Best... Sentance... Ever...

County Executive candidate Dan Vrakas has secured the endorsement of every conservative Republican legislator in Waukesha County who is endorsing in this race.


Way to butcher the english language - taken from the actual release, vote for this guy and he will do the same to your county!

Krugman on the Bush Myth & Political Reporting

Right now, with the Bush administration in meltdown on multiple issues, we're hearing a lot about President Bush's personal failings. But what happened to the commanding figure of yore, the heroic leader in the war on terror? The answer, of course, is that the commanding figure never existed: Mr. Bush is the same man he always was. All the character flaws that are now fodder for late-night humor were fully visible, for those willing to see them, during the 2000 campaign.

And President Bush the great leader is far from the only fictional character, bearing no resemblance to the real man, created by media images.

Read the speeches Howard Dean gave before the Iraq war, and compare them with Colin Powell's pro-war presentation to the U.N. Knowing what we know now, it's clear that one man was judicious and realistic, while the other was spinning crazy conspiracy theories. But somehow their labels got switched in the way they were presented to the public by the news media.


How many signs of the apocolapse does one country need?

Consumer prices surge, driven by energy costs
September increase of 1.2 percent largest in 25 years

WASHINGTON - Consumer prices surged in September by the largest amount in more than 25 years as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita sent energy prices soaring at the fastest pace on record. And sky-high oil and natural gas prices appear to be dampening Americans' economic outlook, as consumer sentiment fell in October to its lowest level since 1992.

The Labor Department reported Friday that inflation jumped 1.2 percent last month. It said that 90 percent of that increase came from a record-setting 12 percent surge in energy prices which reflected gasoline prices that briefly topped $3 per gallon last month after widespread shutdowns of refineries and oil and natural gas platforms along the Gulf Coast.

The White House downplayed the report.

The sharp jump in consumer prices in September helped to push next year’s cost of living adjustment for 48 million Social Security recipients to 4.1 percent, the biggest advance since 1991.

Separately, a check of consumer sentiment closely followed in the financial markets showed a disappointing decline. Sentiment fell unexpectedly in early October to its lowest level in 13 years, as high gasoline prices and the fallout from hurricane damage continued to take their toll, the University of Michigan’s preliminary October index of consumer sentiment showed.

The report on consumer prices showed that energy prices shot up by 12 percent, led by a 17.9 percent surge in gasoline prices. Natural gas prices rose by 12.1 percent rise and home heating oil prices jumped 12.7 percent. The government this week warned homeowners to expect heating bills to soar this winter.


Bush Caught Stage Managing Spontanious Moment with Troops:

Watch the video:


Listen to more in depth coverage:


More on Bush/Repub Poll Numbers:

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has caused a stir in political circles, between Bush's 39% job approval rating and his 2% approval rating among African-Americans. But the result that has sparked intense partisan debate is Democrats' 9-point lead over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot test ("What is your preference for the outcome of the 2006 congressional elections -- a Congress controlled by Republicans or a Congress controlled by Democrats?"). That 9-point edge is the biggest we've seen in our poll in over a decade. Even though our pollsters caution -- and we wrote here yesterday -- that Democrats aren't faring better with the public just because the GOP is faring poorly, Democrats are touting that result as a reflection of public unhappiness with the so-called "GOP culture of corruption."


It's as if the Northwestern is speaking directly to Petri:

Editorial: Reform needed to cut the costs of living here

In the past week, we’ve spent time expressing our opinion on how we think the Public Service Commission has gotten too cozy with Big Energy companies. Weak penalties and a lack of oversight have led to higher-than-necessary rates — all in the name of that unlimited “slush fund:” the taxpayer.

But there are other places where big business has cooed and coddled agencies for profits at taxpayer expense. We think the state Attorney General’s office should become empowered to look at them, too.

Wisconsin has one of the highest highway building cost percentages per capita in the nation. But we’re a flat state. Road builders have learned how to successfully lobby the political process for their profit. Politicians have chosen to forget that the taxpayers pay for that game.

Wisconsin also needs to look at serious campaign finance reform, but not just at the state level. There are some contractors who build public projects then turn around to become lead supporters in political campaigns. Maybe it’s time we have a prohibition against donating money to political causes in this way. A prohibition would remove the expectation that the contractor for a building will become a supporter of the politician.

Wisconsin needs a wake-up call. The cost to live here shouldn’t be as high as it has become. We need reforms so that Big Energy, Big Roadbuilders and Big Contributors can’t keep inflating the costs that increase our taxes.


Rep. Petri's 2004 cycle PAC contributions:

Industry - Amount - Percent
Transportation - $105,400 - 24.92%
Construction - $87,607 - 20.72%
Labor (mainly building and transportation unions)- $65,500 - 15.49%



Let them beat each other!

Green and Walker are all ready going negative... on each other!


Scott Walker continues to hold a strong 13-point lead among Republican primary voters against Mark Green; nearly identical to the results found in an April, 2005 Survey


Green's response:

With two independent surveys in the past two weeks clearly showing Mark Green as the leading candidate against Jim Doyle, we’re not surprised the Walker camp again asked their pollster to concoct some better numbers for their candidate. However, reality just doesn’t match the poll results they released today.

Since Mark Green entered the race for Governor on May 1, he has consistently outperformed Scott Walker in the independent surveys released in the campaign thus far. Green handily won the unbiased straw poll at the GOP state convention and significantly outraised Walker in the first finance reporting period of the campaign – posting $1.74 million in the bank to Walker’s less than $500,000.


An American in chains - from James Yee's autobiography

My cell was 8ft by 6ft, the same size as the detainees’ cages at Guantanamo. Barely a week ago I had received a glowing evaluation for my work as the US army’s Muslim chaplain among the “Gitmo” prisoners. Now I was the one in chains.

It was my turn to be humiliated every time I was taken to have a shower. Naked, I had to run my hands through my hair to show that I was not concealing a weapon in it. Then mouth open, tongue up, down, nothing inside. Right arm up, nothing in my armpit. Left arm up. Lift the right testicle, nothing hidden. Lift the left. Turn around, bend over, spread your buttocks, knowing a camera was displaying my naked image as male and female guards watched.

It didn’t matter that I was an army captain, a graduate of West Point, the elite US military academy. It didn’t matter that my religious beliefs prohibited me from being fully naked in front of strangers. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t been charged with a crime. It didn’t matter that my wife and daughter had no idea where I was. And it certainly didn’t matter that I was a loyal American citizen and, above all, innocent.

I was accused of mutiny and sedition, aiding the enemy and espionage, all of which carried the death penalty. I was regarded as a traitor to the army and my country. This was all blatantly untrue — as would be proved when, after a long fight, all the charges against me were dropped and I won an honourable discharge from the army.

I knew why I had been arrested: it was because I am a Muslim. I was just the latest victim of the hostility born the moment when the planes flew into the twin towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

My real “crime” had been that I had tried to ensure that the suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters detained in the Gitmo cages were given every opportunity to practise their religion freely, one of the most fundamental of American ideals.


I'd hate to say I told you so...

But we knew this guy was no good last November...

Bush approval dips below 40 percent
NBC-WSJ poll shows only 28 percent believe U.S. headed in right direction

For the first time in the poll, Bush’s approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, while the percentage believing the country is heading in the right direction has dipped below 30 percent. In addition, a sizable plurality prefers a Democratic-controlled Congress, and just 29 percent think Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.

The poll shows that Bush’s approval rating stands at 39 percent, a new low for the president. In the last NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, which was released in mid-September, 40 percent approved of Bush’s job performance while 55 percent disapproved. In addition, just 28 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, another all-time low in Bush’s presidency.

Meanwhile, 57 percent say Frist’s sale of stock in a company his family runs — just before the value of the stock declined — indicates potential illegal activity, compared with 28 percent who say the charge has little merit.

The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points and which was conducted from Oct. 8-10 of 807 adults, also finds that strong majorities don’t believe that the recent charges against GOP leaders Tom DeLay of Texas and Bill Frist of Tennessee are politically motivated. Sixty-five percent say that DeLay’s indictment on charges of illegally using corporate contributions for political campaigns suggests potential illegal activity, while 24 percent say the indictment is politics as usual and has little merit.

In addition, with 13 months until the 2006 congressional elections, 48 percent say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 39 percent who want the Republicans to control Capitol Hill. In fact, that nine-point difference is the largest margin between the parties in the 11 years the NBC/Journal poll has been tracking this question.


Hebert on Bush & Poverty:

Mr. Bush is the standard-bearer par excellence of his party's efforts to redistribute the bounty of the U.S. from the bottom up, not the other way around. This is no longer a matter of dispute. Mr. Bush may not be the greatest commander in chief. And he may not be adept at sidestepping the land mines of language. ("I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here.") But if there's one thing the president has been good at, it has been funneling money to the rich. The suffering wrought by Katrina hasn't changed that at all.

One of the first things the president did in the aftermath of Katrina was to poke his finger in the eyes of struggling workers by suspending the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act in the storm-ravaged areas. Passed during the Great Depression, the law requires contractors on federally funded construction projects to pay at least the prevailing wage in the region.

This is one more way of taking money from the working poor and handing it to the wealthy. A construction laborer in New Orleans who would ordinarily be paid about $9 an hour, the prevailing wage in the city, can now be paid less. So much for the president's commitment to fighting poverty.

Mr. Bush's political posturing (his speeches, his endless trips to the Gulf Coast) is not meant to serve as a beacon of hope for the downtrodden. It is a message to middle-class voters, who have become increasingly disturbed by the president's policies and were appalled by the fact that he seemed unmoved by the terrible suffering that followed Hurricane Katrina.


Services lost in county budget that could be restored with the sales tax:

Courts - Remove Safe & Secure Exchange Program.
Will result in safety issues between parents of children that cannot comply with court ordered visitation exchanges, without supervision.

Human Services - Reach Counseling program cuts
Will result in no persons (sexual abused) being served.

LWCD - Reduce land owner grants for water runoff projects.
Will reduce the rate by which we are reducing the contaminants entering Lake Winnebago from adjacent property owners.

Veterans - Reduce temp help used to assist veterans and for driving them to appointments.
Less veterans will be able to be served because of a lack of help and drivers.

Courts - Teen Court Coordinator will be required to take 10 days of unpaid leave per year.
Fewer cases will be accepted in to the program and children that otherwise could have successfully avoided the formal court process will have a juvenile court record. Could cause staff to seek alternate employment.

Courts - The Volunteers in Probation Coordinator will be required to take 10 days of unpaid leave per year.
Result to the public is that fewer cases may be accepted into the program and individuals that otherwise could have successfully had their case dismissed, will now have a permanent criminal conviction. Could cause staff to seek alternate employment.

Courts - Cut back Court Mediation Services by 20%.
Fewer cases will be handled through the process. Effect on community is that many individuals will have civil judgments entered on cases that otherwise could have been settled before a judgment is entered. And, additional hearings required will likely result in longer backlogs through the court system.

County Roads - Reduce maintenance on about 2.3 miles of the County Road system.
Road surface maintenance projects on the county road system will be reduced. The department's ability to continue to maintain the current county road system on a 20 to 25 year life cycle will be significantly affected. An adequate maintenance plan for the 210 miles of Winnebago County roads would provide for paving 8.5 to 10.5 miles of asphalt road surface each year. In 2006 funding will be available to pave only approximately 6.5 miles of roadway. Maintenance projects will eventually become much more costly reconstruction projects due
to the fact that cost effective maintenance was not done at the appropriate time. Based on 2006 budget information, it will take approximately 32 years to complete one cycle of asphalt overlays on the county road system in the future.

DA - Eliminate one secretary position
This will likely create backlogs in work and cases. Cases will wait longer to come to trial. Defendants may end up waiting in jail longer until their cases can come up.

Deeds - Reduce a position to 1/2 time.
This staff reduction would likely result in the office falling behind by days or probably weeks which would directly affect property sale transactions throughout the county. It would create problems for the banking community, title insurance companies, attorney's and the general public.

Facilities - Eliminate seasonal labor
Existing staff will have to be used to maintain grounds. Grass will be mowed but weed removal will be greatly reduced. Preventive maintenance will fall behind or not be done resulting in more unplanned repairs. Response time to trouble calls will slow down. Many repairs that departments want done right away will have to wait. The grounds will have less groomed appearance.

Facilities Labor - Eliminate carpenter position
There will be little money available for remodeling projects. Carpenter position should no longer be needed.

Facilities - Remodel entrance to Register of Deeds Room 30
Would reduce security level for the Courthouse.

Human Services - Corrective Thinking Counseling
Will result in fewer persons being served.

Human Services - Youth Mentoring Services
Will result in fewer persons being served.

Human Services - Juvenile Corrections
Reduced expenses associated with juvenile corrections placement costs. Fewer persons will be served.

Human Services - Child Group Home Placement program
Will result in fewer persons being served.

Human Services - Residential Care Program
Will result in fewer persons being served.

Human Services - Wrap Around Youth Services
Will result in fewer persons being served.

Human Services - Long Term Support Wait List Consumers
Reduction in funding means that the wait list for services will become longer.

Park View - Park View Health Center - resident care related services. Includes 1-shift coordinator, 3.4-nurses, 2-confidential secretaries and 2-part-time seasonals.
Reduced quality care for remaining residents.

Highlights from the Harris budget message

"We can try to avoid making choices by doing nothing, but even that is a decision."
Gary Collins Author, Counselor

The following budget has been prepared in accordance with the Board's request for a balanced budget that does not presume either revenue from a ½% county sales tax nor does it provide the significant property tax relief that the sales tax proposal contains. This budget uses the maximum allowed levy under the State imposed levy freeze. The budget requires very substantial cuts in personnel. I believe that many of these cuts are imprudent, however these cuts are unavoidable if a balanced budget is to be achieved without a sales tax. This budget does not in any way represent my recommendation to the Board. To derive my budget recommendation to the Board, one must modify this budget by adding back the
spending, revenue, and property tax relief as shown on the worksheet following this narrative.

Many other departments submitted requests for building improvements, remodeling and repairs. I do not believe many of them are crucial to continuing operations and service delivery. In addition, we simply do not have the financial resources available to do them without deeper cuts in other departments. As such, I have eliminated $477,000 of requests from the 2006 budget.
(Translation - less maintenance now can lead to more costs later)

The County Road Maintenance Department shows a decrease of around $268,000. State transportation aid dollars are declining. The County does not have the funds available to replace the state transportation money so we can't increase road maintenance. As a result, the number of miles we are able to maintain will drop about 2.3 miles to 6 miles per year. This is well below the number of miles we should be maintaining to maximize the life of our roads and minimize future maintenance and reconstruction costs. This will lead to a gradual degradation of the County Road System.
(Translation - less new roads and maintenance, new roads will have to be bonded at even larger costs)

The Land and Water Conservation and Emergency Management departments are both down roughly $270,000 each. Land and Water is anticipating having less grant monies available for property water runoff and land management programs. Emergency Management is anticipating getting fewer grant dollars from the Office of Justice Assistance for anti-terrorism projects.
(Translation - we are reducing flood control and anti-terrorism funds!!!)


What the sales county budget cuts without the sales tax:

The county sheriff’s department would be among the harder hit by worst-case-scenario layoffs.

The budget message details 29 sheriff’s office layoffs, including four jail officers, four patrol officers, two 911 dispatchers, and eight jail booking clerks. The total also includes jobs already eliminated by Sheriff Michael Brooks decision to close the county work-release jail and put its inmates on global-positioning satellite tracking systems.

In a memo included in Harris’ budget message, Brooks warns the additional layoffs would have direct impact on department services, including scaled back “front window” hours at the jail in the evening and overnight.

“This will result in reduced visitation for the inmates, reduced hours that professionals, i.e. Probation/Parole, Attorneys, will be able to come to the jail to see their clients,” Brooks states.

The county’s successful teen court program – which helps troubled adolescents avoid juvenile records by facing a court of their peers – would see its coordinator’s work time shaved down by 10 days of unpaid leave a year.

“Fewer cases will be accepted in to the program and children that otherwise could have successfully avoided the same formal court process will have a juvenile court record,” the “service impact” of the cut states.


Here's the budget message:


"We can try to avoid making choices by doing nothing, but even that is a decision."

Gary Collins
Author, Counselor

The Boondock's State of the Union:



Army Missing Recuiting Goals:

Army Has Plan to Boost Signups

WASHINGTON - The Army has a master plan for recovering from this year's painful recruiting problems that includes new financial incentives for enlistees, greater use of computers, a new way for recruiters to make their pitch and a proposed finder's fee for soldiers who refer recruits.
The plan was assembled after the Army fell more than 6,600 recruits below of its goal of 80,000 for the year that ended Sept. 30. It was the first time it had fallen short since 1999.

Opinion surveys indicate that daily reports of soldiers dying in Iraq have dampened young people's interest in joining the military, prompting the Army to try new ways to make the war work in its favor.

For example, since July the Army has been offering prospective recruits what it calls "assignment incentive pay." That is $400 a month in extra pay for as many as 36 months if an enlistee agrees to join any of the brigades of the 1st Cavalry Division or 25th Infantry Division scheduled to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Some private analysts were skeptical. Michael O'Hanlon, defense specialist at the Brookings Institution, said Monday that if conditions get worse the future of the all-volunteer force could be in jeopardy.

"Unless the situation in Iraq improves, or unless we drastically enlarge the pool of possible recruits in some way - for example, lowering academic standards for them, or even considering an extreme option like allowing foreigners to gain U.S. citizenship by serving - one would have to expect continued tough slogging for the Army," O'Hanlon said.


Some other thoughts on Roessler and Underheim's performances last night:

- Did anyone else catch when Roessler said that one of our economic problems is low birth rate, most probably caused by not having enough minorities, especially Hispanics?

- In the beginning they praised their efforts in making Wisconsin and the Fox Valley a top entrepreneurship zone, with more new businesses than any other area. Then they said that we need a tax freeze because our tax rates are driving businesses away?

Underheim and Roessler: "Unions should be made illegal" or "Balance your budgets on the back's of city workers"

Both legislators pledged to do what they can change state bargaining rules that often put local governments on the losing end of costly wage and benefit negotiations with their employees.

But Underheim and Roessler also said Gov. Jim Doyle isn’t likely to endorse such a change.


And bless Gov. Doyle for protecting working families.

Underheim to Oshkosh, "Screw you!"

City Councilor Paul Esslinger asked the Oshkosh lawmakers what city budget line item’s they’d cut if they were in the seven-member city council’s shoes.

“You asked for the job,” Underheim told Esslinger, who ran for city mayor and lost in April. “It’s your job to make those cuts.”


In other words, Underheim doesn't care how the laws he passes in Madison effect the Oshkosh community.

He doesn't give it any thought.

"Thus began what historians will regard as the single most corrupt decade in the long and colorful history of the House of Representatives"

Thus began what historians will regard as the single most corrupt decade in the long and colorful history of the House of Representatives. Come on, you say. How about all those years when congressmen accepted cash in the House chamber and then staggered onto the floor drunk? Yes, special interests have bought off members of Congress at least since Daniel Webster took his seat while on the payroll of a bank. And yes, Congress over the years has seen dozens of sex scandals and dozens of members brought low by financial improprieties. But never before has the leadership of the House been hijacked by a small band of extremists bent on building a ruthless shakedown machine, lining the pockets of their richest constituents and rolling back popular protections for ordinary people. These folks borrow like banana republics and spend like Tip O'Neill on speed.

I have no idea if DeLay has technically broken the law. What interests me is how this moderate, evenly divided nation came to be ruled on at least one side of Capitol Hill by a zealot. This is a man who calls the Environmental Protection Agency "the Gestapo of government" and favors repealing the Clean Air Act because "it's never been proven that air toxins are hazardous to people"; who insists repeatedly that judges on the other side of issues "need to be intimidated" and rejects the idea of a separation of church and state; who claims there are no parents trying to raise families on the minimum wage—that "fortunately, such families do not exist" (at least Newt Gingrich was intrigued by the challenges of poverty); who once said: "A woman can't take care of the family. It takes a man to provide structure." I could go on all day. Congress has always had its share of extremists. But the DeLay era is the first time the fringe has ever been in charge.

The only comparison to DeLay Co. might be the Radical Republicans of the 1860s. But the 19th-century Radical Republican agenda was to integrate and remake the South. The 21st-century Radical Republican agenda is to enact the wish list of the tobacco and gun lobbies, repeal health and safety regulations and spend billions on shameless pork-barrel projects to keep the GOP at the trough.


More Conservatives Against Bush:

George F. Will:

The transportation bill's cost, honestly calculated, exceeded the threshold that the president had said would trigger his first veto. (He is the first president in 176 years to serve a full term without vetoing anything. His father cast 44 vetoes. Ronald Reagan's eight-year total was 78.) In 1987 Reagan vetoed a transportation bill because it contained 152 earmarks—pork—costing $1.4 billion. The bill President Bush signed contained 6,371, costing $24 billion. The total cost of the bill—$286 billion—is more, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than the combined costs of the Marshall Plan and the interstate highway system.

Could Katrina's costs be paid by budget cuts, perhaps starting with $24 billion of transportation earmarks? No, said the then House Majority Leader Tom DeLay—"The Hammer"—because Republicans have cut all inessential spending.

Conservatives are not supposed to be cuddly, or even particularly nice. They are, however, supposed to be competent. And to know that scarcity—of money, virtue, wisdom, competence, everything—forces choices. Furthermore, they are supposed to have an unsentimental commitment to meritocracy and excellence. The fact that none of those responsible for the postwar planning, or lack thereof, in Iraq have been sacked suggests—no, shouts—that in Washington today there is no serious penalty for serious failure. Hence the multiplication of failures.


What happened to the separation of church and state?

Bush cites religion as reason for picking Miers
Court nominee attended anti-abortion fundraiser, pro-life group says

President Bush said Wednesday his advisers were telling conservatives about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers’ religious beliefs because they are interested in her background and “part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion.”

“People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers,” Bush told reporters at the White House. “They want to know Harriet Miers’ background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion.”

He spoke on a day in which conservative James Dobson, founder of Focus on Family, said he had discussed the nominee’s religious views with presidential aide Karl Rove.

On a radio show being broadcast Wednesday, Dobson said he discussed Miers with Rove on Oct. 1, two days before her nomination was announced. Dobson said Rove told him “she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life,” but denied he had gotten any assurances from the White House that she would vote to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Dobson said Rove told him that Miers had been a member of Texas Right to Life. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said she was not a member of the organization “that I'm aware of.”

“My understanding is that she attended some events, some fund-raising events that they had,” McClellan said.

Miers bought a $150 ticket to a 1989 fund-raising dinner for another anti-abortion group — Texans United for Life — according to the president of the group, now called the Texans for Life Coalition.


Al Gore for President:

The present executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations: from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. They placed a former male escort in the White House press pool to pose as a reporter - and then called upon him to give the president a hand at crucial moments. They paid actors to make make phony video press releases and paid cash to some reporters who were willing to take it in return for positive stories. And every day they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President.


Why Truth Matters...

"The most significant quality of totalitarian thinkers is extreme contempt for facts, for, in their opinion, fact depends entirely on the power of the man who can fabricate it."

—Hannah Arendt

On the Bush appointments (humor)....

But Davis Logsdon, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota, has a different theory about Bush's recent appointments: "He may be surrounding himself with lousy people in the hopes that he'll be graded on a curve."



Bush Down in Support from Base Groups...

"There is a growing, deep-seated discontentment and pessimism about the direction of the country," said Republican strategist Tony Fabrizio, who believes the reasons for their pessimism differ for those in one political party or another.

Among those most likely to have lost confidence about the nation's direction over the past year are white evangelicals, down 30 percentage points since November, Republican women, down 28 points, Southerners, down 26 points, and suburban men, down 20 points.

In December 2004, soon after his re-election, almost two-thirds of Republicans strongly approved of the job done by Bush. The AP-Ipsos survey found that just half in his own party feel that way now.


Yet another not me....


I'm Watching the City Council Meeting...

...and I have to admit, Paul Esslinger is doing a great job of raking them (Roessler & Underhiem) over the coals.

Green Cheif of Staff caught with his hand in the cookie (ticket) jar...

Mark Graul, then Chief of Staff to Representative Mark Green, now his Campaign Manager:

"I've never met Jack Abramoff in my life. He could come up and punch me in the face and I wouldn't know. I don't know why I'm on that list."

This was in response to how he showed up on a list of people requesting to attend a professional wrestling event in Abromoff's skybox. However:

So for instance on January 12th, 2000 Team Abramoff's Jennifer Calvert emailed Susan Ralston to get Mark tickets to see the Wizards-Bucks game on February 22nd.

"May I get four tickets to this game for Mark Graul, COS for Rep. Green? If that works, I'd like to get two for myself as well, to host Mark. Thanks."

"Ok w/Jack" Ralston wrote back the following morning.

A month later, Calvert got Graul two tickets for the upcoming Wizards-Suns game.

Graul wasn't just up for basketball games and wrestling either. In November we see Calvert putting him in for two tickets to see Limp Bizkit, Godsmack and DMX at the MCI Center. ("I'll add [them] to the list. Will confirm shortly," Ralston replied.)

I won't bore you with all the examples of Graul partying it up on Jack Abramoff's dime. And it wasn't like he got tickets every time he asked.

For instance, here on November 28th, 2000 Calvert wrote again to Ralston and Abramoff with another Mark Graul request.

"I got a request from Mark Graul, COS for Rep. Green, for tickets for the NBA all star game and the dunk contest that is apparently going to be at the MCI Center in early February. Can we honor his request? I'd also like to request 2 more tickets for a big basketball fan, Byron Patterson with Representative Don Young."

This time Jack left Mark hanging.

Abramoff himself wrote back: "We don't know yet what we are going to do with the suite that night. Put him on the list and we'll figure it out."

Who knows how that one worked out. But it sure seems like Graul was a regular with Team Abramoff.



Gannet/FDL Reporter Wins Worst Person in the World Award

On Countdown - MSNBC

No transcript yet - I'll link when it shows up.

Update - here's the transcript:

But the winner, the staffers at the Wisconsin newspaper “Fond du Lac Reporter.” In July, it published an article about a gas station complete with a photograph and address that had formerly been owned by a man, it said, the Department of Homeland Security agency had identified as—quote “one of the plotters of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”

What the agent had actually said was that the gas station owner was an applauder of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, slight difference. The paper, surprise, surprise, has been sued.

Even so, the staffers of “The Fond du Lac Reporter,” today‘s worst persons in the world.


Here's the background:

Senior Special Agent Jeff Stillings was attributed in the newspaper as believing Hussain “to be one of the plotters of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and an agent for Osama bin Laden.” The newspaper the next day reported from a statement issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the agent actually referred to Hussain as “an applauder.”

The July 28 article included a photograph of the gas station. Its caption included the address of the store, information on Hussain and said the store is “now under new ownership.”

The complaint states that AAP suffered damages including lost income, loss of earning capacity and property damage as result of the article and accompanying photograph. The petroleum company demanded a retraction of false and defamatory statements prior to filing the lawsuit, and the newspaper didn’t comply, according to the complaint.

“AAP Petroleum has received threats and suffered derogatory comments from people who read the article and believe that Citgo is connected to terrorism, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and/or Osama Bin Laden,” the complaint states.


Here is an Upcoming Political Scandal

It sucks when someone with the same name does something, however I am pretty sure that our Governor did not do this:

Subway Stabbing
October 10, 2005, Des Moines -

A stabbing at a metro fast food restaurant turns into a chase and ends with a car wreck.

The whole thing started at a Subway on Douglas in Des Moines. According to police, James Doyle stabbed another man at the restaurant, and then stole a car. Police say they chased Doyle in the stolen car for several miles and that Doyle eventually crashed.

The stabbing victim is in the hospital tonight in serious condition. Doyle is charged with two counts of robbery and one count of attempted murder.


Gay marriage will ruin traditional marriage????


The Faulty Logic of 'Stay the Course'


Great Obit:

Theodore Roosevelt Heller

Theodore Roosevelt Heller, 88, loving father of Charles (Joann) Heller; dear brother of the late Sonya (the late Jack) Steinberg. Ted was discharged from the U.S. Army during WWII due to service related injuries, and then forced his way back into the Illinois National Guard insisting no one tells him when to serve his country. Graveside services Tuesday 11 a.m. at Waldheim Jewish Cemetery (Ziditshover section), 1700 S. Harlem Ave., Chicago. In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans.

Published in the Chicago Tribune on 10/10/2005.


Another Guy Who is Not Me:

In almost every facet of the entertainment industry, production designer JEFF HALL has become part of the unique design revolution of the last decade. From creating the world’s largest outdoor circus, “Galaxy” in Chime Long Park, China to establishing the current look for the NFL Channel as production designer for the network, Hall has stayed one step ahead of design trends.
He recently finished a number of projects with wide exposure, including, The World Music Awards, Autorox Award Show, The Blue Collar Comedy 2 Feature film, The D.L. Hughley Talk Show, Dennis Miller Live, and a national commercial for Strouds. Always looking for interesting challenges to widen his horizons as a designer, Hall counts among his recent television credits, Steve Harvey’s Big Time for the WB, The Orlando Jones Show for FX, ESPN Hollywood for ESPN, Extreme Makeover Wedding Edition for ABC, Comedy Central’s Mind Of Mencia starring Carlos Mencia, and NBC’s Last Comic Standing 2. Additionally, Hall has designed a number of Reality Homes, including The Benefactor for ABC, Starting Over for NBC, Last Comic House for NBC, The Starlet for the WB, and America’s Next Top Model for UPN.
Hall also served as production designer for Kid Rock’s World Tours and the World Tour for The Offspring, as well as a number of high-profile concerts for MTV and Nickelodeon, the Epcot Center and other venues, Prior to that, he was art director for Dwight Yoakom and the Stone Temple Pilots stage show, and was art director for Scream, the highly acclaimed music video from Michael Jackson.
Hall’s design credits not only encompass features, music and video projects but themed entertainment as well. Among his designs for this market are Direct TV’s award winning booth at CES, the Red Bull Stunt Award Show for Grace Entertainment and the National tour of Nickelodeon’s All That Music and More Festival, plus four consecutive years of Sports and Music Festivals for MTV. He was also involved as a consultant for the renovation of Disney World’s Tomorrowland Theater and the New Theme Park in China’s Chime Long Park.
Jeff Hall specializes in developing the fresh and entertaining visual statement so vital in today’s media polished entertainment industry.


It is fun to see other namesakes and what they are doing - it is easy with a generic name like mine...

Northwestern Corrects 'Anti-War' Editorial

As I pointed out here:


and here:


the Nortwestern was incorrect in the reporting of a protest as anti-war when it was really anti-gay.

Thanks to Mr's Rieckman and Archibald for putting it on the editorial page and not just in the corrections:


Editorial: Editorial missed intent of protest at soldier’s visitation
Occasionally, in the interest of brevity, an editorial can miss its mark. Such was the case Friday.

Our portrayal of a demonstration in front of a Ripon church during visitation for Andrew Wallace, a local soldier killed in Iraq, was at best a mischaracterization and at worst misleading. However, we stand by the conclusion we reached.

The demonstrators were members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. They believe that soldiers who died in the Iraq War are God’s retribution for social acceptance of homosexuals in America.

We have no objection to people expressing an opinion regardless of how mean-spirited and hateful it might be. It’s their First Amendment right.

However, having a demonstration in front of a church with a visitation in progress more than crossed the line of good taste and sensitivity. The Westboro Baptist Church members should have chosen a less invasive place that was more sensitive to the feelings of the survivors of the deceased. The demonstrators clearly abused their right to free speech.


And, welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Rieckman!