The squire of Stately Blaska Manor, clad in a black velour smoking jacket, entered the Karl Rove Study of the Stately Manor, now hushed for the midnight hour. There he encountered Ruben Mamoulian, his bibulous manservant, in his customary state of dishabille, face-down in a bowl of punch.
Blaska: "My wife is crying upstairs. I hear cars coming to the house. Manservant of mine, I think you should tell your don what everyone seems to know."
Mamoulian: "I was about to come up and wake you just now and tell you."
Blaska: "But you needed a drink first. Well, now you've had your drink."
Mamoulian (his voice breaking): "Actually, several. I've lost count. By the way, we're out of bourbon. I'll make a note to pick up another case of Maker's Mark tomorrow. Or do you want me to see if I can find me some now?"
Blaska struck his cowering servant about the head with the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal.
Mamoulian: "Ouch, ooch, eech. Your .. your application to serve on the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission. It was gunned down on the Monona Causeway. It's DEAD!"
Blaska exhales abruptly, as if the wind was knocked out of him.
"I did not know until this moment that it was Mayor Dave all along. I want many pointless acts of petty vindictiveness. Get me on Miss Vicky's Show. Notify the BlogWerks that we're putting out a special edition. Tonight we begin the all-out political war. In the meantime, Ruben Mamoulian, manservant of mine, get the checkbook. If Cieslewicz wants to play politics, I'll show him how the big boys play politics.
"I ain't no bandleader."
No room on the lifeboat for the legislature
(Looks like my neighborhood after I went door to door in my last political campaign.)
Ahem. Wisconsin's legislators are worried that in case of a natural disaster such as a flu pandemic they won't be able to meet. Or perhaps the New Madrid fault will act up as it did in 1811-12 and half the Legislature will be buried under the rubble. (To which, the punchline would be "that's a start.")
Now they want to be able to meet via teleconference. At least they have dropped an earlier proposal that each legislator could name his successor in case Wisconsin becomes the real-life setting for an Irwin Allen-scale disaster movie.
I hate to put it this way but in the case of a statewide emergency there is nothing more useless than a legislature. When people are hailing helicopters from their rooftops we do not want -- much less need -- debates, new laws, and legislative reviews. I say this as a former legislator -- on the county level -- and having once done disaster planning for a state agency in the executive branch. Even there, the best planning one can do is that certain operations must shut down completely for the time being, depending on the function.
A good disaster plan describes a chain of command and a plan of action to restore society. Above all, a good disaster plan requires thinking on one's feet to respond to changing conditions on the ground. None of these skills are legislative, where every member is his own poobah.
In a game-changing disaster, it is the executive who takes the bridge. You don't hear about the crying need for Haiti's legislature to begin deliberating. The point of a legislature is as a regulator of the executive -- to set parameters (through legislation), to review and check the exec's work, to give voice to the great debate of democracy, to slow things down.
All of which is so much Kool Whip in a true emergency.
The Party of No
When did Wisconsin Democrats become the party of no? State Rep. Brett Davis has blown the whistle on the Democrats who control Wisconsin lawmaking for giving the teachers union a hall pass from education reform school. How embarrassing. The state where Barack Obama announced his Race to the Top last summer is kowtowing to the teachers union -- the biggest and meanest lobby in the state -- rather than accept $254 million in federal money.
Ed Garvey, D-Teachers Union, continues to bash Obama and education secretary Arne Duncan and anyone who would try to solve the problem but see if you can find one solution in Ed's latest anti-reform diatribe.
- Let parents choose their schools? Nyet!
- Weed out poor teachers based on test scores? Nyet!
- More charter schools and virtual schools? Nyet!
- Pay for performance? Nyet!
- Incentive pay for the best teachers? Nyet!
- Teach discipline as Subject No. #1. Nyet!
Genial Ed's one suggestion: "Call for a summit meeting of people who understand public education."
Form a committee? Of people "who understand public education." I get it! Teachers Union toadies only!
Meanwhile, in Harlem, NY
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has the authority to hire and fire the school chancellor and appoint a majority of the board of education, which previously had been controlled by teachers unions. Harlem now has the most school choice per capita in the country. Nationally, the average black 12th grader reads at the level of the average white 8th grader. Yet, Harlem charter students are outperforming their white peers in the wealthy suburbs. This year, Harlem's charter schools received more than 11,000 applications for 2,000 available slots.
Yet, the teachers union "is hell-bent on blocking school choice for under-privileged families." [Wall Street Journal: Charter schools flourish in Harlem]
Platinum subscriber bonus material
- TV-3's excellent Linda Eggert leaves WISC-TV after 22 years to become spokesman for Rick Raemisch's Department of Corrections. Took a similar path myself 20 years ago.
- Gov. Jim E. Doyle's global warming bill will increase utility costs by more than $45 billion, resulting in higher utility bills for all, says respected State. Rep. Phil Montgomery.
- Something called the "Coffee Party" seeks to become the liberal antidote to the Tea Party. It's mission statement: "We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans."
"Collective will" -- sounds like a documentary filmed at Nuremberg by Leni Riefenstahl.
Today's Chuckle (Thanks cousin Johan)