Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


So with the "handover of power" complete in Iraq, it's time to assess what's next as the country moves towards elections. Time magazine was kind enough to put together a nice little listing of who the key players are for its readers.

Speculation remains that now since Iraq is supposedly running its own affairs, declaring martial law won't produce the political backlash as if we had done it (even though it'll be the US sanctioning such a move behind the scenes anyway).

The new government is currently restricted to setting up the January elections, and maintaining security. Their strategy at this point is to reassemble large portions of Saddam Hussein's old Baathist army to maintain security.

Meanwhile, the rift between the Shiites and the Kurds on the future of Iraq remains troubling. The Shiites represent a majority of the population, and want that to be reflected in terms of authority in the new government. Meanwhile, the Kurds up north want to retain veto power in that new government, something Shiite leaders like Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani strongly oppose. Sistani is advocating the constitution be disolved after the election.

Let's start the betting. Will it be elections on schedule, or imposed martial law coupled with power grab by interim government?


Army Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey was recently killed in an ambush in Iraq. His mother Nadia invited media coverage of the casket's transfer to a hearse on Sunday.

While she said the invitation to the media wasn't a political protest, she planned to continue speaking out against the war.

"This is enough," she told the Times. "We have to react."

Broken promises to veterans by Thomas Oliphant

There are legitmate debates that we should have in this country on a range of issues. When it comes to taking care of those who have sacrificed more than any other for this country, we need to ensure that they are cared for and are not left behind by the government that sent them off to war.

The Bush Administration and the Republican Congress are slashing funding for veterans at the very same time they're wrapping themselves in the flag and posing at photo-ops with veterans in towns all over America.

We should be guaranteeing affordable health care for all veterans. If we're cutting back on benefits now, what's to become of all the future veterans serving in the middle east when they need lifelong care?

Why should I be surprised though? This Republican government believes that we should send kids off to war to sacrifice for us, while at the same time not asking citizens to sacrifice tax dollars to pay for the war itself.

Apparently, cutting taxes is a higher priority than actually caring for the country's veterans and those currently serving in combat. It's disgraceful, and Americans who still support this administration despite these actions need a good look in the mirror to assess their values and priorities.


Saddam-Era Flag Remains Iraq's Symbol

Amidst the celebrating about today's "handover of power" in Iraq, I noticed in photos from the ceremony that the flags hanging in the background didn't match the fancy new one proposed just a few months back. I'm not surprised, I just found it interesting and thought I'd share.

Republicans + convention + NYC = big business for escort services.

Enemy Combatants Win Right to US Courts

The Supreme Court has ruled on three cases involving detainees. In separate decisions, the high court said the government can detain American citizens as well as foreign nationals without charging them. However, those detainees must have access to the courts and a lawyer to challenge their treatment.

There's a good article in the Guardian today by Will Hutton. He correctly points out that 25 years of the rise of conservatism will not be undone overnight by electing John Kerry. However, if that occurs, it presents an opportunity that the American left has not had in some time to convince the electorate that there is a better course of action in both domestic and foreign affairs.

The war in Iraq was supposed to be a shining victory for neoconservatives. The irony is it's actually demonstrated their ineptitude, and thus the importance of multilateralism in the post Cold War era.


The Green Party convention continues here in town. Today, attendees will debate the nomination of their presidential candidate.

The conventional wisdom is that the real debate is about whether to nominate frontrunner David Cobb or to endorse Ralph Nader's candidacy since he is not running as a Green.

The editorial board at the local daily threw in their two cents today and endorsed Cobb. In the article, the board cites Cobb's plan to run a "safe state" strategy by only campaigning in non-battleground states.

UPDATE: The Greens have nominated attorney David Cobb to be their presidential candidate. It's a setback to Ralph Nader's campaign, a positive development for the Kerry campaign, and a commendable decision by the membership of the Green Party.


Just when the Illinois Senate race was getting interesting, Republican candidate Jack Ryan has dropped out after news of his sexual misadventures with ex-wife Jeri Ryan came to light.

Now the Republicans will have to find someone else to lose to Democratic State Senator Barack Obama in November.

A writer at the Daily Kos speculates this may have been deliberate sabotage by Illinois Republicans who were unhappy with Ryan's candidacy and his performance in the race so far. It's a good theory that makes sense. With Obama owning Ryan in the polls, there was no reason for Democrats to try and force a guy out who was almost sure to lose the election.


Court Blocks Loosened FCC Media Limits

This is good news for those of us who don't want to see the media owned by a select few companies. A US Appeals Court today blocked new FCC rules that would've allowed companies to own more television stations and radio stations than they're presently allowed to.

The FCC will have to demonstrate why the rules won't harm competition. Unless they do, they will not be able to own more than one television station in a city, or both a newspaper and TV or radio station in a city.

There are exceptions like Journal Communications here in Milwaukee. They own the local NBC affiliate, an FM and AM radio station, and the daily newspaper. However, they were grandfathered in decades ago before these rules took effect.

Larry King interviewed Ron Reagan last night. The full transcript is available here. Here's an excerpt:

KING: You said, dad was also a deeply unabashedly religious man, but he never made the mistake of wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. Were you referring to the president?

REAGAN: You know, it's interesting.

KING: Everyone thought that.

REAGAN: I know. I wasn't watching TV much after I delivered the eulogy for a few days. But after a couple of days I started getting calls from people saying, boy you really stirred something up, didn't you? I thought, well, what? Well, you know, the stuff you said about Bush. I said, I didn't say anything about Bush, why would I mention George W. Bush in my father's eulogy?

No, no, no, no, the stuff about the religion. I thought, ha, funny, you then everybody thought I was talking about George W. Bush. And then I heard -- everybody thought I was talking about George -- but people connected with George W. Bush thought I was talking about George W. Bush. And then I began to think, maybe I was, I just didn't know it.

KING: Do you think he wears his religion on his sleeve? He certainly refers to it more than your father ever did.

REAGAN: Well, you know, there was that answer he gave to the question about, did you talk to your father about going into Iraq? No, I talked to a higher father, you know, the almighty. When you hear somebody justifying a war by citing the almighty, God, I get a little worried, frankly. The other guys do that a lot. Osama bin Laden's always talking about Allah, what Allah wants, that he's on his side. I think that's uncomfortable.

KING: Do you have thoughts on the war?

REAGAN: Sure, I have thoughts on the war.

KING: And what do you think?

REAGAN: And I think we lied our way into the war.

KING: You think it's a mistake?

REAGAN: Absolutely, a terrible mistake. Terrible foreign policy error. We didn't have to do it. It was optional. And we were lied to. The American public was lied to about WMD, the connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam, which is virtually nonexistent except for fleeting contacts. But they're still trying to pull that one off now, Cheney and all are out there flogging that.

KING: Can I gather from that, that you will not support this president?

REAGAN: No, I won't.

KING: Will you support his opponent?

REAGAN: I will vote for whoever the viable candidate is who can defeat George W. Bush, yes.

Switching sides, Iacocca endorses Kerry

Former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca endorsed Sen. John Kerry for president today. In 2000, he endorsed President Bush in his run against Vice President Al Gore. Iacocca said Kerry's economic plan, and job creation proposals were primary reasons for his decision to endorse the Massachusetts Senator.


So you voted for George W. Bush in 2000. Maybe you're a Republican or an independent who believes in lower taxes, smaller government, civil liberties, etc., but you don't want to vote for Bush again after what he's done to your party and the country. What to do? See the sites below to learn why you need to vote John Kerry in '04.


The State Department is about to announce in a corrected report that terrorist attacks went up sharply in 2003. That's just one indication that the President has not done what's necessary to reduce acts of terrorism around the world and at home. The new ABC/WP poll indicates that more people are coming to that same conclusion.

Six months into 2004, it doesn't appear that this year's data will look much better. In fact, terrorism is likely to increase after the June 30 "handover of power" in Iraq. This administration led the country into an ideological war in Iraq the neoconservatives mapped out years ago. Unfortunately, their incompetence has cost our nation many lives, and credibility around the world.

For us to have a more sane foreign policy, and improved international relations, we need to elect John Kerry in November.

ABC News/Washington Post poll: Bush Loses Ground on Terror Fight

So much for that "Reagan bounce" the pundits in the media thought would happen. The President's support is eroding on the one issue he's had the most support on from the American public: fighting terrorism. Only 47% now say the war in Iraq was worth fighting, and 52% say it was not. His overall approval rating is also at 47%, the lowest of his presidency.

In a head to head matchup, Kerry leads Bush 53% to 45%. When Nader is added in, the lead narrows with Kerry leading 48% to Bush's 44% and Nader with 6%.

When asked which candidate is more trusted on a range of issues, Kerry is ahead of Bush on health care (+21 points), taxes (+13 points), prescription drug benefits for the elderly (+12 points) and education (+10 points), and smaller leads on handling international affairs (+8 points), the economy (+5 points) and the federal budget deficit (+4 points).

Bush remains ahead of Kerry as more trusted to handle Iraq (+5 points), a signal that the Massachusetts Senator may need to be more vocal on the issue, primarily after the June 30 handover of power. By doing so, he could swing some of those Nader supporters into his camp.


The Green Party Convention will be held this week here in Milwaukee. It starts Wednesday with the presidential nomination later on in the week.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who ran as a Green in 1996 and 2000, isn't seeking the party's nomination this time around. Instead, he's running as an independent with the endorsement of the Reform Party. How schizo has the brain child of Ross Perot become? The Reform Party is the party that nominated Pat Buchanan in 2000, and now they're going with Nader. It begs the question if they have any principles whatsoever.

In any case, Nader has announced his running mate will be Green Party activist Peter Camejo. It's an obvious olive branch to the Greens to formally endorse his candidacy at the convention. However, it remains to be seen whether the remaining delegates will throw their support behind Nader this week or not.


Doyle lobbies on stem cells

Gov. Jim Doyle is urging the Democratic National Committee to support additional stem cell research in the party's 2004 platform. In addition, he's calling for additional federal funding for such research.

This is a winning issue for Democrats, and they should definitely support Doyle's initiative. A recent ABC News poll shows the public favors stem cell research, and federal funding for it by a 2-1 margin.

Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden's hands: Al-Qaida may 'reward' American president with strike aimed at keeping him in office, senior intelligence man says.

The book "Imperial Hubris" is due out in July and is written by an anonymous senior intelligence official. Among many criticisms, the writer espouses a widely held view that the US missed its biggest chance to capture Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora in the Afghan mountains in December 2001.

"Anonymous believes Mr Bush is taking the US in exactly the direction Bin Laden wants, towards all-out confrontation with Islam under the banner of spreading democracy."

It certainly appears that way.


Clinton-haters vs. Bush-bashers? No contest by Richard Roeper for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Well said.

Excerpt from New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg's statement on the murder of Paul Johnson:

"The Saudi Arabian government has shown too much patience for these terrorist cells and the ideologies of hate they preach. The United States will no longer tolerate Saudi neglect of the extremists and terrorists who live and thrive in the Kingdom. All further relations with Saudi Arabia must be entirely contingent on the Kingdom's progress cracking down, reigning in and snuffing out its terrorist problem. Deeds -- not words -- must be the benchmark of Saudi progress in solving the terrorist problem that threatens its society as much as it threatens our own."

According to reports, Saudi police did locate the al Qaeda members responsible while they were attempting to dispose of Johnson's body. They reportedly gunned down senior al Qaeda leader Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin and three others involved in Riyadh.

New theory on why Bush and Cheney continue to put forth the talking point, or lie, that al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein had longstanding ties. It may be because Australian Prime Minister John Howard is now getting mega heat for the 9/11 Commission's statements that there is no evidence of a link. Unlike British PM Tony Blair, who used Iraq's supposed WMD program as justification for the war, Howard sold the war to the Aussies on the idea that Iraq was linked to al Qaeda. Australia is a primary ally in the coaltion and this news may be enough to sink Howard's chances for his party to maintain control in the general election.

Perhaps it's time for the President to hold a press conference and educate the rest of us. I'll play fair and allow Cheney to participate so Bush has a little help. Then they can explain to the whole world specifically what these ties are.

The tragic part of all this continues to be that by creating these smokescreens, they are only making matters worse. An honorable President would pursue the truth and then use the facts to properly pursue a real war on terrorism.


The John Edwards for veep bandwagon continues to roll on. As this article in the Hill points out, a number of House members are trying to pressure Sen. John Kerry to pick the outgoing North Carolina Senator.

If history is any lesson, the running mate a nominee eventually picks is usually an unexpected one. From what I've picked up, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack may be off the shortlist, while Rep. Richard Gephardt, Gen. Wes Clark, and Edwards are still being considered.

The buzz is that Kerry will name his running mate following the July 4 holiday. That may provide the best opportunity for him to hog the headlines as people go back to work after the long weekend.

This has been around for a while, but I thought it worth posting in the weeks leading up to the release of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Take Back the Media put together a flash presentation dramatizing the timeline on September 11.

I'm surprised that more people don't realize that President Bush was aware of the first plane hitting the WTC while he was in route to Booker Elementary School for a photo-op. He proceeds to the school, and is informed minutes later by his chief of staff Andrew Card that another plane has hit the WTC south tower. The president goes on to read the book "My Pet Goat" to the children for several minutes (20 according to TBTM).

Where was NORAD? Why isn't the president hustled out of the room to immediately talk with his national security team about the possibility of more hijackings, and what to do about them?

It's an alarming thing to watch (be warned that the intro's a little extensive), and it'll be interesting to see Moore's take on these events in a few weeks. Meanwhile, perhaps tomorrow's final hearing of the 9/11 commission will shed some light on at least some of the questions raised here.

Protestant Bush's papal plea is an act of desperation by Josh Marshall.

Forty-five years after John F. Kennedy had to work to convince voters he wasn't the Pope's candidate for president, Bush and conservatives in the Catholic Church are trying to accomplish the opposite. On a recent visit to the Vatican, the president reportedly urged Cardinal Angelo Sodano (the Vatican secretary of state) toward greater "activism" in regards to social and cultural issues. Translation: deny guys like Sen. Kerry communion.

As Marshall points out in his column, what a difference forty-five years have made in the attitude of the Republican Party.


The focus of today's news has now shifted to the revelation that 10 plane hijackings were planned. Reportedly, bin Laden scaled back the attack to 4 targets: the two World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and either the White House or the Capitol.

The staff statements from today are available on the 9-11 commission's website. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read them.

Meanwhile, we've had to divert troops from the hunt for bin Laden and the war in Afghanistan to Iraq. While the president decided to declare Afghanistan a victory in the war on terroism, much remains to be done there, and it's sad that it's become our forgotten war. By the way, Bush's declaring victory came a few hours after Karzai generated headlines pleading for the US to stay the course in Afghanistan. The media lapped it up, and the headlines went from a little sad to happy happy.

9/11 Panel says Iraq Rebuffed Bin Laden.

This is currently the main story at CNN and CBS. Not surprisingly, the story is being minimized over at Fox News where one has to go to the scrollable "Latest Headlines" window to find it.

This comes just a day after Vice President Cheney renewed his claims that ties existed between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Is Cheney just a pathological liar? The more logical explanation is now that a majority of the public doesn't believe the war was justified, Bush/Cheney are seeing the need to ratchet up their disinformation campaign to stop the bleeding.


House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) Accused of Ethics Violations.

This isn't surprising at all since the exterminator turned legislator has proven to be a sorry excuse for a Congressman over the years. Rep. Chris Bell of Texas has accused DeLay of soliciting campaign donations in exchange for legislative favors. Bell is now a lame duck Congressman after losing in the Democratic primary this year. His district was redrawn when DeLay and the Texas Legislature pushed through an unnecessary redrawing of the state's Congressional districts.

Public Citizen has posted the memos from the past year relating to this brewing scandal.

Meanwhile, pay a visit to Richard Morrison's website. He's running against DeLay this year, and is putting up a good fight. With Morrison's fundraising efforts, and the above scandal, DeLay's being forced to campaign harder than he has previously for what had been considered a safe seat.


Retired Officials Say Bush Must Go

The group of 26 former diplomats and military officials, known as Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, plans to release a letter Wednesday calling for President Bush to be defeated in November. The list consists of people who were appointed by Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton. The group's position is that President Bush's foreign policy has resulted in the straining of our alliances, and has neglected the war on terrorism for the war in Iraq.


The Hunting of the President, based on the book by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons, is set to be screened in select theaters starting this month.

The movie, like the book, follows the relentless campaign by right-wing interests to bring down President Bill Clinton. Lucikly, for the sake of the country, they failed to do so. Despite the toll these attacks took on him and his presidency, Clinton had the highest approval rating of any American president at the time they left office.

The trailer is excellent, and is online in Real, Windows Media, and Quicktime format.


Sometimes, I like to end the week on a non-political note. This week, I'd like to pay tribute to Ray Charles who died yesterday at the age of 73.

Ray Charles Robinson was born in Albany, Georgia on September 23, 1930. In his first years, his sight began to leave him. He was completely blind by the age of seven. Despite this early setback, Charles began performing in clubs at the age of 16. His music caught the ear of recording executives at a time when the music of African-American performers was referred to as "race music."

Charles went on to win 12 Grammy Awards over the course of his career, and captured the hearts of millions all over the world with songs like "Georgia on My Mind."

Newsday has a good article today highlighting Charles' career, and the influence he had on music and entertainment.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has obtained a copy of the 2003 Pentagon report on the use of torture for interrogations.

The 52 page report is entitled Working Group Report on Detainee Interrogations in the Global War on Terrorism: Assessment of Legal, Historical, Policy and Operational Considerations.

It's available in Adobe Acrobat format at the link above.

Panzer halts effort to vote on amendment that would limit taxes.

The Wisconsin State Senate will not vote on the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights this year, according to Majority Leader Mary Panzer (R-West Bend). TABOR, for those in the know, is a proposed constitutional amendment which would impose limits on what local governments could spend in their own budgets. Increasingly, local leaders are opposing the legislation for that reason and therefore the Republicans can't seem to get together on the exact form the legislation was going to take.

It's another example of the state legislature overstepping its bounds and interfering with local government. The mayors and city councils have the ability to limit spending right now, and if their constituents demand it of them, they'll have to listen. Consequently, if the people are unhappy with the spending priorities of those local leaders, they do have that option to vote them out of office. It's really that simple.

Bush says he never authorized illegal interrogations.

Attorney General John Ashcroft and now President Bush are carefully choosing their language regarding what and wasn't authorized in regards to interrogation techniques. In case you missed it, Ashcroft was pressed by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week to release memos drafted in 2002 and 2003 on the matter. Upon replying he wouldn't release the memo, which he did without claiming executive privilege, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) told Ashcroft he could be held in contempt of Congress if he didn't provide the requested information.


Kerry staff vetting Iowa governor

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack is the latest candidate seeing attention from Sen. John Kerry's vice presidential search committee. I'd expect the vice presidential nominee to be announced by the end of June, perhaps during a period when he can dominate a news cycle. I don't know much about Vilsack except to say that he's obviously from an important state, and the midwest will be important turf in the November election.

Other candidates reportedly still being considered by Kerry are New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Gen. Wesley Clark, Sen. John Edwards, and Rep. Dick Gephardt.

L.A. Times Poll Shows Voters Favor Kerry

Kerry v. Bush:
51% Kerry
44% Bush

Kerry v. Bush (with Nader in the race):
48% Kerry
42% Bush
4% Nader

It's more good news for the Kerry campaign. The poll was conducted from June 5-8 and sampled 1230 registered voters nationally. The margin of error is +/- 3%.


This season of Republican Survivor has begun.

Who will win? Ashcroft, Coulter, Harris, Cheney, DeLay, or Bush? Each Thursday, you have the chance to choose who gets eliminated next. Last week's episode, and the elimination ceremony are now available for viewing.

The site requires Macromedia Flash. Thanks for the link, Craig.

Rail line linking valley, lakefront proposed.

Does newly elected Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman read Brewtown Politico? A week after I lamented what seemed to be the inevitable death of rail transit in this town, Bauman has proposed a light rail system linking the lakefront and downtown with the Menomonee Valley and Miller Park.

Bauman is a longtime transit advocate who has fought for years for a rail transit system in Milwaukee. The Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce and Mayor Tom Barrett are open to studying the idea. Predictably, Milwaukee County Executive and Marquette dropout Scott Walker remains staunchly opposed to the idea. Bauman says he'll seek private financing, but that likely won't change the minds of guys like Walker. They oppose it not only because of the cost, but because they simply don't understand the benefits that rail transit provides (reduced dependence on the freeway system, economic development, and increased tourism to name a few). Perhaps they should take the time to visit a few of the 20 American cities that have light rail systems in place. Maybe they'd learn something.

I remain cynical on the chances of the system happening given the current political climate, but I'm encouraged that leaders like Bauman have the guts to keep the debate alive.


Taxes, gays, abortion targeted by Texas GOP.

Texas Democratic Chairman Charles Soechting calls the party's platform the "longest political suicide note in modern Texas history." You guys are nuts down there in Texas, although I realize you're merely kicking and screaming your way into the modern era. If Soechting is wrong about the platform harming the GOP, I can't wait until the ad rollout for the war on sodomy. It's sure to be a hoot.

The American Family Association is ready to join the fight. In fact, they've got an online poll you can take regarding the homosexual agenda's presence on television. The search continues for the AFA poll about such unentertaining television shows as Fear Factor, the Swan and America's Funniest Home Videos.

The AFA is another one of those organizations who raise a stink about role-playing games, Harry Potter, and Pokemon. As ridiculous as these groups are, at least they provide a good laugh for the rest of us.


A majority of Senators have sent a letter urging President Bush to support expanded stem cell research.

A total of 58 Senators signed the letter which was sent on Friday, one day before President Reagan died. Just a few weeks ago, Nancy Reagan gave a speech urging such research be allowed so that more can be done to find a cure for diseases like Alzheimer's.

In 2001, President Bush ordered restrictions be placed on embryonic stem cell research and opposes using stem cells from most embryos.


Bin Laden stars in Rumsfeld pillow talk

According to the BBC, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is regularly teased by his wife about his not having found Osama bin Laden to date. Maybe she can help us find the real culprit behind the 9/11 attacks. It doesn't help that the president has said he doesn't much care about finding bin Laden. After all, keeping the focus on the Taliban and the war in Afghanistan would've distracted from the war he really wanted in Iraq.

“I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him… I truly am not that concerned about him.” -Bush speaking about bin Laden on March 13, 2002.


Former President Ronald Reagan Dies at 93

"President Ronald Reagan led our country through some of the great challenges of the twentieth century. He was a charismatic and beloved leader who devoted much of his life to public service. His optimism for the future of our country at a critical time in our history will be remembered. My thoughts today are with Mrs. Reagan and the entire Reagan family." -Sen. Russ Feingold

“Ronald Reagan's love of country was infectious. Even when he was breaking Democrats hearts, he did so with a smile and in the spirit of honest and open debate. Despite the disagreements, he lived by that noble ideal that at 5pm we weren't Democrats or Republicans, we were Americans and friends. President Reagan and Tip O'Neill fought hard and honorably on many issues, and sat down together to happily swap jokes and the stories of their lives. The differences were real, but because of the way President Reagan led, he taught us that there is a big difference between strong beliefs and bitter partisanship.

“He was the voice of America in good times and in grief. When we lost the brave astronauts in the Challenger tragedy, he reminded us that, ‘Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.’

“Now, his own journey has ended-a long and storied trip that spanned most of the American century-and shaped one of the greatest victories of freedom. Today in the face of new challenges, his example reminds us that we must move forward with optimism and resolve. He was our oldest president, but he made America young again.

“Our prayers are with his family, and the wife he loved in a way all the world could see. And to the end, she loved him with courage and complete devotion. She helped all of us better understand the cruel disease that took him away before it took his life, and what we must do to prevent and cure it.

“Teresa and I and our family extend our deepest sympathies to Nancy Reagan and the Reagan family. Today, from California to Maine - ‘from sea to shining sea’ - Americans will bow their heads in prayer and gratitude that President Reagan left such an indelible stamp on the nation he loved.” -Sen. John Kerry


From the in case you missed it over the holiday weekend file: CNN is suing the state of Florida to obtain a list of the 48,000 voters who are being purged from the voter roles.

For those who have short memories or are in denial about the facts surrounding the 2000 election, about 173,000 names were purged from the voter rolls in Florida. The state paid Database Technologies $4 million to come up with the list. In the end, the list resulted in major inaccuracies (names, social security #'s, dates of birth not matching, etc). If you're one who was unlawfully purged from the list, the appeals process is lengthy. It's not as if you can just re-register at the polls on the day of the election.

It seems the powers-that-be in Florida are prepared to repeat the tactics they used in 2000 to carry the state for George W. Bush. One can only hope the media has awoken from their slumber and put the nuts and bolts of the election process under the microscope this time around.


Bush Ready to Cooperate in CIA Leak Case. It's about time Mr. President. If you were smart, perhaps you would've tried to wrap up this scandal a little further away from Election Day.

This story is being overshadowed by the President announcing CIA Director George Tenet's resignation (read firing) this morning.

Meanwhile, the story of Ahmad Chalabi allegedly leaking secrets to Iran is blowing up, and could become another major headache for the White House.

Nevada GOP bets its chips on Reid

Nearly 120 prominent Nevada Republicans are endorsing Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for re-election, including former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf and the father of Republican Sen. John Ensign, whom Reid defeated six years ago.

Fascinating bit of news from the Hill.


President Bush: Flip-Flopper-In-Chief

I find it laughable that Republicans continue to attack John Kerry for being inconsistent when in truth it is the Bush Administration that can't seem to figure out what it stands for. Thanks to the Center for American Progress for this fine compilation of Bush flip-flops.

Stephanie Herseth wins open House seat in South Dakota. The vacancy arose after Republican incumbant Bill Janklow resigned after being convicted of manslaughter stemming from an auto accident which killed a motorcyclist last year.

The victory gives the Democrats a 2-0 record in special elections for formerly GOP-held House seats this year. Ben Chandler won election to fill a vacant Kentucky seat in February.

Memo to Milwaukee-area drivers: the freeways are going to be a bitch for the next 25 to 30 years.

As the Marquette interchange project kicks into gear, state planners are busy planning the reconstruction of the entire area's freeway system which will need to be entirely rebuilt in the coming years.

Several problems exist with the reconstruction project which have yet to be resolved. The primary problem is cost. It's one thing to repave that street by your house. It's something entirely different to rebuild hundreds of miles of interstate highway, especially those bridges and interchanges. The topic of expansion is also an issue since some, primarily suburban leaders, are pushing to add lanes on the freeways inside the city of Milwaukee. Many city residents and elected officials remain opposed to adding freeway lanes which will displace homeowners, businesses, and require the state to tear up the gravesites of veterans at Wood Cemetary.

Even if you're a dedicated commuter who desperately wants those expanded freeways, doesn't that 25 to 30 years of freeway rebuilding dampen your spirits a bit? If only there were an alternative to driving on those roads that one could take advantage of; a form of transit that isn't subject to the same traffic congestion as buses, cars, and trucks. It's as if many people in southeastern Wisconsin live in a vacuum when it comes to what the rest of the nation is doing regarding mass transit. Cities around the country have and are building rail transit to serve commuters, city residents, and encourage economic development and tourism. Sadly here, the Milwaukee Connector study appears all but dead.

Perhaps in the coming decades as more Milwaukeeans spend more hours stuck in traffic, we'll finally come around to building a modern transit system. It's just a shame that we won't do so in time to lessen the damage to the local economy that years of detours, and closed freeway lanes will do.