February 28, 2006
If you attend a National Attorney Generals or Governor's association conference, you will be appalled at the lobbying that takes place. Law firms trying to represent states in class actions; corporate reps buying dinners, hosting receptions, offering boat rides, drafting resolutions, providing speakers. It is scandalous. So, I should not be surprised that Wal-Mart is in attendance at the National Governor's conference crying poverty. Yes, poverty. H.Lee Scott, their CEO, urged governors to veto bills that would force the corporate giant to provide health benefits for Wal-Mart's 1.3 million workers who average less than $10 per hour. Catch this. Wal-Mart's CEO offered to visit all governors to convince them that it would be preferable to wait for Wal-Mart to set up low cost clinics in-store for employees and customers. Confidentiality? Who needs it? Will they have hospital beds, perform surgery, and handle stroke victims?
The Wal-Mart city of the future is coming into focus. You park, shop, see your doctor, do your banking, buy your insurance, get discounted legal advice, host local elections. Ah, I can hardly wait. Turn the downtown areas into Wal-Parks. And, if we all wear Wal-Mart uniforms we can save enough for our Wal-prescriptions.
He Knew! This suprise headline referring to Scott Jensen. He knew state employees were working on campaigns in violation of the rules according to testimony in his criminal trial. Surprise. He knew.
February 27, 2006
Take a bullet, Scott
The Republicans, particularly the two running for governor, are annoyed with Scott Jensen. They seem to be asking why he did not take a bullet for them, accept house arrest, and put the caucus scandal to rest. After all, didn't Chuck Chvala and Brian Burke for the Democrats? Their problem is that documents and testimony in Jensen's trial implicate these former legislative leaders by association. Jensen's defense, you may recall, was, "Hey, they all did it. Why pick on me?"
The problem Mark Green and Scott Walker face is that the violations were so widespread that the voter is left with two choices: Walker and Green were part of the scandal or were blind and ignorant. Non-players in the Legislature. Hard to put that on your resume. No one will believe that if "everyone was doing it" that Green and Walker were innocent as the first snow in November.
So, Jim "lucky" Doyle may escape the spotlight. He won't call a special session to deal with pay-to- play, but his opponents may appear to be worse despite no-bid contracts, footsey with the utilities, and mega bucks from people who normally give to Republicans.
Ah, Wisconsin. Be proud of our squeaky clean image. We had it once.
February 26, 2006
When will we ever learn?
The UN is demanding we close Guantanamo and for good reason. The idea of a prison for detainees, denied a meaningful right to counsel, charges, or court review may be the low-water mark for jurisprudence in American history.
Today the NYT headline screams at us: "An Afghan Prison Expands, Filling Guantanamo's Role." And the subhead confirms we have learned nothing: "Primitive Bagram Site Holds Hundreds in a Legal Limbo, Some Officials Say."
The reporters say the conditions in this prison are worse than Guantanamo. Some prisoners have been there for more than three years. And, I'm not making this up, "And unlike those at Guantanamo, they have no access to lawyers, no right to hear the allegations against them and only rudimentary reviews of ther status as "enemy combatants." Yikes! Imagine an inmate pleading to be sent to Guantanamo!
A friend from Arizona called to recommend Jane Mayer's superb article in the February 27 issue of the New Yorker, titled "The Memo." It is a must read. Alberto Mora was general counsel to the Navy. A serious conservative, he warned early on that administration tactics in the fight against terror would prove disastrous. He was right.
Will Rumsfeld ever learn? Will the Congress ever engage? What have we become?
February 25, 2006
Courage and poetry
It took courage for our friend Father Jim Murphy to join a group disrupting the staged rally for Herb Kohl in the lobby of the Orpheum theater. (Appropriate it was held in a theater.) Activists demanded an end to the Iraqi occupation and urged Senator Kohl to sign a petition calling for an end to our involvement. Jim Murphy said, "We all know that the war in Iraq was based on lies. Too many innocent lives have been lost and too many dollars spent. We are here to appeal to your conscience and ask you to sign a pledge against the war."
An annoyed Kohl listened but refused to sign the pledge. He was even more annoyed when the protesters did not step aside when his supporters began chanting "We want Herb." (A clever ditty.)
Kohl broke into poetry:
"You have had your say
and you should move away.
You diminish your effectiveness
by what you convey."
One might have added,
"$250 billion, and that ain't hay.
But you should just go away."
In the meantime, Ed Thompson is thinking of running for Congress against Ron Kind who has also waffled on the war. Thompson said, "I am so sick of corruption, and I am so sick of the federal government taking our money and going to war." Whoa Nelly! A Libertarian taking a clear anti-war position while Democrats bob and weave?
As Vince Lombardi said, "What the hell is going on!"
February 24, 2006
Happy Birthday to you!
Here it is. Our third birthday and we should celebrate as we build on our accomplishments. You have come to Fighting Bob Fest, 15,000 of you; you have created The People's Legislature; and you return to FightingBob.com every day. Over one million of you have visited our site and, while that number includes thousands of repeaters, it is impressive.
Equally impressive to this editor is the number 12,000. We average twelve thousand visits every week and that means more than 500,000 of you per year have a place of your own to read and share a progressive view of world and state events.
This year Bob Fest is on Saturday, September 9. Same site--rolling hills of Baraboo at the Sauk County grounds. Can't think of a better place. And this will be just a few days before the primary.
A few thoughts on our birthday. We have so many people to thank we can't list them all. So, from my heart, thank you for reviving the progressive spirit in Wisconsin. Every speaker at Bob Fest wants to return; everyone I hear from loves the event; and more and more of you read the blogs and the articles we publish. This is fun!
So, on to year four. A prediction: We will see an end to American occupation in Iraq. We will see Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. And we will force politicians to vote for publicly financed campaigns. Buckle your seat belts. We've got a grand agenda.
Happy birthday from our volunteer staff.
February 23, 2006
Does it get worse?
Suppose that the man who would kill Big Bird through budget cuts, or by having him hunt with Dick Cheney, is right about our ports being controlled by an Arab trading partner. I don't think he is, but let' give him the benefit of the doubt.
Assume he told his Attorney General to make provisions for increased security and that Chertoff at Homeland Security rolled up his sleeves and helped negotiate a great deal for the U.S. Then suppose the Tooth Fairy helped make this work.
With all of those assumptions, why, oh why, would they admit that the president didn't know about the deal until just hours before announcing that his first veto would be exercised to save the deal? And if anyone in the executive branch is listening or thinking, could they imagine a public outcry. If not, what are they doing in government? What's next for heaven's sake?
An overnight poll showed 76 percent of the respondents giving the president an 'F' for his handling of the port issue. Leave no President too far behind.
On the day before FightingBob.com's birthday, a message from Bill Moyers: "I mean, think about it. Other than the war in Iraq, the Katrina disaster, the deficit, the CIA leak, torture, stopping stem cell research, homeland security, global warming and undercutting science, we've yet to really feel the negative effects of the Bush administration."
Amen, Brother Moyers.
February 22, 2006
No rational basis
The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the cap on victim's pain and suffering last year. The Lobbyist's Legislature had set a limit that would today be $445,000. The Court said the limit violated victims' rights and that Legislators had "no rational basis" for the cap. In other words, it was arbitrary and capricious.
Now, two of our Lobbyist Legislators, Scott Fitzgerald, R. Juneau, and Curt Gielow, R. Mequon, say without a cap on malpractice awards, health care costs will shoot up. Quite a team. Senator Arbitrary and Representative Capricious. Missing from their press release is any proof of their assertion. Once again, they offer no evidence of a causal relationship between the cost of health care and malpractice but, hey, who needs it? According to the WSJ, Lobbyists for the Medical Society, insurance industry and the hospitals logged 2,400 hours in support of arbitrary caps. (Should there be a cap on fees paid to lobbyists? And, Granny D argued at the People's Legislative telling, that no legislator who gets money from special interests should be allowed to participate in the deliberations. Let's ask Mike McCabe to find out which Legislators have a conflict of interests.)
I suppose Fitgerald and Gielow believe they have a "rational basis" for this legislation. Support from lobbyists and their patrons is all the rationale they need.
Just once could the Medical Society come up with some evidence instead of anecdotal information? And could they tell us how they are removing incompetent doctors? And, just once, could the Lobbyist's Legislature investigate the insurance companies and the hospitals. And, while at it, could someone please exlain how a limit on jury awards will get rid of doctors guilty of malpractice? Read "Political Malpractice", written by world famous W.Dudley Johnson, M.D. in October of 2004, who concluded: "There is grossly inept quality control by politicians and doctors." And he points out plaintiff's lawyers lose 80% of the time. Maybe it isn't as easy as the lobbyists would lead you to believe.
February 21, 2006
Birthday and more
As we approach our third birthday it was tempting to scroll back to February of 2003 to review what was happening as Bob.com was seeing the light of day. Of course, one month later the Bush pre-emptive strike on Iraq occured and our writings appear right on given what we know now. Since then our country has spent $242.5 billion on Iraq. We could have put that money into four-year scholarships at our public universities. Could have had 11.7 million of them!
Walter Dickey on prison reform and the Kannos on the Perrier grass roots victory were our first columnists. It is fun to look back from time to time so I encourage you to click on the blogs or articles and take a gander. Since February 24, 2003, 470 of you have written articles. One million of you have visited our home. 2.5 million have viewed a page and 8 million have hit our site. Not bad for, as Hightower would say, "mutts and straglers."
Our need for a vehicle to get progressive views around is as great or greater today than it was three years ago. Example? A new WMC front group is pretending to speak for the little guy battling big government. Americans for Prosperity, headed by Mark Block in Wisconsin. His claim to fame includes experience on Justice Jon Wilcox's campaign against Walt Kelly. Americans for Prosperity--theirs, not yours--will appear on public television and radio, on Charlie Sykes' program and of course Mark Belling. And everyone will pretend that the group is legitimate.
Mother Nature works in strange and unpredictable ways. The neocons do as well although in a much more predictable way. FightingBob will keep track of this outfit.
So, celebrate our birthday, send a contribution if you can, and write more articles. This is fun!
February 20, 2006
We have a celebration coming on Friday. Hard to believe but FightingBob.com will be three years old on Friday, February 24. We will offer you some stats and you will be given an opportunity to celebrate with us by making a contribution. Since we are volunteering our time, our costs remain low but when we sponsor Thee People's Legislature and Fighting Bob Fest, we have expenses.
So, if you would, consider a paypal contribution or send a check if you can afford it. If you can't, write an article for us.
One stat blows my find. We have had over 8 million hits. 8 million of anything is a lot. And, 472 articles, and the daily blog--often with guest blogs. I am always pleased when Bill Kraus sends us his guest blog on Friday. Want to join in?
It isn't a private fight!
February 18, 2006
If this is winning...
President Bush once again said "We are winning in Iraq." Wow. Saturday the NYT carried an article about the kidnapping of a "wealthy banker and his son." Men dressed in Iraqi Army uniforms killed his five bodyguards "execution style" and took the chair of the Basra bank and his son.
Here is how the NYT reporter described the situation: "The raid seemed to follow a disturbing pattern that is now grimly familiar to many Iraqis. As this country's institutions have collapsed, criminals, insurgents, and militias of political parties have infiltrated the country's police and armed forces, kidnappoing and stealing in uniform. American officials are now trying to bring army and police units under control, increasing the number of American advisors."
Read it again: "as the country's institutions have collapsed." Yes, collapsed. And the answer is? Yup. More American advisors who cannot speak the language, who don't understand the culture, and who are operating in a country where 80 percent of the Sunnis support violence against American occupiers. If this is "winning" I'd sure hate to see losing.
Guantanamo: Desmond Tutu, hero of South Africa's battle to defeat apartheid, said, "I never imagined I would live to see the day when the United States would use precisely the same arguments that the apartheid government used for detention without trial. It is disgraceful. One cannot find strong enough words to condemn what Britain and the United States have accepted." Tutu and British MPs have called on the U.S. to close this blot on our record.
Cold weather cold hearts
The Bush adminstration assures us through release of brief report from Census Bureau that poverty ain't so bad if you count all benefits. Food stamps, housing subsidies, and tax credits. Only 8.3 percent of us are below the poverty line by that methodology.
As they say, figures lie and liars figure. They say that poverty is down. In 2004, under old system of calculating, 12.7 percent of us were poor. I'm not making this up.
For a family of four, $19,157 is the poverty line. To earn that amount, one worker would need to work 2,080 hours at $9.21 per hour. So why isn't minimum wage $9.21? Why don't we have universal health care? Don't ask me.
A friend and Bob.com subscriber called my atttention to a column by Jim Stingl in MJS on Valentine's day. Muni judge Jim Gramling refused to fine a man $122 for picking up cans from garbage. He was collecting cans to sell so he could pay for his medications. Hooray for Judge Gramling, who said, "I don't want to be part of a system that grinds this guy up."
Imagine giving a ticket to a man who is so desperate he is gathering cans from garbage. Think he can afford heat in his apartment? Think he can afford gas at $2.50 a gallon if he could afford a car? I'll bet he will feel better when he reads the Census Bureau report. Hey, fella, you are doing just fine. Think of your tax benefits!
As Vince Lombardi barked, "What the hell is going on out there?"
February 17, 2006
Ah, its Friday
This morning I go head-to-head with Bill Kraus on Joy Cardin. Only problem is Bill is almost always right.
The State Department is upset. After all their efforts to get rid of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the voters of Haiti elected a follower of Aristide, Rene Preval. Oh no, not another election gone bad! Chile, Iran, Iraq, Bolivia, Argentina, Venezuela, Palestine, and now Haiti. What is Condi to do? Not only that, her dept. regrets release of more photos from Abu Ghraib--forget the torture, it is "bad timing" for more photos to be released. (And we thought cartoons were bad?)
And, the pesky ingrates at the U.N. demand we stop torturing detainees in Guantanamo? Charge and give them a trial? For heaven's sake. What else do they want? Leave us alone!
February 16, 2006
It looks like Jim Doyle will soon agree with John Gard, Charlie Sykes, and the Bradley Foundation to raise the cap on vouchers in Milwaukee. MJS reports the increase will be from the current cap of 15,000 to 22,500. Ah, but our tough negotiator Doyle will get an agreement that all voucher schools will obtain accreditation. Wow! Imagine that. They get vouchers and someday they will also have qualified teachers? Some deal.
Mayor Tom Barrett said the deal would be good for the participants--without explanation--and "very bad for Milwaukee taxpayers." Ah, but why should the Mayor be included in the discussions. Didn't he oppose Jim Doyle four years ago?
On to "I shot the sheriff." The Cheney show is one of the best diversions yet. I heard it on Jon Stewart's program so it must be true. Dick Cheney took responsibility for shooting his companion. He didn't blame the liberal media, FEMA or terrorists. The NRA and Dave Zien have been quiet. Perhaps they will argue that a concealed weapon is safer.
Condi Rice is openly proposing that the U.S. spend millions on Iran to "prod changes." Will this be for housing, food, or education? No, she wants $85 million, according to NY Times, to fund groups in opposition to the government. Worked in Palestine, so why not? A new role for neocon favorite Ahmed Chalabi perhaps? Yikes!
February 14, 2006
Our Vice President
When Mark Russell was performing nightly in D.C. during Watergate, he often said,"Who needs script writers? How can you improve this line, 'Your president is not a crook'?" Good stuff.
Well, your challenge today. How can you improve on the Vice President's action of shooting a lawyer? Guns don't shoot lawyers, people do. Or, What do you suppose the lawyer said? Or did he think it was a terrorist?
Who knows but it is hard to beat the headlines.
February 13, 2006
Last Friday, Wisconsin said farewell to Bill Proxmire in a ceremony in the rotunda of the Capitol. It was slightly uncomfortable to listen to speakers discuss his fierce independence from special interest money as scandals swirl about.
Would that politicians had listened to Bill Proxmire and Gaylord Nelson. They knew the dangers of money in politics. Dwight Eisenhower knew the dangers as he warned the nation about the "vast and powerful military, congressional and industrial complex." But no one was issuing warnings on Friday. The low-budget campaigns of Proxmire seemed out of context. Almost humorous.
The last time I met with Bill Proxmire we went to Ralph Nader's office to discuss public funding of campaigns. While unnecessary in the 1950s, Prox said he could not get elected today without spending ridiculous amounts of money. Nor could Gaylord, or Hubert Humphrey, Gene McCarthy, or Bob Kastenmier. The result? We get the Norm Colemans of today's Senate.
While speakers honored Bill Proxmire last Friday, they could create a wonderful memorial to his memory by enacting publicly financed campaigns. Ah but that would require giving more than lip service to our departed friend.
Thank you Bill Proxmire. We may have disagreed with you from time to time, but no one ever doubted you were your own man. We thank you.
February 12, 2006
Spivak & Bice
The Spice boys got excited when they were told that the Lautenschlager campaign donated $2,000 to Fighting Bob. (Her campaign took in too much money from PACs and was required to give the excess to non-profits. Fighting Bob was one of six to receive a contribution. If, after pouring over Peg's finance report, this is all they found, Peg should be celebrating.)
But, so what? Fighing Bob is nonpartisan and never makes endorsements and had S&B attended the four Bob Fests they would know Kathleen Falk has spoken at three of the four and Peg has not. Ah, but we hold Bob Fest on a weekend and Baraboo is a long way from Journal Communications. (I know it is a long way because MJS has never sent a reporter to cover the largest progressive meeting in the Midwest. Heck, they won't even publish the AP stories about Bob Fest.)
The more interesting part of the conversation is related to how Journal Communications gives neo-con Charlie Sykes 3.5 hours of air time every day of the work week on WTMJ. When I ran for governor in 1998 I joked that he attacked me on even days and Feingold on odd days. And, of course, Sykes gets heavily involved in promoting vouchers not just attacking progressives.
While they were quick to agree that their Journal Communicaitons colleague and Bradley Foundation "fellow," Charlie is not exactly neutral, the surprisinly defensive response from S&B was to use the old non-sequitor used by the MJS editorial board that Sykes also attacks the Journal Sentinel. They don't mention that JS can always fire Sykes.
Then S&B pulled out the heavy artillery by pointing out that Dave Zweifel and John Nichols of the Cap Times are on Fighting Bob's board. Imagine that! What's next? Balance on WTMJ? But they also defamed me by callling me, and I'm not making this up, "surprisingly mild-mannered." Them's fight'n words where I grew up.
They did point out that Michael Grebe, head of the Bradley Foundation, took a pay cut from Foley & Lardner to take on tough duty at Bradley for a paltry $600,000. Almost pro bono. Wonder if he has any job openings.
February 11, 2006
Everything's gonna be alright. Hey! Why worry if our trade deficit soars to another record--fourth year in a row? Why worry indeed. Remember when the DLC and the Clintons told us free trade is the answer? As I recall, we were going to put money in the hands of poor people in the third world and they would then purchase our goods. Did anyone believe that nonsense?
The U.S. had a $725 billion deficit in 2005 while our trade deficit with China ( you know, Wal-Mart's best friend) went to $201 billion--"the biggest imbalance ever recorded with a single country" reports AP.
The Wall Street Journal says China produces 85 percent of the vitamin C consumed in America. Yikes! What happens if China gets mad at us? We all get head colds?
Could someone ring the alarm bell?
February 10, 2006
Remember when President Bush couldn't remember "Kenny Boy" Lay of Enron fame? Now he can't remember Jack Abramoff despite a dozen meetings and the $100,000 he raised for Bush's re-election campaign. Can't remember the 100 grand donors? I'll bet a lot of them are wondering if they have also been forgotten.
The White House admits Jack attended three Hanukkah receptions at the White House. That's it. Yah, sure Ole.
We are approaching FightingBob.com's third birthday. Your thoughts, ideas, reflections would be appreciated.
In the meantime, enjoy the snow and the snow-jobs flowing from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
February 9, 2006
Please say it ain't so. The Doyle campaign could not have received a contribution on the eve of awarding a no-bid $28.9 million dollar contract to software giant Oracle. No, this must be a typo in the Cap Times.
Why would we ever, and I mean ever, award a no-bid contract for anything when using public dollars? And guess who is outraged at the suggestion that Oracle made the contribution in connection with the no-bid contract? Yup! WisPolitics-trained Melanie Fonder who just a short while ago was a spokesperson for the governor. Now she is outraged as spokesperson for the Doyle campaign. Could someone ring the alarm bell?
And our lobbyists were busy playing with their own Legislature. They spent 259,000 hours lobbying according to the Ethics Board. Their pay? Some $30.2 million. I'm not making this up. That is $116 per hour and that includes drive time, out of pocket expenses, nice meals, warm rooms. Can you imagine lobbyists in Wisconsin paid more than 30 million bucks?
This madness must stop. We must begin with publicly financed elections or, to quote Howard Cosell, "We deserve whatever we get."
February 7, 2006
We hardly knew ye
Where did the "compassionate conservative" president go? We were just introduced and wham! First you see no child left behind, now you see all of them left behind. First you see a new prescription drug plan, now you see chaos, cuts and more bombs. Where did the compassionate president go?
One day the Chair of the Joint Chiefs is fired for saying the Iraqi "experiment" could cost two hundred billion, now Dick Cheney would do the Beer Barrel Polka for that paltry sum.
Face it. We are broke. We can't keep our troops in Iraq, can't leave according to Rumsfeld, can't secure Afghanistan and now we threaten to bomb Iran? All this while securing tax cuts for the wealthy and planning for a deficit that will bankrupt our nation. We are in trouble. The Congress? Stay tuned.
February 6, 2006
Games within games
Spivak & Bice reported Sunday in MJS that the Democratic Governors Association is looking for ways to funnel money to the Doyle campaign. To be fair, you know the GOP Governors Association will put much more into the campaign to retire Doyle, but the same excuse is heard over and over: "The other side is doing it so we must do it." Or, "They started it so we have to respond."
How do groups like DGA get money into Wisconsin races and where does the money come from? "Can't tell you. First Amendment protects us." Well, they purchase "issue ads"; a misnomer if ever there was one.
Those producing the ads and paying for them are supposed to keep a distance from the candidate they promote and to make certain of the Chinese wall they ask the Tooth Fairy to monitor their activities.
It always seemed odd that Doyle's campaign manager in 2002, Bill Christofferson, had been rumored to be on the "outs" with Doyle while he worked with WisPolitics.com to start a pro-Doyle anti-GOP candidate blog. Well, wonder no more. Guess who is producing and presumably placing the issue ads praising the governor, according to Spivak & Bice? Yes siree. Bill "I'm not really on the outs" Christofferson. Defending all this is Doyle staff person Melanie Fonder, who got her training at, you guessed it, WisPolitics.
Can't tell the players without a program. Thanks to Spivak & Bice we have part of the program--only the numbers are missing. Where does the money come from, why don't you announce it, and how much are the "independent" consultants making?
February 5, 2006
Two giants passed last week. Coretta Scott King and Betty Friedan of The Feminine Mystique and NOW fame. Very different but both were wonderful teachers for men and women.
King helped keep the message of hope and peace alive despite what must have been a desire to retire from public life after the tragedy of her husband's death. She will be missed.
Betty Friedan was a pioneer. She held and expressed radical thoughts that unsettled a male-dominated society. Imagine legal abortion, child care centers to permit women to continue to work, equal pay for equal work, maternity leave. She forced everyone to think about gender equity. It seems like ancient history, but in some school districts married women were not allowed to teach school. For certain, pregnant women could not teach. What would the children think? Where is the stork?
Thanks to these two strong women our daughters and granddaughters will enjoy a better life. Thank you both.
February 4, 2006
The gift that keeps on giving
The Jensen defense team is making life interesting for many people. Jensen's defense that he shouldn't be prosecuted because everyone was violating the law was quickly and properly deep-sixed by Judge Steven Ebert. But lots of interesting information.
Justice David Prosser attended the hearing and was apparently ready to testify that he had done what Jensen is accused of doing. Professor Walter Dickey was quoted in the Wisconsin State Journal, "David Prosser needs to be a little bit careful here. He might be admitting to a crime. Even if it is not prosecutable, it undermines the legitimacy of the judiciary if you admit to behavior that amounts to a felony." An ethics prof at the UW Law School said it was "admirable really--admirable but mistaken."
Prosser did not testify but was quoted as follows after the hearing: "They're trying to get me to bare my soul at the same time they're trying to prevent the jury from hearing me. That seems a little inconsistent to me." Wow. He makes it seem as if he is a part of the defense team. According to MJS, Justice Prosser is considering "recusing himself from all Supreme Court cases involving the state until the Jensen case is resolved." That is about 40 percent of the cases before the Court.
Another moment to put in your memory bank, Jensen's lawyer argued, and I'm not making this up, that the selective prosecution of Jensen was like "a night club where female strippers were prosecuted while male patrons were not. The Republicaans are the female strippers and the Democrats are the patrons." Whoa Nelly! In that case, what was Scooter Jensen's role?
Finally, a defense witness will be permitted to testify from Iraq. Who? Bert Garvin, PSC Commissioner and former Jensen aid. Be still my heart.
February 3, 2006
The Gods must be---
Remember the wonderful movie, "The Gods Must be Crazy"?
Well, read the news today and ask yourself if the Gods are indeed crazy or if we are.
Legislators are debating two bills. One would authorize 8-year-olds to hunt; the other would require booster seats in cars for all children up to the age of 8. So, strap 'em in until their eighth birthday, let them out, put a gun in their hands, and set them loose. Make sense? Now you know why we support a People's Legislature.
Next story makes me light-headed. Supreme Court Justice David Prosser apparently will testify in the Scott Jensen trial "that campaigning on state time was widespread and stretched back into the 1970s" according to a Pat Marley story in the MJS. Whoa Nelly! Who called the Justice to ask him to testify in a case that will likely make it to the Supreme Court? Those seeking office as a Justice normally refuse to comment on anything of interest to voters on the ground that the matter might come before the Court. But Justice Prosser is apparently willing to say "for the most part, every activity that could be charachterized as campaign activity can be conceivably construed to be an act that furthers the legislative process." In other words, Chvala, Foti, Jensen and others were innocent? It is OK to use taxpayer money to campaign? C'mon!
I am not making this up. Justice Prosser "supervised" Scott Jensen which "suggests that he directed Jensen to campaign on state time" according to MJS.(Emphasis mine.) If he did, and he testifies, has he made it impossible for the other six Justices to sit on this case, if it reaches the Supreme Court, when a colleague is intimately involved in the case? Still think we don't need public financing of our campaigns?
Happy Friday. Rent the movie.
February 2, 2006
Should have asked?
Jim Doyle announced that he will keep his campaign manager despite "the revelation that he had campaigned on state time when he worked for the Assembly" according to MJS. The Governor said he was never briefed on what his manager said to prosecutors in 2001.
Isn't that the point? Why would you keep someone running your campaign who failed to tell you that he had admitted to violating the law? OK, you didn't know and practised "don't ask don't tell" policy in hiring staff. OK. But how about your manager? Has he fully briefed you now or should we wait for the Jensen trial to learn more?
This is not good.
New contribbutor Bob Curry writes today about the 8-year-old hunting idea. A good one.
February 1, 2006
Some good news
Good news for Jim Doyle and for the rest of us. The Asssembly upheld the governor's veto on concealed weapons. The Dave "I'm just an NRA toady" Zien effort to have millions of us armed, failed by two votes. Not one Republican voted to sustain the veto. I'm eager to hear how Bill Kraus views such nonsense in GuestBlog.
So, congratulations to the governor and to the Assembly Democratic leadership. Now, perhaps, the Lobbyist's Legislature can get to work. Recess is over, the bell has rung, time to get serious.
State of the Union? Not worth much comment. If you saw it you have formed your opinion. If you didn't see it or hear it, you didn't miss much. Tax breaks for the wealthy should be permanent...oil independence in 20 years...global warming? What's that?
I'm not making this up. Scott Jensen, former Assembly speaker and indicted-but-still-in-the-Legislature, claims the DA is picking on him. His defense? Everyone was doing it, so why me?
Remember the first time you were pulled over for speeding? Like me did you say, "Officer, I was going with the flow of traffic. Everyone was speeding?" Well, it didn't work then and it won't work now. But sign up Jensen for campaign finance reform. He says "Capitol graft was common" according to MJS. I'm surprised he didn't testify with E. Michael McCann, Nino Amato and Granny D at the People's Legislature.
Maybe next year.