department and Congress for alleged mismanagement and conflicts of interest.

In the report released yesterday, investigators said they "discovered a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity" in which employees accepted gratuities "with prodigious frequency." The report cited one e-mail from a Shell Pipeline representative asking a woman in the royalty office to attend "tailgating festivities" at a Houston Texans football game: "You're invited . . . have you and the girls meet at my place at 6am for bubble baths and final prep. Just kidding."

Besides Shell, the energy company employees mentioned in the report worked for Chevron, Hess and Gary-Williams Energy. The social outings detailed in the report included alcohol-, cocaine- and marijuana-filled parties where certain employees of the Minerals Management Service were nicknamed the "MMS Chicks" by the energy employees. The companies paid for federal workers to attend football and baseball games, PGA Tour events, Colorado ski trips, paintball outings and "treasure hunts," investigators found.

Perhaps, once we get the Grand Oil Party out of the White House, and prevent them from putting their subsidiaries McCain and Palin from continuing these frat house antics, we will finally see real relief from the gouging at the pumps and power companies.

Technical Difficulties

I had a bit of a problem with the computer this evening. My new anti-BS protection software melted the hard drive when I went to McCain's website. I think I fixed the problem, and you should be able to enjoy my usual rants and ravings words of wit and wisdom later today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Palin: Rape Victims Pay Here

Oh, how the Republicans love to tout Sarah Palin as just a common woman, an everyday woman, and a conservative feminist. How they love to try to portray as the October surprise come early, pulling all of the Hillary supporters away from the Democrats.

Yeah, right.

Although I am sure there are a number of women that are biting into the Palin thing, most are not.

I don't doubt that team McPalin will be losing even more when they learn what Palin's real idea of compassionate conservative feminism comes from. When the then-governor of Alaska, Tony Knowles, a Democrat, signed a bill that would prevent rape victims from having to pay for the forensic kits, Palin's police chief express their displeasure. From the Frontiersman:
While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.

Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon does not agree with the new legislation, saying the law will require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams.

In the past we've charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just don't want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer, Fannon said.

According to Fannon, the new law will cost the Wasilla Police Department approximately $5,000 to $14,000 a year to collect evidence for sexual assault cases.

Ultimately it is the criminal who should bear the burden of the added costs, Fannon said. The forensic exam is just one part of the equation. I'd like to see the courts make these people pay restitution for these things, Fannon said.

Fannon said he intends to include the cost of exams required to collect evidence in a restitution request as a part of a criminals sentencing.

Obviously, under Palin's regime, if you're a victim of a crime, even one as abhorrent as rape, you darn well better be able to pay for the investigation. And if you're poor, and can't afford the kit, well, I guess you just get to get re-victimized.

Real classy lady, that Palin.

But how does Palin explain this position. Who knows? She too scared to talk to the media, or even take questions from the public. Or maybe it's not fear. Maybe she feels that the people doesn't need to know, just bow down and accept her decrees (emphasis mine):

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said they had taken the unusual step of keeping their vice presidential choice from the press, despite the widespread curiosity to find out anything about her until they showed some "deference" toward her.

"Until at which point in time we feel like the news media is going to treat her with some respect and deference," Davis told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, "I think it would be foolhardy to put her out in that environment."

Mirriam-Webster defines deference as "respect and esteem due a superior or an elder; also : affected or ingratiating regard for another's wishes"

And here I thought the liberals were supposed to be the elitists. I guess that this is a job for the Anti-Truth Squad.

Palin Truth? Squads

When I heard the news that there were going to Palin Truth Squads roaming the country, I got excited. I thought to myself, "At last, an organized group to go after all the lies told by McCain and Palin. Lies like the jet lie, the tax lie, the bridge lie, the patriotism lie, and all the other lies told by this group of miscreants."

Unfortunately, I learned shortly thereafter, how terribly wrong I was.

They were just another group of selective outrage professionals.

Oh, well, there is still hope.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


All done by David Horsey:

MJS Goes For Change, McCain Style

Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel announced that they are making even more changes at the paper. This is in continuation of changes made earlier this year when they cut many of their better reporters, columnists and other staff members. Unfortunately for us, it is not the postive kind of change that Barack Obama promises. It's more of the same as before, but only worse, kind of change that McCain keeps trying to tout.

As Gretchen Schuldt points out, they are cutting corners and cheapening the paper even further, and trying to spin it into some sort of pap that even the most ravenous beast would snub:

JS readers likely are well aware of the huge turmoil in the newspaper industry. It’s OK to tell us the truth — cutting suburban editions saves money and the paper really, really needs to do that to survive. It’s also OK to tell us that it will indeed affect what we read. Trying to cram more suburban news into a single local edition obviously will affect coverage and content — the change will not, as Koetting contends, be “for many of you…almost imperceptible.”

That’s the kind of thing that should only be in the funny pages.

I still get the hard copy of the paper. I enjoy reading the news, reading the funnies and doing the puzzle games as I eat my breakfast and have my morning pot of coffee. Today, even with all the expanded coverage of last night's Packer game, I still finished the paper 20 minutes faster than normal.

The MJS has gut the paper even further, lumping all the local news into one section. That is OK to an extent, but that means some smaller stories that might be pertinent to any given community might not be covered, as that it may not be as important to the editors than another story from another community. And even on slow news days, I don't really want to read about Aunt Martha from West Bend and her prize winning apple preserve recipe.

Not only are they cutting their news coverage, they are cutting their special sections. The Food section will be blended into the Cue. The Health section got cut and replaced by a monthly insert, that tells people nothing and is mostly advertisements. They'll be cutting back on the editorial section at least two days a week, and have dropped Doonesbury and Mallard Fillmore. (OK, I'll admit I'm glad the dumb duck is gone.)

They have also cut back on the Cue section, dropping three comic strips: Non Sequitur, The Flying McCoys and For Better or For Worse. The last one is due to the artist retiring and is understandable. What is not understandable is they drop two of the funnier cartoons, but keep the The Family Circus.

Not only is the quantity of the paper being diminished, but their conservative spin continues to be more and more obvious. Take their political coverage for example. While the McCain/Palin visit to already conservative Cedarburg was front page and took up a large share of the paper, Biden's visit in Green Bay gets buried inside, by the death notices. I really don't understand how anyone with an IQ higher than a fetid mouse turd can believe that the media is liberal.

And if all that wasn't enough to curdle the milk in your cereal bowl, they are also threatening their online site.

I've said it before, and it is even more true now. This paper isn't even worth the paper it's printed on. As I mentioned earlier, I still get their hard copy every morning. I know for a fact that I will not be renewing my subscription when it expires. I will have to check my records, and if the renewal date is to far off, I will cancel it now, and get a refund. There's no sense in throwing good money after bad.

Now, please excuse me, but I have to go if I can find a reliable, unbiased source for local news.

Don't Forget To Vote

There's primary elections going on today. Please don't forget to vote.

If you don't exercise your rights, the right might try to take it away.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Best Wishes For Wendy Wasserman

All Politics is reporting on a press release issued from Sheldon Wasserman yesterday:
"In recent days, my office has received inquiries about my wife's health. I am grateful for the concern and am saddened to report that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. With the love and support of family and friends, I am confident that she will join the ranks of the other brave women who have beaten this terrible disease.

"On behalf of my wife and our family, I want to thank all those who have offered to keep us in their thoughts and prayers. They will be a source of strength and comfort for us as we face this challenge together."

I wish the best to Wendy, and hope for a speedy and complete recovery from that horrible disease.

Now, This Is Funny!

Swiped from No Runny Eggs, who swiped it from Ol' Broad:

Real McCain of Genius

I don't know what cracks me up more: That it is a good way to show just how out of touch McCain is, or how it mocks those annoying Miller commercials. Either way, it is well done.

No Thanks, I'll Stay On The Ground

Let me start off with saying that yes, I was pleasantly surprised by the results of tonight's game.

Aaron Rodgers didn't do any glaring errors.

His stats are 18 for 22, 81.8 % completion rate, 178 yds for 1 TD and O Interceptions.

Compare that to Farvre's record from yesterday:

15 for 22, 68.2%, 2 TDs and O Ints.

Farve's QB rating yesterday was 125.9. Bill Michaels on TMJ radio is reporting that Rodgers is 115.53.

Pretty comparable, right. That is what my friends would have me believe anyway.

What they seem to forget is that there were two times they were at the goal line and had a hard time punching it home. The first time they would have had to settle for a field goal if the Vikes didn't continuously commit errors, giving the Pack another set of chances. The second time, Rodgers did a QB sneak (how many times do they think they will get to get away with that before opposing teams take advantage?).

Also, it should be noted that most of Rodgers passes were safe, short passes, and only aired it out once or twice. One was for a TD, which was called back on an offensive penalty.

And if you thought that Thompson was confident of his choice, would someone explain two things to me:
  1. Why are the Packers censuring signs that fans want to bring in the stadium?
  2. Why did Ted "the Weasel" Thompson have his defense introduced at the beginning of the game, instead of the offense?

But seeing that there is still fifteen games to play, I am not ready to jump on that wagon. Not yet anyway. One game does not a season make.

But I will admit to hoping to have many more pleasant surprises.

But for now, I'll keep my feet on the ground, thanks all the same.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mark Your Calendars

All Politics is reporting the schedule for three upcoming public hearings regarding the county budget:
The budget hearings will be Sept. 10 at Franklin City Hall, 9229 W. Loomis Road; Sept. 16 at Kosciuszko Community Center, 2201 [S.] Seventh St.; and Sept. 18 at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, 1531 W. Vliet St. All hearings run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This is the opportunity for the citizens to make their opinions heard before the County Board. County Executive Scott Walker already held his non-listening sessions and doesn't give a fig about what the people wants. He is only interested in what he thinks would help him as he gears up for another run for governor.

The budget battle will be fought the same way it has for the past six years. At the County Board level. You know the County Board. They're the people that have had to fix all of his previous budget proposals. They're the ones that gave the county a $7 million surplus.

I encourage everyone to attend, and let the board know that Walker's political interests aren't in the best interest of the county, and that they need to preserve the vital services the county provides, like burying the indigent, public transportation, and support for the disabled, the elderly and the poor.

Cross posted at folkbum's, so that more than my 2.3 readers are made aware.

Fear & Smear: The Alberta Darling Edition

It's been a long standing tradition in politics for a candidate to try to cast his or her opponent in a bad light. Usually these attacks consists of the usual, worn out dog and pony shows of "So and so is going to raise your taxes so you'll lose your home" or "Such and such wants to give all our money to Big Whatever, and old people will be eating cat food."

In the past several elections cycles, this habit has become increasingly vulgar. I thought it had reached its crescendo when Bush and Rove went after John Kerry with the one-two punch of swiftboating and the 9/11 mantra.

This year is shaping to make that look like romantic cooing. Racist and sexist comments have been flying back and forth for almost two years now, and will only escalate as we get closer to November.

This kind of crap is continuing on the local level as well.

Recently, Alberta Darling and Sheldon Wasserman appeared on Up Front with Mike Gousha. JSOnline's All Politics blog was kind enough to provide links for the show.

In the first segment, Wasserman drives home that Darling has been failing to support her own district's education system. He pointed out that she only gets 11 cents back from every dollar taxpayers put into the state's education fund.

In the second segment, Darling brings up the false allegation about Wasserman spreading inappropriate things about her health, and whether it would be a factor in the campaign. She even went as far as accusing Wasserman himself of being the author of that statement. When he confronted her, she had no proof, except that it was her "belief" that he was behind it all. You knew she was lying through her teeth when she started using Charlie Sykes as a reference.

Wasserman, rightfully upset, confronted her, asked for proof, and reminded her that he had actually publicly condemned the rumor and anyone who would spread it.

For the record, I don't believe that Darling is too sick to do her own canvassing. I think she would rather save her energy for the golf course.

The All Politics blog also reported that she issued a press release that she would "protect" the citizenry from voter fraud by requiring Voter ID:
"Voter fraud could have sweeping implications for state and national elections, where in some states voter drives have added hundreds of thousands of 'new' voters to the voter rolls," Darling said in a statement. "People want to know that their vote means something, and not be cancelled out by groups of people here to commit voter fraud."

I can't quite understand how new voters are a bad thing, but then again, I'm not the one trying to maintain the status quo. I am waiting for her to offer proof of voter fraud. I won't hold my breath though. After all, the system is working the way it is supposed to. And I really would be surprised if she would actually try to correct the area where most voter fraud does occur, absentee balloting.

She is just cranky because now that she has a real race going on, she can't play as much golf.

What A Game!

Didja see the game today? Brett Favre was already in midseason form. His stats for the day are 15 completions out of 22 attempts for a 68.2% completion rate. He threw two touchdowns and no interceptions.

The first touchdown pass was a 56 yard bomb down the line that caught the Dolphins flat-footed.

The second touchdown pass was on a 3rd and 13 when he lobbed a beaut 22 yards. It was great to see him having so much fun again.

What sucked was he was wearing a Jets uniform. Aaron Rodgers gets his trial tomorrow night. Unfortunately, due to work and family obligations, I won't get to watch much of the game. But I don't think Ted Thompson will be watching much either. He'll be studying this site real hard, especially if Rodgers goes down hurt, or just plays crappy.

And as always:

What Are McCain and Palin Afraid Of?

I noted last week that John McCain ducked out of appearing on the Larry King show because he was having a hissy fit about one of his flaks getting toasted by Campbell Brown.

Today, a day when all the candidates usually hit the Sunday talk show circuit, there was one name suspiciously absent from any of them--Sarah Palin.

NBC Evening news reported tonight that Camp McShame has also announced that it will be a while yet until they let Palin make solo appearances. That would indicate that they either have no confidence in Palin and are afraid she will put her foot in her mouth, or that she has topics that they are desperately trying to keep her from answering some embarrassing questions about her sordid past and all the lies that she has told in the short time that she has been under the nation's attention.

Either way, it is obvious that Palin was indeed a choice of desperation, and that McCain did not do a good job at vetting her before picking her as his running mate. It also raises the question that if he is not able to run his own campaign with an ounce of competency, how is anyone supposed to trust him to run the country?