Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


House Speaker Dennis Hastert OKs 9/11 Panel Extension.

This is an update to this post from the other day. I suspect the criticism the White House was getting on this resulted in them applying pressure on Hastert to support an extension and kill this matter as a political issue.

The Fog of War has finally premiered in Milwaukee. The film by Errol Morris is essentially a journey into the mind of Robert McNamara who served as Defense Secretary under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

The film covers McNamara's views of war throughout the twentieth century and makes clear there are lessons to be learned from these events so that we don't repeat some of the same mistakes we've made.

In Milwaukee, the film is currently playing at the Downer Theatre and the AMC Mayfair Mall cinema.

Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager pleads guilty to OWI.

The AG can recover from this incident, although it's going to require considerable effort. She made a smart move by making clear she wants to be treated like any other state employee would under similar circumstances (the only difference being she can't be fired since she's an elected official).

Besides going through the process and licking her wounds, Lautenschlager should become an outspoken opponent of drunk driving and take a leadership role on curbing alcohol abuse in the state. By taking her weakness and making it a strength, she could gain respect among voters in the long term.


I've been meaning to post some comments on the BBC show the Office. It recently won Golden Globe awards for Best Comedy or Musical Series and Ricky Gervais won for best lead actor in a comedy or musical series. The Office airs on BBC America and series 1 is now available in the States on DVD.

Set in a paper distribution center in the city of Slough, the show follows the workings of a dysfunctional office staff led by regional manager David Brent. Brent is the type of boss who tries to be the friend of staff while attempting to instill his sense of wisdom in them. Then there's Gareth, a member of the Territorial Army, and assistant (to the) regional manager. He's constantly subject to mischief at the hands of receptionist Dawn and sales manager Tim.

The show is filmed like a documentary with a camera crew videotaping the staff's daily activities, intermixed with the occasional "confessional." Quite honestly, it's the funniest comedy I've seen in years.

For those who have seen the show, and are anticipating more, series 2 will be available April 20, 2004.

Bush Assertion on Tax Cuts Is at Odds With IRS Data (

Small businesses have suffered greatly under President Bush. An inability to combat rising health care costs, and a failed tax policy are primary reasons small business leaders should not support his reelection.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert to block 9/11 commission extension.

Reportedly, the speaker wants to avoid politicizing the report. National security be damned. Long live the Republican majority.

Avalon Theatre may get historic designation

The battle continues to save one of Milwaukee's last remaining movie palaces.


Turning the Tables - Can Kerry stop the bleeding from his Wisconsin wound? by William Saletan


President Bush throws bone to religious right, endorses constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan says the president declared war today against the civil rights of gay citizens and their families.


Two Co-Founders Of Generation Dean Endorse Edwards For President


The Ultimate Betrayal by Howard Zinn

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced his run for the president today. He will run as an independent this time and not as a candidate for the Green Party.

Understandably, Democrats are concerned about the potential for a repeat of 2000. Nader defends himself in a letter to "anybody but Bush Democrats." While it's important to think about Nader's impact on this race, I don't believe he'll receive anywhere near the support he received in 2000. For one, more voters realize what the stakes are. It's also very unlikely he'll be on the ballot in as many states and I don't think he'll be able to raise as much money this time around (although I'd venture a guess many of his donations will be from Republicans).

The dynamic of this race is going to be much different from 2000 when we had no incumbant president running. This year's election will be a referendum on the Bush presidency, and I'm venturing a guess that those "undecideds" will be few in number in the weeks leading up to Election Day.


Greenspan sees 'unease' about jobs.

In a nutshell, the United States has a shortage of highly skilled workers. To repeat my earlier point, it matters how government allocates money. Looking at Greenspan's report, it seems logical that investment in universities, technical schools, and job training would be wise.

Misstep on jobs figure could haunt Bush.

Supporters of the president may claim this criticism to be unfair. They'll point out it's the private sector that creates jobs and not the government. That is true for the most part. However, it was the administration which boldly predicted that the various tax cuts would result in significant private sector investment and thus 2.6 million jobs this year alone. We are far from reaching that goal.

A president's fiscal policies do matter. Whether government invests in infrastructure or cuts taxes does affect job creation. No matter how hard they try, it's going to be difficult for the Bush White House to distance itself from what happens with job growth this election year.

Iranians go to the polls.. or at least some of them.

This week, thousands of reformist candidates were forced off the ballots for today's election. As a result, reformists in Iran are staging a silent boycott of today's election. The hardliners may get away with this tactic today, but they're not going to be able to kill the evolutionary road toward reform so easily.

Read live election reports from Persian blogs on Iranfilter.

Will Cingular-AT&T Merger Kill Cell Phone Competition?


Campaigns pack up after Wisconsin primary.

Edwards Leads Bush by Double Digits Among Likely Voters


Dean Ends Campaign for Presidency (

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean ended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination today. It became clear as the race went forward that Dean's campaign never found a way to recover from his poor showing in Iowa. Much was made of the negative shots that went back and forth between Dean and Richard Gephardt in that caucus. However, I think there's a more obvious answer for him finishing third there.

There were a large amount of undecided voters going into Iowa. Dean was the frontrunner for months leading up to then, but once undecided voters started making up their minds, they started supporting John Kerry and John Edwards in larger numbers than other candidates. Dean did get many young people involved who had never participated in politics before. However, once you get someone interested in politics, they're not required to be loyal to you when they go into the voting booth.

While I was not a supporter of Dean, he contributed in a positive way to the debate. Also, his method of fundraising (raising small donations from a huge group of donors) was an important step now that the party can no longer rely on large corporate and union contributions. The Democratic Party and this race for president has been improved by Dean contributing to it.

Here are some headlines from tonight's Wisconsin primary. It took the networks an hour to call the Democratic presidential primary as exit polls showed the race too close to call after polls closed at 8pm. It should be interesting to see how tonight's results affect the race for the nomination as we move toward super Tuesday.

BBC NEWS: John Edwards wins a second look - Edwards' better-than-expected finish revives hopes - Edwards surprised by strong showing

Pratt, Barrett advance in Milwaukee mayor race

MSNBC - Wisconsin raises questions about Kerry


Election Day is here, Wisconsin. To learn where to vote visit the following sites:

If you're a resident of the city of Milwaukee, go to the Milwaukee Election Commission website.

For the rest of Wisconsin, go to the Wisconsin State Elections Board.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel endorses Sen. John Edwards to be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.


Democrats face off as state's primary looms

Bucks deal Thomas, Przybilla for Van Horn

The Bucks just made themselves better. Tim Thomas was a decent player, but not what the team's management expected when they signed him to a big contract a few years ago. The addition of Keith Van Horn could help the Bucks solidify a playoff spot in the upper tier of the NBA's Eastern Conference.

AP: How the White House Shelved MTBE Ban

The gasoline additive MTBE is banned in Wisconsin, but it is still used in many states around the country. MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) has been known to contaminate drinking water in many communities. The producers of MTBE have donated more than $1 million to Republicans.


Madison's Capitol Times: John Edwards best prepared to replace Bush.

Edwards Is the Talk of 'Tonight Show'

Job losses overseas can be slowed, but not stopped, Edwards says


More shameless attacks on former Georgia Senator Max Cleland.

Simply put, Ann Coulter and her ilk have no ability to write an intellectual column based on facts. Columns like this come just over a year after Sen. Cleland was likened to Osama bin Laden in a TV ad during his 2002 reelection bid. Cleland lost three limbs while serving in Vietnam. Apparently, the ads worked since Sen. Cleland lost reelection. It seems that hacks like Coulter will write or say anything, regardless of the facts, to shock an audience and make a buck.


Progressives should vote for Edwards.

Joel Rogers, in a column for The Nation, writes about why John Edwards is the right candidate.


Giant sucking sound overheard as 500 Milwaukee jobs head to Mexico.


AP: Clark Drops Out of Presidential Race

''Star Wars' trilogy to come out on DVD

It's about time. I'm guessing it will be the "Special Editions" they release on DVD though rather than the original versions we children of the 70s grew up with.

Bush's Political Base Seems Restive, Anxious

Link courtesy of Ben


Bulldog Tim rolled over and died. Can we stop calling Russert a bulldog?

Today's Daily Howler.


N.Y. City Council Passes Anti-Patriot Act Measure

Cheney's Staff Focus of Probe.

The investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity appears to be focused on the Vice President's office. I'd expect to hear more details in the weeks and months ahead about this.


Sen. Edwards delivered the Top Ten list on the Late Show with David Letterman last night. Click here to view it if you missed it.

Requires Real Player

Wisconsin was primary turf in days gone by.

The article looks back to the days when Wisconsin played a vital role in presidential primaries. This year, it stands alone on February 17th, and its results may be decisive in producing a presidential nominee for the Democratic Party.

ABC News has an article about the effects of Democratic candidates ignoring the south. As Sen. John Edwards continually points out, the party's nominee has never won the presidency without winning at least five southern states.

Former President Carter correctly points out in the article that "in the short run, it'll be a disaster [for Democrats], because they'll allow the Republican Party to run a campaign which is more elevated, which doesn't use social wedge issues as much in the South."


Concealed weapons veto override fails by one vote. Today lawmakers fell short one vote to legalize concealed weapons for Wisconsin residents. This is a big win for Gov. Doyle, as it's been a hot issue the past few weeks and months actually. Rep. Gary Sherman casted the deciding vote. Unfortunately in a re-election year for Rep. Sherman, it's sad to say the NRA and pro-gun groups will rally hard to try to elect someone else in his place when the time comes. Knowing the NRA, their President will probably show up at a poor time to push the issue more, as they usually do.


Edwards wins South Carolina primary and is in a dead heat with Gen. Wesley Clark in Oklahoma.

The win in SC gives John Edwards a solid victory and the showing in Oklahoma sets him up as Sen. Kerry's main opponent in the coming primaries and caucuses.

I wanted to say a few things about Sen. Joe Lieberman dropping out of the race tonight. I think he's gotten a bad rap throughout the course of this primary race. Comments calling him "Bush Lite" are completely off base. Sen. Lieberman has been a leader on many issues Democrats hold dear. One of those issues has been his staunch defense of the environment and most notably the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Lieberman is the primary sponsor of legislation to permanantly designate the area as wilderness to protect it from oil drilling. According to US Geological Survey estimates, ANWR would only provide approximately six months worth of oil, and Lieberman has been out front fighting the good fight on this and other important issues affecting this country.

For Edwards, it all comes down to South Carolina

Today's primaries/caucuses should definitely reshape the field of Democratic candidates. Sen. John Edwards will move forward with a victory in South Carolina. I would expect Sen. Joe Lieberman to drop out after tomorrow unless he can pull an unforeseen upset somewhere. Likewise, if Gen. Wesley Clark doesn't win a state, it's going to be hard for him to keep going.

At the same time this is going on, President Bush's approval rating hit a new low this week. The drop in the president's rating coincides with the publicity over the Democratic delegate chase, as well as the increasing scrutiny the president is receiving over the lack of WMDs in Iraq. I did find it revealing that the president didn't seem to get the normal State of the Union bounce in the polls. The election is ten months away and these polls will be meanginless then. However, it serves as a warning to supporters of the president who have thus far underestimated the his chances of losing his reelection bid.


I stumbled across a fun site that generates a map of states you've visited. I have some work to do out west and in New England.

White House Holding Notes Taken by 9/11 Commission (