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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Heading Out

Gonna be heading out of town for awhile, taking the fam on a camping trip and then the wife on a weekend away. Yeah, I know. I'm so totally whipped.

Anyway, I'll be back. Meantime, there'll be a new column Tuesday over at, and we'll be picking from the Best of Lance Burri collection next door.


Fake Democrats?

Writing at Express, Lisa Kaiser says former state senator Tom Reynolds trying to undermine the elections with “fake Democrats.”

Former state Sen. Tom Reynolds, an ultra-conservative religious Republican from West Allis who lost his seat in 2006, is trying to get back into politics by undermining the Democratic primary on Sept. 9.

Reynolds formed a political action committee (PAC) called Clean Sweep Wisconsin, which is running “anti-incumbent” candidates on a clearly conservative platform: privatizing health care and education, capping all taxes so the government can’t invest in the public good and preventing Wisconsin from “being an illegal alien state.” These are hardly the issues held dear by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
It’s not at all clear, regardless of what Kaiser says, that these Democrats are running on a Reynolds-endorsed “conservative platform,” or that Reynolds has specifically recruited candidates to do that.

He is trying to recruit more conservative Democrats to run in majority-Democrat districts, the idea being that, if we can’t get a Republican in there, maybe we can still improve the ideological balance of the Legislature.

There are pro-life Democrats, you know. Pro-Second Amendment Democrats. Pro-private property Democrats.

See, they’re not fake Democrats, they’re Democrats who are somewhat more conservative than the incumbents on this or that issue.

What Kaiser is saying is: they don’t toe the line – they don’t conform – thus, they’re fake and shouldn’t be allowed. Ironic, coming from the Party and the ideology that claims they want diversity and open, competitive elections.

Of course, this would be a much better point if we didn’t have so many on my own side of the spectrum who do exactly the same thing to Republicans who don’t measure up to conservative ideals.

Hat tip to

Sad end for bear with jar on head

US wildlife officials who tried to capture a bear that had a jar stuck on its head, have shot the animal after it wandered into a busy Minnesota town.

The bear, a male about two years old, was killed by police after six days of failed efforts to catch it alive.

"When it got into town, our main concern was public safety," said Rob Naplin, a local wildlife supervisor.

The wild black bear could breathe but could not eat or drink, and was probably hungry and dehydrated.

...Mr Naplin said the bear was "in pretty tough condition" after being unable to eat or drink for several days because of the 2.5-gallon (9.5-litre) plastic jar on its head.

He said the jar was the type that holds sweets or popcorn, and had probably become lodged on its head as the bear was foraging for food.
Witnesses claim to have heard Rabbit muttering under his breath: "That danged Tiggr's next. Just wait and see."

Hat tip Owen, and yes, 3rd Way beat me to the joke.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Whatchagonna do, Ed?

Looking through some columns from last year, I ran across this:

As Fester-in-Chief Ed Garvey wrote immediately following this year’s annual progressive spew-fest: “Message to Congress: thousands of progressives are watching to see if you have the courage to follow the people. Bring the troops home!”

And…when Congress doesn’t?

And when the Democrat candidate for President won’t?

What then, Ed? Whatchagonna do?
At the time, I was assuming that Hillary Clinton would be the Democrat nominee – she’d been polishing her hawkish credentials for a while by then, while Obama and Edwards – her two biggest rivals – were racing each other for the Kossite anti-war Left.

How things have changed. Obama now says any withdrawal will be “conditions-based:”

It's hard to anticipate where we may be six months from now, or a year from now, or a year and a half from now.

Plus, he says we’ll leave a counter-terrorism and support force in Iraq even after the withdrawal. If McCain were saying that, the Left would be apoplectic at the thought of a permanent occupation.

Anyway, I ask again: Mr. Garvey, whatchagonna do?

I’m sure he’ll let us know during the next Fighting Bob Fest.

Assembly Candidate Mike Hahn Called Up for Active Duty

Beloit, Wis. – Mike Hahn, candidate for the 45th Wisconsin Assembly District, announced he will be deployed on September 7th by the United States Army in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hahn made this announcement at a press conference held this morning at Beloit’s Eclipse Center, where he stated his intention to remain in the race.

“I want to assure everyone that my campaign will continue so that after I have finished serving my country overseas, I can come home and serve the people of this district with the same commitment to duty,” Hahn said.
Hahn is challenging two-term incumbent Charles Benedict for the 45th AD. It's a tough row to hoe, trying to run without actually being here (not to mention missing most of your first year in office), but I know Mike personally, and he's a very smart guy who'd make a great Representative. Temporary absence or not, the 45th would be making a good choice by electing him.

Headline: "Man saves 2-year-old"

"It’ll make a nice sandwich later," he said.

Okay, so I made that part up.

A Modest Prediction

Not by me - I've given up predictions. This one's from columnist Victor Davis Hanson:

In 5 years, Europeans will prefer George Bush to a “We are right behind you” Obama.
I'm skeptical.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Brett Favre filed his reinstatement papers today. That means he’s back: release him, trade him, play him, or sit him. These, Packer Nation, are our choices.

More realistically, you either trade him or play him. You can’t release him and have him going to the Vikings. You can’t sit him and have that controversy stew. It’s one or the other.

A little trade spec from The Sporting News:

The New York Jets, with their ho-hum quarterback camp battle between Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens, continue to be a strong contender to acquire Favre. The Jets canceled their scheduled training camp practice on Tuesday, with speculation that coach Eric Mangini may have needed the day to meet with Favre. The others in the running for Favre's services include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens.
Screw the Vikings. Trade him to the Jets.

Meanwhile, here's a disturbing story: EA Sports put Favre on the cover of Madden ’09 – in a Green Bay uniform – but ran simulations with Favre playing for a number of other teams, then compared those teams’ seasons with and without #4.

One oddity: every team did better with Favre than without him…except the Packers, who go 9-7 with Favre, 12-4 with Aaron Rodgers.

Sometimes I wish my wife were more into sports...

...but other times...

It’s a house divided for the Murphys, who live on Virginia Street just south of 21st Street. Russ, 27, a packer and tester at Ruud Lighting, has long been a Brewers fan, although he gets more excited about the Green Bay Packers.

Lisa, 29, operates a home-based business and is kind of a Jane-come-lately to baseball and the Cubs. It started three years ago, she said, when she and Russ went with friends to a Cubs-Brewers game.
So she wasn't even a baseball fan until her husband took her to a game, and that's when she decided to go Cubbies?

Not natural. Not natural at all.

Anybody lose, well, a...y'know, one of these?

Bayside police seek owner of lost urn

Bayside police found an urn in a Milwaukee County park.

Now they're trying to find the urn's owner.

The urn with ashes inside was found under a tree Saturday in Doctors Park, which straddles Bayside and Fox Point. Authorities said they believe the urn and contents were left inadvertently, and they would like to return it to the owner.

Anyone with information is asked to call Bayside police at (414) 351-8800.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Somewhere, in some half-crazed alternate universe…

…this Racine Journal Times editorial didn’t make me do a spit-take:

Numbers support Bush tax cuts

Instead of a new round of arguments in Congress over whether the wealthy need a super soaking by rescinding the tax cuts, the nation would be better served by acknowledging that the tax cuts have not impaired federal revenues, coupled with an agenda that works toward a balanced budget.
This is the second time in a month that I've noted a conservative position coming out of the RJT editorial team.

Well, duh.

Packers Likely to Postpone Farve's Jersey Retirement.

Elsewhere in sports:

Devin Hester signed a 4-year contract with the Bears, dangit, so it looks like Chicago will, in fact, have some offense this year. Even if it's on special teams.


Packers RB Ryan Grant "insulted" by contract extension offer.

Green Bay - Running back Ryan Grant did not report to training camp Sunday and based on how angry his agent was Sunday with the Green Bay Packers' first offer, it could be a long time before he's back in uniform.

"It's insulting," agent Alan Herman said of the offer he received from negotiator Russ Ball at 5:15 p.m. Saturday "Ryan Grant gave them a running game last year. They know what he can do."

Herman said the most insulting part of the offer was the $1.75 million signing bonus the Packers offered on a six-year contract extension. Herman noted the $3 million linebacker Brady Poppinga received on his four-year extension that was signed last week.
Grant is not currently under contract with the team.

I have no comment on Poppinga's contract (you better be worth it Brady!), but, come on Ryan, you had a really good half-year at a time when the whole team was playing well. Put another good year under your belt before you start this crap.

A word about Brett

So Brett Favre gave some interviews over the weekend. I neither saw nor read about them – I wouldn’t even know, if I hadn’t checked in with WTMJ today.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: nothing will interfere with my hero worship of Brett Favre. Well, okay, if he gets caught soliciting underage prostitutes, maybe then. Other than that, though: nothing.

Whether he ends up playing for the Packers this year, playing for somebody else next year, even beating the Packers in the playoffs or the Superbowl. Whether he retires and shuts his mouth. Whether he keeps running his mouth.

He could show up on my doorstep and berate me with a profanity-laced spittlefest right in front of my wife and kids, and I’d still venerate his career and accomplishments. In fact, I’d be more likely to ask for an autograph than to respond in kind.

(Note to self: place Brett Favre rookie card near front door, just in case. And get one of those shiny silver pens.)

Brett Favre is the best player to ever wear the Packers uniform. One of the greatest players ever. An icon. Nothing will ever change that for me.

But he still isn’t bigger than the Green Bay Packers.

Go Brewers!

Maybe we should give more weight to European opinion…

seeing as how they're such reliable allies.

WASHINGTON -- During an inspection tour last week NATO Gen. John Craddock accused member nations and leaders of broken promises in the ongoing effort to support the Afghan army.

"As soon as we begin to set up troops we fall on our nose," the Supreme Allied Commander for Europe told Financial Times Germany.

"My deputy writes letters, I call, he calls and I write," Craddock said. "I am frustrated about it."

The four-star U.S general said his frustration is about the units promised to support the efforts of the Afghan army, in order to fight together against the Taliban and Al Qaida.

Craddock said 19 of 73 promised units of 25 to 30 soldiers strong have yet to arrive. The structure of the army relies on the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan to win the war there.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This one's for Elliot

He's in a bit of a funk, what with all the bad news out there. Luckily, while surfing around looking for something to get my own blogging juices flowing, I came across this:

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - The bride and groom grasped one another's dart launcher-clad wrists and stared into each other's starry eyes.

Fifty armour-clad guests, including several "Jedis" and a white caped "Elvis" in a rhinestone-studded ammo belt, stood reverently at attention. A couple of superheroes showed up late.

...Friday's wedding ceremony, based on the language, costume and lore of a fictional Mandalorian race in the "Star Wars" movies, was the brain child of Tenille Kuhlman, 30, and Thomas Kuhlman, 39, avid fans who decided that the convention was a perfect place to gather far-flung members of their close-knit "Star Wars" fan club to celebrate their special day.
For those of you who aren't cool enough to already know, Boba Fett was a Mandalorian. So, basically, these are Boba Fett geeks - a large and vibrant subspecies of the more generic Star Wars geek.

The couple met online two years ago...
Whoa. Didn't see that coming. Who'da thought?

Last winter they married in a civil ceremony and settled in Yuma, Arizona, yet Thomas Kuhlman longed to receive a Mandalorian blessing of their union.

...The bride and groom held their helmets in their hands, a solemn sign of Mandalorian respect. As they grasped wrists, Tom Hutchens, a 30-year-old IT professional...
Whoa. Didn't see that coming. Who'da thought?

...and erstwhile Mandalorian preacher, began the ceremony.

"Vodas," he said, using the Mandalorian word for "friends," "Outsiders, Jedis, everybody, welcome. This is a contract between two Mandalorians who made a journey and future together and bled together and will continue to bleed together until their last day," he said.

After reciting their vows in both Mandalorian and English translation, the jubilant crowd shouted: "Oya!" which in Mandalorian language means "celebration."

"I now pronounce you Mandalorian husband and wife," Hutchens said.
Just consider the vastness of the geekiness. And I say that as a closet Star Wars geek myself. Okay, sure, so I'm not up to Owen's level, but still (make special note of the comments to that post!).

Feeling any better, Elliot? No? Hm. Maybe some pictures will help:

More pictures here.

Sky's blue, water's wet...

That's what I thought when I read this Journal Sentinel headline:

Rep. Paul Ryan likely to keep House seat

Washington — The odds are against Democrat Marge Krupp in a possible match-up against Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesvillein November. Even so, she has managed to raise about $77,500 in campaign contributions so far.
Inclined, as I am, to assume the media favors liberals and Democrats, that right there seems like a real stretch to make a negative story into a positive one.

The following paragraph only reinforced that preconception (Caution: spit-take line coming up):

Although it’s not much compared with the nearly $1.2 million that Ryan has raised for his re-election, it’s more than any other Democrat has taken in for the congressional seat since Ryan’s first race in 1998.
What? That's an incredibly weak amount of money for a congressional race. We've got Assembly candidates raising more than that!

“People are investing in my campaign because they’re anxious for real change in Washington,” Krupp said in a telephone interview.
No, Ms. Krupp, apparently they're not.

Couple more questions: doesn't she have a primary opponent? Answer: no, she has three primary opponents. The story does mention them, but treats Krupp as the de-facto nominee. I'd be ticked if I was one of the others.

Question #2: isn't there a famous literary character named Krupp? Answer: indeed there is. Bernie Krupp is the principal and the title character's alter ego in the wacky children's series "The Adventures of Captain Underpants."

I'd put that on my campaign lit, if it were me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

WIL And The Minimum Markup Law

Cross-posted at THEB.

The first video from the Wisconsin Institute for Leadership calling on consumers to contact Gov. Jim Milhous Doyleone to call for a special session of the state Legislature to repeal the archaic, Depression-era minimum markup law, which has cost consumers $278 million at the pump.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Announcing: Vote Jo 2008!

On behalf of Jo Egelhoff I proudly announce the opening of her campaign website: As has been announced here and on other Wisconsin political blogs Jo is running to replace Steve Wieckert for the 57th Assembly district, which encompasses most of Appleton. I hope you visit and offer whatever support you can for her bid!

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Oil continues to fall - consumers throw arms in air and scream in delight!


"People say typically prices shoot up like a rocket, fall like a feather. But this time ... it looks like it's different," Sundstrom said. "The retail sector is interested in bringing these prices down as fast as they can to stimulate business in their convenience stores."

In the trading pits, oil continued on a two-week sell-off. Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell $2.23 to settle at $123.26 a barrel in on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier the contract dropped as far as $122.50, its lowest point since June 5.

Many analysts say the market's momentum points to further declines. Crude has fallen in seven of the last nine sessions, and is down more than 16 percent from its peak above $147 a barrel earlier this month.
Prices at the pump have fallen a quarter or more per gallon since early last week. I paid $3.82 today.

Still not cheap, and let's not pretend otherwise. But better. Waaaaaay better.

Elsewhere in Devin-dom

Sorry, you've got to read the preceding post to understand the title.

Former Badgers basketball star Devin Harris is going back to school.

He said Monday he is planning to enroll for fall semester classes in an effort to get his degree in sociology. He's 36 credits short.

"I've been promising to do this for a while," said Harris, who hopes to take six credits in the fall and complete them online. "You have to do it sometime."

Some might argue that point. The Milwaukee native is a successful NBA point guard making millions of dollars every year. Why does he need to go to back to college?

"It's still important," answered Harris, who plans to take many of his classes online but will spend parts of the next couple of summers on the Madison campus attending classes.
Hey, Devin, that's awesome. Seriously. A great example to others, not to mention your own family.

But…Devin, buddy, come on. Sociology? You’re a multi-millionaire. You drive a Maserati. Study finance.


I was hoping for a long, bitter, and ultimately destructive holdout.

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears kick return star Devin Hester returned to training camp Friday, but the team did not say whether he had signed a new contract.

Hester skipped the Bears’ first practices this week in a holdout.

Bears spokesman Scott Hagel said he didn’t know if the two-time Pro-Bowler will practice or if he has signed a contract.
He’s got two years left on his current contract, by the way. He’s supposed to make less than half a million dollars – yeah, I know, that's a lot, but considering his ability and stardom and importance to the Bears offense...they'd be stupid not to renegotiate with him. And nobody’s that stupid.

Oh, right, the Bears stood pat with Grossman and Orton. OkayI take that last sentence back.

We Are Not Worthy

From Jeff Darcy at the Cleveland Plain Dealer comes this gem:

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The Good Ship Lollipop

From Michael Ramirez via

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Let's take a break from worrying about Favre...

...and spend a moment enjoying the tribulations of our flatlander friends.

Devin Hester, who has electrified the NFL with 11 punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns in his first two seasons, skipped the Chicago Bears' first training camp practice Wednesday in a holdout.

Hester, a two-time Pro Bowler, was placed on the Bears' Reserve/Did Not Report list.

"I'm not coming," Hester told the Chicago Tribune in a phone interview. "I have to make a statement. I showed by going to (organized team activities) that I was a team player. But then, I just felt like they weren't taking it seriously that I wanted to get a new deal."
And that’s too bad for the Bears, because punt and kick returns could be their only chance to score any touchdowns next year:

A quarterback competition promises to heat up the Chicago Bears' training camp, and coach Lovie Smith wanted to make it clear there was no perceived favorite between Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton.

"It's dead even," Smith said Tuesday as the Bears reported to Olivet Nazarene University for a camp that kicks off with a first practice Wednesday.
Grossman vs. Orton. A battle for the ages.

Love you, Lovie! Big kiss from Packerland!

Some days I can't find a dang thing to blog about...

...and other days I just can't stop.

Keep scrolling, please.

Oh, and by the way...

...the federal minimum wage went up to $6.55 an hour today. That means minimum wage earners in Wisconsin get a nickel-an-hour raise.

Just fyi, y'know, in case you hadn't heard.

I hereby declare the Sovereign State of Burri

Our borders encompass approximately one quarter acre in the City of Baraboo and a floating circle two meters in diameter and centered on myself.

UTICA, New York -One in five American adults - 22% - believe that any state or region has the right to "peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic," a new Middlebury Institute/Zogby International telephone poll shows.
Ann Althouse has more:

And it's 40% among those aged 18 to 24, 43% among Hispanics, and 40% among African-Americans.

This is not a right-wing thing. Liberals are most likely to buy it — 32% compared to 17% for conservatives.

So all these people have the law wrong and don't seem to know the basics of the history of the Civil War. They think secession is possible, but would they support secession in their own state?

18% said yes. In the South: 24%. And 35% of the under 30 group were ready to secede.
Unfortunately, the Sovereign State of Burri currently relies on money earned in the U.S. and sent into our borders, and the tax rate on that money here is 100%.

Go get it!

Vast oil, natural gas reserves estimated in Arctic

WASHINGTON - Some 90 billion barrels of oil and a third of the world's undiscovered natural gas lie beneath an area north of the Arctic Circle, government scientists estimate in the largest-ever survey of the energy resources there.

The U.S. Geological Survey, which announced the findings Wednesday, called the region, which includes parts of the United States, Russia and Canada, "the largest unexplored prospective area for petroleum remaining on Earth."

All told, the area accounts for about a fifth of the world's recoverable oil and natural gas reserves, the USGS says: 13 percent of the oil, 30 percent of natural gas and 20 percent of natural gas liquids.
Go get it!!!

At today's current consumption rate of 86 million barrels a day, the yet-to-be-tapped oil in the Arctic would supply global demand for three years.
Well that’s kinda disappointing, although we can hope the estimates were low.

Pursuing it is sure to be controversial with environmental groups that want to protect the pristine wilderness and the area's endangered species.
Sky’s blue. Water’s wet. Environmental groups are up in arms.

Here’s the best part:

The oil is considered "technically recoverable" using existing technology, but the survey did not consider the cost of overcoming obstacles to drilling, such as permanent sea ice or deep ocean waters. Melting caused by global warming has opened up some areas that were previously considered too difficult to reach.
Let’s hear it for global warming! Then we use that oil to power our cars, thus causing more greenhouse gases and thus more global warming, which then opens even more areas up to exploration!

See? It’s not so bad.

The third car did him in

Try explaining this to your insurance company.

LEOPOLIS – A black bear was killed Friday night when it was struck by three vehicles on Wisconsin 29 about two miles north of this western Shawano County community.

“The first lady who hit it said it walked straight into the back of her car,” Andrea Happli, 20, of Mosinee, told the Shawano Leader. Her car was the third, and last, to hit the bear.

“The second person hit it straight on, I was told. I saw their car on the right side of the road smoking, so I got over into the left lane, hit something, and my car went flying through the air.”

The bear was about 6 feet tall and was believed to be about three years old. There was no estimate of its weight.

“A bear-vs.-vehicle encounter is not an uncommon thing, but definitely not a weekly occurrence,” state Department of Natural Resources wildlife technician James Robaidek said. The state doesn’t specifically track such accidents, but lists them under vehicle-other animal crashes.

“To say it happens a couple times a year would be accurate,” Shawano County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Tom Tuma said.
What if you hit the bear, damage your car, and the bear runs off? I'm betting car vs. deer accidents are common enough that the insurance companies just say, yeah, okay. But a bear?

On the other hand, if you were going to lie about how your car got dented, why would you make up a bear?

This is also the first time I’ve ever heard of Leopolis, Wisconsin.


Rotor blade kills helicopter pilot

GREEN BAY (AP) - The Dodge County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of a pilot killed this morning while inspecting his helicopter in a rural area just east of the Horicon Marsh.

Authorities tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the man was struck and killed by a helicopter rotor blade.

Sheriff's officials say a preliminary investigation shows the helicopter could not fully lift off because it was overloaded with crop-dusting material. The pilot returned to the ground, got out of the helicopter and was struck by a rear rotor blade.

Obama On Your Shoulder

Cross-posted at THEB.

Mary Katharine Ham and Ham Nation takes on Barack Hussein Obama and his advocacy of the Nanny State on everything from what we drive to what our thermostat should be set at to what we eat.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil prices shed nearly $4 Wednesday, tumbling below $125 a barrel for the first time since early June on growing fears that high prices and the weak economy are destroying demand.
And the answer to your question is: yes, I’m going to keep obsessing about this.

Wasting his contributors’ money

Patrick Ruffini has a post about the Obama campaign printing and distributing German-language flyers aimed at attracting Germans to an Obama Germany.

This is pretty extraordinary. A candidate for the American Presidency is using flyers printed in German to turn people out for his campaign rally in Berlin on Thursday. This flyer can be found on a bilingual page on advertising the event

Campaign funds spent rallying citizens of a foreign country. Because, why? Because they think seeing a big crowd in Germany will convince U.S. voters that, oh yeah, Obama's our guy?

Or, maybe, just because the Obamessiah needs a huge adoring crowd.

Democrats: making their own beds, bedbugs included

Remember Debra Bartoshevich? She's the delegate to the Democratic National Convention who publicly announced that she will vote for Republican John McCain, rather than Democrat Barack Obama.

I wrote about her here and here.

Well, national Democrats are about to decide whether to strip her of her delegate status. According to the Racine Journal Times, Dems will hold a conference call tomorrow, including Bartoshevich, to decide what to do.

Bartoshevich isn't happy:

"If they decide to strip me of my status, they decide to do something un-American," Bartoshevich said. "It’s not democracy. It doesn’t stand for unity, which the party wants."
I hate to say this, but…no, wait: I don’t hate to say it. I love to say it: Democrats have brought this on themselves. Maybe not the big-D Democrats so much as the liberals and progressives who form the base of the Democratic party, but still.

Bartoshevich says it's wrong for them to demote her, simply because she refuses to adhere to their guiding principle: supporting and electing Democrat candidates.

What’s that remind you of? It reminds me of attacks on Christian groups, whose main principle is to follow the teachings of the Bible. Of non-Christians complaining when they’re not allowed to join, or to hold office, simply because they refuse to adhere to the group’s guiding principles.

If you’re not going to adhere to a group’s guiding principles, or main goals, you’ve got no business being part of the group. Bartoshevich, as much as I appreciate her position and as brave as I think she's being, has no business being a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Now: if the city of Denver decided that the Democrats' past rulings (which helped push Hillary Clinton out of the primary) and their decision on Bartoshevich (assuming, as I am, that they dump her) are examples of sexism, and if they therefore refused to let the Democrats hold their event in their city, then the Democrats would have some idea how the Boy Scouts felt.

We’ve already got Summer year-round in the Dells…

now we’ll have Winter year-round, too.

Developers to build sports resort

A proposed resort for Wisconsin Dells will offer year-round skiing as well as indoor and outdoor waterparks, restaurants, a BMX/skateboard facility, retail stores, a spa, a convention center, an arcade and a condominium hotel.

Joshua Schultz of dRMR Development, LLC, Lake Mills, joined by an attorney and engineer, presented plans and a developer's agreement to the Wisconsin Dells Plan Commission for the $57 million resort that is proposed to be built on 13-acres owned by Ron Flock. The project, called the Wedge Adventure Resort will be on Grand Cambrian Drive off Highway 16.

Those couple paragraphs are from a July 12 story. Today, the Dells Events reported that the city council has approved the project.

If you've never stood barefoot in your swimming suit dripping wet with nothing but a sheet glass window between you and freezing temperatures and two feet of snow outside, I'm telling you: you just haven't lived.

And now, what, we'll be able to ski when it's ninety out?

Dems were supposed to save us

I thought the Democrats were supposed to save us.

Check out these gas prices in Wisconsin since the Democrats took over the state senate and the US Congress.

Click to enlarge.

Numbers don't lie, but politicians do.

Cross posted at Stepping Right Up!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Packers shopping Favre?

Does this really surprise anybody?

The NFL Network reported Tuesday that the Packers have contacted a number of teams about their interest in trading for quarterback Brett Favre.

"The Green Bay Packers have spoken to multiple teams to see what they would be willing to offer for Favre," wrote Adam Schefter. "It is unknown exactly how many teams the Packers have spoken with, but what is known is that they have not relegated thier exploratory calls strictly to AFC teams. Green Bay has called at least one team in the NFC as well."

The Packers had no comment on the report.
I'll repeat what I've said before: this will have absolutely no effect on my hero worship of Brett Favre, and if it affects yours then you are a no-good fairweather fan.

Please note the correct usage of "affect" and "effect."

Also, who knows? Maybe we can get a trade of the Ricky Williams or Herschel Walker variety. That would make the whole thing go down real easy.

We're Doooooooooomed!

From the BBC: '100 months to save the planet'

A "Green New Deal" is needed to solve current problems of climate change, energy and finance, a report argues.

According to the Green New Deal Group, humanity only has 100 months to prevent dangerous global warming.
That puts us right around November of 2016. You may want to sell the stocks before then.

The story is long on "solutions," but any discussion of what will actually happen in 100 months is nonexistent.

Also absent is any explanation of how this jibes with Ted Danson's 1988 prediction that we have only ten years to save the world's oceans.

But wait: that's not the funniest part. There's a link on the sidebar to another story titled "Next decade 'may see no warming'".

The Earth's temperature may stay roughly the same for a decade, as natural climate cycles enter a cooling phase, scientists have predicted.

A new computer model developed by German researchers, reported in the journal Nature, suggests the cooling will counter greenhouse warming.
Phew. Good thing we've got some global warming, then, or else everybody'd start screaming about a new ice age.

This story does say temps will start rising again around 2020, so we're not out of the man-made disaster scenario just yet. Still, 2020 is...let's see...149 months away. About half again as much as 100.

I guess they'll put that down as the margin of error?

The media is in love!

The McCain campaign has compiled video of the mainstream media expressing their adoration for Barack Obama. They have two Youtube videos, and are asking people to vote on which they like the best.

Here's the first one:

And here's the second:

The differences are a little too subtle, I think. You can vote for whichever you like best here.

One more thing: the best line in either video was MSNBC's Tucker Carlson, saying: “Anybody who’s been a 9th grade boy understands this species of love.”

McCain to pick Veep soon?

Hat tip to Patrick at Badger Blogger:

I would still classify it as rumor at this point, but Bob Novak says: Sources close to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign are suggesting he will reveal the name of his vice presidential selection this week while Sen. Barack Obama is getting the headlines on his foreign trip.
If they do make the announcement soon, I sure hope it isn't just to stop the flow of positive Obama headlines from overseas. You only get the media for a Veep announcement once. Using it defensively like that seems a sign of weakness.

Re: Gonna be on the radio

I dunno, Marcus, Bill seemed like a good host. Gave me plenty of time to say my piece and seemed to know (as good hosts should) when he should jump in because I was getting stuck.

That’s Bill Sebastian, by the way: morning host on 1150 AM WHBY, Appleton. Thanks for having me on, Bill!

Oh, and also thanks to Jo Egelhoff of, since it's her invitation to post there once a week that got me the invite from Bill. FoxPolitics gets results!

One down point: Bill does seem to have a relatively low opinion of bloggers, generally, and I’m afraid I might have done a rather poor job defending us. Sorry about that. I was nervous.

But I think we can forgive him for that, since he also seems to have a pretty high opinion of me, and that's what really counts. Right?

Guys? Right?


The Definitive Obama Puff Piece

Leave it to The Onion to nail the media adoration of Barack Hussein Obama.
NEW YORK—Hailed by media critics as the fluffiest, most toothless, and softest-hitting coverage of the presidential candidate to date, a story in this week's Time magazine is being called the definitive Barack Obama puff piece.

"No news publication has dared to barely scratch the surface like this before," columnist and campaign reporter Michael King wrote in The Washington Post Tuesday. "This profile sets a benchmark for mindless filler by which all other features about Sen. Obama will now be judged. Just impressive puff-journalism all around."

The 24-page profile, entitled "Boogyin' With Barack," hit newsstands Monday and contains photos of the candidate as a baby, graduating from Columbia University, standing and laughing, holding hands with his wife and best friend, Michelle, greeting a crowd of blue-collar autoworkers, eating breakfast with diner patrons, and staring pensively out of an airplane window while a pen and legal pad rest comfortably on his lowered tray table.

According to political analysts, the Time piece features the most lack-of-depth reporting on Obama ever published, and for the first time reveals a number of inconsequential truths about the candidate, including how he keeps in shape on the campaign trail, and which historical figures the presidential hopeful would choose to have dinner with.
In good humor there is at least a grain of truth. And the obsession with the Drive By Media to avoid any real hard reporting on the Chocolate Jesus but rather to aid and assist in anyway his inevitable coronation makes it a solid target for satire.

Too bad the late night comics still can't find anything funny about a man who's a virtual parody of himself.

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Re: Dangit.


I would not worry too much about that slight rise in price. My reading on Seeking Alpha & on the Trader's Club seem to indicate the oil bears are finally coming out of the woods.

Gas here in Appleton is starting to hit $3.84 a gallon again!

Re: Gonna be on the radio


Even though I wake up to WHBY I make it a point to listen to it as little as possible. I get the national news, the local news, sports, and maybe the weather and then I am done with that radio station. Sebastian is not a person I waste ear-pounding on.

Anyway good luck!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Opposing a new coal-burning power plant, while

Clean Wisconsin, an "environmental advocacy organization," is putting out ads to oppose Alliant's new proposed coal power plant.

Madison, Wis. – The fight over Alliant Energy’s proposed coal plant in Cassville intensified today when Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental organization, launched an advertising campaign highlighting the economic and environmental concerns with the plant in response to a series of Alliant advertisements pushing the proposal.

“The coal plant Alliant wants to build in Cassville is both bad for the environment and the economy,” the radio ad reads. “It would spew three million tons of global warming pollution every year, cost more than one billion dollars, and set back the Governor’s goals on global warming.”
Questions about CW's funding to begin in

As to how Wisconsin can continue to meet increasing energy needs without the new plant, Clean Wisconsin had this to say:

And that's a direct quote.

Okay, so that was snarky. They probably support wind and solar and harnessing the gas emitted by algae as it communes with nature or something.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but, heck, they're Lefties, and Lefties love the Europeans, so maybe they could take a hint from Europe:

All over the world, nuclear power is making a comeback. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has just commissioned eight new reactors, and says there's "no upper limit" to the number Britain will build in the future. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has challenged her country's program to phase out 17 nuclear reactors by 2020, saying it will be impossible to deal with climate change without them. China and India are building nuclear power plants; France and Russia, both of whom have embraced the technology, are fiercely competing to sell them the hardware.

Gonna be on the radio

I’ll be on 1150 AM WHBY with Bill Sebastian tomorrow a little after 9 am, to talk about my most recent FoxPolitics column.

Have a listen, if you're in the area.


Stocks end mixed as oil prices rebound

The tame session unfolded as oil rose on concerns that the threat of new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program may escalate tensions in the Middle East. Light, sweet crude rose $2.16 to settle at $131.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Tropical Storm Dolly might have had something to do with it, too.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The New Joker

From Gary Varvel via

More Packers Drama


Don Majkowski Demands to be Reinstated as Packers Quarterback

Former Green Bay Packers starting quarterback Don Majkowski has entered in a bitter dispute with his former organization, admitting he is “guilty of retiring too early” 12 years ago, while demanding he be reinstated as the team’s starter or given the opportunity to play elsewhere.

“I was mentally drained after the 1996 season,” says Majkowski. “I couldn’t commit myself fully at that time to coming back, so I stepped away. That’s the kind of guy I am. I have to be able to promise that I’m going to give my all.”

But before long, Majkowski started to have second thoughts.

“I guess it was nine or 10 years later, I called up Packers GM Ted Thompson and told him I was thinking of coming back. That would have been 2005 or 2006, I guess,” said Majkowski. “But he just sighed and said it was too late. That the team had moved on to Brett Favre and had even drafted this Aaron Rodgers kid to follow in place of Favre. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t even open to considering my return after all I’ve done for the franchise.”
Hat tip to the non-blogging Mark for emailing that to me.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oil prices tumble in biggest weekly drop ever

As the price of oil drops dramatically, some analysts wonder if the bubble is bursting

NEW YORK (AP) -- A stunning sell-off dragged oil prices to their biggest weekly drop ever and gas prices at the pump slipped by the more than they have at any point since February, giving consumers a rare breather in a year of record fuel prices.

… Light, sweet crude for August delivery fell 41 cents Friday to settle at $128.88 on the New York Mercantile Exchange -- well below its trading record of more than $147 a week earlier.
Good work everybody, but this is a big slowdown from the last three days – light, sweet crude fell $15 in three days Tuesday through Thursday. This is no time to slack off - we're trying to create sort of an echo chamber of despair, here. An earthquake-like buzz informing the investment world that it's time to get out of oil.

Had to highlight this paragraph:

Some analysts said a nationwide average of $4 or even lower could be in the offing -- almost unthinkable in a summer when there has seemed to be no relief at the pump -- although they cautioned that there is no guarantee prices will stay low.
“Almost unthinkable?” Not only is that editorializing in what’s supposed to be a news story, it’s the exact kind of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place. It’s not “unthinkable” that prices will come down, it’s unthinkable that they won’t!

Traders! Speculators! Protect yourselves – sell those futures! Sell now, while you’ve still got profits to count!

Have Lefties always been so warmongering?

Owen points out this comment left on this Fraley post. Fraley’s calling for repeal of the Minimum Markup Law. Scot, from One Wisconsin Now, says he has other solutions for higher gas prices: gouging the oil companies and bitching about Bush and Cheney, mainly.

Not sure how bitching about Bush and Cheney will help, but whatever.

It’s this part that caught my attention:

Possible solutions —

…If you’re going to try and grab middle east oil by invading a country, like, have a plan to win. Because the failure of Bush and company to use the greatest military personnel in the world effectively is tragic and only encourages enemies who wish to do us harm.
Now I admit, invading a country and grabbing their oil would help. Two or three countries would be better.

It would place more oil deposits under U.S. control, thus giving us more control over world supply. Also, having all that revenue flow to us instead of to terrorphile Middle Eastern nations would stop “encouraging enemies who wish to do us harm,” because they wouldn’t have nearly the financial resources they do now. They’d have to go get a job.

In short, it's a great idea. But…wow, I thought One Wisconsin Now was one of these liberal, peacenik, flowers-and-bong-hits hippie groups. I had no idea they were so pro-war. They’re more aggressive than the neo-cons, even.

Re: Pop goes the bubble!

Who Let the Bears Out!

Or at least that is what I hope to be singing.

Is the run on oil coming to an end? Hard to say, back in June oil made a similar move from the mid to upper 130s back to the low 120s, but it immediately proceeded to zoom right back up to new record prices. Recent moves are more significant than those June moves but such moves do happen.

A number of factors are reported to be in play. First off repeated news hinting at economic slowdown here, reports came out that oil inventories were up when traders expected them to be down, and the same for gasoline inventories which are reported at the upper end of average levels for the current time. Another factor, increased pressure to extract more energy resources from the USA. I do not think it coincidence CL took a hit the day Preisdent Bush came out and forcefully called for more domestic oil production.

However, there is still concern about the fragile nature of the main oil producers. Reports on an oil pipeline bombing in Nigeria suspended the drop (however today oil futures are up a bit to sideways). In addition, there are concerns about demand outstripping supply, even if there is enough oil in the ground for many years it is not getting easier to extract it.

A lot of blame is going around. Speculators are right now the favorite scapegoat but why should that be? Speculators do not care about the direction of the price, they only care about guessing the direction. If a trader expects the market to fall they change trading strategies and they still earn money from their trades.

Here are a couple of sites to keep your finger on the oil market:
The New York Mercantile Exchange
Gas Buddy (local gas prices)
and for analysis & insight: Seeking Alpha's energy sector section.

I find gasoline does peg closely to oil and it does go down as quickly as it goes up! Right now in the Valley the Gas Buddy site is showing gasoline selling in a range of $3.92/gallon-->$4.07/gallon with all reports currently under $4.00/gallon. This morning this was not the case. Gasoline pricing does lag oil pricing but it does follow in both directions.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Vikings tampering with Favre?

I knew it. They're a bunch of cheaters.

The rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings just got a lot hotter.

A National Football League source said Wednesday night that the Packers had filed a tampering charge with the league against the Vikings in connection with alleged contact with Brett Favre.
Sounds like it might be time to start planning the invasion. I already figure to be in St. Paul the first week of September...although I'd hope we could get things moving faster than that.

Figures, one of the three Wisconsin bloggers going to the Republican National Convention that week is a Cowboys fan. You can almost smell the conspiracy.

The source said the Packers had provided evidence and information about the alleged contact. At this point, investigators for the league will look into the matter and decide what, if anything, to do. The source added that the Packers feel the case against the Vikings is strong.

Allegations of tampering are touchy subjects among professional sports franchises, and the penalties can include the loss of draft choices and fines.
Yes! Take their draft choices!

Unless they're going to trade them all to us! Then don't!

It's working!

Just two days ago, I postulated that if we all started wailing and gnashing our teeth over the "falling price of oil," speculators would get nervous and start to sell off, which would actually bring about falling prices of oil.

Well, despite a total lack of cooperation on (as far as I can tell) any other blogs, it seems to be working.

NEW YORK - Oil prices fell below $130 a barrel for the first time in more than a month Thursday, as a dramatic slide entered a third day along with a sharp sell-off in natural gas.

The declines accelerated amid growing concerns about the weakening U.S. economy.
So the price of oil is down in part because of the economy, but we’re worried about the economy in large part because of energy costs. Go figure.

Back to the prices:

Light, sweet crude for August delivery dropped $5.31 to settle at $129.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have fallen more than $15 in just the past three days.

Natural gas futures for August delivery fell more than 8 percent Thursday, marking their biggest one-day drop in nearly a year, according to Nathan Golz, researcher at Wachovia Securities in St. Louis. Prices for the key heating, cooking and power generation fuel have tumbled more than 20 percent since their peak before the Fourth of July, and are now trading at their lowest point since April.

A number of market observers say there was nothing supporting the run up in natural gas prices, which peaked in early July, and that this week's sell-off of oil has only helped speed the declines.
By the way, I love the phrase "light, sweet crude." How'd they come up with that, exactly? Guys in overalls carrying oversized wrenches with grease all over their faces sipping small glasses of thick black oil and saying "fine bouquet on this, I'd say. Nice and light." "Mm, yes, a bit sweet, too."

Anyway, back to work, people! Remember, the key is to spread panic. Make people believe the price of oil and other energy sources is falling, and falling fast, so you'd better get out now!

Cost of Government Day

Over at Marketplace of Ideas, Steve Prestegard noticed that today is Cost of Government Day – the “day our earnings finally match federal, state and local government spending.”

An attentive reader will remember – and Steve points out – that Tax Freedom Day was way back in April: that was the day when our earnings finally added up to all the taxes we pay.

But wait a minute: if we finished paying all the taxes in April, shouldn’t we have finished paying all the spending back then, too? At least in the same general vicinity, if not on the same day?

Nope. And that means all the borrowing, and shifting, and accounting gimmicks we moan and groan about every year add up to nearly a quarter of this nation's annual income.

That right there is far more worrisome than how much we actually pay in taxes. In fact, I wonder if we shouldn't be calculating the “actual” tax rate based on that.

So I’m getting spam emails in Russian lately…

…which has been kinda fun. I spent a year at the Army's language school in Monterey, CA, studying Russian. I was there in 1991 and 1992, during that failed coup that brought Yeltsin to prominence.

Yeah, thanks Boris. The Soviet Union fell, and then so did all our job security. Russian speakers were like gold coins during the Cold War.

Anyway, it’s been a very long time since I used any Russian, but it’s been fun trying to read those emails.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pop goes the bubble?

Okay, our strategy might be working. Oil fell again today - that's over ten bucks down in two days.

NEW YORK - Oil prices settled sharply lower for the second time in a row Wednesday, leaving crude more than $10 cheaper in just two days of frenzied trading and prompting speculation that the hard-charging market may be running out of steam.

Light, sweet crude for August delivery fell $4.14 to settle at $134.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier sinking as low as $132. The drop follows a $6.44 sell-off Tuesday, crude's biggest since the Gulf War.

…Analysts are unsure whether the drop represents a long-term shift in sentiment or simply a brief correction to crude's monthslong bull run. But the dizzying decline is prompting market veterans to ask how much support remains for such high prices.

"It's a sign that maybe the bull market is losing strength," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research Inc.

…"I do expect this bubble to burst. Is this is it? It might be ... but I'm not ready to say so yet," analyst and trader Stephen Schork said.
Tell you what, if I were a trader, I’d sell off my oil interests pronto. I mean, maybe the price keeps falling, maybe it doesn’t, but this looks like a good time to sit back and count the profits you’ve made the last several months, instead of risking them all in what is an obviously volatile market.

In other words: Sell! Sell! Sell!

Unrelated Quote of the Week

Hughes is currently sitting in 7th place on the BBA Pro Tour Ratings.
Seventh, huh? That would be more impressive if there were more than 18 of us to begin with.


Do Facts Matter?

Excellent column by the brilliant Dr. Thomas Sowell on whether facts even matter any more in the political debate.

In an election campaign in which not only young liberals, but also some people who are neither young nor liberals, seem absolutely mesmerized by the skilled rhetoric of Barack Obama, facts have receded even further into the background than usual.

As the hypnotic mantra of "change" is repeated endlessly, few people even raise the question of whether what few specifics we hear represent any real change, much less a change for the better.

Read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pop goes the bubble!

OMG, the oil bubble’s popping!

NEW YORK - Oil prices fell harder than they have in 17 years Tuesday, as fears that record fuel prices are spreading broad economic pain exacerbated the third big sell-off in just over a week.

Light, sweet crude plunged $6.44, or 4.4 percent, to settle at $138.74 a barrel in an extremely volatile session. Prices at one point plummeted more than $10 from the day's high.
Quick, sell, sell, sell! Sell now! Sell fast!

C'mon, people, unless you like four-dollar gallons of gas, let's get in the spirit. The bubble popped! Sell fast or you'll be ruined!

And then there were three (or maybe more!)

Hey Owen, Sean, you guys want some company?

This was in today's Baraboo News Republic:

A local writer is going to Minneapolis this September to cover the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Lance Burri, who has been writing at several online web logs for the past 4 years, found out Monday that he will receive special press credentials to cover the Convention as an independent blogger.
I haven't heard back yet about giving the keynote address, but I'm sure the invitation is in the mail.

It's true!

I'd heard that, whenever someone moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota, the average IQ of both states goes up.

Or was that Texas?

Maybe, but today I saw evidence that it is, in fact, Minnesota.

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- Like most in the football world, Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress has watched with interest as the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre appear headed to a messy divorce.

While there has been some speculation that Favre would be a good fit to make one more title run with the Vikings, Childress says he remains committed to third-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

Childress tells The Associated Press that "it's been interesting to watch" the contentious interactions between the rival Packers and Favre.

But the coach also says he "can't waste a lot of energy" thinking about Favre becoming available. He also says he thinks Jackson is going to be a winning quarterback.
Childress, you'll remember, was an offensive coordinator for the Wisconsin Badgers before taking the Vikings job.

He wants us to believe that he’s “committed” to Jackson when they might have a shot at adding Brett Favre to that defense and that running game (If they’re willing to give up a dozen draft picks)?

I couldn’t even remember Tarvaris Jackson’s name before reading that story. Neither could anybody else who doesn't get paid to follow the Vikings.

If Childress thinks we're gonna believe that, he's been hanging around those Minnesotans too long.

The Wausau Herald is a little bit preoccupied with the Tavern League, it seems.

The Wausau Daily Herald published not one, not two, but three stories about the Wisconsin Tavern League and the proposed higher beer tax yesterday.

The two on the Tavern League were nearly identical: they’re big, they’re bad, they’re powerful, they’re flexing their muscles in state government.

Well, hey, you do that many 12-ounce curls, and carry those barrels in and out all day, you build some muscles, y'know?

I enjoyed this part of the story about the beer tax:

The last time the Legislature approved a hike to the beer tax was 1969. Several members of the current Legislature weren't even alive to see that hike take effect.
Yeah, they don't dare raise that tax while I'm around.

Today, as it did in 1969, Wisconsin levies a $2 tax on every 31-gallon barrel sold, or six-tenths of a cent per 12-ounce serving.

Compared with other Wisconsin taxes, the beer tax in minuscule.

For example, smokers in Wisconsin pay a $1.77 per-pack tax.

A beer drinker would have to down nearly 300 cold ones to pay as much as a single-pack smoker.

The beer tax is even smaller compared with the taxes drivers pay on gasoline.

Wisconsin's gas tax is 32.9 cents a gallon, so a person who fills up her car with 12 gallons pays about $3.95 in state taxes.

A drinker would have to consume more than 650 beers to pay as much tax as a driver does with just one fill-up.
So since we way over-tax for those things, we should way over-tax for other things, too?

Wisconsin has the third-lowest beer tax in the nation. Its neighboring states all have beer taxes two to three times higher. Only Wyoming and Missouri levy lower beer taxes.
Fine states, Wyoming and Missouri. I've always admired them.

Dale Knapp, research director of the Wisconsin Taxpayer's Alliance, said Wisconsin's low beer tax, probably can be attributed to the past strength of the state's brewing industry...
Low taxes and industrial strength...linked? Has he been talking to Barbara Lawton?

...and the role of drinking in Wisconsin life.

For example, South Carolina's beer tax, At 77 cents a gallon, is more than 12 times higher than Wisconsin.

Knapp said attitudes about drinking probably are different in the Southern state.
I'm no expert on South Carolina, but I did live there - at Ft. Jackson - for a few months. You couldn't buy alcohol at all on Sundays. Other than that, seemed like people drank as much as anyplace else.

In fact, that's true of all the places I've lived.

I understand that people want Wisconsin to be the absolute best in everything - #1 in every single category - but maybe just this once, just with this one tax, we could be satisfied somewhere lower in the rankings.

Re: The bright side of free trade

Stella Artois was the beer of the year one year I was overseas (the cheap one) I bought it, I drank it, I did not much care for it. The other beers I am not familiar with.

The Belgians in general have very different tastes in beer. Often times they sour the beer and put a lot of fruit juices into their brews. I had a belgian red last summer and it was poured into a wine glass and tasted a fair amount like one of those "Jolly Good" sodas.

When I brew I tightly control the yeast, but belgian brewers often times makes beer like people make sourdough bread, that is they let the wild yeast settle in and do the fermenting.

Stores specializing in micro-brews & imports will carry those lambic and exotic Belgian beers but they are very nichey.

Stella Artois, despite my distaste for it, should not do too badly in the general US market.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Odd Wisconsin News

Although nothing is stranger than the current episode of Days of our Favre, there are a few odd Wisconsin stories out there right now.

Wisconsin Woman Plants Dead Rat in Food
A woman accused of planting a dead lab rat in restaurant food and demanding $500,000 to keep quiet was charged Monday with one felony count of extortion. Debbie R. Miller, 41, of Appleton, also faces misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and resisting an officer.

Bee Crashes Copter
WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (AP) _ Wood County authorities said an Oklahoma man piloting a crop-dusting helicopter crashed after a bee got sucked into the cockpit and stung him.Deputy Ted Ashbeck said the chopper was only four feet off the ground, and the pilot was unhurt when the tail rotor smashed into the ground Friday.

Leinie's IQ Survey
Word is you score better after a 12 pack of Honey Weiss.

Good genes

Fraternal brother Mr. Pterodactyl on American Gladiators:

I loved this show in the 90s and I still love it now. I suppose I have the writers' strike to thank for it. The packaging is really cheesy, but the games look like a lot of fun.

Tonight, one of the contestants (there's always two men and two women competing) was introduced as having a former Olympic-class swimmer for a mother, a former major-league baseball player for a father, and an uncle who's a MLB hall of famer. Her name is Tatum Yount. I know who I'm rooting for.
Robin had a brother? Huh. lists four Younts - one from the 1930s, one current (2007 only, no stats available), Robin, and Larry, who played in 1971. That would have to be him, right?

The bright side of free trade

U.S. beer drinkers could toast Anheuser takeover

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Beer drinkers could reap some unexpected short-term benefits as Anheuser-Busch's "King of Beers" becomes a vassal in a much larger empire run by Belgium's InBev.

Once InBev's $52 billion takeover of Anheuser gets approved, it will be able to use Anheuser's far-reaching U.S. distribution network to sell its own beers, introducing brews such as Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Leffe and Staropramen to drinkers across the United States.
That sounds positive. I mean, they're Belgian, right? That's almost German.

Has anybody ever had any of those beers? Are they any good?

Favre grants interview…

…to Greta Van Susteren, on Fox News. 9 pm tonight, from what I understand.

Somebody else watch it. I only have basic cable.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fun Fact

On the day the next president is sworn in, Barack Obama will have been a U.S. Senator for approximately 73% of the time John McCain spent in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp.

So we're talking at home about Brett Favre...

...and whether he will - or whether he should come back, and one of my kids says "he's too old."

He's a few months younger than I am.

Packers to Favre: No Release

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- The last thing Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy want to do is engage in a public shouting match with Brett Favre, even after the three-time MVP put the team in a tough spot by changing his mind on retirement and demanding a release from his contract just weeks before training camp.

But by detailing Favre's dizzying decision-making process this offseason, Thompson and McCarthy hope Packers fans will understand why the team isn't necessarily tossing aside all its plans just because Favre recently decided he wants to play again.

Making their first public comments since Favre demanded his release this week, Thompson and McCarthy told The Associated Press on Saturday that the team had no plans to release Favre. They says Favre is welcome to rejoin the team, but he would be doing so without a defined role.
My thoughts:

First, neither this nor any other development in this story will ever in any way interfere with my hero worship of Brett Favre.

Second, I didn't want him to retire in the first place, so I'd be perfectly happy to see him playing in Green Bay again, although this would make the annual "will he or won't he retire" soap opera even more difficult.

Third, while Favre has broken most of the NFL records a quarterback can break, there are several up-and-coming guys currently playing who could threaten those records in four or five years. A stat-padding season or two would go down real good.

Fourth, this latest maneuver by the Packers makes it more likely that Favre will either play for them or that they will be able to make a trade.

Addendum to point #4: while the thought of Favre playing for the Vikings, Bears, or Cowboys causes my digestive system to seize up in ways I only thought possible after insulting the chef at an offshore Thai restaraunt, I also wonder whether any of those teams would make a deal in the Herschel Walker/Ricky Williams vein. Because that would be worth it.

On the other hand, Favre's return as the Green Bay Packers' starting QB (if, in fact, that's what happens) will nullify this fantastic column I wrote about his retirement. So that right there ought to put the brakes on all this.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"McCain stresses his military career as making him peculiarly fitted to be president"

Richard Bates is a retired Baraboo teacher and principal, dedicated liberal and Democrat, and serial letter-to-the-editor writer, usually with something bashing President Bush, but this time bashing John McCain:

McCain is an authentic hero. He endured years of confinement and torture because he refused to cooperate with the North Vietnamese when his plane was shot down in their territory. However, being a hero does not make one a military expert.

McCain stresses his military career as making him peculiarly fitted to be president. Being a veteran does not automatically make one a good military strategist or foreign policy expert. His career as a Navy bomber pilot did not make him an expert on military strategy any more than my experience in the infantry made me one. We were both just instruments for delivering death and destruction at the direction of our generals.
The letter goes on to criticize other things about McCain. I added the emphasis, because I want to address that point specifically, but first:

No dissing Mr. Bates. The guy is as liberal as the sky is blue and, as far as I'm concerned, just as wrong as any other liberal. But he's also a WWII vet who fought in Burma, India, and China (and wrote a book about his experiences). So he gets to say what he wants, and no dissing him.

I'm not aware that McCain himself has ever stressed "his military career as making him peculiarly fitted to be president."

The point is not that his service makes him "peculiarly fitted." It doesn't, any more than any other specific experience makes one "peculiarly fitted."

It does give McCain a peculiar vantage point from which to consider war and its consequences - a vantage point the vast majority of us do not and will never have. More importantly, it's a vantage point Barack Obama can't come close to matching.

It also speaks to McCain's character - to have lived through years of brutal imprisonment as he did, and to have continued honorable service while living through it - speaks to his character in a way that the vast majority of us cannot match. Barack Obama certainly can't.

If we're being honest, we'll agree with Mr. Bates that McCain's experiences don't make him an expert on military strategy or foreign policy. I wonder how many presidents we've had who were experts on the day they took office. Not many, I think.

Still, even if McCain isn't an expert, how much more expertise does he have than Barack Obama? Barack Obama, who will have spent a whole four years in Congress (compared to McCain's 26 years) on the day the next president is sworn in?

McCain's supporters point out his military service, not to pretend this makes him an "expert," but to contrast his life with that of his opponent's. And when you compare the two, you find there really is no comparison at all.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition coming to Wisconsin

According to the Boo News:

Ty Pennington and the crew of the television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will knock on the door of a needy — but lucky — southern Wisconsin family on July 24.

The family's identity is secret, but Veridian Homes of Madison is organizing a work crew to tear down the existing home and build a new one in four days.
Extreme Makeover is that show where they find a needy and deserving family and totally remake their home in a few days by recruiting hundreds of volunteers and working around the clock. There are, according to the story, five finalist families. And one of them might be...

Although the identities of the five finalist families haven't been revealed, ABC staffers interviewed the Sue Klang family of Cazenovia in May. They also videotaped and interviewed faculty, staff and students in the Weston School District. Klang is the widow of John Klang, former Weston High School principal who was murdered while trying to disarm a student in 2006.
I wrote about Mr. Klang here. Since I don't know who any of the other potential finalists are, I won't hope the Klangs get it.

But, geez, I hope they get it.

Dear Green Bay Packers...

The following post was written by Kevin Binversie.

It's never easy to get a text message from 620WTMJ informing you your legendary quarterback has decided to rip your heart out. But that's exactly what I got yesterday. After the shock wore off, the Tweet sent out, the anger pretty much set in. After being yo-yo'ed by this guy for the past three off-seasons, he does this. "Thanks, I'm coming back, not with you, to anyone I want to; and oh..let's still be friends," is about the best way to put it.

Why not just date our sister, leave her at the church alter, then show up at Poker Night the following week like nothing's happened?

You'd think a night of sleep would have made the anger go away. And for a while it did...then I read this story at the Wisconsin State Journal by Jason Wilde this morning.

GREEN BAY — Brett Favre had his chance to come back to the Green Bay Packers at the end of March, but the legendary quarterback reneged on an agreement then to unretire — part of the reason why the Packers aren't now welcoming back the legendary quarterback.

According to two NFL sources, Favre informed the Packers during the annual NFL meetings in late March — less than a month after his tearful March 6 retirement news conference — that he wanted to play again.'s Jay Glazer first reported that information Friday afternoon.

The State Journal's sources along with Glazer's sources said that, at the time, Packers coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson told Favre they would welcome him back, and plans were made for him to return — a colossal commitment to a player who had just publicly said he no longer wanted to play anymore, wiping away tears while saying he didn't have "anything left to give."

In fact, Thompson — he has been criticized publicly by Favre's agent, James "Bus" Cook, and by members of Favre's family for supposedly not wanting the quarterback back — made the final call on whether the team would welcome Favre's return. Thompson agreed to bring back Favre, even though it meant forcing heir apparent Aaron Rodgers to sit yet another year behind the future Hall of Famer.

The Packers went so far as to charter a plane to Mississippi to finalize the agreement.

But two days before the meeting was set to take place, Favre called and informed McCarthy that he had changed his mind yet again and had decided that he wanted to stay retired.

Burned by the change of heart, the team decided to commit fully to moving on without Favre, the sources said. Rodgers was told the starting job was his, and the Packers drafted a pair of quarterbacks — second-rounder Brian Brohm and seventh-rounder Matt Flynn — as backups. They also began altering the offense to accomodate Rodgers' strengths.

Then, three weeks ago, Favre contacted McCarthy and said he had the "itch" to play again, and the team was cool to the idea. That led to what transpired Friday, when the Packers received a letter from Cook asking for Favre's unconditional release.

For those who aren't from the Green Bay media market, Jason Wilde isn't just the Packers beat writer for the State Journal. He's a frequent commentator on WBAY 2's "Monday Night Countdown," a MNF set-up show. He's usually the one with the best inside information about what's actually going on behind the scenes in the front office.

Which means, this news is likely very, very true.

It's becoming pretty clear to me that Brett Favre never got along with Packers GM Ted Thompson from Day One of their time together and has used his status as "Living Legend" with the Green and Gold faithful to make them side with him. Favre never liked the idea of having the team build through the NFL Draft, where they got young, untested, and unproven talent to re-build the defense, running game, and receiving corps. This meant time to watch them grind out the rust and rub out the green in the young talent (including his own eventual replacement); time Favre knew was not on his side in his waning years of play. What Brett wanted was proven, experienced free agents who were dedicated to winning now, things Thompson wasn't willing to get or cripple the team financially.

Last year's very public blow-up about the team's inability to get WR Randy Moss clearly showed the dynamic between the two at work.

Did Thompson fail Favre? Who knows, but when you create the youngest team to ever reach the NFC Championship Game, missing the Super Bowl in Overtime, it shows he was indeed; on to something.

Was the retirement in March for real then? Likely. Favre's a very passionate, emotional guy who likely let the guilt of how last season ended get to him. And he wouldn't be the first human being to do something rash because of the guilt they were feeling.

Everything after that seems to be an extension of his personal war with Ted Thompson.

What should the Pack now do with Favre given the situation that's now been tossed in their lap? Who knows, but I don't envy them for the PR nightmare they've been handed. The team clearly is not going to release Favre as he requests, which sets up a clear stalemate on all sides.

Admittedly, the vengeful, very angry, life-long Packers fan in me says there's only one thing the team should do...hold Favre hostage, like he's held them.

Friday, July 11, 2008

New column up

Got my latest column up next door, titled Just what they asked for: more campaign spending!

Go. Read.

Aaron & I have a question.

What happens when your mortgage company goes belly up?

We're guessing someone will buy up the debt at pennies on the dollar, can we do that?

Come on Chuckie, you started the run on the bank, let us buy our houses for 10 cents on the dollar. It is an election year after all.

McCain-supporting Democrat delegate trying to stay a delegate

Something tells me this is going to be a whole lotta nothin’ a couple months from now.

Washington - Fighting an attempt by the state Democratic Party to unseat her from next month's national convention, Clinton delegate Debra Bartoshevich said that to "strip me of my status is undemocratic."

That plea is part of a letter Bartoshevich sent this week to the Democratic National Committee — her formal response to the credentials challenge.

The state party moved to strip Bartoshevich of her delegate status after she told the Journal Sentinel last month that she will support Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama if Obama is the party’s nominee.

Bartoshevich is believed to be the only Hillary Rodham Clinton delegate nationally who has publicly taken that position. The state party says she is violating party rules requiring convention delegates to back the nominee.

The credentials challenge is now before the DNC.
I stand by what I said before: this woman was elected to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention – it’s a position of honor and respect. If she can’t support the Democratic nominee, she should resign.

Not that she doesn’t have a legitimate beef: the DNC rules committee considered the whole Clinton/Obama Florida/Michigan debacle and simply made something up. Their ruling came right out of thin air, without respect for the rules as they were written. And that ruling favored Obama.

(Side note: maybe we shouldn't be surprised - they favor judges with no respect for the written law, why should they have any themselves? End side note.)

But. What is she doing? Betrayal seems too strong a term, but it’s certainly in that direction. Her fellow Democrats gave her this position of honor, and she’s repaying them by flinging poo. I see little difference between this and Jeff Wood’s recent deceit: he’s flinging poo at every Republican who has supported and helped him over the past few years, and over the past few weeks.

On the other hand, speaking as an observer from the other side of the spectrum, not to mention the political divide: you go, girl! Don’t take that crap from them! They're dissing you and every other woman who cares about this country!

Newsflash: high-ranking Democrats backing Obama

From the Portage Daily Register: Baldwin, Lawton backing Obama.

Hoping to expand on his advantage with women voters, presidential candidate Barack Obama on Thursday enlisted the help of two prominent Wisconsin backers of his Democratic primary rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, to sell his economic plan as a boon for working women.

"I'm delighted that Sen. Obama is narrowing his focus on how we can position women to succeed, knowing that businesses will profit and the state economy and national economy will grow if we get this right," said Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton, who backed Clinton until her loss in a bitter primary battle, but is now solidly in the Obama camp.
Translation: "I'm delighted that Sen. Obama is closing in on the presidency so he can appoint Diamond Jim the hell out of here and make me governor!"

In a conference call organized by Obama's Wisconsin campaign Thursday, Lawton joined U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and others to laud Obama's plans to improve the economic status of women, only a day before the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. John McCain, heads to politically divided western Wisconsin for an all-women town hall meeting.
Two high-ranking Democrats backing the Democrat nominee for President? This is a news story?

Yeah, I know: they were both big on Clinton before. So what? Conservatives weren't (and many still aren't) real pleased about McCain, but show me the high-ranking Republican (besides Ron Paul) who isn't backing him now. That Baldwin and Lawton fell into line isn't news.

I will say this for the story: there's a lot of info about potential Obama economic plans. Read the whole thing.

Favre wants in...and out.

WTMJ's been reporting on this all afternoon:

Sources tell Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Bill Michaels, and ESPN has confirmed, that Brett Favre's agent, Bus Cook, sent a letter that the Packers have received, stating his wish for a release from the team which he has quarterbacked for 16 seasons to 15 .500+ seasons, seven division championships, two NFC titles and a Super Bowl title.
From ESPN:

HATTIESBURG, Miss -- Three days after a conference call with Green Bay Packers team officials on Tuesday in which quarterback Brett Favre emphatically expressed his desire to play in 2008, Favre on Friday formally asked for his contractual release from the Packers in a letter, sources close to Favre and the team said.

The letter was sent by Favre's agent, James "Bus" Cook, via overnight mail on Thursday and arrived at the Packers facility Friday morning.
Here's a link to the Packers' statement, which, as they discussed on the Green House this afternoon, was classy while still not really saying anything.

WTMJ on the Packers' options:

...the Packers own the rights to Favre and have three options:

• Not grant his release and keep him under contract for the remainder of her two-year contract. Historically, no NFL team has ever denied a request by a retired player to have a release from their contract.

• Allow him to go to another squad.

• Trade him to another squad. This option would allow the Packers to handpick the squad Favre would go to. Typically, a team would make a point to avoid sending a player like Favre to go to another squad.
Of these, I would choose the first (hey, I didn't want him to retire in the first place) or, if this whole thing is just irreconcilable, the third. Get something for him, and have some control over where he goes.

Not to the Vikings. Not to the Bears (because we're all looking forward to that Orton vs. Grossman quarterback controversy). And not to the Cowboys.

Whatever happens, the main goal must be for both sides to handle this with class and with respect for the history and legend of Favre and the Packers. I shall not allow my hero worship and glass-eyed reminiscing about the greatest quarterback ever to be tarnished.