Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thinking About McCain

I can’t spell it out better than David Zincavage.

John Sidney McCain III comes from a three-generation career Navy family. His father and his grandfather were both four-star admirals. His family’s roots are in Mississippi. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958, making him part of the older-than-Baby-Boom generation. He served in combat in Vietnam. He was imprisoned and tortured by the Communists, and behaved exceptionally honorably in refusing early release from his captivity.

Later, he became a friend of Texas Senator John Tower, who encouraged him to go into politics. He settled in Arizona at the time of his second marriage, and became personally involved with the business community in Phoenix. He was elected to the House of Representatives, and later to the Senate with Barry Goldwater’s support, and currently occupies Barry Goldwater’s former seat.

By birth, background, education, career, culture, and associations, you would expect John McCain to be a rock-ribbed conservative and a loyal Republican. Unfortunately, he has been anything but either of the above.

John McCain has supported Gun Control, Electoral Advertising Control, and Environmentalist nonsense. He has, since the 1970s when he assisted John Kerry in ending POW/MIA inquiries and normalizing relations with Vietnam, been a frequent supporter of liberal foreign policy preferences and perspectives. In recent years, almost any time the Senate vote on a controversial polarizing issue was close, John McCain was right in there, voting with the democrats.

Thinking about why McCain so commonly, and so unaccountably, takes the liberal side, I am forced to conclude that his class rank at Annapolis was not an accident, he really is a stupid man.

American Conservatism, after all, takes in general comparatively unpopular positions, resists facile solutions, sweeping measures, and emotional appeals. Conservatives are skeptics concerning conventional wisdom and the consensus of the media. Conservatives are the purists of American government, the critics on behalf of Constitutionalism and the defenders of the fundamental theory of American republicanism.

And Conservatism, outside fiscal areas, has little appeal to John McCain. He is always perfectly willing to brush aside the fine points of the meaning of the Bill of Rights and individual rights theory. One tends to suspect that the rigid authoritarianism of the Naval Academy and the unlimited command authority ruling over military life seem normal and natural to John McCain.

While Conservative theory and fundamentalist Constitutionalism have little influence on him, when the voice of what Thomas Sowell likes to refer to as “the Elect” is heard speaking from the high ground of the Establishment media, John McCain typically comes eagerly to attention. Even on military issues, like the non-reciprocal extension of Geneva Convention privileges to violators of all the laws of war, McCain marches at the Establishment’s command and vigorously defends their position.

Here, I think, one detects in John McCain’s behavior another recognizable military cultural meme, that of the apple-polishing subaltern jumping to obey the orders and loyally following the flag of his Senior Officer in Command, from whom all good things –including promotion– flow. John McCain’s commander in recent years has obviously been the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

And that, I think, explains John McCain. He’s a just-not-very-deep guy, who recognizes the power of the liberal establishment and naturally defers to it. He is not loyal to us, and he is not one of us.

I too, get the sense that McCain understands loyalty to the Chain of Command and has a burning desire to be Commander in Chief. What I don’t see is his understanding that the Chain of Command goes past the Commander in Chief to the Constitution.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Saving the Planet with MGE

Madison Gas and Electric will now sell you absolutions for the sin of using their energy. On the day a cold so bad it shuts down Madison schools, the new MGE business plan is to charge a premium so that carbon emissions don’t overheat the climate.

Sign Up for Green Power: Now you can offset the carbon emissions generated by your electricity use by choosing to purchase clean, renewable electricity. For $6 extra per month, the average MGE residential customer using 600 kWh per month can buy enough green power to offset 100% of their electricity-generated carbon dioxide emissions.

As of January 2008,
• new wind power projects in Wisconsin and Iowa and
• local solar PV installations
are providing three times more renewable power for MGE customers to buy.

This is no doubt stamped with the seal of approval from Kristine A Euclide, Vice President and General Counsel for MGE and one of Kathleen Falk’s appointees to the Dane County Regional Planning Commission actively working on limiting growth in the county. Is it a tad suspicious that Falk is working so very closely with Madison Gas and Electric while having her office actively resist American Transmission Company plans to upgrade the power grid in Dane County?

Monday, January 28, 2008

McCain and Perenchio

I suspect I am not the only person following the Republican race for the Presidency and wondering why Senator John McCain has any support at all. Well today, Michelle Malkin points out the obvious that obviously many of missed. McCain has a sugar daddy.

Jerry Perenchio is Malibu's largest landowner and certainly one of the City's wealthiest residents. Forbes estimated his net worth to be $2.4 billion in 2005. … His biggest payoff came with his decision to enter the Hispanic market. In 1992, he joined with Mexico's Televisa and Venezuelan programmer Venevision International to buy five TV stations and a small Spanish network for $550 million, the foundation of Univision Communications Inc., now the nation's largest Spanish-language TV network.

Perenchio is one of the billionaires for big government. A shrewd businessman, he now plays at the loftiest gaming table where politicians and parties and governments are bought and sold. In the 2004 Presidential race he was #11 in contributions to 527’s. In the 2006 congressional elections he was the #2 big money player. Jerry Perenchio is the capitalist counterweight to the socialist George Soros and his Democracy Alliance. Being a true capitalist, however, means he doesn’t care which party gets his money, only that the politicians he purchases improve his business. That’s why his business is important.

Pushing the Hispanic Button: According to the census, Hispanics now account for more than 14 percent of the U.S. population, and their numbers are growing far faster than the national average. … In all, there are now 12.14 million Hispanic TV households in the U.S., according to Doug Darfield, the senior VP of multicultural measurement at The Nielsen Company.

Q3 Results: The Univision Network out delivered CBS, ABC and the CW to rank as the #3 network in the country in primetime among all Adults 18-34, as measured by Nielsen’s NTI, in the third quarter of 2007. Among all Adults 18-49, Univision maintained its ranking as the #5 network in the country, out delivering the CW. In the third quarter, Univision delivered more young adult viewers than ABC, CBS, NBC or FOX on 84% of the nights of the quarter. In addition, Univision was the #1 network for the entire night 26 times – nearly 30% of the nights in the third quarter – among all Adults 18-34 in any language.

I tend to believe private business audience measurements are more accurate than those fuzzy immigration numbers from government bureaucrats. Jerry Perenchio sees the social trends that that lifted him from simple affluence to fabulous wealth continuing into the American future. Luck, however, favors the prepared and I’m sure he deeply wants (another?) President who will insure the good times keep rolling.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The South Carolina Primary (D)

Well, well, well. Just in case Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton missed the message, her like minded associates are leaping up to make sure she gets it. Can you hear me now?

The Nation: The overwhelming majority of South Carolina blacks rejected Senator Clinton in the most profound way: after first supporting her. She had a two-to-one lead on Obama among black South Carolinians at mid-campaign. Whites didn't reject her nearly so soundly--about one-quarter of them voted for Obama, with the others pretty well split between Clinton and John Edwards. But half of under-30 white voters--and there were a ton of them--went for Obama.

What to make of the fact that a strong majority of whites in South Carolina opted against Clinton? … It is also because the Clintons have come to embody, for many middle Americans, the moral and intellectual emptiness they see in liberalism--feel-good, stand-for-nothing, make-no-difference power players cloaking their lust for control in "feel-your-pain" platitudes.

Ouch. Can’t say I feel your pain Hillary. Know for sure I wouldn’t want to. The past is gone and the public is demonstrating no desire to go backwards. The Clinton hit squad can examine their old playbook as much as they want but times have changed and the game has moved on. How many years has it been since 1968?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Freezing China

Last Wednesday, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle officially announces “Temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere have reached their warmest point in over two thousand years”. Would someone from the Governor’s office please let China know. I believe the worlds most populated and polluted country is still in the Northern Hemisphere.

China Bans Coal Exports: BEIJING, Jan. 26 -- China's Transport Ministry yesterday ordered ports to temporarily stop loading coal for exports as the country struggles to meet domestic needs amid mounting power shortages. The coldest winter with the most snow in decades has left millions of Chinese without heating and running water, causing mounting losses from power shortages and other damage.

Millions shiver in big freeze: The snowy and cold weather, the worst in a decade in many places, has also left homes collapsed, power blackouts and crops destroyed. … Seventeen cities and towns in eastern Guizhou witnessed their longest-ever low temperature period.

The shortages were expected to continue, with weather forecasters warning on Friday that heavy snow could sweep swathes of the country in coming days. The harsh weather could roll from west to east over the next three days, the China Meteorological Administration said on its website (, forecasting heavy snow, sleet and rain.

Snow storms could hit parts of the heavily agricultural heartland provinces of Henan and Hubei, and Anhui Province to the east. Temperatures in northern parts of Shaanxi Province could drop to minus 30 C, the lowest in 50 years.

Alternatively, China could contact the Wisconsin Governor pointing out that carbon dioxide is an essential life sustaining natural component of air, and calling air 'polluted' with CO2 is exactly the same thing as calling Lake Michigan 'polluted' with water. China may also want to have their scientific elite explain that atmospheric CO2 has minor, if any, effect on temperature.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Immigration Costs Going Up

To be fair, America decided to ignore the rules on immigration a long, long time ago. Therefore, it is not really a surprise the situation in Dane County is a mess that is going to be expensive to resolve, no matter which way the powers to be decide to resolve fuzzy legality.

A warning on illegal immigrants: A stepped-up federal crackdown on incarcerated illegal immigrants could swamp Dane County’s court system, a Madison lawyer is warning. Anthony Delyea has threatened to resign from the Criminal Defense Project, a county program that provides legal counsel for defendants who don’t qualify financially for a public defender, unless the county changes its policy of reporting undocumented inmates to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Delyea has three cases going to trial Monday involving defendants who typically would accept plea bargains and reduced jail sentences. But recent fears in the Hispanic community that even a short jail sentence could mean deportation have led more illegal immigrants charged with crimes such as drunken driving to opt for a lengthy trial, Delyea said.

The story goes into the various facts and fictions about the interaction between local and federal officials, but the gist is that if individuals knowing they are illegal residents fear being deported, the incentive is to stall for as much time as possible, and that means avoiding all plea deals and maxing out the court process. Stalling is the advice Peter Munoz of Centro Hispano of Dane County provides clients. Again from the article:

No one disputed reporting the most serious offenders. Munoz said it was more a question of the lower-level offenders -- particularly those with multiple driver 's license violations -- who shouldn’t be reported. He said it would be up to the sheriff, judges and district attorney to create a criteria for who should be reported and who should be protected.

This is a key phrase: “Who should be protected”. The whole premise is that one transgression (illegal immigration) is to be overlooked. Illegal immigration plus driving without a valid license is a look the other way. Illegal immigration plus drunk and disorderly is fine the first time or two. Illegal immigration plus spouse abuse starts a local police file. Finally, if it turns out the person is doing “serious” bad things, then maybe a call to the Feds.

If there is a lesson in all of this, it may be that pursuing social justice by weakening the rule of law isn’t going to be inexpensive or trouble free.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

No Greenhouse Effect?

The thing that has always concerned me about “Man Made” global warming is the apparent negation of the second law of thermodynamics. Two German physicists agree and do some work to show why. H/T to the post at Small Dead Animals: There is No Greenhouse Effect: German physicists Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner offered a paper in July of 2007 that argued that the theory of "greenhouse" earth defies the laws of physics.

The Paper: Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics: The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier 1824, Tyndall 1861 and Arrhenius 1896 and is still supported in global climatology essentially describes a fictitious mechanism in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientific foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clarified. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 C is a meaningless number calculated wrongly,(d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiatively balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.

For the true believers who like things simple I like this exchange in the comments:

GreenNeck: Two words: Planet Venus.
Cal2: I think the article is saying 0.03% CO2 is insignificant compared to the 96% C02 content of Venus.
Otter: GreenNeck~ perhaps you will have also noticed that Venus is 26 million miles Closer to the sun? Venus also falls outside the 'lifezone' of our solar system. btw, the atmosphere of Mars is 95% CO2, do you know how warm a summer day gets there?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2008 State of Wisconsin

The State of Wisconsin, according to Governor Jim Doyle, is messed up big time. The big problem is money and the fact it is in short supply. The proposed solution: more government spending. Seriously, the Governor posts the video and the text is all over the internet.

Wisconsin State Journal: In his sixth State of the State address, the Democratic governor laid out his course for steering the state through dangerous economic shoals and reforming a part of the health-care market that serves more than 700,000 people — a plan that includes a pricey $100 million yearly state subsidy.

My absolute favorite quote is this: “The global threat of climate change is undeniable. Temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere have reached their warmest point in over two thousand years”. Democrat Jim Doyle reads this line with an emotionless deadpan delivery, seemingly oblivious to the fact the temperature outside the Capital is 2 degrees Fahrenheit and heading for 10 below zero. The phrase implies that 2,000 years is a significantly long time for Mother Earth. It also implies the Southern Hemisphere is of no global climate importance being mostly oceans and a growing Antarctic ice sheet.

The rest of the show is simply going through the motions for this pre-computer age political tradition. The great plans for the salvation of the population all grow from roots in the predictable list of Democrat wet dreams. Brilliant new thinking like making labor more expensive so employment will grow and rebuilding manufacturing on a foundation of ethanol and stem cells. But wait there’s more: cash back for the unprofitable but PC pious and punishment most severe for any who desire to live sub-optimal selfish existences. My but we do live in interesting times.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Chicken Roosting

It’s just another bad day in the financial markets as selling demand overwhelms buying desire. The term global market meltdown is bandied about. The reasons why all these assets are suddenly for sale vary but the goal is always the same: convert something other than cash into cash. I understand the Democrats don’t trust the market. I understand many of them don’t believe price should be strictly a function of supply and demand. I would, however, expect them to know an investment portfolio is not a money market account.

Stop the risky money raids: State government’s latest money raid didn't take long to backfire. It took all of one business day for the state’s $200 million transfer from a medical malpractice fund to go haywire. And the situation could become markedly worse.

Gov. Jim Doyle and other Democrats led the fight last fall to raid the medical malpractice fund. State leaders eventually agreed to raid $200 million to help shore up the state budget. One business day after Doyle signed the state budget, the state grabbed an initial $71.5 million from the Patients Compensation Fund, plunging it into financial trouble.

The medical malpractice fund didn't have nearly enough cash to offset the raid. Most of its assets were tied up in investments such as stocks and bonds. To get by, the medical malpractice fund had to borrow money from other state accounts at an undisclosed interest rate. In other words, one state fund was borrowing from other state funds to cover expenses it was never supposed to have in the first place. It's an unsustainable shell game.

Irresponsible fiscal management has permeated every bit of both the private and public sector. A lot of chickens are coming back home to roost. There are no innocent parties, but some people are guiltier than others. Wouldn’t you agree Governor Jim Doyle?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Looking to China for Efficient Leadership

The City of Madison Commission on the Environment rippled the blogosphere by proposing a ban on plastic water bottles, bags. Well it looks like the Chinese beat them to punch. Those Chinese are so efficient in their decision making.

China bans plastic shopping bags: China has announced a ban on plastic shopping bag because of pollution and energy concerns. According to China's State Council, the ban will start June 1. Firms that continue to sell, make and distribute bags thicker than 0.025 mm thick will be given fines and authorities may seize goods and profits, the State Council said. All supermarkets, department stores and shops will be prohibited from giving out free plastic bags, the State Council said. Also, stores must clearly mark the price of plastic shopping bags and are banned from tacking that price onto products.

Which raises the question in the environmentalist moment: why can China quickly achieve what the United States only talks about? Could it be Chinese Government is empowered to act for the greater good of the public?

Climate change, is democracy enough?: To many of us, therefore, a change in light bulbs by the citizenry is important in terms of the recognition of the problem, but the effect is infinitesimal in contrast to the actions required by governments.

The ban in China will save importation and use of five million tons of oil used in plastic bag manufacture, only a drop in the ocean of the world oil well. But the importance in the decision lies in the fact that China can do it by edict and close the factories. They don’t have to worry about loss of political donations or temporarily unemployed workers. They have made a judgment that their action favours the needs of Chinese society as a whole.

Liberal democracy is sweet and addictive and indeed in the most extreme case, the USA, unbridled individual liberty overwhelms many of the collective needs of the citizens. … The Chinese decision on shopping bags is authoritarian and contrasts with the voluntary non-effective solutions put forward in most Western democracies. We are going to have to look how authoritarian decisions based on consensus science can be implemented to contain greenhouse emissions.

Meanwhile, back in Madison the city “has had almost as much snowfall since Dec. 1 as the city typically gets over an entire winter”. Vincent P. O’Hern, Marc Eisen, Michana Buchman, Bill Lueders and the rest of the Isthmus brain trust --- isn’t the slightest bit of cognitive dissonance about climate change justified proposals disturbing your sleep at night?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Super Blown

I have almost nothing to say about how the Green Bay Packers manage to loose the NFC Championship Games and Super Bowl appearance to the New York Football Giants. For some reason the home team decides to make themselves one dimensional by running the ball on only 13 plays when the horrific cold screams for the kind of ball control ground game the team has played so very well recently. Toss in defensive penalties at crucial moments and the whole sorry affair lookes every bit like a young team unprepared for a game of this magnitude. The Wisconsin Sports Bar has lots of thoughts but for the moment I’m way too disappointed to be coherent.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chambana Road Trip

Every now and then a moment is just everything you want it to be. For example, leaning against the painted black eight foot two by four railing of the six steps leading up to the stage of Champaign Illinois’s old downtown porno theater now rehabbed as 'The High Dive', and being in the core of the sound bubble as James McMurtry's band plays 'Choctaw Bingo' for an appreciate packed crowd.

These days McMurtry is based out of Austin, Texas so when they drift this close to Wisconsin it is worth the four hour drive and over night stay to catch them live. Remind me to thank the parents for the Christmas money and let them know we used it to listen to a lyricist so gifted he can place the phrases 'sewer line' and 'zoned commercial' perfectly into a song about inheritance.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Isthmus Notices the New Urbanist Takeover

Madison Wisconsin free weekly "The Isthmus" manages to mention of the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC) proposed guidelines for Dane County. It is the very last item on the weekly Madison.Gov section. Vikki Kratz puts the Kathleen Falk, Dave Cieslewicz, Kristine Euclide politically correct approved spin on this New Urbanist usurpation of private property rights. It is all about taxpayer protection. Umnnnhhhhh.... not.

Isthmus: Environmentalists are generally happy with the new guidelines, which protect farmland by promoting infill and redevelopment. The commission is also eliminating the so-called flexibility factor, which allowed builders to push the boundaries of where new development could happen.

"They make it possible to say to a developer: 'You've got infill opportunities where taxpayers have already paid for roads, schools, the police,'" says Caryl Terrell, former statewide director of the Sierra Club. She notes that developers buy land in the country, where it's cheaper, then ask nearby cities to pay for infrastructure. "They get a free ride. But the taxpayers don't."

Elimination of flexibility. How liberty embracing is this New Urbanist inspired principle of just governance? This is a direct attempt to implement one of the ten New Urbanist solutions to modern American life.

Solution #3: An immediate moratorium on the building of any additional sprawl. Sprawl is probably the single largest contributor to oil addiction and global warming due to its very design (or lack of). Sprawl forces everyone to drive many miles daily for everything, which in turn requires constant road expansions, encouraging more cars and driving, and more sprawl. It’s a vicious cycle consuming ever more oil, and spewing out more pollution, making global warming continually worse.

Vincent P. O’Hern, Marc Eisen, Michana Buchman, Bill Lueders and the rest of the Isthmus brain trust --- the Isthmus sits between two lakes which are remnants of our ultra cold glacial history and the temperature outside is zero degrees Fahrenheit. Are you seriously going to editorialize in favor to eliminating traditional property rights because New Urbanists believe the world is warming to dangerous temperatures? Is there no adult skepticism left in the group think in the editorial meetings?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Time Killers

Don of the Danz Family finds two ways to kill some time with physics.

Flash Physics: Not a whole lot to post about so here are some simple flash physics games. I find the simply elegance of these games/simulations appealing. I can still remember the day when these would have been considered advanced and marveled at for hours ... ahhh simpler times.

These have no commercial appeal, only “physics for physics sake alone”.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Favre Change?

Rumors out of Green Bay …

Extra Extra Read All About It: In a news conference Deanna Favre announced she will be the starting QB for the Packers this coming Sunday. Deanna asserts that she is qualified to be starting QB because she has spent the past 16 years married to Brett while he played QB for the Packers. During this period of time she became familiar with the definition of a corner blitz, and is now completely comfortable with other terminology of the Packers offense. A survey of Packers fans shows that 50% of those polled supported the move.

Does this sounds idiotic and unbelievable to you? Well, Hillary Clinton makes the same claims as to why she is qualified to be President and 50% of democrats polled agreed. She has never run a City, County, or State. When told Hillary Clinton has experience because she has 8 years in the white house, Dick Morris stated "so has the pastry chef".

To be fair, Hillary did beat uncommitted in the Michigan Primary 55 - 40 yesterday. I expect CBS and ABC will soon find long lost high school classmates of uncommitted with examples of indecisiveness. (It’s leadership flaw worse than flip foppishness).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is NATO obsolete?

The CATO Institute takes a quick look at the present condition of this World War II era agreement. Europe is all healed up now, so it may be time for them to take total responsibility for their own safety, thus allowing the United States to focus entirely on ours.

Cracks in the Foundation: NATO's New Troubles: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is beginning to fracture. Its members, sharing the triumphalism that underpinned U.S. foreign policy after the Cold War, took on burdens that have proved more difficult than expected. Increasingly, they are failing to meet the challenges confronting them.

2008 is going to be a very eventful year. The world economy is showing signs of systemic financial stress. The political battles over the direction of America are going to be very bitter. It may be a good time to rethink the formal obligations that U.S. citizens have to defend foreign populations.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Falk Prepares to Implement Her Idealism

A Philosopher, an expert on mud and a lawyer walk into a committee meeting. The philosopher says government should control everything. The expert on mud says it can be done but it will be dirty. The lawyer says, no problem, let me show you the way. -- Did you think this was a joke? It’s not.

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk has been keeping a low profile since her statewide defeat for Attorney General, but she has been very busy. Working through her appointed representatives, Kristine Euclide, Martha Gibson and Sally Kefer, she has very cleverly twisted a county committee established to watch dog over water and sewer developments into a Central Planning Body for every aspect of Dane County development.

The Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC) is a group of 13 political appointees that has been stacked by the Falk/Cieslewicz environmentalist axis. Falk and Cieslewicz believe the primary role of government is to control the effects of human civilization on the environment. Their New Urbanism philosophy believes humans need to minimize their “footprint” on the planet. This perceived need to segregate people and nature justifies their efforts to control every aspect of society.

Because they believe the spread of humanity is bad, they understand control of infrastructure is a very powerful tool to limit growth. This is why a committee originally tasked with making sure that sewers don’t dump into lakes and streams can justify expanding their power to assert regulatory control in part but not limited to municipal boundaries, lot sizes, business models, construction design, road placement, rail initiatives and the availability of electricity.

The draft of the Dane County Land Use and Transportation Plan is released quietly from the committee and reads like a New Urbanist indoctrination manual. This is not a work outlining regulatory rules of fair play. This is a revolutionary declaration that Dane County government, under Kathleen Falk and Dave Cieslewicz, absolutely intends to impose their vision of how people need to live -- on the people. One brief example:

It is the policy of the CARPC to seek efficient use of land through higher densities of development, mixed use infill development and redevelopment within the urban cores of the region, and the use of existing vacant developable lands within urban service areas prior to expansion into new areas.

In other words, the county is going to actively work to prevent any development in any unimproved area. Remember that old term – improved – taking land that was not beneficial to human life and improving it? The lead in forcing this new socialism on the populace will most likely be Kristine Euclide, one of the 1000 Friends of crowded cities, and good buddy of the Governor. The irony here is that while Falk’s minions are fervently working to preserve what many of us love about Dane County, they are destroying the American freedom that makes living in this beautiful region worthwhile.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Riots Against the Cold Reality

There is another report out that the people of Iran are not all happy campers. I suppose there is nothing like freezing in your sleep to make burning government buildings an attractive idea.

Gas shortage leads to clashes in northern Iran: Clashes occurred, today, in the northern cities of Ghaem-Shahr and Sari, near the Caspian Sea, due to shortage of heating gas.

Angry mobs set several official buildings ablaze, and clashed with brutal militiamen sent from Babol in order to disperse the crowd. Slogans against the Islamic regime were shouted, by angry residents, and reports are stating about tens of injured or arrested.

Officials, sent in rush, have tried to calm the residents, but the situation is tense, and road blocks have been installed in order to try to control the situation. The gas shortages started from about ten days ago, despite an unprecedented cold wave that has paralyzed most Iranian cities and has resulted in several deaths.

In Iran, “an unprecedented cold spell followed by heavy snowfall blanketed most Iranian cities, including the capital”. In neighboring Iraq unusually cold weather dusted Baghdad with the first snowfall in memory.

Of course here in Wisconsin, the politicians are selling $50 tickets to seminars on broad and rapid climate change which is the code phrase for the dangerous warming of the entire planet that industrial societies are hypothetically causing. After all, it’s not like there has been excessive snowfall in our patch of the world. --- H/T Owen

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Green Bay 42 Seattle 20

First, we the Green Bay Packers are going to remind you the fans how disheartening bad football makes you feel. Next, we the Green Bay Packers, are going to demonstrate to you the fans how poise and perseverance combined with youthful energy and veteran leadership makes for an exhilarating contest. A classic game in the long history of the National Football League’s old franchise. There will undoubtedly be commemorative snow globes for sale in the very near future.

Friday, January 11, 2008

O Rly Wineke?

Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Joe Wineke, may not have updated his blurb on the Party website since prior to the 2006 elections, but that doesn’t mean the quest for complete control of our State isn’t full speed ahead. This article from The Isthmus is a bit last week but there is one line that is either a complete joke or another example of the ideological filter through which Wineke views the world.

State Dems are licking their chops: To this end, the Dems are targeting a number of Republican districts they think are vulnerable. They note that, when he was reelected in 2006, Gov. Doyle received a majority of votes in 19 Assembly districts that are currently held by Republicans. The Democrats only need to win three of those districts to gain a majority in the Assembly.

"If Jim Doyle can win in Appleton or Oshkosh, then so can other Democrats," says Wineke. He adds that even historically Republican strongholds like the Fox Valley and the northern suburbs of Milwaukee are now in play, because many voters there are dissatisfied with the GOP's foreign policy and social agenda.

"One, they don't like the war in Iraq, and two, they don't like government telling them how to live their lives," says Wineke. These wealthy suburban districts are even becoming sources of money for the Dems.

Apparently the Chairman believes that the citizens (residents, subjects and wards) of Wisconsin “don’t like government telling them how to live their lives” with the implication that this desire for less government intrusion favors the Democrats.

Somehow their incessant push for Public control of Healthcare, a Tax Funded K-12 Public Education Monopoly, Smart Growth, Light Rail, Expanding Zoning Restrictions, Smoking Bans, Fertilizer Bans, assorted other mandates plus the entire assault on the American way of life embodied in the Global Warming, Save the Planet, and Live Green initiatives, don’t impress me as a commitment to the right of free individuals to live like free individuals. A government mandating the light bulbs in your home is not a government trying to stay out of your life.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ecological Dimensions of Biofuels

It is always good to see signs that a few of the less emotional environmentalists are beginning to be concerned about the blind rush to promote biofuels at all costs.

Biofuels Sustainability: The Ecological Society of America, the nation’s professional organization of 10,000 ecological scientists, today released a position statement (link) that offers the ecological principles necessary for biofuels to help decrease dependence on fossil fuels and reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global climate change. The Society warns that the current mode of biofuels production will degrade the nation’s natural resources and will keep biofuels from becoming a viable energy option.

“Current grain-based ethanol production systems damage soil and water resources in the U.S. and are only profitable in the context of tax breaks and tariffs,” says ESA. “Future systems based on a combination of cellulosic materials and grain could be equally degrading to the environment, with potentially little carbon savings, unless steps are taken now that incorporate principles of ecological sustainability.”

It has been said that biofuels have achieved cult-like status and in the rush it is only too easy to overlook the big picture of environmental implications.

I love this so much it bears repeating: “biofuels have achieved cult-like status”. The real tragedy is that carbon dioxide poses no danger to the environment, however, most of the actions fighting this phantom menace are seriously detrimental to the landscape. The biologists have watched so many computer games that the physicists and astronomers are going to have to beat them repeatedly with hard science before it knocks this basic CO2 inaccuracy out of their grant writing and peer group parlor chats.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Forty Second Boyd

In case you have not read Bill Whittle’s New Years Post.



Since our country turns our military over to a new Commander in Chief a year from now, a bit of recent history about our armed forces may contribute to a more informed decision.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Reason on the No Gun Leagues

Joe Gibbs resigns today as the Head Coach of the Washington Redskins. While his reasons are multiple and primarily center on concerns for his family, there is also the undeniable strain of this last season and the home invasion murder of his star player Sean Taylor. Reason Magazine comments on the how the professional leagues are becoming increasing stringent in demanding athletes avoid guns while simultaneously increasing the fame and wealth that makes them targets.

NBA, NFL Go Anti-Gun: Many have asked why Taylor felt it necessary to have a machete nearby, but it's probably worth asking (as his friends and peers in professional sports certainly are), "What if it had been a gun?" Certainly, the outcome may have been different.

Unfortunately, officials in the NFL and the NBA increasingly take a paternalistic attitude toward their athletes. For years, the NFL and the NBA have attempted to distance players from firearms. Some would argue these policies are aimed at a culture that celebrates the criminal use of violent weapons, but the effect is pretty clear: The leagues would rather their players put themselves at risk than protect themselves with guns.

Exacerbating the leagues' willingness to bite on gun control rhetoric is each league's desire to maintain an image. Those in control worry about the way those "streets" and the kill-or-be-killed gang culture can infect their players, some of whom are, literally, only a year or two removed from the streets. The leagues need to sell high-priced tickets to white America. But it's unwise to put the safety of several players at risk in order to protect the leagues' image from the misdeeds of a few. Some players now spend $100,000 a year or more on personal bodyguards, and still don't feel particularly safe.

The leagues also might take note of the uncomfortable history of race and gun control. In a 2005 article for reason, David Kopel looked at some of the ugly realities involved in the roots of gun control in American culture. Since the aftermath of the Civil War, "gun control" has simply been a proxy argument for some as a method for keeping blacks unarmed.

Perhaps it’s a good time to recall The Racist Roots of Gun Control and remember that the push for a disarmed public has always been about authoritarian control over people more than emotional concerns about crime.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Felony Cheese

Now I don’t want to be accused of advocating food poisoning but part of me keeps wondering how our ancestors managed to feed themselves without government oversight. Is it wrong to be more concerned about the growing powers of the food police than the exploits of small time food ... 'criminals'?

'Bathtub cheese' sting snares two: San Bernardino County prosecutors have filed criminal charges against a man and woman suspected of producing and selling illegal homemade cheese, some of which was contaminated with a harmful bacteria. Authorities say Floribel Hernandez Cuenca, 31, and Manuel Martin Sanchez-Garrido, 44, manufactured the so-called "bathtub cheese" inside a home in Montclair, and then sold it in an open-air market outside a Chino meat-processing facility.

At least some of the cheese confiscated by authorities was tainted with salmonella, a bacteria known to cause illness, Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Carrasco said. "I think that the possibility that somebody could become sick is increased when people start manufacturing and selling cheese products out of their home," Carrasco said.

Cuenca and Sanchez-Garrido are each charged with a felony count of processing unpasteurized milk products and a misdemeanor count of selling illegal milk products, both violations of the state's Food and Agriculture Code. The pair is to be arraigned Jan. 24 in Chino Superior Court.

Carrasco said an undercover police officer bought a round of cheese for $13 from Sanchez-Garrido on Oct. 20 at the market in the 7300 block of Pine Avenue. Sanchez-Garrido then led police to Cuenca, who took officers to a Montclair home where the cheese was being produced, Carrasco said. Authorities seized some 375 pounds of illegal cheese, included panela, queso fresco and queso Oaxaca varieties, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Prosecutors filed charges against the pair last week.

The felony carries a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine and a year in jail.

Hey Amigo, what you in for? Oh man, they busted me with 40 kilos of queso fresco in the bathtub. The dude offered me $13 cash. How was I to know he was an undercover special operative?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hoping for a Dormant Middle East

Iowa, for the moment, is out of range of any missiles the Islamic Republic of Iran possesses and the caucus results tell the story of a bipartisan political desire to deal with other issues. Love him or hate him, George W. Bush has managed to subdue to Jihadist movement to the point where both parties believe they can backburner the problem of religious violence. Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post reminds everyone that dormancy implies a temporary lull in activity and the atomic bomb is still an object of lust.

The Day After: Here again, it is important to note that Israel's neck isn't the only one on the line -- although it is first in line. A defeat of Israel -- which can also take the form of simply rendering Israel vulnerable to annihilation -- will be the greatest victory the forces of global jihad have ever experienced. If this is added to an unspoken US acceptance of Iranian hegemony in Iraq, then the position of Western nations will be imperiled.

When the jihadist rejection of the sanctity of human life in favor of martyrdom is taken into consideration, the level of threat the jihadists manifest is arguably even more lethal than that manifested by the Soviet Union. As the frontline state in this war, the role of Israel's leaders is to point out these truths to the world and to their citizens.

What is clear is that there is virtually no support for anything but passive resistance to the desire of the Iranian regime to acquire nuclear weapons, and the favorite tactic of those seeking to avoid active confrontation is the implementation of bureaucratic guidelines.

Raising the Costs for Tehran: There are three separate, but often overlapping, sets of sanctions in place against Iran. The UN Security Council has passed two resolutions against Iran -- Resolutions 1737 and 1747 -- that blacklisted a number of Iranian officials and entities. … The European Union (EU) has followed the UN with two rounds of its own sanctions, in many areas going well beyond what was required by the UN. … The United States has its own list of designated Iranian officials and entities, some of whom have been named by the UN and EU as well. …

To date, most of the focus on the Iran sanctions regime has been on which entities were added to these various blacklists and which were left off. There has been far too little attention paid to how effectively the measures are being implemented. Far more could be done on this front.

Of course, guidelines are as effective as the enforcement supporting them, and there is growing evidence that the isolate, embargo and deprive strategy is being discarded by the neighbors required to make it effective.

Why U.S. strategy on Iran is crumbling: The Gulf has moved away from American arguments for isolating Iran. American policymakers need to do the same. The states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are accommodating themselves to Iran's growing weight in the region's politics. They remain key parts of America's security architecture in the region, hosting massive US military bases and underwriting the American economy in exchange for protection. But as Saudi analyst Khalid al-Dakheel argues, they are no longer content sitting passively beneath the US security umbrella and want to avoid being a pawn in the US-Iranian struggle for power. Flush with cash, they are not interested in a war that would mess up business.

The most optimistic way to look at these events is to hope the wealthy Arab world has agreed to assume primary responsibility for the Jihadist mentality of their own creation. I’m sure President Bush will be content leaving office with a stabilized Middle East. An Islamic region still filled with widespread discontent and overt hatred, but with limited outbreaks of raw destruction. This may be the best that can be achieved in the short term.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Coach Says: No Sloppy Play

Wisconsin wins their second conference game this year with a 64-51 win over Iowa at the Kohl Center. Watching the game, it strikes me that Trevon Hughes is playing tentatively, passing up shots to pass the ball around. I thought it might be something lingering from the ankle injury but the box score shows he plays 33 minutes, so I doubt his six points are a result of anything physical.

Interestingly, Bo Ryan hardly uses his bench this game with only two non-starters getting any extended playing time. Four starters put in over 32 minutes with only Brian Butch getting regular rest periods. Butch, of course, is a monster this game, with 22 points and 7 rebounds and deserves the breaks. Still, it looks like Coach is sending a message that sloppy play and 17 turnovers are not going to be acceptable. Today the seven turnovers are countered balanced with seven steals. Bo says: If you want in the game, take care of the ball and run the offense. Bo knows.

Friday, January 04, 2008

So Sorry - Slight Paperwork Delay

With the New Year comes another example of the effectiveness of pure verbal diplomacy. Last October, Kim Jong Il again gives the world assurances the North Korean nuclear program will be dismantled. Well, surprise, surprise, surprise, he misses his deadline (or report due date to phrase it in less offensive language).

Missed North Korea Deadline Raises Concern: North Korea renewed its pledge to fulfill its obligations at six-party talks in Beijing in October. It promised to provide a complete list of all of its nuclear activities by December 31st -- a deadline the U.S. says Pyongyang missed.

At the White House, spokeswoman Dana Perino expressed skepticism over Pyongyang's intentions, but also some hope. "This is a very closed society that has had a secret program that's been ongoing. But North Korea did agree with the other members of the five – of the six – party talks to disable and to provide a complete and accurate declaration. We don't have any indication that they will not provide one," she said.

So the White House is putting on the happy face that diplomacy requires, but the American Enterprise Institute is under no obligation to sugar coat the truth.

A Diplomatic Charade: Once and for all: Can we please stop pretending that Kim Jong Il is negotiating with us in good faith? The only surprise about North Korea's latest missed deadline--and broken promise--in the ongoing "six-party talks" is Washington's seemingly unending tolerance for this diplomatic masquerade.

Well into the fifth year of negotiations on denuclearizing North Korea, what tangible results do our arms control conferees have to show for their efforts? Only a temporary shutdown of the North's Yongbyon plutonium facility. (State Department happy-talk notwithstanding, that facility has not yet been fully "disabled," much less "dismantled.")

It’s almost like the petty tyrants of the world have figured out they don’t really have to be artful with the stalling and dilly dallying and general foot dragging because nothing really bad is likely to happen. I wonder if Dearest Leader sometimes smiles at how easy it is to string the “great powers” along and wonders how Saddam managed to bungle it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Ed Garvey Against Redistribution

True confession: I burst out laughing when I read this blurb by Ed Garvey. Yes Ed, experience the dread and revulsion at the power of taking stuff you want to keep.

Great Lakes--again: Lately, we have been focusing on the problems of water. (Jim Rowen has helped all of us understand the importance of sensible policies to protect the Great Lakes as political pressure builds to share this asset.)

Instinctively, we think of the Great Lakes as one of our greatest assets. Hundreds of people have said to me, "Just wait until they run out of water in Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix. People will flock to the Midwest." Maybe. Here is the rub. It might not be "our" water. Water is essential to survival so don't underestimate the battle over available water. Don't count on greater Atlanta to just give up and move to Sheboygan. If oil and gas move via pipeline, they can move water the same way.

Why be concerned “as political pressure builds to share this asset”? Why should we have so much when others have so little? Is this justice? Is this equitable? In a country where the wet are getting wetter and the dry are on the verge of turning to dust, how is the ever widening liquidity gap defensible?

If sharing water with the wheat farmers in Kansas allows them to become corn farmers, then who are we to hoard our assets, preventing the land workers from sharing in the great ethanol bounty. If feeding the computer choreographed water fountains of Las Vegas helps restore the greatly abused flora of the lower Colorado or allows San Francisco to preserve the innocent and hapless delta smelt, then what right of possession can be asserted against this larger community benefit?

Mr. Garvey, be true to the Democrat that you are! Lead the movement to pipe out our water to those in need! Sharing is caring! A FAIR Wisconsin doesn’t allow babies to go thirsty!!! If you make sure your cronies control the distribution contracts so they can enjoy the financial benefits of holding the power of permission, you will be honored as the champion of the common good. That’s what you want isn’t it?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Freshman Lifts Badgers to Victory

Badger fans may remember a 6’8” Forward named Mike Wilkinson who could hit some 3’s and also seize rebounds out of all the scuffling in the paint. Well 6’10” Forward Jon Leuer reminds me a bit of old Mike. Its a 70-54 win over Michigan to open the Big Ten season.
Leuer lifts Wisconsin past rival Michigan: Freshman Jon Leuer scored a career-high 25 points … shot 8-of-9 from the field and connected on all five of his 3-point attempts in the contest. The 6-10 forward is now 9-of-10 from the arc this season and has not missed a three since November 16.
There is a whole lot of sloppy play after the Badgers run the lead up to 20 points early, so Bo will have plenty of teaching to do next practice. I imagine he might have some Coach thoughts about the undesirability of 17 turnovers.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A Year To Define Privacy

It is now 2008 on the calendar. The schedule says this is a big decision year. I am not really intrigued with the guessing game of prediction, however, it does appear that privacy is in need of defense. Perhaps there is some irony in the fact that our inquisitive nature is developing efficient ways of observing every aspect of the universe, including ourselves.

Your privacy at risk? One of the complaints of many civil libertarians, to include many of us on QandO, is that today's technology and the concerns about terrorism have combined to present an opportunity, through government, to seriously compromise your privacy. For instance, Arizona, Michigan, Vermont, and Washington have added RFID chips to their driver's licenses. If you have a US Passport, you probably already know they're tagged with these chips.

So what does that mean? Well, for the holders of those licenses, it means that someone within a 30 foot range with the proper monitoring equipment is privy to the information contained therein. … Then, of course there's the opportunity for the government, should it decide to do so, to monitor you at places other than airports and borders. And no, I don't like that idea.

Freedom of movement under the constant surveillance of government is not my idea of liberty. In other words, liberty without privacy is not my concept of ideal freedom.