I have asked Karl Rove to put a tap on one Scot (single T) Ross (double S), executive director of One Wisconsin Now. In defense of the death tax, he tells Mike Ivey of the Prog Dane newspaper/website Tuesday that "Our kids, our seniors, our disabled and our poor need this money more than Wisconsin's next Paris Hilton."
As agit/prop, Ross does a masterful job of pulling all the right strings. All that is missing is swelling music and a sea of Sergei Eisenstadt faces.
Paris Hilton, of course, is a notorious slut. And kids, seniors and disabled -- well, I'm surprised single-T Scot didn't throw in hobbled up, made-crazy-by-the-Iraq War veterans for even greater high-relief contrast.
But here is what scares me: who the H-E double hockey sticks is Scot (single T) Ross to decide who needs what?
Let's bring out our NRA mural of kids, seniors and disabled heroes and put it to you this way, Average Joe and Joan Citizen: don't these sympathetic faces -- do I see a winsome smudge on the little rascal's face? -- need this money more than the next (FILL IN THE BLANK) rich guy Sean Penn, rich guy Bob Dylan, rich guy John Edwards, rich guy Ted Kennedy, rich guy George Soroos?
You can argue tax policy, but please don't gum up the works with who is "deserving" and who is not. Didn't anyone get the point of Dr. Zhivago?
RTA -- Runaway Transit Authority
I love trains. Took an Amtrak sleeper car down to Mexico on my Pueblo pottery quest. But there is some heavy-handedness with the Regional Transit Authority being proposed by the liberals.
This is Kathleen Falk's $46 million scheme to make Dane County the most heavily taxed county in Wisconsin. The Kathleen would add a half-cent to our existing 5.5-cent sales tax, making Dane County's sales tax 6.0 percent compared to 5.6 percent in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Racine, and Washington Counties.
The purpose: to fund a commuter train from Middleton to Sun Prairie. The RTA proposal is notorious for the total non-involvement of anyone outside of Madison. Kathleen Falk's County Board could not rubber stamp the proposal fast enough.
The liberal majority pushed through the RTA on August 16 after Sup. Mark Opitz beat back an attempt by conservatives to place the issue on the April 1 referendum ballot, which -- not coincidentally -- is when he needs to stand election. After 12 years on the County Board, Mark is finally facing an opponent. Sup. Jack Martz last week at the February 7 meeting tried again for a referendum but that measure was defeated again.
My neighbor Dave Baker, vice chairman of the County GOP, made an open records request on October 7 for all emails relating to the RTA vote. Four months later, on February 1, the records were delivered. My friend Eric West, the very excellent chairman of the Dane County Republican Party, which meets in catacombs deep beneath the city just above the receding water table, makes this report:
After careful review by Dave and myself, and only counting multiple emails from individual voters once here is what we found:
E-mails AGAINST the RTA --231
E-mails FOR the RTA -- 77
Here is the roll call from that August 16 meeting.
AYES: 22 -- Bayrd, Brown, de Felice, DeSmidt, Erickson, Hendrick, Hulsey, Kumar, Matano, Miles, Opitz, Pertzborn, Richmond, Rusk, Stoebig, Stubbs, Vedder, Veldran, Vogel, Wheeler, Worzala, and McDonell.
NOES: 13 -- Bruskewitz, Downing, Gau, Jensen, Kostelic, Martz, Ripp, Salov, Schoer, Suslick, Wendt, Wiganowsky, and Willett.
ABSENT: 2 -- Hanson and O'Loughlin.
I don't have the roll call but the February 7 vote was recorded thusly by the Wisconsin State Journal on-line:
The Dane County Board overwhelmingly approved a resolution Thursday to hold an advisory referendum on creating a countywide Regional Transit Authority within 12 months of state legislation empowering counties to set up the organizations. The measure, sponsored by Sup. Mark Opitz of Middleton, was substituted for one that would have placed the referendum on the ballot April 1.
Ordure in the Court!
Minnesotans are getting behind appointment of state supreme court justices, but with that terrible "merit selection" process that keeps power in the hands of the State Bar Association. Let the governor appoint his mistress, subject to State Senate approval and quit this charade of judicial election.
As WisPolitics reports:
"No one bothered to point out that I also made political donations to Tommy Thompson as well as Paul Ryan and Russ Feingold and years ago I ran Ross Perot's campaign in Rock County," Basting said in a WisPolitics interview.
But that is the point, isn't it? Why trade one corrupted political process -- by which I mean so-called judicial elections in which the candidate for justice cannot speak out on the issues -- for another corrupted process?
The President of the United States puts up a nominee, the U.S. Senate and the rest of the free world debates it, and then the Senate votes up or down. That system produced Louis Brandeis, Hugo Black, Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren, and Antonin Scalia.
- Speaking of WisPolitics.com -- Jeff Mayers figured out what The Capital Times is just learning; it's on the web. A decade ago, when the Wisconsin State Journal first de-emphasized state news coverage, Jeff went electronic. He may have the last laugh yet. So who is co-sponsoring the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Milwaukee? None of the Capital Newspapers/web sites. Dick Wheeler figured that out, too.
- All you need to know about Ron Paul: 9/11 conspiracy theorist Kevin Barrett supports him, judging by his letter in last week's Isthmus.
- My friends at the Dane County Agri-Business Delegation have invited me to their annual meeting and panel discussion on animal welfare on February 21. Venue: Prime Quarter Steak House, Madison. As Dan Ackroyd used to say, "You stun it, you gut it..."
Ankle bracelets, anyone?
Madison, WI -- Saturday, February 02, 2008 Inmate Pedro Ocotl-Jimenez (20) failed to return to the Dane County Jail -- Ferris Center while out on work release. He is sentenced with Huber privileges, which allow him to leave the jail for employment purposes. He is currently serving sentences for Aggravated Battery and Failure to Report to Jail.
Madison, WI -- Sunday, February 03, 2008 Inmate Melissa Basilio-Ruiz (age 26) failed to return to the Dane County Jail -- Public Safety Building while out on work release. She is sentenced with Huber privileges, which allow her to leave the jail for employment purposes. She is currently serving sentences for Prostitution and Possession of Cocaine Base.
Actually, neither is currently serving any sentence.