Friday, August 29, 2008

Off To The Northwoods

We're off to enjoy the long holiday weekend at our little shack up north.

Have a safe and happy weekend. See ya Monday.

Political Football

As I was perusing the Intertubes to get a sense of people's reactions to both Obama's speech and to McCain's VP pick, I was struck my the way things were going. It was like watching a big football game. On one hand, we had the Democrats, who are the popular team, and who many expected to win. On the other side of the field, were the Republicans, with a history of cheap shots and playing dirty.

As the game started, the Democrats, with Obama playing quarterback, were on a tear. They were beating teams they weren't supposed to beat, to get to the big game. The Republicans, the defending champs, were going on as business as usual, but were becoming increasingly nervous as the game approached.

The game started with the Dems having the ball. There were running plays and passing plays, some gained little yardage, others were long balls that put the team in the position for the score. Some drives ended in field goals, some in touchdowns. Each player did their job, following the basics, which allowed Obama to throw a deep touchdown pass, that looked like they cinched the game.

When the Repubs had the ball, with McCain under center, they would often run plays that got them little or no yardage, and only the scores were the very infrequent field goal. Meanwhile, they kept taking their cheap shots, their late hits and any other trick they thought might give them the advantage. But all their efforts were still falling short.

The Repubs were furious and started screaming about dirty blows, cheap shots and that the refs (the media) were bought and were rigging the game. Ironic, since they are the ones with the long history of doing what they were accusing the Dems of doing.

Then, after Obama's long bomb for the seeming clinching win, McCain, on first and ten, started to punt.

That is when the fans started cheering the second string quarterback. Actually, the fans were confused. Some thought they were cheering the second string quarterback, and some thought they were cheering for the cheerleader. Others, for some strange reason, thought that their second string quarter back, who hadn't taken a snap in a regular season game, would make half of the other team's fans switch jerseys. (I still don't get that one, and neither does the targeted side of the fans.)

And that sports fans, leads you up to the second quarter. We will rejoin the game for the second quarter (the Repub convention) after these words from our sponsors...

I Still Remember, Ma

I've written about my mother here and there before. She was a wonderful, kind woman who was taken by cancer at the much too young age of 55.

It was nine years ago today, at 4:05 p.m., when I was at St. Luke's Hospital, holding my mom's hand as she took her last breath.

I remember when I was a boy, she made sure to take the time from her busy day to teach me things. Things like how to sew a button on a shirt. How to cook a basic meal, one that didn't come from a can, a box, and needed more than four minutes in a microwave. How to wash my clothes, and to be sure to separate the colors from the whites. She taught me how to do comparative shopping, so that you can get the best deal, and the value of coupons. If I started to complain, she would tell me, in a uncanny prescient way, that if something ever happened to her, she would be damned if her son wouldn't be able to take care of himself.

I remember how proud she was when I graduated from high school. I remember how much prouder she was when I was the first member of my family, on either side, to graduate from college.

I remember, when, on my 15th birthday, she sat outside in the car, while I was inside for my first job interview. I remember how she seemed to be more nervous than I was, and how she cried with joy when I came out and told her that I had been hired.

I remember how proud she was of me when I would spend my spring breaks up north, helping my grandparents, chopping and hauling wood, running errands, and the such. I remember how she was proud of me for still taking my final exam before rushing up north to be in time for her mother's funeral. She had taught me that responsibilities are important, and family is one's number one responsibility.

She taught me how to laugh at myself. She taught me to think of how the other person might feel, before I say or do something rash. She taught me that I shouldn't sweat the small stuff and that it's all small stuff.

I remember how she laid in the hospital bed during the last month of her life, and despite feeling sick, despite being in constant pain from the cancer, she made sure I knew the recipes to all of the family's favorite meals. Even the odd things, like spaghetti made with tuna (don't knock it until you've tried it), or stroganoff, or goulash. I remember her telling me where she kept things around the house, because she knew my dad would forget and would end up calling and asking me if I knew where this thing or that thing was kept (she was right).

And every time she would tell me one of these things, she would always start out with, "Now remember..." Then she would quiz me to make sure I did remember.

Nine years later, and I still remember, Ma.

What Of Experience?

One of the talking points that the right has been beating into the ground is that Obama has "lack of experience."

But what good is 25+ years of experience, if you're still consistently wrong?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

No, No Bias Here To See

Today is the day that Barack Obama will give his acceptance speech to become the official Democratic nominee for President of the United States. It is shaping up to be a grand affair, to be held at Inevsco Field. Many of the major news sources, and every right wing blogger, and the squawking heads of local radio, have reported that the stage is being set up to look like some kind of temple.

McCain, and the soulless shills like Charlie Sykes, have had a field day, mocking the so-called "temple."

No one as actually thought about it and realized that the "temple"

Actually resemble the Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech.

But somehow, I am not surprised that these people would not be able and/or willing to make the connection of Obama's run for the White House and racial equality. Equality is too foreign of a concept to them.

Drill Here! Drill Now!

This is where the drilling will occur if McCain, AFP and the rest of the right wingers get their way:

Of course, their shouts should really be "Spill Here! Spill Now!"

Tip of the crown to James Rowen

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It Is Only A Matter Of Time

John McCain can be called a lot of things, and usually has been. But the one thing that McCain can never, ever be called is consistent.

The Carpetbagger Report has been kind enough to list 75 different things that McCain has reversed his position on distinctly different things. Why is this important? From the article:
So why do McCain’s flip-flops matter? Because all available evidence suggests his reversals aren’t sincere, they’re cynically calculated for political gain. This isn’t indicative of an open mind; it’s actually indicative of a character flaw. And given the premise of McCain’s presidential campaign, it’s an area in desperate need of scrutiny.

The perception people have of McCain is outdated, reflective of a man who no longer has any use for his previous persona. What’s wrong with a politician who changes his or her views? Nothing in particular, but when a politician changes his views so much that he has an entirely different worldview, is it unreasonable to wonder whether it’s entirely sincere? Especially when there’s no other apparent explanation for six dozen significant reversals?

McCain has been in Congress for more than a quarter-century; he’s bound to shift now and then on various controversies. But therein lies the point — McCain was consistent on most of these issues, right up until he started running for president, at which point he conveniently abandoned literally dozens of positions he used to hold. The problem isn’t just the incessant flip-flops — though that’s part of it — it’s more about the shameless pandering and hollow convictions behind the incessant flip-flops. That the media still perceives McCain as some kind of “straight talker” who refuses to sway with the political winds makes this all the more glaring.

The CB Report then provides us with the list that includes, but in no way, shape or form, is limited to:
  1. Guatanomo Bay
  2. Wiretapping
  3. Waterboarding
  4. Pakistan
  5. Cuba
  6. Georgia (the country-he hasn't made his mind up about the state yet)
  7. Syria
  8. Donald Rumsfeld
  9. The Surge
  10. Iraqi timetables
  11. Expanding the GI Bill
  12. Yucca Mountain
  13. Abortion
  14. Privatizing Social Security
  15. The NRA
  16. Gay Rights
  17. Bush's tax cuts
  18. Ethanol
  19. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday as a holiday
  20. The Confederate flag
  21. Creationism
  22. Equal pay for women
  23. No Child Left Behind
  24. Affirmative Action
  25. Coastal drilling for oil
  26. Global climate change
  27. Illegal Immigrants
  28. Lobbyists
  29. John Hagee
  30. Rod Parsley
  31. Jerry Falwell
  32. Grover Norquist

And that's only a small part of the list, gentle reader.

Given the amazing amount of flip-flops, I feel safe to say that it will be only a matter of time, maybe even by tomorrow, that McCain once again does a major reversal:

He will endorse Barack Obama for President of the United States.

Will There Be Cake?

On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made land fall. It subsequently damn near destroyed the town of New Orleans. Some 1,800 people lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands of people were homeless, and some still are.

In the ultimate act of elitism, while these poor people of New Orleans were just trying to survive, we all know where George W. Bush and John S. McCain were. They were celebrating McCain's birthday, complete with cake:

Three years later, almost to the date, Hurricane Gustav is coming. Unfortunately, for the Republicans, it is predicted to make landfall while McCain is parading around the country to try to get support for his candidacy, and his veep nominee. It is also just before the Republican convention, which is also to star Bush.

Given Bush's track record, I have no hope for him to have learned from his past mistakes. I don't hold any more hope out for McCain, since he is eager to repeat Bush's mistakes as well.

Saying that, I don't expect much from these two, if the worst were to happen and Gustave does hit New Orleans.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised in the least, if they considered doing a reenactment. But maybe they did learn something, and they will leave the cake out of it. Either way, there is one thing I know that we will see again:

On a side note of interest and ominous foreboding, Gustav means "staff of the gods." Well, I'm sure that there will be enough religious nutcases, like Pat Patterson, at hand, to tell us that the hurricane is all Obama's fault.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Scott Walker: Hypocritical Pre-reactionist

Even before Governor Jim Doyle gave his speech at the Democratic National Convention today, Walker issued his latest campaign release. In his release, Walker criticized Doyle for "broken promises":

Jim Doyle will address the Democratic National Convention today with the theme of Renewing America's Promise. Let's take a look at Jim Doyle's promises.

"Before the last election, Jim Doyle told the people of Wisconsin in his State of the State address that, ‘We should not - we must not - and I will not - raise taxes.' After the last election, he introduced a state budget that raised taxes and fees by more than $3 billion.

This Pecksniffian statement is ridiculous, coming from Walker, of all people.

To begin with, the quoted statement from Doyle wasn't even a campaign promise. Doyle made the statement in his 2003 State of the State address, three full years before his next election.

And Walker does not have the higher ground by any circumstance. He has barely yet to keep any of the campaign promises he made in 2002 when he first became County Executive.

To look at more recent history, in the election he just won this year over State Senator Lena Taylor, he ran on a slogan of Safety, Affordability and Pride. Let's look at those.


Walker's first budget proposal after his re-election includes releasing convicts on the streets, and putting the whole work release program in the hands of Sheriff David Clarke, who can't even run his own jail. And for the inmates that stay in prison, Walker is proposing cutting all rehabilitation services, so that when the inmates are released, they have no viable skills to help them avoid committing more crimes.


Walker has two major blunders already in his 2009 budget, which are less than affordable. The first his pressing desire to move the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division to the old St. Michael's campus. He is pushing this on a no bid contract that turns out to be millions of dollars more expensive than to tear down the existing structure and rebuilding it.

Also, he is trying to damage Milwaukee's already frail economy even further. Not even considering his siderodromophobia, he is also cutting back further on the services of the mass transit system. This will only keep workers from jobs, employers won't want to move here if they can't get the workers, and business will suffer if their customers can't reach them. None of this matters to Walker, though, as long as he keeps his eyes on the governor's mansion.


Not only does Walker propose to let the indigent dead pile wherever they may fall, but he also plans on removing the last vestiges of once was a nationally recognized park system.

That will surely bring pride to the few citizens that remain.

Perhaps Scott Walker should focus on keeping his own promises and straightening out his own budget mess before worrying about anyone else's.

Special thanks to Gretchen Schuldt for doing the heavy lifting.

Dead (And) Broke In Milwaukee County

Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story about Reverend Debra Trakel of St. James Episcopal Church in Milwaukee. Reverend Trakel was performing a funeral service for a baby that had died on July 4, but whose body was never claimed.

From the article:
Tuesday’s was her first service for a child.

“No one should be buried alone,” she said.

Trakel began her funeral ministry in 2004 after reading a newspaper article about a homeless man who died of exposure in a parked van.

Her own church ministers to the homeless, feeding as many as 300 people a day, she said. But she realized that she’d never pondered the question: What happens to them when they die?

What happens, she said, is that the county arranges for their burial, but no service. In most cases, family or friends come forward to remember their dead. But there are always those who have no one.

It is sad that even little babies would not have anyone to say a prayer or some kind words unless these people volunteered to do so. Even then, they have to scramble to get it done, as that the county won't pay for the 10 or 15 minutes it takes to perform a basic service.

What MSJ failed to report was in the budget proposal for 2009*, Scott Walker wants to do away with all indigent burials, except for John Does. The proposal calls for reducing expenditures by $315,000, leaving $10,000 for John Doe burials. It further states that the anticipated impact would affect 300 to 400 indigent burials next year.

Disturbingly, the proposal does not say what will happen to those 300-400 bodies that are unclaimed, or which the family can not afford to pay for the funeral.

I guess, along with his belief that everyone in Milwaukee County should have and drive a car, he is expecting everyone that is poor to be kind enough to cross the county line before expiring. It is their civic duty after all.

Just make sure you're not caught dead and broke in Milwaukee County.

*I do not have a link, only a hard copy. For those who doubt the veracity of my statements, I will be glad to meet them at Kinko's, where they may make photocopies of the entire packet, at their expense.

This Explains The Stammering

Earlier this month, grumps showed us a video with Spuds McCain sputtering and stuttering when he was caught telling another lie. Or as grumps puts it: Watch him react like a cow on ice when he gets the question.

Thanks to the creators of Shoe, we now understand why:

Carlson On McHomes

From the still missed Stuart Carlson:

The Difference

For once, Spuds McCain tells the truth:

PHOENIX (AP) — Republican presidential candidate John McCain called rival Barack Obama his "very honorable opponent" on Monday as he began a busy week of low-key events while Democrats prepared to nominate Obama.

"This is a tough presidential campaign we're in," McCain said. "I have a very honorable opponent. There are stark differences between us."

But we already knew that, didn't we?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sister, Can You Spare A Dime?

With Michelle Obama giving her speech at the Democratic Convention tonight, I would say it will be a pretty good bet what we will see and hear tomorrow.

A lot of the right wingers will be falling all over themselves to repeat their spin of her speech in Milwaukee earlier this year. They will echo their echoes of "Michelle Obama is just now proud of her country?" This is of course a long, hard spin of what she really said, but they don't have much else to go on, and they don't feel really all that good about their candidate. All they have to hope for (pun intended) is to change (another intended pun) how people feel about McCain by tearing down the Obamas.

Their desperation is so palpable, that they are now trying to go after Senator Obama regarding a half-brother.

Their problem is that in their desperation, their hypocrisy oozes out. The right seem to want to overlook the fact that Cindy McCain, who has repeatedly called herself an only child, isn't one. Now, it is hard to spin a simple fact like this. One either has siblings or one doesn't. No need for wild interpretations here.

It makes one wonder what other things are hiding in the closets in the McCain's multiple houses.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Those Family Values

Four months ago, there was a story raging across the country regarding a religious cult in Texas, led by polygamist child abuser, Warren Jeffs. It was controversial because the State of Texas, rightfully so, decided to take all the children into custody until things were sorted out.

Surprisingly, some on the right argued against protecting the children. They felt that it was wrong to protect children from child molesters, as long as those molesters were of the religious kind. I argued here and there on how wrong their position was, and that the children's best interest needed to come first.

I was completely dismayed when the courts ordered the children back to their parents' care. I was afraid for their safety and believed that these children were going to be abused again.

Unfortunately, I was correct.

This past week there were two stories that hit the media. The first reported how the State of Texas is now seeking eight children be returned to foster care due to concerns of ongoing child molestation.

The second story offers a little more detail. It appears that the State has resigned itself to have to investigate each child before going back to court. Meanwhile, this happens:
District Judge Barbara Walther said that there was "uncontroverted evidence of the underage marriage" and that the girl's mother, Barbara Jessop, refused to guarantee the girl's safety. The girl, shown in photographs submitted to the court kissing Jeffs, must immediately enter foster care.

Her 11-year-old brother, whom Texas child welfare authorities also wanted placed in foster care, will be allowed to stay with his mother but will have to undergo psychological evaluation in the next month


In the case of the 14-year-old allegedly married to Jeffs, Walther said she felt she had to place the girl in foster care because Jessop "was unable to provide assurances that she'd be able to protect the child in the future."

On Monday, Jessop refused to answer roughly 50 questions asked by attorneys for Child Protective Services, including what constituted abuse, the names of her children and her relationship with their father.

"I stand on the Fifth (Amendment)," she said repeatedly.

I won't go into the irony of how the same people are concerned about the rights of the newborn show such lack of concern for the already born. It just bothers me and makes me wonder, even as I write this, how many more of these children are going to go through this extra tour of hell on earth, before they too can get the protection that they deserve.

McCain's VP Choice

Apparently inspired by this post, a friend of Cog Dis sent in the following tip, McCain is ready to announce his selection to be his running mate. This VP wannabe was carefully chosen by McCain to compliment his own strengts, and someone that he could feel comfortable with and was of similar minds with him on every single subject.

And here is a picture of them together, along with their new campaign slogan:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Funniest. Comment. Evah.

From a comment thread at this post on folkbum's:
I have read that Jindal is a Sikh who took the governor's oath on the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Odds are the Cryptkeeper will tap the Chocolate Krishna to balance out his pasty paleness.Hermann 08.21.08 - 10:07 am

It's a perfect parody of how inane the right's arguments are about Obama.

Brennan Moves Up

Congratulations are in order for Milwaukee County Chief Judge Kitty Brennan, who has recently been appointed to the 1st District Court of Appeals. Her leadership in Milwaukee County will be missed.

The frightening aspect is who will be her successor. Her successor will be appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which was recently bought by the WMC, and so there is valid concern about whether they will choose the best choice, or the one that their conservative handlers want them to choose.

Why is it so important? Well, when Brennan was appointed to the role in 2005, she immediately had a trial by fire, having to fight off Milwaukee County Executor Scott Walker, and his poorly thought through draconian cuts to the courts.

The new Chief Judge will have a similar battle ahead of them, as Walker is going to come out with his 2009 budget proposal soon. It is sure to contain similar foolishness. And Walker will have a strong motivation to make a name for himself. He is hoping to run for governor in 2010, and he needs to not only make his name known to the state, but to also make himself look good. This will be a big challenge for him, considering that barely half of Milwaukee County knows who he is.

Tell Us Something We Don't Know

Keith Olbermann has a segment on his show in which he calls out the "worst persons in the world." Good old John Gard made it to the list recently. From All Politics, the JSOnline political blog:
On the show, Olbermann said the Gard campaign had been caught earlier this summer distributing flyers that said Cuba was drilling for oil in the Florida Straits. Olbermann said Gard stopped making the claim when advised that was "horse hockey" but has recently come out with an ad saying Cuba was poised to drill for oil off their shores. Olbermann dismissed that claim, saying Cuba had entered into lease agreements with foreign countries to explore for oil on land.

Here's what is actually happening. No one is drilling off the coast of Cuba. But the communist island has entered into exploration contracts with companies in Norway, Malaysia and Spain to drill for oil off its shores. Norway is expected to begin exploratory drilling in 2009.

While Olbermann thought Gard was bad, he called Gen. David Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, "worser" and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh the "worst."

Nothing we didn't know, but it's nice to hear others confirm it.

The Cheesecake Factory

For some reason which is unfathomable to me, people like my restaurant reviews, so I will give you another one.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of joining Greg Kowalski, author of Metro Milwaukee Today, for lunch. We agreed to meet at the Cheesecake Factory by Mayfair Mall. It is one of his favorite restaurants, and I wanted to see what all the hullabaloo was about.

We met there just as the lunch rush was ending, and were seated right away. I took a few moments to look around the restaurant. It was decorated in some sort of Egyptian/Byzantine design, and I wondered why they chose that theme. More on that later.

The menu was very expansive, and it would be hard for even the most finicky eater to find something that he or she didn't like. I ordered the lunch-portion of plain grilled salmon. After the waitress put in our order, she brought us a bowl of fresh bread. There was a selection of what appeared and tasted like French bread, as well as a dark rye bread, both of which were made in a more of a bread stick type of form. I opted for one of the French breads, and was pleased to find it still warm and rather tasty.

In a relatively short amount of time, the waitress brought our meals. The salmon fillet was accompanied by a serving of broccoli florets, french fries and, strangely, tartar sauce. I was kind of surprised by the tartar sauce. To me, putting tartar sauce on salmon would be akin to putting ketchup on a T-bone steak. I gave my bowl of tartar sauce to Greg, who had ordered a fish fry.

The salmon was very good. The portion was a little small for the price, but it was cooked to perfection. It was moist and delicately seasoned. (I am usually trepid about ordering salmon in most restaurant. They tend to drown the fish in one sauce or another and ruin the taste of the fish, in my humble opinion.)

It was also the best part of the meal. The broccoli was not fresh, and overcooked. It was soft and rather tasteless. The fries were OK, but way over-salted. Due to trying to keep from developing high blood pressure, which runs on both sides of my family, I tend to cook without any salt, unless it is included with some of the ingredients, and so I have developed a strong sensitivity to it. There was enough salt on those fries that I could barely taste the fries themselves.

As we were waiting for the bill, I took a closer look around. While the restaurant was bright and well lit, it was also rather busy with the decorations, including having the ceiling painted in what looked like something Michelangelo might have done...when he was three years old. To me, the gaudy decorations were rather ostentatious and distracting.

The service was prompt and attentive. While it was apparent that the management was trying to emphasize a personal feel, they obviously decided that the way to do that would be to have the wait staff follow a scripted set of lines, thereby destroying any attempts at homeyness, and making the poor waitress sound like a phone solicitor.

Overall, the restaurant was OK, but I don't know that I would go back there, unless it was part of a function. The food had its good and bad points, but it was on the expensive side, especially for what you get. It might be a nice restaurant for a young man that wanted to impress his date, or for an occasional change of pace, but for an established family with tight finances, it would not be a regular stop.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tonight's Game

The Pack is playing tonight. I don't know if I will be able to catch any of it, due to going out with the family. And I don't really care one way or the other.

But I do think it is rather telling when they are considering a preseason game to be a "must win" situation.

The only thing more desperate is the right wing's fear and smear tactics.

Any thoughts on how the game's gonna go tonight?

Would You Like Fries With That?

Serendipity can be a wonderful thing.

As I was perusing Sitemeter, I noticed that I've been getting quite a number of hits from all around the country from people who are Googling the words "McCain logo," which leads them to this post.

As I continued to investigate this phenomenon, I came across an amazing discovery.

As I noted before, Paris Hilton is contemplating suing McCain's campaign for violating "right of publicity laws." Likewise, grumps has noted that other celebrities are after his campaign for using their stuff without permission.

They're not the only ones who are having their rights run over by the "Straight Talk Express."

Anyone who has gone grocery shopping has probably heard of McCain Potatoes. They produce a line of frozen potato products like french fries, waffle fries and the such.
But that is when I made my first discover. Compare the logo of McCain Potatoes to John McCain's campaign logo:

Mmmmm. Both have the word McCain with a star over it. Could that be a trademark infringement? But then I thought of Googling the words "McCain potatoes" and what do I find, but this picture from early on in the primaries:

As you can see, the resemblance between McCain and Mr. Potato Head is uncanny.

That's when all the pieces fell together. The trampling of rights, including backing and wanting to continue Bush's shredding of the Constitution. The logos. The uncanny resemblance.

I realized I discovered a horrible secret. One almost to terrifying to contemplate.

McCain doesn't want to be the President of the United States.

He wants to be a dictator.

For further humor on the issue, click here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is McCain An Elitist?

A number of lefty bloggers, some of whom are friends, all of whom I respect, have all put up the Obama commercial "Seven." Some of them, like Zach at Blogging Blue, Deke at Caffeinated Politics, and Dan Cody at Left on the Lake (in the comment thread), have used this as proof McCain is an elitist.

The New York Times is reporting that the AFL-CIO and SEIU have produced their own video contrasting McCain to a couple who both work two jobs, yet had their home go into foreclosure, just so that they could keep food on the table. According to the article, they were trying to show McCain as an elitist:

American Heritage Dictionary defines elitism as being:

1 The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.

2a The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
b Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.
I don't know if I absolutely agree with calling McCain an elitist. Granted, I don't think any of us have a problem knowing how many houses we own, but just because McCain is incapable of knowing the answer doesn't necessarily mean he is an elitist.

In fact, I've had the pleasure of meeting the wildlife photographer Merl Deusing when he still lived in the Milwaukee area. I was able to go to his house. For the times (mid-70's), he would have been considered well off. But both he and his wife were wonderful people that didn't have an elitist bone between them.

I can think of a few other people who are well off, but not elitist as well.

Just because John McCain married a millionairess, and just because they own more homes than he can remember, and just because their annual payroll for their servants is greater than the worth of most homes, doesn't mean he's an elitist.

It just means he is completely out of touch with the reality that we live and work in every day. And why he would want to continue with Bush's failed economic policies. He just doesn't have a clue.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm A Busy, Busy Man

Blogging will be light today. After work, I'm hoping to head towards some shindig on 4th and Wells.

After that, by popular demand, I'll mosey on down to Drinking Liberally to make an appearance.

For those of you who may be interested, you know the drill:
It will be at the Sugar Maple, which is in fashionable Bay View. The address is 411 E. Lincoln Avenue. You know the place, it's where all the cool kids hang out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oy Vaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

After much hullabaloo, the "Bronze Fonze" was unveiled today. I will admit that I don't understand what the hype is all about. I thought the idea was cornball from the beginning, but not worth getting upset about.

Then when I saw the pictures tonight, both the one from JSOnline and from Elliot Stearns, I was taken aback.

I mean, with all the stinking hype, all the wall to wall coverage that each TV and radio station was shoving down our throats, instead of getting a statue that looks like Fonzie, we get a replica of Lt. Commander Data from Star Trek.

To make matters worse, it is my understanding that Chicago feels the need to keep up with Milwaukee in regards to kitsch, they are going to celebrate Good Times by unveiling a statue of Jimmy "J.J. Evans" Walker.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Crash Course On Politics

I don't know how I missed this one until today, but apparently a couple of weeks ago, the Straight Talk Express campaign buss had a bit of an accident.

The caption of the picture says the accident happened when both vehicles were turning right.

I think that is a cover up. I think the bus driver was having problems keeping up with all the zig zags that McCain has made on various policy issues, and well...accidents happen.

Fortunately, no one was injured. And that is truly the important thing.

Now, if McCain were to get elected, a lot of people would be hurt in the ensuing crash, and that's not funny.

In The Interest Of Fairness

Apparently, when I wrote a post yesterday about Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi getting married, it struck a sore spot with some people on the right. I have been accused of being a hypocrite and of having a double standard, because I had the audacity of including a clip in which Ellen Degeneres explained to John McCain how she felt not having the same rights as other Americans.

The odd thing is they seemed more outraged that I did not have a clip of Degeneres confronting Barack Obama about the same issue. This is even though no such clip exists.

I do find it quite ironic that now, the right is all for the Fairness Doctrine.

But, unlike Charlie Sykes, I won't whine about how the right is trying to shut me up. Instead, I will acquiesce to their demands by showing not one, but three different clips with Obama and Degeneres.

The first one shows that Obama has a dirty, shameful family secret:

Then we have one that comes via Brew City Brawler, showing how Obama really wants to take over the world:

And finally, another one in which Obama gets grilled over his role as a father. Please note, I think this may be where the Messiah thing got started:

There. Three separate videos. But somehow, I don't think this will satisfy the right's craving for histrionic, selective outrage.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Can I Have A Witness?

Things aren't looking to good for Scott Walker and Milwaukee County's chances to recoup any money regarding the pension scandal.

Scott Walker has dedicated county staff and money to a lawsuit against the Mercer Human Resource Consulting Inc. to try to get some money back from the pension scandal. (I should specify that this is the first pension scandal, with the large backdrops, etc. The second pension scandal, involving buybacks of time, is still on the shelf to the best of my knowledge.) The premise is that Mercer failed to adequately notify the County that the pension enhancements were going to cost a lot of money.

Even though the hearing isn't scheduled until January, there have been lots of action going on, and none of it looks good for the County.

Gretchen Schuldt, at Milwaukee Rising, has been doing a wonderful job of keeping us informed of issues surrounding the case. She has pointed out that Stuart Piltch, who was supposed to be a key witness for the County, has made some apparently untrue claims that he was secretly trained by the CIA, even though he was not supposed to tell anyone about this supposed training.

Now that it came out that the CIA has denied having anything to do with Piltch, he has suddenly succumbed to "health concerns" and has removed himself from the list of witnesses for the County.

To make things even worse, Ms. Schuldt reports that Mercer has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The rationale for the motion is based on a number of key depositions that contradict previous statements made by the witnesses. Those who are having their testimony challenged include County Board Supervisors Borkowski and DeBruin, as well as members of the Pension Study Committee.

This weekend, the County has yet another new problem. The untimely death of Gary J. Dobbert, who had been accused of being the master mind behind the whole pension debacle.

Now, I am no lawyer, nor do I play one on TV or in the blogs, but it would seem to me that if there is any discrepancies in any of the testimony that Dobbert gave during various depositions and interviews, this would open the door for Mercer's lawyers to jump all over it, and discredit the whole case.

Obviously, no one is to blame for the unfortunate passing of Dobbert. But one must wonder who thought that it would be a good idea to hire a person to be your star witness without vetting the person first.

And for my 2.3 readers, who are already aware that I am by no means a fan of Scott Walker, I am not blaming him for this. At least not directly.

He gave the order for the lawsuit to be approved, but I doubt that he is trying to micromanage the case. After all, as Mike Mathias and Dan Cody point out, he's been a real busy fellow.

Congratulations Are In Order

Congratulations go out to Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi, who were married over the weekend.

Now, if only the rest of the country, including Wisconsin, would become as enlightened as to allow equal rights to everyone.

And for your entertainment, here is a video in which Ellen politely puts it to a flat-footed McCain who could not offer an intelligent response for his prejudice.

Goodbye, Mr. Carlson, And Thank You

Today is Stuart Carlson's last day with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Here is his last cartoon:

The paper's quality of reporting has been steadily declining over the years, as it loses any sense of perspective and fairness in reporting that it may have once had. It takes an even steeper nosedive after this boneheaded maneuver of forcing Carlson out the door. Or to paraphrase James Wigderson, "It's definitely not worth the 50 cents anymore."

Hopefully, Mr. Carlson will still keep working, and his artwork will be available somewhere on the Intertubes.

UPDATE: Fortunately for us, Mr. Stuart will be in syndicated papers, at places like the Washington Post. His work can also be found at

So, until I can see your work again, so long, Mr. Carlson. And thank you.

Is McCain Arrogant?

When the first Obama ads and posters came out, the would show Obama striking a heroic pose, with his chin lifted and a far off look on his face, like he is looking into a happier future. At least, that look is what I would presume that his campaign people were looking for.

Of course, the conservatives hated this, and they called it arrogant. They made up things about Obama's presumed arrogance, and would call him blasphemous names, like the Messiah. They claimed it showed how much he is out of touch with the common folk, or some such nonsense.

Well, I've noticed that some of McCain's recent smear ads (so much for a positive campaign, but hey, when was the last time McCain didn't flip flop on something?) have a new look at the end. During the part where they have McCain giving his name and that he approved of the attack ad, they show a picture like this:

Mmmm. Same tilted head. Same faraway gaze. Will the conservatives now start calling McCain arrogant, and out of touch with the common man? Of course not. That would be consistent on their part. But how can a man that has eight houses and a multimillionaire wife know anything about the common work-a-day world and the people that live in it?
Besides that, the pose doesn't work for McCain. It makes him look like he's constipated. Either that, or the Geritol hasn't kicked in yet.

Not A Good Omen

It feels like the Packer Nation has returned back to the dismal days of the 1980s.

But for the record:

Aaron Rodgers: 9 completions; 16 attempts; 56.3% completion; 58 yards, 0 TDs, 0 Ints.

Brett Favre: 5 completions; 6 attempts; 83.3% completion; 48 yards; 1 TD; 0 Ints.

Rodgers was sacked 4 times, almost through an interception, and couldn't drive it in when the Pack got the ball on the 49ers 8 yard line off an interception by Woodson.

I realize this is only preseason, but to think we could have kept Favre who seems to be back in form with a whole new system and a whole new team...

I don't know if it was WTMJ-TV or if it was the Packer organization, but they showed a montage of clips at the beginning of the game that highlighted a lot of the great names ever associated with the Pack, including Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, etc. Can you guess which big name they did not show. And did the announcers really have to act like apologists for Ted Thompson and Aaron Rodgers during the whole game? It was like listening to talk radio.

And seeing this just hurts. And I want one of these.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Don't Put A Starving Person On A Diet

Rick Esenberg has a post that is in response to a couple of posts by Paul Soglin. Apparently, Rick is trying to justifying blaming societal woes on minorities and/or the government. Whatever.

The part that caught my eye was the last paragraph:

On a related point, Paul, in complaining about the parks in Madison, asserts that the size of state and local governments has not kept up with inflation. Is that true? It's not true nationally, is Wisconsin an exception. Do we have trouble maintaining the parks in Milwaukee County because conservatives have starved government or has government starved itself with unaffordable benefit packages that have devoted enormous resources to people who no longer work for it?
Now, I will give Rick, and Scott Walker, the acknowledgement that the pension scandal was a major screw up and did put Milwaukee County into a major financial bind. But the key word is "did". By far, the biggest hit that the County took financially was in 2004. That is when a pension enhancer kicked in, and most people retired, taking the money and running. Even most right wingers, including the CRG, state that they don't blame the workers, but those in charge at the time.

Even then, the unions tried to warn Walker that there was going to be a mass exodus, and that he should be prepared for it. He scoffed at it, and thought he was going to pull a rabbit out of his hat, and be able to rescind the legally, if inappropriately, awarded benefits. That, of course, didn't happen.

So instead of bracing for the coming hit, or even creating a plan to deal with the fallout of the pending exodus, Walker instead chose to plan for his short-lived campaign for governor in 2006.

Due to that lack of foresight, and other poor decisions, not only has the County taken a hit on the pension fiasco, it is taking continuous hits, via lawsuits, due to mismanagement and insufficient staffing and/or equipment at the House of Corrections, the Sheriff's Department, the parks, the transit system, the courts, and Human Services.

To exasperate the matter even worse, Walker's administration has willfully ignored other sources of revenues by letting the mental health complex's accreditation lapse, stalling on the $91.5 million in federal money waiting to be spent on public transit, and other grants that he chose not to pursue. I don't about you, but if there was a way for me to spend $20, and get $500 in return, I would take it. Walker apparently likes that type of thinking, and would rather see the entire county go into squalor.

But now it's 2008. Most of the payouts have been paid out, and the few that are still pending can be easily covered with the contingency funding that is built into every budget. So the excuse of the pension scandal is a worn out, no longer valid excuse, and the right really ought to drop it. It makes them look as unoriginal and invalid as the excuse they try to foist on us.

The most insulting part of it all is that the current woes that the County is suffering from do not stem from the pension debacle nor from Walker's incompetence. It stems from Walker's indifference as he tries again to use Milwaukee County as a stepping stone for his own further political gain, which probably isn't going to happen anyway. To neglect the business climate, to ignore the needs of the elderly, the disabled, the ill and the poor, just for the hope of giving oneself an imaginary political boost is inexcusable.

Another Similarity Between Bush and McCain

Grumps has another wonderful post up, complete with this picture, which I swiped from him.

In his usual understated way, he points out how McCain is getting sued by not one, not two, but three different artists for using their material without their permission, in other words, infringing on their rights, and breaking the law.

Imagine what he would do if he became president.

And also note the similarity between McCain and Bush, who has also spent the last eight years trampling on our civil rights and taking things, like foreign countries, that don't belong to him.

Imagine what he would do if Cheney, in the next five months, lets him be president.

Father Knows Best

Ever since Serb Hall has shown the business acumen of a doorknob, I have been chronicling my family's search for a new place for Friday night fish fries.

In my most recent post, lamenting the shortcomings of Meyer's Restaurant, Dad29, the curmudgeon of the right wing, left a comment recommending the Venice Club in Brookfield.

Last night, we decided that since we were staying in town this weekend to try Dad's recommendation, over a couple of other places we had thought of trying.

We arrived about 6:30 pm and noted that the parking lot wasn't too full, usually not a good sign. This became even more alarming when we noticed that besides the restaurant, they had at least two banquet halls in use. (On a side note, one hall was for a wedding rehearsal and the other was for a funeral reception. I hope they didn't get them mixed up.)

We went in and found that there was a wonderful ambiance to the place. It was set up in a cozy fashion, but without being crowded. It was much more pleasant to be in than the cafeteria like approach of Serb Hall.

After a short wait, we were seated and the waitress came almost immediately to get our orders for drinks. She also brought us a bowl with fresh Italian bread, crackers and breadsticks. (I still cannot remember the last time I saw a restaurant have breadsticks. That brought on a pleasant feeling of nostalgia, for my folks and grandparents all thought that a good selection of breadsticks was a sign of a "classy" restaurant.) We were also served small bowls of a cole slaw, which wasn't spectacular, but wasn't bad either.

Going on Dad's comment that there were no seconds, and not wanting to leave hungry like we did the last time we went to Serb Hall, we ordered the fish fry and an antipasti of eggplant sticks. When our waitress came out with the sticks, it was a huge platter heaped full of them. There was enough there to make a meal by itself. The eggplant was fresh and the marinara sauce was flavorful, but could have used a little extra garlic.

The fish came and their were four pieces of fish, but the pieces were nice and thick. They were done to a tee, and not dried out or hard like some fish fries are prone to doing. My dad had ordered the french fries, and found them to be pretty much run of the mill. My wife and I had the potato pancakes which were more like hashbrown patties than the pancakes I'm used to, but they were still quite good.

My wife, who hadn't eaten much of the eggplant, was still unable to finish her fish due to the amount, and had to take a couple pieces home. (The dog approved of the fish too.) My dad and I had a hard time finishing our fish and we were all as full as we would care to be. As we were leaving, we were thanked by at least five different staff members, which told me that the management here knew how to run a business to the smallest detail.

Overall, we were more than satisfied with the place. The food was good, the service was excellent, and it had a nice homey feel to the place. My only complaint was that we were not told it was all you could eat until we were done, when it is really all you can eat. Although, to be honest, even if we had skipped the antipasti, I don't know if I could have eaten much more than what we were first served. But we now know that for the next time, and trust me, there will be plenty more next times.

My thanks, and thanks of my wife and dad, go out to Dad29, who really does know best, when it comes to fish fries. Now if we can only do something about his political stances...

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Silver Lining

I knew that when I first went solo from folkbum's and Whallah!, that I would not have nearly as many readers as I am exposed to whenever I write at either of those sites.

I was curious on how I would feel about it, when the hard facts were staring me in the face.

Well, it does hurt the pride a little bit. But that is OK, because I know that I can always count on my 2.3 readers.

A big silver lining to have a lower readership than what I'm used to is that I don't get many trolls, like here, here and here.

Most Americans Are For Health Care Reform

A recent survey done by The Commonwealth Fund has shown that 82% of Americans are fed up with the current state of the health care system in this country and want it to change:
Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, thinks Americans are being ill served, given the amount of money spent on health care in the United States.

"We now spend twice per capita what other developed nations spend on care, yet we die younger, have worse access to care, and are even behind on medical computerization," Woolhandler said. "These survey results are a clarion call for the health financing mechanism used elsewhere -- nonprofit national health insurance."

Kathleen D. Stoll, director of Health Policy at Families USA, thinks the survey reinforces what is already known about Americans' frustration with the current health care system.

"We have seen the number of uninsured rise. We have seen people facing higher out-of-pocket costs. We see layers of complications in terms of billing problems," she said. "All that adds up to an American public that is quite ready for health care reform."

If you are like me and the vast majority of Americans, and want to have an effective change to the way the current death care system to a viable, improved health care system, there are two things you can do.

One is vote for Obama in November. The other is to click here, and fill out the form.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Excuse Me, There's A Bioptic Food Sensor In My Salad

Scientists have developed a bioptic sensor to detect spoilage in food, without the expense and complexity of using standard electronic sensors:
In the study, they describe development of a polymer material that raises a red flag, changing color in the presence biogenic amines, compounds produced by the bacterial decay of food proteins. In laboratory tests, the polymer identified and distinguished between 22 different kinds of key food-spoilage amines with 97 percent accuracy.

Researchers also used the polymer to check the freshness of a tuna by detecting the amount of amines present in the sample. "The sensitivity of the described assay is better than the typical mammalian sense of smell and is able to detect this nonvolatile amine at hazardous levels before the fish would begin to smell rancid," the report states. The approach also shows promise for detecting spoilage in other food types, it adds.

I first read about this in today's copy of the Waupaca County Post. They had an article that went into more depth (sorry, no link). According to the article, they have developed a biosilk film from the fibers in silkworms to detect food spoilage and the presence of bacteria like E. Coli. The sensors are supposed to be edible and totally biodegradable.

Overall, it sounds like a ecofriendly and relatively inexpensive way to make sure that your food is fresh and safe to eat. However, I would have to admit getting used to the idea of eating caterpillar spit.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Whose Finger Do You Want On The Button?

The whole ugly affair of Russia invading Georgia does present some peculiar, and for those on the right, some very uncomfortable twists.

First, you have George Bush, who in 2001, met with Putin, looked into his eye, "sensed his soul" and liked what he saw (emphasis mine):
Respectful relations require honesty. And we did discuss areas where my country has differences with Russia -- over Chechnya, and over media relations. I also expressed my hope that Russia will develop constructive relations with its neighbors, like Georgia, that are trying to find their own way in a challenging, but hopeful world.

This was a very good meeting. And I look forward to my next meeting with President Putin in July. I very much enjoyed our time together. He's an honest, traightforward man who loves his country. He loves his family. We share a lot of values. I view him as a remarkable leader. I believe his leadership will serve Russia well. Russia and America have the opportunity to accomplish much together; we should seize it. And today, we have begun.

Even though Bush has come out condemning the actions of Putin and Russia, this does paint him as more than just a hypocrite, or as Andrew Sullivan accurately puts it:
Just imagine if the press were to discover a major jail in Gori, occupied by the Russians, where hundreds of Georgians had been dragged in off the streets and tortured and abused? What if we discovered that the orders for this emanated from the Kremlin itself? And what if we had documentary evidence of the ghastliest forms of racist, dehumanizing, abusive practices against the vulnerable as the standard operating procedure of the Russian army - because the prisoners were suspected of resisting the occupying power?
The right wing has ridiculed Senator Barack Obama for presenting a reasoned and rational reaction and recommended a sane course of action, including using political and diplomatic pressures on Russia.

But should they being saying anything? Their candidate, McCain, has taken a much stronger approach towards the situation, making things more tenuous for any influence the United States may have on the situation. This is the same McCain who thinks nothing of joking about bombing Iran. And has Dad29 has alluded to, McCain has a long history of having a very poor control on his temper.

Furthermore, there is now some concern about what McCain's motivations truly are when he urges a strong defense for Georgia. Is it because he wants to protect a young democracy that was allegedly an ally of the United States, or is it because his chief foreign policy advisor has been tapping into their coffers on a long-term basis? (Yet again, just another similarity between Bush and McCain. They really are two peas in a pod.)

It is possible McCain is confused between the state and the country, and thinks he is campaigning for the Georgian vote.

As sickening and tragic and frightening it is to see what is happening in Georgia, it does give Americans a good chance to see what the two candidates would do in a situation like this. Obama is for joining with allies to protect a country and restore peace. McCain is more worried about continuing the cash flow and putting on a show of machismo, or is maybe just having an aggressive outburst.

Whose finger do you want on the button?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

McCain: I'm Too Old To Be President

Straight from McCain's mouth:

I can hear the shrieks of faux outrage about ageism, but is it, when the candidate himself says it?

Bush Endorses McCain

Forget the photo ops that happened earlier this year. Here is what Bush really thinks of McCain:

The more things change, the more they stay the same. And that's what we would get with McCain, just more of the same.

Finally, Some Respect

A heartfelt thank you to the fine people at One Wisconsin Now for adding me as a featured blog.

Tis an honor, to be sure.

I would also like to thank my 2.3 readers who made it all possible.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The So-Called Liberal Media Becomes Even More So-Called

I have long held that the right wing's meme of the so-called liberal media is a bunch of malarkey. That position has only been strengthened in the light of recent stories.

Michael Horne, of MilwaukeeWorld, reported that there were a large number of staff persons at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel were being either let go through via buyouts, if not outright canned. Among these names were Stuart Carlson, their wonderful political cartoonist. Also named were Mary Zahn, Tim Cuprisin, Joanne Weintraub, Stanley Miller and many others. Cindy Kilkenny also added some names to the potential list, but added that mercifully Cuprisin wasn't going anywhere. Yet, anyway.

This is all piled on top of a number of staff persons that were released last year as well. MSJ is not unique in these measures. The downsizing of papers and TV news reporters and other staff have been going on for the last several years, nationwide.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of reporters, columnists and staff persons being released would be what could be considered the more liberal members. Meanwhile, the conservatives, like Patrick McIlheran and Jim Stingl, go relatively unscathed.

Michael Mathias, in an act of true citizen journalism, went to George Stanley, the decidedly conservative Managing Editor at the paper, to get some answers. Mike came away with this quote from Stanley:
We’re going to remain committed to providing the kind of news and information—including investigative and explanatory journalism—that our readers can’t get anywhere else (or that we can deliver of higher quality than any of our competitors). We think that’s where the future is. So there will be fewer wire service stories in the paper, not more of them. Likewise, we will maintain our commitment to covering political news out of Madison and Washington, D.C. We will focus our cuts as much as possible on areas where folks can get similar information of equal quality from other sources.

That is not saying much. Given how the media completely dropped the ball and failed to raise one question when Bush and his administration was feeding us lie after lie about why we should invade Iraq, maintaining that sort of standard is not something I thing would be worthy of striving for. And that was just one example. I could go on an on about how MSJ have given a lot of conservative politicians a nod and a wink as they go on to reprint the press releases from these people and report it as being news, without ever once questioning them.

Another example of how far from liberal the paper truly is comes from this past Saturday's paper. They ran a story about U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, and how he appreciates his colleague John McCain, but is endorsing Barack Obama for president. The headline of the article, which appeared on page 1, above the fold, read:
Feingold remains a McCain admirer
It was only after one looked below the fold, if one bothered, that they would see the subtitle which read:
He favors Obama’s views but likes GOP candidate

And if one was to read farther, it wasn't until after three paragraphs of what seems like Feingold gushing over McCain that the article even alludes to the fact that Feingold feels that Obama would make a better president.

And I am not alone with my concerns.

Gretchen Schuldt, of Milwaukee Rising, expresses her disappointment at MSJ's ignorant decision.

And both the erudite Brawler and the scholarly Illy-T have noticed that the Crossroads section, the Sunday oped section, has definitely taken a turn for the worst and have given up all hope of being credible anymore. (Of course, they did that when they hired McIlheran.)

With the loss of any resemblance of a balanced approach, and with an increasing propensity to just reissue press releases without doing any vetting for truth or accuracy, the so-called liberal media really cannot be considered either liberal or a source of news.

And then they wonder why their circulation continues to drop.

Packers Chose To Four-go Income

Two Packers related items from today's NewsWatch, from JSOnline, were worthy of note.

One, is that Brett Farve's Jets jersey is the hottest selling shirt, according to Second on the list is Favre's Packers jersey.

In a not entirely unrelated story, the Packers were publicizing that they still had tickets to sell. I don't ever recall seeing a story where there were tickets available that late before game time, even for a preseason game.

And despite what the homer's at the Journal staff would tell you, Rodgers first start was only so-so, basically what you would expect from a back up quarterback. Not what you want from a starter.

Unfortunately for me, I missed on my first guess in the pool on which game Rodgers would be hurt and out for the season.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Thought Of The Day


Be both.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bon Anniversaire A Moi

Yup, today is my birthday and I plan on celebrating it doing the things I love the most: Spending time with my beautiful wife, looking at animals and stuffing our faces. That is once I get past this horrific card someone sent me.

Feel free to celebrate this soon to be national holiday in any way you see fit, just don't get arrested. Or if you do, don't call me for bail.

And to help you get in the mood to party, a classic:

See ya tomorrow.

Yes, Race Is Part Of This Election Year

The right side of the political arena have half-jokingly commented no that Senator Barack Obama is the presumptive Democratic nominee for President of the United States, that racism no longer exists in America.

They do this while people like Charlie Sykes go on the radio daily and whine that they can't talk about Obama's physical features without it being considered racism. I don't understand that logic at all. What does a person's physical features have to do with their qualifications? Does that mean that McCain should be off the Republican ticket because he as a neck wattle and a rigor mortis grin? No, so who cares about Obama's lip color, his build, or the size of his ears, except a superficial twit?

The other day, I pointed out that the Democratic headquarters in Viroqua was vandalized for the second time, including having racial slurs being painted on the building. There was also a link to a person in Florida that was making threats to Obama's life.

Now, there is more disturbing proof that racism is alive and well and playing a bigger part in this election that most people would care to admit.

Noted white supremacist, David Duke, is shooting his ever vulgar mouth off, stating that "the white people are losing control of this country." Nice sentiment. I thought the country was supposed to be base on equal rights for all, not just for one group. But then again, there are more than enough people that think they are more equal than others. From the article:

Although the South has had more racial violence than most of the country, Randy Blazak, a sociology professor at Oregon's Portland State University, says white supremacists live all over the United States. Blazak, who has studied skinheads for two decades, calls white supremacists a counterculture, not a movement, contending the latter term overstates their numbers.

Blazak said white supremacists thrive on fear of changing race relations, the women's movement and gay rights. Blazak said white working class people in particular long for a "Leave It To Beaver" society.

"Those were the 'good old days' for straight, white males. But for everyone else, it was a pretty raw deal," Blazak said., from New York, also has a report. At the very end of their report is this paragraph:

While most Americans have little or no direct contact with white supremacists, organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center keep close tabs; the law center estimates some 200,000 people nationwide are active in such groups.

An estimated 200,000 white people feel they are superior to others, based solely on their skin color. And those are only the ones that are open and honest about it. That number does not include the people that are in denial of their racism, even though the evidence is there for everyone to see. It also does not include the people that may secretly agree with the racists, but are smart enough not to be as blatant about it. It also doesn't count the number of people from minorities that have racism towards whites, or towards other minorities.

Add all these people in and the total is easily in the millions and probably tens of millions of people who are racist to some degree.

Now, I am not saying everyone who opposes Obama are racist. I can think of many people who haven't shown any indication of opposing Obama except for the fact that they oppose anything progressive. Unfortunately, I can also think of many people who have openly displayed racism, but will deny it until they are blue in the face.

But if anyone were to deny that race will play a major part in this presidential race, from both sides of the political aisle, they would only lying to themselves and/or they are completely out of touch with the reality of this world today.

The saddest part is they should be correct. Race shouldn't play a part.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Maverick No More

Via the Happy grumps:

Popping The Bubble

The conservosphere has been on a chant for a while now about Drill Here! Drill Now!

Republican congressmen do a song and dance routine even while everyone else has left the building.

All of it was showboating in an effort to boost McCain's failing campaign. They thought they had finally gained a topic with which they could get some traction.

I hate to burst their bubble (well, not really), but the oil bubble has burst and crude oil dropped below $114 a barrel. And that was without one new hole being drilled.

Maybe they need to start drilling for a new talking point.

A Conspiracy Against Wisconsin?

As I was writing the previous post, a thought occurred to me.

Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy have brought misery and shame to the State of Wisconsin, as well as all of Packer Nation.

Likewise, another McCarthy and another Thompson has also brought more than their fare share of misery and shame to Wisconsin.

Is their some sort of feud with these two families and the State of Wisconsin? Or is this just a giant conspiracy?

Green Bay Sends The Wrong Man Packing

Anyone that has been exposed to a radio, a television, or the Intertubes knows that Brett Favre has been traded to the New York Jets. This is indeed a sad day for the Packer Nation.

I've already stated that both Favre and the Packer management have had their fair share of the blame, but that the lion's share falls directly on Ted Thompson. (That's Ted Thompson, pictured on the right.) After all the hoopla over the past 48 hours, my opinion not only stays the same, but I feel even stronger about it.

Favre is an emotional man. We've known that for a decade and a half. That is part of the mystique, and the reason so many of us in the Packer Nation feel a bond for him. Despite all of the money he has gotten, the records he has broken, the games he has won, the games he has lost, and the times he has acted like a diva, people feel that he is just a normal, average kind of guy. People feel that they can relate to Favre, because he is human like the rest of us.

Thompson, since he has taken office, has made it clear that he is on a mission to create his own legacy, and to do that, he had to remove all vestiges of Ron Wolf's legacy. And of course, the biggest part of Wolf's legacy was the quarterback from Kiln, Mississippi. Thompson has, with each passing year, worked to make Favre feel less and less welcome.

Finally, at the end of last season, Favre, fatigued and hurting from a long season, feeling his age, still emotional from how the last game ended, caved into the subtle and not so subtle pressures applied by Thompson and announced his retirement. This opened the door for Thompson to close the door on Favre. He tried to nail the door shut by shipping off Favre's locker and announcing the retirement of Favre's jersey and setting the ceremony on the opening night of the season.

After having allowed more time to restore his drive, heal the aches, and giving him time to think, Favre started to feel buyer's remorse, and wanted to be reinstated. Thompson would not have any of that, and the epic power struggle ensued. Thompson finally won, and Favre was shipped out to New York.

It took a lot of gall for the Packers management to stand in front of reporters today and tell some tall tales. Like Thompson has no ego. Or even the most outlandish statement of wanting what was best for the team. What hogwash! If they turn away one of the best QBs in the league, and the one that would give them the best chance to win, they didn't care about the team. They only cared about their egos.

In other words, Thompson willfully failed to perform his duties, which was to put the best team he possibly could, out on the field. Murphy failed by not looking out for the franchise. Not only did he willfully agree to let the best player leave but he also allowed a heckuva lot of merchandising money go with him. Look for ticket prices to go up substantially.

Both men should be let go for purposely failing to perform their jobs. And they can take their toady, McCarthy with them. I was never overly impressed with him anyway.

With all that said, and despite the fact that Thompson, McCarthy and Murphy will all probably be around for at least the rest of this season, I will still be a Packers fan. I won't completely boycott them, as some say they will do. Nor will I fully embrace this team, as others encourage us to do. At least not until they prove themselves.

No, I will stay a Packers fan, but I will not be as enthusiastic as I have been for the past sixteen years. I just don't think that they will do very well this year. The odds makers agree with me, as well.

Heck, I suffered through the long famine of the 70s and the 80s. I can survive this as well. I don't think the team will recover this year, nor do I think they will improve until the third year after Thompson gets shipped out.

And with my birthday coming up, anyone wanting to buy me a New York Jets/Favre jersey, I'll be more than glad to accept it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Democratic Party Headquarters Vandalized

From JSOnline's Newswatch:
Viroqua - The Democratic Party headquarters in downtown Viroqua has been vandalized for the second time in less than a month.In an incident discovered Thursday, a racial slur was spray-painted on a sign promoting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Last month someone painted a big red "X" over an Obama campaign sign and wrote "wrong kind of change" below.

Building owner and Democrat Karen Dahl calls the graffiti disappointing. She says it puts the southwest Wisconsin city in a bad light.

The state communications director for the Obama campaign is Phil Walzak. He thanked local law enforcement for their support and said the campaign will continue its focus on issues that matter to Wisconsin voters.

A racial slur. And here I thought, if one was to believe all the right wingers, there is no racism in this election, or that the Democrats were the only ones that were supposed to be playing the race card.

Apparently, this guy didn't get the talking points either.

And with all the outrage going on whenever an army recruiting station gets vandalized, or the continuing references to tire-slashing, I anxiously await for the right wingers to condemn both the would be assassin, as well as the vandalizing thugs.

But while I'm waiting, I won't be holding my breath.

McCain's New Logo

We already know that McCain flops around on issues more than a fish out of water. And after a month of negative campaigning, he is still going nowhere fast in the polls.

I figured we could help him a little bit with a new logo as well. I've found three possibilities for McCain. Vote for which one you like best, or create your own. I'm sure he'd appreciate all the help he can get.

H/T to Emily Mills for the first one.

Favre Traded To The Jets

JSOnline is reporting that the Packers have confirmed that three time MVP Brett Favre has been traded to the New York Jets.

The Green Bay Packers have issued this statement:
"Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished on the field and for the impact he made in the state. It is with some sadness that we make this announcement, but also with the desire for certainty that will allow us to move the team and organization forward in the most positive way possible.

"We respect Brett's decision that he could no longer remain here as a Packer. But there were certain things we were not willing to do because they were not in the best interest of the team. We were not going to release him nor trade him to a team within the division. When Brett ultimately decided that he still wanted to play football, but not in Green Bay, we told him that we would work to find the best solution for all parties involved. We wish Brett and his family well.

"We appreciate the tremendous passion shown by our fans. We, like them, always will see Brett Favre as a Green Bay Packer and our respect for him never will change. Moving forward, we are dedicated to delivering a successful 2008 season for all Packers fans."

The Jets have there own statement here.

I'll write more on this later. Right now, I'm feeling more than a bit queasy.