Saw Comrade John Nichols at the Tea Party at the State Capitol last week. He asked why wasn't Blaska speaking from the podium. He would not ask that if he heard Blaska speaking from the podium. Dogs howl, garage doors jerk up and down, and cockroaches are rendered sterile.
I fancy myself more in the mold of Mort Sahl or Jack Paar speaking to an audience seated around tables with candles stuck in Mateus bottles. I don't do the pounding fist thing. Maybe a little Senor Wences with the fist, but no pounding.
Christian Schneider takes some good-natured pokes at the tea partiers. Here are three of his 10 points:
Last week, speaker after speaker strode to the stage, veins bulging, demanding we take our country back. (By the way, the new Tea Party Drinking Game involves taking a drink any time any speaker says "of the people, by the people, and for the people." You'd be drunk in 15 minutes.)
Who's ever heard of a Wisconsin event where thousands of people get together and there's no tailgating? Someone figure out the grilling rules for the Capitol lawn and let's fire up the bratwurst.
More emphasis should be given to what people can do RIGHT NOW. The Founding Fathers are great, but Ben Franklin isn't crawling out of his crypt to stop the global warming bill in the Wisconsin State Legislature.WPRI: Ten tips for a better tea party.
Plenty of humor in the audience, however. Travis Ganser of Mt. Horeb bore a sign reading "Don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining."
Saw a T-shirt about hope and change but it featured old ski nose, Bob Hope, and some coins.
The first speaker set the tone by demanding civility and that the Capitol grounds be left as clean as we found it. Mission accomplished.
Even so, Jack Craver called Governor Thompson's remarks "venomous." Really? That is a synonym for "poisonous." Jason Joyce thinks that Tommy Thompson's daughter Kelli called the tea partiers "vicious" -- the same crowd that chanted "Run, Tommy, Run"? Doubt it.
Vulgar? How about the young woman on the other side of Main Street who carried a sign making a vulgar reference: "get your tea bags off my body." (We'll make a deal, sweetie. Let the baby live and we'll call it even.)
In any event, this is a RALLY -- not a graduate seminar. A little hyperbole is part of the stew. Or do I need to attend the upcoming state Democrat(ic) convention? Hmmm. They can only wish for the vitality that the tea party movement has given conservatives.
Parsing Miss Emily
I give credit to Emily Mills for doing a little cross-cultural training and attending her first tea party. [Journey to the Center of the Tea Party: 4-20-10] I've always gotten the most jollies from penetrating the Left's inner sanctums.
Why, just last week, I witnessed an old man who calls himself "Noam Chomsky" bore 2,200 people to death at the Orpheum theater. He did say to be nice to the tea partiers, though. He's one of these guys who digs dissent for the sake of dissent. At heart, I think Chomsky is an anarchist.
But Emily is sadly mistaken when she says that health care is a right.
And there I was, standing in his audience, unable to afford the health care that I need because I've chosen to walk a career path that is 1) where my passion actually lays, and 2) unfortunately doesn't involve working for a business that provides coverage for its employees. I work for myself.
Try to find it in the Constitution, this "right." It may be a good thing, this "free" health care. It may be that Congress should provide it after all. (As P.J. O'Roarke says, "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it's free.") But it is not a right.
The key words -- and they are your words, Emily -- is "I chose."
Yes, you made a choice. Choices have consequences. I am paying for your decision, Emily. It is not a decision I ever made or could make, having a small family to support. Now, I must pay for your decision. You chose to fall backwards into the crowd and demand "now catch me."
Soon enough, Emily, you will declare that eating is constitutionally enshrined and not just hamburger helper but the prime cuts. After all, why should the diners at Ruth's Chris be the only ones to sup large?
One Wisconsin Now watch
Paddy Mac makes a good point about that "One Wisconsin (when do we want it?) Now" truck that circled the Square (if that is geometrically possible) during the Tea Party rally:
The lefty fringe at One Wisconsin Now drove a billboard truck past the gathered 10,000 or so taxed-enough people, hoping to befuddle them with some clever message it selected in an online contest.
The winner? "I AM my brother's keeper," apparently.
... If you are your brother's keeper, then go tend to him. No one's stopping you. People might even help if you ask.
But the progressives aren't asking. They're not even that into keeping their brother. They're thinking more along the lines of, "I AM the guy who persuades the government to take someone else's money and hand it over to my brother so that I feel good about myself." [Patrick McIlheran, 4-19-10]
The creep who sought to "demolish" the April 15 tea parties turns out to be a unionized teacher (I am so surprised) who may have used taxpayer-supported resources. In any event, Jeremy Levin has been placed on leave.
His school district in the state of Oregon is investigating whether he used district computers to spread his political message or worked on his "Crash the Tea Party"Web site during school hours.
Levin has said he would seek to embarrass Tea Partiers by attending their rallies dressed as Adolf Hitler, carrying signs bearing racist, sexist and anti-gay epithets and acting as offensively as possible -- anything short of throwing punches.
That is just ... so ... venomous. So ... vicious!
Madison had its infiltrators, too. But they wore bandannas over their faces like criminal stick-up artists. So, one of them could have been Basford. We may never know. One of their signs claimed that "Obama Hates Kittens." Did not know that.
I tried to get their photo but my regular camera is on the fritz and I was using my cell phone for the first time. Here are one of the many hate signs from around the nation, this one from Statesboro, Georgia. Can you spot the infiltrator?
What about your BlaskaBlogger?
The state legislature may very well have passed a law shielding "journalists" from normal law enforcement procedures. The law would prevent judges from ordering "news reporters" to testify, produce information or reveal a source's identity except when it is "highly relevant" to the case or critical to at least one party's argument. Attorneys would have to show they couldn't get the information any other way and there was an overriding public interest in disclosing it.
Well, let's hope those loopholes are widened to interstate highway widths. The Wisconsin State Bar Association's litigation section is on record against the bill.
Meanwhile, kids, remember Blaska's first amendment: We are ALL journalists.