I’m glad to see that this was rather swift…I did note that there was only minimal mention to the US involvement in uncovering the plot.

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Campaign Contributions

In today’s Opinion Journal there is a piece on campaign finance titled: When Talk Isn’t Cheap.

“Campaign finance laws are increasingly becoming a tool to suppress political speech, and the courts are finally waking up to the danger.”

While the author is right about finance laws becoming a 1st amendment issue, I struggle with the notion that the courts are realizing that this is an issue.

Campaign finance laws are not new; currently we have on the books that politicians can not receive more than a specified dollar value from any one constituent. Isn’t that a violation of free speech? Shouldn’t any American have the right to donate as much as one wishes to any candidate? Why have the courts ignored this issue?

The reason for these limits may not seem obvious to us in the modern age when electronic reporting can easily be done but in a time not so long ago politicians were routinely “bought” by influential members of society. The campaign contribution limits were put in place to limit the influence a select minority of people on a politician.

Today it is much easier for politicians to openly and accurately disclose donation information if they truly wanted to but what fun would that be?

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Name that Country

Well I thought that my lovely wife would be the first person to get this since this is country is half of her family heritage but alas she had to peek at still unreal’s answer to get it. Last week the country was Denmark, of course!

This week, with no clue, I’d give the country a 7 of 10.

Good luck!

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New Planet

This finding is amazing. We have always wondered if there was life outside of our lonely planet and now we have found a planet that may contain that answer. Too bad it is so far away…that makes it hard for us to study. But on the good side at least Algore can’t claim that we caused global warming on that planet!

Potentially habitable planet found

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Tax. Tax. Tax.

I found this recent JT poll rather disturbing.

I’m willing to bet that in a few days we will see the headline: Majority of people favor extending METRA to Racine!

Too bad that METRA isn’t coming! They turned this idea down nearly two years ago after doing a feasibility study to find out that the population density isn’t high enough to sustain the train. This fact has not stopped the JT from trying to push this agenda for the past two years.

You have to love the ability of these people to twist the idea so that it sounds like a good idea. Notice they are more concerned about the economic power of Chicago then the education levels of Racine? I’d take a hard look at these numbers before going off on trains:

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Yeltsin, Dead at age 76

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Name that Country

Last week seemed pretty easy to me but then again I see the county with the name before you do. Last week it was Mongolia!

This week I don’t think a clue is necessary; 2 out of 10.

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How will the Algores of the world read this?

All I keep hearing from the left is how important it is that we move to ethanol…this should stop the noise for a while.

Here is the full study by Mark Z. Jacobson, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California: Effects of Ethanol (E85) Versus Gasoline Vehicles on Cancer and Mortality in the United States

Ethanol would raise ozone levels, particularly in certain regions of the country, including the Northeast and Los Angeles.

"It's not green in terms of air pollution," said study author Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor. "If you want to use ethanol, fine, but don't do it based on health grounds. It's no better than gasoline, apparently slightly worse."

Also, the ethanol produces longer-lasting chemicals that eventually turn into hydrocarbons that can travel farther. "You are really spreading out pollution over a larger area," he said.

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Hypocrisy or Lunacy

The Green Party of Wisconsin today put out the following press release that I found on The Wheeler Report: Wisconsin Green Party Endorses SB51.

Here is what I find striking, this same organization only a few short years ago submitted a press release and resolution condemning the USA Patriot act that said the following:

“The Wisconsin Greens oppose any attempt by the government to restrict individual freedom, unless a person's actions threaten the safety or welfare of others”

The USA Patriot Act “decreases the authority of the Privacy Act of 1974, thereby leaving the government free to search and seize private records without an explanation as to why they're being searched”

“The USA Patriot Act puts Wisconsin citizens at risk of having their records (school, medical, phone, library and Internet) seized by the government unnecessarily”

So they are opposed to having the government look into “people of interest” that might be a threat to Americans but not opposed to mandating that everyone turn over their heath and other personal records over to the government so that they can get lower insurance rates. Hmm is this hypocritical?

I will admit that messing with my insurance company is a pain but I have found nothing worse than dealing with governmental employees at any level. I think that is why I found the following part of the release so funny:

“a single publicly financed plan, it would eliminate waste, runaway costs, and red tape.”

That is because the government is known for having zero waste, never going over budget, and always having making it easy to get the information you need, right?

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Happy Tax Day!!

Today your taxes are due!!!

If you did not know this then you are in deep trouble!!!

If you think that you are done paying taxes though you are sorely mistaken. In Wisconsin Tax Freedom Day has slipped yet another day. We are now paying taxes until May 2nd; the national average is April 30th.

The Tax Foundation has provided the data once again for us this year: Special Report 152.

Courtesy of The Tax Foundation are the following charts:

Days Spent Working to Pay Various Taxes, 2007

Days Americans Work to Pay Taxes Compared to Other Expenses, 2007

Don't you feel better now? I was told recently that this is all part of the "social contract" we have with society...excuse me while I go vomit now...

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This is dedication…

I run for the fun of it and enjoy running marathons regularly but my job sometimes interferes with my training and my chosen race. But being 210 miles above the race course didn’t stop Sunita Williams, an astronaut, from running her version of the Boston Marathon while aboard the international space station.

According to the AP story Sunita qualified for the Boston Marathon in January at the Houston Marathon…coincidently I ran the Houston Marathon and was only 2 hours behind her…but being is space complicated her ability to run the race today. So instead she strapped herself into the space station’s treadmill and ran the race from afar.

I have to say I admire that level of dedication…I only wish that I was that dedicated to running!

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Should I be worried?

Today is Blame Someone Else Day which is held the first Friday the 13th of the year and I am travleing.

A bunch of airline personel and governmental officails (TSA) to deal with today might make for an interesting day.

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Photographer Frank Lin of Reuters got this photo yesterday in Taiwan. According to the Reuters story the arm belongs to a veterinarian that was treating the croc.

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Name that Country

As I said last week was hard but it is never too hard for my readers. Thanks to Still Unreal for the clue of Dr. Doom’s homeland I didn’t have to use this lame clue: George Costanza may have learned about this country during his confirmation class…but I doubt it.

The country was Latvia (George studied Latvian Orthodox to win a girl…it didn’t work.)

This week’s country is a bit easier so you should have to climb the wall. I’d give it 5 out of 10.

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Global Warming or More Hot Air?

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Electoral College 101

I assume that if you read my blog you have an inkling as to how the Electoral College works but here it is in a nut shell.

Electoral College was established to “equalize” the votes for President between the States similar to the way the House of Representatives is structured. Since each State has a designated number of US Representatives (based on population) and 2 US Senators it made sense that the State would be allotted this number (number of Reps plus 2 Senators) of Electoral Votes. For example: Wisconsin has 2 Senators and 8 Representatives giving Wisconsin 10 Electoral Votes.

Now each State has the right to divide up their Electoral votes anyway they see fit. The most common way (Wisconsin uses this method) is a “winner take all” method. What this means is the winner of the popular vote in that State wins all of the electors (Kerry won Wisconsin and received all 10 Electoral Votes.)

That is all there is to it, the winner of the election is the candidate that wins 270 Electoral Votes. Now this method is meant to allow smaller States to still be able to participate without having their vote diminished greatly by states that are extremely populous.

A number of States however are now considering a foolish method that would ultimately eliminate the Electoral College and put the election in the hands of major metropolises like LA, New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and the like. They are proposing to ignore the will of the people in the State and designate the Electors of the State to the winner of the nationwide popular vote!

Wisconsin is not immune! Based on this press release from State Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison) she is going to introduce this legislation here in Wisconsin!

She states in the release that “The American people are deeply cynical and suspicious about the integrity of our national elections. Recent elections have given them ample reason to believe their votes do not always count. The clearest solution is to pass the National Popular Vote bill which ensures that every vote counts” but here is the million dollar question: How is ignoring the will of Wisconsinites going to ensure that my vote in Wisconsin counts?

This bill will diminish everyone’s vote but impacts States with smaller populations more. For instance your vote in Wisconsin makes up .000034% of the total vote in the state, but nationwide your vote only accounts for .00000082% or 3,981% less!!!! In Iowa their vote will count 8,016% less and in Wyoming 50,137% less. Unlike the states of California and New York who will only see their vote diminished by 885% and 1,555% respectively.

The current system may not be perfect but it is a lot better than making everyone’s vote count less and discouraging candidates from coming to the heartland. This bill would truly make the Midwest “flyover country.”

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What a load of crap!!

The Journal Times had this link on their website this afternoon and I thought it was worth talking about here.

I “played” the game and found it to be fraught with left wing BS…as if there were only three choices in all of these circumstances!! Then when you choose the Best choice in some circumstances they say it is the worst.

This mentality is now being spread as fact and not the fictional tripe that it really is.

Then there is the one glaring issue that they did not talk about and which RUSD has perfected:

You are a weaselly superintendent and want to hold yet another referendum because you can't add any better than most of the 1st graders in your school district, when do you hold the referendum?

Fall Elections are the worst choice since there will be the most voters at the polls and many will be out for purely political reasons. You would be hard pressed to find many supporters of your $1 Billion referendum to give yourself a raise.

Spring Election time is a bad choice for holding a referendum. While those that vote in the spring are at a minimum they are usually the people that are the most well informed and least likely to give you money that you will just waste.

Summer is the Best and Only time to hold a referendum. Think about it, summer is when people are not thinking about elections. You will be lucky to get 10% of the registered voters to the poll. Most who will vote in the summer will know that there is an election because they are either teachers that don’t work the summer or parents that you can scare by saying things like “sports will be cut!”

Congrats! You can now give yourself a raise, give the teachers nothing, screw the taxpayers, and continue to fail the children and NCLB!!!

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Can we do better?

I believe that we can always do better but for some reason this 2nd grade teacher, who professes to teach “minority and high-poverty” students believes that it is best to ignore the basics for these students. (Washington Post Commentary: Classroom Caste System)

Mr. Keyes is obviously an opponent of NCLB since he believes that it has created a “caste-like system in which students' future prospects are likely to be similar to those of their parents” his reasoning seems simple: “Students in largely wealthy and white schools are learning to ask larger questions; students in poor and minority schools are only being taught to answer smaller ones.”

But Mr. Keyes’s argument is flawed. The reasoning that the schools differ is related to the “small questions” and who has the ability to answer them. The administration and the teachers in his school have failed the students that have been placed in their care by not teaching them the fundamentals. There is an old saying that we must learn to walk before we can run and Mr. Keyes would like his students to run marathons before they have learned to crawl.

If the administration is pushing the test-prep books and the students are still failing then it is time to stop teaching to the test but to teach to the students. Now this can’t be a new concept to these people, after all they did get their teaching certificates didn’t they?

NCLB is not perfect but it is not creating a gap…it is exposing the hidden secret that many teachers and administrators have wholly ignored until now. With the secret out in the light of day teachers will have to go back to teaching the basics to ALL students. They will have to hold their ground and hold back students that do not succeed. We should expect that our children can read and do math at a basic level, after all that is why we are sending them to school.

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Farewell Mr. Hart

I credit my wife for pointing out this story.

I was always a fan of the comic strip B.C. I felt that it put modern life into context. Six years ago an Easter comic caused the Journal Times to drop the comic from the line up. I was personally appalled at the paper's decision to drop the comic.

6 years after this controversy Mr. Hart has perished on Easter. Johnny Hart dies at age 76.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

I know Easter was yesterday but here is the comic that caused such trouble (I apologize for the quality…it was the only version I could find.)

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Name that Country

We last week was fun just from the stand point that I had another chance at having 2 counties listed at once and I chose not to…which means in the future I’ll have the other half of the island. Last week’s was Papua New Guinea!

This week I have no hints and it is tough!! If no one has a guess in a day or so I’ll post a few clues. I’m giving this a 10 out of 10 simply because I can not remember what the country is myself!!

Good luck!

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Déjà vu’

From the file labeled “if you not right the first time try, try again”:

AP: 'Very active' hurricane season predicted

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Good News…Bad News

Here is the good news:

Annette Ziegler was elected to the Supreme Court.
Bill McReynolds was re-elected County Executive.
Greg Helding held on to his Aldermanic seat.
Our friends Tyson Fettes and Taylor Wishau both won out in Burlington.
Kevin Wanggaard and Bob Bradley both held onto their trustee seats.

Here is the Bad News:

Our friend Fred Dooley did not win his first Alderman seat.
Brian Dey lost to Howard Stacey and Ron Coutts won over Ken Vetrovec…Meaning that Caledonia is firmly in the clutches of “Save Don’t Pave.”

Congrats to our friends who won!

To those who lost…we are sorry. We look forward to your next adventure in local politics.

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It’s Election Day!!


Be sure to get out and vote today!

Supreme Court – Ziegler

County Executive - McReynolds

Caledonia – Wanggaard and Dey

Racine – Dooley and Helding

Burlington – Fettes

Burlington School Board – Wishau

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