Sunday, April 29, 2007

A good kind of tired....

The last 48 hours or so have been crazy but the convention is finally over.

There were a few glitches Between the number of people who had to have input into the process, the change of sales reps in midstream and the uncertainty of the process for determining just exactly who and how many were coming to the event, "stuff" fell through the cracks. But it was neither embarrassing nor fatal so we survived.

I've been receiving compliments via email all day and I have to say that I'm surprise so many people took the time to acknowledge the incredible amount of work that went into putting this thing together. I'll be making entries on the other blog to personally thank everybody who helped put this thing together. Here's what their work looked like before the guests arrived.

We'll be ready for the next one.....I think our turn comes around in about 20 years or so....

This picture sort of made it worth it though:

In case you can't read it, it says

"Welcome Democrats"

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A "brand" for Democrats

Maybe "brand" is the wrong word but as I go along here I may define it a little bit better.

This is the "infamous" post I have been talking about for a couple of days. Highly edited of course because a lot of the first draft was pretty much a "stream of consciousness" approach....I've got to be careful to avoid falling into that again.

Here's the basis for the thoughts:

Democrats are being branded by Bush, Cheney and their loyal parrots in both the house and the Senate as "defeat-o-crats", wimps and surrender monkeys. Truthfully we're in the MAJORITY not just in numerical senses as in having a majority of votes in both the House and Senate, but also in terms of poll numbers. The majority of Americans support the positions of the Democratic party in the results of poll after poll.

And yet......Because we are obeying the will of the people and setting a time limit for the slaughter deployment of troops in Iraq, we are defined by Republicans as wimps and defeatists. I'm not alone with my fellow dems in that I get suckered into the argument with Republicans on their terms (Are too!! Am Not!!!) on a regular basis.
but you and I gentle readers have forgotten one very important lesson.....

Remember right after 9/11 when we stood almost shoulder-to-shoulder with all of our fellow Americans in wanting to defeat/punish the terrorist? We were all (or almost all) in favor of invading Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban who, by that time, were almost indistinguishable from Al Quada. We have NEVER disagreed that our real enemy is AQ and Osama Bin NEVER was Iraq or Saddam Hussein.

Let's repeat that....


Iraq IS NOT our enemy.

We still want to defeat Al Queda where ever they may be.

We want to fight the REAL war on terror and defeat those who wish to do us harm..that would be the radical SUNNI FUNDAMENTALIST SECT OF THE WAHHABI'S ....not the Shiia of Iraq...OR IRAN...

If the American people will stick with us, we'll go after AQ in a sane, rational and efficient way....we won't send American Men and Women into a slaughterhouse from which there is no escape.

That's our BRAND


Bless and protect our Men and Women in uniform who tonight find themselves in harm's way in a foreign and hostile land....give us the moral strength to make the right decisions for their safety and the safety of our nation.

I'm not a religious person by nature....but I am calling upon all I know to instill in our leaders the common sense to fight THE RIGHT WAR....

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ride 'em (Existentialist) Cowboy

Just by coincidence, during the time I've been working my way through The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, our friend, The Existentialist Cowboy wrote a great essay on "The Coming Dark Ages" and, of course what the two writings have in common is a marvelous discussion of Evolution vs Creationism vs Intelligent Design. (In Dawkins book, one of his contributors describes Intelligent Design as "Creationism in a cheap Tuxedo" but I've given them the courtesy of listing them separately) The result of course was a de facto "total immersion" course in evolution and the current arguments on both sides.

In all honesty I was a little disappointed with Dawkin's chapter on Why there is almost certainly No God. I felt as if he leapt to the ultimate regression argument far too quickly and left the argument hanging in the breeze. That is, if ultimately a very complex god created the universe, who created the god? Creationists always counter this with some version of the argument, "God always was and always is." Cop out.

But back to the Cowboy (Len) for a moment....He takes great care to document the massive movements to bring creationsim and ID (intelligent design) into the schools and throw "Darwinism" out. And he notes:

It is interesting that Intelligent Design is often espoused by the same political mindset that embraces "Social Darwinism". Both are equally bogus. Both are embraced by the right wing though they are incompatible theories. It is odd to find even fallacious perversions of Darwin espouse by a group that is identifiable by its hatred of all things Darwinian. It is equally odd to find Intelligent Design, however fallacious, espoused by a Social Darawinists. The obvious conclusion is that these people just haven't given even their own ideologies, let alone Darwin, enough thought.

Social Darwinism does not follow from "Darwinism". Worse, it attributes to Darwin positions he never took. The term "survival of the fittest" was never used by Darwin but has been variously attributed. Hofstadter seems to attribute that phrase to rail road men:

Once again, we come face-to-face with the Great Conservative Dilema. How does a conservative embrace that which the conservative professes to abhore? Even further, why, do they persist in offering Creationism and versions of it in schools when they instinctively know it is wrong?

Friday, April 20, 2007

I don't even watch anymore.

I got home from my meetings late last night and when I sat down in front of the TV (with a bowl of Cheerios for my dinner...quite good actually) I flipped through CNN, MSNBC and (briefly) Fox....

Enough already.

What happened at Virginia Tech was tragic. But the false Right vs Left debates about it are about as useful as arguing "how many angels can fit on the head of a pin"?

I turned off the news and watched The Comedy Channel. It was mindless but it wasn't stupid.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Conspiracy....theories and realities

I've alwasy been amused by the ever-so-righteous souls who dismiss any plausable suggestion of who, what, when and why an event happens as a "conspiracy theory". The smugness irratates me.

Let me tell you long as there are long as there are struggles to obtain and keep political, economic and social power...there will ALWAYS be conspiracies...and that's no theory...

I had the "pleasure" of watching one of these go down just recently. I won't go into details but I have to confess that I sat and watched it go down in a public forum and I had to absoultely ADMIRE the shear audacity of it.

There is no way the events could have taken place unless at least three, maybe four, of the actors had communicated with each other and staged the sequencing of the events.

That's a conspiracy.

And, if you're a student of politics, it was a "beautiful" site to behold.

So don't think anybody who relates a "conspiracy theory" to you is nuts....they're probably just politically astute.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Compassion in the fast lane....

I've noted on other blogs this morning that I've given up trying to make sense of the Virginia Tech shootings...because you can't make sense of the senseless....(note: I can't show compassion in much other way than to show this Virginia Tech logo on the blog's a small thing but I want to display some soladarity with the students, families and staff of the University. In no way am I implying that I have a special attachment to the University...just copious amounts of sympathy.)

But as I traveled around town yesterday afternoon and asked my companions as I met them if they had heard of the Virginia Tech shootings, I got a reply that stopped me in my was something like, "Oh yeah, I heard. tsk, tsk, tsk...what's this world coming to?" And then they went on with the "business at hand".

I couldn't understand that. I STILL can't understand it.

As it turns out, I'm not alone.

In one of his most brilliant posts, The Rude Pundit takes note:


But that's not why the Rude Pundit paid attention at the rest stop. It was because, to him, it mattered. We're so filled with stories, local crimes and small incidents, celebrity lives and deaths, animal attacks and house fires, that it's hard to discern anymore when something really matters. For everyone that the Rude Pundit saw in that fast food dining area, it was more of the noise of information. They had places to be. They had cell phones and Blackberries and GPS systems, and all of that technology told them that their lives were more important, always more important, than the lives of others.


But mostly we are a dead-souled country, so inured to horror that even when something of incredible violence occurs on our soil, well, heck, we've been reminded of 9/11 so often that anything lesser hardly seems worthy of time in our Palm Pilots. For to pay attention means that we must feel compelled to act, and, as we've been taught by our government, our media, our culture, what good comes of acting?

But to act is anathemic to our war and terrorist-influenced American mindset. God, if we were told to just go about our business after 9/11 and that they only thing we can sacrifice for the war is our peace of mind when we happen to tune to the wrong channels on our digital cable systems, why in the world would we want to do anything for this?

Oh, yeah, there is something we'll be asked to do. Pray. To whomever. And then continue to eat your fried chicken strips and drink your Diet Cokes. After a while, not feeling in the mood for that cupcake, the Rude Pundit hit the road, too.

I remember an old Doonesbury cartoon that has stuck with me for many years now. The main characters were having a reunion of the old "New Frontier" group from the days of the John F. Kennedy Presidency. One of the characters asked the others, "Do you still remember all that stuff?" And one replies with this line from Kennedy's inaugural speech:

"The energy we bring to our endeavors will enkindle a flame, and the light from that flame will surely enlighten the world."

At the end of the quote the whole group breaks out laughing....and suddenly realize how cynical they have become...and "Mike Doonesbury" asks, " What's happened to us man?, What's happened?"

I can see clearly in my mind's eye the scene The Rude Pundit describes...and I ask myself,

"What's happened to us Man?"

Monday, April 16, 2007

Shooting at Virginia Tech

As I write, reports are still coming in.

The initial confusion and media hysteria has started to subside and, at this writing, the facts ....the gruesome facts....seem to be...

31 Killed
Unknown number wounded.
One gunman
2- 9MM handguns
Assailant apparently killed himself.
Bush to address nation.

These SEEM to be the facts. I suppose the truth will gradually work its way out into the public eye but the coverage and commentary are, even at this early time of the event's cycle, following predictable patterns.

The first reports on the news were only that shootings were going on in one, maybe two buildings, there was at least one (well, duh) and maybe two gunmen. Live phone calls and telephone videos from the scene were being broadcast within minutes and the commentators were already drawing (erroneous) conclusions from the tiny snippets of information.

MSNBC on-line showed early photographs of wounded being carried out and below the sparse details available at the time, there were "sidebars" with comparisons to "other school shootings", notably University of Texas and Columbine.

On some of the blogs there were the predictable responses...from the left and right....

"If they only had guns...."
"This means the dems should push harder on gun control..."
"21 (at the time) deaths? That's nothing compared to what happens in Baghdad everyday."

Soon....if not all ready...people will start hanging their favorite causes on this....


facts are's winning your issue that counts....


R.I.P Students....I hope your names and faces won't get lost in the carnival of the absurd that is about to follow..

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I've just finished two days where the meetings were intense....the preparation for those meetings was also intense.

Today was so strange because there are no meetings and nothing to prepare for the next meeting....

When the adrenaline stops flowing, I crash....and that's pretty much what's happening today. I've been keeping myself going with caffeine but it isn't easy. I still go off pacing and thinking about what I could have, should have, didn't/did do in those meetings...reliving them.....maybe all the adrenaline hasn't stopped flowing yet....

Crappy day otherwise...the snow is still coming down pretty consistently ...horizontally...not sticking to the roads though...that's something good....what's the old saying in Wisconsin ? "The Grill has to be snowed on three times before it's spring." Or was it a "robin" instead of a grill? I hope its the grill because the robins just came back last week. It's good to hear their morning song when the windows are open but it hasn't been warm enough to do that in a couple, three weeks. Here's a picture from a friends house...very similar to what I'm seeing out my window right now.

I understand that Madison is really getting blasted right now...snow plows and salt were already put away...I may have to go down there tomorrow so I hope it's all cleared up by tomorrow morning....we'll see...

Right now?

I'm going to pour another cup of hot coffee and lose myself on the web until I get hungry and need to fix dinner.....if my mind will quit racing....

Monday, April 09, 2007

Georgia Thompson is innocent!

An now, the New York Times knows it too. Here's the running commentary and "link-to-links" from KOS.

And the stench is that of a "Turd Blossom"

"Sources tell No Quarter that Rick Wiley, then the executive director of the state GOP, directed a staffer in 2005 to prepare a 30-page report on election abuses in Wisconsin so Wiley could pass it along to a top White House official.
That document, entitled "Fraud in Wisconsin 2004: A Timeline/Summary," turned up last week in the horde of White House and U.S. Justice Department records released by the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
"The report was prepared for Karl Rove," said a source with knowledge of the situation. "Rick wanted it so he could give it to Karl Rove."...

The depth of the misuse of public office is breath-taking. How could we have ever let this happen? WHO let it happen? How do we prevent it from happening again?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Here we go again...

Frank Boyle, an Assemblyman from Superior Wisconsin is introducing a bill in the state Legislature to impeach President's the KOS story on Boyle and the details about state-generated articles of impeachment.

According to KargoX at Kos:


Wisconsin and Hawaii join eight predecessors: California, Illinois, Vermont, Minnesota, New Mexico, Washington, Missouri, and Texas.
That makes 10 states and 80 state legislators cosponsoring the call to impeach since bills began being introduced last year.

Now, some may be overjoyed at the thought of impeachment, reality is that this resolution probably won't make it past the committee, or if it does, it won't make it through the legisalture.

Further, Democrats control the Senate by a slim margin but I'm not certain that Boyle will even get all the Democratic Senators to buy into this one.

But....this is where is gets interesting....

Just this last week ...Wednesday as a matter of fact, Bush succeeded in "punishing Wisconsin" for their liberal-leaning ways by having his Secretary of Health and Social Services deny the state's request for a waiver to continue it's popular (and incredibly efficient) Senior Care Program. Now the program must be abandoned and the 107,000 Seniors who relied on the program for affordable prescripton drugs will have to go to the infamous Medicare Part D programs under other insurance companies. That's 107,000 very unhappy campers.

Every member of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation, Congressmen and Senators, Republicans and Democrats alike, petitioned for renewal of the program but Levitt wrote a nasty snarky letter blaming the non-renewal on Doyle in one of the most blatantly partisan moves undertaken by a cabinet agency that I can ever remember. In addition, almost every newspaper in the State has lined up (editorially) with Doyle.


Let's see how clever Boyle really is....

Can he parlay wide-spread anger at Bush and his Administration (especially DHSS) into pressure on Assembly Republicans and recalcitrant Democrats to votes on impeachment? Or, can the simple THREAT that this anger could lead to passage of an impeachment bill force GWB to have Leavitt RECONSIDER the denial?

Interesting huh?

I think so......

There are lots of reasons we all loved the late Molly Ivans, but this exerpt from one of her last works is a great example of why we love her so much.
"And just to prove to you that it’s not some crazy out in MillValley, we had one the other day, a small town in South Carolina, the perp was extremely drunk. And he had decided in his drunken state that it would be fun to screw a pumpkin, and so he did. And the police came up to him and said, "sir, are you aware that you’re screwing a pumpkin?"And he said, "damn, is it midnight already?""

Thursday, April 05, 2007

does it really matter?

Sometimes I come home from meetings and collapse in my favorite chair and ask myself:

Does it really matter?

You try to uphold certain principles. You try to uphold the rights of the people to participate in their government but when the opportunity....let me correct that, when the hard-fought, costly-won opportunity is presented to participate ....well....nobody shows up. And you find yourself slumping in the chair and wondering, "what the hell am I doing this for?...better yet WHO the hell am I doing this for?

Tuesday was local election day here. And there was a little, apparently insignificant referendum on the ballot to overturn a City Council Charter Ordinance which changed the position of the City Assessor from an elected position to an appointed position. It passed the Council 8-2. There was a citizen who didn't like that change much less the fact that the Council didn't ask the community if they wanted to make this change, so he utilized the statutory right to circulate a petition to have the issue placed on the April ballot. He didn't go out and recruit a committee. He didn't go out on a crusade to raise funds. He just wrote up a petition (the form was from the City Clerks's Office for free) and went door to door in his neighborhood first and then across other areas of town. Sure enough, he gathered enough signatures to have it placed on the ballot.

After that, he didn't actually campaign for his position. He wrote ONE guest editorial in the local newspaper which was quickly countered by an editorial letter from one of the Alderpersons who supported the change. He didn't spend any money on it. He just put his case before the voters.

And he won.

He won by better than a 2-1 margin.

The Council's decision is vacated. The ordinance is defeated.

Because of one citizen.

So I guess I answered my own question. I'm "doing it" because


Sunday, April 01, 2007

A post to warm my heart.....

I've been known to go off the deep end on political philosophy, with a particular emphasis on the origins of Conservative Philosophy, and I have received only lukewarm reception to it. But I found another site that engages in those efforts as much as I do and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The name of the site is The Existentialist Cowboy...and you can read it here....

I'll have to admit that I haven't paid a lot of attention to John Stewert Mill, but I found his relevancy to be very high in our current political climate.

The "cowboy" surmizes:

Mill understood that the democratic ideal -a government of the people - is
often not the case in fact. Those exerting the power of the government -elected
officials, bureaucrats, the judiciary - develop their own interests, influenced
by special interests and their constituencies in ways at odds with the interests
and liberties of individuals, minorities, or, indeed, the greater good of the
society as a whole. Indeed, a majority may become tyrannical when its interests
are at odds with the legitimate interests of a minority or an individual. Mill
sees no difference between a tyranny of one and a tyranny of many. A
majority running roughshod over the rights of individuals and minorities is no
less a tyrant because it is a majority, because it is elected, or because it is
elected by a majority

So how does that apply to our current political situation?

Well, consider this:

Under the guise of protecting us, the Bush Administration has taken to itself powers unheard of by any other administration in our history. Although Bush was arguably elected "legitimately" in 2000 and then again in 2004, by a "majority" (except it wasn't a majority in 2000) the "majority" cannot take away rights guaranteed by the constitution. Of course they (the majority) could legitimately AMEND the Constitution but I suspect that upon proposing that the "majority" would quickly disappear. But, as they say, here we are.....

Illegal wiretapping has been taking place even beyond the draconian and constitutionally questionable provisions of the Patriot Act.

Persons suspected of being terrorists are detained (not only on the battlefield but also on US soil) and detained without charge;without trial indefinitely.

Dissent is stiffled from the Bully Pulpit of the Presidency.

Congress is bullied and threatened by the President for the legitimate exercise of both their oversite power and exercise of the "power of the purse".

To underscore how tragic this has become, take a look at this from Glenn Greenwald's column today:

Two of the three leading Republican candidates for President either
embrace or are open to embracing the idea that the President can imprison
Americans without any review, based solely on the unchecked decree of the
President. And, of course, that is nothing new, since the current Republican
President not only believes he has that power but has exercised it against U.S.
citizens and legal residents in the U.S. -- including those arrested not on the
"battlefield," but on American soil.

What kind of American isn't just instinctively repulsed by the
notion that the President has the power to imprison Americans with no charges?
And what does it say about the current state of our political culture that one
of the two political parties has all but adopted as a plank in its platform a
view of presidential powers and the federal government that is -- literally --
the exact opposite of what this country is?

So the Cowboy's premise is right. The Bush Administration is illegitimate as hell......from a philosophical standpoint, from a legal standpoint, and from a moral standpoint.

I've thought all the talk about impeachment to be "crazy talk"...... now......well, I'm not sure how "crazy" it is.