Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Next: City Level Universal Healthcare

Attention Wisconsin! The socialists are in charge of the City of Madison and they are planning to capture the State. Joel Rogers and Dave Cieslewicz have a broad, organized and intelligent coalition working to implement and advance their progressive agenda. Remember Municipal Smoking Prohibition, Municipal Minimum Wage, Phosphorous Bans and Inclusionary Zoning? The next push is for Universal Healthcare at the local government level.

The Strategy: “We invite you to join us in a two-year push to achieve health care for all in Wisconsin. We will work with members of the Madison City Council to create a model law for Madison. Then we will move on to other local governments around the state. We intend to create citizen lobbyists across the state to push the model law. The end result will be a broad risk pool and statewide universal health care.”

Democracy for Wisconsin - Madison is run by a vibrant core group of Howard Dean workers and they are the advance brigade responsible for the taking “provide or pay healthcare” from a theory on paper to municipal ordinance and beyond. There is little doubt that Mayor Cieslewicz is an informed participant as evidenced by this May 26 Update comment.

“We need support for our plan from small and large businesses. Politicians across the political spectrum will respond to business support. Mayor Dave, in particular, need to know that business people are behind our plan.”

This is not a Paul Soglin, “lets have block parties” administration. This is not Susan Bauman, “I reduced your property taxes and was voted out” flawed pragmatism. These are not John F. Kennedy Democrats wanting business to be good to the common man. Rogers and Cieslewicz are serious, studied social planners who are experimenting with this city and this state. I recommend keeping a strong spotlight on their activities.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Brat Fest with the Local Celebrities.

I took a small sample of area bloggers and about 3% admitted attending Madison’s Brat Fest, the ever evolving celebration of grilled meat sausages. Construction at Hilldale Mall, where the event originated, forced a move this year to the Alliant Energy Center. The Aerial View of Alliant Energy Center helps show the pressing need for urban infill and mixed use high density development in the city. The green areas in the photo are mostly underdeveloped and thus under taxed land. Photoshop high rise condos in these areas and the need for a taxpayer funded light rail system is apparent.

It’s Memorial Day and it is exactly like someone found the summer switch and flipped it on. Lola and I make the trip, eat our fill, look at a brand new city garbage truck, listen to a 70’s rock cover band and leave with the satisfaction we have done our part. The Brat Fest officials just announced they came up 77,000 brats short of their goal which may be due to cool weather the first several days of the four day event. One other potential reason for coming in short of goal may be the Celebrity Cashiers. Did the grilled meat merchants really believe that Green Party Alderman and “Oil Addict” Austin King is a strong drawing card? Seriously, take a look at what passes for celebrity in capital city.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Memorial Day Race Recap

Danica Patrick stalled her engine in the pits, spun out on a re-start and still finished 4th in the Indianapolis 500. Her most impressive move, however, may have been when she took a hit in the side at full speed and held the car steady as it headed into the turn. Open wheel racing is designed to push the limits of ground speed and the cars are exceptionally susceptible to even slight contact. Danica’s control over her Indy Car reminded me of all those Japanese animation stories where a tiny human sits at the controls of a massive robot. It was a transforming performance.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a cash machine for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) as well as for numerous sponsors and even NASCAR itself, but earlier this week DEI changed Jr.’s Crew Chief which is clear sign of problems within the organization. In the middle of the Coca Cola 600, Dale Jr. wrecks team mate Michael Waltrip and the accident also takes out former winner Matt Kenseth and Terry Labonte. It was a totally unprofessional move by Jr.

NASCAR racing is designed to allow a level of contact between cars but recently races have begun to resemble a drawn out demolition derby. In a classic example of the law of unintended consequences, the safety changes NASCAR implemented after the death of Dale Earnhardt appear to have increased aggressive driving tactics. Tonight’s race had a record 22 cautions before Jimmy Johnson emerged from the war of attrition for his unprecedented 3rd consecutive Coca Cola 600 victory. NASCAR is very good at changing the engineering details in the rule book, but they need to start addressing road rage. Rubbing is racing but bad driving is just pathetic.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Victory #1 Five Years Ago

Cars have done more to eliminate poverty in American than any government program. The jobs created to fulfill the widespread desire for individual freedom of mobility are one of the supporting pillars of the American economic miracle. There is a lot of blog talk about Danica Patrick racing in the Indianapolis 500. It’s a great story and Danica deserves all the attention she has earned. When the Indy cars finish there is another major race and five years ago Wisconsin native Matt Kenseth Wins the Coca Cola 600.
“It was Mark who risked his reputation several years ago by advising Jack Roush to sign Matt Kenseth, an unknown from Wisconson. … It was Kenseth - only a rookie in the Winston Cup series - who finished first in Sunday's 600, which is considered to be one of NASCAR's three "majors", along with the Brickyard 400 and the Daytona 500.”
I suppose North Carolina writers spell the Badger State “Wisconson” as in “Wis you coming son”? I suppose it’s no different from professional east coast sports announcers saying “Westconsin”. Wisconsin Racing occurs in small tracks all over the State and I believe it was Richard Petty who once said, “I know exactly when auto racing began. It was the day they built the second car.”

Friday, May 27, 2005

Catch a Flick Mayor Dave

The Joel Rogers and Dave Cieslewicz New Urbanist Plan for Madison is based on the false premise that free people want to live in crowded conditions devoid of wildlife. Alain Bertaud shows this with perfect clarity on the graph of Population Densities of World Cities (PDF). Free people tend to desire homes with yards. Central Planning is a defining attribute of socialist philosophy which may be why the density map of Moscow doesn’t look like any other city.

Mayor Dave could use a realty check on the academic theories that have captured his rational brain. Mayor Dave should take time and watch some of The Greatest Real Estate Movies of All Time (PDF). I recommend the following ten selections.

10. Shane:
“To begin with, virtually every Western ever made is about property rights”

9. Field of Dreams:
“If you build it, they will come.”

8. The Blues Brothers:
A city will tax an orphanage out of business if they need the land.

7. The Money Pit:
All projects begin on budget.

6. Joe’s Apartment:
Roaches love big buildings with lots of food, water and dark hiding places.

5. It’s a Wonderful Life:
Financing the real American Dream of home ownership.

4. Psycho:
When business disappears from a Mom & Pop shop, the kids get stressed.

3. Beetlejuice:
A little fear of the dead should accompany all remodeling projects.

2. Escape From New York:
When everyone is inside the cage the door can be locked.

1. Gone with The Wind:
Number one all time because it “shows the effect of government intervention – here, Sherman’s march to the sea – on Atlanta’s property market.”

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The New Plan for Madison Unveiled

The Joel Rogers and Dave Cieslewicz City of Madison Comprehensive Plan can be summed up in one sentence. Madison’s hope for a sustainable future is a vision of an urban city with densely populated neighborhoods, where no cars are needed for transportation because quality of life is within walking distance. Rogers and Cieslewicz will use these words over and over and over. They are selling New Urbanist philosophy to voters who may or may not be legal residents. The city doesn’t know because they don’t card except for cigarettes and pseudoephedrine. They don’t really care.

New Urbanism

New Urbanism Critic: Claremont

New Urbanism Critic: Reason

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Lost 2 Hour Finale

Yes No Totals
526 1014 1540

1215 586 1801

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pause, while the smoke clears

Republican Democracy vs. Authoritarianism: http://billroggio.com/.
Rural Unrest in China: "China has some serious problems brewing. They have a largely rural population that works as subsistence farmers while the urban workers in South East China that work in the factories enjoy much better education and living conditions as well as higher wages and in general a better lifestyle. Urban China is exploiting Rural China and there is a mass migration to the cities.

From a historical context, we underwent the mass urban migration around the turn of the century when the Industrial Revolution caught up with our agricultural society. We had a population in the tens of Millions and it still was uneasy. Our mass urbanization led to labor unions and unrest as well as resentment of Capitalism and the Capitalist pigs that kept the common worker down. Industrialization and Urbanization as well as worker abuses led to this philosopher guy who thought there was a better way. Someone named Marx I think. Perhaps the answer to China's urbanization, unrest, and industrialization that is causing all the repression is to implement that guy Marx's ideas and get rid of the Capitalist Pigs that run everything... wait... damn. Well, it was worth a thought."
Freedom of choice and Accuracy in voting is a winning combination. I hope.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Vote NO on Higher Property Taxes

One last post on the Special Madison School Board Referendum to Permanently Authorize Property Taxation in excess of State Revenue Caps. I can’t pretend to present the case for a YES vote better than the Madison's Progressive Daily. The Capital Times Editorial: Yes Votes Essential, because look at what voting NO entails.

Claim: “They want to sacrifice the quality of Madison schools and the city's long tradition of providing the resources needed to maintain that quality.”
Emotional Scare Word: sacrifice
Supporting Evidence: None – take it on faith.

Claim: “Whatever the motivation of the opponents, however, the change that will result from the defeat of any of Tuesday's three referendums is the same: Quality will suffer.
Emotional Scare Word: suffer
Supporting Evidence: None – take it on faith.

Claim: “But it is also a dangerous calculation, as the needs these proposals address are real. Failing to meet those needs will not make them go away and indeed could create greater needs - and greater expenses - in the future.”
Emotional Scare Words: dangerous, failing
Supporting Evidence: None – take it on faith.

Claim: “We understand that the school district will not collapse if the referendums are defeated. Children will still be educated. But educational quality will slide. And then massive infusions of new tax dollars would be needed to get standards back up to the point where they are now.”
Emotional Scare Word: none
Supporting Evidence: None – take it on faith.

There is some evidence that rational Madison citizens are beginning to see through the illogic of a total reliance on emotional appeals as evidenced in this post by Tracy.
“I had a conversation with a father at our kids "Spring Strings Concert" last week. A program for 4th and 5th graders to get music teaching that is "threatened with cancellation" if the referendum does not pass. I was undecided until speaking with him, now I am firmly opposed. The School Board often uses popular programs as "examples" of programs that will have to be cut to push financing increases. Frankly, I am willing to call the bluff.”
If you live in the Madison School District Vote NO Tomorrow. If you live outside the Madison School District, then pay attention because if this money grab works it will be copied throughout Wisconsin.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Shameless Agitator

Thank you Wigderson Library & Pub and Badger Blogger and Badger Blog Alliance, especially Jiblog, for helping start Statewide awareness of the Special Referendum problems in Madison. Special thanks to Sanity in Mad City and Dummocrats for helping to focus attention on the election issues this last weekend prior to the vote. I found one out of State posting at Rosenblog.

There are 190 Cities in Wisconsin and they are free to use taxation to raise revenue in any way that does not explicitly counteract State Law. The Cieslewicz administration has consistently demonstrated a willingness to try new and unique polices, and once they are allowed in Madison, they can be copied anywhere else in the State. Recall that local minimum wage, smoking prohibition and phosphate bans all started in Madison prior to being adopted by other Wisconsin cities. Any checks on city government behavior must come from the State, so it is wise for the Chippewa Valley and the Fox Valley and the entire Milwaukee metro area to pay attention when Madison attempts a big money grab.

Just prior the Referendum Ballot story breaking, Bryan Smith at Sanity in Mad City posed me a few questions about music. Bryan, these are your answers. There are no music files on my computer. Recorded music is stored in my jukebox. The last CD I bought was King Crimson Discipline because I really enjoyed the times I watched the guitar work of Adrian Belew up close. There is no music on at the moment and I’m administratively replacing the five song list with five memorable moments of unrecorded music since this blog began in February 2005.

Ratdog at the Orpheum, Groovulous Glove at King Club, The Junkers Reunion at the Crystal Corner Bar, Dale Watson at Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon and today.

Moma Digdown’s Brass Band marches a twisting line as they move through the crowd playing the same instruments that played at Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural. Eight guys with only horns and percussion and righteous exquisite exorbitance. It’s literally live music outside in the nice warm air with no strings attached. I purchase a $1.00 button from the International Socialist Workers Party table that reads “I’m a Shameless Agitator”.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Thank You Badger Blog Alliance

Madison is not Las Vegas. Madison voted out a Casino and what happens in Madison spreads across the State of Wisconsin. When Madison’s right to impose business with a higher minimum wage requirement was challenged in State Court, the Court allowed it to stand because it was not in logical conflict with State Law. Wisconsin municipal governments can rightfully do anything the State of Wisconsin does not forbid them to do. This includes a right to exceed state school district spending caps if voters approve the increase in taxation.

Madison School District Question 2 authorizes spending increases without making it clear that spending increase means tax increase. The word tax is nowhere on the ballot even though the increased spending can only be achieved by increased taxation. This is wording designed to obtain a yes vote rather than putting an unbiased question to a citizen. The resolution includes the phrase “and continuing thereafter” which creates a permanent right to place debt obligation upon city property owners above the debit limit authorized by the State. A debt which is reapplied year after year at the discretion of the government. A debt which can never be satisfied.

The issue with the election is that a majority of one vote can grant this permanent power to tax property even if only three people vote. Elections are devises for measuring the will of the citizens and like any measurement there can be variations in accuracy. If three people vote, no statistical theory will assert that this small a sample is an accurate representation of the majority. The smaller the sample the easier it is for the measured result to be divergent from the true reality. This is how the system is set up and it will take State Level Legislation to build in public safe guards against these special elections designed to favor and obtain a specific result. This vote is for unlimited millions of dollars.

If this election passes by a small majority the accuracy of the results must be questioned and the first question to ask is how the actual voters were identified? The way it works in Madison is that I speak my name and address and if it matches what is printed on the list then I get to vote. This is voter self-identification. The city did nothing to confirm my identity and therefore has no basis for claiming a Madison resident did the actual voting. The voter lists are just printed pages and copies can be made and lines memorized. Hi, my name is “filling in the blank” and I live at “state address”.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Election Fraud in Madison?

Shouting FIRE is always a hard choice to make but I do want to point out that there is SMOKE. Late on Friday afternoon with only one business day before the Madison School District spending referendum, city officials announced that the printed ballots sent to the “standing list” of 2,200 absentee voters have the wrong wording. Everyone in Wisconsin needs to be extra vigilant about potential Election Fraud in Madison.
“Madison school officials say corrected ballots will be ready at the polls in time for voters on Tuesday but all the absentee ballots have been shipped with the incorrect wording.”
The School Spending Referendum Questions are presented to the public in a one time, one issue, three questions, off cycle special late spring work day election Tuesday! May 24, 2005. The school district is asking for PERMINANT AUTHORIZATION to exceed State revenue caps. A successful referendum outcome locks in large amounts of money for the school districts expanded employee base despite the flat student enrollment.
“District officials said that while enrollment is down over those 10 years the staff has grown by 436 full time employees. This needs clarification: Actually, it's up even more than that -- it's 653 positions, News 3 reported.”
Is it too late to get Jimmy Carter to come monitor this election?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Coming Skirmish in the Larger Battle

Last evening a small roomful of people gathered in a Monona, Wisconsin restaurant to be aroused into action. Kevin Pomeroy, Planning Director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin is present to outline the strategy and tactics for fighting off Wal-Mart. In his own words: "My presentation is intended to be provocative. I'm an advocate," Pomeroy said. "I'm painted throughout the state as anti-Wal-Mart and I'm proud of it."

1000 Friends of Wisconsin is a self-defined advocacy group that incorporates multiple lines of liberal thinking and distills them concisely into the slogan on their homepage: Perfecting the Places We Live and Protecting the Places We Don’t. There is so much blog talk about the lack of an expressed Democratic Party agenda for the country, but there is one and it is black and white. People need to live in cities where they can be lovingly and effectively governed and the countryside becomes a nature preserve. Consider the summation goal of their Mission Statement.
“AND A WISCONSIN WHERE all citizens recognize their responsibility to contribute to their communities and the well being of the state and nation, and do so in ways that balance self-interest with an obligation to the common good and future generations.”
What is expected of citizens? 1. Contribute to their community (government). 2. Fulfill their obligation to the community (government). The fact that the socialists hate Wal-Mart is not news and this coming scuffle in Monona is merely another skirmish in the ongoing struggle to preserve and expand citizen liberty. Monona is a small town adjacent to Madison and they should be concerned when Madison interests attempt to control the design of their community.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Cieslewicz Supports Higher Taxes - Again

Mayor Cieslewicz predictably came out in support of the Madison School Board Property Tax Increase Referendum. This is not news in the sense that Mayor Dave is a true believer in “progressive government” meaning he is in love with the conceptual “good” his vision of Madison promises city residents. The socialists are in control and on plan with their vision of a new “model city” with progressive administration.

Earlier today I heard a radio report claiming Mayor Cieslewicz justifies his support of the Property Tax Increase Referendum with the argument that good schools will attract homebuyers, resulting in increasing property values for Madison homeowners. In Democrat logik, since Property Tax equals Property Value then increasing Property Tax means increasing Property Value. The Mayor is earnestly working to find people who will literally buy into his vision. Invest in Madison and make money.

Earlier this week the City Council voted to allow low interest home loans to foreign nationals. The vote was not even close. Joel Rogers, Matt Mayrl, Janet Piraino, Jeanne Hoffman and Dave Cieslewicz are building their vision of an urban utopia and they want to sell shares of their model to any qualified buyer. The model city will have streetcars. The model city will be neighborly, eco-friendly, living wage enabled and selectively business friendly. If your business, for example a tobacco bar, doesn’t fit the grand design then absolute prohibition applies. Freedom is a relative concept after all.

If I were non-citizen I would apply for financing to buy a piece of this dream and would not be concerned about my right to vote. Taxation without representation is one of those nice sounding phrases rich people use. When you have a family to raise and the government offers you a chance at owning a home with good schools for your children, then what difference do lofty words on paper make. If the government offers to help pay for your healthcare, all the better. The Democratic Party knows better than any other organization that voting can be manipulated with psychology and cash. The rest of us should keep in mind that money and power do not keep us free; our ideals keep us free.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Velvet Darkness

Amidst all the financed hyperbole of the Star Wars Episode III opening this week, the long history of the Star Wars phenomenon has had ample attention. From the original movie release in May 1977 to the present, the film attracted and still maintains an extremely loyal fan base. A year and half earlier in September 1975 another film, a single film, also generated a loyal fan following persisting to this day. The story is still being told on stage in Madison.
Velvetdarkness The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Theater Cast

The Rocky Horror Picture Show started playing in Madison at The Majestic Theatre in May of 1978 and Madison's first shadow cast, The Dark Refrain, formed in 1984.

Our next show is May 21st, and it's Goth/Fetish Night!!! Come dressed in your favorite goth or fetish attire and participate in the costume contest to win FABULOUS PRIZES!!!

Interested in joining cast? Download an application (.rtf format) and bring it to a show!
If you apply for a position be prepared to answer the yes/no question: Are you willing to be in public in your underwear? I wonder if any “computer models” of social behavior accurately predicted this thirty year old occurrence.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Coming Skin Crisis

The daily tour around the blogsphere demonstrates the concerns of the present are adequately analyzed so it’s a good evening to search for “the problems of tomorrow”. I don’t mean stuff like global warming which is a fictional horror story fronting a political agenda. I’m more interested in issues which will become common and complex enough to get future politicians to going “Howard Dean” on each other. Today’s candidate has great potential to be controversial by mid-century: Robot Skin.

Vladimir Lumelsky apparently picked up shop and left the UW Madison’s Robotics Laboratory for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to continue his mission to provide robots a way to feel their environment. As robots become increasing common and begin working in ever close proximity to humans, the thinking goes that you may want them to notice your presence and move to avoid a collision.
"Robots move well on their own, especially when nothing is in the way," Lumelsky explained. However, change the environment and a different picture emerges. "Robots should be able to react, but today's robots can't," he said. "That's the difference and that's got to change for exploration."
In other words, if you want automatons to reach out and touch something they need feeling. Therein lays the embryo of a developing mid-century ethical crisis. Once you have feelings you open the door for hurt feelings and the trial lawyers start lining up. George Lucas got it wrong when he gave R2D2 and C3P0 Jules Verne era bodies. When the global corporations gain control and perfect this technology all the robots will be ……… sensual?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

NEWS: John Nichols Parties in St.Louis

Capital Times Editor and Madison uber-liberal John Nichols is attending the 2nd National Conference for Media Reform which concludes today. Nichols is a founder and board member of the organization Free Press, and it is his expressed desire that this meeting is the beginning of a movement to change the organizational structure of American Media. In the John Nichols view of the world, the problem is that news content is bad because the system is bad. Free Press FAQ: “Is the problem with the media bad or incompetent owners and employees?”
“No. … The main problem is that the structure of the media system makes socially dubious behavior — e.g. lousy journalism, violent and mindless entertainment, hypercommercialism — the rational outcome. … If we wish to change the nature of media content we need to change the cues so that good journalism and quality material will be the rational product of its operations. To do that requires that we change the government policies that shape and direct the media system. That is why Free Press exists.”
In other words, the uber-left is convinced that a "for profit" structure of news delivery inevitably produces a product they don’t like. The structure of the American Media is spelled out in extensive detail in the 2005 The State of the News Media Report. This is a long detailed study but two phrases from the Executive Summary PDF capture the essence of the ongoing change.
“Today technology is transforming citizens from passive consumers of news produced by professionals into active participants who can assemble their own journalism. The era of "Trust Me" journalism has passed and the era of "Show Me" journalism has begun.”
The Free Press website has speaker lists and links to bloggers covering the St. Louis conference and it strikes me the complaints distill down to a concern the capitalist system is allowing the public to decide what they want to know rather than what they need to know. In uber-left thinking, when a for profit corporation makes news product decisions based on what the public wants, the corporations are inappropriately acting as “gatekeepers” deciding what is important.
News Hounds Report: Naomi Klein: “She made the point that all liberal/progressive causes - environmentalism, reproductive rights, civil rights, anti-war sentiments, health care, increasing poverty, etc. - come up against the same wall, the mass media. Our concerns are not given coverage and debate, with the media gatekeepers deciding what is "important" to Americans and the world. Unfortunately they confirm and celebrate the very worst, they are credulous of power and contemptuous of powerless, they cheer bombs and jeer anti-war activists. … She said we don't need to reform the media, we need to revolutionize it!”
It seems to me that every single “liberal/progressive cause” Naomi Klein references has been covered over and over and over and over and over and over. If the John Nichols liberals don’t like how the public has responded to the news coverage, I still don’t understand how that is a result of corporate profit concerns censoring “ideas”. The progressive left agenda is failing because their logic is flawed, but at least they have a good time when they do gather together to complain.
Wetmachine Report: “Bob McChesney spoke on how this is a broad movement not just limited to left wing progressives. Of course, 90% of the audience *are* left wing progressives. So when he rhetorically asked “Are we just trying to tear down Rush Limbaugh and put Al Franken in his place?” Some folks got confused and shouted “YES” and big applause.”
PS: Kudos to Dummocrats Traffic Growth in an environment where Blog Traffic is Down Since the Election. As with all prior media incarnations, quality over time will prove out.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Honky Tonk Night

Saturday night is date night and Lola is grooming up real pretty for a night out in Madtown. We are heading for the Junkers Reunion at the Crystal. The old Willy Street watering hole does not have the long history of Ginny’s Little Roadhouse in Austin, but there will be honky tonking on the Isthmus tonight. Pupy Costello opens and then the scattered pieces of the Junkers get assembled one last time. TheJunkers.com is for sale if you want the domain name for future business or blog endeavors.

As a side note, morganfreeman.com is no longer available. The United Nations reclaimed it from cybersquatters and gave it back to the Oscar Winning Actor.

Update: 5/16/2005: Lola notes it is “Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon” in Austin. Lola knows Honky-Tonk and she is correct. Kenneth Burns and the rest of The Junkers wowed a packed house with one last performance for old time’s sake. Very well done guys! Kenneth is a Madison blogger at http://backwithinterest.blogspot.com/, and is working on multiple projects including a new music endeavor. Pupy Costello is definitely worth hearing on Wednesday nights at the Crystal.

Friday, May 13, 2005

sssshh! Madison Moonbat Thinking

There is a wonderful example of Madison Liberal Logik posted today at this web address:( http://www.pastpeak.com/archives/2005/05/the_price_of_be.htm ) This is a copy and paste project because to observe the true behavior of a Madison Moonbat you must remain hidden and quiet. If they realize you are watching they get agitated and flustered.

A synopsis of the story goes as follows. A local Madison resident is writing about a National Public Radio program where a prominent environmentalist author tempers his gloomy predictions just slightly enough to find glimmers of hope for mankind and nature to co-exist “at the local level”. The wisdom of Think Global, Act Local, Eat Local is perfectly clear, obviously rational and worthy of great praise.
“One calorie's worth of California iceberg lettuce requires 90 calories of petroleum energy to bring it to your table. (Maybe we should visualize our typical salads as swimming in a big bowl of diesel fuel. Now, that's appealing.) Clearly, a local food economy is a lot more rational than what we have now, and, as the age of cheap oil winds down, it's going to become increasingly necessary for our very survival. Any other way of doing things will come to seem crazy.”
The story then turns to a personal journey of discovery as the writer leaves Madison to visit Ashland, Wisconsin. Near the edge of true wilderness he experiences first hand the rapture of rural community poverty. In this place “absolute good” can be obtained.
“It was a wonderful visit and a deep learning experience. The Ashland area is rural, northwoods Wisconsin, and people generally have a lower economic standard of living there than many people do here in Madison. They have chores that urban folks don't even think about. But they also have deep bonds of community and a progressive ethos that suffuses every aspect of their lives. They are happier, more grounded, more connected with their environment and with one another — by far — than the great majority of city-dwellers. In their neck of the woods, community is an absolute good, friendships are deep, and newcomers are welcomed.”
North of Highway 29 there are places where everyone is a neighbor and all neighbors are friends. Chores like shopping take a little longer but that is a price worth paying to live in local harmony with authentic individuals like store owner Harry Demorest.
“For the tea, we stopped off to see a neighbor named Harry Demorest who runs a coffee, tea, and spice business out of a little workshop out back of his farmhouse. When we turned into the gravel driveway, we were greeted by Harry's dog, barking excitedly. Harry heard the barking and emerged from a shed in back. He took us into his fragrant, impeccably organized workshop, filled with containers of coffee, tea, and spices from all over the world. Organic products, handled with a craftsman's care.”
Madison Moonbat Logik: Act Local, Eat Local, Drink whatever arrives in cargo holds. Season to taste.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

School in Broad Brush Strokes

When are you completely educated? The Madison School Board wants more money and that means higher property taxes. Education is a massive financial segment of the overall economy, but the supply and demand principles of economics are distorted by the unlimited demand for knowledge. In an infinitely complex world complete understanding is impossible. The limits on learning are desire and resources and time. Because there is no endpoint to be achieved the question becomes when is a person adequately educated?

The School Board referendum is coming up for a citizen vote on a work day, Tuesday May 24, 2005. This will be a special single issue election knowingly calculated to avoid the high turnout of broader contests. The issues are reasonably presented here with links to groups on both sides of the yes/no divide.

The education debate will be a contentious political struggle as long as financing is primarily achieved by a permanent debt obligation upon property owners. This financing system of the past was fair to the degree that children were a probable outcome of sex and society benefited from children having a basic education. For the last two generations, however, having children is an option, and families with fewer children allow parents to focus more resources on a greater breadth of learning for each child. In the reality of planned families, the old way of funding education is increasingly unfair to segments of the population. Fairness can only be approached when those people who decide to have children assume a higher portion of the cost of their education.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Wrong Solution to the Meth Problem

If Governor Doyle signs the Crackdown on Meth Bill, a.k.a. the “Sudafed Law”, I hope the media demands an explanation of the blatant hypocrisy of requiring a photo ID to buy cold pills while accepting verbal self identification to vote. This is a classic case of politicians overreacting to a legitimate social problem and taking the easy way out for themselves. It is easier for the government to manipulate the behavior of law abiding citizens by creating regulations that criminals will ignore, than it is to focus efforts on the specific problem individuals.

I’m certain that the politicians were given information similar to the Iowa "Opinion" Survey (PDF File). The State of Iowa did a "telephone survey” of 410 citizens to demonstrate public support for restricting pseudoephedrine sales. Observe how a scripted series of questions starts with establishing that people buy cold medications then moves to “establish the danger”, “create an urgency to correct the danger” and “gain agreement that the proposed solution is no big deal”.
Q6: In Iowa and elsewhere, some people are removing the pseudoephedrine from these medications to manufacture methamphetamine, commonly known as meth. Have you ever heard that this was happening?
Q7: Do you think the manufacture of meth using pseudoephedrine is a major problem, a minor problem, or not a problem at all?
Q8a: How much of an inconvenience to you would it be if people were limited in the quantity of these medications they could buy at one time?
Q8b: How much of an inconvenience to you would it be if people had to show a photo-ID to buy them?
The important thing to remember is that pseudoephedrine is not a dangerous chemical, methamphetamine is a dangerous chemical. The vast majority of methamphetamine in the United States is produced in Mexico in industrial quantities. Foreign drug cartels aren’t shoplifting five boxes of Sine-off from Walgreen’s. If this law passes there will probably be unintended adverse consequences since local amateur criminals will steal what they can no longer purchase. Finally where is the concern for my “right to privacy” in personal healthcare?

Using over the counter medicines to treat minor health matters is none of the Government’s business, and I will resent the Wisconsin Legislature for making my life more difficult with a “solution” that won’t work. The following sources cover the meth “epidemic” in extensive detail. Mara Zusman’s Paper for a Harvard Law School class has working links to anywhere you want to go to understand the issue.
Methamphetamine Defined “Meth is a man-made drug. There are two primary methods for cooking meth, P-2-P and ephedrine reduction. Both processes received their name from the primary precursor (ingredients) chemicals used in the production of meth. The P-2-P (phenyl-2-propanone) method is primarily used by large drug cartels in Mexico. … The prohibition against P-2-P in the United States has resulted in almost a total reliance upon ephedrine reduction.”

Mara Zusman Paper “Two different types of drug producers use pseudoephedrine to make methamphetamine. Small-scale illicit drug producers (“amateurs”), who account for 20% of the production of methamphetamine, acquire pseudoephedrine by either buying or stealing vast quantities of Sudafed, Sinutab, or Afrin. … Large-scale illicit drug producers (“professionals”), who account for 80% of the methamphetamine supply, acquire pseudoephedrine by buying “tens of millions of pseudoephedrine tablets per month [from] rogue chemical companies” or by buying it from Canadian companies and then use the pseudoephedrine to produce methamphetamine in “super-laboratories” in the United States and Mexico.”

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Unfilmed Scenes

The night air is somewhere between perfect and ideal, so I kiss Lola on her forehead then head out for a walk. The thinnest sliver of moonlight hangs over the western horizon as I walk past the thin line of red lights overhead in the business district. After a couple of miles I’m back at the Jeep and fire up the motor. It’s exactly 9:11 on the clock. A minute later the radio is playing Leonard Cohen singing “Jazz Police” and an ambulance with flashing lights flies past in the opposite direction. I head for a tavern and order a pint. The blues band plays “Sweet Home Chicago” and I order a second round.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Cybercrime in Madison's Bi-Weekly World

A cybercrime is being alleged even as you read this sentence.

The Victim: "The Madison Observer, a progressive bi-weekly, is taking legal action against the conservative bi-weekly The Mendota Beacon, based on allegations that the Beacon is cybersquatting two Observer web domains."

The Law: "The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act is a federal law that took affect on November 29, 1999. This new domain name dispute law is intended to give trademark and service mark owners’ legal remedies against defendants who obtain domain names "in bad faith" that are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark."

The evidence: http://madisonobserver.net/ and http://madisonobserver.com.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Building a Model City in Madison

Kudos to the Wisconsin State Journal for doing actual “research reporting” for TIF: A High Stakes Game. Staff reporter Dean Mosiman writes a solid overview of how the City of Madison is utilizing Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) to shape the building boom in Capital City. More interestingly, the piece demonstrates how the “New Urbanist” political ideology of Mayor Cieslewicz is guiding the use of this powerful tool. A central tenet of faith in New Urbanist thinking is that urban sprawl is bad, therefore, high density mixed use residential areas served by light rail is good.
“These days, as developers make bigger requests, the buzzwords are mixed-use, jobs, parking, lower-cost housing, and transportation - the latter meaning streetcars to the mayor.” … “The mayor, concerned that TIF is inadvertently inflating land prices, wants to strengthen policy against covering excessive property costs. And he wants to use TIF for groceries and to invest in streetcars instead of costly underground parking.”
The Wisconsin TIF Program was established to help municipal governments stimulate development in blighted or underdeveloped areas that would not otherwise occur. TIF Details (PDF File) covers the nuts and bolts of the program. The key trick is establishing a base tax rate in a specified area, and for as long as an approved project is underway in that area, any tax revenue above base values goes to pay for the project. Once the project is paid off, the city, in theory, benefits from a higher property tax base.

The TIF program was never conceived as a way to build an idealized city, but when the State rules changed to allow for “mixed use” developments, it opened the door to “model building.” Mayor Dave is an adherent of the Center On Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) and works closely with both Joel Rogers and Matthew Mayrl on policy decisions. Mayrl highlights COWS concerns that business will leave the City for open spaces as evidenced in Epic's Relocation out of Madison, and the COWS are proposing reforms the TIF program to re-focus the projects back into urban centers.
COWS: TIF Reform: “TIF underwent a major overhaul during the 2003–04 legislative session that amended TIF statutes to loosen the rules for which projects are eligible for TIF funding, authorizing TIF funding for “mixed-use” developments for the first time. … By treating all projects equally, TIF has cut urban areas’ ability to use TIF as an effective development incentive in addressing blight and decayed infrastructure. Urban redevelopment projects are treated no differently than retail developments, and, just as blighted areas receive little attention under traditional market incentives, they continue to be ignored under TIF.”
The Cieslewicz administration in the meantime is using the tools at hand to lock Madison into long term TIF projects which have a goal of crowding the center of the city with condo’s and little shops which can be serviced by little trolleys. The State limits the dollar amount of TIF projects a municipality can create so the more the Cieslewicz administration grants high dollar projects for “philosophical reasons”, the less flexibility future administrations will have for other needs.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Return of the Demonic Rebel

Newt Gingrich lead the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 1994 and was “demonized” by the Democrats for his success. The level of hatred Newt inspires in the left is wonderfully summarized in the Boot Newt Songbook. His sudden resignation from Congress in November 1998 prompted a wide range of responses including David Horowitz’s assessment that … “he's not really a politician. He's more of a rebel than a statesman. He is full of ideas and they pop out of him all the time.”

I have a fondness for rebels with ideas even if not every idea turns out to be brilliant. The old History Professor is currently out promoting his latest bound volume of collected musings and a few weeks ago Harvard actually allowed him onto campus to give a talk. People study the past because you can’t study the future. The transcript is from the “official site of the former Speaker of the House” and this small section caught my fancy.
Harvard Speech: “Here's my proposition to all of you. We are about to face the largest scale of challenge we have had since 1980. The political, governmental system in the United States is not capable of developing answers internally, and never has been. There's not a single major movement in American politics that starts in Washington. … Everyone one of them starts first in the countryside with people talking to each other. And mostly it's common sense.”

Friday, May 06, 2005


“… our very expensive Washington DC lawyers. They bill in eight minute increments so I try and keep my calls under eight minutes.” This seems interesting enough to look up from bored doodling of little red and blue scribbles. It’s Friday afternoon before Mothers Day and no one wants to work hard, especially now that the good spring weather is back. Later on around town, boats suddenly appear everywhere and the bait shop at Dorn’s Hardware is busy even late in the evening. Lola’s back in town, dinner out is a pleasant adventure and the weekend is underway.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Governor Doyle Protects His Base

Less than a week after his veto of the Wisconsin Accurate Vote bill, Governor Jim Doyle is spending the day at the Nation’s Capital in an effort to prevent the demilitarization of the Dairy State. The pentagon is beginning another round of base closures and no good Governor wants to lose weapons, and no Democrat Governor wants to lose money. Consider what is at stake.
From the Governors Office: “The total economic impact of the state’s military bases is significant. More than 8,200 military, civilian, and contract workers are employed by the state’s military bases and generate an estimated $918 million annually into the economy.”
This is money that WEAC can potentially use for teacher benefits so even though war is bad for children and other living things, the uber-union may forgive their Governor being friendly to the "War Machine". The Madison uber-socialist crowd may find it harder to forgive him for sounding like he takes actual pride in the concept of American self defense.
Doyle's Letter to the Army: (PDF File) “And Wisconsin’s bases also provide unmatched capabilities for carrying out critical missions to protect homeland security. For example, the 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field is the closest Fighter Wing to Chicago – only 7 minutes flight time away – playing a key role in Operation Noble Eagle.”
Less than a week after his veto of the Wisconsin Accurate Vote bill, Governor Jim Doyle is making a case that he needs to defend Chicago. At first I was perplexed but then it dawned on me, the Governor is simply protecting his voters.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Mayor Dave Achieves World Peace

This week Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is attending the Mayors for Peace conference at the United Nations New York Headquarters. The expressed mission of this organization of “Sister Cities” is the “Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons”. At first I thought this an inappropriate use of municipal taxpayer dollars until I realized this UN registered non-governmental organization has a Plan to Achieve Word Peace - PDF Format, which just might work. The plan is in the form of a chart but it reads exactly as follows.
Objectives: “Achieve World Peace. Solve problems that threaten peaceful coexistence, including environmental destruction, hunger, poverty and violence.”

System of Measures: “Arouse international public opinions regarding resolution of the problems. Work in collaboration with international organizations. Enhance awareness of human rights protection. Civilian conversion of military industries. Efforts to protect global environment. Promote projects with NGO’s and int’l institutions.”

Actions Plans: “Prepare teaching materials regarding human rights protection. Study approaches to be taken by Mayors Conference toward creating peace industries. Study global environmental protection measures in model cities. Develop and implement projects in collaboration with NGO’s and international institutions”
This is brilliant thinking and the only thing that could possibly stop the coming age of UN delivered world peace would be if the “Axis of Evil” held out. It turns out I was overly concerned because the cities of Tehran and Damascus Renounce Nuclear Weapons. Who knew Mayor Dave is helping bring about peace in the Middle East. Pyongyang is the only city left standing in the way of global harmony and happiness and a few hundred thousand megatons could quickly remove this last barrier. I am so glad I have progressive local leadership.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

So Sad Capital Times

I stopped reading newspapers the day the New York Times editorial page called for mob rule. They phrased it in terms of abolishing the Electoral College in favor of direct popular vote, but the consequences would be the same. Part of the genius that has allowed the American Revolution to thrive, is that democracy is an operational method within independently structured states, and then again within the national federation.

In the 18th Century there was no way of knowing how similar this is to how the brain works. Consider that all the charges within each cell are totaled and then the individual neuron either fires or it doesn’t. The pattern of those multiple yes/no decisions at the cell level subsequently determine how the mind as a whole thinks.

Newspapers coming off of printing presses were a major factor in shaping the structure, goals and ideas of the Great American Experiment, but it appears their role is in steady decline. An Associated Press report today says nationally Newspaper Circulation Falls 1.9%. Paid subscriptions peaked in 1984 just as cable TV and the internet were becoming widespread in American homes. Not all the Wisconsin papers suffered equally.

Circulation at The Capital Times fell 1.9 percent, matching the national average. At the Wisconsin State Journal, daily circulation dropped 0.8 percent and Sunday circulation fell 4.1 percent. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the state's largest newspaper, saw its circulation drop 0.8 percent daily and 4.4 percent on Sunday.”

The Capital Times could not exist anywhere outside of Madison. In Madtown there is still an audience willing to pay to read people like Joel McNally, who writes “serious” articles arguing that photo IDs are to replace dogs and hoses as Republican attempts to disenfranchise minority voting rights. (HT Jiblog.) If circulation figures are a valid indicator, however, then perhaps there is a declining taste for moonbats like John Nichols who, like Ward Churchill, believes the US is the problem the rest of the planet is attempting to solve. (HT Sanity in Mad City) How the Capital Times stays alive and continues to behave like a trust fund baby who has never really had to be responsible is beyond my understanding.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Governor Doyle Shoots Down Voter ID

Democratic Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle waited until moments before 5 pm Friday April 29, 2005 and then vetoed the Wisconsin Voter ID bill in its entirety. The timing is an old school political trick when a politician wants to avoid the limelight. Wisconsin Governors have line item veto power, but there was nothing in this bill he considered worth enacting. Being politicians, both sides exchanged press releases with the Republicans planning an override of the veto and the Democrats letting third party groups defend the Governor.

The following excerpts illustrate the differences in thinking between the two parties. Republicans make a case that the problem with recent elections is one of accuracy. An election is a measurement and accuracy is the most important aspect of any measurement. The Democrats have no problem with the accuracy of recent elections, so in their thinking any problems are administrative. Elections are data collection processes and in the Democrat perspective, all the problems are simply matters of inefficiency in the operation.

Rep. Leibham outlines the problems: “It is disheartening that the number of illegitimate votes cast is equivalent to the population of many Wisconsin cities and our Governor is doing nothing to rectify the problem,” said Graber. “Voter ID is a simple measure that could help ensure accuracy at the polls and restore faith in our election system.”

Wisconsin Voting Rights Coalition: “The problems that plague our voting system are over-worked and undertrained poll workers, who often face a crush of last-minute voters that overwhelm the system. As proposed by the Governor, the solution to these problems begins with having mandatory training and promoting early voting.”

Gov. Doyle Vetoes Voter ID Bill: "While requiring a Voter ID bill might seem like a good idea at first, it will do nothing to correct the management and process problems that have been identified in our elections,"

PDF File of the Veto Text. “AB 63 does not prevent felons from voting. It does not prevent individuals from voting twice or ensure that the address appearing on a photo ID card is in fact accurate and up to date. AB 63 does not make the lines at polling places any shorter or make them move any faster. And it does not make the job of poll workers any easier.”

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Response: “We hope the state legislature will attempt to override his veto and give voters the security they deserve in knowing their vote will not be canceled out by those who abuse the system.”

In an ideal world the process is both accurate and efficient, but accuracy always needs to be the first priority.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

We Believe Bad Luck Goes Away

Lola and I first became aware of Cambridge Wisconsin native Matt Kenseth in 1997, when Robbie Reiser gave him a ride in the NASCAR Busch Series. Over the years we became fans while watching the “local boy makes good” story unfold. By 2003 Matt was NASCAR Champion. Last week I told Lola that Matt Kenseth is having the worst of season of any racecar driver ever. She doubts that but there is much discussion of fan frustration on the Matt Kenseth Message Board.
“What's wrong with Matt Kenseth? He's never been a good qualifier but he'd usually pass the field and finish in the top five or 10. For the last 15 races he hasn't qualified or finished well. He is staying consistent like always, but now it's consistently bad. Why is he suddenly struggling when most of the other Roush drivers are doing well?”
The theories include “chemistry” issues between, Matt, Robbie and owner Jack Roush, an inability to adapt to the new spoiler angle rules or the tire set up needed for this season’s version of Goodyear’s. Has Matt lost competitive drive? Does Robbie need to be replaced? Is the team resting on their laurels from past glories? Perhaps the race results this year are not determined by emotional or technical matters in the workshops. Auto racing at this highest level is extremely difficult and competitive, so the reason may be as simple as bad luck.

Going into today’s race at Talladega, only four drivers have lead more laps this year, and Matt’s poor finishes are the result of three blown tires while near the front, an engine failure which was a calculated risk that didn't work, a crash someone else started, and a penalty for speeding which may be a problem of trying to hard. With only 59 laps to go, Talladega served up the Big Crash which involved over half the cars on the track. As NASCAR put it “so many that two of the victims (Matt Kenseth, Casey Mears) went on to finish in the top 15.” Matt was again near the front of the race and managed to return and finish 11th. More importantly, he gained 5 positions in the points standings. The fan club faithful will be pleased and as one person stated:
"Lady luck doesnt play favorites. She will get bored with Matt and move onto JJ or Godron or Biffle, you'll see. It's all about the law of averages. I truly "believe" that!!!!"