Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jane Hamser (as usual) gets it right...

Jane Hamser who runs firedoglake has a knack for cutting through the bull and getting to the meat of the matter. Today she writes about the importance of Buckley and contrasts him with the neoconservatives of today. (Jane is on Clinton's right and her partner at firedoglake, Christy Hardin Smith is on Clinton's left)
Here's a snippet or two:
There is a qualitative difference between Bill Buckley and the conservatives of today. I know he had shitty political opinions and the reason I do is because he told me so. Buckley openly embraced racist, McCarthyesque views that he not only acknowledged but defended. Which made it possible to have meaningful, substantive debate between the left and the right.

That isn't possible with today's conservative leading lights, the Straussians who philosophically believe it's their obligation to determine what you should think and then tell you whatever they need to in order to get you to believe it. Do they really think the surge is working? Fuck if I know, but it doesn't matter -- they think you should. If it keeps the fundies in line, big ups for intelligent design.

and, as usual she brings it home:

Buckley's honesty, even in the defense of an ideology you might not embrace, was a whole lot easier to deal with than the intellectual hairballs being coughed up by the right today.

I'll be back with some local issues later today...I finally have time to breathe.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley has died

I suppose if there was a true soul of Conservative Philosophy, it must have been embodied in William F. Buckley.

He died at the age of 81 last night.

My memories of him go back to the 60's and watching him debate on TV in 68. I was just a President of a Young Republican's Club back in those days and I remember watching Buckley with a sense of shame that eventually evolved into a resolve.

The shame was because the man was so incredibly eloquent and this small town, wrong-side-of-the-tracks boy who was determined to make it successfully across the tracks felt small and feeble in comparisom to the man's brilliance. The resolve was that someday people would be in awe of my eloquence also. Well, that never actually happened. But then again, I never went back to the wrong side of the tracks either.

I've disagreed with Buckley's philosophy over the years but admired him nonetheless...much in the same way I now admire Gore Vidal and always admired Kurt Vonnegut....

Rest in Peace Mr. Buckley.

I think the country would be much better off if the Republican Party had a worthy successor to him.

Let's see.....I think that comes to $1.45 per hour....

Another three-hour plus meeting last night and it was a doooozzzy. With the rate that members of the Common Council are compensated, I figure that makes it about $1.45 per hour for this last two-week period.

From experience, I totally expected it to be an extravaganza because it contained two of the public's favorite topics: Zoning and Disabled persons. It didn't disappoint me either.

I could have mailed the script in and, in truth, probably the outcome too because it is all so predictable...and all so stupid and childish.

Here are the facts:

A person purchased a home in a very nice (not exclusive, but nice) upper middle class neighborhood and then proceeded to get it licensed as an Adult Family Home. The neighbors knew nothing of this. He didn't check the zoning before he bought the home and if he had he would have discovered that he needed a "Conditional Use Permit" in order to operate the home. Without knowing this he advertised that he was "open" and would take not only the customary Alzheimer's patients and Developmentally disabled (which would have been okay with the neighborhood) but also "AODA and Mentally Disturbed". Of course, the neighbors went crazy. What else would you expect them to do?

A hearing was scheduled before the plan commission and sure enough, in the research done by the neighbors they found that the owner had misdemeanor convictions and had recently (two years ago) changed his name. Obviously this raise their suspicions even higher.

The next thing we local yokel elected officials know, BOTH sides have engaged legal counsel and the Plan Commission hearing featured: the two lawyers for the opposing sides, the City Attorney, a resident of the neighborhood who is also an attorney and an Alderperson who is also an attorney.....let's see that makes 5, (count 'em) attorneys in the room. Guess how many opinions there were....well, actually it boiled down to two....after you discount the nuances of the law.

Charges flew back and forth and the Attorney for the Group home charge that we were violating ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and AFAA ( Fair housing something....I'm lost in the alphabet soup of group living arrangements and I'm USED TO IT!) The staff, the Zoning Administrator and the Planning Director became ADVOCATES for the was ugly but predictable

The Planning Commission denied the Use Permit and all hell broke loose....

The Mayor accused the plan commission of trying to get the city sued....the City Administrator jumped into the act and got a ruling from the City's liability insurance carrier that said if the City deliberately broke the law the insurance company would refuse coverage. The Owner went on the radio and accused the neighborhood residents of telling the "elderly" to GO TO HELL" and the radio station let him get away with it. The radio station also played the Mayor's dire warnings every hour on the hour along with a quote from the City Attorney, which, in essence laid out the Owner's case for him.

At the council meeting last night the fruits of a full week of mobilization of the forces for the disabled showed up in full force even handing out badges at the door (to their supporters) to HOMES FOR THE HANDICAPPED". Owners of other group homes came to microphone in rapid succession to sing the praises of group homes, some even came up to say how ASHAMED they were of our city for even questioning the permit. And, of course, a disabled person stood at the mic and tearfully sang the praises of the owner.

The neighborhood residents spoke only to the fact that they were appalled to be treated like they "kicked puppies" and were furious that they were called "selfish" "bigots" "elitists" and even worse.

Only three attorneys got into the act. And the threat of a lawsuit wasn't veiled in any way shape or form. The City attorney was left with the position that anybody could sue anybody and that if we couldn't provide an "affirmative defense" our likelihood of prevailing would be slim.

In the end?

The fear of being sued prevailed.

More later....I have appointments to keep....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Time for Liberals...

Many (hah! Many?....maybe all four of you who read my blog) know that I spent some time dissecting the "soul of the conservative". My stated purpose was to discover what, exactly, do conservatives believe and, consequently, what underlies their mystical (e.g. bizarre) policies. (okay...a little snarky graphic at the right....)I don't think I came to a conclusion, in fact, I think I pondered that there wasn't any real single, simple conclusion to be drawn but I will return to the subject eventually.

In the meantime, here's an attempt to define what LIBERALS believe. Bill in Portland, Maine reprints Dan Kurtzman, who keeps the political snark fires burning over at, wrote a terrific piece for his recent book, How to Win a Fight with a Conservative. It was reprinted in Dailykos with Dan Kurtzman's gracious permission and we offer it here as a starting point for discussion.

Liberal Manifesto

Liberals believe in clean air, diplomacy, stem cells, living wages, body armor for our troops, government accountability, and that exercising the right to dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

Liberals believe in reading actual books, going to war as a last resort, separating church and hate, and doing what Jesus would actually do, instead of lobbying for upper-class tax cuts and fantasizing about the apocalypse.

Liberals believe in civil rights, the right to privacy, and that evolution and global warming aren’t just theories but incontrovertible scientific facts.

Liberals believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment that (1) prohibits another Bush from ever occupying the White House, and (2) prevents George W. Bush from ever becoming baseball commissioner before he does to our national pastime what he did for America.
Liberals believe in rescuing people from flooded streets and rooftops, even if they’re too poor to vote Republican.

Liberals believe that supporting our troops means treating our wounded vets like the heroes they are, and not leaving them to languish in rat-infested military hospitals under the outsourced management of incompetent cronies who think they’re running a Taco Bell franchise.

Liberals believe in pheromones, sex ed, solar panels, voting paper trails, the common good, and that, no matter how fascinating a story it may be, a president should never sit around in a state of total paralysis reading "My Pet Goat" while America is under attack.

And above all, liberals believe that it’s time to come together as a country and put a collective boot in the ass of shameless conservative fearmongers, hate merchants, and scapegoaters who are sucking the freedom out of all our souls.

I'll be writing more about the primaries later today perhaps. (Hint: the results were somewhat disappointing) but I've had meetings up the ying-yang since Monday and life has been a train-wreck for the past three days....I've been sitting down to dinner (usually with the telephone's "hands free" device stuck in my ear) around 9:30 or 10 o'clock every night so far.....and it continues today...three meetings on the schedule and all of them in direct conflict with family needs and goals....(groceries? what groceries?....dinner tonight?..."Hello Dominoes?")

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tomorrow is primary day

Lots of exciting stuff going on both on the local and national level.

We've received quite a bit of attention from our national Democratic Candidates in here in Wisconsin. Both Obama and Hillary have been "working the State pretty good. Hillary got "snowed out" of Wausau yesterday but has rescheduled for today. Obama is going to be in the southern part of the state today (Milwaukee area, I think). Unfortunately, Wausau is the closest any of them actually got to me and I didn't want to brave the snow storm to see them.

Among my group of friends, it's Obama all the way. Hillary is linked with the Harry Reid Senate Democrats who seem to have never found an issue they could stand up other words...Spineless Senate Democrats....Obama is slightly better.

On the local level the Mayor's race will be narrowed to two tomorrow...I'm suspecting that my least favorite candidate will make it through the primaries but there are some complications which I can't go into for my favored candidate....I won't go so far as to call this one....

Frankly I'm not all that thrilled about my choice of candidate...he can be....ummmmmm......let's just say DIFFICULT at times....but I have my choice of battling with him or dealing with a candidate who:

Waffles.....the last time this guy was elected, he won overwhelming because of his stance on ONE MAJOR ISSUE. After he was elected, it took him exactly two weeks to change his position. When asked why he "waffled"...that is, he said that his campaign position wasn't really what everybody thought it was, and besides, he was elected to get a "compromise". (It was a surrender).
The other choice is:

That's right....weasel....He'll tell anybody anything and if backed into a corner will use "weasel words" to get himself out. I've seen a few of his position statements and he comes down firmly and resolutely on BOTH sides of the issue. He reminds me of those old time politicians who would vote "for" something procedurally and "against" the same thing after it didn't make any difference so they could tell their constituents that they voted the way they wanted them to no matter which contituent they talked to. It's called "having a vote in each pocket". He thinks he's a MINK ....but remember...a mink is a weasel with a good press agent.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Right on cue.....

Sure enough...

Yesterday morning the local radio station gave the Fire Chief a full hour to harange the actions of the City Council. I suspect that the Mayor will be given the "golden microphone" tomorrow morning.

The station has been incredibly sympathetic to the current administration.

I suspect that vetoes will be announced over the radio tomorrow.


This winter has been long and tough...even the snow is unrelenting.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Catching up and a few thoughts

It continues.

(on edit: That was ANOTHER 3 + hour meeting last night)

Last night's meeting was worse than last Tuesday night's meeting. One Alderman attacked the character of another Alderman who is running for Mayor. It was inappropriate and bordering on fact, I think it was slander. It was a scripted attack and the Mayor, acting as Chair let it go on without interruption. This comes on the heals of a candidate's forum in which a "concerned citizen" (ahem...Mayor) asked the candidates what they would do about the "lack of respect on the Common Council"...yeah....right.....

In addition, the "Professional" Fire Chief let his ruby-red slippers stray from the yellow brick road and jumped headlong into politics. I don't think I'll ever have any trust or faith in this guy again.

My "side" prevailed last night on a lot of votes but I think at least one of the issues will be vetoed and maybe even two issues will be vetoed. I'm trying to decide if I will take a chance that the election in April will cure the problem or, if not, if I need to "up the ante" on the veto situation. Two more months of these sophomoric temper tantrums and ego trips is going to be pure hell and the reason the current administration can get away with it is because they have no political price to pay for doing so. I think I need to extract a price for this bad behavior....


I'm beginning to sound like one of them....

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I think the whole world has gone mad....

I mean really......

Every time I go to a meeting I get attacked by the other side....I swear that if I proposed a resolution praising MOTHERHOOD these guys would find a reason to attack it.

The candidates forum for the Mayoral election is tomorrow morning. I'm going to try to attend although it will be rigged from the giddy-up.... loaded questions asked to embarrass the candidate(s) NOT supported by the the "last word" to the "favorite son"....I've seen it all before and they'll do it again, I'm sure of it. Here's a picture of their "ideal candidate"

My least favorite candidate has a website now. I won't link to it because I don't want to give him anymore traffic on the site...and also because I know he has some sort of stat-counter which will tell him who is visiting his took me about three visits to realize that.....
I heard today that a group of locals have apparently raised enough signatures to get the fire station issue on the ballot for April....I'll wait an see if the Clerk issues the "Certificate of Sufficiency" before I start thinking about it too much.
I had coffee with another Alder-critter this afternoon....he's really discouraged....he's beginning to doubt that he (or any of us for that matter) can really do any the moment my response is to stick my fingers in my ears and go LALALALALALALAL...I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

I don't want his negative attitude rubbing off on me....
So today is February 7......let's see.....29 days in this month...that leaves 21 to go and then 22 days in March until the spring equinox....that's 43 days until the sun is back over the equator and its rays become strong and start to light and heat the northern hemisphere up again....the darkest days of winter are behind me now....I have light and warmth to look forward to again.....

Winter can be beautiful but the older I get the more anxious I am for it to depart.

Our friends in Madison got over 12" of snow dumped on them yesterday but it was bright blue skies where I live. I could see the storm clouds south of us and I could see on radar that the snow was less than 60 miles away. I'm just thankful I didn't have to drag the snowblower and shovels out again....

Sunday, February 03, 2008


So how come Hillary got fifteen minutes of uninterrupted campaigning on This Week?

Did Barak get time last week or something?

Mitt got the second fifteen minute slot.....turned it off.

Superbowl (yawn) Sunday

I'm must not be a "normal" person.

I'm not impressed by the hype of Superbowl Sunday. Granted, I might be a bit more interested if the Packers were playing but for the most part I resent the constant hyping and breathless analysis of the most mundane detail. I tend to visualize sportscasters in the same way I visualize the "barkers" on carnival midways ("Hurry, Hurry Hurry...for only two small dollars, you can come inside and see Little Egypt...she walks, she talks, she craaaaaawwwllllllls on her belly like a reptile....hurry, hurry, hurry...!") I remember that I was quite young and walking the midway at a state fair when I learned that the real purpose of this hype was to seperate me from my lunch money....I didn't fall for it then and I'm not falling for it now.

It seems like "ct" over at Kos has the same idea and provides us with a healthy serving of snark concerning the "origins of Superbowl Sunday". It has a special meaning for diehard Green Bay Packer's a picture...and a couple of snippets.
The Roman historian Tacitus tells us that as part of the Germans' celebrations for their god he identified as Mercury (believed by modern historians to be the same as Wotan in the Germanic pantheon, or Odin from Norse sources), they would toss pigs back and forth while drinking and feasting. For reasons that are obscure, during the Migration Period this grew to become one of their most important religious festivals, eclipsing the ceremonial duels between the sixty five greatest warriors of the land held every spring, and even the Serius Mundi, as Roman authors called it, held every fall.
On a January afternoon in 667, the armies met in battle. The first half of the battle, according to contemporary accounts, was fierce, with the Chiefs almost gaining the upper hand. During the second half, though, a series of successes led to Vincentius defeating the Chiefs and forcing their King to accept baptism. Chastened, the Chiefs retreated.
Somehow, I think it's appropriate to spoof this day.....even if it is heresy to mock St Vince.