Headline: Is AG sincere about putting safety ahead of politics? [The Capital Times 6-16-2009]
Blaska's Blog: Is The Capital Times sincere?
The Jerry Lewis impersonator at The Capital Times has written one of the wackiest, nuttiest editorials of all time. It is such a treat that I had to bring it to a wider audience.
Here is the back story: the two Madison Democrats who run the legislature's Joint Finance Committee tried to cut the Wisconsin Department of Justice beyond the normal 5 percent that all state agencies are being cut by an additional $5.4 million. The move was widely seen as pure partisan hacksmanship, given that the attorney general of the state is a Republican. After a hue and cry encompassing everyone from Dane County's district attorney, a Democrat, to victims' rights groups, to the Department of Justice's rank and file career civil servants, Mark Pocan and Mark Miller restored the funding.
For that, the Progressive Dane news outlet would require J.B. Van Hollen, the attorney general (the "AG" of the headline) to - get this - "actively campaign for the re-election of Democrats ... most notably ... Mark Pocan, D-Madison!"
You read that right! The victim is supposed to reward the punk who was caught red-handed trying to boost his car stereo!
For good measure, Van Hollen must "actively support Mayor Dave Cieslewicz ... if (he has to) seek tax hikes in order to provide expanded police protection."
While we're at it, why not make the state's attorney general sing, "I'm a little teapot, short and stout" for YouTube?
Or, Van Hollen could just say like most of us in these tight economic times that you got to prioritize. For instance, don't spend $300,000 of property tax money studying trolleys while police needs aren't being met.
"We just hope that Van Hollen is not a self-serving hypocrite," the editorial says. About The Capital Times, there can be no doubt.
A crappy budget concocted in secret
This is a Democrat(ic) budget that was written in secret, amidst campaign cash fundraisers, beholden to all kinds of special interests that would raise taxes, give illegal aliens driver's licenses and give criminals a get-out-of-jail free card.
While The Capital Times provides cover to the two Marks, Pocan and Miller, and to Jim E Doyle (who knew that J.B. Van Hollen was the bad guy in this budget?), at least Ed Garvey has some sand in his craw:
Democrat Doyle kept his proposed budget a secret until forced to send it to the Democratic controlled Assembly. The Democratic controlled Joint Finance Committee debated behind closed doors; the Assembly Dems kept the public out; the Senate Dems closed the doors and now the reconciliation effort will be hidden from the public.
Why is The Capital Times, by comparison, such a toady? Meanwhile, a bipartisan bill would open up the top-secret party caucuses, where the decisions are really made. Therese Berceau is the only area legislator to sign on so far.
Jason ("I'm all ears") is listening
Hey, Jason Joyce, talk to these guys. Get their stories. Hear them out. Time for one of your prescribed listening sessions.
6/21/2009 - 3:48 PM
Hammersley Rd/Theresa Ter
M/B, wearing a red shirt and blue jeans
The Madison Police Dept received a report of an individual on foot, described above, shooting at a moving vehicle in the area of Hammersley Rd and Teresa Ter. At the time of the call we were not able to locate the vehicle or the armed individual. There was evidence of shots being fired located at the scene. Later on a MPD officer saw a vehicle matching the description. This vehicle did have a bullet hole in the trunk.
Gang bangers, you have the floor. Did the dude diss you? Wearing rival colors? Backed up on his payments? Was the coke cut with too much milk powder? Stepping out with your bitch? You talk, Jason will listen. He'll take a deep breath first, but then he's all yours. Because Jason cares, he really does.
Rather than just tell you to quit with the gang banging, all high-and mighty like he's The Man, Jason will shut up, listen, and be supportive. When you're all talked out - if you're ready for it, that is - Jason will offer fatherly counsel as to why it's not nice to shoot at moving cars - or running people, for that matter. Perhaps he'll draw on some homilies learned from his own dad.
Jason will gently guide you into powerful but culturally sensitive insights so that, perhaps next time we'll all laugh about how we used to think it was O.K. to be firing off rounds of ammo on a Sunday afternoon on a busy city street but now we understand that it isn't.
Tell a kid to hold his fire and the neighborhood will be safe for five minutes. Teach a kid why it's important to not walk around shooting guns and he'll end up at Harvard, or something.
He did it his way
A homeless dude known as "the snowsuit guy" was found deader than a doornail on a park bench on the Capitol Square at the East Main and Pinckney Street corner last week. There's been a pretty lively forum discussion over how the guy "slipped through the cracks." I contributed this:
The dead fellow did not "slip through the cracks." There was a history of interventions in this poor fellow's case - aka: offers to help, by both citizens and agencies. He turned them down, except for a free pair of thermal boots. It was his choice. Civil libertarians succeeded 30 years ago in making involuntary commitments almost impossible. Isn't Eddie Ben Elson (ultimately, suicide victim) a folk hero to this day? Under those terms, let's face it, the guy chose to live and die as he did.
I don't call this guy a vagrant since it appears he did not pester people inordinately for money. But the whole Madison liberal ethos is that these people get to live their lives the way they want to, no matter how self-destructive. Begs the question, what was the state, the Catholic Church, or guilty bike-riding liberal citizen supposed to do?
Put another way: what are the limits for even the nanniest of states? Should we have scooped him off his winter grate at the GEF-1 state office building, medicated and confined him? Why not? We ban smoking for people's "own good." It's a slippery slope, my friends.
"It's for your own good" is, in fact, the credo of all totalitarian regimes. It presupposes that Big Brother knows best.
I look at it this way: the guy is sitting in front of a padded heating grate in heaven, maybe wearing a pair of thermal wings. [The Forum: Body on Capitol Square]
George W. we hardly knew ye
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times writes:
There are a million things to hate about President Bush's costly and wrenching wars. But the fact is, in ousting Saddam in Iraq in 2003 and mobilizing the U.N. to push Syria out of Lebanon in 2005, he opened space for real democratic politics that had not existed in Iraq or Lebanon for decades.
"Bush had a simple idea, that the Arabs could be democratic, and at that particular moment simple ideas were what was needed, even if he was disingenuous," said Michael Young, the opinion editor of The Beirut Daily Star. "It was bolstered by the presence of a U.S. Army in the center of the Middle East. It created a sense that change was possible, that things did not always have to be as they were." [NY Times, Winds of Change]
And this was written before the contested Iranian elections! Say it, Barack, The One. Say the equivalent of "Tear Down This Wall." Unequivocally back the people of Iran against the mullahs. You know where George W. would be. This moral ambiguity does not have a very long shelf life, n'est-ce pas?
Steve King ran as a fiscal conservative this spring on the far, far southwest side of town. So why is the newly elected alderman urging the hard-pressed property taxpayer to take over a function the prosperous Catholic diocese could no longer afford? And did Steve King drop a coin into the collection basket to the Catholic Multicultural (Oh, how I hate that word) Center? Or does he want us to put our money where his mouth is?
Poverty beat writer Patricia Schneider has the story.
O.K., I give. The Minnesota recount that wouldn't quit has to end some day. The election was nearly 8 months ago and still the state is without one of its two representatives in the U.S. Senate. For my money, hold your nose, seat Al Franken and be done with it.
We'll be debating this one when we're all in assisted living, but that is why I am thankful that, at least, the 2000 presidential election was decided. The nation could not afford to go on and on with the presidency like Minnesota is with its Senate race.
Enjoy him while you can. Local financial writer (and practitioner) Ray Unger has always made uncommon sense for one whose work is posted on The Capital Times website. Here he neatly deconstructs Obama's Hillarycare redux:
I recently interviewed an orthopedic surgeon and asked him about this fix. He put it quite bluntly, that unless all consumers pay something toward their health care needs, consumers will go on a shopping spree. He told me about patients who routinely request and are given MRIs, other expensive tests, and medical procedures without regard to cost. Why not? As long as somebody else is paying the freight, why not send tons of cargo through the system?
Remember the next time someone demands "single payer" health care. That "single payer" is the government, the same government that orders $4,000 toilet seats. And who is "the government," class? A little louder, please.
Writing that column must have gotten Ray's boil going because he cuts to the chase in a letter to Monday's State Journal:
... I'm all for universal health care but if anyone thinks we can achieve this goal by eliminating the profits of the insurance companies - a tiny fraction of the total cost - or by invoking that useless bromide of "cutting waste and fraud," they're living in a dream world. It's going to mean significantly higher income taxes. Do you still want it?