Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Are rank and file Democrats setting themselves up for a fall in next year's primary? It appears that way given all the enthusiastic support for former Vermont governor Howard Dean.

I continue to believe that Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) will be the party's nominee in spring even though he's gotten off to a slow start in polls. Keep in mind that's not unusual at this point in the campaign. Former Pres. Clinton came from out of nowhere to take the momentum away from the late Paul Tsongas and win the nomination in 1992.

A primary concern among those who haven't jumped on Dean's bandwagon is that he can't capture enough electoral votes in the southern and western states to win the election. Nominating an east coast liberal like Dean may only serve to give the Democrats four more years of martyrdom.


A rose is a rose is a rose. The Hill columnist Josh Marshall chimes in on the evidence the administration has been using to rally Americans to support the war in Iraq.

As has been indicated elsewhere, the President consciously used discredited intelligence in his State of the Union address to convince Americans that Iraq was an immediate threat. Do war supporters really believe Americans would've supported the war if all we had was a few junk parts buried in a backyard?

While I think some critics have gone too far in assuming Iraq did not possess weapons in violation of conditions set forth by the UN in 1991, the argument that this war was about an immediate threat and defending the United States against it isn't holding up.


If you can't beat 'em, change the rules. That's the message the Republican senators are sending by voting in the Rules Committee to limit filibusters.

It's funny that the filibuster wasn't considered an illegitimate tactic when civil rights was being debated, but now it has it go, because a couple judicial nominees aren't getting through.

In recent years, Republicans have also used the filibuster against former President Clinton's nominees. Adobe Acrobat Reader required for link.


One more reason Milwaukee needs to look elsewhere for its next police chief. Art Jones has been an abysmal failure, even moreso than his predecessor Philip Areola. The city needs to go the way of a good sports franchise and scout the free agent market for an experienced leader in law enforcement.

Link courtesy of Fred.


Vacancies on the federal judiciary continue to be an issue for the Bush Administration. In recent months, media coverage has made it seem as if the Democrats in the Senate are engaging in new, unprecedented tactics by holding up such appointments.

First of all, there is a reason the Senate is allowed the "advise and consent" power under the Constitution. If they were supposed to be simply a rubber stamp, that power would not exist. Secondly, the Bush Administration has had a much smoother ride than the Clinton Administration had with a Republican Senate in getting their nominees approved according to the Alliance for Justice, a DC based organization which follows this process.

Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view the link.


The Norq unplugged.

Milwaukee's outgoing mayor reflects on the state of the city, his accomplishments, and hints at his future plans in this interview with the Small Business Times.


A west coast pizza chain is paying homeless people to hold signs promoting their restaurants.

You could have a heated debate about whether or not this is exploitation. I'm sure the people holding the signs don't mind since they're getting a few bucks out of it. I think that concern misses the point. The main question should be if there is anywhere left in society where shilling your product is forbidden.


I finally saw Matrix: Reloaded last night. In short, it was full of excessive fight scenes (why didn't Neo just jump when the dozens of Agent Smiths attacked him?), unnecessary plothole filling sex, and bad acting (could Keanu flinch just once when he's attacked? Perhaps it's just careless directing).

This movie made it painfully obvious that it is a narrow roadway to the third installment. Now it wasn't all bad, mind you. I did like the fact that Agent Smith's role has evolved into a sort of Matrix virus (I won't speak to the ending in order to avoid spoilers). Also, the scene where Neo confronts the source was a fascinating way to explain the theology behind "the One."

However, what little is learned in Reloaded could've easily been tacked on to the next movie in fifteen minutes. That being said, I realize that a conference room full of consultants at Warner Bros wouldn't have been able to settle for that since they're aiming to live up to the legacies of Star Wars, LOTR, Back to the Future, and Aliens among other hit trilogies.

Critics are saying 2003 is going to be the year of the blockbuster again, but if Hollywood continues to churn out tripe like this and what's sure to be a pathetic adaption of the Hulk, it'll be a sad year for the moviegoing public. Perhaps the Return of the King will save us from this glut by year's end.


After Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) announced his candidacy for president, much attention was paid to his compulsive journal writing. This has led columnist Arianna Huffington to ponder what White House puppeteer Karl Rove's journal would look like.


Human beings may have been on the verge of extinction 70,000 years ago. This finding is part of a new genetics study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.


The Milwaukee mayoral race will get a shot in the arm tomorrow when former Wisconsin congressman Tom Barrett announces his candidacy for mayor.

Barrett enters the race as the favorite to win having represented the north side and north shore in Congress for twelve years.


The attention given to the Sammy Sosa story this week got me thinking. For those unaware, Chicago Cubs player Sammy Sosa was caught using a corked bat during a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Tuesday.

Baseball has come under increasing criticism from its fan base in recent years. The fatigue over the 1994 strike, the explosion in player salaries, and the pressure of cities to publicly fund new stadiums for their teams are just some of the issues on the minds of current and former fans of the sport. Unlike a fan who dislikes hockey, basketball, or football, sports fans who speak out against Major League Baseball often do so with a passion akin to one who had a messy divorce or who was cheated on by their mate.

The average attendance has dropped as have the television ratings. However, when the Sammy Sosa story broke this week, it received national and international attention. His eight game suspension was even a headline story on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer on Friday. It's not as if it was a slow news week either. Many major stories broke this week including the resignations at the New York Times, the indictment of Martha Stewart, and President Bush's trip to the Middle East.

What that indicates to this consumer is that while baseball may no longer be America's pastime, it still holds an important place in American culture. To simplify this case, think of baseball as a family member or close friend who occasionally gets himself into trouble, and just can't seem to straighten his life out. You may get frustrated with his antics, but you could never see yourself completely abandoning him.


Downtown Milwaukee parks soon to be invaded by geeks with laptops.


Liberal talk radio finally arrives in Milwaukee. The Alan Colmes show will air weeknights from 9pm-midnight on WRJN 1400 AM. The show, ironically, is Fox News' first foray into syndicated talk radio.