That rash of smash-and-grab burglaries of small businesses at Odana Road and Whitney Way -- mom and pops, really -- may have been solved. The suspected perps took off in a 1994 Cadillac. Let the Madison Police Department tell its own story:
... the driver drove south on Whitney, then east on Gilbert Road. On Gilbert he pulled into an apartment complex parking lot where he ditched the car. He and at least two co-conspirators took off running. The first officer on scene gave chase. The foot pursuit was about a 100-yard dash, and in the end the officer won, taking the driver of the get-away car into custody.
Yikes. That is three blocks from the Blaska experimental work farm. The report goes on to say that the suspected perp was high on smack. Now there is a candidate for Sheriff Mahoney's love bracelet and a get-out-of-jail-free card! What kind of liberal city is Madison if a man has to steal just to get his jones on (as Mayor Nagin of New Orleans would put it)?
A canine officer tracked a second suspect to Russet Road. That street lies immediately behind the recently renovated Meadowood Shopping Center. Last week, Jacobson Brothers meat market announced it was moving out. Maybe we can get a tattoo parlor or payday loan shop in its place.
The other half is empty
The Wisconsin State Journal got it half right Sunday. The newspaper led off its editorial agenda by calling for the appointment of our state supreme court justices instead of the farce of elections that require candidates to campaign without saying anything. Readers will recall I made the same pitch on December 24.
But the State Journal did not heed my warning (They know how to live dangerously at 1901 Fish Hatchery Road!) against the so-called Missouri plan, whereby the State Bar Association puts up three candidates and the governor picks one, subject to Senate approval. I repeat here, the State Bar is a special interest group. Yes, it has powers to discipline its members for such transgressions as mixing clients' funds with their own. Yes, it requires a certain amount of continuing education. But grant it no special powers over the selection of public officials.
That's like giving the teachers' union the keys to the Department of Public Instruction. (What? They have?)
Let the governor nominate his mistress if he wants. Let the Bar Association weigh in, along with the news media and every blogger with a Kaypro and a modem. Let the Senate debate it.
Either way, prevents the horrible precedent of taxpayer-financed elections.
Iraq? What Iraq?
Has Iraq has disappeared as an issue? That's what the national news media is saying.
As reported by Tom Foreman of CNN:
Simple: The war is going much, much better than it was a year ago -- even a few months ago. You might even say we are winning. I fully accept that anytime our young people are dying and civilians are being killed in the midst of combat, it is difficult to even talk about winning or losing. But fatalities for troops and civilians alike are way down.
The Iraqis, no matter how much they have stumbled and failed in the political process, are finally reopening their shops, their schools, and their neighborhoods. They are taking more control of their own country, and long-awaited reconciliation between warring factions is slowly, haltingly getting under way.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama urge withdrawing troops as soon as possible. But how to define "possible?" As Foreman reports, only John Edwards advocates anything approaching immediate withdrawal. And his poll ratings are going farther south than the Carolinas. It's Hillary 42 percent to Obama's 37 to Edwards' 11 to Kucinich's 2 percent.
Jay Leno got off a good line, noting Edwards' incantation of the "Two Americas" divide, Leno added, "And neither one is voting for him." Someone in the New York Times wrote that Edwards was channeling that old populist gasbag William Jennings Bryan, a three-time presidential loser. Whether it is David Duke or Huey Long, America generally comes to the sensible conclusion that populists are dangerous demagogues.
The Weekly Standard has to be embarrassed. Its current issue, put to press after Iowa, trumpets the demise of Hillary Clinton. And how to explain John McCain? Here is a guy who has royally pissed off the religious right, the second amendment lobby, the "ship 'em back to Mexico" crew, and the Bushies. I hate and detest his McCain-Feingold campaign finance "reform." Yet McCain is riding high on the Republican side, leading a strong pack of five candidates with 25 percent of the vote. Six months ago, they were writing his political obituary.
The inescapable fact is that McCain was right about Don Rumsfeld's mishandling of the war and said so. The inescapable fact is that McCain supported the surge. By contrast, Hillary Clinton, for all her experience, voted to send troops to Iraq and then voted against the surge to make it work, famously telling General Petraeus that his plan required a "willing suspension of disbelief."
According to Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post, Obama in July 2004 said, quoting the Chicago Tribune (I get all this via The Capital Times. Whew!) "There's not much of a difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage."
Obama rewrote history during the New Hampshire debate, crediting the improving situation in Iraq to the Democratic takeover of Congress 14 months ago, which is ludicrous, as The Weekly Standard points out.
Breakfast with a smiley mug
I have been taking lessons in the art of living from a master, a fellow by the name of Robert Slottke, who is now in hospice care. I've pointed to his blog on Caring Bridge website before and do so here, again.
As Robert writes:
All our days are another opportunity to be grateful.
Getting ready for work last week I pulled on my galoshes in the entryway to stately Blaska Manor to go out and retrieve the morning newsprint. In the dark of the morning I paused briefly to look into the dining room. Sitting on the table illuminated by the low-hanging lamp, a bright yellow coffee cup was positioned so that its corny smiley face smiled directly at me. I could see the steam rising from the warm caffeinated brew into the light of the lamp. Off camera, so to speak, the clanking in the kitchen meant my lovely chtelaine was making a nourishing breakfast for me before sending me out into the workaday world.
Just don't burn the toast this time, OK?
Blaska's political comeback
I've got a new slogan: "Blaska -- he's likable enough."