Sandra Day O'Connor on the beginnings of dictatorship:

"I," said O’ Connor, "am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning. Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and formerly Communist countries, where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O’Connor said we must be ever vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship she said, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

Read it all here - and follow the links to the full statement.

A Few More Jef(f) Hall's

We are everywhere:

Seaman Recruit Jeff Hall's photographs

Jeffery Hall, MD

...Worth 1000 Words...

Here's something you can do to help:

Please join Lt. Governor Barb Lawton, State Senator Dave Hansen, Assembly Rep. Tom Nelson and DNC Rep. Stan Gruszynski

To support our three 8th District Congressional Candidates
Steve Kagen
Nancy Nusbaum
Jamie Wall

Rally to Take Back the 8th CD
Sunday, March 12th 12:30 -- 2:30 PM
Brown County Library
515 Pine Street, Green Bay

A candidates reception will follow the speaking program. Stay to speak with our Lt. Governor, Congressional and Assembly candidates!

Please RSVP for the rally

By email olsona@dnc.org or by calling Annie Olson at 920-569-6226

The Democratic Party also needs volunteers to help make the rally a success. Please contact Annie Olson if you are able to help.

* Help with rally set up -- 3:00 - 5:00 pm Saturday, March 11th
* Volunteer to bring food or beverages for the rally
*Volunteer at the sign in table for the rally
* Tell your friends, and help spread the word about the rally

Annie Olson
NE Wisconsin Field Coordinator
Democratic Party of WI

More Discrimination From WI Republicans

Proposed Amendment on Voter ID Advances
Associated Press
Voters would have to show a state or federal photo identification card to vote under a proposed amendment to the state constitution that has won preliminary approval from the state Senate.
The Republican-controlled Senate approved the amendment 20 to 13 Wednesday night, but Democrats used a procedural move to delay the plan from moving out of the chamber until Thursday (March 9, 2006).
Final approval by the Senate would put the proposal over the first hurdle in the process to rewrite the constitution to add the requirement.
The full Legislature would have to approve it again in the next two-year session before it could go to voters in a statewide referendum for final approval.
As a constitutional amendment, the proposal bypasses Gov. Jim Doyle, who opposes the voter ID requirement.

I'm Everywhere

Jeff Hall - College Tennis

Dr. Jeffery L. Hall - Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Today in History - Civil War/Naval Turning Point Edition

From the NYTimes 'On This Day':

On March 9, 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclads Monitor and Virginia (formerly Merrimac) clashed for five hours to a draw at Hampton Roads, Va.

It is interesting to read the entire article. It is here.

Other events today:

Congress, called into special session by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, began its 100 days of enacting New Deal legislation.

CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow critically reviewed Wisconsin Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy's anti-Communism campaign on ''See It Now.''

Alan Greenspan's Memior (Funny)

Rick Moranis writes what he envisions the first page of this book would be here.


Study: Republican's Made by Nurture, not Nature...

Roots of altruism show in babies’ helping hands
Toddlers eager to help out, even with no prospect of reward

WASHINGTON - Oops, the scientist dropped his clothespin. Not to worry — a wobbly toddler raced to help, eagerly handing it back. The simple experiment shows the capacity for altruism emerges as early as 18 months of age.

Toddlers’ endearing desire to help out actually signals fairly sophisticated brain development, and is a trait of interest to anthropologists trying to tease out the evolutionary roots of altruism and cooperation.

Psychology researcher Felix Warneken performed a series of ordinary tasks in front of toddlers, such as hanging towels with clothespins or stacking books. Sometimes he “struggled” with the tasks; sometimes he deliberately messed up.

Over and over, whether Warneken dropped clothespins or knocked over his books, each of 24 toddlers offered help within seconds — but only if he appeared to need it. Video shows how one overall-clad baby glanced between Warneken’s face and the dropped clothespin before quickly crawling over, grabbing the object, pushing up to his feet and eagerly handing back the pin.

Warneken never asked for the help and didn’t even say “thank you,” so as not to taint the research by training youngsters to expect praise if they helped. After all, altruism means helping with no expectation of anything in return.

And — this is key — the toddlers didn’t bother to offer help when he deliberately pulled a book off the stack or threw a pin to the floor, Warneken, of Germany’s Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, reports Thursday in the journal Science.

To be altruistic, babies must have the cognitive ability to understand other people’s goals plus possess what Warneken calls “pro-social motivation,” a desire to be part of their community.

“When those two things come together — they obviously do so at 18 months of age and maybe earlier — they are able to help,” Warneken explained.

What happens to these poor, caring kids between 18 months and 18 years old when roughly half of them become Republican voters?

Maybe this guy is on to something:

Hagan's proposal: Ban Republicans from adopting children.

In an e-mail dispatched to fellow legislators last week, the senator announced his plan to "introduce legislation in the near future that would ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents."

Explaining that "policymakers in (Ohio) have ignored this growing threat to our communities for far too long," Hagan wrote: "Credible research exists that strongly suggests that adopted children raised in Republican households, though significantly wealthier than their Democrat-raised counterparts, are more at risk for developing emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, an alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves, and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.

"In addition," the Democrat noted, "I have spoken to many adopted children raised in Republican households who have admitted that 'well, it's just plain boring most of the time.'"

Hagan acknowledges that the "credible research" to which he refers cannot be quantified. But that should not be a problem, he explains, as a bill proposed by Republican state Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville, which would prohibit adoptions of children by gay and lesbian couples, suffers from a similar deficiency.

A good lesson for everyone to learn:

Elections matter – President Bush was able to stack our highest court with his anti-choice nominees. It’s no coincidence that anti-choice groups immediately pushed to ban abortion and directly challenge Roe v. Wade,” said Kelda Helen Roys, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin and an attorney. “Here in Wisconsin, we must focus on re-electing Governor Jim Doyle, and winning pro-choice seats in the Assembly and Senate, or we very well might see the right to choose eliminated.

Bush Can't Tranfer Gitmo Prisoners to Afganistan:

Why? They don't allow prisons without convictions:

The United States is negotiating with Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen to return nearly all the detainees who are from those countries. In Afghanistan and Yemen, the men will reportedly be housed in U.S.-funded prisons. Talks on the possible wholesale transfers have been going on since last summer. Among the apparent sticking points: Afghanistan, like most countries, has a constitution that doesn't allow for prisoners to be held indefinitely without trial.

So, we are more restrictive than Afganistan...

Bush v Lincoln:

An interesting viewpoint here.


From Newsweek:

Elsewhere, President Bush acknowledged today that the U.S. had not yet found Osama bin Laden, but added, "On the positive side, we continue to arrest Cindy Sheehan."


More Fun With Tommy...

How is Tommy Thompson spending the evening tonight?

Rep. Tom DeLay, whose association with lobbyist Jack Abramoff has left him politically vulnerable, is spending Texas' primary night Tuesday at a fundraiser hosted by two Washington lobbyists.

The fundraiser is being held by lobbyists Bill Paxon and Susan Molinari, both former members of Congress from New York. The event will raise money for DeLay's re-election campaign.

Other hosts are former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, an Akin Gump partner, three other lobbyists with Akin Gump and the Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Civic Action Committee, a political action committee.

Thompson's Red Cross Neglect and More:

Here is a good story on the Journal's love-affair with Tonmmy - in which this little nugget surfaced:

Charles E. Grassley, the Republican senator from Iowa, criticized the Red Cross and noted the poor attendance of eight board members appointed by the White House, including his fellow Republican, Tommy Thompson. That’s right, Thompson, the guy who’s giving corporate America 233% of his time, gave the Red Cross just 6%, missing 15 of 16 board meetings during his three years on the board (2002-’05). Would this sort of attendance help explain how he’s able to juggle his appointments to so many boards?

It seems that Tommy is much too busy making himself money to do anything about the Red Cross.

Another Republican, another tie to failure.

More Distractions from Madison...

Did you check out the newest singe from the band that brought us Concealed Carry, Gay Marriage, Stem Cell Bans, TABOR and many other items that will not, as Gov Doyle put it:

"The bill does not create a single job, help a single Wisconsin citizen afford health care or improve schools for a single Wisconsin child," Doyle said in a statement. "The Legislature should spend more time trying to get jobs into our communities"

Now what is it? The death penalty.

I urge you, as you evaluate your candidates this year, listen to them. And evaluate them based on the criteria above.

Catholics Against Sensenbrenner:

It has been a long time since this country heard a call to organized lawbreaking on this big a scale. Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation's largest, urged parishioners on Ash Wednesday to devote the 40 days of Lent to fasting, prayer and reflection on the need for humane reform of immigration laws. If current efforts in Congress make it a felony to shield or offer support to illegal immigrants, Cardinal Mahony said, he will instruct his priests — and faithful lay Catholics — to defy the law.

The cardinal's focus of concern is H.R. 4437, a bill sponsored by James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin and Peter King of New York. This grab bag legislation, which was recently passed by the House, would expand the definition of "alien smuggling" in a way that could theoretically include working in a soup kitchen, driving a friend to a bus stop or caring for a neighbor's baby. Similar language appears in legislation being considered by the Senate this week.

The enormous influx of illegal immigrants and the lack of a coherent federal policy to handle it have prompted a jumble of responses by state and local governments, stirred the passions of the nativist fringe, and reinforced anxieties since 9/11. Cardinal Mahony's defiance adds a moral dimension to what has largely been a debate about politics and economics. "As his disciples, we are called to attend to the last, littlest, lowest and least in society and in the church," he said.

The cardinal is right to argue that the government has no place criminalizing the charitable impulses of private institutions like his, whose mission is to help people with no questions asked. The Los Angeles Archdiocese, like other religious organizations across the country, runs a vast network of social service programs offering food and emergency shelter, child care, aid to immigrants and refugees, counseling services, and computer and job training. Through Catholic Charities and local parishes, the church is frequently the help of last resort for illegal immigrants in need. It should not be made an arm of the immigration police as well.

Cardinal Mahony's declaration of solidarity with illegal immigrants, for whom Lent is every day, is a startling call to civil disobedience, as courageous as it is timely. We hope it forestalls the day when works of mercy become a federal crime.

Good quote from Friedman:

in the NYTimes:

President Bush's decision to approach the Iraq invasion with the Rumsfeld Doctrine, which calls for just enough troops to fail, rather than the proven Powell Doctrine, which calls for overwhelming force to win.

More from the article:

This did not have to be. The Bush team repeatedly declared that it had enough troops in Iraq and that no one on the ground was asking for more. Totally untrue. As Paul Bremer, who led the U.S. civilian administration in Iraq, reveals in his new book, "My Year in Iraq," he repeatedly asked for more troops, but was ignored.

Mr. Bremer confesses in his book: "Coalition forces were spread too thin on the ground. During my morning intelligence briefings, I would sometimes picture an understrength fire crew racing from one blaze to another." He writes that he told Condoleezza Rice in 2003, "The coalition's got about half the number of soldiers we need here, and we run a real risk of having this thing go south on us."

Mr. Bremer describes this in 2004: "On May 18, I gave Rice a heads-up that I intended to send Secretary Rumsfeld a very private message suggesting that the coalition needed more troops. ... That afternoon I sent my message. ... I noted that the deterioration of the security situation since April had made it clear, to me at least, that we were trying to cover too many fronts with too few resources." But, Mr. Bremer writes of Mr. Rumsfeld, "I did not hear back from him."


Anonymous Posts may be rude and irritating, however...

this South Korean initiative goes way too far. And is a reason to fight Sensenbrenner on his national ID ideas:

Now, law enforcement and the government are taking action.

Trying to prevent anonymous attacks, the government said in December it would require Web sites to confirm users' real names before they can post. Many South Korean Web sites already require users to enter their national identification numbers to get accounts, which are verified through a government system.


The Journal on Walker and Budgeting:

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's financial mayday message last week about the county budget got everybody's attention. But as the debate is joined, here's something to keep in mind: The county's fiscal problems are so complex and so intertwined with the state, politics and the rising cost of health care that finding solutions is going to require more cooperation than confrontation.

Not surprisingly, Walker's critics quickly seized on his message about doom and gloom to point out that, since he took office in 2002, Walker is basically admitting that he has failed and that his emphasis on not raising the property tax levy has only made things worse by underfunding operations.

Fair enough - but only up to a point. What critics overlook is that county supervisors also are culpable. While criticizing much of Walker's proposal and his timing, two veteran County Board members, Richard Nyklewicz, chairman of the Finance Committee, and Roger Quindel, former chairman of the Personnel Committee, readily concede that supervisors must share the blame and that some of the problems predate Walker. You can add legislators and the governor to that list for not providing more aid to the county to fund services the state mandates.

Although Walker, who is running for governor, has been too unyielding in trying to hold the line on taxes, he correctly points out that the county only has so much wiggle room under state law anyway; it can raise its 2007 levy by about $7 million, far short of what it will need.

But Walker has been too quick in the past to turn to the same punching bags: his predecessor, F. Thomas Ament, and the pension scandal. Quindel says that only 10% of the county's structural deficit is due to pension enhancements and that supervisors have taken steps to eliminate much of those enhancements for current employees.

Walker has proposed a change in state law to void parts of contracts with labor unions and has appealed for more aid from the state to ward off bankruptcy.

While the county certainly has problems, Walker has overdramatized these, and his remedies are too adversarial, especially with unions, which have made many concessions and have bargained in good faith.

Walker's timing here couldn't have been worse. Quindel notes that the county Friday gave its largest union its final binding offer.

Good point. Here's another. In rightly appealing to the state for more help to pay for state-mandated services, Walker has painted himself into a political corner since he strongly supports a constitutional amendment to control state and local spending.

Walker told us he is only asking for an end to state-mandated county spending, not for new state money or taxes. Sorry, but that explanation rings hollow given demands on the state's own budget.

And, given the county's problems, Walker should reconsider his opposition to a proposed advisory referendum for a 0.25% sales tax to support county parks.

Rather than risking long legal battles to force employees and retirees to give back health benefits won in collective bargaining, Walker should focus more attention on a core problem - controlling regional health care costs, which are way above the national average, as shown by a General Accountability Office report last year. About 52% of the county levy now goes for health care, compared with 29% six years ago.

At the same time, however, the county should not give up on efforts to convince employees and retirees to make more concessions to stave off bankruptcy.

A good way to start would be for Walker and the county to develop a long-range plan for unfunded pension liabilities, starting with a comprehensive actuarial analysis of the pension. This should be a priority.

In my opinion, Walker is the poster child for hypocrite. He wants to fully fund the county Govt that he is in charge of, yet he supports TABOR and lower taxes over any other policy.

We need to stop talking only about taxes and speak of services as well. A balance needs to be achieved.

Joke of the Week

From Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me:

Dick Cheney's Approval ratings are now 18%. That means that the man who he shot in the face likes him better than 80% of America.

A Quick Thought as I Watch the Oscars...

Philip Seymour Hoffman just won the Oscar (I was rooting for him).

I had a thought, one that I had when Halle Berry & Gweneth Paltrow won as well.

They gave great, emotional speaches. But, they just won for acting. Can we trust the speach is really that heartfelt?

Just a thought.

No biggie. They all deserved to win.

And, watch everything Philip Seymour Hoffman has done - he is amazing. And Wisconsin's own Ben Masel shows up in the documentry the Last Party.

Moderate Republicans are Endangered Species in Madison

Stew Rieckman is spot on here:

Such is the charade that is being played out in Madison as a prelude to the November election, when Republicans would love nothing better than to make Jim Doyle a one-term governor.

If we are able to set aside for a moment the debate over the two constitutional amendments, we can get a clearer picture of the true nature of politics in Madison. Ready? OK, hold your nose and ask yourself, "Why would a politician who has doubts that a ban on gay marriages belongs in the constitution vote in favor of the amendment anyway?" If your answer is: "It is more important to maintain power than it is to vote your conscience," you have a good understanding why former senators are going to jail and a current representative is on trial.

Need more evidence? Sen. Mary Panzer, the moderate Republican majority leader, was defeated in 2004 in the primary election by Rep. Glenn Grothman, an almost-unprecedented turn of events. The conservative wing of her party targeted Panzer because she could not muster the votes to pass the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment, which was the ugly stepsister of the Taxpayer Protection Plan.

It really didn't matter, however, because the ultra-conservatives in Madison got to throw Panzer under the bus for sport, sending a warning to other moderate Republicans. Which may also help explain why Rep. Gregg Underheim decided not to run for re-election. In the world of Madison politics, moderate Republicans are an endangered species.

Read more detail here.

Doonesbury on Bush Science