Now that Blaska's Blog has won the silver medal in Isthmus' "Madison's Favorites Poll" competition (see page 35 of the 2008-09 Annual Manual), Blaska's Blog world headquarters is being inundated with requests for tours of our production facilities. Schools, senior citizen centers, fraternal organizations, better government groups, Tony Galli of TV-27, the Federal Trade Commission and the morbidly curious are lined up to see how this popular blog is manufactured.
Can you blame them?
As the annual poll attests, Blaska's Blog is a winner because our customers get only the finest ingredients -- not a speck of cereal -- hand-crafted with old-world precision, delivered fresh to you each day. Guaranteed 100% free of Communism, you get that unique combination of Blaska's Blog fact and opinion direct from the factory. Yes, we bypass the middleman to pass the savings on to you.
Pictured here is our manufacturing plant, located on the southwest side of Madison. It is here in these state-of-the-art facilities that we turn the raw materials procured from all over Wisconsin and throughout the world (including yellow cake from Niger) into the Blaska's Blog you have come to know and love.
Nine out of 10 conservatives who chew gum recommend Blaska's Blog.
Don't worry about those smokestacks. Blaska's Blog has purchased some of the carbon offsets from Al Gore's mansion to buy off the enviros. (Well, I won them in a poker game.) We are 100 percent organic. We burn only dead Japanese beetles, which we collect by the truckload from select locations throughout Orchard Ridge. Yes, we are green -- more green than this year's Democrat(ic) nominee for president.
In the next photo you see Blaska's Blog chief executives preparing tomorrow's batch of blog. Blaska's Blog is conceived with the housewife in mind. That's me on the left at the drawing board. Pictured clockwise is my brain trust: vice president for quality control Melchior Beezwanger, vice president for procurement and tax shelters Ladislaw "Mumbles" Frimmer, and the plant manager formerly known as C.B. Wackhouser III. Not pictured is manservant Ruben Mamoulian, who is believed to be hanging out at Peace Park with Bill Austin.
If you would like to purchase stock in Blaska's Blog, please enter your name in the Comment Section below and submit $100 for each share. We take PayPal, MasterCard, precious metals, Euros, and Klinke's Cleaners coupons. Rest assured, Blaska's Blog will never sell out to the Belgians until they sweeten the deal!
Blaska's Blog is an equal opportunity employer, members of Progressive Dane excepted. However, the aforementioned executives are the only employees of Blaska's Blog. The plant itself is fully automated.
Count almost every vote
So, who won the gold in the Isthmus annual Madison's Favorites poll? Let's just say that is being litigated. The early returns would indicate some guy named "Paul Soglin," if that's his real name.
Be assured that your favorite blog has hired a dream team of lawyers to challenge the results. We will put wing tips on the tarmac to prove that there were thousands of dimpled, pregnant, and hanging chads submitted by questionable voters signed up by ACORN who meant to vote Blaska's Blog but were confused by the butterfly ballots. No, we are not challenging the vote in every county; we are cherry picking counties where we are likely to do well. Our motto is "count every vote" if it's in our favor, challenge every vote that isn't.
Besides, how can you trust the Soglin blog? Pictured here is the Soglin production facility, located in a slum on the outskirts of Havana, Cuba. It is under the protection of Raul Castro on orders from his invalid brother Fidel. When Soglin is protected like that, no one can get to him. Pass the oranges.
"Above my Pay Grade"
That's got to be the newest catch phrase, replacing "It is what it is." It's the equivalent of "the dog ate my homework."
I only caught up with the Saddleback Church interviews with Obama and McCain after its August 16 airing. [YouTube has them.] Pastor Rick Warren [See the Wall Street Journal interview] is being praised for asking brief, penetrating questions and then getting the hell out of the way to let the candidates answer. (Remember Brian Lamb on C-Span's book program. "What is your book about? Why did you write it?" Now try listening to NPR. "See how smart I am. Sorry, we don't have time for your answer.")
To the question "When does life begin?" Obama responded that the answer was "Above my pay grade."
Obama is windsailing with John Kerry here; limning Bill Clinton "depends what the meaning of 'is' is." Of "not inhaling." It's just not real. This year's candidate is being compared to another presidential candidate from Illinois. No, not (brutally) Honest Abe but Adlai Stevenson II. ("Eggheads of the world, throw off your yolks.") Obama does not answer questions, he parses them to death.
As usual, Peggy Noonan nails it.
You know why they call it birth control? Because it's meant to stop a birth from happening nine months later. We know when life begins. Everyone who ever bought a pack of condoms knows when life begins. Put it another way, with conception, something begins. What do you think it is? A car? A 1948 Buick?" [They're Paying Attention Now, Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2008]
Barack is goo goo g'joob
Obama, it strikes me, is not running as Leader of the Free World but as a white-collar facilitator -- the guy the department hires to bring everyone together at the office to do "process engineering" because they don't have the stones to offer clear direction themselves. So they hire an expert, defined as a guy from someplace else (in this case, Indonesia) under orders to betray no particular point of view, to swear Swedish neutrality, but with secret orders in his pocket to achieve some pre-ordained result. After several "listening sessions" where comments are duly noted on Post-It sheets, the consultant issues the report the boss had in mind all along.
Remember the seminal music group Velvet Underground with Euro-trash "chanteuse" Nico mono-toning "I am your mirror"? That's the O-man.
If that reference is too obscure, the Democrat(ic) nominee is I am the Walrus.
I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob.
O-man's glam rock tour of Berlin proved that he is no JFK. Kennedy spoke in the shadow of The Wall and drew a stark, difficult line in the sand: "There are some in Europe and elsewhere (read "America") who believe that Communism and freedom can co-exist," he began. Then he dropped the hammer. "LET THEM COME TO BERLIN!" He shoots, he scores.
Reagan was derided by Lenin's useful idiots on the free side of the fence when he demanded, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
Not "Can we talk?" but "TEAR DOWN THE GODDAMN WALL."
From O-kumbaya what do we get? "Yes we can!" Yes we can… what? No one will remember "Obama in Berlin" except for the pure, empty, cynical hubris. I remember Jack Kennedy. You, Senator Obama, are no Jack Kennedy.
The signal importance of policing
With a murder rate more than double New York City's, Charlie Sykes reports that Milwaukee...
Mayor Tom Barrett upended the carefully choreographed search process for a new police chief and reached out for Ed Flynn, a proponent of the "broken windows" theory of crime fighting. Flynn made no secret of his respect for the crime fighting tactics of William Bratton, who helped clean up both New York City and Los Angeles. Fast forward a year. This month, the Milwaukee Police Department reported that the first half of 2008 saw a dramatic fall in the rate of violent crime in the city.
Hmm, the broken windows theory. Bill Bratton. Where have we heard that before, Blaska's Blog readers?
(Tom Barrett is now aiming at Milwaukee's dysfunctional schools. He should not back down from a hostile takeover. If there is one issue -- one issue -- that is important to Wisconsin as a state, it is the rescue of the Milwaukee schools from the WEAC culture of entitlement-driven, spend-our-way-out-of-hell turpitude. Put Ed Flynn in charge, dress the students in uniforms and begin each day with drill review.)
But back to policing -- it is the first social service. Students cannot be taught if there is even one gangsta wannabe in the classroom. Neighborhoods cannot thrive if bullies stalk the streets. As Chance the Gardener would say, we must weed the garden.
Back to Moscow on the Lakes. Saturday's Wisconsin State Journal posits that one way the City of Madison could cope with a tight budget is to eliminate 26 police officers to save $1.76 million. [City budget is a bruiser.]
While that would tickle my friends at Prog Dane, police cuts are a non-starter. Just a month ago, the Community Development Block Grant Commission recommended $5.87 million (some of it federal money) in block grants for 2009. Here is a sampling:
Project Home, home repair $160,000
Independent Living, home modification $41,000
Urban League, single family rent to own $153,000
Operation Fresh Start, housing rehab $378,000
Movin' Out, home ownership $270,000
Movin' Out, rental rehab $180,000
Commonwealth Development, public market $157,500
WI Women's Business Initiative $140,000
Latin Chamber, small business initiative $15,000
Wisconsin Youth Center $50,818
Vera Court $122,407
Neighborhood House $35,924
Goodman Community Center $42,635
East Madison Community Center $45,383
Community Action Coalition gardens $42,371
Bridge Lake Point Waunona $11,845
BGC Taft $160,448
BGC Allied $114,369
Is this where County Board Chairman Scott McDonell gets $47,000 to rehab a house he bought downtown, according to The Capital Times?
See me after school
Hard leftist Marg Passman couldn't get elected to the Madison School Board when she had opposition. So, a year later, she ran again -- this time, unopposed. Admittedly, school board is tough duty. Brother Mike-boy used to say that he could do a town board (he did), a village board, or a county board (ditto, and chaired both) but not a school board. But the Progs don't think that way. They are like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead, they just keep on a-coming.
When are Jennifer Alexander and Mark Bugher going to get their Chamber of Commerce members to pony up? Inculcate a culture where mid-level managers and above are expected to run for local office. Consider it the equivalent of the university's publish or perish. (Chancellor John Wiley published AND perished.)
So now, predictably, Madison is now considering the mother of all School Board referenda: a PERMANENT get-out-of-hock card that allows them to exceed state spending limits by $5 million the first year, $9 million the second, and $13 million the third year and thereafter, in perpetuity, which, because the state aid formula penalizes profligacy, would translate into $20 million a year of local property tax hikes.
Three years ago, Madison, Wisconsin -- of all places! -- turned down two spending referenda. Today, housing values are plummeting; unemployment is edging up; the S&P 500 is off 10% from a year ago. And the Madison School Board says "More."
The school board will meet Monday, August 25 at 5 pm in the auditorium of the Ruth Doyle building on Dayton Street to take action regarding the proposed referendum, which could come as early as to coincide with the November presidential election.
Send your comments to the school board at email@example.com.
- Getting back to "Madison's Favorites." The category: Local Public Enemy #1. The envelope, please. The winner: (The) Kathleen Falk. And I got to think Isthmus' audience is a bit more liberal than the average bear. Mainstream conservative and moderate candidates for county executive, start your engines! The election is next April.
- Can't wait for the National Democrat(ic) Convention that starts this week. I hear it's in Denver. Would have thought Toronto.
- Joe Biden: training wheels.
- State Rep. Terese Berceau mailed a copy of the Blue Book, as requested. In gratitude I promised her one free week of Blaska's Blog. "It's already free," she protested. Here is my counter-offer: two weeks.
- Good luck to Marc Eisen, executive editor of Isthmus. We've known each other off and on for 20 years. He invited your genial blog host to resume writing and for that, I am truly grateful. This is Marc's last week. He took the leap of his own accord and I admire his sense of adventure at his advanced age. (Sorry.)
Publisher Vince O'Hern and his gracious lady hosted a delightful soiree at their century manor overlooking Lake Monona on a golden Friday evening to send Marc off into the great unknown. It was the kind of event Dolly Madison or Louise Marsden would have chronicled. Vince, take the damages out of my paycheck.