Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Breaking News: Scott Walker is a loser, and not just because he dropped out of Marquette University.

The Republican candidate for governor is touting a poll his campaign commissioned showing he's running first in the Republican primary. According to the campaign, Walker is in first with 39%, Mark Green has 25%, and 36% are undecided.

The memorandum on the front page of the website indicates the GOP primary poll contains a mere 423 likely Republican primary voters which gives the poll a margin of error of 4.8%. That means just as easily we could have this result with this headline:

Breaking News: Undecided Wins Republican Primary for Governor!

Undecided 39%
Scott Walker 35%
Mark Green 26%

The House passed a bill Tuesday for the US Mint to start producing new $1 coins featuring America's presidents.

While this certainly isn't a pressing issue, I feel compelled to say that I believe we're long overdue to move from a paper dollar to a dollar coin. Consider this recent research:

Because coins are more durable than bills, the government could save as much as $500 million a year on printing costs if the public embraced the dollar coin, according to a 2002 report by the Government Accountability Office. The government minted just 6.7 million Sacagawea dollars last year, most of them destined for private coin collections.

Besides the savings in tax dollars, wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to deal with the annoyance of having that paper dollar rejected at the vending machine or on the bus?


Bush Retirement Revamp Campaign Falls Flat

Despite the president's 60 day Social Secuirty Bamboozlepalooza tour, the public has not rallied behind his ideas for the program.

Tonight, Bush will take the show to the airwaves in a prime time press conference scheduled for 7:30PM CST.
UPDATE: They've bumped up the start time to 7:00PM CST apparently so that it doesn't conflict with the start of May sweeps.

The Atari Flashback console is getting a redesign. Nice.

If you were as disappointed as I was when word came out that the Atari Flashback was going to look like the generic Atari 7800, then take heart. The Atari Flashback 2.0 is going full-on retro with faux wood paneling, two 2600 controllers and 40 games of 70s and 80s goodness.

Thanks to JThom for the heads up.

The House reversed new softer ethics rules last night by a vote of 406-20. This clears the way for an investigation into Majority Leader Tom DeLay's various indiscretions.

Meanwhile, you can play Hammer The Hammer courtesy of Democracy Radio.

Students at Princeton University have started their own filibuster outside of the Frist Campus Center. The effort is aimed at protesting Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's ridiculous "nuclear option" to get rid of the filibuster for judicial nominees.

Getting rid of the filibuster goes against the very nature of what the United States Senate was set up to be. It is not the House of Representatives. The Senate is there to be the deliberative body with checks on potential tyranny by the majority on the minority. Supporters of the "nuclear option" ought to read the Federalist Papers sometime to learn about how much founding fathers like James Madison valued that principle.

In the meantime, the students have set up the official Frist filibuster webcam for the world to see.


GOP to Reverse Ethics Rule Blocking New DeLay Probe

"House Republican leaders, acknowledging that ethics disputes are taking a heavy toll on the party's image, decided yesterday to rescind a controversial rule change that led to the three-month shutdown of the ethics committee, according to officials who participated in the talks.

Republicans touched off a political uproar in January by changing a rule that had required the ethics committee to continue considering a complaint against a House member if there was a deadlock between the committee's five Republicans and five Democrats. The January change reversed this, calling for automatic dismissal of an ethics complaint when a deadlock occurs."

Now that Republican House leaders have come to their senses, hopefully we can now have an honest and thorough investigation into the corrupt House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.


The search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has officially come to an end.

"Wrapping up his investigation into Saddam Hussein's purported arsenal, the CIA's top weapons hunter in Iraq said his search for weapons of mass destruction "has been exhausted" without finding any.

Nor did Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, find any evidence that such weapons were shipped officially from Iraq to Syria to be hidden before the U.S. invasion, but he couldn't rule out some unofficial transfer of limited WMD-related materials."

U.S. service members who have died serving in Iraq: 1572

Estimated cost of Iraq war to date: $166 billion

Number of WMDs located in Iraq: 0

Frist Stands Firm on Vote for All Judicial Nominees

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said if Republicans "break the rules" to outlaw filibusters, Democrats would insist that Senate plays "by the rules."

Those rules, unless waived by the unanimous consent, require, among other things, a full reading of a bill brought up for debate. That could take hours.

"If they go forward with this, the Senate will change," Durbin said. "The age-old complaint that no one has read what we are voting on will change."

This could get very interesting if Frist doesn't back down or agree to a compromise with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The Senate clerks best rest their vocal chords and bring plenty of water.


Former President Bill Clinton rallied for Tony Blair at a Labour Party meeting leading up to the May 5 election.

Appearing on a giant screen at a Labour Party meeting in London, the former Democrat leader warned that when a country has "a progressive government in power, our people get a little easily disillusioned."

"They don't like this policy or that policy. They sometimes fall into the trap of thinking it doesn't matter and there are no consequences."

"But if you believe that look at the difference in the US between now and four years ago," he said, in a reference to the election of President George W. Bush, a Republican, in the United States.

While the White House says it's staying out of the election, they know well enough that Clinton's endorsement will help Blair and that Bush's involvement would severely damage Labour's chances of staying in power.

UPDATE: My friend Jason, of Cambridge Chatter, just reported to me via email from his vacation in London. Apparently, the Conservatives are using the Iraq war and Blair's relationship with George W. Bush as a primary weapon in the weeks leading up to the election. It is ironic to see fellow conservatives using Bush in this manner especially when many of them supported Blair's march to war to begin with.

More allegations surfaced about U.N. ambassador nominee John Bolton Sunday, this time from the Brits.

"Newsweek reported, in its May 2 edition, that British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw complained about Bolton to then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in November 2003. Citing a "former Bush administration official who was there," Newsweek said Straw told Powell that Bolton -- Powell's undersecretary for arms control and international security -- was making it impossible to reach an agreement on Iran's nuclear program.

According to the official, Newsweek reports, Powell then turned to an aide and said, "Get a different view on [the Iranian problem]. Bolton is being too tough."

Newsweek said British officials 'at the highest level' persuaded the White House to keep Bolton off the negotiating team that ultimately convinced Libya to give up its nuclear program. Bolton was unwilling to support a compromise under which the United States would drop its goal of regime change in favor of 'policy change' in exchange for Libya's disarmament, the magazine reported."


Some friends of mine introduced me to a cool site's artPad feature last night.

You can draw your own digital paintings and submit them to the gallery, and you can also view others' submissions. One pretty interesting aspect to artPad is it captures the painting process and allows you to adjust the speed at which you're watching it being done. When a given painting comes up, hit "skip to beginning" to begin the replay.

It's a fun and quite addictive site.


DeForest Soaries, the first chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, is resigning saying the government has not shown a commitment to reform.

The commission was created after the 2000 election as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. President Bush appointed Soaries, a Baptist minister, to help oversee reform efforts.

"It's bad enough to be working under extremely adverse circumstances, but what throws your thinking into an abyss, as it were, is why you would be doing that when, for instance, you have to beg Congress for money as if the commission was your idea," Soaries said.

Cheney Warns Dems on Judicial Filibusters

"Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada commands a solid block of 45 votes against the proposal, and Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island have publicly stated their opposition as well. A few GOP lawmakers are uncommitted, and Reid said this week that if Frist calls a vote, "it's going to be very close."

GOP polling shows 37 percent support for the GOP plan to deny Democrats the ability to filibuster judicial nominees, while 51 percent oppose, officials said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity."

That polling may slow down efforts to force a vote on changing the Senate rules on filibusters. After failing to get a vote on John Bolton this week, and defending the scandal ridden House Majority leader Tom DeLay, Republicans may not want to overplay their hand when it comes to overhauling the rules of the US Senate.

The History of Earth Day

Written by former Wisconsin Senator and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson.


Greenspan Renews Warning on Budget Deficits

The Fed chief has signaled that continuing budget deficits "would cause the economy to stagnate or worse" unless things change. So far, this president and Congress have not proven they believe in the concept of fiscal sanity.

As of yesterday, the federal debt was at $7,781,395,486,207.30.

Eleven killed in Iraq helicopter crash

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Eleven civilians were killed when a commercial helicopter went down north of the Iraqi capital Thursday, a spokesman for an air charter company said.

Six American security workers, three Bulgarian crew members and two Fijian security guards died, said Paul Greenaway, a spokesman for SkyLink, a Canadian-based company that had chartered the craft for work."

The violence continues in Iraq no matter how pretty a picture the Administration paints for public consumption.

Local radio/TV columnist Tim Cuprisin pointed out an important distinction with Fox News Channel's coverage of the new pope in his column yesterday.

The cable channel used the banner headline "We Have a Pope!" while other channels like CNN and MSNBC went with variations of "Pope Elected."

"Traditional news is an outsider, an observer looking in. The goal is to keep a distance from the story, although that goal is not always the reality.

Fox has built the top cable news ratings by casting itself as more of a clubhouse, an us-against-them kind of news shop. When Fox News says 'we have' something, like a new pope, there's a connection between channel and viewer that you don't find with traditional news venues."


We've crossed the 1400 mark in signatures for our petition to bring progressive talk radio to Milwaukee.

Thanks to all who've signed up and to those who are promoting it. Also, special thanks to Randi Rhodes for posting it on her website and mentioning it on her radio show.

Keep those signatures coming.

Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT) announced today he will retire in 2006 leaving an open Senate seat.

Jeffords left the Republican party in 2001 and became an independent who caucused with Democrats. Vermont has voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in recent years so the party should have a major advantage in defending this seat. Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is already being mentioned as a likely candidate to succeed Jeffords.

Under Senate rules, independents must caucus with either the majority or minority party. If Sanders is elected, there's no doubt he would follow Jeffords in caucusing with Democrats.

In other Senate news, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) continues to lose support from residents of the Keystone State, according to new poll data out of Quinnipiac University.

The poll shows State Treasurer Robert Casey, Jr. has a 49 to 35 percent lead over Santorum in the 2006 Senate race.


The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has delayed for three weeks a vote on the nomination of John Bolton to be United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) indicated he would not support moving the nomination to the full Senate today after new allegations surfaced about Bolton's conduct while working as legal counsel for a private contractor in Kyrgystan. These are only allegations at this point, but the Committee ought to allocate time to investigate them before moving Bolton's nomination forward for this high profile position.

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has also voiced reservations about Bolton's nomination. A member of Hagel's staff, Rexon Ryu, actually testified against Bolton at the hearings.

Syndicated columnist Molly Ivins had an excellent column on Tax Day this past week.

In it, she quotes author David Cay Johnston whose recent book details how the tax burden has increasingly shifted to the middle class thanks to government policy.

"People making $60,000 paid a larger share of their 2001 income in federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes than a family making $25 million, the latest Internal Revenue Service data show. And in income taxes alone, people making $400,000 paid a larger share of their incomes than the 7,000 households who made $10 million or more."

The rest of us are subsidizing not only the super-rich, but also corporations. Fifty years ago, corporations paid 60 percent of all federal taxes. But by 2003, that was down to 16 percent. So individual taxpayers have to make up the difference, as corporate profits soar and wages fall.


The president is still standing behind the embattled Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Tom Delay... for now.

As the profile of DeLay's various scandals rises, the White House is slowly putting more distance between the two Texas politicans.

Bush still calls DeLay a friend, although spokesman Scott McClellan pointedly noted last week that "there are different levels of friendship." The President's team is increasingly frustrated by the majority leader's inability to mount a defense more persuasive than blaming his problems on a liberal conspiracy. DeLay, says a senior Administration official, "is handling this like an idiot."


Bush administration eliminating 19-year-old international terrorism report

"WASHINGTON - The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered."

The lesson here is if you can't prove your strategy on terrorism is working, simply eliminate the tool of accountability.


For the past week or so, has been getting messages with attachments containing the W32.Mytob.AG@mm virus, which leads me to believe I'm in somebody's address book on a virus laden computer.

Let me take this opportunity to stress the importance of having virus protection on your machine. Grisoft offers the AVG Anti Virus program for personal workstations free of charge with updates.

If your computer happens to be the one infected by the virus mentioned above, Symantec has a removal tool you can download.

Safety first, people. ;)


Getting gouged at the gas pump these days? Oil companies like Exxon Mobil should be sending you a thank you card:

"Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Lee Raymond's compensation package jumped to more than $38 million last year, when soaring energy prices helped the No. 1 public oil company report one of the largest profits in U.S. corporate history.

Raymond's salary rose slightly to $3.6 million while his bonus rose to $3.9 million. He also received restricted stock awards worth more than $28 million, up from $17.9 million a year earlier.

The past year was an exceptionally good one for Exxon, which rode the wave of rising oil and gas prices to post revenue of more than $298 billion and a record profit of $25.33 billion. The company's share price also surged more than 28 percent in the year."

The DCCC has unveiled a new website outlining Tom Delay's House of Scandal.

It's a pretty well put together little site. You can also go state by state to see how closely your own Congressmen are tied to the Majority Leader.

If you're a Wisconsinite, be sure to check out the page on our own Republican House delegation.


The House voted on Wednesday to end all federal estate taxes after 2010. This just follows the current trend of mismanagement when it comes to the federal budget under the Republican controlled Congress and President Bush.

The national debt has risen to $7,792,607,796,216.29 as of yesterday.

When have we ever continually cut taxes in a time of war? Where is the call for sacrifice? Since the government is not collecting new revenue to finance this new foreign policy, it's almost as if the war is free! The sad irony is those same troops who are serving our country right now, along with their children and grandchildren, are going to have to finance the debt we're running up to pay for the very wars they're fighting.

In Iraq, we are still building permanent military bases, and there is a similar situation materializing in Afghanistan. This president and Congress love to play on the emotions of the country's citizenry when it comes to supporting our men and women in uniform, but their actions do not back that up.

If there was ever a president who believed in the ethos of having your cake and eating it too, I believe we've found him and he ought to be ashamed.


It's my last day as MKE's blog of the week. Don't forget to vote for Folkbum's Rambles and Rants tonight, whom I've formally endorsed to be my successor.

The governor came out today against changing the law that currently protects feral cats from being hunted.

"I don't think Wisconsin should become known as a state where we shoot cats," Doyle told reporters in the Capitol. He said the state has been the butt of jokes and his office has been getting calls and e-mails asking how Wisconsin could allow the shooting of feral cats.

Additionally, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) secretary Scott Hassett ruled out a rule change today saying there are too many unanswered questions and problems with it.

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress has voted 6,830 to 5,201 in favor of removing feral cats from the list of protected species that aren't allowed to be hunted.

The state legislature still has to pass the measure, and Gov. Jim Doyle will have to sign it for it to be enacted. Both the legislature and the governor are sure to get an earful from constituents both opposed and in favor of this. I've made my opposition to this known previously. If this manages to become law, it's on:


Mike over at Progressive Boink has written a list of 25 of his favorite Sesame Street memories.

For anyone that grew up with this show, there's sure to be a few of these you'll remember.

Link thanks to Metafilter.


Senate Confirms Bush Judicial Nominee Crotty

Paul Crotty, whose nomination passed 95-0 today, will be the 205th nominee to be confirmed by the Senate. Many Republicans and conservative activists would have you believe that we're in some kind of crisis simply because Senate Democrats have determined that 10 out of 215 nominees are unqualified to sit on the federal bench. As ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy explains, the facts paint a far different picture of the situation:

"Once confirmed, Mr. Crotty will be the 205th of 215 nominees brought before the full Senate for a vote to be confirmed. That means that 829 of the 875 authorized judgeships in the federal judiciary, or 95 percent, will be filled. As late as it is in the year, we are still ahead of the pace the Republican majority set in 1999, when President Clinton was in the White House. That year, the Senate Republican leadership did not allow the Senate to consider the first judicial nominee until April 15." -Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee began its hearings Monday on John Bolton's nomination to be US Ambassador to the United Nations.

On Monday, Bolton in his one day of scheduled testimony rigorously rejected assertions by hard-charging Democrats that he tried to sack State Department intelligence officials who challenged his assessment of Cuba as trying to develop biological weapons and his appraisal of the weapons programs of Iran and other countries.

"I didn't seek to have these people fired. I didn't seek to have them discharged. I said I lost my trust in them," Bolton testified.

Bolton also assured the committee that he supports international law and views the United Nations as "an important component of our diplomacy." The 56-year-old State Department chief of arms control is a hard-liner with a skeptical view of some U.S. arms control treaties and a frequent critic of the value of the United Nations.


Shays: DeLay Should Quit As House Leader

"'Tom's conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election,' Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., told The Associated Press in an interview, calling for DeLay to step down as majority leader.

DeLay, R-Texas, who was admonished by the House ethics committee last year, has been dogged in recent months by new reports about his overseas travel funded by special interests, campaign payments to family members and connections to a lobbyist who is under criminal investigation."

Thanks Fred for sending me this horrible music video. I'll never get those precious minutes back.

Quiz Time: What philosophy do you follow?

You scored as Utilitarianism. Your life is guided by the principles of Utilitarianism: You seek the greatest good for the greatest number.

“The said truth is that it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong.”
--Jeremy Bentham

“Whenever the general disposition of the people is such, that each individual regards those only of his interests which are selfish, and does not dwell on, or concern himself for, his share of the general interest, in such a state of things, good government is impossible.”
--John Stuart Mill

More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...





Justice (Fairness)






Strong Egoism






Divine Command


What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with

Discovered over at Scott Feldstein's site.


Quote of the day:

"Nations, like individuals, ought to suspect some fault in themselves when they find that they are generally worse thought of than they deserve." -John Stuart Mill in his 1859 essay "A Few Words on Non-Intervention"


For those still calling for Kofi Annan to resign over the oil-for-food program, a program the United States had a major role in administering along with the United Kingdom, isn't it odd that these same critics aren't raising hell about the fact that the U.S. still hasn't accounted for the missing $8.8 billion in Iraq funds?

If we had a Congress that believed in utilizing its oversight function, perhaps we'd know more about whether the missing money is due to criminal activity or simple incompetence.

Remember the Republican strategy memo about how Terri Schiavo's case could be exploited by the GOP for political gain? It turns out it was legitimate despite attempts by some conservative talk show hosts, columnists and bloggers to promote the theory that it was forged or drawn up by Democrats.

The memo was developed by Brian Darling, legal counsel to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL). Darling has now resigned his position, and Martinez is claiming he didn't know the memo was produced by his office. That's pretty unlikely. As one who has worked as a Senate staffer, I can tell you the legal counsel is one of the top positions in a Senator's office along with chief of staff, and legislative director.

Kos has a good rundown of some of the outrageous claims made by these folks. I'm not holding my breath on any apologies or resignations though.

The discrepency in the exit poll data from Election 2004 has never been fully explained. I tend to be a skeptic on stories like this one, but having studied statistics, I would like to learn more about the data under scrutiny here.

This group, USCountVotes, looked at the exit poll results taken throughout Election Day by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International. The exit polls indicated that Democratic nominee John Kerry would win by 3% of the popular vote. Nevertheless, George W. Bush officially won the national popular vote by 2.5%. This type of discrepancy is the largest to ever occur in a presidential election. Exit polls are conducted with those who have just voted—they are not a sampling of “probable” or “eligible” voters before the election.

“On the surface, it sounds unbelievable,” said Bruce O’Dell, vice president of USCountVotes, of the possibility of fraudulent election results. “But the more you look, the more you will be concerned.”


The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has delayed until Monday hearings on the nomination of John Bolton to be America's ambassador to the United Nations. They were originally scheduled to start today, but were postponed to allow some members to attend Pope John Paul II's funeral.

In the past, Bolton has been adamant in his opposition to the body. Therefore, his nomination is nothing but a slap in the face to countries whose support we will need down the road in terms of intelligence gathering and military operations among other needs.

The United Nations is not perfect, and I could list numerous things they've screwed up (nominating Libya to head the U.N. Commission on Human Rights being one glaring example). I'll be the first one to point out that governing bodies don't always make the best decisions (points finger in the direction of our nation's capital).

The importance of having a multilateral body has been lost on guys like Bolton. If you are a constituent of one of the Senators listed here, give them a call and urge them to oppose Bolton's nomination. If the Democrats on the committee stay united against him and one Republican joins them, his nomination cannot go forward. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) is wavering on whether or not he will support Bolton. If you are a constituent of his, I encourage you to give his office a call or drop him an email.

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) also tend to be more reasonable than many Republicans in the Senate and may consider opposing Bolton as well.

For you Wisconsinites, our own Sen. Russ Feingold is on the committee if you'd like to drop him a line and urge him to vote no.

We did it, my friends. Brewtown Politico has won the second round of MKE Online's blog of the week contest. A big thank you to everyone who took the time out to vote. It's an honor to serve you.

As my first act, I'm throwing my support behind my good friend Folkbum, whose blog Folkbum's Rambles and Rants has been nominated for round three.


When I went to the polls yesterday, I was struck by the number of incumbents who were running for re-election unopposed. Many of them were circuit court judges. Whether or not judges should be elected, appointed, or both opens up a whole different discussion.

Regardless, we need more people to get involved and run for office even if it's only to raise issues and contribute to the debate. If you've ever considered running and are a Milwaukee resident, the city has set up a nice website containing the information one needs to know in order to run. has an article on their site today about the petition to bring liberal talk radio to Milwaukee.

There's already a lively discussion going on in the comments section of the article. Some still believe liberal talk radio won't work, which I think has been disproven by its success across the country. Others think it's unnecessary since they believe the rest of the media is liberal which is just plain untrue. As for NPR, the news is pretty well balanced. I've noticed that on Wisconsin Public Radio as well, they go out of their way to have an even balance of guests of all political stripes on their shows.

For those who say a petition will not bring this format to Milwaukee, you are correct. Advertisers have to be convinced that the market exists for them to spend their $$$, a point made in the article itself.

In any case, welcome OMC visitors. Regardless of your point of view on whether this type of radio format is needed, it's a discussion worth having.

Speaking of voting, today's the final day to vote for Brewtown Politico in MKE Online's blog of the week poll.

Cheers to those of you who have already thrown your support behind this lowly cheesehead.

Incumbent superintendent of public instruction Elizabeth Burmaster won re-election with 62% of the vote today, a landslide and a sure disappointment to Wisconsin conservatives who backed State Rep. Gregg Underheim (R-Oshkosh) for the office. Congratulations to her.

Other election results are online at WisPolitics.


Others have added their two cents about Sen. John Cornyn's recent floor speech before the Senate, but I wanted to make sure I posted it for those who haven't come across it yet.

"I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence." -Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).
Cornyn is drawing ire for his lame attempt to explain the criminal mind, rightfully so. It's not as if Cornyn is a novice when it comes to understanding the judiciary either. As Josh Marshall has pointed out, Cornyn is a former District Court judge, a former member of the Supreme Court of Texas and a former Texas Attorney General. WTF?

Add to that Rep. Tom DeLay's comments last week against the judges involved in the Schiavo case, and one has to wonder what these guys are drinking in the Republican cloakrooms.
"Mrs. Schiavo's death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo's friends in this time of deep sorrow." -Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), Majority Leader of your House of Representatives.

Spring elections are today in the state of Wisconsin. The most notable race on the ballot is for Wisconsin education superintendent.

Incumbent Elizabeth Burmaster has earned another term from my point of view. Her focus on improving the Milwaukee public schools is notable, as is her ability to reach out to those promoting school voucher programs and work with them.

The local daily has a rundown of this and other races on the ballot today.

Check out to learn where to vote.


The 2005 baseball season opened up today. Despite the negative attention on salaries, steroids, and stadium deals, there's still something about baseball in America that is sacred.

It's the only major sport that doesn't move left to right (or right to left) like television friendly sports do, and doesn't have a clock. Here in Milwaukee, we cherish that longtime tradition of tailgating, and I have to say that there's nothing quite like hanging out with a group of friends, firing up the grill, and having a cold beer on a warm summer day at the ballpark.

By the way, for you Milwaukeeans, the local team won 9-2 today over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll: U.S. Catholics would support changes - Apr 3, 2005

"A majority of U.S. Catholics surveyed want the next pope to have a theological outlook similar to that of Pope John Paul II, but they would also like to see changes on issues such as birth control, stem cell research and allowing priests to marry, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Sunday."


Eric Alterman nails it when it comes to critics of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:

"If Kofi Annan's critics demanded the same level of accountability from George W. Bush they profess to want from the UN General Secretary, he would have been impeached in his first week of office. And if he were president, we be a healthier, safer, saner and far more honest nation. (Come to think of it, if we had a similar standard for Wall Street Journal pundits, they’d be out of work, too.)"

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle has proposed a series of election reforms following reports of voting irregularities after the 2004 election. The list of reforms follows:

  • An early voting option for all eligible voters;
  • Mandatory training for all poll workers;
  • An extensive outreach campaign to recruit more poll workers;
  • Mandatory training for all special registration deputies;
  • Prohibit voter drives from paying individuals on a per voter or quota system;
  • Uniform voter registration cards;
  • Allow eligible voters to register to vote when applying for or renewing a driver's license;
  • Require municipalities to develop Election Day plans designed to meet a 30-minute maximum waiting time at the polls;
  • Allow access to voter birth date information again to allow for better oversight, but prohibit the use or sale of such information for commercial purposes or the display of such information on the Internet;
  • Statewide, uniform poll hours;
  • Require a map to be displayed at every polling location, directing voters to their proper voting wards;
  • Merge the State Elections and Ethics Boards into a single independent agency; and
  • Require state legislative districts to be drawn by the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau, in order to ensure more competitive races.
These are all good ideas, many of them probably overdue. Hopefully, the Republican controlled legislature will have the good sense to pass a bill with these provisions in them, and send it on for the governor's signature.

Critics of the plan will cite the fact that a photo ID requirement is not included in the plan. I am sympathetic to the arguments concerning the potential for voting fraud to occur, and agree in principle with the concept of a such a requirement. Therefore, I propose every person registering to vote in the state of Wisconsin be provided with a voter ID card. When I lived in Maryland, everyone got one in the mail when they registered (although it didn't include a photo), and brought it with them when they voted.