Thursday, February 26, 2009

He's No Partisan, Bah

I don't pretend to know much about how judges are supposed to interpret the law, or not. It's always seemed to me that the job of a judge was to hand down common sense decisions based on legal precedent. If that is not the case, then what's the point of keeping records of decisions?

Anyway, I have been only somewhat interested in the Wisconsin Supreme Court campaign between Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Judge Randy Koschnik. I probably should be more interested, but of late the bantering back and forth has been boring and I have three kids to raise. Still, from the little I've read I see no reason not to vote for Abrahamson. Sure, I come from a more liberal background and would likely have voted for Abrahamson if I'd read or heard nothing at all up to the moment of voting itself, but I'm willing to take a look and I have. Randy Koschnik (“I'm not a partisan”) is an extremely partisan conservative. His beliefs about free society do not match mine.

Now more so than ever. I came into possession of a letter ostensibly written by William “Butch” Johnson. Mr. Johnson is CEO of Johnson Timber out of Hayward, Wisconsin. From the content of the letter it's fair to say he's a rabid /Republican/conservative. Lot's of them out there in the deep woods, apparently. Nothing new. What's troubling is the letter is authorized and paid for by Koschnik for Justice. In the letter, Johnson is asking for $100,000 real quick; like in the next ten days (the letter was date Feb. 11, 2009 – who knows if they reached that goal). As the Illusory Tenant points out, nothing like scaring open the pocketbooks.

Knowing that Judge Koschnik had pledged to run a clean campaign (he could begin by shaving off that hideous beard) I was curious to see if the rhetoric in the letter matched his promises.

Small businesses struggle while violent criminals walk free ...
Whoa, that's quite a dichotomy. That sentence makes it sound as though Justice Abrahamson is to blame for violent criminals ravaging small business in Wisconsin. Since the letter is preaching to the choir, who cares about facts backing the nonsense.

The quiet menace of tyranny lurks in the shadows as liberal judges seize power from the people's legislature. In all of this, one common thread emerges …
Quiet menace of tyranny? Liberal judges seizing power? Those be fighting words and hardly representative of running a “clean” campaign. I wonder if Peter DiGaudio is writing for the Koschnik campaign.

As a conservative and a leader in tbe Republican Party, I believe that three equal branches of government are necessary to maintaining a functioning government capable of defending individual rights and maintaining an even hand of justice.
Well, if that were true, Johnson would be voting for Justice Abrahamson, because the Supreme Court already tilts to the conservative side of the ledger; bought and paid for by Republican extremism. This is not about defending individual rights, it's about stacking the deck so right-wing business owners in Wisconsin like Mr. Johnson are provided a free hand.

On the other hand. Shirley Abrahamson has lost sight of these crucial principles. Instead. she is leading our entire legal system down a destructive path toward her revolutionary dream of a Supreme Court with unchecked power to re-create society in its own image.
Whose image? If the efforts to seat Annette Ziegler and Michael Gableman are any indication, it's conservatives who are being revolutionary and un-democratic in their attempt to re-create the Supreme Court in their own narrow-minded image.

Shirley Abrahamson is one of the leading liberal activist justices in the entire country. Her decisions have eroded the Rule of Law, undermined our economy, jeopardized the safety of families and breached the principles of our republican form of government. Your generous gift will help Judge Koschnick defeat the leading liberal scion of judicial abuse. I hope you'll respond in the next 10 days. Thanks again!
It's rhetoric like this that dominated the eight years of the Bush administration and contributed mightily to the 2006 election results and the smashing victory for decency and American values in the 2008 election. Apparently these thugs have not learned their lesson.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Conservative Flab

Hi, I'm Patrick X. You might not know it now, but I used to be an intellectual lightweight. But then I bought Conservative Flab (available for three easy payments of $19.95) from the Charlie Sykes show and now I'm a heavyweight. Yup – I got these amazing flabs just by listening to Charlie (and other conservative talk show hosts – radio frequencies included on cd) without getting out of my chair 24/7. I can't wait to share Charlie's diet secrets with you.

Charlie will show you his "Nobama” technique for quarter barrel flabs and adding intellectual heft all over your body. And don't worry if you can't type, he'll teach you the one-handed hunt and peck technique (keeping the other free for other activities) and you'll be ready to post in no time.

Secrets to Flabs

If you buy Charlie's cds, he'll demonstrate faux outrage that will keep you glued to your chair. Remember to get mom involved. She'll need to know when to bring you those tasty barbecued ribs (featured in the Conservative Flab Cookbook) while you write.

Cardio-Carrying Conservative

This is not your liberal next door neighbors video. You'll learn how to ignore your lawn, home upkeep and annoy your libtard neighbors with the general rundown appearance of your property – it's unimportant – as you listen to Charlie extoll the virtues of personal responsibility. If only those liberals could see you now down in your basement.

Flab Sculpt

Charlie will fine tune your racist commentary with the use of code words (“they” and more) you've always wanted to use but had to get up from your chair to do so. Now you can do it without moving a large muscle group.

Step-by-Step Nutrition Guide

Charlie will also share his secrets for exposing the great liberal myth of tolerance for others. You'll be able to shatter any libtard argument and still eat the foods you love!

Hips, Buns, and Thighs

Get ready to add to those stubborn problem areas. With the help of Charlie Sykes, you'll be out of your skinny jeans in no time and will have joined the legion of conservative bloggers nationwide fighting liberals, socialists and personal hygeine.

If you don't completely transform your body within 30 days just like I did, Charlie will keep your money and chastise you personally on-line and on his radio show (hey, at least you got on). So what are you waiting for? C'mon, let's battle liberalism together.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stratergizing Blame

Republican (conservative) strategy for placing the blame for the ills of the economy:

Blame minorities and Barney Frank (you know, because he talks funny and he's, ick, gay).

Greedy, rich, white bankers couldn't possibly share in any blame.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fairness Doctrine Revisited

Boots and Sabers author and West Bend News columnist, Owen Robinson, would have you believe that the Fairness Doctrine is an evil plot by liberals to cancel the free speech rights of conservatives. Robinson would be wrong for a number of reasons. Mostly because he doesn't let facts get in the way. Let's take a closer look at the pertinent parts of his Feb. 13 editorial in the West Bend News.

Robinson says this about the history of the Fairness Doctrine.

The Fairness Doctrine was an unconstitutional provision whereby the federal government used its power over the licensing of specific frequencies to dictate that the station owners provide "equal time" to opposing viewpoints. President Reagan rescinded the doctrine.
About the only thing correct about that paragraph is there was a president named Reagan and there was in existence something titled the Fairness Doctrine. First of all, there was nothing unconstitutional about the Fairness Doctrine., In fact, the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality by a vote of 8-0 in response to charges that the doctrine violated the First Amedment (Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367 (1969). Can't get much more constitutional than an 8-0 vote by the Supreme Court.

It wasn't until the advent of the Reagan Administration that the FCC, now staffed by Reaganites and headed by former Reagan campaign staff member Mark Fowler suceeded in overturning the doctrine. The reasons for this move -- conservatives who claimed the press was savaging Reagan (I don't recall the press letting up with Carter or Clinton, but then I guess liberals are not so thin-skinned). Want to get around constitutional protections, pack the FCC.

Secondly, the Fairness Doctrine had nothing to do with “equal time” as Robinson purports. The Fairness Doctrine required that controversial matters be discussed and opposing views be aired. Hardly a free speech barrier as Robinson states. Additionally, stations were given choices as to how to present these views, however equal time was not required for these views.

There was an Equal Time rule which applied only to political candidates and provided that the opposition be provided an equivalent chance to respond. Wow. Such clamping down on free speech.

In fact, if anything – considering that conservative thought and the Republican party were in minority status for 40+ years, you'd think they'd love the Fairness Doctrine and the Equal Time rule. Of course they had other things in mind. Note that Rush Limbaugh's national radio show began August 1, 1988, shortly after the FCC ruling on the doctrine.

The rest of Robinson's piece is mostly nonsense. To back up his attack on liberals and their supposed universal support of the Fairness Doctrine, he offers us an example of government regulation of newspapers on government roads. Huh? The problem with this silly analogy is there is no limit to the number of newspapers that can be printed, nor roads that can be traveled. Unlike broadcast frequencies which are a limited resource.

But it's all really a moot point. Personally, I think that attempting to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine is misguided. Twenty-first century communcation does not lend itself to government oversight, no matter how benevolent the intent may be. Regard the efforts of Communist China to rein in its increasingly electronic-savvy populace and you see the issue. If it is next to impossible to regulate in China, imagine the difficulty here.

That is why we should all join with Robinson and his cohorts to ensure the Fairness Doctrine is never reinstated. Back in the 20th century when conservative ideas were relegated to the background, not by delivery mechanism, but by the ideas themselves, conservatism floundered. Now, after a short hiatus in which Americans were hoodwinked by the lying liars on hate radio, the Republican party and its ideas have declined back into minority status. Why? It's because the more they spoke (and because of the rise of the Internet) people understood conservatism, weighted down by its prejudices, its bigotry and its lack of inertia does not represent what is best for this country.

So, let the conservatives spew their many strata of hate. It's best they be allowed to rant on hate radio. Nobody's gonna get fooled again anyway

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Unbelievable ... Well, Maybe Not

The words are just beginning to fly regarding this editorial cartoon in the New York Post. Predictably the Post is defending the cartoon saying it was a parody of the recent "Travis the Chimp" attack in Stamford, Connecticut. Apparently a chimp attacked a woman forcing police to shoot and kill the monkey. Because of this, the Post says the image has nothing to do with the President, who is we all know considered the author of the stimulus bill.

Okay, a couple of things. Why a parody of the dead chimp? I'm 100% certain the dead chimp did not provide any assistance to the writing of the stimulus package. So, the chimp is not to blame. And it is certainly not a play on the old "shoot the messenger" schtick. Another excuse being it's a play on the old infinite monkey jokes -- you know, how many monkeys would it take and how many years to write the complete works of Shakespeare. Sure.

So what is it? Who else could the cartoonist be referring to? Even obliquely. Think seriously about it. If the cartoonist was not referring to our President, it was a mightily clumsy attempt at humor. The only thing remotely redeeming about it is the quality of the drawing; not very good. No wonder the author works for the Post, not exactly top drawer in the realm of journalism.

It's really quite pathetic. One writer actually had the audacity to compare this to those calling former President Bush a chimp. Really. What racial overtone regarding chimps and caucasians am I missing?

Fess up. It's just another stupid wing-nut saying what he really believes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Brought to You By GOP Talking Points

I don't ever want to hear how Faux News is "fair and balanced" and independent. As Media Matters points out about a recent edition of Fox News' Happening Now:

In purporting to "take a look back" at how the economic recovery plan "grew, and grew, and grew," Fox News' Jon Scott referenced seven dates, as on-screen graphics cited various news sources from those time periods -- all of which came directly from a Senate Republican Communications Center press release. A Fox News on-screen graphic even reproduced a typo contained in the Republican press release.
I'll nver buy into the conservative spiel that the mainstram media has a liberal slant, especially the way its hitting Obama (well maybe, it is more intelligent) -- if there were such a slant, it's unintentional. Unlike Faux News which makes no effort at all to disguise its bias.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Brown Sugar Unlimited

Really? Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. From the New York Times:

Michael Steele, who was recently elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, paid a Maryland company run by his sister more than $37,000 for work related to his 2006 Senate campaign, a payment that Mr. Steele’s spokesman said Saturday was entirely appropriate.


Mr. Steele did not dispute that his sister’s company, Brown Sugar Unlimited, of Bethesda, Md., had been paid $37,262 by his Senate campaign in February 2007, as federal election records show.
Pretty sweet deal for a catering and web services firm. Odd combination that.

Odder yet, she's an ex-wife of Mike Tyson. You know, the guy who used to box when he wasn't raising pigeons and biting ears off.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Of Fish and Spines

I wrote the other day that the GOP vote en masse against the stimulus bill in the House was a fishy sign that Republicans were already abandoning any pretense of an attempt at bi-partisanship. A commenter by the name of Tony Turner engaged me for a number of hours in a debate over the stimulus bill and the real meaning of the GOP response. Tony's arguments were not bad. His grasp of the economics of the bill was good I should say; at least from the Republican point of view. But then, how would I know?

I had not intended to get into the meat of the package because I really didn't know what was involved; nor do I understand economics. I admit it. I take it as a given that the GOP response is a failure – it's how I'm wired after 14 years of Republican majority rule -- and I never blog about economics. Best not to if you know nothing about it (good advice for both sides, me thinks).

So my posting effort was really about motivations. However, today I found a different slant on the plan, one that I could understand and agree with. Frank Rich, a favorite columnist of mine, had this to say about the Republican vote.

The problem is not that House Republicans gave the stimulus bill zero votes last week. That’s transitory political symbolism, and it had no effect on the outcome. Some of the naysayers will vote for the revised final bill anyway (and claim, Kerry-style, that they were against it before they were for it). The more disturbing problem is that the party has zero leaders and zero ideas. It is as AWOL in this disaster as the Bush administration was during Katrina.
Ah! It wasn't fishy that no GOPer voted for the plan; they just had nothing new to offer.

I admit I am a casual peruser of only the periphery of national events; I often go by what I feel is right. So, in our mini-debate Tony told me that tax cuts are a stimulus. Why wouldn't the Dems agree to that? I couldn't say. All I knew was that I thought I'd heard differently about tax cuts. Frank Rich to the rescue.

The Republicans do have one idea, of course, but it’s hardly fresh: more and bigger tax cuts, particularly for business and the well-off. That’s the sum of their “alternative” stimulus plan. Obama has tried to accommodate this panacea, perhaps to a fault. Mainstream economists in both parties believe that tax cuts in the stimulus package will deliver far less bang for the buck than, say, infrastructure spending. The tax-cut stimulus embraced a year ago by the G.O.P. induced next-to-no consumer spending as Americans merely banked the savings or paid down debt.
Hmmm. That's what we did – paid down credit cards and we anticipate doing the same this time if the tax cuts go through. And anyway, is Tony suggesting, like Rush Limbaugh did recently that because the Republicans won approximately 46% of the national vote in the last election, 46% of the stimulus package should be Republican ideas?

Now, of course Tony is not suggesting that. I actually have a lot of respect for his foray into my blog and for his thoughts. What he had to say (even though I could not answer whether other Republican proposals were good or bad) sounded reasonable though in hindsight, much the same as has (apparently) been written and said before. But thanks are in order nonetheless. You won the debate, Tony ( I knew I was missing out in high school not getting involved in debate). We'll win the war, I hope.

Which brings me back, one more time to the cult that is Limbaugh. I commented previously about Phil Gringrey, a right-wing dust bunny. Rich takes him on, too (and other Republicans).

Most pathetic of all was Phil Gingrey, a right-wing Republican congressman from Georgia, who mildly criticized both Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to Politico because they “stand back and throw bricks” while lawmakers labor in the trenches. So many called Gingrey’s office to complain that the poor congressman begged Limbaugh to bring him on air to publicly recant on Wednesday. As Gingrey abjectly apologized to talk radio’s commandant for his “stupid comments” and “foot-in-mouth disease,” he sounded like the inmate in a B-prison-movie cowering before the warden after a failed jailbreak.
No ideas and no spines. That's all most Republicans have these days. If that's reflexive commenting, so be it. It's also the truth.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


This is ridiculous. I'm sorry, but how does one forget to pay a $128,000 tax bill?

First this year there was the problem with Timothy Geithner's taxes. Now Tom Daschle's nomination for health secreatary is in danger because he apparently forgot to inform the Obama team of a $128,000 tax bill during the vetting process. The President is standing behind his nominee and Robert Gibbs, Obama's press secreatary has said the president understands that nobody is perfect.

Fair enough.

Yet, Daschle knew about the taxes last June. How come it took so long to pay this? Is there a bigger grace period for somebody's as opposed to guys like me? You know darn well the IRS would come after me pretty quick if I fell behind paying my taxes.

Republican and Democrat alike have been guilty of this arrogance. I thought the Obama administration would be unlike the previous one and expect a higher standard of ethics and performance from its members.

So far, not good Mr. President.

Update: And having read this post by Glenn Greenwald, I must say I am very disaappointed. There must be someone better than Daschle to lead the fight for health care for all?

And also, this is straight from Greenwald's post. I have written previously of the hypocrisy of Republicans. I can do no less when it is a Democrat exposed as a sleazebag.

I also can't help but contrasting this passage detailing how Tom and Linda ended up married, from The Washington Monthly article . . . :

Yes, it's true: Before Mrs. Daschle was Mrs. Daschle, she was Miss Kansas, 1976.

Petite and blond, with perfect, straight white teeth, Daschle is still strikingly beautiful at 46. But she has a vise-like handshake you wouldn't expect from a beauty queen that suggests the steely interior necessary to survive in Washington power circles. . . .

She met Tom Daschle on a work trip to South Dakota. At the time, Tom Daschle was a freshman congressman, married to the woman who in 1978 had helped him ring 40,000 doorbells and go on to unseat an incumbent by 14 votes. By 1984, Tom had divorced his first wife, with whom he had three children, and married Linda . . .

. . . . with this 2003 clip of Tom Daschle, explaining to Jon Stewart that gay marriage must not be allowed because "a man and a woman have a sacred and a traditional cultural bond within this country. . . it's a statement of fact: society is embracing the marriage of a man and a woman, and by and large, that's the way it should be . . . DOMA is the statute and I don't think it's unconstitutional":