September 30, 2008 And we all fall down!
Ring around the Rosie. Recall your childhood and then think about leadershsip in Congress and in the White House. Henry Paulson made $36 million or so in his last job. Do you believe him when he says he is trying to help Main Streeters like us? I sure as hell don't.
And President Bush? Any takers? Then there is Congress led by Nancy "Impeachment is off the table" Pelosi and Steny "I'm so happy to be here" Hoyer and their GOP counterparts who would have us believe that a speech by Pelosi got them so hot they could not vote for the bailout. And the cow jumped over the moon.
"Blue Dog" Democrat (whatever that is) Ron Kind was against it before he was for it. And some were for it before they voted against it. Let's face it, we are, as Jim Hightower says, in a world of hurt.
Eugene Debs said, "I would not lead you into the promised land if I could because if I could lead you in any damned fool could lead you out!"
There were good people for and good people against. I don't know how I would have voted, but now there is a chance for Obey, Baldwin, Moore, Kagan and friends to put forward Plan B. The quarterback for the Dems is hurt. No time for a rookie; time for the leaders to lead. Strong regulation; a one-year moratorium on foreclosures; urge Bush to fire Paulson and bring in someone with credibility--Paul Krugman?
Not much time, but think of C.C. Sabathia--we must have one somewhere or we all fall down!
Listen up, J.B. Even a wounded duck like AG Mukasey understands that partisan politics takes a back seat in the attorney general's office. Read this J.B.: "The scandal that dogged the Bush administration for months over accusations that it had--(get this)-- politicized the federal justice system." He named a special prosecutor. Are you listening frere JB?
Your legal team met with Republican Party lawyers and apparently talked about the lawsuit against GAB. And you did it even though you co-chair the McCain campaign. The La Crosse Tribune had it right. Choice--yours--McCain campaign or the lawsuit, but not both.
Milwaukee Teachers and the Milwaukee Branch of NAACP seek to intervene as defendants in the suit. The NAACP raises interesting issues. Judge Sumi will conduct a hearing by telephoene Thursday morning.
September 29, 2008 Disaster looms!
Cheney and Co. know theater. One last gift to the financial backers of this administration was orchestrated by experts. Their goal? Easy. If Obama wins he will be unable to do anything about education, health care or middle-class tax cuts. One-term-only is the mantra. With the soaring debt dumped on the White House lawn--11 trillion dollars, he will face a revolt on day one.
The number $700 billion? Pulled out of Hank's right ear. Calling it a guess would be generous.
Then, they insisted there is only one way to avoid a total meltdown. One way, their way. Once that gets out there, what's Congress to do? Well, they might have put forth their own plan. You know, Plan B. But developing Plan B would mean no face time with Hank, Nancy, Harry and John in front of the cameras where they stood, like Swiss guards in the Vatican, behind Hank. (Three steps behind, thank you.)
So, Bush/Cheney set the table, selected the menu and the wine. (One bottle of the really expensive bubly saved for Dick and Hank in the bunker.)
No wonder the Patriot Act passed; no wonder Gitmo happened; no wonder the CIA is in charge of interrogation; no wonder we invaded and still occupy Iraq.
Seven Wall Street firms paid out 39 billion dollars in bonuses in 2007, according to Bernie Sanders. No wonder_________ (fill in the blank.)
I can't imagine a better time for Congressman Obey's lecture at the Law School on the subjedt of economic disparity. (See our Events page.)
September 28, 2008 Bye-bye Palin?
It is one thing to be out-classed. It is another when you become the object of scorn. Palin is in the latter category. Take a glance.
Jay Leno: "Sarah Palin took five hours to get through the Central Park Zoo, because she had to keep stopping to reload."
Joke on Internet: "Palin kills Bullwinkle J. Moose at charity event."
Tina Fey, just too good on SNL, "I'm just gonna have to get back to ya," after Amy Poehler told her "no lifeline." (Palin says she watches Fey but doesn't listen. Yikes!)
Seventy percent of the general public in AOL poll are not comfortable with Palin one heartbeat from the presidency. The other 30 percent are probably preparing for the rapture. Big concern about the Palin Biden debate is that Biden will garner sympathy for her. Face it John: You blew it.
McCain won't release his medical records and he doesn't know where Spain is, for Pete's sake. (His wife won't release her tax returns. Wonder who she plans to vote for.)
He lost the debate, acted like a jerk, and he failed to get credit for the bailout. Answer? Drop Palin, add Romney or Bloomberg. Focus on something else.
September 27, 2008 Who won?
Easy question--the Brewers! Two more and the unthinkable--Milwaukee, little Milwaukee, in the playoffs.
Oh, you meant who won the "debate"? Obama, according to a CBS poll released immediately after the debate. I agree, but if he won it was not a unanimous decision. I expected little from McCain and he gave little, but Barack is, according to one ardent supporter, reluctant--too reluctant--to go for the kill.
Give credit to Jim Lehrer. He tried to loosen up the format so the candidates would look at one another and go at it, but McCain would not play the game and Obama didn't grab the opportunity. McCain, arrogantly, refused to ever look at Barack, and Obama did not force the issue. Hard to do, but he should have tried. If he gets McCain off his memorized lines a knockout is probable.
Meanwhile, back in Wisconsin, we have learned that McCain's campaign has apparently sent absentee ballots to thousands of voters (nice gesture), but one problem: the return address is often wrong!
I will bet the Attorney General will be on this fraud like a dog on a bone. Oops! I forgot. Our AG is co-chair of the McCain campaign and is busy suing the GAB. A suit that could disqualify thousands of voters with special impact on students and minorities. One must ask, do the debates matter? And, good for the LaCrosse Tribune editors: "Van Hollen should step down as McCain campaign co-chair. Our problem--the outright partisan nature of this (GAB suit)given Van Hollen's co-chairmanship."
They give him a choice--resign "or step away from the lawsuit." Catch this: "We should not allow such blatant partisanship when it cones to the right to vote," Right on LaCcrosse Tribune! (Are you out there JS and WSJ?)
Lemme see. In Michigan, the GOP is trying to disqualify voters who have lost their homes by eviction. Does it get any worse? Is there an end to dirty tricks? In 2000 it was Florida; 2004--it was Ohio; 2008--Wisconsin and Michigan? Be prepared.
September 26, 2008 Woody Allen or Spike Lee?
If we decided to make a movie focused on the credit meltdown, would we go for Woody or Spike? I would go with Woody because it must be a comedy--no one would believe a serious rendition. A few items to consider. Where did the $700 billion figure come from? Turns out a Treasury Department employee pulled it out of the air! "We wanted a really big number," was the response to the question following other estimates of $200 billion-$400 billion.
Then, with Don Rickles playing president Bush, he says, "If money isn't loosened up, this sucker could go down." (I am not making this up. Bush said that.)
Paulson, played by Jack Nicholson, dreams of unprecedented and non-reviewable power, but our boy Jack is dreaming of Sarah Palin. Just before a nice candlelight dinner, Palin (Diane Keaton), runs into a CBS anchor and says, "It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there...next to our state." Whoa Nelly!
(And didyaknow? Canada is on our other border, and they take war resistors! It is not easy up here!)
Now you will join me in picking Woody Allen? (Oh, and Bill Clinton plays McCain...)
And the most humorous part will be the effort by McCain (Clinton) to use a D.C. crisis to duck the presidential debate. Problem--he runs into 535 egos and gets knocked on his pratt trying to get between Senator Shelby and an NBC camera. He pulls himself together with help from old "kiss on the cheek" Lieberman, and shouts "I did it. I did it."
Here is my take. No one, and I mean no one, believes Bush. He used fear to sell the Patriot Act; fear to get us into Iraq; fear to take us to the edge of bombing Iran, and now fear is his only weapon in this crisis. Enough!
September 25, 2008 Figure out the game--please
The court room of Judge Maryann Sumi was packed. (Many drove in from Milwaukee, arguably the target of the registration challenge. See the video by going to FightingBobFest.org) It was an SRO crowd. Most had difficulty figuring out the game without a program. James Troupis, one of the Republican Party lawyers who met with DOJ lawyers before the suit was filed by J.B. Van Hollen, opted to sit between counsel for the Democratic Party and counsel for Madison Teachers, AFT-Wisconsin, and Madison Firefighters, not counsel table occupied by Van Hollen's lawyers where he would be expected to sit. Big deal? No. Confusing? Yes.
While Judge Sumi permitted Attorney General and McCain-Palin co-chair in Wisconsin, Van Hollen to proceed with the suit that could, in the view of Madison Teachers, supress votes, she also granted party status to MTI, AFT, and Madison Firefighters. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Steve Walters predicted that "allowing those groups to intervene also made the chances of an out-of-court settlement of the case less likely." Really? Who says?
NO DEBATE? Nonsense. McCain appears unhappy with the polls and uncertain he can stay in the ring with Barack so he recalls the words that made Roberto Duran memorable--"No mas! No mas!"
Palin--I swore I would avoid comment on the candidate Mrs. Bush says lacks foreign policy credentials, but I can't. In her brief meeting with the first lady of war-torn Iraq, with 4.5 million homeless people, the NYT reports Palin said, "Plenty to do here, isn't there? Plenty to see." Whoa Nelly! Replied the Iraqi first lady, "I have plenty to do at home."
September 24, 2008 So wrong--so certain!
No wonder the people on Wall Street do so well. It can now be told, or sold, that they don't make mistakes; therefore, they deserve the big bucks and Congress should butt out on the pay issue. The hub-bub is over some in Congress who dare to suggest that $2 million per year should keep a chicken in every Wall Street pot, but don't bet on it.
Ask yourself. How could you keep up four homes on two million clams per year? Can't be done. McCain says $5 million is the dividing line, and he has seven homes! That's more like it.
The NYT says today that "average CEO pay is 275 times that of the average worker." Two-hundred and seventy-five. Yup, 275. The mind boggles in trying to determine the average Wall Street CEO multiple. Now that ought to give you an incentive to brave the elements and get to work. Suppose you earn $30,000 per year. Your CEO would make 275 times your salary or $8.25 million. (Note to self: better apply for that CEO position.)
The galling part is this. There is no way anyone is worth $8 million per year, but "Hank, I-got-$30 million-at-my-last-job" Paulson, tells us without laughing out loud that he deserved it! (I know, some of you are thinking that I'm a hypocrite for having gained big pay days for some NFL players--more on that some other time.)
In the late 1970s, CEO pay was 35 times that of the average worker, but then the wealthy declared a class war and, as Bill Moyers says, "They won!" Why do we put up with this disparity? Well, because congressmen and presidential candidates depend on the CEO class for campaign contributions.
Here is a quiz: Who is more likely to attend a $1,000 per plate dinner? The CEO and his or her spouse, or the average worker? The average guy, you said? Stop reading!
As Vince Lombardi hollered from the sidelines after two Packer penalties, "What the hell is going on out there!" It was not a question. The difference between Wall Street and the NFL--no penalties for guys like Hank.
Just as this issue boils to the surface, Scott Walker, who threatens from time to time to put Milwaukee County into bankruptcy, quietly raises the salaries of his people. Nardeli is up $20,000, most up 26 percent says JS. Is he nuts? Or has he figured out the game? The game--grab what you can, tell the taxpayer that is the price for top talent, and head for the next fundraiser.
September 23, 2008 Where to begin?
First, a comment on the unbelievable decision of the people who selected this year's MacArthur Foundation "Genius" fellowships to ignore all politicians, including those thinking about a $700 billion blank check to Hank. (Oh, what the hell--a trillion dollars is more like it.) There are 535 members of Congress, 50 State Legislatures with about 2,500 elected officials, 50 governors, 50 Lieutenant Governors, and hundreds of geniuses who had a plan to conquer Iraq in 10 days, and you are telling us that not one deserve a "genius" award? C'mon! Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney? No bloggers? How about Halliburton?
No pols, but one farmer and we are thrilled for Will Allen, who spoke at last year's Bob Fest. Will developed farming methods and educational programs to provide healthy food in urban areas. Very exciting. Congratulations to Will and to all who work with him.
The Foundation president said, "This year's class of winners are working on the very edge of discovery and many at the edge of a new synthesis." OK, he lost me there, but how about John McCain? By selecting Sarah Palin, isn't he living "on the edge"? And by promising to "reach across the isle, isn't that "a new synthesis" in the making? I nominate John McCain.
GOOD NEWS-- Not so fast Fridley! Yes, kudos to Peter McAvoy and all who worked hard and smart to pass the Great Lakes Compact. Yes, including the governor. It looks like Congress will approve the Compact to "ban diverting of water from the Great Lakes Basin." Almost. The almost? See the fine print. Our Fighting Bob Fest organizers first came together after the Perrier fight with the people at Nestle. We won! Yippee! But, like rust, Nestle never sleeps. The one exception to the Compact we know about--as of today--"would allow bottled water to be shipped outside the basin." (I'm not making this up.) We have been asking for the details of the compact but thus far few details have left the basin.
Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak, our neighbor, is asking Congress to slow down until proper protections are put in place. What kind of a nut is this guy Stupak? Next thing you know he will want homeowners to be "bailed out" just like the bankers!
And, listen up Stupak, if Nestle gets mad, lookout. No more chocolate in the UP! And we mean it!
Bailout: All of you who trust Hank, Nancy, George, Rubin and Harry to comprehend this bailout and protect us, send me an e-mail. Those who don't feel comfortable seeing Harry Reid in serious discussion with Mitch McConnell, on a bill neither has read, join me in a moment of silence followed by a loud "Hell no!" (Why not convene the MacArthur genius award winners and ask them? Some might put it to music, but we would at least know the group is intelligent. A heck of a start, Brownie.)
Seriously, this bailout is a bad idea designed by people acting in their self-interest. Go to jail...do not pass GO.
September 22, 2008 Truth--get your boots on
Remember the old saw: "A lie gets half way around the world before truth gets her boots on"?
Today, Truth needs her boots, her own Lear jet, some gutsy Democrats in Congress, and large dollops of more truth. If the church group in Milwaukee was right yesterday, it is unlikely Truth will get the help she needs.
Let's begin our search for Truth with the over-the-top farewell to Yankee Stadium--you know, "The house that Ruth built" 85 years ago. But now the leading jerk in the sports world, George Steinbrenner, uses taxpayers' money, a billion or so, to have the new and nicely appointed Yankee Stadium known as the house George built. The last time a similar heist was worked for the Yankees the great Red Smith penned these wonderful words: "The refurbished home of the Yankees will not be known as the house that truth built."
Wisconsin voters were conned by Jim Klauser, Tommy and Selig to build Miller Park, so don't get all huffy about the ignorant Yankee fans/taxpayers. Welcome to the Major Leagues!
Ah, Truth, if you were giving Yankee stadium a standing ovation last night, isn't it time to get to Wall Street? Perhaps to rename Wall Street Steinbrenner Alley? Wall Street, where they are in a scrum with lobbyists?
What is going on? Henry Paulson Jr. has been telling us for months that the crisis was contained. So why should we trust him now that we have only a couple of days to save America? I guess because Mayor Bloomberg thinks "Hank" is top drawer. And "Hank" is ready to become our Czar not only while Bush runs the show but in the next administration as well. I'm not making this up.
Chris Dodd said, "Congress needs to offer some assurance to the taxpayer that Congress is watching." Yikes! I want you to do more than watch. Roll up your sleeves and get to wprk on our behalf.
Rove at his best. McCain, off his rocker when he should be enjoying his rocker, picks Palin. The crisis of Wall Street arrives seven weeks before the election, and bingo! Out goes Palin and in comes Bloomberg as Johnny's running mate.
September 21, 2008 Here we go
Don't know about you, but I am not sleeping better knowing that the people who re-built Iraq will now take all the money we have and put it in a plan, developed after the Friday fish fry, by people who don't believe in government, that will re-build the system they killed! Nope! I'm scared.
Put Rev. John Hagee in charge of the ecumenical movement. Put Dick Cheney in charge of the Freedom Of Information Act. Make Bush (My Pet Goat) Secretary of education, but for God's sake (not to mention for the sake of my grand kids) don't give the combination to Fort Knox to Henry Paulson. Get back from that balcony--think about it. Take a week--a month--do something after the election. This is the September-October surprise. Sober up boys--this is real.
Don't believe "the world will collapse" warnings from the same guys who told us last week "all's well."
I think it is time for the people who believe in regulation to step up. Czar Robert Reisch assisted by Kevin Phillips and Paul Krugman? Sounds good to me.
September 20, 2008 Ethics? Here?
J.B. Van Hollen said, "While a private attorney is ordinarily barred from suing a current client, that rule does not apply to attorneys general." Yah, sure, J.B., and do you have more to say about ethics? You do? Okay, tell us about your position as co-chair of the McCain campaign. Any problem? "Of course not!" This suit against your client, the GAB, is not partisan so no problem. (He said that on Joy Cardin's Wisconsin Public Radio show. Really.)
And no problem that your assistant, Steven Means, met with Republican Party attorneys Chris Mohrman and veteran politico James Troupis a week before you filed the suit? So, unlike the private lawfirms, you are not assumed to know what the other lawyers who work for you know? And, did anyone tell you that these pals of yours were meeting with your lawyers? Did you know that Kevin St. John of DOJ told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that "there was no reason for anyone in the department of Justice to tell you"--the boss--about the contacts?
Given that Means, St. John, and your deputy Ray Taffora workked for Michael Best & Friedrich before joining your team, as do Troupis and Mohrman, how dumb do you think we are?
I know you are very busy working on Team McCain-Palin, but could you spare a moment to show the evidence of fraud in Wisconsin voting to justify the grenade you threw? And just for fun, tell us, your "other" client, how long it would take to verify challenged ballots? Challenged, no doubt by the MB&F's Troupis and Mohrman?
This is absusrd. Under any attorney general in my experience all those lawyers would have been fired. Immediately. Period. You are the People's lawyer not a partisan hack. Act like it!
September 19, 2008 Look at all the fish!
John McCain told a crowd yesterday that he had been on an oil rig. He told them it was safe (although three apparently disappeared during hurricane Ike--but who is counting?). Okay so far, but then he began chuckling about all the fish around the rig. He was so impressed he looked down as if he could see the fish, and said there were "fish all around." (Not only can they get oil, they could have some good fish meals.) By then he was laughing a tad too hard. Like he had lost it. The audience seemed confused, but not as confused as McCain when he was asked about Spain and responded by talking about Mexico. He placed Spain in our hemisphere! Whoa Nelly! One must ask if this was a "senior moment(s)" or just fatigue.
AG J.B.V.H wasn't in court yesterday, although the taxpayers were "represented" by two or three lawyers who, with straight faces, assert that the loopy plan of Van Hollen's to cross-check every registered voter with DOT records going back several elections to January 1, 2006, is not part of a GOP voter suppression effort in Wisconsin. Hundreds of thousands of voters could be challenged to knock out likely Democratic votes.
Madison Teachers Inc., AFT Wisconsin, and Madison Firefighters are seeking to intervene. A hearing on their request and the motion to disqualify Van Hollen will be held next Wednesday. Anyone can attend.
September 18, 2008 I've heard them all--almost
The very partisan and extremely political Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, was on Joy Cardin's Wisconsin Public Radio program yesterday trying his best to explain his lawsuit against the state's Government Accountability Board. A caller asked, "As co-chair of the McCain campaign in Wisconsin, how can you avoid conflicts in this suit?" Answer, and I'm not making this up, "Because my suit is non-partisan." (He forgot to say that thousands if minorities and elderly will effectively lose their right to vote.)
The non-partisan League of Women Voters said the suit, if successful, would disenfranchise thousands of Wisconsinites. If you are challenged because you moved recently, you can fill out a ballot but you would have to go to the clerk's office the next day to prove you are eligible. C'mon folks. Stop the nonsense.
In Michigan the McCain folks are trying to disenfranchise voters, mostly African-Americans, who have been ousted from their homes through foreclosure. Can you believe it? They collect the names and addresses, send a letter to the address, no forwarding, and it the letter is returned and they challenge their right to vote. Send 'em to Gitmo!
September 17, 2008 More fundamentals
The NYTdescribes the AIG bailout as "The most radical intervention in private business in the central bank's history." Remember the screams over the Chrysler bailout? Hell, that was a towing charge compared with the $85 billion AIG bailout, but McCain, posing as a deer in the headlights, remains convinced the fundamentals are "strong."
And Palin, the life preserver thrown to him in St. Paul, seems to be off her game--finally.
Problem is McCain doesn't know what the fundamentals are. McCain seems hell-bent on proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he would leave the phone off the hook to avoid the 3:00 a.m. call.
McCain's performance makes W. seem like a competent manager! But McCain can't fool his surrogate Carly Fiorina--who admitted that Palin could not run HP. (She should know--she knows Palin and Carly couldn't run HP either!) Then, in a mad scramble to take the focus off Palin, she added that McCain couldn't either! And for good measure added that Biden and Obama couldn't either--nya, hya.
John and Cindy McCain have the exhausted look of people who need a long vacation. Time to kick back and read Krugman's latest? Check out the lingo--what are "fundamentals"? I think so.
September 16, 2008 'Fundamentals are strong'
As if to prove that Barack Obama was hitting the nail on the head when he said, "John McCain doesn't get it," John, running mate of Tina Fey's look-a-like, said, after the financial collapse Sunday, "The fundamentals remain strong." Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews were quick to point out that the very same words were spoken by President Hoover.
John McCain, student of Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan, described himself before Sunday as a "deregulator," but yesterday he shouted that he and Tina won't let this happen to the American people again. What exactly is he going to protect us from? I expected him to declare war on Wall Street. (You know, maybe the surge will work in NY just like it did in Baghdad.)
Meanwhile, Bush remains president and he exudes defeat and despair. Wall Street picked up on the mood and the market damned near killed 401(k) investments. OK, a little adjustment, but a 4.4 percent drop? C'mon you know-it-alls, do something! HP did something--laid off 27,000 employees. Robert Reich points out that 600,000 jobs have been lost and the most disturbing thing is that the administration has no plan.
SNL to the rescue. Humor pulled Obama out of his tailspin. He was flummoxed by the choice of Palin but Tina Fey saved the day. SNL, with humor, exposed the governor of Alaska. Her 15 minutes of fame is now in perspective. Put her in charge of Wall Street? Climate change? Housing? FEMA? Paaaallleeeze. Thank you SNL.
September 15, 2008 Yikes?
I frequently use the word "yikes" in my blogs. But when Paul Krugman ends his column with "Yikes" my response is Yikes!
The collapse of Lehman Brothers, the near-collapse and sale of Merrill, not to mention last week's blockbusters, all add to the collective cry from Wall Street of "yikes and double yikes."
"Nobody knows what will happen next," writes Krugman, the nation's best columnist on the economy. Nobody. Not even Sarah Palin? (I wonder if she can see Wall Street from Alaska?)
Obama raised how much? Must have been the question on John McCain's mind as he seeks to play second fiddle to Palin. The $66 million including money from 500,000 new donors. That ain't hay, as they say.
Why has McCain tried to change the message from "steady as she goes" to "I am change"? Wouldn't you? Bolivia in turmoil, Afghanistan is another losing proposition, billions per month to Iraq while our deficit will be more than $400 billion and our debt more than $ 10 trillion. Wall Street is broke; the U.S. government needs to consider a reorgnization plan in bankruptcy, housing is in free fall--McCain's trouble mounts every day.
Krugman goes on, "As the unknown unknowns have turned into known unknowns, the system has been experiencing postmodern bank runs." It is time for real change, but is it too late? Yikes!
September 14, 2008 Who hires the umpire?
Last night I decided I would watch only the first few plays in the Badger-Fresno game. After all, this would be an easy victory, late start, why bother? But I got hooked. One reason was a fumble recovery by Wisconsin. The referee, the announcers and everyone in America watching saw it as a fumble. But Fresno challenged the crucial call and the call from "upstairs" was changed to incomplete pass--Fresno's ball.
Here is where it got interesting. The TV announcers told the truth. "I'm stunned," said one. "No wonder Wisconsin wanted a neutral officiating crew," said the other as they replayed the footage over and over.
Who hired the crew? Believe it, Fresno's conference did. It is not much of a leap to conclude that the fix was in. If not the fix, the perception of corruption was with the crew ever after. From that moment on faith in the integrity of the game was gone. The winner or loser mattered little. "No, Virginia, there is no Santa."
Let your mind wander to politics. Who hires the officials? You know, the judges. Well, in the last two races, the "perception" is that WMC hired/selected them and if in doubt, listen to them bragging that they did. When they rule for WMC, even if the decision is based on solid evidence, our minds will drift to Fresno where we saw for ourselves.
That's a shame. The officiating crew should be fired. The Justices? (And if a $1.9 billion highway project from Milwaukee to the Illinois border is planned by those who contribute lots of money to the legislators and the governor, and it is approved even when our schools are suffering, think Fresno.)
Today the Brewer season is at stake. If the Commissioner announces that due to the storm, the regular umpire can't make it to Philly, so Philadelphia will hire a crew...what would you say? Something I could not write in this blog.
September 13, 2008 Charlie, Charlie, Charlie
Let's play a game. Name the person in government, local or national, less qualified to be president than Alaska's very own governor. (The winner gets a free lunch at the Main Depot.) One cannot ignore her pathetic performance with toothless "Charlie, Charlie, Charlie" wink, Gibson. Second-guess Israel if she chooses to bomb Iran? No, Charlie, can't second guess. War with Russia? Well, Charlie, we must keep an eye on Russia--we can see Russia from Alaska. Yikes, Whoa Nelly, and help!
It is pretty scary, although I am confident the voters will figure it out in time. What the voters might not figure out is an "absentee ballot" sent to the registered voters by John McCain, with a faulty address. (See the Capital Times.)
The executive director of the Wisconsin GOP said, "You do the best you can with the lists you have." Response: Who asked you to help? He admits the "so-called ballots" were sent to hundreds of thousands of potential voters.
September 12, 2008 Who knew?
In grade school we learned about "Seward's Folly." President Johnson's Secretary of State, William H. Seward, signed a deal with Czar Alexander to buy Alaska for about two cents per square mile. For $7 million we got Alaska and, later on, Sarah Palin. It is unclear if her threat to go to war with Russia-- if need be--is related to a secret fear that the Russians want to revisit Seward's Folly or if this was Palin's Folly by providing an answer devoid of any thought whatsoever.
Imagine the news today if Joe Biden or Barack Obama, serious people, suggested possible war with the second most powerful nation on earth as our generals tell us things are going badly in Afghanistan and we are about out of troops to fight in Iraq. Is she nuts, or is the faculty in McCain's traveling university nuts?
Let's see. It is OK with the well-traveled governor (Canada, Mexico, Germany, Washington, D.C.) if Israel bombs Iran; OK if we stop Russia from again invading Georgia while trying to avoid war; OK to invade Pakistan...
The latest outrage? McCain says in a a TV spot that Obama wants sex education in kindergarten. Add that to the absurd "he called her a pig" and one conclusion is that the goal of this McCain-Rove campaign is to hold down voter turnout by turning off millions of people with lies and distortions like "I told Congress thanks but no thanks" to the bridge to nowhere.
I'm reminded of Twain's comment, "A lie gets half way around the world before Truth gets her boots on"--or before she can field-dress a moose.
September 11, 2008 Signs of panic
The McCain folks are on the edge of panic. To take a well-known and oft-used "pig" comment and attempt to turn it into an attack ad is pathetic. (You know the story.) Barack said, "You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig." Sooooeeee! responded McCain. While I thought it was "put perfume on a pig and it sill smells like a pig" either is fine. Only those in a state of extreme agitation would give this one a whirl.
McCain, pretending to be back in high school, raised his hand and squealed, "Teacher, Barack called her a pig!" And teacher would respond, "Calm down Johnny, he did no such thing."
Meanwhile, the Palin lie about the "bridge to nowhere, "I told Congress, 'Thanks but no thanks,'" (applause). She repeats it every time she speaks, while McCain smiles. But it isn't true. I keep expecting someone to walk out on stage to announce her next act.
The reasons for panic include her bragging over the natural gas pipeline. According to the New York Times, "The pipeline exists only on paper. The first section has yet to be laid, federal approvals are years way and the pipeline will not be completed for at least a decade...Although it is the centerpiece of Ms. Palin's relatively brief record as governor, the pipeline might never be built."
And then there is her John Gard problem of taking per diem while sleeping in her own bed. "Reformer"? Yah, sure, Sarah.
And now, the least serious anchor on TV, Charlie Gibson, will be given an exclusive interview. Note to McCain: We may be gullible but we ain't stupid.
The problem is that McCain has no plans, no program, no ideas so he is stuck calling Barack names, standing next to Sarah Palin like the proud grandfather at commencement while Cindy grimaces, pulling for people to vote race, and it isn't working.
September 10, 2008 Worried? Yup!
No, I'm not worried about the presidential contest. It's that the Brewers are acting like the Cubs of my youth. Collapsing in September. (And the Cubs are acting like the Cubs.) The fans are nervous and even booed the young players as if Prince is trying to strike out. Memo to fans: They are trying to win and they are in position to go all the way. Applaud--stifle the boos. They ask for no governmental bail-out, unlike Fannie Mae. Perhaps Palin's church can stop the "pray the gay" effort and ask for Divine intervention for the Brewers if she hopes to carry Wisconsin. Not a grand slam--how about a wild pitch?
Speaking of wild pitches, Palin has said at least 10 times that "I opposed the bridge to nowhere." The problem: she didn't; she supported it until Congress killed it and then she kept the money.
And she gets the John Gard per diem award--collecting $17,000 while she slept at home or dressed a moose in the garage, or applied lipstick to the pit bull. Shame on her.
Bush spoke to the National Defense University to announce he will bring 8,000 troops home-after he is out of office! Who knew about this joint? Turns out the Department of Defense pays for it and the students are military officers and some pro-war-strategic-planer civilians. Good Lord, do we need a National Defense University? I thought FOX news could play that role.
Primary day is over. No incumbents lost. Memo to Fighting Bob veterans: Guess who gets the money. (By the way, why do we elect county clerks and registers of deeds?)
September 9, 2008 Try harder!
A member of the Wasilla Library Board sent a list of books and authors Sarah Palin tried to have banned from the library. Vonnegut, Twain, Harper Lee, Steinbeck, J.D. Salinger, Solzhenitsyn, J.K. Rowling, Faulkner (White House Named Desire) and, sit down before reading, Maya Angelou's I know Why the Caged Bird Sings. (Somehow my mind sees Palin with a shotgun, ready to shoot the uncaged bird.) Truly nutty.
Palin's church is on God's far-right. She prayed for a gas pipeline and her church is sponsoring a prayer confab for gay conversion to the heterosexual life. "Pray away the gay!" How about a mention of climate change?
The good news? All you have to do is tell the truth about Governor Palin.
She won't meet the press other than People magazine. (Who knew it was still being published?) But she will talk with good-time Charlie Gibson. A real treat in store.
Generous: I announced at Fighting Bob Fest that we needed $7,500 to meet expenses and the biggest crowd yet put $17,000 in the buckets. Thank you!
Dick Leinenkugel is Doyle's most recent Republican appointment; Secretary of Commerce. Another opening, another Republican. Well, it is okay to find talent on both sides of the imaginary isle, but did anyone ask his view of unions? One report has it he dislikes all unions but one in particular. Someone should ask.
September 8, 2008 Give us a break
From the paper of record this morning: "Empty-handed and crestfallen, Mr. Syron (Freddie Mac's CEO) canceled plans to join his family at their weekend home on Cap Cod and returned to Washington." Syron had bad news: No one other than you and me can rescue "the beleaguered mortgage finance giant" he has guided into the ditch.
I have heard about sacrifice before, but to give up a weekend on Cape Cod? For us? C'mon! The weekend when the help is gone? That deserves a presidential medal of honor. A weekend on the Cape, gone forever. (The NYT did not carry a picture of the little Syron bungalow nor did they report on the meal the family had to endure without hard-working daddy around to grill. Damn!) You talk about tough. (New York Giant players used to joke that Wellington Mara, the team owner, explained "tough" to the players as "riding to school in the back of a limosine with five other kids!" Now Syron gives us another defintion of tough.)
Bad enough Syron had to stay in D.C., but while he slept that smart-mouth from the Clinton surplus days, Lawrence Summers, was quoted saying, "Today's necessary but likely very expensive action for taxpayers is the consequence of regulatory neglect." But Paulson and his crew, including the daring Syron, kept telling us everything is just fine. "Relax," they counseled.
Well, finally, the Bush administration has done to our domestic economy what they have done to our foreign policy. More than one million people have been forced out of their homes. Still, that beats Iraq, where 4.5 million are homeless. Thank you, President Bush.
September 7, 2008 Wow! What an event
If you missed the Bob Fest Kickoff on Friday night, that is okay because the theater was already full and we are working on a deal to get a DVD to you so that more people can be moved by Body of War.
If you missed Fighting Bob Fest VII, you missed the best yet. A huge crowd, more than 10,000 by our estimate, heard one great speech after the other. It was diverse, humorous, challenging, scary (especially as we listened to Bill McKibben) and fun. Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney spoke for their candidacies while other speakers argued that, while they respect Ralph and Cynthia's positions on issues, this is no time for experimenting.
All of it was captured on video by Karen Chin and her superb crew at On The Earth Productions.
The crowd loved it and most were there for the entire program, ending in the beer garden with music by the Namakogan String Band--Eric Schubring's group. I was, to put it mildly, in awe of the work put in by Laura Boyd, the loyal volunteers, and the speakers who come out of a commitment to social and economic justice, to save the planet, and to enjoy the family reunion of the politically homeless.
September 5, 2008 Don't blame me
Listen to John McCain and the message is clear--"Don't blame me I was a POW in Hanoi." Wages down, gas prices up? "I was in the Hanoi Hilton." Thousands of our young soldiers killed in a war that would not have happened but for lies and deception and the support of McCain? "Don't blame me--victory is in sight and did I tell you I was a POW?"
Okay, my vice presidential running mate was chosen by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney over my objections, but remember "I was a POW and I'm tired." And, by the way, "the fact that I argued with Rove and Cheney before giving in proves I'm a maverick."
"Pakistan and Afghanistan? "Hey, I could have been released early from prison but chose to stay. Take that Barack. Take that."
"Okay, I admit that there are more contract employees in the occupation than soldiers and that "my surge, my ticket to 1600 Pa. Avenue, hasn't worked yet but it will if the damned Iraqis stop agreeing with Obama's time line for withdrawal."
Change? You want change? Well I got a lot of ideas for change. I say No more vetting; no more hearings on judicial nominees. Waste of time. Who needs it? And one more big one. "Let's keep the lobbyists where we can see them. I'll clear out the White House (very white) basement and put them in there so we know what they are up to." Yessiree. I'm a regular change agent.
"And, after I destroy Obama and Biden, we will end partisan rancor, reach across the isle, and let the Democrats take my pit bull for a spin."
See you at the Barrymore and Saturday in Baraboo--our seventh progressive Chautauqua. Weather perfect. (Get Hightower to buy you a beer and win a mug.)
September 4, 2008 Lost in space
Somehow my blog got lost in space. Perhaps I was so excited about the image of a pit bull with lipstick, I lost it. Yee gads, is this the best and the brightest?
Tomorrow night--Barrymore 7:30--Phil Donahue to screen The Body of War. Phil will answer your questions and you get additional treats. Daniel Kuene will read some poems, and Jim Hightower will be on stage with us.
It's getting exciting. See you at the Barrymore and in sun-drenched but cool Baraboo on Saturday.
I just might mention Bob Fest on Joy Cardin's week in review 8:00 tomorrow. See you soon.
September 3, 2008 Qualifications?
Fred Thompson said a mouthful last night. He spoke of Sarah Palin's qualifications. Searching for something, anything, that makes her more qualified than Joe Biden, he said on national TV, "She is the only candidate who can field-dress a moose." I wonder if she could kill an eagle with a bow and arrow.
It is humorous to watch Republicans praise her lack of qualifications as "refreshing." She could be president January of next year, we could go to war with Russia, watch polar bears perish, bomb Iran. Whoa Nelly. Enough about this part of the story.
I am having trouble--help please. John McCain is a "maverick" but was not permitted to pick Lieberman, his Edgar Bergen, or Tom Ridge. I'm curious. Would a real maverick let Karl Rove say no?
Embedded: The Pentagon's answer to bad press following Vietnam was to "embed" reporters with the troops. Scary, but it gets worse. As St. Paul police tried to emulate Chicago police ala 1968, the chief said reporters were embedded with the police. No thank you! I want independent media covering demonstrations on the outside, not the inside.
Bring a sweater to Bob Fest. Sunny but chilly--70 degrees.
Friday night--7:30--Barrymore Theatre, The Body of War and Phil Donahue.Jim Hightower will be there as well. See you Friday night!
September 1, 2008 Any excuse will do
I will never again doubt the power of the Reverend James Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family. When he heard that Barack Obama would hold an outdoor rally in Denver, Dobson prayed for rain. The near-perfect weather last Thursday, enjoyed by 84,000, made some question if Dobson had extraordinary powers after all. Now we know it was our mistake. Dobson prayed for rain in New Orleans to give McCain the excuse he was looking for to cancel George W. Bush's speech in St. Paul. Voila! Hurricane Gustav.
When Katrina hit three years ago, Bush and McCain were seen celebrating his birthday with a big cake. Not this year! If they could cancel the whole convention they would. C'mon Dobson! Any excuse will do. McCain has been trying to figure out how he could get through four days without a picture with Cheney, Bush, Rice and Pearle. Second on the agenda, how to keep his veep candidate away from the spotlight. One word, Gustav.
How did he rationalize the cancellation of the Bush/Cheney show? "My friends, we must take off our Republican hats and put on our American hats. America needs us now." Then he and Mitt attacked fellow American Barack Obama. Apparently God is okay with political attacks.
Who is Sarah Palin? She supported the bridge to nowhere until half the money was received; she is a creationist, anti-choice, global warming doubter, drill everywhere, right-winger.