Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


I played Dungeons & Dragons with some friends on Saturday. It's been years since I last played, and I'm not ashamed to admit it was a hell of a lot of fun. Aside from the nostalgia factor, I was reminded just how ingenious this game is.

Unfortunately, they decided to make a movie out of it a few years back and failed miserably. Even if you haven't seen it, you'll appreciate the review over at Bad Movie Night if you've ever spent any time playing D&D.


Texas Democrats run for the hills (again). What the lazy media has failed to properly convey to the public is that Texas isn't required to redistrict at this time. Two years ago, the Texas state legislature couldn't come to an agreement and therefore a federal judge panel drew the map for them and supposedly put an end to the issue.

However, now that Republicans control the legislature, they don't want to wait until the next census in 2010 to redistrict. After all, there's no guarantee they'll have control at that point.

Who needs reality television when you have states like California and Texas to entertain you?

The pressure is increasing on President Bush to declassify the entire 9/11 report. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are calling on the president to release more of the information, because many believe the administration is concealing evidence of a link between the Saudi kingdom and al Qaida.

The decision to censor various paragraphs of the report, including an entire 28 page section, was supposedly done for national security, but now critics are calling the administration's bluff.


Common sense prevails in the House of Representatives

Despite a veto threat from President Bush, the House voted 400-21 to block new media ownership rules being implemented by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The new FCC rules increase the number of TV stations companies may own. A primary objection from opponents is the fear that fewer companies are owning more of the media. While the internet has certainly contributed to the number of voices available to consumers, empires like Time Warner, Clear Channel and others are the dominating force in broadcasting.

Given that trend of consolidation, I don't see a need to loosen the restrictions any further. If limits are so bad, why not eliminate them entirely? Advocates of the FCC rules still must admit that they believe in SOME restrictions on the amount of media companies may own. Therefore, the House properly decided that current trends in media ownership do not justify loosening the rules at this time.


Note to self: check for pants when leaving festivals.

I wouldn't want to end up like this guy.


Flash jarts! Now you don't have to risk injury to yourself or others.

Background: Lawn darts or "jarts" were banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 1988. For a time, lawn darts were still legal in Canada, but eventually they banned them as well.

If you're a passionate lawn dart junkie, be advised that you can still visit the United Kingdom and participate in this pastime. Just don't try ordering them or smuggling them back into the States.


Americans are fleeing to Canada!

This simply cannot be tolerated. We must put a stop to the increasing influence of America's top hat. Maybe it's time to build that wall.


Amid the pomp and circumstance of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's visit, the issue of environmental protection briefly re-emerged as a reminder that the United States and the United Kingdom aren't always on the same page.

Mr. Blair is the fourth British PM to address a joint session of Congress. Winston Churchill spoke three times, Clement Atlee addressed Congress in 1945, and Margaret Thatcher gave a speech at the height of the Cold War.

It may seem odd to some that in a speech primarily about the war in Iraq and terrorism, Mr. Blair spoke to the environment. This strategy is a way for Blair to assert that he isn't President Bush's puppet as is often alleged by his critics. Being a member of the Labour Party, he actually differs from the president on most issues outside of foreign policy.

Channel 101: The Unavoidable Future of Entertainment.

Be sure to check out "Shock and Awe" and "Takes One to Know One" among others.

There's nothing like hate mail to give you insight into the impulsive mindset of the opposition.

Over at Democratic Underground, they've archived two years of emails and made them available for reading. Click on the first entry in the list to view the most recent submissions.

It's guaranteed for a laugh. If you're conservative, it's likely to make you ashamed that these people are tarnishing your ideology.


The Office of Management and Budget released its deficit projection today. The lucky number is $455 billion.

The stagnant economy, the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and cuts in the federal income tax rate are some of the obvious culprits for this occurrence. The White House and Republicans in Congress are blaming federal spending as the primary problem. That may be so. However, unlike in past years, Republicans now control the House, Senate and White House.

President Bush's own budget proposed $2.2 trillion in spending and a $304 billion deficit (an optimistic number in hindsight). As the administration seeks to assign blame for the budget numbers, they are effectively pointing their fingers at themselves.

School choice advocates are urging Gov. Jim Doyle not to veto funding for the program. The state teacher's union is urging him to kill the budget provisions expanding Milwaukee's school choice program, which were added into the budget by the Republican controlled legislature.

The school choice advocacy group is being led by Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, and Howard Fuller.

During his campaign for govenor, Doyle established his headquarters in Milwaukee and worked very hard to win over the votes of city residents. If he vetoes funding for the program, that level of support may not be there next time around.


It was only a matter of time. In the back of my mind, I knew the day would come where I would turn into one of them. When I was a few years younger, I'd mock them as they pranced through the parks with their portable radios and bright-colored clothing. Meanwhile, I was the one who'd be out of breath after walking a couple of blocks thanks to a steady diet of high-fat foods, a dose of lethargy, and the occassional cancer stick.

Actually, I'm quite alright with this transition. As I approach the ripe age of 30, it's only natural that I begin to accept my own mortality and work to extend my years on this earth with a simple jog or bike ride.

After all, if more lazies would get off their butts and follow Tommy's advice, we'd have a lot less of this.


President Bush is wrapping up his Africa trip in Nigeria before heading back to the U.S. The significance of it has been overshadowed in recent days, because of the increasing scrutiny his administration is facing over intelligence on Iraq.

The president has pledged to push for a 15 billion dollar anti-AIDS program, but Congress is already scaling back the funding. Supporters of the plan hope he'll fight to restore those cuts. Cynics will say he's promoting the funding, while letting Republicans in Congress do the dirty work of cutting the program.

If he follows through on his commitment, Bush will have done more to fight the spread of AIDS in Africa than any of his predecessors.


Former Vermont governor Howard Dean is appealing to moderate Democrats.

His support of the death penalty, gun rights, and a balanced budget could lend Dean credibility come primary season. While I'm skeptical of Dean's chances, history may be on his side. The country hasn't elected a sitting senator since JFK, and the list of recent presidents consists of a lot of governors.

The report on the investigation into the 9/11 attacks will be printed and made public in the next two weeks. Former Rep. Tim Roemer is quoted as saying the report will be ''highly explosive" when it is released.

According to the article in the Miami Herald, more evidence of Saudi ties to al Qaeda will be contained in the report. Also, it reportedly will reveal that the Bush Administration was warned in Summer of 2001 that al Qaeda had plans to hijack an aircraft and launch an attack.

The CIA pushed the United Kingdom to drop its assertion that Iraq was attempting to buy uranium from Africa.

Either President Bush trusts intelligence from the UK more than he trusts his own, he liked what he heard from the UK more than what the CIA offered, or he simply wasn't aware the CIA was disputing the evidence being presented.

One of the primary reasons President Bush was elected in 2000 was because many voters trusted him to lead the nation over Vice President Gore who was tied to the scandals of the Clinton Administration. It appears that trust may be waning under these recent developments.


Sausagegate! ESPN's Page 2 has launched a formal investigation into the tragic events of Wednesday, July 9, 2003.


Vice President Dick Cheney has lost a battle in federal court over his energy task force.

Sierra Club and Judicial Watch had sought information from the vice president regarding the task force's meetings and the formation of the Bush Administration's energy policy. To date, Cheney has declined to release documentation about who participated in the task force.

Link courtesy of Ed.


Breaking news: Britney's not a virgin. While this story was featured prominently on Fox News' front page (complete with sexy picture) on Tuesday, this other story was buried on the Politics page.

Oh, Fox News. Where would I go to soften the blow of daily life without your pop-culture-loving news programming?

Bayshore Mall in Glendale, Wisconsin is ready to undertake an ambitious plan to redevelop the mall. The new space will be known as Bayshore Town Center.

The description and rendering indicate that the mall will have more of an urban center feel than the current mall (thus the name Town Center I suppose). Certainly consumers haven't entirely shed their taste for the big box malls yet. However, where we're going, in the case of Bayshore, looks increasingly like where we've been.


"She knows what her audience will buy -- and that most of them aren't bright enough to notice the contradictions." Salon columnist Joe Conason reviews Ann Coulter's new book "Treason" and sums up where she falls in the marketplace of ideas.

What it comes down to is she's nothing more than a right-wing Michael Moore. They're propagandists who distort facts in order to cash in and garner attention from people who believe anything they see or read if it makes them giggle and feel superior to their political opponents.

If you're not a member of, click on the ad to get a day-pass and read the entire column.


It's looking more like California governor Gray Davis is on thin ice and heading toward a recall election. This is occurring just over six months since Davis was re-elected. This raises the point that if California voters are so unhappy with their governor, why didn't they vote him out when they had the chance?

In Wisconsin, we've had a lot of experience with recall elections recently. In general, I'm wary of recall elections, because often they are started when an elected official votes a certain way on a given issue, and a vocal minority tries to recall them. People need to be reminded that we live in a representative democracy (AKA republic). This means we elect people to represent our interests in a legislature. Maybe they don't always vote the way people want them to, but that's the way it is supposed to work.

The only alternative to this is direct democracy. One only need to look back at California to see what a debacle that has been in the form of referendums or ballot initiatives. The referendum has simply become a cop out by the legislature to actually voting on an issue. Recall drives and referendums move us down a path that James Madison warned us about in the Federalist Papers. That is, we risk tyranny over a minority by the majority or even tyranny by a vocal faction.

On this Independence Day, celebrate the vision that founding fathers like Madison gave us.


It appears Gov. Jim Doyle will sign the state legislature's bill lowering the state's blood-alcohol limit to 0.08.

Obviously the momentum behind this bill's passage was caused by the fact that Wisconsin would lose out on a lot of federal highway aid had they not passed the bill. There is little doubt that the feds are twisiting the arms of the states on this matter.

However, it's not so different from the 21 year old drinking age laws where states lose money if they don't set the legal drinking age at that level. While I actually believe that the legal drinking age should be 18, if that's what society determines is the actual age of adulthood, I also believe we are better off having some consistency among the states rather than ambiguity.

Likewise, having a national standard for drunk driving is not such a bad thing.


There are a plethora of talk shows on television, most of them garbage. I am continually impressed by the Charlie Rose Show on PBS. There is no background on the studio set to "pretty up" the atmosphere. There are no news crews creating tense action behind the anchor either.

The focus of the program is simply stimulating intellectual conversation. This show is number one. All others are number two or lower.

Fewer people are saying the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over according to the latest Gallup poll.

That trend could continue if President Bush doesn't level with the American public about how long the U.S. will occupy Iraq, as Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) is demanding he do.

On a related note, columnist Gilbert Cranberg is calling for the return of the skeptical press.