6.17.2005

500 Miles per Gallon of Petroleum Gas

We don't import electricity. We generate all of our needs with coal, hydropower, nuclear power and natural gas. Toyota's hybrid cars, like the Prius, run on both gasoline and electricity that is generated by braking and then stored in a small battery. But, says Luft, if you had a hybrid that you could plug in at night, the battery could store up 20 miles of driving per day. So your first 20 miles would be covered by the battery. The gasoline would only kick in after that. Since 50 percent of Americans do not drive more than 20 miles a day, the battery power would cover all their driving. Even if they drove more than that, combining the battery power and the gasoline could give them 100 miles per gallon of gasoline used, Luft notes.

Right now Toyota does not sell plug-in hybrids. Some enthusiasts, though, are using kits to convert their hybrids to plug-ins, but that adds several thousand dollars - and you lose your Toyota warranty. Imagine, though, if the government encouraged, through tax policy and other incentives, every automaker to offer plug-in hybrids? We would quickly move down the innovation curve and end up with better and cheaper plug-ins for all.

Then add to that flexible-fuel cars, which have a special chip and fuel line that enable them to burn alcohol (ethanol or methanol), gasoline or any mixture of the two. Some four million U.S. cars already come equipped this way, including from G.M. It costs only about $100 a car to make it flex-fuel ready. Brazil hopes to have all its new cars flex-fuel ready by 2008. As Luft notes, if you combined a plug-in hybrid system with a flex-fuel system that burns 80 percent alcohol and 20 percent gasoline, you could end up stretching each gallon of gasoline up to 500 miles.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/17/opinion/17friedman.html?th&emc=th

Is this how we want WI first in the nation...

The Assembly vote made Wisconsin the first state to seriously consider banning emergency contraception on college campuses, said Elizabeth Nash, who tracks state legislation at the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a think tank that supports abortion rights. Bills in Virginia have died in the past two years.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=5&u=/ap/20050617/ap_on_he_me/contraception_ban

More:

The legislation would prohibit University of Wisconsin System health centers from advertising, prescribing or dispensing emergency contraception — drugs that can block a pregnancy in the days after sex. The state university system has 161,000 students on 26 campuses.

"Are we going to change the lifestyle of every UW student? No," LeMahieu said. "But we can tell the university that you are not going to condone it, you are not going to participate in it, and you are not going to use our tax dollars to do it."

(UW students can get the drug at discount rates from campus pharmacies funded by student fees.)

Democrats said the bill would deny rape victims a chance to stop pregnancies and predicted it would lead to more unwanted pregnancies and surgical abortions.

Democratic Rep. Marlin Schneider called the measure "a direct frontal assault on the right to privacy, on the right of free speech, on the right of a free press."

"Apparently some in this body want to take us back to the time when the dispensing of contraception was a criminal act," Schneider said.

The morning-after pill, a heavy dosage of hormonal birth control, can work to prevent a pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex by preventing ovulation or fertilization.

LeMahieu said the bill would not affect traditional birth control pills. Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager said the bill was worded too vaguely to know for sure.

The drug, which requires a prescription, was approved as a contraceptive in 1998

T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia) on Baghdad Occupation (1920)...

Sounds very familiar...

"[We] have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. [We] have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiqu├ęs are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows... Our unfortunate troops,... under hard conditions of climate and supply, are policing an immense area, paying dearly every day in lives for the willfully wrong policy of the civil administration in Baghdad."

Read it all here:

http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/wwi/1918p/mesopo.html

Those who fail to learn from the past are forced to repeat it.....

Buyer's Remorse????

Bush & Republican Congress down in almost everything.....

Americans are in a season of political discontent, giving Mr. Bush one of the lowest approval ratings of his presidency and even lower marks to Congress, according to the New York Times/CBS News Poll.

Forty-two percent of the people responding to the poll said they approved of the way Mr. Bush was handling his job, a marked decline from his 51 percent rating after of the November election,

Congress fared even worse in the survey, with the approval of just 33 percent of the respondents, and 19 percent saying Congress shared their priorities.

Two-thirds said they were uneasy about Mr. Bush's ability to make sound decisions on Social Security.

Only 25 percent said they approved of the way Mr. Bush was handling Social Security

45 percent said the more they heard about the Bush plan, the less they liked it.

Mr. Bush's approval rating is below the historical pattern for June in the first year of a second term: President Clinton's stood at 60 percent and President Reagan's at 59 percent.

51 percent said they thought the United States should have stayed out of Iraq, while 45 percent said military action was the right thing to do

Moreover, only 37 percent said they approved of Mr. Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq, down from 45 percent in February.

A strong majority of Americans now say the effort by the United States to bring stability and order to Iraq is going badly - 60 percent, up from 47 percent in February.

only 33 percent said they thought the country was on the right track, while 61 percent said it had gone off in the wrong direction

When asked an open-ended question about the most important problems facing the nation, Americans cited the economy and jobs, war and terrorism at the top of the list. Social Security, which has consumed an enormous amount of political energy this spring, did not make the top six, suggesting voters have a different view of political priorities than the Republican-controlled Congress and the White House.

In February, 54 percent of Republicans said they approved of the way Congress was doing its job; in the most recent poll, that had dropped to 40 percent.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/17/politics/17poll.html?hp&ex=1118980800&en=55e86c2c76bc4f4f&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Keep up the good work - 2006 is coming!

Right-Wing Christian Group Plans Protest of Soldier's Funeral

This is from the opinion page of the Wausau Daily Herald:

Don't offer fertile ground for hatred

First you're baffled. Then you're almost speechless. Next, you're outraged. And if you make it past the outrage, you might end up being sad and maybe even saying a prayer for them.

That's the typical reaction when one reads about the Rev. Fred Phelps and members of his Westboro Baptist Church. The Topeka, Kan., group that protested the 2003 Wausau performance of a play about the death of a gay man is returning to central Wisconsin.

Last time they visited, the sang "God hates America, the faggots' home," to the tune of "God Bless America," while protesting outside a theater. This time, they plan to picket the Antigo church where Marine Corps Lance Cpl. John J. Mattek Jr.'s funeral service will be held Monday.

Their logic is that soldiers who die in Iraq are being taken by God in punishment for American tolerance of homosexuality.

If you're baffled, speechless and outraged, you're not alone.

Phelps and his group preach hate, not hope. They seek to divide, not unite. Rather than filling souls with the love of God, their words harden hearts.

And you know what? The one thing they crave, more than salvation or forgiveness or redemption, is notoriety. Like a self-absorbed 2-year-old throwing a tantrum, they thrive on attention.

So phooey on them. Forget them. Ignore them. Don't give them what they want. Don't allow hate to poison you, too.

Let them shame themselves by sullying the memorial of a proud and honorable man who gave his life in support of the Constitution - the very Constitution that guarantees Westboro the right to protest.

And let their repugnant words fall upon a silent and empty Antigo street.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. - Psalm 23.

Kudos to the Daily-Herald for coming up with the best way to address these people.

6.16.2005

Today in History - 1933

The New Deal Begins!

Expressing hope that unemployment would be decreased by at least 1,000,000 men by Oct. 1, President Roosevelt took an optimistic view of the industrial situation in a long statement on the Industrial Recovery Act. He called upon industry to cooperate by hiring more men to do existing work, at shortened working hours and a living wage.

...

President Roosevelt's statement follows:

History probably will record the National Industrial Recovery Act as the most important and far-reaching legislation ever enacted by the American Congress. It represents a supreme effort to stabilize for all time the many factors which make for the prosperity of the nation and the preservation of American standards.

Its goal is the assurance of a reasonable profit to industry and living wages for labor, with the elimination of the piratical methods and practices which have not only harassed honest business but also contributed to the ills of labor.

While we are engaged in establishing new foundations for business which ultimately should open a return to work for large numbers of men, it is our hope through the so- called public works section of the law to speedily initiate a program of public construction that should early re-employ additional hundreds of thousands of men.

Obviously, if this project is to succeed, it demands the wholehearted cooperation of industry, labor and every citizen of the nation.

http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/0616.html#article

Now, let's keep Roosevelt's reforms going....

6.15.2005

Thoughts on TABOR...

Several of our Republicans in the WI Senate and Assembly have said that it is the Colorado model that they are basing TABOR on. What does that mean? Here are excerpts from an interview with the 'father' of Colorado TABOR, Douglas Bruce:

First off, Bruce says, the state should adopt a statewide voucher program for public schools and simultaneously cut state aid to education. How much? For starters, it could be an amount equal to the difference between per-pupil spending now (about $8,000) and the $3,000 annual voucher level being talked about by voucher advocates.

Next in line for the budget ax would be higher education. I always thought most people thought higher education is a good thing. Going to college not only helps one land a better-paying job, it might even help with appreciating life more, expanding minds and all that stuff.

To Bruce, however, the state's colleges and universities collectively are a fiscal drain down which state taxpayers have poured millions and millions of dollars for nothing.

"As a matter of simple morality, why should Jose Fernandez or Joe Johnson, who are flipping burgers or mopping up floors, pay higher taxes so that Cecil Candyass can go to Boulder for four, five, six or eight years?"

Bruce urges dramatic increases in college and university tuition so that the people who insist on getting an education pay the full cost of it themselves.

Next, there's Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides medical care for the poor. Bruce would eliminate it. He argues there is no federal requirement to have the program, so we shouldn't.

I asked Bruce how hospitals should respond when poor people without insurance present themselves at emergency rooms.

"If you don't have the money, you don't get the service."

So, if you agree with Bruce's vision of a Colorado where everyone goes to private school, there's no state-subsidized colleges and universities and poor people without health insurance go without medical care — be happy.

Bruce and the right-wing Republicans in the Legislature carrying his ideological water are gonna make it happen — eventually.


http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2003/03/10/editorial1.html

This is why me must win in the next elections - do you want this to be the vision of Wisconsin?

Shaivo was "Irreverable"

"Her brain was profoundly atrophied," Jon Thogmartin, medical examiner for Florida's Pinellas-Pasco County, told a press conference. "There was massive neuronal loss, or death. This was irreversible and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons."

“The brain weighed 615 grams, roughly half of the expected weight of a human brain," he added.

Thogmartin added that Terri Schiavo had been blinded by the injury and that all evidence indicated that she could not have survived without a feeding tube.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8225637/

And yet, on the Senate floor Frist felt that "based on a review of the video footage, which I have spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office" she could recover.

What a joke.

6.14.2005

Good Start, Joe... Keep at 'Em:

DPW: New Study Shows GOP Photo ID Plans Would Disenfranchise Over 200,000 Seniors, Women, Minorities and the Young

6/14/2005

MADISON – Joe Wineke, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, released the following statement today on a new UW-Milwaukee study on the driver’s license status of Wisconsin voters:

“This study shows that what Democrats have been saying all along is true. The restrictive photo ID measure being pushed by Republicans would disenfranchise 100,000 Wisconsin seniors, and potentially 100,000 more Wisconsin citizens without driver’s licenses – primarily women, minorities, and the disabled.“

“The only other state in the country with this kind of restriction is South Carolina – a state that barely turned out 50 percent of its voters in the 2004 November election, while Wisconsin turned out 75 percent. We ranked at the top in voter turnout; they ranked at the bottom. South Carolina is definitely not the model we should follow.”

“More importantly, this study confirms the true agenda of the Republican Party. Republicans are not interested in election reform; they are interested in stacking the elections in their favor and turning away voters like the elderly, women, African Americans, Hispanics, and young people who traditionally vote Democratic. The study also shows that the measure would have a disproportional effect on Milwaukee County. The GOP’s agenda clearly isn’t about cleaning up elections, it’s about crass politics, plain and simple.”

“Instead of trying to disenfranchise legitimate voters, we need to clean up our election process so only valid votes are counted. Democrats believe in tougher identification at the polls to prevent fraud, but not punitive restrictions that would disenfranchise individuals who have a constitutional right to vote. Governor Doyle has laid out a comprehensive package that would improve the way our elections are conducted top to bottom. Republicans should be focused on working with the Governor to put those reforms in place, instead of attempting to construct new obstacles to voting.”

What If Watergate Happened Today

Here are excerpts from Johnathan Alter:

From a distance, Watergate seems like a partisan affair. But that's because we tend to look at it nowadays through red- and blue-tinted glasses. In truth, President Nixon was forced to resign in 1974 by Republicans in Congress like Barry Goldwater, who realized from the so-called smoking-gun tape that he was a crook. This was after the Supreme Court—led by a Nixon appointee—unanimously ruled against him in the tapes case.

But imagine if Nixon were president in this era.

... former Nixon media adviser Roger Ailes banned the word "Watergate" from Fox News's coverage and went with the logo "Assault on the Presidency" instead.

... as in the Valerie Plame case, the Justice Department subpoenaed Woodward and Bernstein to testify before the grand jury about their sources. When they declined, they were jailed for 18 months on contempt charges.

... W. Mark Felt, held a press conference to air complaints that the White House and his own boss were impeding the FBI probe. Of course it was only a one-day story, with Ann Coulter predictably screaming that Felt was a "traitor." Rush Limbaugh dubbed Felt "Special Agent Sour Grapes" because he'd been passed over for the top FBI job. Within hours, the media had moved on to the tale of a runaway bride.

... I hoped that the Nixon tapes might bring some justice. But soon the tapes just became more fodder for those legal shows on cable. The Supreme Court split 5-4, along largely partisan lines, as it did in Bush vs. Gore. That allowed Nixon to keep control of the tapes. When he burned them, the bipartisan outcry you would have heard in the old days over destruction of evidence was muffled by a ferocious counterattack from the GOP's legion of spinners. A group calling itself "Watergate Burglars for Truth" set up a 527 to argue that Bill Clinton and other Democratic presidents had ordered more black-bag jobs than Nixon.

... Nixon gave a TV interview to the British journalist David Frost in which he said, "When the president does it, that means it's not illegal." This explained why he felt comfortable approving the break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Ken Duberstein and a few other principled Republicans weighed in that Nixon was bad news, but they were drowned out by former aides like Pat Buchanan and G. Gordon Liddy, who wanted to firebomb the Brookings Institution. When "Firebombing Brookings: Good Idea or Not?" became the "Question of the Day" on MSNBC, Liddy's radio show got a nice ratings boost.

Read it all here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8101512/site/newsweek/page/2/

Give Petri Credit When He Gets It Right.....

A new attempt at election reform would force poll workers to produce a paper confirmation for each person casting a machine ballot. "This is about ensuring that every vote counts and is counted," said Patrick Eddington, press secretary to U.S. Rep. Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat.
Each of the nation's last two presidential elections has resulted in Democratic allegations that Republicans manipulated the voting in key states - Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004.
Holt's bill, would amend the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002, which does not currently require paper verification of a person's vote.
"This bill has a lot of bi-partisan support," Eddington told Cybercast News Service. Actually, the bill has 132 Democratic and only 3 Republican co-sponsors (Rep. Thomas Petri of Wisconsin, Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia and Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma)


http://www.townhall.com/news/politics/200506/POL20050613a.shtml

There has been too many questions about voting over the last few years. Unlike State Republican efforts to block voters, this seems to ensure ALL votes get counted. Rep. Petri sould be congratulated for his support.

Don't worry - there is still plenty to disagree with him on.....

6.12.2005

Do something about the Bush war - sign the petition:

When he gets his 250,000 signature, he will deliver it to the White House.

Go here:

http://www.johnconyers.campaignoffice.com/index.asp?Type=SUPERFORMS&SEC={20F67A89-DDC3-422B-BD18-4D4AAC8F7D6E}

Here is the link to the document mentioned below:

Cabinet Office paper: Conditions for military action
The paper, produced by the Cabinet Office on July 21, 2002, is incomplete because the last page is missing. The following is a transcript rather than the original document in order to protect the source.
PERSONAL SECRET UK EYES ONLY
NI_MPU('middle');
IRAQ: CONDITIONS FOR MILITARY ACTION (A Note by Officials)

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1648758,00.html

And there's more....

From the Sunday Times - Britan

Ministers were told of need for Gulf war ‘excuse’

MINISTERS were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.

The warning, in a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, said Tony Blair had already agreed to back military action to get rid of Saddam Hussein at a summit at the Texas ranch of President George W Bush three months earlier.

The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal

This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action.

“US plans assume, as a minimum, the use of British bases in Cyprus and Diego Garcia,” the briefing paper warned. This meant that issues of legality “would arise virtually whatever option ministers choose with regard to UK participation”.

Here's the link to the 'Downing Street Memo' in the Northwestern

Reichman Gets It Right....

It is more than a little embarrassing that at the same time the national press revels in the Watergate exploits of Woodward, Bernstein and Deep Throat, it is collectively keeping the country in the dark about the “Downing Street memo.”

If you haven’t heard about the “Downing Street memo,” don’t feel bad. Most Americans have not either, due to the absence of reporting by the nation’s major news organizations.

...

The facts are hard to dispute. The nation’s major newspapers, The Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times have done scant reporting on the memo. The New York Times has published two stories on the memo and the other three newspapers have run one story each, none on their front pages. The coverage has largely been on the existence of the memo with no investigative reporting on the contents of the memo.

...

The lack of national coverage of the memo is more likely a sign that the national media has been battered into submission by the constant pummeling from an administration that is relentless with its conservative agenda due to its re-election and stranglehold on Congress. It also may be a sign that the media, in search of readers and ratings, has stooped to pandering to news consumers who are more easily captivated by a missing 18-year-old girl in Aruba or the Michael Jackson trial than complex international issues.

Either way, it is difficult to be proud of our industry today, Deep Throat not withstanding.

http://www.wisinfo.com/northwestern/news/columns/stories/columns_21355003.shtml

Great job Mr. Rieckman!!!

Would this have been legal under concealed carry????

Two arrested during graduation
Custodian alerts police to armed men

An alert custodian may have helped avert a tragedy during graduation exercises at Markesan High School June 3.

Officers found a gun, knives, machetes, a sword and ammunition on the two men and in their vehicle after they were apprehended.