Walker's Shifting Winds....

From a DPW Press Release:

Back in 1999, when Walker was a representative in the State Assembly, he co-sponsored a bill to allow concealed weapons in Wisconsin. Yet in 2001, Walker did not sign on to a nearly identical bill. And when the concealed carry legislation came up for a vote in the Assembly in early 2002, Walker voted against the bill.

Why such a change of heart? At that time, Walker was running for county executive of Milwaukee, where a position in support of concealed carry wouldn’t help him win election.

Now that Scott Walker is running for Governor – and trying to win enough of the Republican base to prevail over his GOP opponent Mark Green – Walker is once again a staunch supporter of concealed carry.


Walker’s flip-flops on concealed carry are just the latest example of the Republican now changing his tune to suit his current political aspirations. As a candidate for Governor, Walker is now supporting a repeal in the annual automatic increase in the state’s gas tax. But when he was in the Assembly, Walker voted to increase the gas tax and voted against efforts to both suspend the automatic increases and cut the gas tax rate. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/2/2005] Green, who is now trying to one-up Walker every chance he gets, also voted as a member of the Assembly against efforts to end the gas tax, and even voted for a 3 cent increase in the gas tax.

Intelligent Discussion on Intelligent Design...

Everyday Editor has a good forum. Click here.

Quote of the day:

James Genisio on religious tolerance:

I hope someday one of our senators will be Muslim as long as she or he is a Democrat.

I agree 100%!


Milwaukee Journal: Voter ID Not Necessary...

(Republican State Chair) Graber went on to criticize Gov. Jim Doyle for vetoing legislation that would have required one of three photo identification cards at the polls. He thereby may have betrayed his true motives: to disadvantage people without the proper ID cards - a driver's license or a state or military ID card - who tend to vote Democratic.

Tellingly, despite long linking with much clamor the electoral problems in Milwaukee to the need for a voter ID card, neither Graber nor any other Republican leader has cited a single case of fraud here that such a requirement would have headed off. The requirement wouldn't have precluded even the four instances in which the U.S. attorney alleged double-voting.

In one such case, the defendant had what would be a mandated ID, a driver's license. She used it to register to vote at two polling sites. Another defendant used his driver's license once and a Social Security card the second time at the same site. And a third defendant used once what would be a mandated alternative ID, her state ID card, and the second time her Social Security card. In all cases, they gave their real names. Keep in mind that a photo ID requirement is designed to prevent false identification, which does not appear to have played a role in the double-voting cases.

Now, foiled by Doyle, who has vetoed the photo ID requirement, Republicans are plotting to put it into the constitution - a process that excludes the governor. The party is using the falsehood of widespread voting fraud in Milwaukee as a rationale.

But the truth is that fraud was at best spotty and identification fraud rarer still.

Reminder - Bush first said that we can't win the war on terror...

NBC, "The Today Show", 8/30/04

MATT LAUER: You said to me a second ago, one of the things you'll lay out in your vision for the next four years is how to go about winning the war on terror. That phrase strikes me a little bit. Do you really think we can win this war of ter--on terror? For example, in the next four years?
PRESIDENT BUSH: I have never said we can win it in four years.
MATT LAUER: No, I'm just saying,
can we win it? Do you say that?
I don't think we can win it.

Here's the second half of robbing from the poor and giving to the rich:

The House voted Thursday to preserve tax cuts for investors through the rest of the decade, safeguarding the centerpiece of the Republican tax agenda in a $56 billion package of tax breaks.

The bill, passed 234-197 along mostly party lines, would keep the 15 percent top tax rate for capital gains and dividends in place in 2009 and 2010, two years after their scheduled disappearance at the end of 2008.

"The poor suffer. The rich benefit. The middle class is paying the bill," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Way to go, Russ!

"I will do everything I can, including a filibuster, to stop this Patriot Act conference report, which does not include adequate safeguards to protect our constitutional freedoms," said Sen. Russ Feingold D-Wis., who was the only senator to vote against the original version of the Patriot Act.


Who do you think said this:

For four years this administration has had at its disposal the greatest military and economic advantage that one nation has ever had over another in a war in history. For four years America's fighting men have set a record for courage and sacrifice unsurpassed in our history. For four years this Administration has had the support of the loyal opposition for the objective of seeking an honorable end to the struggle.

Never has so much military and economic and diplomatic power been used so ineffectively. And if after all of this time, and all of this sacrifice, and all of this support, there is still no end in sight, then I say the time has come for the American people to turn to new leadership not tied to the mistakes and policies of the past. That is what we offer to America.

Do you have an idea? Here's the answer:

Republican Nomination Acceptance Address
August 8, 1968

Scary, huh?

More and more, we see ourselves looking back at the 'good old days' of Richard M. Nixon.

To quote Black 47 - It's Time to GO!

Even Nixon agrees...


When Comedy Rings True

From the Borowitz Report:

Elsewhere, after the former members of the bipartisan 9/11 commission gave George Bush a report card full of C's, D's and F's, the president said, "I got these grades at Yale and I still graduated.”

The Northwestern is right...

We need good local candidates. If anyone is interested, contact me.

Editorial: Spring months favor the sharing of new ideas
Communities on the rebound keep the momentum going because they bring in people with new and bright ideas. Soon, the times will favor those people with new and bright ideas to showcase their talent in annual spring elections across Wisconsin.

Contrary to appearances, participation is the most important factor of local elections. To participate is to win because it means the sharing of ideas will happen. And those are the ideas upon which communities depend to continue their growth.

For one, the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors will have all 38 seats open. In the most recent election, people with new ideas overcame seats occupied by old ideas every time.

Another avenue looking for new ideas that covers a wide area is the Oshkosh school board. This progressive board (see previous editorial on charter schools) will have three seats of seven open. The Oshkosh Common Council will also have three seats of seven open.

People who share ideas get traction for the issues and projects they support. For example, some candidates for Common Council in the last election cultivated newfound respect for the Winnebago Peace and Justice Center.

The most important point now is that people with bright ideas shouldn't let time get away from them. Candidates have until Jan. 3 to file nomination papers at their city, county clerk or school board offices, respectively. The spring primary date will be Feb. 21 with the spring election day of April 4.

The value of participation in our local elections cannot be emphasized enough. Here are the important forums for our communities to find out what currents of thought will lead them into 2006 and beyond.

Oh My Gosh! It Happened!

The Exclusive Company moved!

Huff said the project took a good deal of thought and work for The Exclusive Co., which has owned the V&S Variety store property for about 12 years.

You have to give them credit for upholding their part of the TIF bargain:

The district includes the former V&S Variety store and the former First National Bank building at 404 N. Main St. As part of the TIF plan, the city bought the V&S Variety store, which was then sold to The Exclusive Co. for $100,000 with the understanding that it would be renovated to bring its taxable property value to $300,000.

Although the renovations didn't begin until the summer of 2004, the company did make TIF payments based on the $300,000 valuation. In a TIF district, the city's costs for preparing property for redevelopment are repaid through the added tax value created by the improved property.

Congrats on the new location, even if you ended a joke that has been running since I was in college!

Italian Court Documents: CIA Kidnapeed, Tortured and Lied - Now Under Charges

Here are the first paragraphs of the report, read it all here:

MILAN - In March 2003, the Italian national anti-terrorism police received an urgent message from the CIA about a radical Islamic cleric who had mysteriously vanished from Milan a few weeks before. The CIA reported that it had reliable information that the cleric, the target of an Italian criminal investigation, had fled to an unknown location in the Balkans.

In fact, according to Italian court documents and interviews with investigators, the CIA's tip was a deliberate lie, part of a ruse designed to stymie efforts by the Italian anti-terrorism police to track down the cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, an Egyptian refugee known as Abu Omar.

The strategy worked for more than a year until Italian investigators learned that Nasr had not gone to the Balkans after all. Instead, prosecutors here have charged, he was abducted off a street in Milan by a team of CIA operatives who took him to two U.S. military bases in succession and then flew him to Egypt, where he was interrogated and allegedly tortured by Egyptian security agents before being released to house arrest.

Italian anti-terrorism police said they were close to arresting Nasr at the time he disappeared. They had him under regular surveillance, with wiretaps on his home telephone, as part of an investigation into a network of Islamic extremists in northern Italy. His disappearance meant that Italian authorities lost a valuable window into the Islamic underground, prosecutors say.

Now, this was probably not a good guy, but that is not the question. The question is whether we want the CIA doing these sort of operations in a ally country without their permission?

Also, did we mess up a way to legally get this guy off the streets by interfering with the Italian investigation?


WCDP Announces Public Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) Community Forum

OSHKOSH – Before the regular December meeting, the Winnebago County Democratic Party will host a community forum covering the new Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage.

“We are pleased to announce that Candice Corbett, Benefits Specialist for Winnebago County, has agreed to present.” Jef Hall, WCDP Chair said.

“This is a non-partisan community forum. We feel, while we may disagree with the details of the program, it is important to inform the community on their options.” Hall continued. “We hope to help cut through the confusion in the multiple offers and help community members find their best options.”

The forum will be on December 14th, 2005. It will begin at 6:00PM at the Delta Restaurant, 515 N Sawyer St. in Oshkosh.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Community members or press with questions are encouraged to contact:

Jef Hall
Chair, Winnebago County Democratic Party
224A Scott Ave
Oshkosh, WI 54901

Bush (de)Evolution in Action

Wonkette sums it all up here.

Well Said:

From an interview with new AFT President Andy Gussert:
One of our top issues is to try and change the way people talk about public employees here in Wisconsin. A lot of people talk about having morality in government. When you say we’re going to make government run more like business, you’re actually saying we’re going to take the morality out, we’re going to take any factors of what’s right or wrong out, and make it about profit and nothing else. ...


One of the things I said on the convention floor is every union should have a one-page sheet that they give to a new person coming in, 28-year-old, that says this is what you would have been in this position 20 years ago, 10 years ago, and what you’re getting paid now.

So that when someone’s coming in, they don’t just think they’re just simply entitled to it, and they understand in a very selfish way that the labor movement has been working for them for the past decade or two, and they have a better position because of it.

Torture is not US

The American Progress Action Fund put this together - it is worth a look.

Click here.

More on Bush Torture at Yale:

The Yale Dily News picked up on the story of the Doonesbury cartoon, and give what seems to be an in-depth history of it:

The 1967 Yale Daily News article provided a look into the covert hazing practices of fraternities in general, but focused on the DKE branding. Some pledges at the time told the News their branding was preceded by a physical beating.

"By that time, my body was so numb [from the beatings] that the iron felt good, like a match was being held close to my body," an anonymous DKE pledge told the News in 1967.

While the article provoked outrage in the Greek community, most of those who complained expressed anger that fraternities' reputations were being called into question, though few charged that the story was fabricated.

"Once the article came out, nobody denied its truth," Trudeau said. "It became simply a question of characterization."

Another great letter to Altercation:

Read Altercation everyday, if you don't all ready:

The latest post from Brad in Arlington shows how conservatives tend to ascribe everything good in American society to the free market while ignoring the very substantial role played by government. Brad alludes to "the past century of unparalleled economic growth and skyrocketing standards of living in this country," and implicitly concludes that these were caused by "decisions based on profit." What Brad fails to acknowledge is that our "skyrocketing standards of living" owe much to *government* action.

Here are just a few examples:

- Social Security and Medicare, which assure the elderly a minimal income and basic health care in their later years;

- the GI bill, which made higher education a possibility for a huge number of vets and proved their stepping stone into the middle class;

- minimum wage and labor laws, which helped guarantee workers at least a minimal income and protection from inhumane working conditions;

- federal banking regulation, which insures the savings of American businesses and individuals and helps guarantee a stable business and financial environment; and

- environmental laws, which have made the air we breathe and the water we drink cleaner.

I could add other examples, but the obvious point is that all of these things have contributed mightily to America's standard of living and economic progress, but none of them would have been achieved solely through "decisions based on profit." The (often unsung) genius of America's 20th century capitalist system was always its use of government to temper the harsh effects of unfettered capitalism. Sadly, the current regime is trying to repeal as much of this system as possible. Without it, I doubt that America's standard of living will continue to "skyrocket" or that we will see more of the "unparalleled" economic growth Brad trumpets.

The War on Christmas????

Here is a great history of Christmas in America:

But first, I want to skip to the end of the article for the funny part:

Of course, it's not even clear the campaign's leaders really believe in it. Just a few days ago, Fox News's online store was promoting its "Holiday Collection" for shoppers. Among the items offered to put under a "holiday tree" was "The O'Reilly Factor Holiday Ornament." After bloggers pointed this out, Fox changed the "holidays" to "Christmases."

Ok, here are the facts:

What is less obvious, though, is that Christmas's self-proclaimed defenders are rewriting the holiday's history. They claim that the "traditional" American Christmas is under attack by what John Gibson, another Fox anchor, calls "professional atheists" and "Christian haters." But America has a complicated history with Christmas, going back to the Puritans, who despised it. What the boycotters are doing is not defending America's Christmas traditions, but creating a new version of the holiday that fits a political agenda.

The Puritans considered Christmas un-Christian, and hoped to keep it out of America. They could not find Dec. 25 in the Bible, their sole source of religious guidance, and insisted that the date derived from Saturnalia, the Roman heathens' wintertime celebration. On their first Dec. 25 in the New World, in 1620, the Puritans worked on building projects and ostentatiously ignored the holiday. From 1659 to 1681 Massachusetts went further, making celebrating Christmas "by forbearing of labor, feasting or in any other way" a crime.

The concern that Christmas distracted from religious piety continued even after Puritanism waned. In 1827, an Episcopal bishop lamented that the Devil had stolen Christmas "and converted it into a day of worldly festivity, shooting and swearing." Throughout the 1800's, many religious leaders were still trying to hold the line. As late as 1855, New York newspapers reported that Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist churches were closed on Dec. 25 because "they do not accept the day as a Holy One." On the eve of the Civil War, Christmas was recognized in just 18 states.

Christmas gained popularity when it was transformed into a domestic celebration, after the publication of Clement Clarke Moore's "Visit from St. Nicholas" and Thomas Nast's Harper's Weekly drawings, which created the image of a white-bearded Santa who gave gifts to children. The new emphasis lessened religious leaders' worries that the holiday would be given over to drinking and swearing, but it introduced another concern: commercialism. By the 1920's, the retail industry had adopted Christmas as its own, sponsoring annual ceremonies to kick off the "Christmas shopping season."

Religious leaders objected strongly. The Christmas that emerged had an inherent tension: merchants tried to make it about buying, while clergymen tried to keep commerce out. A 1931 Times roundup of Christmas sermons reported a common theme: "the suggestion that Christmas could not survive if Christ were thrust into the background by materialism." A 1953 Methodist sermon broadcast on NBC - typical of countless such sermons - lamented that Christmas had become a "profit-seeking period." This ethic found popular expression in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." In the 1965 TV special, Charlie Brown ignores Lucy's advice to "get the biggest aluminum tree you can find" and her assertion that Christmas is "a big commercial racket," and finds a more spiritual way to observe the day.

This year's Christmas "defenders" are not just tolerating commercialization - they're insisting on it. They are also rewriting Christmas history on another key point: non-Christians' objection to having the holiday forced on them.

The campaign's leaders insist this is a new phenomenon - a "liberal plot," in Mr. Gibson's words. But as early as 1906, the Committee on Elementary Schools in New York City urged that Christmas hymns be banned from the classroom, after a boycott by more than 20,000 Jewish students. In 1946, the Rabbinical Assembly of America declared that calling on Jewish children to sing Christmas carols was "an infringement on their rights as Americans."

Other non-Christians have long expressed similar concerns. For decades, companies have replaced "Christmas parties" with "holiday parties," schools have adopted "winter breaks" instead of "Christmas breaks," and TV stations and stores have used phrases like "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" out of respect for the nation's religious diversity.

It really is sad that people feel that stores, business and commerce are such a reflection of American society that they should be imposed apon for these cultural issues. It is one thing to demand fair wages for workers, it is another to insist on their religion as well.

Worse than Voter ID:

Many of the efforts by Republican Politicians to put through the voter ID bills are just a distraction as they gut our right to vote at other levels. Today's NYTimes editorial covers some of these (including voter ID) - here are some parts:
... the majority party of the moment may not use its powers to strip citizens of their rights, politicize the judicial system or rig the election process to keep itself in office.

The Washington Post's Dan Eggen reported last week that the Justice Department has been suppressing for nearly two years a 73-page memo in which six lawyers and two analysts in the voting rights section, including the group's chief lawyer,
unanimously concluded that the Texas redistricting plan of 2003 illegally diluted the votes of blacks and Hispanics in order to ensure a Republican majority in the state's Congressional delegation. That
plan was shoved through the Texas State Legislature by Representative Tom DeLay, who abused his federal position in doing so and is now facing criminal charges over how money was raised to support the redistricting.

Last month, the Post reported that political appointees also overruled voting rights lawyers who rejected a Georgia law requiring that voters without a picture ID buy one for $20 - at offices that were set up in only 59 of the state's 159 counties. The Justice Department falsely claimed that the decision to O.K. the law - which was little more than a modern-day version of a poll tax aimed
at reducing turnout among poor minorities
- was made with the
concurrence of the career lawyers. A federal court later struck down the law, properly.

The Post said the administration has filed only three lawsuits regarding discrimination in voting. All came this year, and the first accused a majority-black district in Mississippi of discriminating against white voters.

Mr. Bush and his team don't understand that they merely hold the current majority in a system designed to bring periodic changes in the governing party and to protect the rights and values of the minority party. The idea that the winners should trash the system to make sure the democratic process ended with them was discredited back around the time of the Bolsheviks.

Quote of the Day:

In Mr. Shroeder's view, President Bush's war policies have been both tragic and futile. "Staying the course," he said, "is like continuing to pour water into a hole in the sand at the beach, "a process that gets you nowhere."


Another namesake....

I wouldn't mind being this guy right now:

With office vacancy below 10 percent after significant third quarter absorption, "there is not much more room to move," said CBRE Hawaii Economist Jeff