Saturday, September 30, 2006

Corruption and Wisconsin's Kangaroo Court

The next Governor of Wisconsin may directly result from the non-profit Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and their challenge to challenger Mark Green’s transfer of campaign funds from Federal to Wisconsin accounts. They opened the Pandora ’s Box of campaign finance law and in doing so have demonstrated these laws are not for protecting the public but for protecting politicians.

Wisconsin's Kangaroo Court: When the Democracy Campaign raised questions about money Mark Green raised in Washington as a member of Congress and later transferred to his campaign for governor, we set out to expose illegal donations. … How this all will ultimately play out, only time will tell. But what already is well established is that the Elections Board has thoroughly discredited itself.

The problem with campaign finance law is the faulty assumption that money and corruption are directly correlated. This is explicitly stated in the lamentable US Supreme Court Ruling allowing the McCain-Feingold Bill to stand. (Thank you for protecting us from political free speech Russ).

McConnell v. Federal Election Commission: The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), which amended the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA), the Communications Act of 1934, and other portions of the United States Code, is the most recent of nearly a century of federal enactments designed "to purge national politics of what [is] conceived to be the pernicious influence of 'big money' campaign contributions."

The error behind these regulations and prohibitions is equating promotion of ideas with purchase of results. The National Constitution Center argues the justification used for the court’s strange approval of McCain-Feingold is entirely about the definition of corruption.

A Bad First Amendment Bargain: … in order to sustain the act, the Court could not limit the concept of corruption to contributions that affect and are given essentially in exchange for the way an elected representative votes on a particular issue. So the Court expanded Congressional power to define corruption to include contributions to a political party that might give a contributor “undue influence” over a candidate or officeholder and independent expenditures that “improperly” influence the results of elections wholly without regard to whether the contributions are given to candidates or actually affect the way they vote.

The expanded definition is highly problematic, for it gives Congress practically unlimited power to restrict political speech during election campaigns. … If “corruption” is undue influence or the “improper” use of money, and “undue influence” and “impropriety” are anything that Congress says they are, then the First Amendment is a dead letter as an effective restraint on legislative overreaching when it regulates speech during election campaigns.

The Governor’s election has drifted into a debate about money and so I encourage Mark Green to embrace the debate and turn it into a debate about corruption. The "pay to play" administration of incumbent Democrat Jim Doyle is filled with enough Error and Impropriety to merit a campaign discussion about the Wisconsin definition of corruption.

Finally let us keep in mind that our constitution provides not for clean government but for government by the consent of the people. If citizens want corrupt leadership after free unrestricted First Amendment debate, they can elect it as they have done many times in the past.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Two European Commentaries

Michelle Malkin has collected links about two European commentaries discussing the history between Islam and Christianity. The global conflict of our time is religious and adequate responses to the provocations require grounding in the basics of theology and history. The two essays have induced Muslim outrage which indicates they achieve a level of accuracy to be worth reading in their entirety.

Robert Redeker: The reactions caused by Benedict XVI’s analysis of Islam and violence highlight the underhanded maneuver carried out by Islam to stifle what the West values more than anything, and which does not exist in any Moslem country: freedom of thought and expression.

The Koran is a book of unparalleled violence. Maxime Rodinson states, in Encyclopedia Universalis, some truths that in France are as significant as they are taboo. On one hand: “Mohammed revealed in Medina unsuspected qualities as political leader and military chief (…) He resorted to private war, by then a prevalent custom in Arabia (….) Mohammed soon sent small groups of partisans to attack the Meccan caravans, thus punishing his unbelieving compatriots and simultaneously acquiring the booty of a wealthy man.”

There is more: “Mohammed profited from this success by eradicating the Jewish tribe which resided in Medina, the Quarayza, whom he accused of suspect behaviour.” And: “After the death of Khadija, he married a widow, a good housewife, called Sawda, and in addition to the little Aisha, barely ten years old. His erotic predilections, held in check for a long time, led him to ten simultaneous marriages.” A merciless war chief, plunderer, slaughterer of Jews and a polygamist, such is the man revealed through the Koran.

A key concept to understand is that in Islam, the prophet Mohammed is understood to be a human male and nothing but a human male. He is, however, a man claiming to be chosen to reveal the absolute truth of God and questioning the source of his verbiage is forbidden. Historian Egon Flaig’s essay is an excellent review and reminder that the real world has a long past.

German Professor Egon Flaig (via Malkin): The incredible speed, in which in 90 years an Arabian empire spanning from the south of France to India developed, with no single conqueror guiding the expansion, is unique. … If "enthusiasm" could do such a thing - what was its source? The answer is simple: martyrdom. … The concept of a martyr is fundamentally different in the two religions. Christian martyrs imitate the passion of Jesus, passively submit to torture and death; Muslim martyrs are active fighters. Decisive for the warriors' acceptance of death was the firm promise of eternal salvation for those who die for the faith (surah 4, 74-76).

The Democratic desire to treat Islamic violence as criminal violence completely misses the “root cause” of the problem. The behavior we must confront is simply not arising from criminal motivations.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Just Use Butter

Ok, it’s like I was walking through the break room and all of a sudden I realize my health is threatened. It isn’t second hand smoke because my government loves and cares for me and won’t allow co-workers to try and kill me with those icky, icky fumes. But it was nearly as bad. My co-worker is making microwave popcorn --- butter flavored!!!

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: Although much remains unknown regarding the toxicity of flavoring-related chemicals, employers and workers can take steps to address working conditions and work practices that place workers at risk.

I mean, if trial lawyers are saying I’m at risk the danger must be real, imminent and horribly bad. After all, why are attorneys offering their help for free?

Butter Flavoring Lung Injury - Dot Com: A component of artificial butter flavor is the chemical diacetyl. It is used for aroma and taste in butter, some cheeses and snack and bakery products. … If you have developed an injury or disease due to working with artificial butter flavoring, please click here … We will review your claim for free and without any obligation on your part.

And the Unions, they know something must be done quickly to stop the spread of “popcorn lung”. We are talking emergency rules so there must be an emergency, right?

Unions Seek Action on 'Popcorn Lung': Aug. 31 – Frustrated by inaction at the federal level, two labor unions last week asked California to issue emergency rules protecting workers from exposure to diacetyl, a chemical flavoring tied to a rare lung disease.

In the meantime, until the government and the lawyers and the unions can reestablish the safety of microwave popcorn, just Use Butter Damn it. Wisconsin is still the Dairy State!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Different Speaker – Same Message

Those darn political events sure are unpredictable. A few days ago in the immediate aftermath of Hugo Chavez insulting America at the UN, I found the UW Madison invitation to one of his key cronies to serve as a keynote speaker a bit distasteful. Apparently plans have changed at the last minute.

Schedule: KEYNOTE: Gar Alperovitz, Author of America Beyond Capitalism.(We are sorry to say that Caracas mayor Juan Barreto is unable to attend the convention due to recent political events.)

Hard to pinpoint the exact events forcing the change in plans, but Chavez didn’t make any new friends with his defiant and condescending rhetoric last week. On the other hand the Venezuelan media and bloggers are saying Juan Barreto went over the top with his actions and outbursts on the local scene. For whatever reason then, the change in speakers will not allow the audience to hear the socialist Mayor of Caracas say things like this:

Juan Barreto: “I have no problem signing a decree to regulate housing prices. … If someone in Caracas has five homes and refuses to sell at the regulated price, we'll implement an expropriation decree for the public good and pay the owner what the apartment is really worth.”

Speech of Metropolitan Mayor Juan Barreto: “We did not come to fight. But we will not let verbal criminality, media irresponsibility, and the glassy eyes of a putrid middle class coarsened by money to cash in on the people consent. … People know their tiny faces, the new face of the old politics covering the old face like the mask of Pharaohs, of buried mummies. We will rule them. People are the ones who govern; not the putrid elite, not the same old rotten people, not the neo-liberalism with its old and new faces.”

Instead they have the chance to hear a University Professor say things like this:

The Wealth of Neighborhoods: “Ultimately, however, Bush’s promise of an ownership society is an empty one. In exchange for ownership, we receive increased risk while the wealthy and corporate interests benefit, as in his Social Security privatization plan. In Bush’s world, everyone gets a little piece of the pie, but at the cost of giving the wealthy extremely large helpings”.

The New Ownership Society: "Just beneath the surface of conventional media concern, the groundwork is quietly being laid for a powerful new strategic initiative: a progressive "ownership society." … The basic principle at work in municipally owned real estate development is that appreciation of land should be turned to public advantage."

The speakers and their styles are very different, but the message the UW Madison Havens Center is selling is exactly the same. The right to individual private property is much less important than the right of communal authority to determine the public good.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Intel Chairman Blasts Healthcare

Is there any doubt our healthcare system delivery system needs work?

Intel Chairman Craig Barrett: "The (health care) system is out of control, it's unstable, it's basically bankrupt, it gets worse each year and all we do is tinker around the edges when what we need are major fixes."

Major fixes will require technology improvements in information tracking and operational efficiencies. It is interesting to note that Democrats tend to view government subsidized healthcare as an employment source for the population.

TCS Daily: The bottom line is that Kerry only did well in states where job losses occurred, and where they could be cancelled out by healthcare employment growth. None of this would matter if we were talking about most other large, ubiquitous industries - like, say, grocery stores. However, it is very curious given that our healthcare industry is either dominated by government spending - through Medicare, Medicaid, and hospitals subsidized with tax dollars - or by government regulation and market interference.

When a primary goal of an industry is to provide jobs then the incentives for efficiency are proportionately weaker. Is there any surprise the operational ease of healthcare and the operational ease of government services lag behind the rest of the economy?

Monday, September 25, 2006

RIP Safia Ama Jan

Muslim activists for Islam riding by on motorcycles successfully assassinate Safia Ama Jan, Provincial Director of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs. She was a middle aged woman, unarmed and unguarded on the street, so it was not an especially difficult murder to accomplish. The killers are probably on their knees in prayer somewhere, waiting for the adrenaline rush to subside while chanting their obedience to the will of Allah.

Street Murder: Ama Jan, who was in her mid-fifties, was a "very dedicated woman", said an official with the women's ministry in the capital Kabul. Ama Jan had served as the head of the province's women's affairs department since shortly after US-led troops overthrew the Taliban in 2001.

The United Nations drafts a talking point saying they are “appalled” by the senseless murder which only illustrates how they have no sense of the real problem at all. If you recall, the UN can not even agree on a definition of terrorism. The Taliban, however, knows the definition and how to utilize it effectively.

Killed in a Burqa: A Taliban commander, Mullah Hayat Khan, said Ama Jan was killed because she worked for the government. “We have told people time and time again that anyone working for the government, including women, will be killed,” he said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

The silence from US based women’s rights groups may be understandable since they are probably exhausted from their recent meetings and workshops on how to end Middle Eastern violence. Giving PowerPoint presentations to achieve peace is fraught with dangers, such as a suddenly weak wifi signal during the projected cost in dollars slide.

NOW and CODEPINK Work to End Violence: On Sept. 20 the National Organization for Women and CODEPINK will cosponsor Women for Peace Day at Camp Democracy. NOW President Kim Gandy and Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK, will kick off the day with speeches at 9:30 am. Throughout the rest of the day, there will be a variety of workshops and discussions concentrating on ending the violence in the Middle East.

Amidst the frantic details of her busy schedule, however, Laura Bush finds the time to notice this most recent civilian death by the followers of the prophet.

White House: Ama Jan's brutal killing is further evidence of the threat posed by terrorism - and of how the struggle to end terrorism is also a struggle to preserve the fundamental rights and dignity of women. The oppression of women is central to the Taliban's vision for Afghanistan. In the weeks following September 11, Americans were shocked to see the images of Afghan women living under the Taliban regime - denied the right to work, the right to move about freely, and the right to be educated. As Ama Jan's assassination shows, five years later, Taliban fighters still cling to their repressive worldview.

RIP Safia Ama Jan.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

UW Researcher Discusses Stem Cells

As the Governor’s campaign seeks to distract the public from the ethical failings of his pay to play administration, they will probably focus on the few issues they hope will pull undecided voters into their fold. As their flagrant State Election Board manipulation demonstrates, Jim Doyle has a win at any cost mentality and that means playing to the fears of the sick and elderly with promises of false hope.

Stem cells a political wedge issue: Lois Anderson, a "card-carrying, lifelong" Republican from Madison, isn't sure who to vote for this November in the race for governor. The reason: stem cells. Anderson would normally support Republican candidate Mark Green, whose opposition to much embryonic stem-cell research is shared by her Christian Reformed church. But the 79-year-old woman's husband has Parkinson's disease, for which stem cells could become a cure. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle favors the research, pioneered at UW-Madison eight years ago.

The Wisconsin State Journal has an excellent interview with UW Madison researcher James Thomson whose work created and pioneered embryonic stem cell research. His working knowledge of the field is important to any logic based discussion on how society should proceed with exploring the biochemical basis of life. A few very select items from his long commentary:

James Thomson's views on research: The political process and the press have so hyped expectations that people expect to see these therapies in the next couple years. (That's) not going to happen. When anything brand new like this wants to enter the clinics, it takes a long time. I can't remember exactly how long it takes for, say, the drug industry to go from discovering a drug to getting it into clinics. But it's like 20 years; it's not a year or two. That's for a well-proven kind of therapy, a small molecule. For cell-based therapies, people should anticipate that they will ultimately work. But there's going to be a long, hard series of events that have to occur before we get them to work.

If you think about diabetes, you live a long, productive life with Type I diabetes. Nonetheless, at the end of your life, there's fairly significant complications and your life expectancy is much reduced, even with the best therapy today. Nonetheless, if you introduced a cancer to a person, so that they got pancreatic cancer, that kills you pretty quickly. You want to be really, really sure that the thing you introduce doesn't create a worse condition than what you're trying to cure. In the case of diabetes, I believe this will be ultimately successful. But there'll be an awful lot of safety testing required before this actually gets into patients.

Thomson repeatedly compares work on embryonic stems cells to recombinant DNA, gene therapy and fetal tissue transplants but the success of DNA has been in diagnostics and biochemistry research techniques, while the human therapeutic benefits of injecting genes or transplanting cells have shown marginal success at best. What the public needs is responsible leaders to tell them the truth. There are no instant answers to the problems of disease in the stem cells, and it is cold and callous to offer the false hope of quick cures to 79 year olds with Parkinson’s or needle mailing mothers of diabetic children.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

UW Law School Hosts Chavez Crony

There are conflicting opinions in America about if we have real enemies or not.

Venezuela, Iran initial 29 agreements: "Welcome to Venezuela, where Iran is loved. We welcome a remarkable leader - the leader of a heroic people and a revolution friendly to the Venezuelan revolution: the Islamic revolution," said President Hugo Chávez Sunday noon when welcoming his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Simón Bolívar International Airport.

The alliance between Iran and Venezuela has been cemented. The hostility of the religious dictatorship of Iran towards America has been well known since the day Democratic President Jimmy Carter decided to allow the Islamic revolution. The hostility of the socialist dictatorship of Hugo Chavez is apparent to anyone paying attention.

July 30, 2006: “Let's save the human race, let's finish off the U.S. empire," Chavez said. "This (task) must be assumed with strength by the majority of the peoples of the world."

It is against this background that the Law School of the University of Wisconsin has invited an agent of Hugo Chavez and given him a stage and an audience.

Local Democracy: This Autumn, September 28 through October 1, gather with community organizers and pro-democracy activists in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin, to share and learn from these and other important democratic successes.

Juan Barreto, the Mayor of Caracas, Venezuela will be in Madison to stand along side Madison Common Council President Austin King, and discuss ways to counteract American influence on the rest of the world. The sponsors include UW Madison Havens Center and Madison based Liberty Tree Foundation. A bit of background on the keynote speaker:
Juan Barreto: The mayor of Caracas, a man by the name of Juan Barreto, recently exploded out of control on TV, insulting his colleagues in a Stalinist-type of demonstration that left viewers horrified. … The exercise of government, in Chávez's Venezuela, has been converted in a competition among gangsters, to see who are the most corrupt, the most uncivilized, and the most destructive.
Madison is a nuclear free zone so please leave all atomic bombs at home.

Friday, September 22, 2006

What if Kathleen Falk Wins?

If Kathleen Falk wins the Wisconsin Attorney General election, what can we expect? The future can not be predicted with total accuracy but trends and tendencies can be determined by looking at comparable situations. Something like California.

Calif. sues 6 carmakers in global warming suit: Lockyer, a Democrat, said the complaint states that under federal and state common law the automakers have created a public nuisance by producing "millions of vehicles that collectively emit massive quantities of carbon dioxide."

The Democratic Attorney General of California actually files suit in Federal Court this week against Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Chrysler, Honda and Nissan. The environmentalists in the Democratic Party are completely serious about being anti-car. Individual freedom of movement is the absolute antithesis of government control of their subjects. Lockyer, however, may have gone a bridge to far in going after Big Auto.

Nuisance Lawsuit: When companies are accused of breaking state law, then it's understandable when the state attorney general files a suit against them. That's a key role of a state's top cop. But it's reprehensible when an attorney general uses the powers entrusted to him to launch what can best be described as a political witch hunt against companies that are out of favor.

The lesson of the tobacco litigation is that public power can coerce big dollars from business, but it helps when the business has individually observable problems, like Aunt Jenny with cancer. The problem with going after personal transportation is that the theory of human induced global warming being bad for the planet is still a theory, and a completely wrong theory in terms of catastrophic predictions. Kathleen Falk, however, is a true believer environmentalist and she will absolutely want to sue any business she believes harms her concept of perfect nature.

2006 Car Free Challenge September 22 - October 5, 2006. Reducing your car use is the most significant action you can take to benefit the environment.

Thanks to our 2006 Sponsors. Alliant Energy, City of Madison, Community Car, Dane County, J.H. Findorff & Son, Fiore Companies, Home Savings Bank, Insty Prints, L'Etoile Restaurant, Madison Gas & Electric, Planet Bike, Trek Bicycle Store of Madison, UW-Madison Transportation Service.

Official sponsors of the 2006 Car Free Challenge include Dane County (Kathleen Falk) and the City of Madison (her hand picked mayor). One more time, the environmentalists in the Democratic Party are completely serious about being anti-car and, whenever they can, they will use the courts to advance their agenda.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rising Star: Attorney Maistelman

Thanks to Wisconsin’s Freedom of Information Act, Attorney Michael S. Maistelman, working for the re-election campaign of incumbent Democratic Governor Jim Doyle is caught in writing, encouraging three Democratic appointees to the State Election Board to rule against Republican challenger Mark Green’s right to use all of his legal campaign funds. It is an example of pure political hardball that would have made Lyndon Johnson proud.

Badger Blogger has a collection of the local reaction and Red State picks up the story nationally with a good review of the wildly partisan election board decision that started this story.

In early January 2005 Congressman Mark Green transferred money from his congressional campaign committee account to his gubernatorial committee. This had been previously allowed by the Wisconsin State Election Board … However, after Green made his transfer the Board, dominated by Democrats, passed Emergency Rule ElBd 1.395 on January 29, 2005. The rule applied retroactively to prohibit Green from spending the money.

Yesterday, the Board, on a party-line vote, demanded that Green disgorge the cash. They did so in spite of a well-reasoned memorandum from its Counsel, George Dunst, arguing that the rule could not apply to Green.

Attorney Maistelman, with the expressed approval of the Doyle campaign, urges the board to apply their brand new law retroactively specifically to gain political advantage. This is the same Attorney Maistelman that in today’s Journal Times argues the City of Racine has absolutely no right to apply an ordinance retroactively against his client.

Attorney Mike Maistelman: However, Maistelman said the key issue was that Jackson had already applied for his license and the city had no right to change the rules for him midstream. "You can't make us jump through hoops that don't exist," Maistelman said. He compared it to someone who applies for a dog license. The city would have no right to then decide not to grant licenses for that particular dog breed.

There is a school of thought that a good lawyer says what he is paid to say regardless of truth, justice, laws or logical consistency. It is probably this total lack of internal principles that earn Maistelman one of Campaign & Elections Rising Stars 2005 awards, and his prominent place in the Jim Doyle inner circle. Pay to play and paid to say are clearly quite compatible.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Another Liberal Understands the Problem

Every now and then a true liberal suddenly finds the need to acknowledge there are problems with current liberal evaluation of the world. Sam Harris wrote a book critical of all religion and the effect of the feedback has altered his thinking. Hat Tip to the Prairie Pundit for pointing out this recommended read.

Head-in-the-Sand Liberals: But my correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world — specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.

The truth is that there is every reason to believe that a terrifying number of the world's Muslims now view all political and moral questions in terms of their affiliation with Islam. This leads them to rally to the cause of other Muslims no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This benighted religious solidarity may be the greatest problem facing civilization and yet it is regularly misconstrued, ignored or obfuscated by liberals.

What other people believe is a problem when those other people believe that killing gains divine favor and eternal reward. It is a really big problem when those other people have access to the means of mass murder.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Political Observation

Driving through eight states just two months before a congressional election, Lola and I see plenty of roadside campaign signs, but I don’t recall a single one which said Republican or Democrat. The design was almost always a BIG LAST NAME for this elective office. Most of the time the candidates’ first name was listed and about over half had some simple slogan.

There was a time when signs would read “Smith – DEMOCRAT for the job” or “Jones – REPUBLICAN for some office”. I may be reading too much into the absence of party affiliation but clearly the people running the campaigns don’t believe either party is producing warm fuzzy feelings in the voting public.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tennessee Road Trip Soundtrack

The 2006 new Camry Tennessee road trip is officially over after 2,195 miles on the long flat roads of the Mississippi River floodplain, to the crest and plummet pathways through the ridge and valley Appalachians. A lot of good things happened but the music is worth remembering.

Memphis has been pouring money into Beale Street for twenty years and the crumbling brick buildings are now completely gone and the neon is bright and abundant. There is good music in the clubs but my favorite place remains the band box of Blues City Cafe. The black poverty of south Memphis is still quite close and the bums and rascals and petty con artists are everywhere, but Lola and I have no concerns on late night downtown streets and our upper floor hotel room looks out over miles of the big river.

We check out Soulsville USA, also known as the STAX Museum of American Soul Music. Tina Turner’s stage dress and Otis Redding artifacts are worth a glance but it is Isaac Hayes’s 1972 "Superfly" Cadillac that triggers true desire. I want it and I want to drive its gold plated, white fur, teal blue opulence. Drive it real slow up and down McLemore Avenue with Sam and Dave or Booker T and MG’s playing from the speakers on a summer night.

In Nashville we skip the tourist zone and head for the gulch. We eat Texas BBQ while a county band plays their versions of the current corporate template. The singer songwriter takes pride in the one tune he got recorded by some “hat act”, with some airtime on WSM. It’s the classic tableau: getting stage time for a dinner crowd while trying to find the right solution to the fame and fortune formula.

Later on at 12th and Porter the other Nashville rocks the night. The building retains the big garage doors from some original purpose, but now a cavernous work bay is painted black from floor to ceiling and Atomic Blonde is pounding out seriously loud and furious emotions. Four young women choose this town to form a band with the dream of following “in the footsteps of rock goddesses like Janis Joplin, Chrissie Hynde or Debbie Harry.” Kendra controls the dynamic with her drum beats and Dacia commands the audience with her vocal presence. Amazing how a little head banging clears the mind.

The birthplace of authentic American country music is the region on the backside of the eastern mountains, away from the culture of the eastern seaboard cities. Lola and I are in Bristol for the Rhythm & Roots Reunion which has attracted around 40,000 people to listen to the hundreds of musicians. Of the two performers we specifically came to hear, Jim Lauderdale didn’t bring a band and Junior Brown apparently fired his long time drummer the night of the show. Professional to the core, however, they both show up on time and perform.

A band from Louisiana called The Red Stick Ramblers emerges as our favorite new discovery, and it is a pleasure to hear established masters like the Seldom Scene and the Del McCoury Band in person. We want to buy a recording of Chet O'Keefe and the Farmers Co-Op but Chet tells us they haven’t had enough money to do one yet. He hopes some sort of deal will come together this November. There may well be a deal because there is always a deal for the talented and the driven. We live with our ears tuned to the vibrations of the world, it is a fundamental aspect of our nature, and the exceptional flourishes are always captivating.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Vacation Break

Lola and I are taking the new Camry on a weeklong road trip through Tennessee so blogging will be light.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Mao Memorial

Thirty years ago Mao Zedong died quietly in bed after years of ill health. He was 82 years old and under the 27 years of his communist dictatorship, somewhere between the population of Illinois and the population of Illinois plus Wisconsin combined, died as a direct result of his leadership. It is a legacy the current Chinese government would just as soon ignore.

30th Anniversary of Mao's Death: The Chinese government is not holding any official events to mark the anniversary. Observers say Chinese leaders want to avoid stirring up bitter memories about Mao's 27-year rule, widely considered responsible for claiming tens of millions of lives.

The core concept at the heart of Mao’s vision for government and society is the “iron rice bowl”. The idea that the responsibility of government is to take care of all the needs of the population, in return for their complete obedience.

Iron Rice Bowl: The Iron Rice Bowl is a Chinese idiom referring to the system of guaranteed lifetime employment in state enterprises. Job security and level of wages were not related to job performance - but adherence to party doctrine played a very important role.

Iron Rice Bowl: In the cities, the Communists steered industrial production toward heavy industries and formed state-controlled unions. Workers were promised the "iron rice bowl" of lifetime employment, housing, health care, pension plans and education for their children.

The belief in the nanny state government is still actively pursued in the west, even as Mao’s successors are busy dismantling this discredited system and introducing personal responsibility, at least in the non-political sectors of society. Time Magazine, in their non-judgmental liberal way, include Chairman Mao in their top 100 leaders. There is one passage, however, that paints an image worthy of remembering.

Time Magazine: Mao Zedong loved to swim. … despite the pleadings of his security guards and his physician, he swam in the heavily polluted rivers of south China, drifting miles downstream with the current, head back, stomach in the air, hands and legs barely moving, unfazed by the globs of human waste gliding gently past.

A most fitting memorial image of one more tyrant expelled into history.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Be Quiet: Blackout Period

Because subliminal political ads are still legal in John McCain’s America:
Thanks for protecting us from political free speech Russ Feingold.
Eminent Domain: Wisconsin is currently in the blackout period mandated by the McCain/Feingold campaign finance law. Because Senator Kohl appears on the primary election ballot, permission is needed from the federal court to air grassroots lobbying ads mentioning his name, even though the radio ad has nothing to do with elections. Wisconsin Right to Life officials risk jail terms if the radio ad is aired without permission by the federal court," said James Bopp, Jr. counsel to WRTL.

Freedom of speech in the Bill of Rights? What a quaint idea. Enlightened reformers like John McCain and Russ Feingold would prefer that you ask the federal government to engage in speech concerning politicians. We wouldn't want people getting informed around election time.
Because subliminal political ads are still legal in John McCain’s America:
Thanks for protecting us from political free speech Russ Feingold.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

More Biotech Dollars to Dane County

Another Biotech Company announces plans to move its facilities and money to Dane County. Could it be that tax dollar central is poised to become the new economic engine for the entire Dairy State?

Caden Biosciences, Inc. Receives a $5.85 Million Series A Financing: Caden Biosciences, Inc., a life sciences tools and services company developing assays for the high-throughput screening of allosteric modulators of G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), has closed on a Series A Preferred Stock financing led by Baird Venture Partners (BVP), the U.S.-based venture capital affiliate of investment firm Robert W. Baird & Co. (Baird). BVP was joined in the financing by new investors including Venture Investors, The State of Wisconsin Investment Board, and IllinoisVENTURES, LLC., as well as existing investor Vanderbilt University.

Pete Shagory of BVP and Paul Weiss, PhD, representing the interests of Venture Investors, will join the company's Board of Directors. The company also announced its plan to relocate its headquarters to Madison, Wis.

G-Protein Coupled Receptors are … well … OK the wikipedia explanation: “a protein family of transmembrane receptors that transduce an extracellular signal (ligand binding) into an intracellular signal”. The key is that the chemistry of life involves an interaction between molecules outside of cells and molecular pathways inside of cells. There are a whole lot of people trying to figure out how to get rich by finding something that fixes the biochemistry when life breaks down into disease.

Biotech support pays dividends: UW-Madison's prowess in biotechnology research is a chief reason. The Institute for Scientific Information ranked UW-Madison No. 1, by research citations, in biotechnology and microbiology. Businesses are being created from the university's research. Businesses are also locating here to take advantage of the university's expertise, to tap into the educated labor force the university is producing and to take advantage of the cross-pollination that a burgeoning biotechnology community can provide.

There are big dollar reasons why Doyle is using Stem Cell Research against Green.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Final Decision in Mexico

The Mexican Tribunal with the constitutional role of determining the winner of Presidential elections reaches a decision on the last allocated day. Conservative Felipe Calderón is declared the winner over Socialist López Obrador with the margin of victory certified at “a razor-thin .55 percent of 41.6 million votes cast”. The political civil war of two party systems has spread to the immediate south in dramatic style.

Mexico's Calderon is president-elect: Just six years ago, many Mexicans were euphoric after Fox's historic election victory ended decades of one-party rule, but this year's vote reopened deep class divisions that have undermined Mexico's new political system.

The massive leftist movement lead by Obador is very much intact and angry.

Protesters defiant as conservative wins Mexico: In speeches foreseeing the adverse ruling, he has begun to transform his claims of fraud into an active challenge to the legitimacy of the country's institutional order. Calling Mr Calderón a "usurper", Mr López Obrador has floated the idea of forming a parallel government "of the people to rival that of the political mafia and white-collar criminals".

American Progressives, still bitter after losses in 2000 and 2004, are projecting their Marxist march of history paradigms upon this developing nation, regionally divided between an industrializing north and agrarian but resource rich south.

In Mexico, a Class War Looms: "Fraude!" "Rateros!" (Fraud! Thieves!) they screamed, as the judges were escorted by military police to their expensive vehicles. López Obrador had long accused the seven judges of bowing to Fox government pressures in exchange for personal benefit--three of the TRIFE members are expected to be promoted to the Supreme Court in the coming Calderón administration.

There is little doubt that trouble in Mexico has immediate reverberations in the United States and there is hope the new administration will focus on more than simply keeping the wealthy elite comfortably safe above the impoverished multitudes.

Still room for wisdom: What's needed is some real evidence that a Calderón presidency will reach beyond the traditional business-elite constituency of the PAN party that both he and Fox represent. The failure to create jobs sends millions of Mexico's poor across the border to work illegally in the United States. The failure to create hope turned the teachers' strike in Oaxaca into an uprising complete with uniformed guerrillas and AK-47 rifles.

The failure to gauge the depth of the anger in the hearts of poor Mexicans has left an opening for Lopez Obradór. If he were a wise man, he would cede the election and use his constituency in an orderly way to demand attention to the needs he claims to understand so well. If he were a patriotic man, he would end his aggression against Mexico's institutions.

If new President Calderón is wise, he will be restrained in response to the incessant emotional provocations of the left while listening very carefully to the lamentations of the poor.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Day After Labor Day Report

The day after Labor Day finds the economy of Wisconsin moving forward into the future. Some folks are working on sugar coating molecules and some folks are working on turning sugar into alcohol. Good thing too, because the Dairy State ain’t quite as dairy as we used to be.

New Way To 'Sweeten' Key Drugs Found By UW-Madison

Wisconsin's Newest Ethanol Plant Opens in Boyceville

Because subliminal political ads are still legal in John McCain’s America:
Thanks for protecting us from political free speech Russ Feingold.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day YOYO

The President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO David Newby offers his thoughts on Labor Day in a Capital Times editorial.

Securing the common good: It should also be a time to reflect on what unionism is all about: Solidarity - an injury to one is an injury to all. That is the basic principle of the labor movement, the understanding that we're all in it together. And let's remember why our government was formed: 'to promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Jared Bernstein from the Economic Policy Institute summed it up well in a recent article, saying it's YOYO ("You're On Your Own") vs. WITT ("We're In This Together"). For years the right wing has been promoting a YOYO vision for America. The entire Bush domestic agenda is based on the YOYO principle.

What a nice bouncy little acronym, YOYO – (You’re On Your Own). It is a marvelous image, the individual subject to the ups and downs of life without support other than the string that manipulates him from the master’s hand. To bad it is not entirely accurate. When the left claim the purpose of government is “to promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”, they mean the purpose of government is to provide the general welfare.

Those of us on the right believe that the general welfare and the common good arise from the blessing of liberty within the rule of law. To say an individual is free to benefit from their personal decisions and labor does not mean that person is without support. It is the rule of law, and especially the restrictions on the power of taking, that promote and secure the blessings of liberty. The success of America arises from the voluntary actions of citizens and not the mandatory obligations to group and government, class or party.

We’re in this together as free people and not as functional sub-units of some larger sub-class. Social justice is achieved at the individual and not the group level. History is full of examples that huddling together for common defense is useful for short term threats but useless against the sweeping tides in human events. It is time the labor movement properly honors the past and then adapts to the present reality by working for the preservation of individual rights within the law.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Galloway Wins Daily Double

Just over a year ago, the Capital Times, the Progressive and the UW Madison Havens Center arranged for George Galloway to come speak in Madison specifically because of his grandiose opposition to the war in Iraq. At the time, Patrick Barrett, administrative director of the Havens Center states: “Despite growing opposition to the war, the debate seen in the media and by the "political elite" is still one-sided, skewed in favor of the war”. In the mind of Madison liberals, the national media has just been to pro-war.

Today Galloway is meeting with the terrorist group Hamas and voicing his continued “appreciation of the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance men in facing the Israeli aggression” and is also being singled out for praise on the latest Al Qaeda video. That’s major props from two Islamic Jihadist religious terrorist groups in one day. Bill Wineke of the Wisconsin State Journal expressed some doubts a couple months ago and today should serve to reinforce his concerns.

Wasn't George Galloway Our Liberal Guy?: “he was hailed by many of us in the liberal camp as a politician with conscience. This week, he's suggested he can understand why someone vehemently opposed to the war might assassinate Blair. Which goes to show why all of us, liberal or conservative, ought to be a little careful about embracing nutcases who happen to agree with us on one issue or another.

Convert or Die is the danger to the west and it is about time western liberals stop pretending that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Signs of maturity in the Democratic Party leadership would be to expel the “nutcases”, denounce crackpot 9/11 conspiracy theories and condemn the excesses of hate speech from their supporters. Saudi Arabia lost control of the Jihadist frenzy they enabled and the western left is on the verge of loosing control of their emotionally hypercharged activists.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Dealing with the Facts of History

The debate about terrorism is highly emotional and while the anti-war left is dominated by pessimism, the anti-terrorist right is more defined by frustration. The right is not so much filled by optimism but rather a belief that facts are what they are, and in time the truth of history will win out and validate the hard decisions and harsh consequences.

The Path to 9/11: what this film also does is set the record straight on a number of events that the Clinton administration has previously tried to whitewash or ignore. That is the real reason why the left is going nuts over this. It wants to blame everything on Bush. Thus in its twisted logic, it cannot stand to see any criticism of Clinton whatsoever.

Furthermore, they will go nuts when confronted with the truth that the Patriot Act was necessary in order to get various government agencies to share vital information with each other. They will go nuts when the depiction of historical events end up making the case for airport profiling. In other words, this film will force them to specifically articulate what tools they wish to employ in order to keep this country safe. That seems to make them uncomfortable for some reason.

Where the left is at a disadvantage is that this information age has preserved in unprecedented detail, accessible records of the activities of our immediate past and, for the moment, we are still free enough to keep the accounts from being suppressed. In that regard it is interesting to see how even the archetypal progressive paper the Capital Times is being forced to deal with reality.

Diplomacy, not threats: The interesting news from the Middle East is that Israel, concerned about the prospect that Iran might eventually use its nuclear project to develop a rudimentary weapon of mass destruction, has established a top-level unit that has allegedly been charged with ensuring that the Iranians never develop operational nuclear weapons. That's reasonable. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has suggested that Israel is a "blot" on the planet that ought to be wiped away.

The editorial staff of Wisconsin’s most partisan newspaper acknowledges there is a real threat from Iran and there are “reasonable” steps that should be taken to counteract and prevent the danger. Admitting a problem exists is always the necessary first step. The paper goes even farther in conceding: "Ultimately, the Iranians may refuse to negotiate in good faith". This epiphany is something the progressives are still resisting and the conclusion they draw is that the threat is to Israel, so Israel should solve it. The United States should restrict our “meddling” to opening embassies in Damascus and Tehran for meetings over tea and crumpets.