Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Operation Newlywed Game

The International Law Firm McNabb Associates maintains the Transnational Crimes Blog and today’s lead crime is Marriage Fraud. Operation Newlywed Game announces that they are offering 44 contestants the opportunity to visit some of Americas finest exclusive access controlled destinations.
11 Held in Alleged Marriage Scam: Authorities said the document ring, which charged Chinese and Vietnamese nationals up to $60,000 to marry American citizens to obtain green cards, was unusually sophisticated. The couples produced fake wedding photographs, joint tax returns and even love letters.
The arrests all take place in California, perhaps because Wisconsin still can’t make up its mind about what constitutes marriage in the first place. A joint Senate and Assembly hearing today discussed a proposed Wisconsin Marriage Amendment to define the meaning of the word. State Attorney General Candidate Kathleen Falk comes out against the attempt to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman because it could mess up union agreements. Legislative sessions to define the words kickback, bribe and payoff have not been scheduled, perhaps at the request of Governor Doyle.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Holy Floating Clay Balls Batman!

Is this litter? If you found this in the water would you call it trash? Wisconsin’s 4th District Court of Appeals has an opinion.
Floating Balls Ruled Garbage: On Wednesday, the state 4th District Court of Appeals, agreeing with a Sauk County judge, ruled that the 87 hollow ceramic balls Couch released into the Wisconsin River last year fit the legal definition of garbage.
Terry Couch claims he was only doing an Art Project but he forgot the number one strategy for staying out of trouble. Get GRANT MONEY up front and HAVE PRESS COVERAGE before doing something really goofy. There is no substitute for wealthy patrons when it comes to defining the difference between art and garbage. This decision should never be left to the courts.

If you find stuff like this or this or this or this floating in the water, please salvage it and drop me a comment. I can be discrete so there is no need to get the DNR involved.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Ira Sharenow's Smoking Ban Victory

Here in Madison, the CRG Network is assisting local citizens with a Mayoral recall effort subsequent to his implementation of a total smoking ban in all business operations. The GRG Network acquired 6,135 City Council emails about the smoking ban and found anti-smoking activist Ira Sharenow sent 3,536 of them.
Madison Smoking Ban Email Analysis: Table 2 shows that the top five e-mailer senders represented over 84% of all e-mails with one sender alone accounting for nearly 60% of the total. It should be noted that this lone sender is anti-tobacco lobbyist Ira Sharenow who reportedly now resides in the state of California.
The email data makes a strong case that the smoking ban is a victory for political activism rather than a reflection of public desire. This should not be that much of surprise because Mayor Cieslewicz and many of the City Council come directly from activist backgrounds. For them, politics is about winning policy victories, not about serving the true wishes of the citizens they nominally represent.

The smoking ban in Madison and other Wisconsin communities achieves a major goal of the anti-smoking movement. That goal is the expressed desire to make indoor smoking socially unacceptable. Stymied by the limits of persuasion, the anti-smoking movement is embracing prohibition whenever local government allows them the option. The history of the movement in this State is spelled out in detail in this report by the University of Wisconsin located on the City of Madison website.
Influence of the Tobacco Industry on Wisconsin Tobacco Control Policies
The broad story line turns in 1986 when the movement decides to change their approach, proclaiming that a group right to be free of second hand smoke is more important than an individual right to pursue happiness. As always, when collective rights are defined as an absolutely good value, it becomes possible to justify intolerance of dissenting individuals.

Hat Tip: Boots and Sabers

Sunday, November 27, 2005

UW Student Group Appeals to the ACLU

A UW Madison student group calling themselves “Stop the War” is unhappy about UW Administration tactics towards their organization so they are requesting the ACLU to help them sue the school. I know that the following title should read “Complaint”, but I just link them as they are written.
Stop the War member files ACLU Complain: I am writing because the UW student group Stop the War, has been the subject of harassment and intimidation by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Administration and Police for much of the past year. This is not an isolated incident, but recently culminated with a threat to discipline one member of our group (Paul Pryse) who they claim is the “leadership”, most likely since his name appears as a signatory on the student-government paperwork for student group status.
The author, Bill Anderson, then recounts a series of outrages including a ticket for Disturbing the Peace in February and several subsequent episodes of UW Police escorting individuals, including some High School students, from UW property without reading them Miranda Rights. What is truly lovely is that outraged Mr. Bill isn’t even a student.
I was wondering if the ACLU would be able to help us with this, because I have attempted to contact a private lawyer, recommended by a member of the local Green Party, but he said he can’t help us, and that we should contact the ACLU. I cannot personally be a plaintiff in the case, because I am not currently enrolled in classes. However, there are many other individuals in our group who are, and I’m sure several of them would be more than willing to be a plaintiff in a court-injunction or lawsuit.
The UW Administration has threatened discipline to an actual UW Student member of the group and I can not help thinking that Saddam would have handled this situation differently.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Unintended Consequences Again

The environmental movement went wrong following their acceptance of the false premise that industrial use of carbon based mineral resources is dangerous to the biosphere. The problem of starting with a false premise is that good intentions tend to go horribly bad.
Forests Paying the Price for Biofuels: THE drive for "green energy" in the developed world is having the perverse effect of encouraging the destruction of tropical rainforests. … The rush to make energy from vegetable oils is being driven in part by European Union laws requiring conventional fuels to be blended with biofuels, and by subsidies equivalent to 20 pence a litre.

"The expansion of palm oil production is one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction in south-east Asia. It is one of the most environmentally damaging commodities on the planet," says Simon Counsell, director of the UK-based Rainforest Foundation. "Once again it appears we are trying to solve our environmental problems by dumping them in developing countries, where they have devastating effects on local people."
The case for biofuels includes the argument that they should be carbon neutral, since carbon released by burning them is recycled into the next crop. It is always interesting to see true believers downplay the carbon cycle unless they need an aspect of it for agenda support. Photosynthesis, the sunlight fueled combination of carbon dioxide and water, is why there is abundant life on Earth.

Much of the push behind these environmentalist polices comes from political forces desiring increased government control over the economy. Hans Labohm writing at Tech Central Station makes the case that global warming has been adopted by the same people who believe there should be one world government.
Global Warming, Global Governance: This mindset is a fertile breeding ground for a quantum leap in international governance, shifting sovereignty from the national level to that of international organizations.
It sounds logical: one climate for the planet, in danger from industrial societies, needs one government to control those societies. That big false premise, however, forces me to disagree.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Great Cholesterol Myth

On this day after Thanksgiving is it good to be assured you don’t really need to worry about everything you ate. Hat Tip to Sandi at Vista On Current Events for the link to this excellent dissection of another scientific false truth.
The Great Cholesterol Myth: If you eat too much cholesterol, or saturated fat, your blood cholesterol will rise to dangerous levels. Excess cholesterol will then seep through your artery walls causing thickenings (plaques), which will eventually block blood flow in vital arteries, resulting in heart attacks and strokes....
It ain’t true despite the multibillion dollar industry, uncritical mainstream media promotion and pop culture belief that eating the way our ancestors ate is unhealthy for us modern humans. The grant funded guru’s making their incomes telling the population to ignore what their grandmother’s knew about what to eat, are wrong.
In reality, cracks in the hypothesis appeared right from the very start. The first of these was the stark observation that cholesterol in the diet has no effect on cholesterol levels in the bloodstream: 'There's no connection whatsoever between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in blood. And we've known that all along. Cholesterol in the diet doesn't matter at all unless you happen to be a chicken or a rabbit.' Ancel Keys PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota 1997.
The problem for theory is that true science is defined by reproducible results.
In fact, no clinical trial on reducing saturated fat intake has ever shown a reduction in heart disease. Some have shown the exact opposite: 'As multiple interventions against risk factors for coronary heart disease in middle aged men at only moderate risk seem to have failed to reduce both morbidity and mortality such interventions become increasingly difficult to justify. This runs counter to the recommendations of many national and international advisory bodies which must now take the recent findings from Finland into consideration. Not to do so may be ethically unacceptable.' Professor Michael Oliver, British Medical Journal 1991
Conventional knowledge is convincing, compelling, plausible and sometimes even elegant in explaining observations, but none of these aspects constitute proof of the solutions. Of course I may be wrong and the governments’ latest version of the Food Pyramid may be the correct authority on how and what to eat.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving 2005

Other people are writing much better thoughts about the meaning of this American holiday. I only want to point out that a Technorati search yields the following ratio: Love: 14,542,401 versus Hate: 4,071,055. We should all be thankful and hope the balance stays this way.

PS: No goat on the menu this year but the lamb was delicious.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Madison Teachers Cross the Line

A group of third grade teachers at a Madison, Wisconsin Elementary School get all excited about peace and plan to have their students start writing a series of letters. The very first sentence of the notice sent to parents reads: “The Frank Allis third grade will be writing letters to encourage an end to the war in Iraq.” Local talk radio host Vicki McKenna is informed of this educational exercise and to her credit gets the word out into the blogsphere and onto local news.

Detailed coverage of the Madison indoctrination of 3rd graders is at the following links. NBC 15 Coverage and NBC 15 Additional Coverage have links to their on air spots. Charlie Sykes makes sure the story is told in Wisconsin’s largest market. Local Blogs Madison Freedom Fighter and Althouse and Badger Blog Alliance make sure the internet community is aware of this unbelievably stupid action by Union Teachers.

This episode illustrates how liberals believe their slogans but don’t understand the meaning of their words. In the thought process of the teachers, war is the opposite of peace so peace is achieved by stopping war. Words mean something and the word peace has lots of meanings. The definition I personally prefer is: peace means the absence of danger. Liberals understand that war is horrible, but don’t seem to believe there are some dangers that can only be eliminated by confronting and defeating them.

Thanks to the quick response of the blogsphere the teachers were abruptly forced to cease this ill conceived political use of the young children placed in their trust. As part of the focus on the details, it turns out the teachers aren't all that good in the first place.
McBride's Media Matters: The teachers at Madison's Frank Allis Elementary School should hit the books. In their letter to parents informing them their third-graders would be writing letters encouraging an end to the war in Iraq, the teachers wrote:

Please send 10 postage stamps (or $3.60) and twelve envelops to school with your child so we can begin this important assignment. Thank you.

Um, stamps cost 37 cents each. 10 x $0.37 = $3.70, not $3.60. And it's envelopes, not envelops. Maybe the teachers should spend more time studying themselves and less time forcing students to adopt their opinions about the war.
The sad part is that probably half of Madison will not condemn this serious folly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Deal Is A Deal

This strikes me as a silly little case to make it all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court but over four years Rainbow Rental v Ameritech Yellow Pages (pdf) made a slow journey through the court system to today’s decision.
On August 8, 1999, Rainbow contracted with API for the listing of its business in the November 1, 1999, edition of the Oconomowoc and Waukesha Ameritech Pages Plus Yellow Pages telephone directories, in addition to the May 1, 2000, edition of the Watertown Ameritech Pages Plus Yellow Pages telephone directory. API subsequently omitted Rainbow's entire listing from each of the directories.
In brief, Rainbow Dude signs a standard business contract with Ameritech to advertise in the yellow pages and oops, Ameritech forgets to print the ads. The contract has a prominent stipulated damages clause that says (paraphrasing), Dude if we forget to run your ads you get your money back and future ad credit for the same amount. Dude ain’t happy with cash back and free advertising so he finds lawyers to sue the bastards. Today the Wisconsin Supreme Court says sorry Dude, a deal is deal and you signed it.
In sum, under the revamped telecommunications industry, the Rainbow-API contract is like any other contract entered into between two voluntary and knowledgeable business entities in a competitive field. … Therefore, we affirm the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of API.
In my simple mind I always thought this is how the courts should work. The court listens to both sides, reflects on the law and then tells one party that if you sign a contract you live with the deal. In its own small way this is a business friendly decision from our top judges which is increasing rare with this current court.

Rainbow Dude may have had better luck with the Wisconsin legal system by tripping over the phone book, injuring some cherished and deeply loved body part, then suing the doctors if they failed to completely predict and reverse the consequences of being mortal. Yeah, I know its hyperbole but this same court believes the will of the people expressed through their legislature is unconstitutionally limiting trial lawyer driven non-economic damages.
AMA Response to Wisconsin Decision: "Wisconsin's stable health care environment is endangered by today's state Supreme Court decision to weaken the state's medical liability reforms. The Wisconsin Supreme Court superceded the will of the people and removed caps on non-economic damages in medical liability actions. This action sends yet another message to Washington that we need federal liability reforms to protect all America's patients.
Dr. Hetsko wrote it and I believe him.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Its Not Easy Being Green and Gold

Oh it sucks to be a Packer fan this year. Since I am not in the mood to look for the silver lining at this moment, let me point out two other things that irritate me this evening.
Cieslewicz Approves Tax Increase: "Budgets are not just about numbers, they reflect our values and priorities as a city," said Cieslewicz. "The budget adopted by the council reflects the balanced and responsible proposal that I made earlier this fall. It funds basic city services while increasing the property tax levy substantially less than last year, and less than the 15-year average."
Mayor Dave may think “budgets are not just about numbers” but tax bills are. There is a fundamental difference between money raised by mutual consent and money raised by punishment enforced confiscation. Mayor Dave will smile every time he claims credit for a tax INCREASE less than in the past because in his mind a smaller theft is less a crime.
We Can Make Healthcare Affordable: As a nurse, I have seen how much money and resources are expended on paper shuffling and marketing rather than direct patient care. I saw that the business model for health care was not working. Managed care was not bringing down health care costs. In fact, the expansion of managed care and market-based competition has coincided with the upswing in administrative costs over the last 30 years.

A group of state legislators has made a commitment to making health care affordable here in Wisconsin. Thirty-seven Democrats and one Republican have introduced the Action Plan for Affordable Health Care. The Action Plan requires both parties to come together to develop a plan that brings down health care costs by 15 percent within two years of enactment. The plan must also ensure that 98 percent of Wisconsin residents have health coverage. A working group could use the groundwork laid in existing proposals or develop entirely new approaches.
State Senator Judy Robson (D-Beloit) is a registered nurse, a Senate Democratic Leader and an idiot. The rise in healthcare costs these past 30 years may have “coincided with the upswing in administrative costs” but this is not a cause and effect coincidence. The primary difference is what medical therapy could achieve in 1975 with what can be achieved today. Healthcare is more expensive because healthcare is increasingly better for an increasing number of problems. Government restrictions on the practice of healthcare, both direct and sanctioned, only fuel inflationary cost increases and government planning will not "policy" them away. The Democrats really need to get over their addiction to group discussions, action plans and consensus building and let market forces shake up healthcare status quo. This includes the nursing unions Senator Robson.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Good Catch Lubos

Occasionally I check out Lubos Motl who blogs about physics in terms I don’t even pretend to understand, but who also posts some common sense about the world. What captures my attention this time is the sincere contempt about a piece of fluff sneaking its way into a normally reputable peer reviewed physics journal.
The title of the article is: Climate of scepticism: US newspaper coverage of the science of climate change and it is arguably the first published peer-reviewed article in the world whose main point is to accuse dozens of particular scientists from scientific misconduct and corruption just because the result of their research does not agree with the author's silly ideological fantasies, without having the tiniest glimpse of evidence.

The 15 pages make it absolutely clear that Liisa Antilla has no idea about the subject she is writing about - the climate in this case - and her ability to have learned the English alphabet is demonstrably her greatest intellectual achievement.
Like any good blogger, Lubos googled the author Liisa Antilla and was unable to find any evidence she is a scientist, but she does show up as a Rachel Carson Donor in the 2004 Sierra Club Annual Report. (page 25) Yes, that Sierra Club with the announced political goal of creating Cool Cities: Solving Global Warming One City At A Time, which is an advocacy campaign to get Mayors to impose Kyoto Protocol emissions restrictions on their cities. In practice this means dissuading citizens from driving their cars.

It is refreshing to read serious researchers beginning to take offense about the way political movements are abusing the process of measured restraint about the meaning of results. This trend will only contribute to a devaluation of science in the public mind. The majority of the population lacks any adequate training on how to evaluate the validity of information labeled scientific by the press, the government and the educational system. If working scientists will not call to task the mass media uncritically distributing overstated, incomplete, false and fraudulent claims, then it will be to the detriment of our society.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Warming Water

So Lola and I build a fire last evening and turn off the furnace. This morning the house is a chilly 57 degrees in the kitchen. I take a shower to get some water vapor in the air and the house warms up. I don’t think this is cause and effect but any completely accurate description of the total energy within my house needs to account for the water.
The Climatic Effects of Water Vapor: (pdf) There are a number of popular misconceptions about the greenhouse effect, notably that it is a bad thing. On the contrary, the greenhouse effect is a significant factor in making the Earth habitable. Without it the average temperature on Earth would be lowered by about 30 K, which would make most of the planet’s surface decidedly chilly. Furthermore, it is the water vapour in the lower 10 km or so of the atmosphere, rather than man-made carbon-dioxide emissions, that contributes most to this warming effect.
The mainstream media simply publish anything they are given and they are exceptionally unqualified to critically analyze science writing. The biggest error of omission in almost every piece broadcast or written about climate science is the role of the primary greenhouse gas. Have you ever heard this explanation on CNN or read it in the NY Times?
Air is largely composed of the diatomic molecules nitrogen and oxygen. So why is the transport of light through our atmosphere dominated by trace amounts of triatomic molecules such as water, carbon dioxide and ozone? After all, these molecules are only present above our heads at a level of about one part in 100 000. The answer lies in the physics of the individual molecules involved. Molecules absorb radiation at characteristic wavelengths that excite one or more of their rotational, vibrational or electronic degrees of freedom.

But what is so special about water that makes its absorptions extend all the way from the far infrared to the near ultraviolet? The simplest answer to this is that water, unlike the other triatomic species, contains two atoms of hydrogen. The presence of hydrogen atoms has two important effects. When a water molecule rotates about its centre-of-mass – which is near the oxygen atom – it does so with small moments of inertia. This leads to a very wide-ranging rotational structure that causes absorption bands for all types of transitions to extend over large regions of the spectrum.

The spectroscopic data that are required to model longwave atmospheric absorptions are generally well characterized. When these data are put into atmospheric models, water turns out to be responsible for about 60% of the greenhouse effect, while the much reviled carbon-dioxide molecule accounts for just 26%. Ozone accounts for 8%, and methane and nitrous oxide – the atmospheric concentrations of which have been increased by human activity – contribute a further 8% to the greenhouse effect.
Molecules consisting of three atoms are the ones absorbing most of the energy because their electrical charge is not evenly distributed. In simple terms, the charge polarity of three atom combinations allow energy to be absorbed in multiple ways with multiple effects on the activity of the molecule. And no, reversing the polarity will not send you into hyperspace or disengage a tractor beam. Of the triatomic molecules, water is by far the most important factor in moderating radiant energy effects.

The behavior of the planet arises from the physics of the atoms and no computer model can accurately recreate real observational data and, therefore, can not accurately predict the future. It is wise to be skeptical about any global warming article that does not discuss the dominant role of water in the way the atmosphere handles energy input from the sun, and subsequent heat loss from the surface of the planet.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Another Bush War Starts

Any necessary activities to protect human health and safety, including lethal control”. With these words the Bush Administration authorizes a new war against nature. The threat is real, the enemy is all around us and it is time to take up arms against geese.
US Government vs. Canadian Geese: “Resident Canada geese populations have increased dramatically over the past 15 years," said Service Director H. Dale Hall. "These high population levels have been shown to cause problems for natural and economic resources, and we believe increased local management with national oversight is the best approach to reduce conflicts and bring the population under control.

The rapid rise of resident Canada geese populations has been attributed to a number of factors. Key among these is that most resident Canada geese live in temperate climates with relatively stable breeding habitat conditions. They tolerate human and other disturbances, have a relative abundance of habitat such as mowed grass and waterways, and fly relatively short distances for winter compared with migratory Canada goose populations. The virtual absence of waterfowl hunting and natural predators in urban areas provides additional protection to those portions of the resident population.
Urban sprawl and computer models predicting horrific natural disasters have failed to stop the relentless growth of Canadian Geese populations. Mother Nature seems to be adapting rather than collapsing, and the same administration that wants destroy wildlife by drilling in ANWR is preparing to begin the killing of tiny baby birds. Yes, even the innocent ones.
Geese Have Environmental Consequences: (pdf) At some future point, it is possible that density-dependent regulation of the population would occur. That is, it is possible that geese would so deplete their food resources that a population decline would begin. However, the timing, likelihood, and scale of a population decline of this nature is unpredictable.
Administration officials admit that the natural course of nature could eventually resolve the problem. Many administration critics believe that periodic inspections are sufficient. Aerial and satellite intelligence, however, indicate that geese have anuses of mass defecation and preemptive measures are justified. Administration critics are expected to be outraged.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Socialists Appeal to Worried Auto Workers

Earlier this week Blogger Brian Christianson at Free Will raised the question: Could General Motors Go Broke? The financial failure of a large corporation would not be unprecedented but unlike Enron or Global Crossing, the problems at General Motors appear to be the result of making open ended financial commitments to employees.

True believing socialists, of course, have jumped all over this situation because it so clearly fits the 19th century template of the world from which their class conflict theory arose.
Political Issues Facing US Auto Workers: Representatives of the World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party participated in a meeting of auto workers in Kokomo, Indiana on November 15. The meeting was called to oppose the drastic job- and wage-cutting demands of US auto parts manufacturer Delphi Corporation. It was attended by some two hundred workers, including Delphi, General Motors and other auto workers from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.

General Motors, the world’s largest automaker, recently slashed billions of dollars in medical benefits for its active and retired workers, and is expected to announce a restructuring plan next month that will include the shutdown of several plants and the elimination of 25,000 jobs. Many industry analysts are predicting that GM will follow Delphi into bankruptcy court.
Jerry Isaacs, a Socialist Activist, makes the case to worried Auto Workers that neither their Unions nor the Democratic Party are worthy of worker support.
He explained that the UAW bureaucracy had long used anticommunism to drive out its opponents, including the socialist and left-wing pioneers who had built the UAW in the 1930s. He said the working class had to take the auto industry and the whole economy out of the hands of the capitalist class and put it under the democratic control of the working class. … “We have to break free of the straightjacket of these old, bureaucratized unions and break with the Democratic Party, which serves the interests of big business,” he said.
The aggregate interests that constitute the Democratic Party are up for grabs and there are a lot of potential voters ripe for capture by the right message.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Voices of Doom in the Cold

Dr. Sanity recently posted an intriguing analysis in which she makes the case that the mainstream media has achieved the functional equivalence of those “evil voices” mentally ill patients hear inside their heads.
Command Hallucinations: The American public is hearing voices. And like auditory hallucinations experienced by psychiatric patients, these voices whisper continual doom and gloom. … It is very rare for such voices to say anything at all positive. They have a specific goal--and that goal is the distortion of reality. … So why do patients believe them? … we rely on the media in the same way we rely on our own senses to provide us with the information necessary to make decisions and judgements in the real world. The MSM has become those evil voices inside our head.
The world has significantly changed and the information age is a true radical departure from the immediate past. The internet nineties unleashed a magnitude of facts, photos, opinions and theories that is simply too much for personal perception to individually analyze. The reality is that the American public has always depended upon private news to make sense of the larger world since before the Revolution, and it is probably correct to say that Benjamin Franklins’ printing press enabled the American experiment. The objectivity of mass media has always been false façade, only now the propaganda stream never stops.

Perception is reality. A plausible lie will be believed. A plausible lie repeated over and over becomes a false truth. Even Fox News has been sucked into running stories about dangerous global warming.
Deadly Effects of US Heat Waves Predicted Leading computer models show continued warming for at least several decades, even if greenhouse gas emissions are curbed, with only wild schemes proposed to put the brakes on.
The source of the deadly ‘predictions’ is a computer model programmed at a Harvard Environmentalist Center and based on the premise that human activity can significantly increase the total energy in the atmosphere beyond any historical and physical precedents. It is 20 degrees outside and getting colder, which makes this a good moment to remember the challenge for life on the surface of a rock in cold space is to retain heat. The ability to delay the inevitable loss of the sunshine warmth is one big reason life exists on Earth and not on the Moon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dave Magnum: Round Two

Snow! Summer is not over until there is snow on the ground, but as of this evening it is now winter. It is well established that Wisconsin can freeze over but the question is if hell will follow suit and elect a Republican to the 2nd Congressional District. Dave Magnum will challenge incumbent Democrat Tammy Baldwin for the second time after loosing to her 63% to 37% last election.

Redistricting gave the 2nd District to the Democrats and it will take circumstances that money can not purchase for a Republican to win. In an official Dave Magnum Interview the candidate plows through predictable and meaningless positions on the conventional topics. He paints Tammy Baldwin as ineffective and pandering to utopian interests even though this is exactly what her base wants. Tammy is a true liberal with a record of voting her beliefs and she is loved for this fact.

I wonder if this candidacy is conceived as part of a larger state wide attempt to claim pieces of a restructuring political alignment. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has committed to an internal power struggle with the Falk vs. Lautenschlager Attorney General Race. Governor Doyle has made it clear he sides with money from the Teachers Union and Tribal Gambling, and a left leaning State Supreme Court has handed down some radical anti-business decisions. There may be opportunities, even in Dane County, to pick up small business votes which could tip the total balance within Wisconsin.
There’s a piece of legislation called the Small Business Health Fairness Act that Tammy Baldwin voted against. And when I asked her why in front of the Madison Rotary Club, she said because we can’t trust business people to do right by their employees. Here I am in this room full of business people who are providing jobs and opportunities for their employees – their jaws, like mine, hit the floor – and I think Tammy realized immediately that this is the wrong audience to say that to. I mean, that’s the last attitude we should have as we try to work on economic development and the future of this 2nd Congressional District.
This is the age of information capture and anyone who does not use an opponents’ own words against them is a fool. Too soon to tell if this race is Don Quixote having fun while traveling the local countryside on a quest for beauty and truth, or if this truly is a Machiavellian gambit to convert 3,000 new Republican voters as part of the larger conflict.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Amateur Advice to Republicans

I too find the Dennis York Rule applies to Democrat Blogger Xoff at Wisopinion, which means that occasionally he produces a 100% correct thought. What catches my attention is not the self congratulatory analysis of Democrats maintaining elective offices they already control, but rather the understanding that Republicans will not help their cause by going negative on immigration. Keep in mind Xoff is a professionally trained political analyst.
The northern Virginia suburbs which have been the focus of much of the analysis have been reliably Republican in the past, but didn't deliver as expected for the GOP this time. One reason the immigration issue didn't work may be that there are a fair number of immigrants living in Virginia, including Latinos and Asians. Wisconsin has growing populations of Latino and Hmong voters who may be turned off to immigrant-bashing as well.
The take home point for the Republicans is that “immigrant-bashing” is the wrong way to approach the immigration issues facing the United States. As a non-professionally trained political analyst, I am confident in saying that American voters are really tried of all the negativity. I am constantly frustrated by the Republican Party because they are only focused on winning close elections through masterful micromanagement of known voters. I keep waiting for them to understand they are right about the issues facing the country and should be in all out positive blitz mode.

Citizenship is a national membership with Political Rights granted in addition to the Human Rights of individuals. When Xoff discusses the immigrant effect on the Virginia Governorship election, I don’t believe even he believes the result is due to non-citizens voting. There is no doubt that many Democrats desire to extend government social services to non-citizens, but I don’t believe any Democrat has yet called for granting foreign nationals the right to vote in American elections.

Just like the Republicans have screwed up election reform by calling for Voter ID (a negative) rather than Accurate Voting (a positive), they are showing every predisposition to prevent meaningful immigration reform by accentuating the negative. This is my amateur advice to the Republicans: We are all immigrants in this country. Even the Native Americans are immigrants from the Old World. We are not, however, all citizens. This discussion needs to focus on the positive benefits of citizenship. Citizenship needs to be something desirable and obtainable for all individuals seeking social and economic freedom under the physical and constitutional protection of a limited government.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Thanks #17 We Believe

Matt Kenseth has mechanical problems and his 32nd place finish in Phoenix today mathematically eliminates the #17 team for this season’s NASCAR Championship. So thanks for the year guys, especially the never say die late season charge that enabled Matt to even qualify for chase. Matt will be back at Roush Racing next year for another go at a second Championship.

NASCAR racing burns through money so when “hard liquor” sponsorship dollars were put on the table this year they were happily accepted, even though it raised concerns about a potential drinking and driving message. Earlier this year Wausau native Scott Wimmer was allowed to continue racing despite a January arrest and subsequent June conviction on a DWI charge. No such leniency for Defending Champion Kurt Busch.

Busch was suspended from NASCAR and released from all further duties by his employer Roush Racing after Arizona Police charged him with reckless driving and refusing a field sobriety test. According to the official Roush Statement the decision to release Kurt was made “after consultation with our primary sponsors” including Diageo, one the world’s largest marketers of alcoholic beverages. I suspect the conversation was a pretty simple choice: either the driver goes or our money goes.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Cheer Up Bunky

Bummed about Barry? To painful to watch the Packers? Is that’s what’s got you down, Bunky? Then check the Winter Art Festival with 100% Wisconsin Art, Sunday afternoon 10 AM to 4 PM at the Monona Terrace Convention Center. These are the same fine folks that sell their wares at Art Fair Off the Square every summer, only this time they are set up on the fine orange carpets of the building Frank Lloyd Wright inspired. Personally, I am still waiting for Houdini to send word back about Frank’s opinion of the concrete poured in his honor.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Canadian Tattoo Wisdom

In the early aftermath of Madison’s Smoking Ban I attempted a facetious post calling for our enlightened City leadership to follow their own logic and Ban Tattoo Parlors! If you can tag behavior to health then government intervention is justified. In other words, because medical care costs money, the government has the responsibility to actively suppress behavior that may potentially end up costing the government money. I find this an appalling concept but apparently many people don’t.

Leave it to the Canadians to actually find a way to link healthcare costs with tattoos, and furthermore conclude that the way to prevent future medical expenses to the State, is for the State to provide Subsidized Prison Tattoos. “Another first for Canada and quite possibly the world”.
The project aims to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases, such as hepatitis or HIV, when inmates give each other tattoos using such items as paper clips and pens. Rockwood is one of six correctional facilities across the country taking part in the $700,000 program.

Connie Johannson, assistant warden at the minimum-security prison, says 21 inmates have paid the $5 to get a tattoo in the program since September. While Johannson says the fee may sound cheap, it’s worth it when weighed against the enormous cost to society posed by infectious diseases.
This is why I suck at progressive thinking. I assumed that liberals would extend the public smoking ban logic to ban the public practice of permanent skin alteration, but instead the liberals want to provide taxpayer subsidies and franchise rights within the prisons. Now I’m waiting for Tammy Baldwin to propose this for the United States since there is international precedent. In the meantime the rest of us can study our Prison Tattoo Guide, just in case.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Leftist View of French Bonfires

After reading Doug Ireland’s article I have come to two conclusions. First is that it is worth reading in it’s entirely for the detail missing in the mainstream media coverage of the French riots. Second is that it brilliantly demonstrates the leftist mental filter through which the events of the world are sifted to make sense.
Why is France Burning? To understand the origins of this profound crisis for France, it is important to step back and remember that the ghettos where festering resentment has now burst into flames were created as a matter of industrial policy by the French state.

Moreover, these immigrant workers (especially Moroccans, particularly favored in the auto industry) were favored by industrial employers as passive and unlikely to strike (in sharp contrast to the highly political Continental French working class and its militant, largely Communist-led unions) and cheaper to hire. In some industries, for this reason, literacy was a disqualification -- because an Arab worker who could read could educate himself about politics and become more susceptible to organization into a union.

Sarko" made headlines with his declarations that he would "karcherise" the ghettos of "la racaille"-- words the U.S. press, with glaring inadequaxcy, has translated to mean "clean" the ghettos of "scum." But these two words have an infinitely harsher and insulting flavor in French. … To apply this term to young human beings and proffer it as a strategy is a verbally fascist insult and, as a policy proposed by an Interior Minister, is about as close as one can get to hollering "ethnic cleansing" without actually saying so. It implies raw police power and force used very aggressively, with little regard for human rights.
The left view the riots in France as products of capitalist exploitation of labor combined with racism. The article does discuss the influence of Islam in the ghettos and concludes that religion is at best a minor factor behind the youthful embrace of destruction. Just in case anyone has forgotten and for those with an appreciation of irony, a Reminder of French Lectures to the US.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The German Heart of Iran's Missiles

The German government has apparently confirmed that Iran and Syria have obtained advanced missile technology that originated as legitimate sales to Russia. A complete story is due to be published by the German magazine Focus but summaries are already floating around.
German Firms Provided Missile Tech to Iran, Syria: Germany has confirmed that Iran and Syria have obtained advanced Geman technology for their missile programs, according to a published report. … Iran acquired German-origin measuring instruments and propulsion and guidance systems for the Shihab-3, Focus said. The missile, designed to deliver a nuclear warhead, was said to have a range of 2,000 kilometers and could strike southern Europe.
This is not comforting, especially when an oil rich nation insists on building long range nuclear warhead compatible missiles while doggedly pursuing a nuclear “energy” program. Just for reference, an Iran Nuclear Program Site Map and Timeline (through September, 2005)
20 September 2005: Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani warns that snap inspections of its nuclear facilities may stop if Iran is referred to the UN Security Council. "If you want to use the language of force, Iran will be left with no choice [but] to get out of the framework of the NPT and resume enrichment," Secretary Larijani adds.
The Shihab-3 missile also seems to be an aspect of the guilty plea last month of Lawrence Franklin on espionage charges.
US Espionage Conviction: Lawrence Franklin, 58, pleaded guilty to three charges in connection with retaining and relaying classified defense information to an Israeli embassy diplomat and two employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. … Documents submitted in the Franklin case suggested that the data relayed to Israel included information on Iraq and weapons tests in Iran. The documents do not name Iran, but government sources said the reference was to Shihab-3 intermediate-range missile tests by Teheran.
Meanwhile the Muslim rioters keep setting fires in Western Europe and Mullah’s in Iran keep working towards larger fireballs.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Enviroment vs Healthcare in AG Race

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announces today she is officially a candidate for WI Attorney General and will run against incumbent Peggy Lautenschlager. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin will be choosing sides in this major internal power struggle.

Kathleen Falk is an Environmentalist and her administrative record in Land Use Planning should make her attractive to the Think Green arm of the party. Interestingly, Peggy Lautenschlager countered Falk’s candidacy by announcing legal action against two Milwaukee area hospitals. This race could shape up to be a battle between the “Save the Planet” and “Universal Healthcare” wings of the Democratic Party.
Lautenschlager Sues Hospitals: MADISON - Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager announced today that her office will take action against two Milwaukee-area hospitals for engaging in unfair trade practices by overcharging uninsured patients.
Healthcare and the environment are the two big vote getter issues left for the Democrats. Peggy may betting her future on the fact there are more votes for cheap healthcare in Milwaukee than votes for government purchase of farm land development rights in Dane County.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

How could these people be so stupid?

"His first reaction is, 'How could these people be so stupid?'" This insight is courtesy of 10th District Alderman Ken Golden describing how Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz reacts to opposition. This is no real surprise because Mayor Dave is an idealist, convinced he knows what is best for the rest of us. Madison is home to a collection of individuals who have excelled at learning aspects of the entirety of knowledge, and therefore, believe they are smarter than common people.

Since his election, Cieslewicz has aggressively pursued his New Urbanism fantasy and has ruffled some feathers in the process. The Wisconsin State Journal is now asking Has Mayor Dave Lost His Magic?
Still, in recent months, strains have arisen with the city's political left and arts community, leaving some wondering how he handles losing. And, he is now dealing with a bolder council. Although no one gives it much of a chance, a group is even trying to launch a recall election.

"You are seeing style, personality, politics and individual agendas all eroding his political capital," said Ald. Tim Bruer of the South Side's 14th District, the council's senior member. "What was unimaginable a year ago is starting to take place now. An unusual coalition of liberals, conservatives, business and trade labor are actively seeking candidates to oppose him."
The Dump Mayor Dave grassroots movement is on the attack even as Post-Socialist Joel Rogers is still calling the plays from the UW Madison Sociology Department.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Free Trade or Hugo Chavez Choice

A few mainstream media headlines are using the words “failed” or “failure” to describe the Free Trade Area of the Americas talks in Mar del Plata, Argentina. President Bush did not come away from the meeting of 34 South American countries with a free trade agreement, but the word failure makes it sound like the game is lost, when in reality it is actively ongoing. The negotiations have actually been going on since President Bill Clinton initiated the proposal in 1994. I suppose Clinton was also a failure using Reuters and ABC News logic.
Showdown: Bush, Chavez defend their corners: In a battle of ideologies played out at the 34-nation summit, Bush's capitalist, free-trade agenda was countered by Chavez's brand of "21st century socialism." … In Bush's corner, Mexican President Vicente Fox said that 29 countries were "in line" to create the FTAA. Chavez's radical anti-FTAA opposition did not pick up similar support at the summit, where the trade issue dominated the debates despite the declared main theme of job creation.
Poverty and economic inequality are serious problems in Latin America. It is therefore understandable that achieving a continent wide political consensus on the best approach for improving the lives of millions is difficult. The four governments of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay are not ready to sign a treaty until further details are worked out, especially the US Government policy of taxpayer funded farm subsidies.

The larger picture is that 29 countries are leaning in favor of free trade, 4 are holding out over details and 1 government is in active opposition. Hugo Chavez is adamant about pursuing an alternative means of government control of society. He even had his own conference last week.
Communism Lives in South America: "We have shown how the workers can run the companies, and this means we can run society as well" (Ricardo Moreira, PIT-CNT, Uruguay)

In the opening rally, which took place at the Teresa Carreño Theatre, with 3,000 worker activists present, president Chávez explained how it is capitalism that closes down factories and that these "must be recovered by the workers". He compared the struggle of the occupied factories movement to the struggle for independence from Spanish rule in the 19th century and underlined the "potential of the workers in our continent to break their chains and leave capitalism behind".
When the workers took over the Cumanacoa Sugar Mill they immediately increased its production from the existing 20% of capacity to save jobs. Work is something you get paid for, so more sugar must mean more money. Hugo says that is how it works in theory.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Conservation Refugees

The affluent white liberal conservation movement is actually destroying the very biodiversity of nature that constitutes the essential moral underpinning of their movement. Large corporations buying off environmentalist pressure with increasing amounts of money to the large non-profit, non-governmental organizations are only making matters worse for the planet. This remarkable analysis appearing in Orion Online is a must read.
Conservation Refugees: However, when the reserves were formally designated as national parks in 1991 and a bureaucracy was created and funded by the World Bank's Global Environment Facility to manage them, a rumor was in circulation that the Batwa were hunting and eating silverback gorillas, which by that time were widely recognized as a threatened species and also, increasingly, as a featured attraction for ecotourists from Europe and America. Gorillas were being disturbed and even poached, the Batwa admitted, but by Bahutu, Batutsi, Bantu, and other tribes who invaded the forest from outside villages. The Batwa, who felt a strong kinship with the great apes, adamantly denied killing them. Nonetheless, under pressure from traditional Western conservationists, who had come to believe that wilderness and human community were incompatible, the Batwa were forcibly expelled from their homeland.

It's no secret that millions of native peoples around the world have been pushed off their land to make room for big oil, big metal, big timber, and big agriculture. But few people realize that the same thing has happened for a much nobler cause: land and wildlife conservation. Today the list of culture-wrecking institutions put forth by tribal leaders on almost every continent includes not only Shell, Texaco, Freeport, and Bechtel, but also more surprising names like Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Even the more culturally sensitive World Conservation Union (IUCN) might get a mention.
Wilderness is the purest form of nature in the minds of many environmentalists and wilderness to them means land free of human inhabitants. Only when the permanent presence of human life is removed is it possible for nature to return to pristine perfection. The problem is that humans are part of nature and removing poor and defenseless native people from areas larger than the entire continent of Africa is bastard form of European colonialism, crueler and more destructive than the past. The irony is that you can’t love nature without loving mankind because we are an inseparable aspect of the whole.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

They Wanted to be Americans

Nov 3, 1954 - Ellis Island officially closes and declares itself ‘excess federal property’. This blip of American history is courtesy of the Center for Immigration Studies. Hat tip to Madison’s Vicki McKenna 1310 AM for the link.

Much has changed in the 51 years since Ellis Island shut their doors but America is still a land of immigrants, most of whom came here because they wanted to participate in the economic opportunities and individual liberty unique to this country. In time, the various populations found a way to believe they were Americans. There is pride in citizenship despite the real prejudice, poverty and inequality. Stanley Renshon writes a lengthy analysis of the concept of loyalty to land, culture and rulers in the new mobil global environment.
Dual Citizenship and American National Identity: In 1916, writing against what he saw as the excesses of the Americanization program for new immigrants, the journalist and cultural essayist Randolph Bourne called for a "Trans-national America." He envisioned us as a country populated by nationals with strong emotional ties to their countries of origin or, for immigrants, their home countries. In this new world, we would be united as Americans primarily by the fact that we were "international citizens." In recent decades, Bourne's vision appears to be on the verge of being realized.
The essence of the American political experiment is the idea that the people are citizens rather than subjects. Citizenship and nationality both imply membership in society and loyalty to the institutions and culture, but they are distinct and different terms.
Citizenship is a political term. It draws its importance from the political, economic, and social rights and obligations that adhere to a person by virtue of having been born into, or having become a recognized or certified member of a state. … Nationality, on the other hand, refers primarily to the attachments of members of a community to each other and to that community's ways of viewing the world, practices, institutions, and allegiances.
Renshon argues that the assimilation behind the economic success of America came about because immigrants were willing to adapt to the operational norms of society. In other words, they wanted to be Americans. As Muslim Populations Riot in France, the world is seeing what happens when immigrant populations have no desire to adapt to the host country.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Expanded Highway 12 Opens

After years of contentious personal and political squabbling, the western side of Dane County has finally completed Highway 12 Expansion. The Wisconsin State Journal story quotes several of our current politicians and their own words continue to demonstrate that their central values are not about the rights of property holders and the expansion of our economy.
Under the terms of a 1999 agreement, forged by Falk with then-Gov. Tommy Thompson, the state provided $250,000 so that towns could develop smart growth plans that outline how and where development should occur. … "I think the towns have worked hard at it," Falk said of the smart growth plan process. "My goal was to try and ameliorate the potential development."

Brett Hulsey, a member of the Dane County Board and Midwest representative for the Sierra Club, favored a two-lane improvement plan but calls the planning done prior to the construction "a real model for other transportation projects." He questions, however, whether it will be strong enough to contain the pressure for growth. "New highway building is the number one cause of sprawl development," Hulsey said. "This project did not warrant four lanes."
The Dane County Democratic Party is primarily concerned about maintaining and expanding their power over all land use in the county. Their words and actions continue to demonstrate that they view themselves first and foremost as stewards of the land and not as representatives of the landowners.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Sam Alito

Joe Wilson gave me a copy of the French Government response to President Bush’s Supreme Court Nominee. Joe promised me to pinky swear super secrecy so I’m afraid I can not tell you the source, but here is the message.

Sam Alito, gentille Sam Alito,
Sam Alito, je te plumerai,
Je t'y plumerai le cou
Je t'y plumerai le cou
Et la cou, Et la cou
Et la cou, Et la cou
Et le dos,
Et le dos
Et le nez,
Et le nez,
Et les yeux,
Et les yeux,
Et le bec,
Et le bec,
Et la tete,
Et la tete,
Sam Alito, Sam Alito,
Ooooh, --

Those mischievous French make dismembering a corpse sound so playful.